THE ESSENE COMMUNITY
It would be a mistake to suppose that he writers of the Scrolls and the men of Qumran were inspired only by recollections of things past or that they chose their way of life simply because they were unsettled by political turbulence or disgusted by the venality of the Jerusalemitan priests. They were swept by other winds. One of these was a widespread and well-attested contemporary belief that the GREAT CYCLE OF THE AGES WAS ABOUT TO COMPLETE ITS REVOLUTION. This belief was based on a conception which can in fact be traced to remote Indian antiquity, that existence consists not in linear progressive development--that is, in 'history'--but in constant cyclic repetition of primordial and archetypal events. When major upheavals occurred, it was promptly supposed that the cycle was nearing its end, THAT THE GREAT YEAR WAS AT HAND, and that cosmos was about to revert to chaos. The primordial elements, restrained and regulated at the beginning of the world, would again be unleashed; all things would dissolve in an overwhelming deluge or be burned in that everlasting fire (of warfare) which rages in the depths of the earth (in the depths of the human heart). THEN THE CYCLE WOULD BEGIN AGAIN; A NEW WORLD WOULD BE BROUGHT TO BIRTH....
Malachi, chapter 4 (KJV).
"Finally, Kali-yuga, the dark age, miserably subsists on twenty-five percent of the strength of dharma. Egotistic, devouring, blind, and reckless elements are now triumphant, and rule the day. Kali means the worst of anything; also 'strife, quarrel, dissension, war, battle,' During the Kali-yuga man and his world are at their very worst. The moral and social degradation is characterized in a passage of the Vishnu Purana:
'When society reaches a stage where property confers rank, wealth becomes the only source of virtue, passion the sole bond of union between one and another, falsehood the source of success in life, [mere] sex the only means of enjoyment, and when outer trappings are confused with inner religion ' Then we are in the Kali-yuga, the world of today."
...Shorn of (their attachment to) earthly possessions, theirs would be the poverty of the mystics--that poverty which Evelyn Underhill has described as complete detachment from all finite things...And in this experience they would reproduce and concentrate within themselves THE DRAMA OF THE COSMIC CYCLE, THE DISSOLVING OF THE OLD ORDER AND THE BIRTH OF THE NEW. The Dead Sea Scriptures, by Theodore H. Gaster, p.8.
Mention of the Essenes hopes of a New Age of glory leads us naturally to some comments on the special theological views of the Essenes that informed their understanding of history and gave to their community its peculiar institutions. The Essenes belong in the center of that movement (known as) apocalypticism. The late visionaries of the Old Testament, notably the author of Daniel, as well as later Baptist and Christian communities, discovered themselves to be living in the last days of the old age, or rather in the days when the old age was passing away and the Kingdom of God was dawning. According to apocalypticism the upsurge of evil powers in the world reflected the last defiant outbreak of cosmic Satanic powers. The gifts of the Holy Spirit manifest in the community of the faithful, adumbrated the age of the Spirit to follow the final war in which the Spirit of Truth and his heavenly armies would put an end to the rule of the powers of Darkness. The constitution of the Essene community was a crystallized apocalyptic vision. Each institution and practice of the community was a Preparation for or, by anticipation, a realization of, life in the New Age of God's rule. On the one hand, their communal life WAS A REENACTMENT OF THE EVENTS OF THE LAST TIMES, both the final days of the Old Age AND THE ERA OF ARMAGEDDON.(An understanding that is reflected everywhere in the Gospel narratives).
On the other hand , their community, being heirs of the kingdom, participated already in the gifts and glories that were the firstfruits of the Age to come. For the apocalypticists of Qumran the key to these future mysteries was AT HAND..
The Merkkabah Mysteries and the Great Universal Sacrifice
One had only to read biblical prophecies with the understanding given the inspired interpreter (that is, one who reads with the power of the Holy Spirit) because the secrets of events to come in the last days were foretold by God through the mouth of the holy prophets...
In apocalyptic exegesis, three principles should be kept in mind. Prophecy openly or cryptically REFERS TO THE LAST DAYS. Second, the so-called last days are in fact (in types and images) the present, the days of the sects life. And finally, the history of ancient Israel's redemption, her offices and institutions, are prototypes of the events and figures of the New Israel.
On this basis the Essene camp in the wilderness (of the nations) found its prototype in the Mosaic camp of Numbers (Numbers 2 to 4; 9:15 to 10:28). The Essenes retired to Qumran to "prepare the way of the Lord" in the wilderness. As God established His ancient covenant in the desert, so the Essenes entered into a New Covenant on their return to the desert. As Israel in the desert mustered into (purely allegorical) army ranks in preparation for the Holy War of Conquest, so the Essenes marshaled their community in battle array (understand 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Ephesians 6:10-17) and wrote liturgies of Holy Warfare of Armageddon. Understanding the Dead Sea Scriptures, by Hershel Shanks, pp.26,27.
Little children, it is the last time: AND AS YE HAVE HEARD THAT ANTICHRIST SHALL COME, even now there are many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out (of our community of true pacifists and true communists), that they might be made manifest, that they were not all of us...(1 John 2:18,19).
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill.
For I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittel shall no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Whoseoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven...(Matthew 5:17-19).
Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: AND INDEED BEAR WITH ME.
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one one husband , that I may present you as a chaste virgin unto Christ (Understand, that what is happening at the macrocosmic level, is also happening at the human level. The Great Universal Christ above, in all things, and the anointed Messiahs below, among us. Understand Zechariah, chapter 4 and Isaiah 4:1,2).
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
For if he that cometh preacheth ANOTHER JESUS, WHOM WE HAVE NOT PREACHED, OR IF YE RECEIVE ANOTHER SPIRIT, WHICH YE HAVE NOT RECEIVED (from us) OR ANOTHER GOSPEL, WHICH YE HAVE NOT ACCEPTED (FROM US) YE MIGHT WELL BEAR WITH HIM...
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of Light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works....(2 Corinthians 11:1-4, 13-15).
"God's law doesn't change, no matter if one is in Plains, Georgia, Washington; the Soviet Union; China; or Pakistan."
"We should live our lives as though Christ were going to come this afternoon."
"A Christian must have the willingness of a soldier to give his life...the discipline of an athlete to train...and the patience of a farmer who ploughs in hope." Jimmy Carter.
WHO IS THE TEACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
By Ben Zion Wacholder
The Dead Sea Scrolls frequently refer to a mysterious figure called the Teacher of Righteousness...According to the most widely held view, the Teacher of Righteousness founded the Dead Sea sect (the sect is usually identified with the Essenes). In this common view, The Teacher of Righteousness organized the Community and composed many of its important works.
The nemesis of the Teacher of Righteousness is another shadowy figure called the Wicked Priest. He is also known by a number of other epithets, includung the Lion of Wrath (see 1 Peter 5:8), the Liar, the Spreader of Lies and the Man of Scoffing. Still following the standard interpretation, the Wicked Priest and the Teacher of Righteousness are thought to be hiistorical figures. But that is where the consensus ends. There is no agreement over who they were...
God raised for them a Teacher of Righteousness to guide them in the way of his heart...This is the time concerning which it has been written: "As a backsliding heifer so did Israel slide back" (Hosea 4:16...Please see Chapter 10), when there arose the Man of Scoffing who dropped on Israel waters of deceitfulness and caused them to wander in the wilderness WHERE THERE IS NO PATH, to bring down the everlasting heights, to turn away from the ways of righteousness and to remove the boundary that the forefathers (the early Church) have set for their inheritance. Damascus Document 1:10-17.
The various views come from what might be called the (Dead Sea) Scroll establishment. More radical ideas are espoused by Robert Eisenman and Barbara Thiering, each of whom, indifferent ways, connects these figures with the founders of nascent Christianity. Eisenman believes the Teacher of Righteousness was James, the brother of Jesus (not completely correct, but very plausible), and Paul was the liar (an extremely unlearned opinion...2 Peter 3:10-16 KJV), (a figure that Eisenman distinguishes from the Wicked Priest); Thiering puts forth John the Baptist as the Teacher (Open up the pages of the Revelation of John--the Baptist) and Jesus as the Wicked Priest (imaginitive but absurd):
...I believe they are wrong. I believe the teacher of Righteousness and the Wicked Priest are eschatological figures who were expected to appear at the End of Days, not historical figures who lived in the past....
