Was Jesus A QUMRAN Essene?
did Christians travel WITHOUT MONEY (War 11:124-127; Mark
6:8)? Where did the idea of a Christian COMMUNE come from (1 QS
6:22; Acts 2:44-45)? Why LAY HANDS on a man for HEALING
(Gen. Apoc. 20:16-17; Luke 13:11-13)? Where did Jesus learn how to REBUKE
a BROTHER (1 QS6:1; Matt. 18:15-17)?
These concepts are not found in the Old Testament. Why call Satan "BELIAL"
(DSD 2:19; Dam. Doc. 12:2; 2 Co. 6:15)? Why use phrases like "FILTHY
LUCRE" (Dam. Doc. 6:14-15; 1 Tim. 3:3) or CHILDREN
of LIGHT? We don't find this vocabulary in the Old Testament either.
Is Christianity an Essene sect? Many ESSENES JOINED Christianity
by the time Luke wrote Acts.
Luke refers to "PIOUS ONES" four times (Luke 2:25;
Acts 2:5; 8:2; 22:12) which is the meaning of the word ESSENE. The most reliable indication that ESSENES were ENTERING Christianity after about 60 A.D. is the ABUNDANCE of PARALLELS to ESSENE thinking in letters after the 60s and especially 70 A.D., namely Ephesians, Hebrews, Revelation, the Gospel of Matthew and especially the Gospel of John (see especially John 1:35-39 & Luke 1) and the lack of parallels in New Testament writing prior to that time. Where did the Jewish "PRIESTS"
come from in Acts 6:7? The Pharisees were to a large extent lay people so these priests were not Pharisees. The central core of the Sadducees was composed of kohanim (priests) but since the aristocratic priesthood of the Sadducees didn't believe in the resurrection and were sworn enemies and persecutors of the early church, these priests were not Sadduccees either. This leaves the ESSENES who were primarily composed of Zadokite PRIESTS (King David's high priest was Zadok) who believed in the resurrection (Manual of Disc. 4:7; Jewish War 2:153-154). The group of kohanim of Acts 6:7 must have come from the ESSENE PRIESTLY class who lived "in every city" (War 2:126; Hypoth. 11:1).What name did
the Essenes use? "These are the rules of the WAY." (1QS
9:21). Jesus said that "John came to you in the WAY of righteousness"
(Matt. 21:32). But Jesus also said, "I am the WAY" (John
14:6). In Acts 9:2 Christianity is called "the WAY" (cp.
Acts 19:9,23). Another scroll says "The Master shall... teach all the SONS of LIGHT" (1QS 3:13) and "in the ways of LIGHT they walk" (1QS 3:19). But Qumran Essenes SEPARATED from the
evil world and thereby HID their LIGHT. This is why Jesus
said. "Ye are the LIGHT of the world... Neither do men LIGHT
a candle, and put it UNDER a bushel (BASKET), but on a lampstand"
(Matt. 5:14). Jesus said, "Believe in the LIGHT, that ye may
be the CHILDREN of LIGHT" (John 12:36) and he called
himself "the LIGHT of the world." Paul said, "walk
as CHILDREN of LIGHT" (Eph. 5:8; Col. 1:12) and "Ye
are all CHILDREN of LIGHT" (1 Th. 5:5; 2 Cor. 6:14).
Were Jesus and Paul talking to ESSENES?
Later Jesus said, "whosoever LOOKETH on a WOMAN to LUST
after her hath committed ADULTERY with her already in his heart.
Why did Jesus say this? Because many Essenes DID NOT MARRY
(War 2:120). They were EUNUCHS "for the kingdom of heaven's
sake" (Matt. 19:12; 1 QSb 4:24-26). Since the Damascus Document FORBIDS
sexual intercourse in Jerusalem (CD 12:1), the Essene Quarter on the SW
hill of Jerusalem was probably CELIBATE too. When Jesus said, "Swear
not at all" (Matt. 5:34; cp. Deut. 23:22), he may have been referring
to Essenes taking LOYALTY OATHS to Qumran "not... to
partake of" food from anywhere else (1 QS 5:7-20). If the initiate
was later disfellowshipped, he ran the risk of starving (Wars 2:8:8). Josephus
said that ESSENES "seem to have GREATER AFFECTION for one another than the other sects have" (Wars 2:8:2). Complete strangers
meet as "the most INTIMATE FRIENDS" (War 2:125).
Jesus also said to CHRISTIANS, "By this shall all men know that
ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another" (John 13:35).
Jesus said, "RESIST NOT EVIL.... LOVE your
enemies" (Matt. 5:39,44). Paul said, "RECOMPENSE to NO
man EVIL for evil" (Rom. 12:19). However, Essenes were required
to "HATE all the sons of darkness" (1 QS 1:10-11). "HATE everyone whom he has rejected" (1 QS 1:4; CD 3:1). And "everlasting HATRED for the sons of perdition" (1 QS 9:21-22). They even CURSED non-members (1 QS 2:5-8) which is why Paul said, "Bless
and CURSE NOT" (Rom. 12:14). Jesus said "You have
heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor but HATE your
enemy"' (Matt. 5:43). Who was he talking to? The ESSENES, who
heard this said in the Manual of Discipline and Damascus Document. Jesus
said "LOVE your enemies" (Matt. 5:44) and John said "He
that saith he is in the LIGHT, and HATETH his brother, is
in DARKNESS even until now" (1 John 2:9).
Jesus said "GIVE to him that ASKETH thee, and from him
that would BORROW of thee turn not thou away" (Matt. 5:42).
What did he mean? Essene COMMUNAL living: "Nor do they either
buy or sell anything to one another; but every one of them GIVES
what he hath to him that WANTETH it, and receives from him again
in lieu of it what may be convenient for himself; and although there be
NO REQUITAL MADE, they are fully allowed to TAKE
what they want of WHOMSOEVER they please" (Wars 2:8:4). Once
again Jesus said, "Blessed are the POOR in SPIRIT; for
theirs is the kingdom" (Matt.5:3). Luke 6:20 says "Blessed be
ye POOR." Later in Romans 15:26 and Galatians 2:10 we find "the POOR." Essenes called themselves "the POOR"
(1 QS 1:11; 5:16) or "POOR ones" (1 QpHab 12:3,6,10). "These
men are DESPISERS of RICHES" who wear the same clothes
and shoes till they are threadbare and worn (Wars 2:8:3-4). What did Jesus
mean when he said, "Blessed are the POOR in SPIRIT? He
meant "VOLUNTARILY POOR" since Hebrew "ruah"
can mean "willing" as well as "spirit." As Jesus said,
"I know thy... POVERTY (but thou art rich)" (Rev. 2:9).
Jesus told the rich young ruler to "Sell all that thou hast, and distribute
unto the POOR" (Luke 18:22) -- become VOLUNTARILY POOR
by contributing to the COMMUNE. Jesus preached the gospel "to
the POOR" (Luke 4:18).
When Jesus was born, heavenly voices announced "Peace among MEN of God's GOOD PLEASURE." This is the same phrase we find in 1QS 8:6: "the ELECT of (his) GOOD PLEASURE" referring to QUMRANITES. It is also found in 1 QH 4:32 & 11:9 which say "SONS of his GOOD PLEASURE."meaning those ESSENES predestined for God's kindness." Until the Dead Sea Scrolls there were no known Hebrew texts to parallel Luke 2:14.
Was John the Baptist an Essene?
From his CHILDHOOD, John lived "out in the wilderness until the day he appeared openly to Israel" (Luke 1:80). He was ASCETIC and CELIBATE like the ESSENES (Matt. 11:18). Since his first activity was close to Qumran and other ESSENE hermitages in the Jericho area, it is reasonable to conclude that he was brought up in that movement. ESSENES "ADOPT other men's CHILDREN, while yet pliable and docile, and regard them as their kin and MOULD them in accordance with their own principles" (Wars 2:8:2). It is also significant that John came from a PRIESTLY family (Luke 1:5) since the Essenes were PRIESTS. But contrary to ESSENE practice of HIDING their LIGHT, John the Baptist tried to make his own ministry OPEN to ALL to better fulfill Isaiah 40:3. He preached at two important trading posts along the Jordan (John 1:28; 3:23). He urged the tax collectors and soldiers to avoid stealing. He did not urge them to sell everything and drop out of society and become ascetic (Luke 3:13-14) or quit being soldiers as an ESSENE would do (Philo "Every Good Man Is Free" 12:78). He didn't look at the "sons of darkness" the way ESSENES looked at them: predestined to do evil. He knew they could REPENT (Matt. 32:7-10). ESSENES gathered only with people of like minds (1 QS 6:6-8). They didn't bother to instruct the common folk. They lived in large societies located in many Judean cities and villages of their own (Josephus Wars 2:24; cf. Philo, Apologia pro Judaeis1 [Eusebius PE 8:6). Both Philo and Josephus say there were about 4000 ESSENES (Every Good Man 75; Ant. 18:20) of which no more than about 200 could have lived at Qumran. Why did John the Baptist eat "LOCUSTS and WILD HONEY"? Possibly because he was "NOT at liberty to PARTAKE of that FOOD that he meets with ELSEWHERE" because of "the OATH he hath taken" (Wars 2:8:8) before being disfellowshipped from Qumran.
However, John the Baptist for the Christians (Matt. 3:3) and the Qumran Community for the ESSENES (1 QS 8:14) are both said to be preparing the Lord's WAY in the wilderness (Isa. 40:3). John probably borrowed this from the ESSENES since the Qumran Essene Isaiah scroll highlighted this verse by separating it from its context. When John the Baptist was imprisoned, he sent a delegation to Jesus to ask if he was Messiah. Jesus' reply was "Go and tell John what you see and hear: The blind SEE; the lame WALK; lepers are CLEANSED; the deaf HEAR; the dead are RAISED; the poor are EVANGELIZED" (Luke 7:22; cf. Isa. 61:1-2). These words are so similar to those found in Qumran
on a just-published fragment from Cave 4 (4Q521) that they must have reminded John of ESSENE words familiar to him from his youth (cf. Luke 1:78) in the desert: "The Lord shall visit the pious and the righteous shall he call by name.... He shall RELEASE the prisoners, make the blind SEE.... He shall HEAL the wounded and RESURRECT the dead (and to) the poor ANNOUNCE glad tidings" (lines 5,8,12). Isaiah 61 was interpreted MESSIANICALLY by the Qumran Essenes also (11Q Melch 6-9).
Was Jesus the "Teacher Of Righteousness?"
