- Associated Press - Sunday, February 5, 2017

LAWTON, Okla. (AP) - It was three days before Christmas of 2006 that Jim Barfield wrapped himself in a blanket and plopped down at his desk. He looked at his research on the Copper Scroll and laid his head down.

He said to himself, “‘How in the heck am I going to get the Israelis to listen to me?’”

That day Barfield believed he had solved the riddle of the Copper Scroll, which has puzzled historians for decades. The retired Lawton assistant fire marshal said he used his investigative experience and basic knowledge of Hebrew to decode the Copper Scroll, which is one of the Dead Sea Scrolls - a treasure map on a sheet of copper. It was written around the sixth century B.C. and is said to lead to the hidden treasures of the first Jewish temple built by King Solomon.

There are 57 locations outlined in the Copper Scroll and each location contains various sorts of treasures from gold to silver to gems, the Lawton Constitution (https://bit.ly/1SmEezf ) reported. The treasures are said to have been buried by the five authors of the Copper Scroll, which includes the biblical prophets Haggai and Jeremiah. One location, according to Barfield, is worth over $1 billion dollars at current market value. But there’s one location that exceeds all the others. That last location, if a reference in Second Maccabees is correct, contains the most important artifacts in religious history, including the tabernacle Moses carried through the wilderness with him and the Israelites after the biblical exodus from Egypt, and all of the tabernacle’s treasures - holy serving vessels of gold and silver; the ephod, a ceremonial breastplate worn by the Israelites’ high priest; the altar from the Holy of Holies; several pounds of gold and silver ingots; and the Ark of the Covenant.

Those who have tried to solve the Copper Scroll before Barfield believed the tabernacle and its treasures are buried separately, but he believes the tabernacle and its treasures lie together. The location is a cave under the West Bank southwest of the archaeological site of Qumran in the Valley of Achor.



A year after his findings, in December 2007, Barfield flew to Israel to meet with Shuka Dorfman, the director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA), and two archeologists who had dug in Barfield’s suspected location, Yitzhak Magen and Yuval Peleg.

And they listened, Barfield said.

After reviewing his research, Peleg wanted to excavate with Barfield. When Peleg excavated the same area, he didn’t go below virgin soil. According to Barfield’s reading, the Copper Scroll says to go below virgin soil. The excavation was in 2009, and before the crew could even get a couple feet into the ground, Peleg received a phone call and the excavation was shut down, Barfield said. But during that excavation Barfield noticed some shelves within the rock formations, Peleg said they were natural, but Barfield didn’t believe him. He took a piece and sent it off to the CTL Group, an international expert engineering, materials, science consulting firm. The CTL Group’s finding said that the piece Barfield took was man made, a type of plaster, Barfield said.

“The description on the Copper Scroll matches the description in Second Maccabees where it says Jeremiah took all these items, the most important of the treasures of the house, the tabernacle, and put them inside this cave,” Barfield said. “Then once he got them in there, they buried the entrance. Well, it’s the exact same thing that’s said on the Copper Scroll, says it ‘took the treasures of the house into the cave, buried the entrance.’”

That was the last time Barfield was able to excavate that specific area or any areas in his findings. But he hasn’t given up. Barfield has spent time traveling across the United States and the world presenting his findings to those willing to listen. He has received opportunities that have seemed to open the area for him excavate, but at the last minute, the door slams in his face.

“We would make a huge move forward and then we would stop, huge move forward and then we’d stop,” Barfield said.

One of the biggest obstacles for Barfield is the constant conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. But another big conflict is political, according to Barfield, because “the Israelis upper (class), not the average everyday people, they don’t want these things found. The rich don’t want these things found. Because they know that it’s going to create a more religious state in Israel.”

Despite the setbacks, Barfield continued to be confident in his research. In 2014, he said, he flew to New York City to attend a meeting with Moshe Feiglin, who at the time was the deputy speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s legislative body. After Barfield’s presentation, Feiglin was confused as to why Barfield wasn’t digging. Barfield explained to him that the Israeli government wasn’t letting him. Moshe asked when Barfield was coming to Israel again, Barfield said.

“I said, ‘I’ll be there in one month,’” Barfield said. “He said, ‘Mr. Barfield, bring your equipment, meet me at Qumran and we will scan Qumran.’ I said, ‘Moshe, I love your guts, but it’s illegal.’ And he said, ‘No, it’s not. I’m a Knesset member. I have diplomatic immunity.’ I said, ‘OK, so we can scan?’ He said, ‘Yes, we’ll scan it. It’ll be under my authority. And you’re working for me. The operation belongs to me.’”

When they returned to Israel after his meeting with Feiglin, they scanned four areas, out of the 57 locations, at Qumran, Barfield said. He chose those four locations because he believed those were the ones that would give the biggest signal. One of those locations was the cave that Barfield believes has the most valuables and Moses’ tabernacle and its treasures. The scans showed that those four locations do contain items such as silver, gold, gems and holding vessels, like pots and goblets, with the cave giving off the biggest reading for the vast majority of nonferrous metals, matching Barfield’s findings, he said.

Barfield hasn’t been able to do much physical work since the scans, but he says he has more supporting evidence to add to his findings. He’s gearing up to go back to Israel for the 16th time since he made his discovery over a decade ago to find a way to get permission to excavate. His findings have bewildered archeologists, historians and everyone he has presented them to. But what gets him is that he grew up in Longview, Texas, with a dream to become a construction worker to make his living. That was until weird things started happening.

“It was like God had put all these different things in my life to prepare me to do this,” Barfield said. “And every time I speak about it, and I speak to some really large congregations, people come up to me and they say the same thing, ‘God uses the foolish to confound the wise,’ which I don’t know whether that’s a compliment or not. But their point is that God’s going to get the glory. And that’s one of the things I always try to do. He has got to get the glory.”

And God’s glory is why Barfield continues to pursue his findings.

“This is what we’re all hoping for, that there really is a God,” Barfield said. “That there really is going to be a time of peace and a time under a righteous king. And that’s why I keep pushing this. That’s why I’m not giving up. It means a lot to me. It means a lot to my family, to your family. … From a prophetic standpoint, in the book of Hosea, (it says) ‘in the Valley of Achor there’s a door of hope.’ If that door is there to that cave that is the hope for all of us.”

___

Information from: The Lawton Constitution, https://www.swoknews.com

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