"For when they were unfaithful and forsook Him, He hid His face from Israel and His Sanctuary and delivered them up to the sword. But remembering the covenant of the forefathers, He left A REMNANT to Israel and did not deliver it up to be destroyed. And in the age of wrath He had given them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He visited them, and he caused a plant root to spring from Israel and Aaron to inherit His land and to prosper on the good things of His earth. And they perceived their iniquity and recognized that they were guilty men, yet for 20 years they were like blind men groping for the way.
And God observed their deeds, that they sought Him with a whole heart, and He raised for them a teacher of Righteousness to guide them in the way of His heart." Damascus Document.
...The Damascus Document is clearly a messianic document. No one doubts that. Yet if the verbs in the above passage are understood to be in the past tense, the passage would have had no relevance to the author's purpose. It would have been merely a lesson in history, not part of a messianic document.
In my view, when the Damascus Document states that "remembering the Covenant" God "visited them," it echoes the passage in Genesis that announces the previously barren Sarah had conceived: "And the Lord visited Sarah" (Genesis 21:1). (Please see the chapter on The Holy Child). The Damascus Document is telling us that just as the biblical passage announced a new beginning in the history of Israel, so too will there be a new beginning to Israel's destiny in the author's own time. The messianic age was expected momentarily.
It is well known that the Dead Sea Scroll sectarians (like the early Christians) interpreted Scripture as applying to their own time. That is how the (390-years after Nebuchadnezzar, plus 20 more) passage in the Damascus Document should be interpreted. (Our author now is also caught between two ends of the story--Then and NOW--but he is on the right track). This is consistent with the interpretations in the so-called pesharim (pesher-singular), or biblical commentaries on the books of the prophets and the psalms found at Qumran. The pesharim quote a passage from Scripture and then give an interpretation. The Qumran pesharim frequently refer to the Teacher of Righteousness and the Wicked Priest in a messianic context,. For example, Habakkuk 2:
Then God told Habakkuk to write down what is going to happen to the generation to come; but when that period would be complete He did not make known to him. When it says, "so that with ease someone can read it," this refers to the Teacher of Righteousness to whom God made known all the mysterious revelations of his servants the prophets. Pesher Habakkuk. (See Revelation 10:7...always KJV).
Beware therefore, lest that come upon you (us), which is spoken in the prophets;
Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto thee...(Acts 13:40,41; Habakkuk, chapter 1).
...Here again we feel the futuristic context. In several passages in the Damascus Document, the Teacher of Righteousness is called not Moreh ha-zedek but Yorah ha-Zedek, the future form, which might be translated as "he who will teach righteousness." In one instance the text speaks of "one who will teach righteousness at the end of days, as if to emphasize the eschatological, futuristic context. The modern-day editors of this text account for their use of the future form by positing the expected return of the teacher of Righteousness. In fact, all references to the Teacher of Righteousness point to the End of Days.
(The question): Are they historical or eschatological? The arguments get complicated and technical, as well as philosophical. In each instance, however, I believe a strong case can be made that the context is eschatological and futuristic. The authors of these works understood them as pre-saging what they believed to be imminent--the coming struggle between the Teacher of Righteousness and his nemesis, the Wicked Priest, a struggle that would initiate the messianic age. Bible Review, April 1999.
Our view is that the Teacher of Righteousness exists in all generations, and that the Scrolls have more than one eschatological figure in mind. Such a teacher appeared among the emerging (and various) Essene communities 390 years after the Scythian conquests (the captivity in Babylon), and can almost assuredly be identified with the author(s) of the Books of Daniel and Malachi, and such other intertestamental books as The Book of Jubilees and the Books of Enoch. And then, as the messianic age was about to dawn upon the earth, the Druid priest John the Baptist (the original Yohanan ben Zakkai) appeared among the Essenes, and pointed those who surrounded him back up into the center of Israel's own mysteries. John acquired the title of the Teacher of Righteousness, fulfilling all the prophecies that pointed to his coming, and is responsible for the original teachings--the visions--that have been attributed almost singularly to John the Apostle in the Book of Revelations. (The latter John simply adapted John's revelations to those that came more clearly into view after the Apostle Paul entered into the story. The final version of the Book of Revelations reflects the reconciliation between John's baptism and Paul's [Acts 18:23-28; 19:1-7], between John's visions of the Angel of Presence [Exodus 23:20-23; 24:9,10] and Paul's visions of the Metatron Crucified [1 Corinthians 2:1-8]). After the followers of John the Baptist returned to the Upper Jerusalem, and while Paul was still spreading his Doctrine of Christ across the known world, it was James, the leader of the Essene community (at Vindebona), who received the mantle of the Teacher of Righteousness. And now, having come to the Western ends of the earth, and to the fulness of these times, the entire theological and eschatological puzzle unfolds. Everyone is here and the stage is set:
See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven (Revelation 18:1-4).
Whose voice then shook the earth (Psalm 18:1-10): but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only (the West), but also heaven (the East).
And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
FOR OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE...(Hebrews 12:25-29; Deuteronomy 4:24).THE (ESSENE) TEACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
(And the Teacher of Unrighteousness)
by Ysmena Pentelow
Bearing in mind the difficulties faced in interpreting the material, we can make some suggestions about the role of the Teacher of Righteousness as a mediator figure.
The title appears at 1:11 & 20:32 and in a slightly different form at 6:11. The title "Unique Teacher"/"Teacher of the Community" is also understood to refer to the Teacher of Righteousness. From 1:11 & Col.20 the Teacher is seen possibly as the founder of the community. The laws and covenant he established are the community's means of vindication and remain effective after the Teacher's death. Col.6 anticipates a figure "who will teach righteousness" in the end time. Is this figure in some way the re-appearance of the historical Teacher? Or is he an ideal or messianic figure, perhaps modelled on historical remembrances?
From the Pesharim a picture of the Teacher of Righteousness emerges: He is a priestly leader of a community; in this role he is seen to suffer, perhaps to face death. His interpretation of scripture is definitive for his community and may perhaps be understood as his legacy.
A Written Legacy?
Various texts have been attributed to the hand of the Teacher - the Temple Scroll, 4QMMT, and various passages in the Hodayoth. None of these mention the Teacher by name but texts such as 1QH 10 (=2):13 & 32 seem to reflect incidents recorded in the commentary on Habakkuk (1QHab5:8-11 or 11:1-8).
Identifying the Teacher of Righteousness?
The Teacher is generally identified as what his community considers to be the legitimate high priest. As a priestly figure the Teacher's role as a mediator would be the maintenance of the comunity's relationship with God, as his chosen people. It is possible that the title 'Teacher of Righteousness' refers not to one historical individual but to an office that is to be filled in the historical realm. Possibly the office itself is an expected ideal. Alternatively in CD 6 it is the historical Teacher who is awaited-in the consummation pattern, although whether the material allows for such an understanding is questionable. Possible background for this view may have been suggested by Abegg's equation of the author of 4Q427 with the Teacher: "...as for me [my] office is among the gods..." If the Teacher is so exalted it might be reasonable to view his activity as extending beyond his earthly existance, and incorporating his return to the historical realm.
Jesus and the Teacher of Righteousness:
There are a number of similarities between the earthly roles of Jesus and the Teacher, interpretation of scripture, the establishment of a law which is the means of salvation; both suffer. After death the followers of both require further guidence. There are also differences, the Teacher does not appear to be worshipped, his community does not continue and expand after his death.
It is possible that the Teacher of Righteousness could be understood as a stage in the development of thought that led to the worship of an individual. The Teacher reveals the prophetic mysteries - of which Jesus is seen to be the fulfilment. Moreover in 1QHab8:1-3 faith in the Teacher himself, along with obedience, is a necessary means of salvation. In the NT Jesus is that means of Salvation.
(c) 1998. Reproduction beyond fair
use only on permission of the author.
Copied early first century B.C.E.
The Messianic Elite
The Communities of the Scrolls
(1) The Habakkuk Pesher
The Wicked Priest
"The city is Jerusalem in which
the wicked priest did works of abomination and defiled the Temple of God."