Jesus was from the tribe of JUDAH (Heb. 7:14) while the Teacher of Righteousness who founded the Essenes was a high priest (1Q Pesher Habakkuk; 4QpPsa) from the tribe of LEVI and lived almost a CENTURY BEFORE the time of Jesus. Many believe the Teacher of Righteousness was Onias the Righteous, who, according to Josephus, was stoned to death in 65 B.C. All Qumran Essenes who had FAITH IN the "Righteous Teacher" OBTAINED JUSTIFICATION (1 QpHab 8:2-3) just as all Christians who had FAITH IN Jesus OBTAINED JUSTIFICATION (Gal. 2:16; Rom. 3:26). Both considered themselves FOUNTAINS of LIVING WATER (John 4:14; 7:37; 1QH8:4) who were "not ESTEEMED" (1QH 8:11; Isa. 53:3). Jesus may have had the Teacher of Righteousness in mind when he said, "All those who have come BEFORE me are THIEVES and ROBBERS ... because they care nothing for the sheep ... No one takes my life; I lay it down OF MY OWN ACCORD" whereas the Teacher of Righteousness died UNWILLINGLY (John 10:8,18). The Teacher of Righteousness was ASCETIC (War 2:151) whereas Jesus ENJOYED LIFE (Matt. 11:19; John 2). However, as Essenes assimilated into early Christianity, Jesus did become another "righteous" (1 John 2:1)"teacher" (John 3:2) to them and when he died, his TWELVE APOSTLES took over (Acts 6:2), with THREE leading PILLARS of James, Cephas and John (Gal. 2:9), just as a council of TWELVE LAYMEN and THREE PRIESTS took over when the Essene founder died (1QS 8:1). In 1 QSa we hear of a Messiah of Israel sharing in the banquet of the sect. Was this Jesus visiting Qumran?
What name did the Essenes used for their Qumran sect? "These are the rules of the WAY." (Rule of the Community 1QS 9:21; cp. 1QS 8:13-16;1Q 30:2; 1QDM 2:8; 1 QS 9:19, 11:11; 1 QSa 1:28; 11 QT 54:17). Jesus said that "John came to you in the WAY of righteousness" (Matt. 21:32). But Jesus also said, "I am the WAY, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me" (John 14:6). In Acts 9:2 Christianity is called "the WAY" (cp. Acts 19:9,23; 22:4; 24:14,22).
Did Jesus Call Essenes The "Light Of The World"?
The Essene Scroll of the War of the SONS of LIGHT Against The Sons of Darkness describes the final battles between the Sons of Darkness and SONS of LIGHT. Another scroll says "The Master shall instruct and teach all the SONS of LIGHT" (Rule of the Community 1QS 3:13) and "in the ways of LIGHT they walk" (ibid. 1QS 3:19). "Wickedness will disappear before justice as darkness before LIGHT" (1 Q Myst. #27). But Qumran Essenes SEPARATED from the evil world and thereby HID their LIGHT.
This is why in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Ye are the LIGHT of the world ... Neither do men LIGHT a candle, and put it UNDER a bushel (BASKET), but on a lampstand" (Matt. 5:14). Jesus said, "Believe in the LIGHT, that ye may be the CHILDREN of LIGHT" (John 12:36; cp. John 8:12; 1:5; 3:19-20;12:35; 1 John 1:6; 2:8-10) and he called himself "the LIGHT of the world." "God is LIGHT, and in him is no darkness" (1 John 1:5). Paul said, "walk as CHILDREN of LIGHT" (Eph. 5:8) and "SAINTS in LIGHT" (Col. 1:12) and "Ye are all CHILDREN of LIGHT" (1 Th. 5:5) and "What communion hath LIGHT with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:14). Both Jesus and Paul were talking to ESSENES.
Did Jesus Say Essenes Were Prophets?
Josephus reported that certain of the Essenes had the gift of PROPHECY (Ant. 15:10:5). From 1 QpHab, 1 QH and CD we know the sect was PERSECUTED. Jesus may have been refering to these ESSENE PROPHETS when he said, "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so have they PERSECUTED the PROPHETS before YOU." (Matt. 5:12). Yes, 2 Kings 21:16 says, "Manasseh shed innocent blood" and Josephus Antiquities 10:3:1 paraphrases this verse: "Manasseh went so far in his contempt for God that he had all of the just among the Hebrews put to death, sparing not even the SEERS." In the Talmud Yebamoth 49b it is explicitly said that Isaiah was killed. In the Essene book of Ascension of Isaiah 5:13 we read that he was sawn asunder after being put into a hollow log. Hebrews 11:37 quotes from the Essenes saying, "they were sawn asunder." "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the PROPHETS" (Matt. 23:37).
Among the Essenes who could predict the future was a man named Menahem. Scholars speculate that he was the Menahem who preceded Shammai as Hillel's associate. "Hillel and Menahem did not differ" (M. Hagigah 2:2). Then, however, "Menahem left his office and Shammai took his place" (ibid.). Where did he go? "He went over from one principle to another" (Yer. Hagigah 77d). Did he leave the Pharisees and join the Essenes, becoming "Menahem the Essene" who predicted a great future to young Herod and whom Herod rewarded by honoring all the Essenes (Ant. 15:10:5)? This possibility reenforces the notion that Hillelites and Essenes had similar philosophies. But Hillel said, "Separate not thyself from the community" (Aboth 2:5). Jesus made similar comments to the Essenes (Mat. 5:15).
Because the Essenes were favored by Herod, they may have been nicknamed "HERODIANS" by the common people. Therefore the site of Qumran was not occupied during HEROD'S reign (31-4 B.C.). During this period the Essenes were not forced to withdraw to the wilderness, as was the case under the Hasmonians who were antagonistic. They could live in Jerusalem, where they inhabited an "Essene quarter" on Mount Zion, in the southwest corner of the city. The Essenes or HERODIANS, were antagonistic toward Jesus' healing on the Sabbath (Mark 3:5-6; CD 10:19-21). Yes, the "LEAVEN of the HERODIANS" (Mark 8:15) may have been the unbiblical offering of SEVEN baskets of BREAD by the Essenes during their seven Days of the Ordination of the Priests in the month of Nisan (Temple Scroll 15:9-14) corresponding to the SEVEN baskets of BREAD remaining after feeding the 4000. The "LEAVEN of the Pharisees" (Mark 8:15) referred to the Pharisees offering TWELVE loaves of the BREAD of the Presence each week in the Temple corresponding to the TWELVE baskets of BREAD left over after feeding 5000 (Mark 18:19-20).
Did Jesus Accuse The Essenes Of Lust?
Later in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught, "whosoever LOOKETH on a WOMAN to LUST after her hath committed ADULTERY with her already in his heart."The Essenes likewise taught, "He who has a pure heart in love, LOOKS not on a WOMAN with thoughts of FORNICATION" (Testament of Benjamin 8:2). In 1 QS 1:6 we read, "Stubbornness of a sinful heart and EYES of UNCHASTITY" and in 4:10 "a spirit of WANTONNESS." 1 QpHab 5:7 states, "those who do not LUST after their EYES" and in CD 3:3: "Thoughts of sinful LUSTS and EYES of WANTONNESS." Jesus' teaching is the same as the Essenes. Why then did Jesus bring up the subject ? Because many Essenes DID NOT MARRY (War 2:120). They were EUNUCHS "for the kingdom of heaven's sake" (Matt. 19:12; 1QSb 4:24-26). Since the Damascus Document FORBIDS sexual intercourse in Jerusalem (CD 12:1), the Essene Quarter on the SW hill of Jerusalem was probably CELIBATE too. Essenes DIDN'T TRUST women (Philo Hypothetica 11:14) and considered them UNFAITHFUL to their marriage vows (War 2:121).
Did Jesus Accuse Essenes Of Swearing Oaths?
When Jesus said, "Swear not at all" (Matt. 5:34; cp. Deut. 23:22), he may have been referring to the initiation process of Essenes who must take LOYALTY OATHS to Qumran "not ... to partake of" food from anywhere else. If the initiate was later disfellowshipped from the Essenes, he ran the risk of starving to death unless accepted back (Wars 2:8:8). Each novice had to swear a solemn and BINDING OATH when entering the community (1QS 5:7-20; 1QH 14:17; CD 16:10-12). See Wars 2:8:7.
To outsiders, the Essenes refused to take OATHS altogether: "Their word once given means more to them than an OATH. They refrain from SWEARING, for they hold it worse than perjury. They say that a man who is not believed unless he call upon the divinity is already condemned in advance" (Josephus Wars of the Jews 2 8:6; Ant. 15:10:4; Every Good Man 84): "It is forbidden to swear by God's name El, and by God's name Adonai" (CD 19:1).
Did Jesus Tell Essenes To Love Their Enemies?
Josephus said that ESSENES "seem to have GREATER AFFECTION for one another than the other sects have" (Wars 2:8:2). Complete strangers meet as "the most INTIMATE FRIENDS" (War 2:125). This reminds us of what Jesus said to CHRISTIANS, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another" (John 13:35). Were Jesus' disciples ESSENES?
Jesus said, "RESIST NOT EVIL, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.... LOVE your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matt. 5:39,44). Paul said, "RECOMPENSE to NO man EVIL for evil ... Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" (Rom. 12:19). Tobit 4:15 says, "Do not do to anyone else what you hate." See the parallel from Seneca de ira 2:34:5. See also King Agrippa's speech in Josephus' Jewish War 2:351: "There is nothing to check blows like SUBMISSION, and the resignation of the wronged victim put the wrongdoer to confusion." Proverbs 25:21 says, "If thine enemy be hungry, GIVE him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, GIVE him water to drink." The Essenes likewise taught, "If any man seek to do EVIL unto you, do him a GOOD turn and PRAY for him" (The Testament Of Joseph 18:2). In the Dead Sea Scrolls we read, "I will NOT RETURN EVIL to anybody, with GOOD will I pursue man, for with God rests the judgment of every living being, and he is the one to repay man for his deeds" (1 QS 10:17-20).
However, Essenes were required to "HATE all the sons of darkness each according to his guilt in the vengeance of God" (1QS 1:10-11). "HATE everyone whom he has rejected" (1 QS 1:4; CD 3:1). And "These are the norms of conduct for the instructor ... about what he must love and what he must HATE: everlasting HATRED for the sons of perdition" (1 QS 9:21-22). They even CURSED non-members (1QS 2:5-8) which is why Paul said, "Bless and CURSE NOT" (Rom. 12:14). Jesus said "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor but HATE your enemy'" (Matt. 5:43). Who was he talking to? The ESSENES, who heard this said in the Manual of Discipline and Damascus Document. Jesus said "LOVE your enemies" (Matt. 5:44). First John 2:9 also criticises ESSENES: "He that saith he is in the LIGHT, and HATETH his brother, is in DARKNESS even until now."
David was speaking specifically of the LAWLESS HEATHEN when he said in Psalm 139:21, "Do I not HATE them, O Lord, that hate Thee? And do I not STRIVE WITH those who rise up AGAINST THEE? I HATE them with utmost HATRED; I count them mine ENEMIES." Qumranites considered ISRAELITES outside of their group to be sons of darkness.
