Oklahoma Ark-Eologist: “Arson Investigation Skills” to Find Lost Temple Treasure

More news via an email from the Christian Zionist “Jerusalem Connection”:

Jim Barfield, a retired fire marshal from Oklahoma, believes he has cracked the code on The Copper Scroll.  Applying his arson investigation skills to the world’s most intriguing antiquities, he has achieved something that for four decades has eluded all other archeological and paleographical experts. After two years of planning, Barfiled is now in Israel beginning an archeological dig with the Israel Antiquities Authority.  This dig just may lead to the discovery of artifacts from the Jewish Temple.

Now, I’m more than happy to see amateurs tackling long-standing problems; but when I read that this man’s “arson investigation skills” offer some kind of special insight the BS monitor starts beeping.

The Copper Scroll is an anomalous Dead Sea Scroll, difficult to interpret but apparently giving directions to a significant stash of treasure. Details remain obscure, and there has been some speculation about where the treasure – if it ever existed – actually came from. Some suggest it belonged to the Essene community, others that it was rescued from the Jerusalem Temple in AD 70. Barfield believes that the Scroll records the whereabouts of treasure dating from the First Temple, which had been destroyed by the Persians hundreds of years before, and that his findings will include artefacts such as

unbelievable amounts of treasures from the Tabernacle of Moses to include, the Ephod of the High Priest, vast quantities of gold and silver, massive amounts of Tabernacle service vessels and gems of tremendous value.  Most importantly, Jim has located what appears to be the buried cave that has the greatest hope “ever” to contain the Tabernacle of Moses, the Alter [sic] of Incense and “the Ark of the Covenant.”

Barfield appears to take as literal the preposterously inflated amounts of temple gold recorded in 1 Chronicles 22; in fact, the author of that text wrote centuries after the events he purports to describe and was particularly keen to idealize the era of David and Solomon.

So what secret exactly has Barfield unlocked? There are various videos on his website, but beyond telling us that God guided him to “figure it out” specific details are thin. However, he assures us that

As strange as this developing story may seem; “none” of the archeologists, rabbis, historians or anyone else that has seen Jim’s Copper Scroll research doubt that he has unlocked its mystery.

Of course, this is all grist to a certain constituency of Christian Zionists who believe that the Jewish Temple must be re-built, in accordance with Biblical prophecies; the apocalyptically-minded author Joel C. Rosenberg (whom I blogged here) wrote a prophecy potboiler called The Copper Scroll  just a couple of year ago.

One gushing and gleefully sanguinary endorsement of Barfield’s supposed breakthrough is as follows:

Shalom friends and Family,
This is my friend Jim Barfield (below). If you don’t know who he is, go to Copper Scroll Project on the net and read about him. He is the genuine article and I am pleased to be blessed to know him. He will be digging soon for the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle of Moses as he has unlocked the copper scroll and knows where they are or once were held. The amount of gold in this find could top trillions of dollars and my opinion on that is, that might be the spoil that brings Russia down to Israel for the gog and magog war. It may also restore the heart of Israel to Yahweh which is His goal for the whole earth, to know He is Yahweh. We are living in the most exciting days of all times. And even Indiana Jones had to face some danger and snake pits on his adventures to unlock treasures that were hidden. So please stand in the gap for our brother for protection and wisdom as he goes on the adventure of a lifetime, to bring us a gift of untold value. It is time for the Tabernacle of David to be restablished in our hearts and I hope on the Temple Mount of Israel. Honestly, Jim Barfield desperately needs your fervent prayers as this is the last thing the enemy of our soul and the enemies of Israel wants to happen. It looks as if it will happen during the days of Unleavenend Bread or the Days of Teshuva (repentance and turning back to Yahweh). So lets get the sin out(leaven) of our lives and turn back to Yahweh in preperation for this phenominal event. When the Ark of the Covenant is placed on the Temple Mount it could turn the whole world upside down and release events that have only been written about until now.
In the mean time, have a Blessed Pesach from Jessie and Renalee and Where the Glory Walks Ministries
Love and Shalom Blessings,

Barfield himself explains that

Last week we went to Oklahoma City to speak at the state capital about the project to twelve state senators, all of which were Christian. They were greatly receptive to the progress and had many questions. We wanted to let some government officials know that we were going to Israel soon for accountability sake and…it worked out that we were contacted the next day by a local senator who asked us to come and speak at a prayer meeting they were having in one of the senate chambers. Before we left the capital we did a Copper Scroll Project update in front of the capital building which will be on You Tube at this address (http://www.youtube.com/user/Copperscrollproject ) some time tonight 7 April.

It is worth remembering at this point that the Oklahoma senate recently began an “investigation” of the University of Oklahoma for allowing Richard Dawkins to speak there.

Barfield has also touched base with Vendyl Jones, another “arkeologist”, whom I blogged here. Jones gets publicity every few years by phoning up some lazy hack with the announcement that he is on the verge of uncovering the Ark. I looked at a couple of other characters here.

UPDATE (7 May): I’ve now seen that Barfield is associated with an Oklahoma Messianic Jewish congregation called Beit Tefillah, and before Barfield’s Copper Scroll website was established they carried some details of his “researches”. One remaining document has these details:

Teacher Jim Barfield 

• Jim Barfield was born 27 April 1955

• Torah reading that day was… –Lev 16:1 – 20:27

• Today’s Torah reading is…–Lev 16:1 – 20:27

• One year ago today (28 Apr 07) Jim became a nazirite for life…

The section of Leviticus referenced deals with priestly duties.

In an interview from 26 April posted on YouTube, Barfield explains that he had hoped to dig in December, to coincide with Hannukah – he has interpreted the delay to mean that God wants the treasure to be found on some other significant date. This might be Memorial Day or Israel Independence Day, but he also modestly suggests dates in his own biogaphy: his birthday or the third anniversary of his becoming a “nazirite” (presumably the Beit Tefillah document should have given a 2006 date) – this is important because joining the Essene community took three years. The “nazirite” vow explains his increasingly Biblical appearance.


Name variations: Jimmy Barfield; Jimmy D. Barfield