- lQpHab 12.7-9
Let no man decieve you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, AND THAT MAN OF SIN BE REVEALED, THE SON OF PERDITION;
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God...
For the Mystery of Iniquity doth already work...
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all powers and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved...(2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).
For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.
Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, HE IS A PROUD MAN, NEITHER KEEPETH AT HOME, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto himself all nations, and heapeth up unto him all people...(Habakkuk 2:1-5).
The Habakkuk Pesher "describes the struggle between the Teacher of Righteousness and his opponents - the Man of Lies (termed the Spouter or Preacher of Lies) and the Wicked Priest. The Spouter is pictured as heading a community. The dispute between the Teacher and the Spouter is seems to have been based on matters of religious interpretation and law. The Wicked Priest is said to have begun his rule in truth but then to have abandoned the way of truth. He then persecutes the Teacher, confronting him on the holiest day of the year, the Day of Atonement." - Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls
"The Wicked watches for the righteous, seeking to put him to death."...Psalm 37:32 "Its interpretation concerns the Wicked Priest who watched out for the Teacher of Righteousness and sought to put him to death."...- lQpHab 11.4
"...The Habakkuk Pesher, xi 13-15...deliberately transmutes an underlying scriptural reference to 'trembling' into an allusion about the Wicked Priest 'not circumcising the foreskin of his heart.' This image plays on Ezekiel 44:7-9's reconstructed Temple vision, also including the language of pollution of the Temple. This last image is specifically related to the demand to ban from it rebels, Law-breakers, foreigners and those 'of uncircumcised heart'." - Robert Eisman and Michael Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered
"In the time of the interpreter, the Wicked Priest was apparently still alive; because of the latter's perfidy, we read, he would someday be swallowed up by the 'cup of the (Lord's) wrath' (11.12 ff.) and paid back in full for his wickedness against the 'Poor' (Hebrew, ebyonim). The partly untranslatable passage, Habakkuk 2.17, includes the phrases 'The violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein'. The interpreter explains that the word 'LEBANON' stands for the Council of the Unity - an expression identical with the one used several times in the Manual - and that the 'beasts' of the same verse of Habakkuk stand for the 'simple ones of Judah who perform the Torah' (column 12, lines 1 ff.)." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 85.
"The Lord will render destructive
judgment (on that Wicked Priest) just as he plotted to destroy the Poor."
- lQpHab 12.2 The Habakkuk Pesher alluded to God by writing the Tetragrammaton YHWH in archaic Hebrew letters.
"The 'city' stands, according to the interpreter, FOR JERUSALEM (the greater Jerusalem, not that city in the Middle East), 'where the Wicked Priest performed his abominations, defiling the sanctuary of the Lord', and the phrase 'the violence of the land' refers to 'the cities of Judah (where) he stole the wealth of the Poor' (understand James, chapter 5; Ecclesiastes 5:8-13). The doers of the Torah, we are informed, will ultimately be saved 'by virtue of their toil and their belief in the Teacher of Righteousness' (8.1) (Hebrews 12:25-29). While the final-generation priests of Jerusalem will gather lucre 'from the booty of the nations', in the 'end of days it will be given over to the Kittim' (9.4) - and 'on the day of judgment the Lord will destroy all worshippers of graven images and the wicked from the earth' (13.2). The theme of righteousness of the poor and wickedness of those amassing lucre has resonances...within the Manual of Discipline [Community Rule]." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 85-86.
These apocalyptic expectations find their fullest expression in the War Scroll, which was found in Cave 1 near Qumran along with the Habakkuk Pesher, Community Rule and Manual of Discipline....
Consider two of the chapters in this Commentary entitled War, and Lebanon (and the Assyrian).
Outcasts in the Desert
"After they failed in their initial attempts, exemplified by the Halakhic Letter, to reconcile and win over the Hasmoneans and the remaining Jerusalem Sadducees to their own system of Temple practice, the Qumran Zadokites gradually developed the sectarian mentality of the despised, rejected, and abandoned outcast. Accordingly, they began to look upon themselves as the true Israel, condemning and despising all others." - Lawrence H. Schiffman, "Origin and Early History of the Qumran Sect"
"That priestly led group withdrew from Jerusalem's Temple to a 'monastery' on the Dead Sea's northwest coast, judging that the Temple was polluted after the usurpation of the high priesthood by the Hasmonean rulers, Jonathan and Simon, between 152 and 134 B.C.E." - John Dominic Crossan, The Historical Jesus, The Life of a Mediterranean Peasant (1991)
References to withdrawing into the "wilderness" may have been meant allegorically. At any rate the destination could not have been Qumran. "It is most likely that the descendants of Zerubbabel and his inner group known as the Hasidim left Jerusalem sometime between 187 BC and 152 BC." - Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
"The sectarians saw themselves as living a pristine life like that of the Israelites in the period of desert wandering. Further, they saw themselves as having gone into the desert to receive the Torah, just as Israel had in the period of the Exodus. All this is to be expected from a group that had left the more thickly settled areas of Judea to relocate in the wilderness, there to maintain its own standards of sanctity and purity." - Lawrence H. Schiffman, "Origin and Early History of the Qumran Sect"
Teacher of Righteousness
"It appears that during an initial period-perhaps of twenty years-the sect was leaderless and perhaps even formless until the Teacher of Righteousness established his leadership over it." - Lawrence H. Schiffman, "Origin and Early History of the Qumran Sect"
This information appears in the Damascus Document - Geniza manuscript A 1.4-10..."From pertinent hints and suggestions in both the Pesher and the Covenant, it appears that the Teacher began his oppositional career by preaching against the Jerusalem establishment, whom he accused of deceit, graft, exploitation of the poor, and failure to understand the true meaning of the prophetic writings.quot; - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 91
"But the righteous shall live by his faith. Interpreted, this concerns all those who observe the Law in the House of Judah, whom God will deliver from the House of Judgment because of their suffering and because of their faith in the Teacher of Righteousness." - Habakkuk Pesher lQpHab 2:1-2
"Scholars have proposed the
Suffering Servant as Israel, one of the Isaiahs or Jeremiah. Dupont-Sommer suggested
that Second Isaiah may date from a period as late as that which is dealt with
in the literature of the sect and may refer to the Teacher of Righteousness
himself. These later chapters had long been assigned to the Babylonian Exile,
but it had been admitted that still later additions were possible." The
Righteous Teacher "suffered like the Servant : Isaiah 53:3 is echoed in
a fragmentary passage of the Hymns speaks of him:"
- Chris King, "The Apocalyptic Tradition"
"...dwelling with diseases;
and I underwent trial with plagues, And I was as a man forsaken, despised..."
- Thanksgiving Psalms IQH Via, 26f "While the Manual interpreted this passage as implying a collective atonement by some for the sins of others, some early Christians conceived of it as a reference to the Messiah."
- Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 377
Consider the chapter entitled The Remnant.
The Thanksgiving Psalms are attributed to the Teacher himself by many scholars. They likely reflect the Teacher's escape from persecution by the "flattery-seekers", or Pharisees in the first century B.C.E. "I give thanks to You, O Lord, for Your eye sta[nds} over my soul, and You have delivered me from the jealousy of the mediators of lies and from the congregation of those who seek flattery. You have redeemed the soul of the poor one, whom they planned to put to an end, pouring out his blood because he served You. Because they [did not kn]ow that my steps are directed by you, they appointed me for shame and scorn in the mouth of all those who seek deceit. But You, my God, have helped the soul of the destitute and the poor against one stronger than he. You have redeemed my soul from the hand of the mighty." - Thanksgiving Psalms 1QH 10:31-35
"Many passages of the Old Testament involving an Anointed One or of a Prophet carried off by a violent death must be examined with a fresh eye, particularly Daniel, Zechariah and Psalms; and the sayings of the passages in Second Isaiah called 'Songs of the Servant of Yahweh'. Certainly the apocalypses of Daniel, despite apparently referring to the Babylonians are currently identified with Antiochus in the 160s BC." - Dupont-Sommer
(2) The Damascus Document
True to the Law
The Damascus Covenant was found near the turn of the century in the Cairo Genizah collection at Cambridge University. Scroll fragments, discovered in Qumran Cave 4 in the early 1950's by Solomon Schechter and called by him Fragments of a Zadokite Work, had a number of affinities with the Damascus Covenant. "Within a hierarchical framework of priests, judges, and communal officers, the Damascene Covenanters gave special prominence to the descendants of the high priest Zadok (tenth [?] century B.C.). Because medieval writers had described an ancient sect of 'Zadokites' whose beliefs were in a few instances identical with those of the Covenanters, Schechter inferred that the Genizah text was a last surviving remnant of the writings of this sect."
- Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 83
"The text is divided into two parts: the Admonition and the laws....Although the Qumran manuscripts of this text indicate there was additional material at the beginning of the Zadokite Fragments [Damascus Document], they preserve very little significant material from that section, which must at one time have been part of a much longer passage. The text of the Zadokite Fragments as preserved in medieval manuscripts begins by declaring that in ancient times, Israel went astray. As a result, God 'hid His face' and allowed the destruction of the First Temple (dated in modern scholarly chronology to 586 B.C.E.). Yet a remnant of the defeated people remained, and it was they who ultimately formed the sect. In this narrative, the sectarians regard their way of life and belief as a direct continuation of biblical tradition." - Lawrence H. Schiffman, "Origin and Early History of the Qumran Sect"
"Their society was strict and Torah-centered, but many of the regulations appearing in the legal section of the [Cambridge] manuscript (folios 9 ff.) parallel those of the rabbinic Jews, as described in early Tannaitic sources (i.e., the earliest corpus of rabbinic law, second century A.D.)." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) pp. 82-83
Textual References to the Teacher
"The Damascus Document speaks firstly of a remnant of Jews who, unlike their co-religionists, remained true to the Law. A 'Teacher of Righteousness' appeared among them. Like Moses, he took them into the wilderness, to a place called 'Damascus' (The higher Syria, after whom the lower Syria and the lower Damascus is named...Genesis 15:1,2) where they entered into a renewed 'Covenant' with God. Numerous textual references make it clear that this Covenant is the same as the one cited by the 'Community Rule' for Qumran." - Baigent and Leigh, The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception
"And in the period of wrath, three hundred ninety years after He had handed it (the Temple) over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylonia, He remembered them (Israel) and caused to grow from Israel and Aaron the root of a plant (i.e., the sect). Then they understood their transgression and knew that they were guilty. They were like blind (men) groping on the road for twenty years. Then God paid attention to their deeds for they sought Him whole-heartedly, and He set up for them a Teacher of Righteousness to direct them in the way of his (the teacher's) heart." - Zadokite Fragments 1:5-11 (Damascus Document - Geniza manuscript A 1.4-10)
Scholars date the beginnings of the Babylonian exile to 597 BCE. If we calculate 390 years after the exile for the "period of wrath" and add the 20 years the sect was "groping on the road", we arrive at 187 B.C.E. for the advent of the Teacher of Righteousness. There were no significant historical events in Palestine during this time, although twenty years later the Jews revolted against their despotic Seleucid Greek ruler. Historians usually date the Teacher of Righteousness to around the beginning of the first century B.C.E., after the Maccabean victory against the Seuclid Greeks.
"According to the Damascus Document, God raised up the Righteous Teacher 390 years after the exile in order to restore Israel from its period of disobedience. This would be achieved through a faithful remnant to whom God had revealed his purposes. The majority of Israel will continue to disobey the law, but the Teacher will - through the priests and Levites who left their roles in the Jerusalem Temple and its establishment - restore the true sons of Zadok, the elect of Israel. The Damascus Document builds on the imagery of Yahweh's instruction to Moses at Beer (Num 21:18): the well from which they are to draw is the law; the stave is the interpreter of the law, and the nobles of the people are the faithful remnant (CD 7)." - Howard C. Kee, "Membership in the Covenant People at Qumran and in the Teaching of Jesus" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (James H. Charlesworth, Ed. - 1992), p. 109
"...The Righteous Teacher was powerful and created a new means of interpreting scripture (= the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures) because he claimed to have received a special revelation ([Habakkuk Pesher] lQpHab 7). This unique revelation empowered him and his followers to contend that God had disclosed all the mysteries in the words of the prophet to him and to him alone." - James H. Charlesworth, "Jesus as 'Son' and the Righteous Teacher as 'Gardener'" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (1992), p. 144
"I [praise you, 0 Lord, because you] placed me as an overflowing fountain in a desert, and (as) a spring of water in a land of dryness, and (as) the i[rrilgator of the garden." - Thanksgiving Psalm 1QH + 4Q428 Frag. 7 16.4
"He was influenced, most likely, by Ezekiel's allegory of the vine in the vineyard which is fruitful because of abundant waters and is then transplanted in a dry land (Ezek 19:10-14)." "The theological significance of this hymn is clarified by the content of the Gozan inscription (from Tell Fakhariyeh). The statute on which the inscription is written (in Assyrian and Aramaic) is that of a 'king' (in Aramaic) who celebrates his god as one who 'irrigates' all the lands." - James H. Charlesworth, "Jesus as 'Son' and the Righteous Teacher as 'Gardener'" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (1992), pp. 161, 148
"The likeness of Had-Yit'i which he placed before Hadad of Sikanu, irrigation master of Heaven and Earth, he who brings down prosperity and provider of pasture and watering place for all the lands, and provider of ritual-sprinkling and libation vessel to all the gods his brothers, irrigation master of all the rivers, he who makes all the lands luxuriant, Merciful God whose prayer is good, resident of Sikanu, Great Lord, lord of Had-Yit'i, King of Gozan, son of Sas-Nuri, King of Gozan." - Kaufman, "The Tell Fakhariyeh Inscription," Maarav 3 (1982) p. 161
"The god is thus portrayed as a gardener. Other texts also show that in the ancient Near East the deity was the gardener. He is the one who brings rain and provides for the fruitfulness of the land. The Righteous Teacher inherits these thoughts from ancient traditions and projects himself as the one whom God has allowed (or caused) to irrigate the dry land (the parched followers) and plant the eternal planting (the remnant who shall be living trees in God's restored paradise). The Righteous Teacher conceives of himself as the gardener, 'the irrigator of the garden' ([Thanksgiving Psalm] lQH 8.4-5)." - James H. Charlesworth, "Jesus as 'Son' and the Righteous Teacher as 'Gardener'" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (1992), p. 148
"I g[ive thanks to You, 0 Lord, for] You set me by a fountain which flows in a dry land, a spring of water in a desolate land, a well-watered garden [...] You [plan]ted a stand of juniper and pine together with cypress for Your glory; trees of life at the secret spring, hidden among all the trees by the water so that a shoot might grow up into an eternal planting. Taking root before they shoot up, they stretch out their roots to the watercourse, that its trunk might be open to the living water and become an eternal fountain. On its leafy branches every wild animal of the forest shall graze, and its trunk shall become a gathering place to all who pass and its branches roosts for all the birds." - Thanksgiving Psalm lQH + 4Q428 Frag. 7 16:4-9a
Organization of the Community
"But the priests, who are Levites and descendants of Zadok and who faithfully carried out the duties of my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood, declares the Sovereign LORD." - Ezekiel 44:15
"...The prophet Ezekiel is a central informing passage for the Qumran covenanters. Ezekiel prophesied that the Zadokite priests would be God's chosen ministers in the future era (44:15), possibly giving the Qumran community its priestly aristocracy ([Damascus Document] CD 3.20-4.3). - Alan F. Segal, "The Risen Christ and the Angelic Mediator Figures in Light of Qumran" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (James H. Charlesworth, Ed. - 1992), pp. 306-307
"Among the notable statements in the manuscript are several referring to overseers, and others to a writing of the group, termed the 'Book of HGW' (pronounced hagu or hago: Damascus Covenant, folios 8.2;10.6), which both those priests responsible for groups of ten members as well as all judges (whether priests, Levites, or Israelites) had to know well, along with the 'Foundations of the Covenant' (Hebrew, berith)." Regarding the Damascus Covenant and the Manual of Discipline [Community Rule], "the figure of an overseer appears in both writings, and at several junctures the Covenant describes modes of group conduct and regulation resembling those stimpulated in the Manual [of Discipline]." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 83
"There is a well-defined hierarchy: the Teacher is the venerated founder and prime interpreter of the law and of God's purpose for his people. Replacing him is the Master, or Guardian [Overseer], who is to be thirty to fifty years of age and whose responsibilities and powers are detailed in [Community Rule] 1QS. He must see to it that the will of God is obeyed, that revealed knowledge is meted out and that all are instructed in the mysteries, that the members of the community are evaluated, and that the truth is kept from outsiders." - Howard C. Kee, "Membership in the Covenant People at Qumran and in the Teaching of Jesus" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (James H. Charlesworth, Ed. - 1992), p. 109
According to the Damascus Covenant, the aim of the movement "was to found a new type of social and religious life based not upon kinship but upon free acceptance of a new covenant made with God. The groups had 'camps' in various towns, whose members were households, including servants and day laborers. The organization of each 'camp' was based upon the leadership of priests and Levites, and Israelites had precedence over proselytes. Mutual responsibilities included the support of orphans and the poor, and the redemption of those threatened with or fallen into slavery." - John Roberson and Philip Davies, The Old Testament World
"The legal section of the Damascus Covenant makes clear that members could possess their own property, and two alternative modes of living are sanctioned - those in cities and those in 'encampments.'" - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 83
A Place Called Damascus
"It is clear from the [Damascus] Document's context that the place in the desert called 'Damascus' cannot be the Romanised city in Syria.. Could the site for 'Damascus' have been in fact Qumran?" - Baigent and Leigh, The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception
"We find all kinds of pseudonyms for actual personages, yet almost never a personal name that would allow a definite identification. The Jewish sects of the day are never mentioned by name even though we see numerous references to them designated with code words in the sectarian texts. Why then should we fall into the trap of taking place names literally? Rather it is more likely that 'Damascus' is a code word for Qumran....The New Testament pictures Paul receiving a vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6). It is likely that the symbolic meaning of Damascus as an eschatological stopover would have led to its use here. Indeed, even in Amos 5:27 it is connected with the destruction of syncretist Israelites-those who had mixed worship of the God of Israel with pagan ways - in the End of Days."