But Exodus 23:4-5 says, "If thou meet thine ENEMY'S ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that HATETH THEE lying under its burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him." Why? Deuteronomy 22:4 answers with a parallel passage: "Thou shalt not see thy BROTHER'S ass or his ox fall down by the way, and withhold thy help from them; thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again." So your ENEMY is also a BROTHER. As such "If thine ENEMY be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink; For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Eternal shall reward thee" (Pr. 25:21-22). The Old Testament teaches us to love our ENEMIES when they are commandment-keeping BROTHERS. But even Jesus called the Syrophoenician woman a "DOG" (Mark 7:27).
Did Jesus Tell Essenes To Give To Anyone Who Asks?
Jesus said "GIVE to him that ASKETH thee, and from him that would BORROW of thee turn not thou away" (Matt. 5:42). What did he mean? He may have been referring to the conduct of ESSENES: "Nor do they either buy or sell anything to one another; but every one of them GIVES what he hath to him that WANTETH it, and receives from him again in lieu of it what may be convenient for himself; and although there be NO REQUITAL MADE, they are fully allowed to TAKE what they want of WHOMSOEVER they please" (Josephus, Wars 2:8:4). See page 21 for more on the Essene COMMUNE.
Did Jesus Say Essenes Were "Poor In Spirit"?
Once again in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Blessed are the POOR in SPIRIT; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3). In Luke 6:20 he said more plainly "Blessed be ye POOR; for yours is the kingdom of God." Later in Romans 15:26 and Galatians 2:10 "the POOR" are mentioned again by Paul.
The Qumran Essenes called themselves "the POOR" (cp. Epiphanius
Adv. Haer. 30:1-33; 1 QS 1:11; 5:16,20; 6:19; 1 QpHab 8:10-12; 9:5; CD 7:20c; 8:17; 9:21,23; 13:5,25; 1 QM 11;9,13;14:7). A member of the sect calls himself a "POOR ONE" (1 QH 2:32) and in 1 QpHab 12:3,6,10, the members of the sect call themselves "POOR ones." "These men are DESPISERS of RICHES" who wear the same set of clothes and shoes till they are threadbare and worn (Wars 2:8:3-4).
What did Jesus mean when he said, "Blessed are the POOR in SPIRIT? He meant "VOLUNTARILY POOR" since Hebrew "ruah" can mean "willing" as well as "spirit." Jesus was possibly saying, "Blessed are the ESSENE Qumranites. As Jesus said, "I know thy ... POVERTY (but thou art rich)" (Rev. 2:9). The Qumranite ESSENES gave up their personal possessions to the group. Jesus also told the rich young ruler to "Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the POOR" (Luke 18:22) -- become VOLUNTARILY POOR by contributing to the ESSENE or CHRISTIAN COMMUNE. Jesus preached the gospel "to the POOR" (Luke 4:18) -- to the ESSENES who were "despisers of riches" (Wars 2:8:3)?
Did Jesus Get His Beatitudes From The Essenes?
From the Testaments of the Patriarchs, particularly the Testament of Judah 25:3-5 we read, "And they who have died in SORROW, shall arise in JOY, and they who were POOR for the Lord's sake shall be made RICH, and they who were in WANT shall be SATISFIED. And they who have been WEAK shall be STRONG, and they who were put to DEATH for the Lord's sake shall awake to LIFE.... but the ungodly shall MOURN and the sinners shall WEEP." Here is a parallel to the Beattitudes of Matthew 5:3-12 and Luke 6:20-26 found in ESSENE writings.
But before the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, there were no rabbinic parallels to Matthew 5:3-5. The Thanksgiving Scroll 18:14-15 comes nearer the ideology and literary pattern of Matthew 5:3-5 than anything found yet: The Essene thanks God for having appointed "me in thy truth a messenger (of the peace) of Thy goodness, to proclaim to the MEEK the multitude of Thine MERCIES, and to let them that are of CONTRITE SPIRIT hear SALVATION from (everlasting) source, and to them that MOURN everlasting JOY."
Jesus said, "Blessed are the POOR in SPIRIT; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that MOURN; for they shall be COMFORTED. Blessed are the MEEK; for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:3-5). In both passages the good tidings are promised to the POOR in SPIRIT, to the MEEK and to them that MOURN. Both passages are based on the same combination of Isaiah 61:1-2 and 66:2: "to preach good tidings to the MEEK ... to comfort all that MOURN" and both explain the MEEK in Isaiah 61:1 by POOR and of a CONTRITE SPIRITof Isaiah 66:2 and 57:15. This is possible because in Hebrew "POOR'"and "MEEK" are almost identical.
Did Jesus get his Beatitudes from the Dead Sea sect? It is important to realize that both terms: "CONTRITE of SPIRIT" and "POOR of SPIRIT" (those voluntarily poor for God's sake) occur in Essene literature as interchangeable terms describing the Qumranites themselves. "CONTRITE of SPIRIT" occurs in DST 18:15 and DSW 11:10 and "POOR of SPIRIT" occurs in DST 14:3 and in DSW 14:7. Both phrases designate the Qumranites, or in DSW, the future Israel of God in the last days. With the term "POOR of SPIRIT" is connected the term "SPIRIT of MEEKNESS" that occurs both in the Essene literature (DSD 4:3 and 3:8) and in the New Testament (1 Cor. 4:21 and Gal. 6:1). A quotation from Psalm 37:11 says, "the MEEK shall inherit the earth" and it is also found in DSD 4:3 and Matthew 5:5. The Essenes also called themselves "PAUPERS of grace" (DST 5:22) and "PAUPERS of Thy redemption" (DSW 11:9) and "desperate of justification" (DST 5:22). The Essenes elaborate on the theme "Blessed are they that MOURN, for they shall be COMFORTED" (Matt. 5:4) (DST 11:19-27) (Present persecution for God's sake brings future reward). Luke sees "POOR" as literal social poverty (Luke 6:20), so it is not a mental attitude being described. Both Jesus and the Qumranites saw VOLUNTARY POVERTY for God's sake as a way to attain SALVATION. There is a definite historical connection between the Beatitudes of Jesus and the ideology of the Qumran sect.
In the Essene Book of Enoch we find "Woe to you, ye RICH, for ye have trusted in your RICHES ... ye have NOT REMEMBERED the MOST HIGH in the days of your RICHES" (94:8). But hope and a promise of eternal bliss is given to the RIGHTEOUS POOR (see Enoch 5:6-8). See also the interesting parallel to Luke 6:25 (and Luke 6:21 and Matt. 5:6) in Enoch 96:5-6: "Woe to you who DEVOUR the finest of the wheat, and DRINK the strength of the root of the fountain, and TREAD UNDER FOOT the lowly with your might. Woe to you who DRINK water every time, for suddenly shall you be consumed and wither away, because you have FORSAKEN the fountain of LIFE. To this passage compare also DST 10:24-33). For the woes compare also 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
Jesus said, "Woe unto you that are RICH! For ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are FULL (of food and drink)! For ye shall HUNGER" (Luke 6:24-25). For other parallel passages to the beatitudes, see War Scroll 11:9-14; Manual of Discipline 10:26 - 11:2; Thanksgiving Scroll 1:35-37, 2:8-9, 5:21-22; Psalm 24:4; 73:1 and Isaiah 65:13-16. Yet Jesus wasn't an ascetic (Matt. 11:19).
Did Jesus Criticise Essene Sabbath-keeping?
The ESSENES didn't allow PICKING and EATING fruits "lying in the fields" (CD 10:22) whereas Jesus' disciples PICKED ears of grain and ATE (Matt. 12:1). After curing a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, Jesus reproaches the Pharisees, saying they have no right to criticize the healing, since they would PULL a sheep out of a PIT on the Sabbath (Matt.12:11). By saying this, Jesus shows he is aware of ESSENE rules since the ESSENES in CD 11:13 say, "If it (the animal) fall into a PIT, it may NOT be DRAWN out on the Sabbath." The Sabbath rules of the QUMRAN SECT were stricter than those of the Pharisees (War 2:8:9; Dam. Doc. 11:13). Therefore Jesus' CURE of the MAN with the withered hand (Matt. 12:13) was forbidden not only by the Pharisees (Matt. 12:2,10), but even more so by the ESSENES: The Pharisees allowed help if a person's LIFE was in danger. Mishnah Yoma 8:6 (83a) says, "Every question of danger to LIFE takes precedence over the Sabbath." The Pharisees got angry at Jesus because the withered hand didn't indicate danger to LIFE. The ESSENES taught, "A living MAN who falls into a waterpit or a pond on the Sabbath may NOT be DRAWN OUT with a ladder, nor with a rope, nor with any other device" (CD 11:15).
Did Christians Immerse Repeatedly Like The Essenes?
The Essenes BATHED twice daily before meals (War 2:129,132) immersing themselves in "LIVING WATER"(falling rain or flowing stream) (1QS 3:4) for PURIFICATION (Wars 2:8:5). Jewish ritual baths had to cantain LIVING WATER and since this was not available year-round in a desert, Essenes constructed reserve pools adjacent to the ritual baths. A channel led from the reserve pool to the bath pool so that a small amount was added to each bath to purify it. Contact with a MEMBER of a lower grade necessitated PURIFICATION (Wars 2:8:10). Essenes "WASH themselves after" going to the TOILET (Wars 2:8:9). They constructed TOILETS OUTSIDE the CAMP 3000 cubits (1 QM 7:6; 11QTemple 46:13-16; Deut. 23:13-15). Because 3000 cubits is beyond the limit for walking on the Sabbath, they refused to relieve themselves on the Sabbath. SEX was banned within the camp (Jerusalem) also which may help explain their celibacy. They avoid SPITTING in public (Wars 2:8:9; Lev. 15:8). Their PURITY detests "all UNCLEAN IDOLS (1QS 4:5). Both women and men (of the marrying Essenes) BATHED partially clothed (2:8:13). Contact with BLOOD of CORPSES necessitated WASHING of CLOTHES and THEMSELVES and the HOUSE of the dead (1 QM 14:2-3; IIQT 49). They "distinquish between CLEAN and UNCLEAN" (CD 6:17) and each man avoids UNCLEANNESS so he won't DEFILE his HOLY SPIRIT" (CD 7:3). Also "no LEPER and no man STRICKEN" (by a skin disease) shall enter the Temple unless they have been CLEANSED (2 Q Temple 45:18). The Essenes said about a backslider, "He shall not be JUSTIFIED ... CLEANSED ... he shall not SANCTIFY himself" (DSD 3:3-5). Damascus Document 10:14 says, "No man shall BATHE in DIRTY WATER or in an amount TOO SHALLOW to cover a man. He shall not purify himself with water contained in a VESSEL." DSD 3:8- 9 says, "By the submission of his soul to all the statutes of God his flesh will be CLEANSED, that he may be SPRINKLED with water for impurity and sanctify himself."Large "RESERVOIRS" have been excavated at Qumran which were for the purpose of BATHING. Essene Qumranites insisted on FREQUENT IMMERSIONS (Wars 2:129, 149, 150; Zadokite Doc. 10:10 & 11:18; 4Q514; 1QS 3:4-9; 5:13-14 etc.).
