Is Vendyl Jones on the Right Track with the Copper Scrolls?

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At about the time Titus was demolishing the Second Temple, some unknown Jewish scribe was supposedly producing the Copper Scroll which allegedly lists hiding places of some Temple treasures and the Temple taxation money. The scroll, labeled 3Q15, was found along with other manuscripts that were written on papyrus or leather in 1952 on an expedition sponsored by the Jordanian Department of Antiquities. It was so badly oxidized that it had to be cut open at the Manchester College of Technology in 1956 to avoid crumbling that would have occurred if it was unrolled. The first translation was published by John Allegro in 1960.

Vendyl Jones is a former Baptist minister who became disillusioned with the New Testament. He served in the Israeli Army. He also founded the B'nai Noach (Sons of Noah) movement which is an organization that seeks to bring the nations of the world to an understanding of Torah as it relates to the grand design that God has for Jews and Gentiles.  Jones, with encouragement of several rabbis, has been attempting to use information from the Copper Scroll to search for the Ark. But what is listed on the Scroll? Basically, itís a list of locations for gold and silver treasure from Jerusalem and from the Second Temple, the one that did not hold the Ark. Most of the sites mentioned are unknown today. There are spelling mistakes and there is corrosion that makes it difficult to read in its entirety.  Still, using it, Jones has found items he believes were from the Temple Ė in particular, in April of 1988, a small juglet of thick oil that (according to the Pharmaceutical Department of Hebrew University) was probably Holy Anointing Oil used on sacrifices and for anointing the priests and kings of ancient Israel. It was the first find of an item mentioned in the Copper Scroll.

In a 1992 excavation, his efforts resulted in the recovery of a reddish snuff - looking material. It was analyzed by Dr. Marvin Antelman (consultant to the Weitzmann Institute); and subsequently, the pollens in the material were analyzed by Dr. Terry Hutter, a paleobotanist. They identified the material as a compound of nine specific spices in a highly refined state. Two additional inorganic ingredients, Karsina Lye and Sodom Salt, were found close by in the same cave, apparently ready to be mixed with the spices, to comprise the ingredients of the Holy Incense, the Qetoret. This was the same compound burned on the Altar of Incense in the Holy Temple. A total of 900 pounds of the Incense was eventually found. It seems likely that even if the oil and incense were from the Temple, we would be dealing with artifacts produced during the time of the Second, non-Ark possessing Temple. However, according to a Vendyl Jones article by Gerald Robins carried in the Jewish Herald Voice Houston newspaper in 2000, the Scroll is said to contain the following text:

In the desolations of the Valley of Achor, under the hill that must be climbed; hidden under the east side, forty stones deep, is a silver chest, and with it, the vestments of the High Priest, all the gold and silver with the Great Tabernacle (the Mishkan) and all its Treasures.

What is important here is reference to the Great Tabernacle (the Mishkan) and all its Treasures. This reference is not repeated in other translations of this document at other Internet sites. What is listed on multiple Internet sites is only the following translation:

Column I In the ruin of Horebbah which is in the valley of Achor, under the steps heading eastward about forty feet: lies a chest of silver that weighs seventeen talents (yard stick).KEN  (Note: KEN are mysterious Greek letters in the original text).

Sacred vestments and oil are mentioned elsewhere on the scroll, but the above text based on The Wise translation of the Copper Scroll from The Dead Sea Scrolls, a new translation (Wise, Abegg & Cook. HarperCollins, 1996) and the Florentino Garcia Martinez translation from The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated (Brill/Eerdmans, 1996) has no mention of the tabernacle at all! In fact, in scanning the Internet, I am unable to find any site other than those backing or describing Vendyl Jones that mentions anything about the Ark or the Tabernacle in conjunction with text found on the Scroll. This is import because if we find the Tabernacle, we may well find the Ark with it. In the Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Yoma 72a3) it states the following about the Tabernacle:

Rabbi Chama the son of Rabbi Chanina said: What is meant by that which is written: And you shall make the beams of the Tabernacle of cedar wood, standing?...What does the verse mean by standing?  Lest you say, now that the Tabernacle has fallen into disuse and the beams interred: Their promise is ruined, never to return!  [the Torah] therefore teaches that the beams are standing Ė to tell us that they are standing forever and ever.

The hiding spot of the Ark and the Tabernacle would have been known be Jeremiah.  Although the Tabernacle and its contents (that would include the Tent of Meeting) were hidden away, they will one day be found again. What better place to keep the Ark when away from the Temple than in the same Tent of Meeting used to house the Ark while Moses and the Israelites were roaming around the Sinai?

I have often been asked to look into claims by Venyl Jones and his supporters (hereafter referred as the VJRI for Vendyl Jones Research Institute) that the Copper Scroll deals with objects hidden in the First Temple. However, the Copper Scroll contains Greek letters. Since Israel was not conquered by Alexander the Great until 332 BCE, there would be no reason for anyone associated with the First Temple, destroyed 254 years earlier, to be using Greek. In summary, the dates just donít fit for the Copper Scroll to be a First Temple artifact; and the bottom line is: the Copper Scroll does not mention the Ark.


In May of 2005, it was reported that he had consulted with Kabbalists and that he believed he would find the Ark of the Covenant by August 14, 2005, the anniversary of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. However, as the date approached and passed he claimed that he was misquoted. He then hoped that a drill-hole bore would reveal the Ark's location in September.  An article in Wikipedia states that he has been prevented from proceeding due to lack of funds and the need for another environmental study required by the government.