"In addition, we should mention the suggestion that Damascus was actually at one time the name of the toparchy (administrative district) in which Qumran was situated. This suggestion assumes that Qumran, even though it is located on the western shore of the Dead Sea, was at one time part of the same administrative unit as Damascus and could, therefore, bear its name." - Lawrence H. Schiffman, "Origin and Early History of the Qumran Sect"
Although this is an attractive hypothesis, it is highly unlikely that any of the groups alluded to in the Dead Sea Scrolls actually lived in Qumran.
In addition, the Covenant [Damascus Document] itself makes it clear that Damascus is located outside of Judea. "The Lord remembered the covenant of the ancients, and raised from Aaron men of understanding, and from Israel men of wisdom. He made His law known to them, and they dug the well. 'The well that princes dug, that the nobles of the people delved with the staff' (Numbers 21:18). - The 'well' is the Torah, its 'diggers' are the repentant ones of Israel who left the Land of Judah and dwelt in the Land of Damascus." - Damascus Document - Geniza manuscript A 6.2-5.
The Community Rule or Messianic Rule was found in Cave 1 along with the Manual of Discipline. (Both texts are considered to be part of the same work, which Wise, Abegg and Cook refer to as the Charter of a Jewish Sectarian Association.) The Charter of a Jewish Sectarian Association "refers to various groups or chapters scattered throughout Palestine. Therefore it did not attach itself specifically to the site of Qumran...This text does not merely reflect a small community living there." "The present text is essentially a constitution or charter for the Yahad. That it is a charter becomes clear by comparison with charters from elsewhere in the contemporary Greco-Roman world. Research by Moshe Weinfeld and Matthias Klinghardt, among others, has shown that virtually every structural element of this ancient Jewish writing has analogs in the charters of guilds and religious associations from Egypt, Greece and Asia Minor."
"Like Ezekiel's community, the Essenes [Yahad] were exiles from Jerusalem. Of course, theirs was a willing exile, but the point remains that they too were isolated from the traditional means of mediation between divine and human realities. Yet, they believed that in their worship they participated in the angelic liturgy of the heavenly realm. Through their sacred texts, they had access to the presence of God." - Dr. Steven S. Tuell, "Deus absconditus in Ezekiel's Prophecy"
"Some of the writings - the ones most often cited when attributing the scrolls as a whole to Essenic sectarians - reflect the ideas of writers evidently sharing awareness of a common background of opposition to ruling powers in Jerusalem in the second century B.C...The Manual of Discipline reflects one distinct radicalizing trend within this group of texts, emphasizing an apocalyptic mode of brotherhood initiation, strict spiritual dichotomies, heightened metaphorical interpretation of Torah-mysteries, and overriding purity-discipline...Some other scrolls, such as the Rules of the Congregation (1QSa), the Benedictions (1QSb), and the group of blessings known as 4Q Berakhot, are perhaps allied with the brotherhood trend reflected in the Manual." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 364
"My whole mind sings, and each touch of my harp glorifies God, And the string of my lute, his holy will; And, like a pipe, my lips praise his righteous rule. FROM DAWN TILL NIGHT, I am the Covenant of God. In the dusk of evening and in the morning I voice his teachings; In them will I live for ever. I proclaim his judgment upon my transgressions, And my sins are like an inscription graven before my eyes. I hail God as 'My Righteousness! Most High: Creator of my joy!' 'Well of knowledge, Source of Holiness, Glorious Majesty, Strength of Eternal Splendor!' He has chosen all my joy and I rejoice in his judgment upon me. Walking or moving, I bless his name. At my goings out and my comings in, in my sleeping and in my waking, And even upon my bed, I rejoice in him. I open my lips and praise him for all that he has given to men, ... I know that in his hand is the judgment of every living soul, true are his acts. In my anguish I praise him, I rejoice in his salvation alone." - Community Rule 1QS 10.9-17
"The author of the Manual of
Discipline [Community Rule] and several others writers...refer to the Lord consistently
without employing the Tetragrammaton [YHWH], but rather by use of the brief
el, 'God', rather than other possible designations, e.g. elo'ah , elohim , shaddai,
and so forth."
"Only two columns of this writing are extant...The scribe's handwriting seems to be the same as that of the copyist who transcribed the Cave 1 text of the Manual, and writers have theorized that the two extra columns once stood, physically speaking, as the opening part of that work. It begins with the avowal that 'THIS IS THE RULE FOR ALL THE COMMUNITY OF ISRAEL AT THE END OF DAYS.' HERE THE INITIATES SPECIFICALLY INCLUDE WOMEN AND CHILDREN."
"The Manual is a text of a highly spiritualized quality, its emphasis centered on the deeper meaning of the Torah to be reached through study sessions held one night in three each year, in which the spiritual sense of holy writings was to be intensified. The author of this text believed that, as earlier ordained to Joshua (1:8), the words of the Law were never to be expunged from the mouths of the true Israel, who rather had to ponder them 'day and night' - and to this end the Manual stipulates that an expounder perform his task constantly, whenever ten members of the Unity are available." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) pp. 195, 92, 73
"When these form a community in Israel, according to these rules they shall be separated from the midst of the settlement of the people of iniquity to go to the desert, to clear there the road of the Lord, as it is written, 'In the desert clear the road of the Lord; straighten in the wilderness a highway for our God' [Isaiah 40:3]. This is the interpretation of the Torah [which] He commanded through Moses to observe, according to everything that is revealed from time to time, and as the prophets have revealed by His holy spirit." - Community Rule 1QS 8.12-16
"In this manner, the author of the Manual suggests that the deeper meaning of Isaiah's words about going into the wilderness has nothing to do with a literal intrustion into desert territories." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) pp. 73-74
"The community perceived itself as the 'house of holiness' ([Community Rule] lQS 8), a precious cornerstone (Isa 26:16), A PERFECT DWELLING PLACE FOR AARON, as the embodiment of the everlasting knowledge of the covenant of rightness, AS THE HOUSE OF PERFECTION AND TRUTH IN ISRAEL. The community believed that it was atoning for the land even as it was identifying and judging wickedness in the last days, the community is to assemble - including women and children - to hear the covenant and its exposition, which are binding on everyone born in Israel ([Rule of the Congregation] lQSa 1)." - Howard C. Kee, "Membership in the Covenant People at Qumran and in the Teaching of Jesus" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (James H. Charlesworth, Ed. - 1992), p. 116
"The 'standing of Israel' in
Exodus 19 served as a kind of model for the life of the Qumran community and
'justified their attempt to apply the rules of priestly purity to the lay members
as well. Everyone had to be as holy as the priests serving before God. The organization
of Israel at Mount Sinai -the division of elders (Ex 19:7; cf. 1QS 6.8), priests,
and laymen (Ex 19:21-22) in groups of ten, fifty, and one hundred (Ex 18:21);
living in camps (Ex 19:2); and the necessary ritual purity and abstinence from
sexual intercourse (Ex 19:14-15) - was followed at Qumran and instituted as
a permanent order of the life of the community in expectation of the second
coming of God. Hence, the ideal of becoming a kingdom of priests and a holy
people (Ex 19:6) was pursued at Qumran.