Did Christians BATHE for PURIFICATION? Hebrews 6:2 mentions "the doctrine of BAPTISMS." Paul said, "Let us CLEANSE ourselves from all FILTHINESS of the FLESH and SPIRIT" (2 Cor. 7:1). Paul said about Christians, "But ye are WASHED ... SANCTIFIED ... JUSTIFIED" (1 Cor. 6:11). John 2:6 mentions "six waterpots of STONE, after the manner of the PURIFYING of the Jews." Unglazed POTTERY transmits IMPURITY to the contents (Lev. 11:33) but STONE containers don't. As Qumran said, "All EARTHENWARE vessels shall be broken for they are UNCLEAN and never can be PURIFIED" (11QTemple 50:17-19). Ebionite Christian BAPTISM was continually REPEATED as a means of PURIFICATION from sin, and proof AGAINST DISEASE. Ebionites IMMERSED before eating and before prayer and after sex (Pseudo-Clementine Hom. 8:2, 9:23, KP; Hom. 11:30,33 KP). Hebrews 10:22 says "Let us draw near ...having our hearts SPRINKLED from an evil conscience and our bodies WASHED with pure water." A man (or woman) performing this rite was not physically assisted by another person. He walked into the water alone and dipped himself. Ritual immersion BATHS, or MIKVEHS, have been found at Masada and the Temple Mount as well as Qumran. Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the (PURITY) law ... For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the (PURITY) law ... Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least (PURITY) commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees (who did obey many PURITY LAWS), ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:17-20).
Jesus went to Jerusalem for pilgrimage festivals. John mentions five journeys: two for Passover (John 2:13; 11:55), one for Sukkot (John 7:10), one for an unspecified feast (John 5:1) and one for the Feast of Dedication -- the Temple's purification by the Maccabees (John 10:22). Entry to the temple at Passover REQUIRED special PURIFICATION; entry at other times REQUIRED at least IMMERSION in one of the many POOLS located next to the temple compound for this purpose. Thus, in John 5:1-2 Jesus converses with a sick man by the POOL of Beth-zatha: Evidently they were both waiting to IMMERSE. He commanded a blind man to "Go, wash in the POOL of Siloam" (John 9:7). Notice that Jesus remains in and around the Temple teaching publicly to the others gathered there in the days BEFORE the feast (Mark 14:1; Matt.21:12-15; Luke 19:45; John 2:13-17). What were they all doing gathered there? They were PURIFYING themselves. Jesus arrived in Jerusalem PRIOR to Passover because the purity rules REQUIRED IMMERSIONS in the POOLS adjoining the temple compound on the part of those intending to partake the Passover. The early church built synagogues near RIVERS because of these PURITY rules. "They resorted to a RIVER where we understood a minyan met" (Acts 16:112-13). Zechariah 14:20-21 says that in the future the whole city will be PURE.
When Jesus touched a dead man he made himself UNCLEAN even though the dead man was brought back to life, because "He who toucheth the dead body of any man shall be UNCLEAN seven days" (Num. 19:11) and dwell "out of the camp" (Nu. 5:2). Then Jesus WASHED his clothes and BATHED his body (Num. 19:19). Did Yeshua go through a MIKVEH when he went into the temple? Yes, because "None may enter the Temple court for the service, even though he is CLEAN, until he has IMMERSED himself" (Yoma 3:3; TJ, Yoma 40b; Ex.30:20; Lev.15:31; 22:6; Nu. 5:1-4; Dt.23:11; Heb.10:22; Ant.12:145). Yeshua also touched the sick (Mark 1:31; 9:27), ate with sinners, touched a leper (Mark 1:40-44; cp. Lev. 14:1-32), the menstruating woman (Mark 5:21) and the demoniac. He approached women and gentiles. Remember they didn't have chlorine or rubbing alcohol. But Yeshua IMMERSED after these incidents and didn't visit the Temple till evening (Lev. 15:21). Jesus NEVER SINNED so these contacts with impurity were NOT SIN. Contact with impurity is unavoidable. The general rule for any man is that "WHEN he realizes it, THEN he shall be GUILTY" if he doesn't WASH (Lev. 5:3). Jesus may have even offered sin offerings when he touched a corpse. When Jesus cleansed a leper in Mark 1:44, he said, "show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy CLEANSING those things which Moses commanded" (Lev. 14:1-32) -- two birds, cedar, scarlet and hyssop. Paul said, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). Then he said later, "Everyone who has this hope in him PURIFIES himself" (1 John 3:3). But from what?
A Christian must purify himself from the leper, menstruant, corpse, idol, manure, childbirth and unclean creature or he will "DEFILE the temple of God" (1 Cor 3:17). "Touch not the UNCLEAN thing" (2 Cor. 6:17). "Now the works of the flesh ... are these ... UNCLEANNESS ... they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:21). Then he said in Ephesians 5:5, "No UNCLEAN person ... hath any inheritance in the kingdom ... of God" and "I shall bewail many who have sinned already and have not repented of the UNCLEANNESS" (2 Cor. 12:21). Romans 1:24 says, "God gave them up to UNCLEAN NESS" of homosexuality. "For God has called us not to IMPURITY but to holiness" (1 Thess. 4:7). Colossians 3:5 says, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth ... UNCLEANNESS." Second Peter 2:10 says, "But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of UNCLEANNESS." It is obvious that Christians must have BATHED often. James was the only exception (Eusebius 2, 23, 5). But how many Christians immerse in a mikveh repeatedly today?
An Essene Baptism?
Essenes, like Christians, practised BAPTISM after REPENTANCE. The Essenes said, "Let him not enter the water ... for they will not be cleansed UNLESS they have REPENTED from their wickedness" (DSD 5:13-14; 8:17-18). "While in iniquity, he cannot be reckoned perfect.... Nor cleanse himself with WATER-for-impurity, Nor sanctify himself with SEAS or RIVERS, Nor cleanse himself with any WATER for washing" (1 QS 3:4-5; cp. Num. 19:4). Josephus' description of John's BAPTISM was "for the PURIFICATION of the BODY, when the SOUL had PREVIOUSLY been CLEANSED by righteous conduct" (Ant. 18:117). John the Baptist took Jewish "proselyte BAPTISM" and insisted that Jews also needed to be BAPTIZED for REPENTANCE. Jesus BAPTIZED (John 3:22; 4:1). Peter also said BAPTISM saves us "not the putting away of the FILTH of the FLESH (only), but the answer of a GOOD CONSCIENCE toward God (also)" (1 Pet. 3:21). "Peter said unto them, REPENT and be BAPTIZED" (Acts 2:38) in that order. In Ephesians 4:5 Paul mentions "ONE IMMERSION" called "BAPTISM" but Hebrews 6:2 mentions "IMMERSIONS" plural. BAPTISM for conversion is only ONE of the IMMERSIONS of PURITY. Others are leprosy, menstruant, corpse, idol, manure, childbirth and unclean creature.
An Essene New Covenant?
To enter the Qumran Community was "to enter into the NEW COVENANT" (CD 6:19; 8:21; 19:34). Damascus Document 6:19 mentions Essenes as "members of the NEW COVENANT." (See also Dam. Doc. 20:12; DSH 2:3). The covenant of the Essenes was RENEWED each year at PENTECOST -- the date of the covenant on Mount Sinai. This covenant was made with "ISRAEL who walk in perfection" (DSD 9:6). The Essenes did not renounce the Old Covenant LAW (CDC 15:8-12). Christ also said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the LAW" (Matt. 5:17). Heb. 8:8 says, "I will make a NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah"or the "ISRAEL of God" according to Paul (Gal. 6:16). But how many Christians think Jesus abolished the LAW today? Why don't Christians renew their covenant on PENTECOST?
An Essene Messiah?
First Thessalonians 4:16 says, "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven." Christians believe Jesus was BOTH priest (Heb. 5:6) and king (Luke 1:32). Manual Of Discipline 9:9-11 says, "There shall come the prophet (Deut. 18:15) and the MESSIAHS" (see also PssSol 17,18). Essenes believed in TWO Messiahs, one was a "PRIEST" (1 QSa 2:18) and the other a KING (Zech. 4:14). This concept is found throughout the Testament of the 12 Patriarchs (T. Rub. 6:7; T. Levi 17:2; T. Sim. 7:2; T. Judah 12:4). However, in the Damascus Document there are repeated references to "the MESSIAH of Aaron and Israel" -- a SINGULAR messiah (12:23; 14:19; 19:10; 20:1) and in 4Q521 to a SINGULAR "MESSIAH." Revelation 12:5 says, "And she brought forth a MAN CHILD." 1QH 3:9 says, "For through deathly contractions she brings forth a MALE CHILD, and through hellish pains there burst forth from the womb of her who is pregnant a WONDERFUL COUNSELLOR with his might. " Another verse mentions "When God begets his MESSIAH" (1 QSa 2:11). Jesus also fulfilled the THIRD role of PROPHET (Deut. 18:15; 1 Macc. 4:46;14:41; T. Benj. 9:2,43; Luke 7:16; John 7:52; 9:17; Acts 3:22; 7:37; Euseb. 1:3).
An Essene Messianic Banquet?
Rule of the Congregation 2:11-22 says, "When they meet at the communal table ... no one shall extend his hand to the first portion of the BREAD and the WINE before the PRIEST. For he shall bless the first portion of the BREAD and the WINE and SHALL EXTEND his hand to the BREAD first." 1 QSa 2:17-21 then says that in the future MESSIANIC BANQUET " the MESSIAH of Israel SHALL EXTEND his hand over the BREAD." Manual of Discipline 6:4-6 says,"And they shall follow this prescription whenever the meal is arranged, when as many as ten meet together." Their COMMON MEALS were therefore prophetic types of the MESSIANIC BANQUET. In the Manual of Discipline, one of the punishments is "exclusion from" the COMMON MEALS (1 QS 6:25) which anticipate the MESSIANIC BANQUET.
Jesus said to those who had suffered with him: "You may EAT and DRINK at my TABLE in my kingdom" (Luke 22:30). He wasn't talking about the "Lord's Supper" here. He also said, "Many will come from east and west and sit at TABLE with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out" (Matt. 8:11-12). Jesus said, "I will DRINK no more of the FRUIT of the VINE, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God" (Mark 14:25). Was he referring to the MESSIANIC BANQUET? Were these thoughts taken from the Essenes?
