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Was Jesus An Essene?

The Essene community which wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls accepted Enoch and Jubilees as scripture.  This is important, because many scholars have asserted that Jesus was an Essene.  If this is true, then it stands to reason that Jesus very likely also accepted Enoch and Jubilees as scripture, because his Essene affiliates did.  We cannot know for sure if Jesus was an Essene, but there are several hints that he shared certain opinions with them, and that he had friends among them.  For one thing, of the three dominant sects of Judaism at the time – Sadducees, Pharisees, and Essenes[1] – he only criticized the first two.  He never criticized the Essenes.  For another, the Dead Sea Scrolls contain a text called The Resurrection Scroll which asserts that the Messiah will,

Liberate captives, make the blind see, make the crippled stand straight… heal the injured, raise up the dead, and preach good news to the poor.[2]

 

This is essentially the same as Jesus' own messianic expectations:

 

Men from John the Baptist came and asked Jesus, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?"  Jesus answered, "Go tell John what you see and hear:  The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news preached to them."[3]

 

Notice how Jesus echoed the messianic expectation of the Dead Sea Scrolls almost word for word.  Jesus essentially quoted the Dead Sea Scrolls here.  Moreover, this particular passage is part of Gospel Source Quelle, which is believed by scholars to be the earliest and most authentic collection of Jesus' words save perhaps Mark.  This is a big hint that Jesus was familiar with the Essene community living by the Dead Sea, and that he shared their particular expectations about the Messiah. 

     Another hint is found in The War Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which carries a certain resemblance to the End Times prophecies that Jesus foretold on the Mount of Olives,

 

The congress of gods and the armies of men will battle.  They will cause a large amount of destruction… and there will be a time of great tribulation for those whom God will save.[4]

Compare this to Jesus' End Times prophecies:

Then they will deliver you up to be persecuted, and they will kill you… And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies… Then there will be great tribulation.[5]

 

     Apparently, the Essenes had prophet-like men who could make such predictions.  One example is an Essene named Simon, who correctly prophesied that Herod Archelaus would only reign in Judea ten years.[6]

     In addition to paraphrasing the Essene's messianic and prophetic literature, Jesus chose to be baptized by a man who displayed certain Essene habits.  John the Baptist ate locusts.[7]  The Dead Sea Scrolls actually contain cooking instructions for locusts.  They say you should baptize locusts in fire or in water before you eat them.[8]  Baptism by fire and water was a well known theme to John the Baptist, who said, "I baptize you with water… but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire!"[9]  Thus, it seems John the Baptist may have shared a peculiar diet with the Essenes, and also the unique concept of baptism by fire and water. 

     Moreover, John was baptizing not too far from the desert community of the Essenes.  The Essenes were located at Qumran, which is on the northwest corner of the Dead Sea, situated close to the Jordan and just east of Jerusalem.  This is the Biblical place John is said to have been. 

     The Essenes also had customs similar to that of the early Christian church.  They held all their possessions in common, just as the early church in Jerusalem did.[10] 

     The Essenes refused to sacrifice any animals,[11] and they shunned the temple at Jerusalem.[12]  Jesus apparently held the same opinion, for he says in The Gospel of the Ebionites, also known as The Gospel of the Hebrews, "If you do not stop sacrificing, wrath against you will never abate."[13]  The Gospel of the Hebrews can be accepted as a witness of what Jesus said, because many in the ancient church accepted it.  The same people who accepted it were critically minded enough to reject several other books, but they accepted The Gospel of the Hebrews.[14]  Therefore, it appears Jesus agreed with the Essenes that animal sacrifice should not be practiced.  This was probably more a protest against the priests of Jerusalem than a prohibition against sacrifice in general.  The Essenes had been forced out of the priesthood by the Sadducees, and so they refused to sacrifice at Jerusalem because sacrificing there would legitimize their enemies.  This might also explain why James the brother of Jesus was a vegetarian.[15]  Under ancient Hebrew custom, one could not eat meat unless it was sacrificed.  But the only altar available in James' day was the temple of Jerusalem.  Therefore he did not eat meat.

          A second piece of evidence that links James the brother of Jesus to the Essenes is found at the conclusion of the apocryphal nativity gospel called Protevangelion, which tells us that James the brother of Jesus secluded himself in the desert – a behavior all too commonly associated with the Essenes. 

 

Click here to learn more about Evolution in the Bible.

The creationist narrative in Genesis 1 is contradicted by many ancient Christian texts.  Instead of an Almighty Creator God, ancient Christian texts espouse that the universe is born from blind arrogance and stupidity.  The angels caused evolution to occur from species to species.  There are many gods, (or aliens?), and the Christian God is just one among them.  Satan the Devil writes scripture, and thus the Bible was polluted with Genesis 1.  Archaeology and modern scholarship demonstrate that Genesis is indeed corrupted.  Cavemen walk with Adam and Eve.  Esoteric prophecies reveal the coming of Christ, and also reveal the dark forces that govern the cosmos.  Such are the ancient Christian writings.

Sciencevindicates the truth of these ideas.  Evolution often happens too fast for Darwin’s theory.  Gaps in the fossil record indicate that some kind of unnatural force acts together with natural selection.  Astrobiology reveals that intelligent life probably evolved long before us.  The fossil record reveals strange clues that aliens abducted species and transported them across oceans, and that DNA from diverse lineages was combined to spawn hybrid species.  Evidently, aliens influence evolution, and they are the gods of the world’s religions. 

This is not fiction.  All these facts are thoroughly documented in the links above.



[1] Josephus.  Antiquities of the Jews 18.1.2

[2] Dead Sea Scrolls 4Q521, Fragment 2

[3] Quelle, Luke 7:20-22, Matthew 11:3-5, Luke 4:18

[4] Dead Sea Scrolls, The War Scroll 1:10-13

[5] Matthew 24:9, Luke 21:20, Matthew 24:21

[6] Josephus.  Antiquities of the Jews 17.13.3

[7] Mark 1:6

[8] Dead Sea Scrolls, The Damascus Document 12:13-15

[9] Luke 3:16

[10] Josephus.  Antiquities of the Jews 18.1.5; Acts 4:32-35

[11] Josephus.  Antiquities of the Jews 18.1.5;  

[12] Abegg, Martin; Flint, Peter; Ulrich, Eugene.  The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible:  The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English.  Harper Collins Publishers, 1999, San Francisco, CA, p 632

[13] Epiphanius, Adversis Haeresis 30:16

[14] Eusebius.  The History of the Church 3:25

[15] Eusebius quoting Hegesippus.  The History of the Church 2:23

 

Ancient Christian holy texts espouse that angels mingled with the daughters of men.

Genesis 6:1-4

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EVOLUTION IN THE BIBLE