"The well-known words in Exodus 19:8 should be considered the origin of the self-designation yahad (togetherness, union). In this passage Israel 'together' (yahdaw) made the following promise: 'Everything that the Lord says we will do!' Everyone who joined the Qumran yahad and entered the covenant had to confirm by an oath the obligation 'to return to the law according to everything that is commanded with his whole heart and soul' (lQS 5.8-9); one had to live and to pray 'together' (yahad; 1QS 6.2-3)." - Otto Betz, "Jesus and the Temple Scroll" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (James H. Charlesworth, Ed. - 1992), p. 94
"So shall all together comprise a Yahad whose essence is truth, genuine humility, love of charity, and righteous intent, caring for one another after this fashion within the holy society, comrades in an eternal fellowship." - Community Rule 1QS 2.24
"The author had in mind a well-ordered ritual of initiation into a new kind of Israelite society that would take the place of the old, with its acquiescence in royal privilege and the supremacy of the priestly sacrificial cult. Not merely some individuals, but the entire nation in its thousands would participate, with the priests and Levites - newly reformed through their solemn undertaking to perform the Lord's will - taking leading roles in ceremonies meant in effect to inaugurate a new covenant, based on spiritual and moral principles."
"Only through sincere inner acts, through a spirit of 'holiness for uniting in His truth' and of 'righteousness and humility' toward the Lord's statutes, could they cleanse themselves of sin, to then 'be accepted through sweet-smelling atonements before the Lord' and become part of the eternal 'covenant of unity'." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 68
"As with Christianity, members of the association envision themselves as entering a new covenant with God, truly fulfilling the old Mosaic convenant. The charter calls this new covenant variously the Covenant of Mercy, the Covenant of the Eternal Yahad, the Eternal Covenant, and the Covenant of Justice. Believers are presently living in an era when Satan (here called Belial) rules the world. The New Testament terms Satan 'the Prince of this world.' Ultimately, that fact explains why believers, who know and live by the truth, have such difficulties in this world. Believers are Children of Light, nonbelievers Children of Darkness - terminology also used in the New Testament. (Understand 1 Thessalonians, chapter 5). Among other names, the association calls itself 'The Way' (i.e., 9:18), a self-designation that some of the first Christians also used (Acts 9:2)." - Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr., and Edward Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation (1996) p. 125
According to 4QFlorilegium [associated with the War Scroll], the enemies of Israel "are no longer identified with foreign nations such as the Philistines, the Babylonians, or the Romans. The author describes them as agents of Belial who try to seduce the true people of God and to let them stumble in order to deliver their souls to Belial (lines 7-9). In the present, Belial is ruling in the world ([Community Rule] 1QS 1.18). He has taken captive the priests of Jerusalem with three nets ([Damascus Document] CD 4.12-18); that is why the Temple service can no longer atone for the land." - Otto Betz, "Jesus and the Temple Scroll" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (James H. Charlesworth, Ed. - 1992), p. 96
Like the Essenes, the Covenant of Unity or Yahad believed in ethical predestinarianism and angels of light and darkness. These themes are introduced in the second section of the Manual of Discipline, in contrast to the voluntary commitment called for in the first section (Understand Leviticus 1:1--3).
"Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart." - Psalm 97:11
"According to a famous rabbinic concept, God concealed the light which he created on the first day from the present world, 'but in the world to come it will appear to the pious in all its pristine glory.' (See 2 Thessalonians 1:1-10). This explanation of the 'sons of light' is absent from the Dead Sea Scrolls, where it is said only that 'in the spring of light are the generations of truth and from the well of darkness come the generation of perversity' ([Community Rule] 1QS 3.19)." - David Flusser, "The Parable of the Unjust Steward: Jesus' Criticism of the Essenes" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (James H. Charlesworth, Ed. - 1992), p. 181
"There are two kinds of human beings: the 'sons of light' who are guided by the angel of truth, and the 'sons of darkness,' who are led by the angel of darkness (Or otherwise Cain and Abel, or Abel and Cain). God loves the former and loathes the latter ([Community Rule] 1QS3). The qualities that are to characterize God's sons are humility, patience, love, goodness, understanding, intelligence, discernment, zeal for the laws, a holy intent, and the spirit of wisdom. Conversely, the 'sons of darkness' are dominated by a spirit of falsehood, greed, lethargy, wickedness, haughtiness, cruelty, brazen insolence, abominable deeds, lewdness, and blasphemy. They are blind of eye and dull of ear, stiff-necked and in the dark (lQS 4). The enlightened will be instructed in divine knowledge and have been chosen for an everlasting covenant through which they will attain to the glorious image that God first granted to Adam." - Howard C. Kee, "Membership in the Covenant People at Qumran and in the Teaching of Jesus" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (James H. Charlesworth, Ed. - 1992), p. 115
"We are introduced...(column 3, line 13) to the figure of an 'instructor' (Hebrew maskil) whose task is to teach all 'sons of light' about the true natures of men. The 'all-knowing Lord', we learn, is responsible for everything that is and was: He has preordained the destinies of all living creatures, and their ultimate actions and fate cannot be changed. But in creating mankind, he put two spirits - one of truth and the other of perversion - in its charge: Truth has its source in a 'dwelling place of light', while wickedness derives from a 'source of darkness'; the 'chieftain of lights' has dominion over all the sons of righteousness, while the 'angel of darkness' rules over the 'sons of perversion', each group walking, respectively, in the paths of light and darkness."
"Any fault or sin committed by sons of righteousness, the author explains, is attributable to the angel of darkness, for reasons that are secret except to the Lord until the age of His own complete dominion dawns. If in the author's own time the righteous suffer, it is due to this same influence of the angel of darkness. Nonetheless, although having Himself created these two opposing angelic spirits, 'the Lord of Israel and the angel of His truth aid all sons of light' - the Lord loving the one spirit and hating the other. Those of humble mien, we are told, thereby possess all desirable moral and spiritual virtues - slowness to anger, mercifulness, understanding, supportive belief in the Lord's deeds and His benevolence, zeal for righteous laws, acts of loving kindness toward all the 'sons of truth', and revulsion at all ritual impurity." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) pp. 68-69
This description of the righteous as "sons of light" is echoed in the Gospel of John: "While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus..." - John 12:36a
"The reward of these righteous ones will be not apocalyptic battles, but 'peace throughout length of days, and fruitfulness of progeny (Hebrew zera, literally 'seed'] as well as eternal blessings and everlasting bliss in life eternal and a diadem of glory together with (full) measure of glory in never-ending light'." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 69
The third treatise commands men to separate from the wicked and enter into " a unity of Torah and wealth" - to walk humbly, and "circumcise in unity the foreskin of evil inclination and stubborness."