But there were differences also. The Essene Table fellowship was EXCLUSIVE. They placed LEPERS as outcasts east of Jerusalem (11QTemple 46). 1 QSa 2:3-9 says, "No man smitten with any human UNCLEANNESS shall enter the assembly of God.... No man smitten in his flesh, or PARALYZED in his feet or hands, or LAME, or BLIND, or DEAF, or DUMB, or smitten in his flesh with a visible BLEMISH" shall enter the assembly of God" (see also 1QM 7:4-6; 4QCDb; 11QTemple 45:12-14). This passage is based on Leviticus 21:17-24 which refers to PRIESTLY SERVICE in the TEMPLE-- not the community at large. The Essenes also condemned fellow Jews as SINNERS (1 En 1:1,7-9; 5:6-7; 82:4-7; PsSol 3; 13; 15; CD 1:13-21; 1QH 2:8-19).
But Jesus' table fellowship was INCLUSIVE. "He who is not against us is for us" (Mark 9:40). Jesus not only ate with tax collectors and (repentant -- Heb. 7:26) SINNERS (Luke 7:34; 15:2; 19:7) and visited LEPERS (Mk. 14:3) but also "said ... when you give a feast, invite the POOR, the MAIMED, the LAME, the BLIND; and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you" (Luke 14:12-14). This was a criticism of the Essene practice of excluding these people.
An Essene Holy Spirit?
The phrase "HOLY SPIRIT" only RARELY occurs in the Old Testament (Ps. 51:11 & Isa. 63:11). But it occurs OFTEN in both the Dead Sea Scrolls and New Testament. Therefore, followers of John the Baptist said, "we have NEVER even HEARD that there is a HOLY SPIRIT" (Acts 19:2) because they were independent of both groups.
Essenes call the Holy Spirit the SPIRIT of TRUTH (DSD 4:21; 3:6-7). The Essenes say God "created the SPIRITS of LIGHT and DARKNESS and established upon them every deed" (DSD 3:25). Christians call the Holy Spirit the SPIRIT of TRUTH (John 14:17,26); In 1 John 4:6 "the SPIRIT of TRUTH and the SPIRIT of ERROR" are also mentioned. The SPIRIT of TRUTH is only given to the church (1 Cor. 2:12) and is distributed in different degrees to different members (Heb. 2:4; 1 Cor. 12:7-31; Rom. 12:3-8; Eph. 4:3-16). The Essenes taught the same (DSD 4:15-16; 5:23-24; 9:14-16; DST 12:23). Spiritual gifts can be gained or lost according to both Essenes and Christians (1 Cor. 14:1; DSD 5:23-24; 9:14-16).
An Essene Grace That Saves?
In 1 QS 11:11 we read, "As for me, if I slip, God's MERCY is my SALVATION for ever, and if I stumble in the iniquity of flesh, my vindication through the righteousness of God will stand eternally." DST 13:17 says, "Only by Thy GOODNESS is man righteous (justified) and by the multitude of thy MERCY." DST 2:23 says, "By thy GRACE thou didst SAVE my soul."
Ephesians 2:8 says, "For by GRACE are ye SAVED through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his GRACE" (Rom. 3:22-24; cf. Eph.2:8; 2 Tim. 1:9). But GRACE didn't abolish the LAW for Essenes; why should it for Christians? Christian GRACE came from Essene GRACE. Neither did away with LAW! We are SAVED by GRACE (Eph. 2:8) but REWARDED according to our WORKS (Matt. 16:27). Paul travelled to Damascus (Acts 22:10) where he came into contact with Essenes who"sojourned in the land of Damascus" (CD 8:6). Was it the Essenes who taught Paul about GRACE when they converted him to Christianity?
An Essene Human Nature Of "Flesh"?
The Essenes used the expression "SIN of FLESH" (DSD 11:12) and "FLESH" to describe base human nature (DSD 11:9,14-15; DST 1:21-23). "I belong ... to the company of unjust FLESH" (1 QS 11:8). "If I stagger because of the sin of FLESH, my justification shall be by the righteousness of God" (1 QS 11:11-12). But God "raised from FLESH the glory" of the Elect (DST 15:17) or "From the company of FLESH he has given those whom he has elected to an eternal inheritance" (DSD 11:7). Paul used the expression "SINFUL FLESH" and living "AFTER THE FLESH" (Rom. 8:3,13). Romans 7:14 says, "I am FLESHLY, sold under sin." Ephesians 2:3 mentions "the lusts of our FLESH, fulfilling the desires of the FLESH and of the mind," making us the children of wrath (cf. Rom. 7:5). The Elect have a wrestling match all their lives between their Spirit and their CARNAL NATURES (Gal. 5:16-17; Phil 3:3; DST 7:17-18). The "FRUIT of the SPIRIT" and "DEEDS of the FLESH" (Gal. 5:19-23; Eph. 5:8-11) resemble two lists found in DSD 4:2-14.
Did Essenes Condemn The Talmud?
Jesus said, "in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.... Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own TRADITION" (Mark 7:7-9). The Essene scrolls say, "Falseness is in their TEACHING" (The literal Hebrew is"TALMUD") (4QpNah 3-4 II,8) and "they opened their mouth against the laws of the covenant of God saying they are not correct" (CD 5:11-13). Instead of building "a FENCE around the Torah" (Avot 1:1), they are condemned as "the builders of the WALL" (CD 4:19-20) -- possibly also a pun referring to the "WALL" keeping Gentiles out of the Temple area (cp. Eph. 2:14) on pain of death (Ant. 15:11:5; Wars 5:5:2, 6:2:4; cp. Acts 21:27-32). The Qumran Essenes referred to the Pharisees as "dorshe halaqot" or those who "seek after smooth things." "Halaqot" is used for "LIES" but it is also a pun on "halakhot" or the ORAL LAW, which the Pharisees followed for their interpretations.
Did Essenes Heal By Laying On Of Hands?
One of the Dead Sea Scrolls known as Genesis Apocryphon 20:16-17 mentions that Sarah was taken from Abraham into Pharaoh's house but was returned to him after "the Lord plagued Pharaoh" (Gen.12:17). Then Pharaoh sent a man who "besought Abram to pray for the king and to LAY HIS HANDS UPON HIM that he might live" (20:21-22). The LAYING ON of HANDS for HEALING purposes is not found in the Old Testament nor in rabbinic literature but it appears in the New Testament. For instance Jesus "LAID HIS HANDS ON HER: and immediately she was made straight" (Luke 13:11-13). Apparently Christians got this practice from the Essenes.
Incidentally, Josephus mentions that the Essenes "with a view to the treatment of diseases ... make investigations into medicinal ROOTS and the properties of STONES" (Jewish War 2:136) -- herbs and minerals.
Did Essenes Believe In Fate?
The Sadducees thought humans were responsible for everything that occurs, NOT DESTINY (God's will). The Pharisees thought SOME THINGS were due to DESTINY. But the Essenes thought DESTINY controlled EVERYTHING (Antiquities 13:172-173; 18:13; 18:17; 18:18; War 2:162-166). "The Qumran sect believed that "from the God of knowledge (comes) all that is and shall be, and before their being he established all their designs, and when they become whatever they had been DESTINED to become according to his glorious design, they fulfill their task and nothing can be changed" (DSD 3:15-16; cp. DST 15:17-21; 9:29-31). They are "the ones CHOSEN according to God's good pleasure" (1 QS 8:6; cp. 1QS11:7; CD 9a). Christians also believed that "God, willing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath FITTED to destruction; and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had AFORE PREPARED unto glory" (Rom. 9:22-23; cp. Eph. 1:11-12; 2:7; Gal. 1:15). "You have not CHOSEN me, but I have CHOSEN you" (John 15:16). However, both groups taught the freedom to APOSTASIZE (CD 3:7; 4:9-10; Matt. 12:31) or REPENT (1 QS 7:18-21; Luke 17:3) also.
Did Essenes Teach Christians How To Rebuke A Brother?
1 QS 6:1 says, "Let no man bring something against his BROTHER before the MANY if he have not already admonished him before WITNESSES" (cp. CD 9). This agrees with Matthew 18:15-17 which says, "Moreover, if thy BROTHER shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy BROTHER. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three WITNESSES every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the CHURCH." A BROTHER refers to a member of the ESSENE COMMUNE. Also 1 QS 11:1 says, "respond HUMBLY before the haughty of spirit, and with BROKEN SPIRIT to men of injustice" (cp. 1 QS 5:26). Paul said the same thing in 2 Timothy 2:24-25: "the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be GENTLE unto all ... in MEEKNESS instructing those that oppose him."
Did Essenes Require Strict Obedience?
The Essenes were a HIERARCHY with the Righteous Teacher at the top. He was the only one who could INTERPRET the scriptures (1QpHab 7:4-5). After he died apparently a "Guardian" took his place who determined everyone's RANK (CD 13:12). Under him were the priests who were OBEYED by all other RANKS (CD 13:3). In general, "The man of lesser RANK shall OBEY the greater in matters of work and money" (1 QS 6:4). Priests "administer justice and property" and make the rules (1 QS 9:7) and doctrines (1 QS 5:4). Everyone pledges by OATH to OBEY their INTERPRETATION of the law (1 QS 5:9). Members of Qumran were grouped in "thousands," "hundreds," fifties," and "tens" (Exodus 18:25; 1 QS 2:19-25; CD 13:2). Within each group everyone had his particular RANK-- "priest," "Levite" (elder), "Israelite" and "stranger" (1 QS 1:10; CD 14:3-6) -- given to him by the priests and congregation (5:23). There was also a "council" of 12 MEN and THREE PRIESTS (1 QS 8:1) who were called a "TRIED WALL" (1 QS 8:8) and a 'HOUSE of HOLINESS" (1 QS 8:6).
The Christian community was a HIERARCHY also. But it had important differences. Instead of a single interpreter of the Bible, the ministry could only "bind" or "loose" GREY AREAS (Matt. 16:19) but couldn't add to or subtract from the Bible (Deut. 4:2). Congregations "searched the scriptures daily, WHETHER those THINGS were SO" (Acts 17:11). Peter (Acts 1:15-23), Paul (1 Cor.5:3-5) and James (Acts 15) all made administrative decisions. Paul said, "OBEY them that have the RULE OVER YOU" (Heb. 13:17). "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them who labor among you, and are OVER YOU IN THE LORD, (not outside the Lord's will) and admonish you" (1 Th. 5:12). Each Christian had his RANK: "first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; after that miracles" (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4;11). But "If any man desire to be first, the same shall be LAST of all, and SERVANT of all" (Mark 9:35). Christians had the 12 APOSTLES with the inner THREE -- Peter, James and John -- who were called "PILLARS" (Gal. 2:9) and part of the "HOUSE of GOD" (1 Tim. 3:15).
