Vendyl Jones, who did archaeological work in Israel for nearly 50 years, passed away early this morning in Texas from throat cancer.
The story first broke on Facebook several hours ago, reported by Yocheved Golani, an Israeli writer. It was eventually picked by Arutz Sheva in a fuller report.
Vendyl Jones began his career as a Baptist preacher in the 1950s. Questioning the faith he was supposed to preach, he led his parishioners away from it, something the Baptists have never forgiven him for.
In the 1960s, he took his family to Israel with the goal of finding archaeological proof of his claims, including the lost Ark with the broken stones Moses had brought down with him from Horev, commonly known as “The Lost Ark of the Covenant.” He never did find the lost Ark, but he did succeed in finding a treasure trove of ancient perfumes used in the Temple of Solomon.
As his family grew up, he began developing concepts and ideas, many of which were taken up by other Christians also questioning their faith. These ideas centered around living by the Seven Laws of Noah, based on the covenant that G-d made with Noah after the waters from the Great Flood subsided.[Genesis 9:1-17]. The people who followed these concepts became known as Noahides. While Vendyl Jones did not “lead” the Noahide Movement, he was very influential in it and in its spread.
In later years, Jones returned to seeking out Temple treasures and the Temple itself, believing that he would find the lost Ark on Tish’a b’Av 5765, in August 2005 – but it was not to be. He is survived by his children and grandchildren and by the Vendyl Jones Research Institutes, which hopefully will carry on his work.