The Charter of a Jewish Sectarian Association (Community Rule) laid down a number of conditions for membership in the Yahad "No man who is struck with any kind of human uncleanness shall enter into the assembly of God, nor will any man smitten with it be confirmed for office in the midst of the congregation: no man smitten in his flesh, or crippled in the feet or hands, none lame, blind, deaf or mute; none smitten with a visible blemish in his flesh, or an old man who stumbles and cannot keep still in the midst of the congrgation. (All metaphores for spiritual, not physical conditions) None of these shall enter to hold office in the midst of the congregation of the men of the Name, for the Angles of Holiness are with their congregation." - Rule of the Congregation 1QSa 2.4-9
"From his youth each 'member in Israel' is to study the 'Book of HGW' - as also ordained in the Covenant - and to be increasingly inducted into the 'statutes of the covenant' as he matures, for a period of ten years (1.7-8). The initiant is to have no sexual intercourse, nor to involve himself in legal matters, before the age of twenty. At TWENTY FIVE he may take his place 'in the foundations of the community of holiness', fully participating in the community's responsibilities; AND AT THIRTY, HE MAY BECOME A FULL-FLEDGED WARRIOR, among those who will 'stand at the heads of the thousands of Israel, as chieftains of hundreds, fifties, and tens, (as) judges and overseers of their tribes'." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 92
"The use of military terminology is notable. Members are described as 'volunteers' and are organized into groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. THE METHOD OF ORGANIZATION IS THAT USED IN THE HOLY WAR CONDUCTED UNDER MOSES AND JOSHUA WHEN ISRAEL FIRST ATTACKED THE CANAANITES AND TOOK POSSESSION OF THE LAND OF ISRAEL....
2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Ephesians 6:10-19.
The group thought of itself as warriors
awaiting God's signal to begin the final war against the nations and the wicked
among the Jews. Meanwhile they sought to live in a heightened state of purity,
as the Bible required for holy warriors."
"Among the Jews, similar purity groups are known from rabbinic literature. Designated by the Hebrew term haburot, these other Jewish purity groups (perhaps made up of Pharisees) required an oath of admittance and ate their meals together. Further similarities between our group and the haburot include a period of probation for prospective members and separation from the generality of Jews. Some early Christian groups also organized themselves in similar fashion, so far as the details are described in the book of Acts." - Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr., and Edward Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation (1996) p. 124-125
"According to the Rule of the Congregation, to gain membership in the group, one must have received instruction in the statutes of the law precepts of the covenant for at least ten years. At age twenty, admission was granted, although family duties and sexual relations with women were to be carried out. At age twenty-five, the novice could take his place in the lower ranks of the congregation and work for its benefit. At thirty, he could take part in the decision making of the community, finding his place in the ranks of members." - Howard C. Kee, "Membership in the Covenant People at Qumran and in the Teaching of Jesus" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (James H. Charlesworth, Ed. - 1992), p. 110
The third treatise in the Community Rule states that "to join the Community a recruit had to pass an examination by the members under their leaders. Before that there was almost certainly a probationary period when an inquirer could learn about the way of life and the rules before committing himself. Josephus says he spent some time in such a state, though not at Qumran." - Alan Millard, Discoveries From the Time of Jesus
A candidate started "with an interview with the Council to examine the potential candidate and establish his righteousness after which a ballot was taken. If accepted, the candidate was admitted at a lowly grade for the period of one year, in which time he must not mingle his wealth with the 'many' [the Community]. The first level of Freemasonry...used to be of a year's duration, and in the initiation ceremony the candidate is required to bring in no coins or other metallic objects. In the course of the initiation he is asked to give money, and when he replies that he has none he is told that it was a test to ensure that he had brought no coins or other wealth into the Lodge." The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
"Membership involved total commitment, whole-hearted obedience to the rules, and putting all one's possessions at the Community's disposal." - Alan Millard, Discoveries From the Time of Jesus
"For a third of the night all through the year the congregation shall stay awake together to read from the Book, to study Law, and to pray together." (compare Ezekiel 5)- Community Rule 1QS 6.7, 8
A Blameless and True House in Israel
The "masters" (Hebrew rabbin), as the initiated were called, would attend these meetings. "The priests are to sit in the first position, 'elders' second, and all others in their designated places, in this way seeking judgment and counsel." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) pp. 71
"In the society of the Yahad there shall be TWELVE laymen and THREE priests who are blameless in the light of all that has been revealed from the whole Law, so as to work truth, righteousness, justice, living-kindness, and humility, one with another. They are to preserve faith in the land with self-control and a broken spirit, atoning for sin by working justice and suffering affliction. They are to walk with all by the standard of truth and the dictates proper to the age."
"When such men as these come to be in Israel, then shall the society of the Yahad truly be established, an 'eternal planing' (Jubilees 16:26), a temple for Israel, and - mystery! - a Holy of Holies for Aaron; true witnesses to justice, chosen by God's will TO ATONE FOR THE LAND AND TO RECOMPENSE THE WICKED THEIR DUE. They will be 'the tested wall, the precious cornerstone' (Isa. 28:16) whose foundations shall neither be shaken nor swayed, a fortress, a Holy of Holies for Aaron, all of them knowing the Covenant of Justice and thereby offering a sweet savor. They shall be a blameless and true house in Israel, 'upholding the covenant of eternal statutes. They shall be an acceptable sacrifice, atoning for the land AND RINGING IN A VERDICT AGAINST EVIL, so that perversity ceases to exist." - Community Rule 1QS 8.1-10
"THREE priests (compare Galatians 2:9) and TWELVE laymen were apparently the leaders, and everyone had to respect them. They controlled the meetings at which every kind of business was discussed. Even then, order was rigidly kept. Everyone could speak, but only in order of rank, and only when called upon. No one could interrupt. The rules of conduct set a penance of ten days for anyone who did interrupt. Other offenses drew heavier punishments: thirty days' penance for foolish laughter, or for sleeping during the meeting: six months for deception, bearing malice, or going about indecently dressed. Disobedience to the Community could result in expulsion; so too would the greater offense of speaking the holy name of God, even by accident." - Alan Millard, Discoveries From the Time of Jesus
"In the future the charter [Charter of a Jewish Sectarian Association (Community Rule)] anticipates a 'gracious visitation' of God. THEN ADHERENTS WILL ENTER INTO THE DAY OF VENGEANCE, AND THIS WORLD'S POWER STRUCTURES WILL BE OVERTURNED: the last shall be first and the first, last. Those who enter the Yahad of God can anticipate long life, bountiful peace, multiple progeny, and eventually life everlasting." - Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr., and Edward Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation (1996) p. 125
"...Israel's eventual acceptance in toto of the rules of the order is described as an 'atonement for wickedness and wrongdoing...a voluntary (offering)...better than the flesh of (animal-) offerings and the fat-portions of sacrifices, (as) an offering [teruman] of lips for judgment, as the sweet-smelling incense of righteousness, (as) perfection of the (righteous) way akin to free-will afternoon (animal) sacrifice'." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 73
"This structure and function of the community WERE TO CONTINUE UNTIL THE TIME OF THE RENEWAL (lQS 4), when the eschatological prophet would come, together with the messiahs of Aaron and Israel, who are the priestly and royal rulers, respectively. The chiefs of Israel will be assembled before him, and the heads of all the families of the congregation according to rank (Understand Joel 2:15-18). The climax of this consummation (which was probably performed as an anticipatory ritual) will be the table where bread and wine will be set out. The priest (Messiah of Aaron) will bless the wine first; then the Messiah of Israel, to which the congregation responds by uttering a blessing." - Howard C. Kee, "Membership in the Covenant People at Qumran and in the Teaching of Jesus" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (James H. Charlesworth, Ed. - 1992), p. 110
The Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, also found at Masada, was a paean to the heavenly counterpart of animal sacrifice in an attempt to spiritualize a cruel and bloody act. The Manual of Discipline elevates itself above the practice altogether. (Understand the Book of Hebrews, chapters 5 to 10).