Both Essenes and Christians also had a DEMOCRATIC element. Essenes required at least a hundred members present to VOTE (Wars 2:8:9). Each person was allowed to SPEAK FREELY "according to their RANK" and "in that ORDER," the most important first (1 QS 6:4). This reminds us of the Christian community that VOTED for its leaders (Acts 1:23; 6:3-6; cp. Deut. 1:13; 17:15). They had a hundred and twenty members present to VOTE (Acts 1:15). Paul also taught FREE SPEECH but in ORDER: "If any man SPEAK ... let it be ... by COURSE ... For God is not the author of confusion but of ORDER ... Let all things be done decently and in ORDER" (1 Cor. 14:27-40).
Did Paul Criticize Essene Angel-Worship?
Both Essenes and Christians show RESPECT for the HOLY ANGELS. In column 7 of the War Scroll, the Essenes forbade soldiers from going to war who had any physical defect or uncleanness "for HOLY ANGELS accompany their armies" (1 QM 7:4-6). Also in the Rule of the Congregation, the Essenes would not admit to the assemblies of God any person with a physical defect or uncleanness "for HOLY ANGELS are (present) in their (congre)gation" (1 QSa 2:3-11; See also 4QDb & 4QMa). When Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:10 that a woman ought to have a veil on her head "because of the ANGELS," he was probably refering to this SAME RESPECT we must show for HOLY ANGELS by not tolerating indecency or shame in the group (1 Cor. 11:6).
But Essenes went further. Almost all the Essene writings at Qumran give great attention to ANGELS: 1QS, 1QH, 1QM 9:15-16 and the Enoch literature. In 11Q Melch the angel Melchizedek is identified with the "Elohim" of Psalm 82:1. The "Spirit of Truth" is also called the "ANGEL of Truth" in 1 QS 3:25. The Essene convert must take an oath to "preserve ... the names of the ANGELS" (Wars 2:8:7). Paul may have been referring to the Essenes when he condemned "WORSHIPPING of ANGELS" in Colossians 2:18. This is why early Christians rejected the term "ANGEL" as applied to Jesus, arguing that Jesus is higher than the ANGELS (Heb. 1:2 to 2:18). Notice that when Jesus is identified as "the ANGEL of the LORD" in Genesis 22:12, the ANGEL says, "you have not withheld from ME your son." In Genesis 31:11-13 the ANGEL says "I am the GOD of Bethel. In Exodus 23:20-21, we read that "MY NAME is in" this ANGEL. The parents of Samson asked his name and the ANGEL replied "it is WONDERFUL" (Judges 13). This is the same Hebrew word that is used in Isaiah 9, where the child to be born is called 'WONDERFUL." The ANGEL appears to Joshua whereupon Joshua BOWS DOWN and REMOVES his SHOES (Josh. 5:14-15). This is the same ACTION Moses made before the BURNING BUSH. Actually the Hebrew word translated "ANGEL" merely means 'messenger" and could have been translated "prophet," "priest," or "king" just as easily. He is also known as Metatron and "Son of Man" (Isa. 53). No actual ANGELS are referred to as GOD in scripture.
But Jesus did claim to be GOD in several places. For example, in John 8:58 he said that "before Abraham was born, I AM." This was understood by his Jewish audience as a reference to GOD, because they tried to STONE him for it. Also in John 18:6 he said "I AM" and a group of soldiers "FELL to the GROUND." In John 10:30 he made the statement, "I and my FATHER are ONE" which his Jewish audience interpreted as a blasphemous variation of the SHEMA. They wanted to STONE him because, as they said, "you, a mere man, claim to be GOD" (John 10:33). Jesus also claimed the right to FORGIVE sins (Matt. 9:6; Ex. 23:21).
Did Christians Practice Communalism Like The Essenes?
John the Baptist said, "He who has two coats, let him SHARE with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise" (Luke 3:10- 11; cp. Rom. 15:26-27; Didache 4:8). Was Jesus referring to the Communal life when he said, "GIVE to him that ASKETH thee, and from him that would BORROW of thee TURN NOT thou AWAY"(Matt. 5:42)? Judas was in charge of a COMMON "money box" (John 12:6; 13:29). Acts 2:44-45 says, "All that believed were together, and had ALL THINGS COMMON; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need" (cp. 4:32-37). But it was VOLUNTARY sharing among people who were all CHRISTIANS (Acts 5:4). Initiation to join the Christian haberim required at least a MONTH (t. Dem. 2:10-12).
Essenes believed in the "COMMUNITY of GOODS" (Josephus Jewish War 2:122,124-127). Manual of Discipline 6:22 states that after TWO YEARS probation, the novice becomes a member and "his PROPERTY shall be MERGED" with the community's possessions. It was a REQUIREMENT to be part of the group. "There is no buying or selling among themselves, but each GIVES what he has to ANY in NEED and receives from him in exchange something useful ... they are, moreover, freely permitted to TAKE ANYTHING from ANY of their brothers without making any return" (Josephus Jewish War 2:124-125, 127; 1QS 1:7,12; 6:16; 7:6)
Christian Hellenists who lived all over the city apparently did not adopt COMMON OWNERSHIP such as the community of Christians on Mount Zion. That might also be why they complained that their widows were not taken care of as well as those in the Mount Zion COMMUNE (Acts 6:1). The newly chosen Greek-speaking deacons were put in charge of the problem (Acts 6:2-6). Mary, the mother of Mark, for instance, in whose house the Greek-speaking used to gather for prayer, had a comfortable home of her own with a court that led to an outside gate (Acts 12:12).
When a man "hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's ... he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time" as a member of an Essene-like COMMUNE (Mark 10:29-30). "Whosoever ... forsaketh not ALL that he HATH (for the sake of the COMMUNE?) cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33). Peter said, "See, we have LEFT EVERYTHING and followed you" (Mark 10:28). He was speaking financially since he said in Acts 3:6, "I have NO SILVER or GOLD." Paul's collection was for the POOR saints in Jerusalem (Rom. 15:25; cf. 1 Cor. 16:1; 2 Cor. 9:1). 1 QS 6:24 says, "If there be found among them a MAN who LIES in the matter of WEALTH, and it become known, they shall exclude him from the Purity of the Many for one year, and he shall be fined one-fourth of his food allowance." Acts 5:1-3 says, "a certain MAN named Ananias ... sold a POSSESSION, And kept back part of the PRICE ... and laid ... (part) at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to LIE to the Holy Spirit?" Then Ananias died.
Did Jesus Observe The Essene Calendar?
Calendar controversies were a strong reason behind Essene separation (cf. 1QpHab 11:4-8) and this is confirmed by the halakhic letter of the Teacher of Righteousness (4QMMT) found in several copies in Qumran cave 4 criticizing the LUNAR /SOLAR calendar. The Essenes followed a 364-day SOLAR calendar of the Book of Jubilees ( Jub. 6:23-32; CD 20:1; 1 Enoch 82:4-6) with Passover and Sukkot always falling on WEDNESDAY; Pentecost always SUNDAY and Atonement always FRIDAY. Each season of three months consisted of 30, 30, and 31 days. The Sadduccees followed a LUNAR/SOLAR calendar defining the pivotal "sabbath" of Lev. 23:11 as a WEEKLY Sabbath during Unleavened Bread; and the Pharisees followed a LUNAR/SOLAR calendar defining this "sabbath" as an ANNUAL Sabbath or Nisan 15. Jesus' brothers came to him while he was in Capernaum and asked him to go up with them to Jerusalem to the Feast of Sukkot so that "his DISCIPLES" (Essenes?) could see his works in Judea (John 7:1-3). These were the "MANY who believed in his name" (John 2:23) -- the Essenes. His brothers were going up to Jerusalem to the Essene's Feast of Sukkot, which, as we know from the scrolls, was always celebrated on WEDNESDAY and usually fell before the date of the Temple feast (The World Of Qumran From Within -- Jerusalem 1989, pp. 147-185, S. Talmon). Jesus replied, "The RIGHT TIME for me has NOT YET COME; for you ANY TIME is RIGHT ... You go to the feast. I am not going up to this feast because for me the RIGHT TIME has NOT YET COME" (John 7:6-8). He and the apostles observed the feast as celebrated by the SADDUCEES of the Temple since he worshipped in the temple during the prescribed feasts. His brothers didn't go to the Temple area, but to the southwestern hill of the city, where the Essenes had their quarters. There was even an "Essene Gate" in Jerusalem (Wars 5:4:2). The Temple Scroll mentions toilets "northwest of the city" built by Essenes, so the "Essene Gate" must also have been approximately northwest since Josephus also mentions a "Beth-Soah" (toilets) near the gate. Jesus also went, when his "SET TIME" (cp. Dan. 7:25) was right, up to Jerusalem but he joined the worshippers in the Temple area (John 7:14) -- not the Essenes.
Jesus' last Passover may have been held in a guesthouse of the Essene community, in Bethany (on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives), because the date was the eve of WEDNESDAY, when the Essenes celebrated their Passover Seder. He knew that "in the midst of the week (WEDNESDAY) he shall cause the sacrifice ... to cease" (Dan. 9:27). During that night Jesus was imprisoned. He was finally crucified the next day just before the eve of a 15th Nisan "high day" Passover (John 19:31) indicating that the Essenes got their Passover CORRECT this year in spite of using the WRONG calendar. Bethany was one of the three villages mentioned in the Temple Scroll, where the Essenes kept ritually unclean people who couldn't visit the Temple (11QTemple 46:16-17). Simon the leper may have been Essene (Mk 14:3) because he lived in Bethany and according to the Temple Scroll (46:16-18), lepers were to live in a city east of Jerusalem. (The Midrash teaches leprosy is carried by the wind which is from W to E in Jerusalem.) Jesus ate with him (Matt. 22:6). Lazarus, Mary and Martha also lived in Bethany (Jn 11; cf. Lk 10:38-42) -- two CELIBATE sisters living WITH their brother -- a lifestyle UNKNOWN in Pharisaic or Sadduccean circles, but COMMON to Essenes.
