The greatest treasure

The greatest treasure Written by Richard Bent

The greatest treasure

(The following treasure story may or may not be true; I have used it to illustrate a point.)

Thomas Jefferson Beale was six feet tall with brown hair and dark green eyes. He had unusual strength and was a handsome man. Men envied him and women were drawn to him. He carried himself with style and was a man among men. He was known as honest, forthright and a man true to his word. These are the things said about Mr. Beale.

This story begins in 1817. Beale and a party of 30 adventurers set out for Santa Fe. The men apparently knew each other for some time and hunted game together. The purpose of the trip to Santa Fe was to hunt game. They intended to be gone for two years and elected Beale as their leader. They set out on May 19. They arrived in Santa Fe December 1, 1817.

Some of the men were getting bored waiting for spring to come and went out on their own in March. They were to be out exploring for a few days. Beale was about to send scouts to search for them four weeks later when they had not yet returned. As the scouts were ready to depart, two of the group came back with a story that excited the others.

They said that they had been following a buffalo herd about 250 miles north of Santa Fe. They camped one night in a little ravine and while gathering wood one of the men came back with a lump of rock in his hand. After examining the rock, they were all convinced it was gold.

There was much more visible, where the man had found the rock. Two men were sent to get Beale and the rest of the group while the others were gathering up as much gold as they could find.

When Beale arrived, he organized the effort; hired some local Indians and they worked the mine for 18 months. They knew that there was little law in the west and that their find put them in danger. So they decided to take their hoard east, hide it and return for more.

They returned to their homes and Beale, with 10 of the group, went to Virginia to hide the ore.

Now at the same time, there was one Robert Morris. Mr. Morris ran a hotel and was known far and wide as an honest, trustworthy and well-disciplined man. Beale and company had discussed where they could leave the details of their treasure so that any member of the party could retrieve their share at some future date. They decided to check out Mr. Morris.

Beale stayed at his hotel from January 1820 to March of that year. During that time Morris and Beale grew to know each other quite well.

In March of 1820, Beale and the others journeyed back to their mine.

Beale again hired local Indians to help gather the valuables in the earth. In the autumn of 1821, Beale made another large deposit into the groups hiding place.

Beale checked into Morris's hotel again. He stayed through the winter. Before he left in March of 1822 he gave Morris a locked iron box. He instructed Morris to keep the box safe until he returned. Morris locked the box in his safe.

On May 9, 1822 Morris received a letter from Beale. The letter was sent from St. Louis and said that Beale was on his way west to hunt buffalo. Beale expected to be gone for two years. He emphasized to Morris the importance of the iron box's contents. He stated that if he was not contacted within ten years to open the box. The papers inside will not make sense without the key to decode them. Someone would bring the code to him in 1832, if required.

Morris never heard from anyone about the iron box again. Beale never reappeared, nor his associates, nor the man with the code key. It is believed that the group travelled together into a hostile environment and perished. Morris waited not the 10 years but 23 years before opening the box. He wanted to be sure that no one was coming for the contents.

In the box were two letters and three pages of numbers. The letters were dated January 1822.

They related the story of the hunt, the mines, the treasure and the hiding of the treasure. The letters also stated that the numbers were codes. One listed the contents of the treasure. One gave the information needed to find the treasure and the third listed the 30 owner's beneficiaries. The treasure was to be split 31 ways with Morris given an equal share for his handling of the distribution. All the members of the hunting party had agreed to this.

Since the man with the codes had never arrived, Morris was never able to carry out his charge. He tried in vain to decipher the numbers.

In 1862, Morris summoned James B Ward of Virginia to his house. Morris knew he had little time left and told the story to Ward. He gave Ward the papers and told him that if he could carry out the original instructions, Morris would split his share with Ward. The following year Robert Morris died.

Ward worked constantly on the codes. Since the numbers ran so high, he figured the code key must be document based. Eventually he broke the key to the treasure content. He found this code was based on the Declaration of Independence. He took each number, counted the words that far into the document, and used the first letter of the corresponding word. He arrived at the following:

"I have deposited in the Country of Bedford about four miles from Buford's in an excavation or vault six feet below the surface of the ground the following articles. The first deposit consisted of ten thousand and fourteen pounds of gold and three thousand, eight hundred and twelve pounds of silver deposited November 1819.

The second was made December 1821 and consisted of one thousand, nine hundred and seven pounds of gold and one thousand, two hundred and eighty eight pounds of silver, also jewels obtained in St. Louis in exchange for silver to save transportation and valued at thirteen thousand dollars. The above is securely packed in iron pots with iron covers. The vault is roughly lined with stones and vessels rest on solid stone and are covered with others. Paper number one describes the exact locality of the vault so that no difficulty will be had in finding it."

Neither Ward nor anyone else has decoded the other numbers. In 1885, Ward was broke and had a small pamphlet prepared hoping the general public would be able to break the codes and share some of the find with him. Most were destroyed in a fire. No one has ever been able to break the code for the location of the treasure to this day.

This story illustrates for us the extraordinary lengths that men will go to for the precious things of the world; whether it be gold or silver or any other vast accumulation of wealth.

Thomas Beale and his fellow adventures stumbled on a source of untold wealth, a vast treasure, and yet for fear of losing it locked it away in a hidden vault and because of their tragic fate were never again able to access or utilize this treasure, it had no lasting benefit.

Morris and Ward were given the location of this horde of wealth but were never able to unlock the code, therefore also rendering the treasure inaccessible to them.

In 1 Corinthians 3:16, we read...

"Do you not know that you are the Temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you"

This Holy Spirit which God so graciously and generously gives us upon our calling and then becomes a full measure after our repentance and baptism. It is truly a wonderful gift and a privilege directly from our creator Himself.

Now can the Holy Spirit be likened to a source code that unlocks for us a treasure of extraordinary value? A treasure that gleams and glitters like the brilliant rays of light that emanates from our great creator God.

So if the Holy Spirit is like a source code that unlocks a treasure, what then is the treasure I speak of?

Referring to God's word where we read in John 14:26 (in this section of scripture Christ is promising to send his Holy Spirit.)

Verse 26 "But the helper, Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."

The Holy Spirit unlocks the knowledge of the Kingdom of God. The knowledge & understanding of Gods plan for mankind, the knowledge of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Is this not the greatest treasure, a precious gift from God, a treasure so magnificent it pales into insignificance all the vast wealth of this wretched world?

Christ tells us in Matt 6:20 to "Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths & rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."

This precious treasure God gives us will be everlasting and eternal. Nothing in this world can take this treasure from us, and as long as we do our part in growing and developing and becoming more Christ like, we will always have this treasure that God has so generously given us.

The apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:6–7

"For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the Knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.-

Verse 7 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not us."

This treasure we have been given is not to be locked away in a dark hiding place, but nurtured and grown, fed and watered, sharpened and tempered, held precious in our hearts and minds, until the day of our resurrection, when by the grace and love of our Almighty God, we will be admitted into Gods Family, to live eternally with God and Christ our elder brother in the Kingdom of God.

Now this is a treasure worth fighting for, this is a treasure worth the discipline and sacrifice of a Christian life.

This is the greatest treasure of all.


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About the Author

Richard Bent

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