The October 9, 2018 CBS news webpage reported the FBI searched for Civil War treasure near Dents Run, Pennsylvania on March 13, 2017. Why search for treasure at Dents Run, Pa?
A father-son team, Dennis and Ken Parada, along with author and journalist Warren Getler, invested five years excavating in a cave on state land and an additional two years drilling on top of the cave before seeking the aid of the FBI. These three men anxiously waited for the FBI to begin digging.
Their wait ended within the month. Before the FBI commenced to dig, the FBI employed a consulting firm to scan the ground using a gravimeter. The scan revealed a “large metallic mass with the density of gold,” according to the three treasure hunters. They excitedly waited for the FBI to arrive and begin the dig.
Just how did this cache of gold make it to such a site? Legend reveals that the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, the Union Army shipped between 26 and 52 bars of gold, each weighing about 50 pounds of 23 kilograms from Wheeling, West Virginia to Philadelphia. The Union Army routed the gold through this area to keep it away from the Confederate Army. The shipment was either lost or stolen. The lost shipment’s estimated worth in today’s money would be between $25 to $50 million dollars.
Enter the FBI. On March 13, 2017 the Parada’s and Getler understood they would be allowed to witness the unearthing of this large metal cache. But disappoint filled their lives. Instead of watching the metal excavated, the FBI forced them to stay in their car which was out of sight of the excavations. Six hours later the FBI escorted them up the hill and announced the FBI team was cold, tired, and hungry. Since it was getting dark, they would come back the next day.
However, the trio protested that three hours remained in that day and the team was only three feet from the cache of gold. Denny Parada recalled the agent told him, “Denny, we’re going, we’re going.”
No one knows if the FBI left that afternoon. But residents reported hearing sounds of machinery working in the area. The noise kept them from sleeping and the hillside was brightly lit. Other residents told of seeing several black SUV’s passing by their homes, backing down near the hole, and other ATV’s meeting the SUV’s. There appeared to be a transference of something. It was too dark to tell the exact items being moved. An additional witness observed several large vehicles coming from the area along with 2 large armored trucks.
The second day the Paradas sat in their car again for several hours until they were led to a sizable and empty hole. The FBI completed the excavations without the treasure hunters witnessing what had been in the hole – if anything. Was there a cache of treasure? Only the FBI knows.
As we turn to the New Testament, we discover a cache of treasure which the FBI cannot keep you from discovering. Our goal is to dig into the four major literary genres of the New Testament: Gospels, Acts, Epistles or Letters, and Revelation during the next few weeks.
THE CACHE OF GOLD IN THE GENRE OF THE GOSPELS
“Gospel” means “good news.” Ancient literature employed the term when a successful military campaign had been conducted. In the New Testament context ‘gospel’ refers to the announcement of the message spoken by Jesus Christ. Mark used the term, ‘gospel,’ in 1:1, 1:14-15; 8:25, 10:29, 14:9. Mark may be the first to use the term, gospel, in this fashion.
Eventually the term referred to the written documents of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with their narratives of the life of Christ. Each gospel bore the same message of Jesus but presented Jesus in four unique purposes or perspectives. Some scholars refer to the gospels as theological biographies.
When we study the Gospels, we must consider a central theological truth: The Kingdom of God and how it relates to the gospel message. Various forms clamor for attention: parables, miracle stories, pronouncement statements, woes, beatitudes, and nativity stories.
THE CACHE OF GOLD IN GENRE OF THE ACTS
If a gospel is a theological biography, then Acts can be called a theological history. That is, a narrative of events related to one another from a given place and time which have been selected to teach certain theological truths.
Acts focuses on several characters, unlike the gospels. While the title is possibly a misnomer, the Acts of the Apostles, it might be better to call it, the Acts of the Holy Spirit, since He plays a role throughout the Acts while no single man plays a key role throughout the entire book.
The significance of Pentecost proves to be a major topic demanding attention. We must determine whether to read Acts as narrative or theology. The spread of the gospel ‘unhindered’ might prove to be a worthy exploration.
THE CACHE OF GOLD IN THE GENRE OF THE EPISTLES
The amount of gold to be found in the epistles eludes the interpreter’s mind. The epistles contain creeds or hymns to be explored. The domestic codes deserve considerable mining as do slogans. Of course, the theology of Paul and the General Epistles demand the interpreter’s exploration.
The interpreter must open the cache of the epistle related to form of the ancient letter. In related fashion, the orientation of the parts of the sentences and clauses as they relate to one another hold rich deposits for the interpreter.
THE CACHE OF GOLD IN THE GENRE OF THE REVELATION
No genre has held more mystery for the interpreter across the centuries than that of the Revelation. Revelation’s cache of treasures includes a combination of three genres: epistles, prophecy, and apocalyptic. Each must be identified and mined.
The sifting of these three genres within the Revelation may help prevent the interpreter from making the text say more than it does or from claiming less than the text does. Each genre will reveal its deep deposits as the interpreter digs deep.
Grab a shovel!
Let’s Dig before the FBI grabs our cache of gold!
If you desire to review the articles related to the Old Testament, click on the links below:
Do you believe that studying the various genres of the Scriptures will bear riches in our study of God’s Word? Why or why not?