Essenes Rejected "Filthy Lucre"
Jesus said, "You cannot serve God and MONEY" (Matt. 6:24) which agreed with Essene philosophy. Jesus also said that "the sons of this world are more clever in dealing with their own generation than the SONS of LIGHT ... Make ... friends by means of the MONEY of UNRIGHTEOUSNESS" (Luke 16:8-9). He was referring to the Essene Sect. Here is why. Essenes were obligated "to keep apart from the sons of perdition, to refrain from the UNCLEAN WEALTH of wickedness" (Damascus Document 6:14-15). The Essenes believed that one becomes UNCLEAN not only by CONTACT with impure objects and persons, but also that sins pollute ritually: the wicked "defile themselves in ways of whoredom and the WEALTH of WICKEDNESS" (Dam. Doc. 8:5; CD 9:21) "My soul shall not covet WEALTH of UNRIGHTEOUSNESS" (1QS 10:17-20). Jesus used the same terminology when he said "Make to yourselves friends (by means) of the MONEY of UNRIGHTEOUSNESS" (Luke 16:9)."FILTHY LUCRE" is mentioned three times in the New Testament (1 Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7; 1 Pet. 5:2). In Josephus' Jewish War 2:141, the Essene swears "to keep his hand from stealing and his soul pure from UNHOLY GAIN." When these phrases are found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, they refer to the WEALTH of the PEOPLE OUTSIDE the ESSENE COMMUNITY. Every member in the sect is commanded to completely separate himself from this kind of wealth. "So no member shall be united with him (the foreigner) in his WORK or in his WEALTH, lest he defile the member with guilty iniquity, but distance shall be kept from him in every matter ... no member shall eat from any of their property nor drink from it, nor take anything from their hands except by payment ... For all who are not accounted as in his covenant keep them separate and all that belongs to them ... and all their deeds are filthiness before him and UNCLEANNESS is in all THEIR WEALTH" (1QS 5:14-20). "And let no man of the covenant of God TRADE with the sons of perdition except for cash. And let no man make a PARTNERSHIP for TRADE unless he informs the overseer in the camp and makes a written agreement" (Dam. Doc. 13:14-16). In another passage from the scrolls it is said, "the wealth belonging to men of holiness who walk in perfection -- their wealth shall not be mingled with the WEALTH BELONGING to MEN of DECEIT who have not cleansed their way to be separated from iniquity and to walk in perfection of way" (1QS 9:8-9). The SONS of LIGHT do not deal cleverly with their own generation but sever their economic ties with non-Essenes. Jesus warned his adherents not to choose the path of HIDING their LIGHT under a basket like the Essenes (Matt. 5:15). He viewed the economic separation of the SONS of LIGHT as foolish. By way of contrast, Jesus said to those whom he sent into the world, "Whatever house you enter ... remain in the same house eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages ... Whenever you enter a town, and they receive you, eat what is set beforeyou" (Luke 10:5-8). Jesus and his disciples accepted invitations from others and ate in their houses and even accepted the hospitality of TAX COLLECTORS (Luke 5:30). Then Jesus goes on to say, "The man who can be trusted in a small matter can be trusted also in a major one; and the man who is dishonest in a minor matter is dishonest also in a great one." Jesus didn't change the subject. Instead he is probably referring to a non-believer's contribution entrusted to his followers. In Pliny the Younger's letter to Trajan (X 96:7) we find an oath which Christians said. They swore they would not betray the trust (of another) and that they would return the deposit, when they are asked for it. The oldest Christian apologist Aristides of Athens, who delivered his Apology to the Emperor Hadrian, or to Antoninus Pius also says that Christians were forbidden to appropriate a deposit for themselves (Aristides Apology 15:4; see also Rom. 15:26-27 & 1 Cor. 9:10).
According to Hippolytus (Refutation 9:26), some Essenes would not even TOUCH a Roman coin that bore the IMAGE and INSCRIPTION of Caesar because the IMAGE violated Exodus 20:4 while the INSCRIPTION violated Exodus 20:3 since the emperor claimed SEMI-DIVINE status. Perhaps this is the reason Jesus DIDN'T OWN a DENARIUS and one had to be shown to him (Mark 12:15). Perhaps this is also the point Jesus was making when he asked whose IMAGE and SUPERSCRIPTION were on the DENARIUS (Mark 12:16). When they said "Caesar's," he said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." He may have been saying that no pious Jew would want to possess such money. It is not fit for anybody but Caesar, so give it to him (Rom. 13:7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17).
Were The Qumran Scrolls Quoted In The New Testament?
Jude quotes from the Assumption of Moses, without naming it, when referring to the dispute of Michael the archangel with Satan over the body of Moses. Jude, verses 14-15, also quotes the Book of Enoch 1:9, saying "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment." Qumran Cave 4 contained eight different Aramaic manuscripts of the Book of Enoch. If Jesus' silent years were partly spent in the Qumran Community, he would have read the Book of Enoch. That would explain why the New Testament contains so many ideas and doctrines and even the same phrases and sentences as are found in this book. For instance Jesus said he would return as the "Son of Man ... in the clouds of heaven" (Matt. 24:30).
Five manuscripts of the Book of Jubilees were also found in Qumran cave 4. The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs to which the Damascus Document alludes many times, the Assumption of Moses, the Psalms of Solomon and some of the Apocrypha were also found in Qumran. Jesus probably read these books and they deserve the name "Dead Sea Scrolls" just as much as any other scrolls found there. The best part of the Sermon on the Mount is found in these writings.
Certain of the oldest existing manuscripts of the New Testament, dating from the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries A.D. included the noncanonical book of the Psalms of Solomon. Jesus may have quoted from the Psalms of Solomon (50 B.C.) when it refers to the CUP of strong wine God gives men to drink (P.S. 8:15) since he said, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this CUP pass away from me" (Matt. 26:39) and " the CUP which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:11). When Jesus said to Peter, James and John: "My SOUL is exceeding sorrowful, even unto DEATH: abide ye here and watch"
(Mark 14:34), he came back to find "them SLEEPING" (14:40) which reminds us of the verses "sunk in the heaviness of them that SLUMBER, far from God ... my SOUL had been well nigh poured out unto DEATH" (P.S. 16:1-2). Paul said, "brother goes to LAW with brother, and that before the UNBELIEVERS" (1 Cor. 6:6). The Essenes also said it was wrong to appeal to "the LAWS of the GENTILES" (CD 9:1). In the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs 20:1, the "SPIRIT of TRUTH" is mentioned and we find that Jesus also mentions the "SPIRITof TRUTH" in John 16:13. The War Scroll is similar to the Book of Revelation. Both have SEVEN TRUMPETS being BLOWN. From 4Q psDan Aa we read that "ALL will WORSHIP and ALL will SERVE him" (Antichrist) just as Revelation 13:8 says of the Antichrist: "ALL that dwell upon the earth shall WORSHIP him." Also "One NATION shall trample on another NATION" just as Jesus said in Matthew 24:7: "NATION shall rise against NATION." The Book of Hebrews was probably written to the Essenes of Qumran. For instance, Hebrews 13:14 mentions that we "have NO CONTINUING CITY" while Josephus says about the Essenes, "They have NO CERTAIN CITY, but many of them dwell in every city" (Wars 2:8:4). Hebrews 11:38 mentions the faithful wandering "in DESERTS, and in MOUNTAINS, and in DENS and CAVES" exactly where the Essenes lived.
Why Speak In Parables?
Jesus' disciples asked him, "Why speakest thou unto them in PARABLES? (Matt. 13:10). Jesus answered, "Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but unto those who are outside, all these things are done in PARABLES, That seeing they may see, and NOT PERCEIVE; and hearing they may hear, and NOT UNDERSTAND; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them" (Mark 4:11-12). The Qumran Essenes also sometimes wrote in CODES so as to HIDE their message from the uninitiated (4QCryptic). They sometimes wrote a MIRROR IMAGE of the text and used DIFFERENT ALPHABETS and SYMBOLS known only to a few.
Why Travel Without Money?
Jesus said, "Take NOTHING for your journey except a staff" (Mark 6:8; Luke 22:35-38). Josephus said the Essenes "carry NOTHING with them on their journeys, except arms against brigands. In every city there is one of the order expressly appointed to attend STRANGERS" (Jewish War 2:8:4). We must conclude that Essenes fed and lodged the first CHRISTIANS. There was not yet a Christian network in every city.
Why Mention Amos 9:11?
The Essenes interpreted Amos 9:11 this way: "The Books of the Law are the tabernacle of the king; as God said, 'I will raise up the tabernacle of David which is fallen.' The king is the congregation" (CD 7:16; 4QFlor 1:10-13). James, the leader of the Jerusalem Church, may have quoted Amos 9:11-12 to correct this faulty Essene interpretation. He applied it to the Christian Church with Jesus, a descendant of David,
and himself, the brother of Jesus, at its head (Acts 15:15-18).
Why Didn't The Essenes Offer Animal Sacrifice?
Josephus mentions that during the 50s and 60s the ruling priests committed acts of THEFT, VIOLENCE and BRIBERY (Ant. 20:181, 206-207). Lamenting the fate of Jerusalem, Baruch says the priests tell God to 'Guard your house yourself, because, behold, we have been found to be FALSE STEWARDS'" (2 Bar 10:18; 1:4; 32:2-4). Gamaliel (10-80 A.D.) protested when the price of a pair of doves was RAISED to one gold dinar which was 25 TIMES the proper charge (m. Ker. 1:7). The family of Annas did NOT TITHE their produce (Sif Deut 105 on 14:22; y. Pe'a 1:6; Baba Mes 88a-b). The priests tried to OUTBID eachother for the office of high priest (Pesikta Rabbati 47:4). "In the Second Temple ... they used to obtain the office of High Priest for MONEY, or ... they used to KILL eachother" (Wayyiqra Rabbah 21:9). "Woe is me because of the house of Boethus. Woe is me because of their STAVES. Woe is me because of the house of Kathros. Woe is me because of their PEN. Woe is me because of the house of Hanin (the family of Annas -- John 18:13). Woe is me because of their WHISPERING. Woe is me because of the house of Ishmael ben Phabi. For they are high priests, and their sons are treasurers, and their sons-in-law are supervisors, and their servants come and BEAT US with STAVES" (t. Men 13:21; cf. b. Pes 57a; t.Zeb 11:16; y.Ma'as.Sh.5:15). "They LOVE MONEY and HATE one another" (T.Men 13:22).
The Temple was clearly CORRUPT. According to the Essenes, the temple was DEFILED and its service was conducted INCORRECTLY (DSW 2:4-5; DSH 12:8-9; CDC 6:11-13; 4:15-18; 5:6-7; 1QS 9:3). Manual of Discipline speaks metaphorically of SACRIFICE (8:9; 9:3-6). Prayers are like INCENSE and the fat of SACRIFICE (1 QS 9:3-6). When the Essene Torah is established in Israel, it will be "for divine favor ... more than FLESH of whole BURNT OFFERINGS and than FATS of SACRIFICE, while an OFFERING of lips is accounted as a FRAGRANT OFFERING of righteousness and perfection of way as an acceptable FREEWILL OBLATION" (9;4-6). The Essenes refused to participate in the ANIMAL SACRIFICES of the Temple. Essenes sent GIFTS to the Temple, but didn't participate in Temple worship (Ant. 18:1:5). Philo said the Essenes "do not offer ANIMAL SACRIFICE, judging it more fitting to render their minds truly holy" (Every Good Man Is Free 75). 1QS 9:3-5 says, "They shall expiate guilty rebellion and sinful infidelity ... WITHOUT the FLESH of BURNT OFFERING and the FAT of SACRIFICE, but the offering of the lips in accordance with the Law will be an agreeable ODOR of righteousness, and perfection of way shall be as the voluntary GIFT of a delectable OBLATION." Qumran itself is described as an "EXPIATION for the earth" (1 QS 8:10). Essenes called Jerusalem's high priest a "WICKED PRIEST" (1QpHab 1:3; 8:9; 9:9; 11:4). He is accused of ROBBING the poor (1QpHab 8:12; 9:5; 10:1; 12:10; cf. CD 6:16) and of amassing WEALTH (1QpHab 8:8-12; 9:4-5; cf. CD 6:15; 4QpNah 1:11). The Essene Community became a sort of spiritual temple: "It is the HOUSE of HOLINESS for Israel and the Company of infinite holiness for Aaron ... appointed to offer expiation for the earth.... It is the tried WALL, the precious CORNER-STONE" (1QS 8:5-7).
Jesus may have called the high priest an "EVIL SERVANT" or a FALSE STEWARD too in his parables (Matt. 24:48; Mk 12:1-9; Lk 16:1-8). Jesus condemned the dove-sellers and moneychangers as "THIEVES" (Mark 11:17; see m.Ker 1:7). "Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers ... And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of THIEVES" (Matt. 21:12-13; cp. John 2:13-17). Jesus belongs to a better priesthood than AARON'S PRIESTHOOD since it is continual (Heb. 7:3; Ps. 110:4), it received tithes of Aaron (Heb. 7:5) and it blessed Aaron (7:7). Jesus promised to build a better Temple made without hands (Mark 14:58). Jesus said, "I desire mercy and not SACRIFICE" (Hos 6:6). Peter mentioned "spiritual SACRIFICES" (1 Pet. 2:5). In Hebrews 13:15-16, Christians continue the tradition of the Essenes who viewed praise, thanksgiving and good deeds as SACRIFICES. Christians also still SACRIFICED (Mark 1:44; Acts 21:26). "We are the TEMPLE of the living God" (2 Cor. 6:16). "Like living STONES be yourselves built into a SPIRITUAL HOUSE, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual SACRIFICES" (1 Pet. 2:4-5; cp. 1 Cor. 6:19).
Why Didn't Essenes Allow Divorce?
Jesus cited "HARDNESS of HEART" (Matt.19:8) and the Essenes cited "STUBBORNNESS of a SINFUL HEART and EYES of UNCHASTITY" (1QS 1:6) as reasons why couples divorce. Jesus said,"Whosoever shall put away his WIFE, and marry ANOTHER, committeth ADULTERY against her" (Mark 10:11). The Essenes say in CD 7:2 that it is "WHOREDOM by taking TWO WIVES during their LIFETIME. The basic principle of creation is 'Male and female created he them.'" Both Jesus and the Essenes use GENESIS 1:27 as the proof text. Jesus favored the halakhah of the Essenes when he said "What, therefore, God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Mark 10:9). The Damascus Document calls it fornication to take "a SECOND WIFE while the first is ALIVE" (CD 4:20-21) and if a king shouldn't DIVORCE his wife, neither should others (11QTemple 57:17-19). "The presence of Essene MONKS in "Judea beyond the Jordan" (Mark 10:1; Matt. 19:1) -- not Perea but Batanea outside of Herod's jurisdiction (War 3:54-58 & Ant. 18:106) -- made Jesus mention "EUNUCHS for the kingdom of heaven's sake" (Matt. 19:12; 1QSb 4:24-26) in the next paragraph. Since the Damascus Document forbids SEXUAL INTERCOURSE in Jerusalem (CD 12:1), the Essene Quarter on the southwest hill of Jerusalem was probably CELIBATE. Whereas Jesus included WOMEN in his group, considered them friends and taught them scripture (Luke 10:38-42), the Essenes DIDN'T TRUST women (Philo Hypothetica 11:14) and considered them UNFAITHFUL to their marriage vows (War 2:121). Such ideas may also be found in the Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q184; CD 4-5) and related documents (T12P).
Essenes called themselves "WITNESSES of TRUTH" (`1 QS 8:6) and Jesus also came to bear "WITNESS to the TRUTH" (John 18:37). Essenes referred to the "SPIRIT of TRUTH" (Rule of the Community 3:18-19; 4:21,23 ) and John referred to the "SPIRIT of TRUTH" (1 John 4:6). We read about "the SON of GOD" (Mark 1:1) and "SON of the MOST HIGH"(4Q246). The sect called its members "the ELECT" or "ELECT of GOD" (DSH 10:13; DSD 9:14). Paul calls Christians "GOD'S ELECT" (Rom. 8:33; Col. 3:12; Tit. 1:1). The "CALLED" was an Essene name (DST 2:13). Paul used the same designation for Christians (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2). The Essenes referred to their assembly as "the MANY" (1 QS) while the book of Acts refers to the Christian assembly as "the MULTITUDE" (6:2, 5; 16:12, 30; 4:32). BELIAL" is a common Essene name for Satan (DSD 2:19; Dam. Doc. 12:2; 1 QS 1:18). It is also mentioned by Paul (2 Co. 6:15). Both groups also call themselves "PERFECT" (Matt. 19:21; DSD 9:8). Essenes call themselves a "HOLY EDIFICE" (DSD 11:8; 1 QS 9:6) while Christians call themselves a "HOLY TEMPLE" (Eph. 2:21). "SPIRIT of MEEKNESS" occurs in both the Manual of Discipline (3:3,8; 4:3) and Paul's epistles (1 Cor. 4:21; Gal. 6:1). Essenes called themselves "ISRAEL for those who walk in PERFECTION" (Man. of Disc. 9:6). Paul called Christians "ISRAEL of GOD" (Gal.6:16). 1QS 11:11 mentions the Divine THOUGHT appearing as mediator of creation while John 1:1 mentions the Divine WORD doing the creating. Both groups taught that the universe was under the dominion of two opposing camps-- one LIGHT and TRUTH and the other DARKNESS and EVIL (1 QS 3:18-25; 4:12,23-24; CD 2:4; 7:19; 2 Cor. 6:14; 1 John 1:6; 2:9). The "FRUIT of the SPIRIT" found in Galatians 5:22 -- "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control" -- are paralleled in 1 QS 4:2.: "truth, humility, patience, compassion, understanding, wisdom, zeal, purity."
The Gates of Hell Won't Conquer Qumran?
Jesus said that "upon this ROCK I will build my CHURCH, and the GATES of HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL against it" (Matt. 16:18). It would be a "TEMPLE not made with hands" (Mark 14:58) built by David's son. The Qumramites also praised God as the builder of a CITY on the ROCK that CANNOT be SWALLOWED by the GATES of HELL (1 QH 6:24-29). It would be a "HOLY EDIFICE" (DSD 11:8; 1 QS 9:6) built by God's hands (4 QFlor 1). It could not be shaken in the coming catastrophe; its walls and foundation will not move from their place (1 QS 8:7-8). However, Jesus may have been mildly criticizing the Essenes when he said, "Everyone that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his HOUSE upon the SAND ... and it fell" (Matt. 7:26-27). He also said, "Every PLANT which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up" (Matt. 15:13). Essenes referred to themselves as "God's eternal PLANTING" (1 QH 6,8; CD 1:7-8) but Qumran was burned by Rome's tenth legion in 68 A.D.
Did The Essenes Obey God's Law?
The Essenes BATHED twice daily before meals (War 2:129,132); celebrated the SABBATH and FESTIVALS (Dam. Doc. 12:4; CDC 5:1-2; 8:15; 1 QS 3:10; 1 QS 1:8-9); avoided UNCLEAN FOODS (Dam. Doc. 12:12); used PHYLACTERIES (4Q128-48) and MEZUZOT (4Q149-55), CIRCUMCISED themselves (4Q266, fr.6ii) and TITHED (4Q270, fr.3). "With them that held fast to the COMMANDMENTS of God ... God established his covenant with Israel even until eternity, by revealing to them hidden things concerning which all Israel erred, His holy SABBATHS and His glorious appointed TIMES, His righteous TESTIMONIES and His true WAYS and the requirements of His will, which a man shall do and live thereby" (CDC 3:12-16 ). Essenes didn't abolish the LAW (CDC 15:8-12; 3:12-16) but they "do NOT offer SACRIFICES (Ant. 18:1:5). They clothed themselves in WHITE garments (Wars 2:8:3) fitting the description of the saints "clothed in WHITE raiment" which is the "RIGHTEOUSNESS of saints" in the Book of Revelation (3:5,18; 7:9,13; 15:6; 19:8).
Did the Essenes Become Ebionite Christians?
The main PURPOSE of this booklet is to show that Christians were primarily composed of Essenes. Previous points have shown MANY SIMILARITIES between the two groups -- Essenes and Christians. Now we have enough information to actually say that the ESSENES (with minor changes) were the CHRISTIANS in the New Testament.
The Qumran Essenes called themselves "the POOR" (cp. Epiphanius Adv. Haer. 30:1-33; 1 QS 1:11; 5:16,20; 6:19; 1 QpHab 8:10-12; 9:5; CD 7:20c; 8:17; 9:21,23; 13:5,25; 1 QM 14:7; Josephus Wars 2:8:3). A member of the sect called himself EBYON, a "POOR ONE" (1 QH 2:32). In 1 QpHab 12:3,6,10, the members of the sect call themselves EBIONIM which leads historians to connect them to the "EBIONITES" (POOR ones) and to Jesus who said, "Blessed are the POOR in SPIRIT; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3). In Luke 6:20 he said more plainly "Blessed be ye POOR; for yours is the kingdom of God." Was he saying, "Blessed are you ESSENES ; for to you belongs the Kingdom of Heaven?" Later in Romans 15:26 and Galatians 2:10 "the POOR" or ESSENES are mentioned again by Paul. Jesus identifies his true church by saying "I know thy ... POVERTY (but thou art RICH)" (Rev. 2:9). EBIONITES literally mean "POOR MEN" in Hebrew. EBIONITES were an ultra-JEWISH party in the early Christian church headed by James. They escaped to Pella around 69 A.D. before Jerusalem was punished for her crimes against the Messiah and his apostles (Eusebius E.H. 3:5). They used the Books of Moses and the Gospel of Matthew. But in the process of time they rejected Paul as an apostate from the Mosaic Law since they no longer understood the original intent of his letters. They OBEYED the MOSAIC LAW including CIRCUMCISION. They kept the Jewish SABBATH and some believed in the VIRGIN BIRTH (Origen Contra. Cels. 5:61). Jesus' coming did NOT ANNUL the LAW but did ABOLISH SACRIFICES in the Temple. BAPTISM was continually REPEATED as a means of PURIFICATION from sin, and proof AGAINST DISEASE. They IMMERSED before eating and before prayer and after sex (Hom. 8:2, 9:23, KP; Hom. 11:30,33 KP). They faced Jerusalem when they PRAYED. They GAVE UP all GOODS and POSSESSIONS. Some believed that FAITH in Christ ALONE, without OBEDIENCE, was NOT enough to save anyone. Why don't more Christians today follow the example of the Ebionites?
Should Christians Wear Phylacteries? | Back to Home
| Email Us