"Without arguments based on good internal evidence, it makes little sense to associate the hundreds of texts not bearing the Yahad term with this proposed single group, simply because they were all found together in the Qumran caves. And as it happens, there is no mention of Yahad in the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, nor any other terminology leading logically to the conclusion that the work was written by an Essene, or a member of the Yahad group or groups." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 294
Footprints of the Teacher
"From pertinent hints and suggestions in both the Pesher and the Covenant, it appears that the Teacher began his oppositional career by preaching against the Jerusalem establishment, whom he accused of deceit, graft, exploitation of the poor, and failure to understand the true meaning of the prophetic writings. As the Pesher indicates, he was eventually banished from the capital; in the end, as we learn from the Covenant, he made his way to the Damascus region in the company of some or all of his followers, who - either there or upon returning to Judea - gathered the Teacher's literary remains and enlarged exegetically upon them. These followers, along with others, would carry on the salient features of his teachings - abhorrence of priestly corruption, protection of the poor, AND EMPHASIS ON THE SEARCH FOR THE TRUE MEANING OF THE TORAH AND PROPHETS. These ideas were transformed into spiritual ideals within the framework of the concept of purity-holiness. The new conceptual structure was then developed and given literary life by a group of relatively sophisticated religious thinkers who eventually recorded their doctrines and practices in works such as the Manual of Discipline." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) pp. 91-92
"Among the terms by which the Qumran community [Yahad] referred to themselves was 'Keepers of the Covenant', which appears in the original Hebrew as 'Nozrei ha-Brit'. From this term derives the word 'Nozrim', one of the earliest Hebrew designations for the sect subsequently known as 'Christians'. The modern Arabic word for Christians, 'Nasrani', derives from the same source. So, too, does the word 'Narorean', or 'Nazarene', which, of course, was the name by which the 'early Christians' referred to themselves in both the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles." - Baigent and Leigh, The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception
"As in the Manual and Covenant, the priests and Levites play a prominent role in the community, but no mention is made of purity practices, the collection of communal funds, or the spiritually defiling nature of wealth; and the role of study that figured to prominently in the third part of the Manual is reduced in the Messianic Rule to a relatively formal period of ten years." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) pp. 73, 92-93
"The Master shall teach the saints ['Holy Ones'] to live according to the Book of the Community Rule..." - Community Rule 1QS 1.1
"I must take a present of money to the saints in Jerusalem." - Paul in Romans 15:25 The Greek word Essene could also be interpreted as "Saint".
"...It is crucial to note that while the Unity-brethren of the Manual are reminiscent in many respects of the Essenes as described by Philo and Josephus - particularly of marrying Essenes - many of the two groups' common features are shared, in turn, with the Haburah (or 'friendship') groups of early rabbinic times, described in texts of the second century A.D."
"By the time of the rise of the scholar-class to juridical hegemony toward the end of the first century A.D., they apparently no longer possessed the same broad social ideas characterizing the authors of the Manual, but rather maintained essential features of the older purity mystique in attenuated form. The members no longer called themselves 'men of the Unity', but 'Friends', Haberim, and the group to which observers in any one place belonged was not termed a Yahad or 'Unity' but a Haburah group." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 76
(4) The Acts of the Torah
Dissident Sadducees? The Acts of the Torah "was pierced together from fragments of six different manuscripts found in Qumran Cave 4." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 178
"And indeed, we have written to you some of the rulings pertaining to the Torah which we considered were good for you and your people, for [we have seen] that you have wisdom and knowledge of the Torah. Understand all these [matters] and seek from Him that He correct your counsel and distance from you evil thoughts and the counsel of Belial, in order that you shall rejoice in the end when you find some of our words correct. And let it be considered right for you, and lead you to do righteousness and good, and may it be for your benefit, and for that of Israel." - Acts of the Torah Acts of the Torah 4QMMT:4Q394-399 C26-32
"It appears that this letter was written to the head of the Jerusalem establishment, the high priest....In the letter, the ruler is admonished to take care lest he go the way of the kings of First Temple times. Such a warning could be addressed only to a figure who could identify, because of his own station in life, with the ancient kings of biblical Israel." - Lawrence H. Schiffman, "Origin and Early History of the Qumran Sect"
The Acts of the Torah was a "literary epistle, such as those found for example in the apocrypha and the New Testament - not, to be sure, the original autograph, but rather fragments of scribal copies of it....The text named no personalities at all..." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) pp. 188, 189
"The priests were called the 'sons of Zadok' ([Community Rule] 1QS 5.2; cf. 9.14; [Damascus Document] CD 4.1; [Collection of Blessings] 1QSb 3.22), in deliberate contrast to the priests of the Hasmonean, Herodian and Roman periods, almost none of whom were descendants of Zadok." - Craig A. Evans, "Opposition to the Temple: Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (James H. Charlesworth, Ed. - 1992), p. 242
"The priests and the Levites and the sons of Zadok who have kept the courses of My sanctuary when the children of Israel strayed from Me, they shall bring Me fat and blood." - Ezekiel 44:15
"...Some other scrolls, such as the Rules of the Congregation (1QSa), the Benedictions (1QSb), and the group of blessings known as 4Q Berakhot, are perhaps allied with the brotherhood trend reflected in the Manual. Joseph Baumgarten [Journal of Jewish Studies 43 (1992), pp. 268-276] has shown that texts from Cave 4 related to the Manual of Discipline of Cave 1 in fact reflect numerous differences with it in the specific area of punishments for infraction of the group's rule..."
"A few show particular concern for a 'Teacher of Righteousness' - perhaps the same as the one connected with the migration to Damascus. The radicalizing tendencies of the Manual of Discipline are, however, once again absent from this group, which includes, in addition to the pesher of Hosea shown in America, those on Habakkuk, Isaiah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Psalms, and possibly Micah, as well as some other prophetic writings. The War Scroll belongs tangentially to this group of texts. Closely associated with them are the Florilegium and the Testimonia of Cave 4, each of which, as the pesharim to Isaiah and Habakkuk, mentions a 'Council of the Community.'" - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) pp. 211, 364-365
"It is writ[ten in the Book of Moses that you should no]t bring abomination t[o your house, for] abomination is hateful [...]. We have separated from the majority of the na[tion and have refrained] from intermingling with these matters or from entering [...] as concerns them." - Acts of the Torah 4QMMT:4Q394-399 C6-8
"The writer of the Acts of the Torah states in the course of his epistle that 'We have separated form the majority of the na[tion]' as a result of the specific differences in ritual practice that he lists. the Hebrew term which he uses for 'we have separated' - parashnu - shares its root with the term that has come down to us as Pharisees (Hebrew, perushim), meaning 'separatists'."
"The language...is closer to
that used by the Pharisees' heirs, i.e., the Tannaim or earliest rabbis, in
their first known legal writings, the Mishanah and Tosephta (second century
A.D.)....The author is the Acts of Torah...uses no direct designation whatsoever,
only alluding to the Deity or referring to Him by the oblique 'He' or 'Him'
- a form of pietism also occurring in early rabbinic literature, but unknown
in the heterodox Yahad texts or in other literature found in the Qumran caves."
"Virtually all the laws of the Acts of the Torah are unique to that text, and not known from the other Qumran scrolls. Only one of the twenty laws can demonstrably be shown to be Sadducean per se....The Pharisees themselves were not a monolithic bloc, but were divided into schools and groups whose varying and contradictory opinions were often recorded in the early rabbinic texts." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) pp. 195, 204
"The dissidents, sons of Zadok,
"were called bene sadok. In modern terminology, they are called Zadokites..."
- Holger Kersten & Elmar R. Gruber, The Jesus Conspiracy - The Turin Shroud & The Truth About the Resurrection (1992)
"...These Sons of Zadok would wear white linen garments when they entered the inner court [of the Temple] (Revelation 7:13-17). They could not shave their heads nor allow their hair to grow very long, they could not drink wine before entering the inner court (Leviticus 10:9; Isaiah 5), they had to marry a virgin of Israelite birth and they must teach people the difference between clean and unclean. The list of requirements went on and included that they should not have personal processions nor come into contact with the dead." - Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
"The author of the Acts of Torah calls the Pentateuch by the title 'Book of Moses', an expression otherwise unheard of in any of the scrolls. The other writings which he especially reveres are the prophetic books and (the writing or Book of) David, apparently a designation of Psalms. He makes a special point of referring to the blessing that were David's and Solomon's; he states that David, as some later Israelite Kings, was forgiven by the Lord for his sins. This is of course a startling assertion in view of the many acts of a wicked nature attributed to David in Second Samuel - descriptions that contrast egregiously with the picture of a pious and God-fearing David that emerges form those psalms attributed to him. The author sought to harmonize the conflicting portraits by suggesting that David's sins were forgiven in view of his overall piety and pursuit of Torah - precisely as did the early rabbis when faced with this probem." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 198
"And we recognize that some of the blessings and curses which are written in the B[ook of Mo]ses have come to pass, and that this is the End of Days [aharit hayamim] when they will repent in Isra[el] for[ever...] and they will not backsli[de]. The wicked will then be jud[ged w]icked." - Acts of the Torah 4QMMT:4Q394-399 C20-22
"Here the authors reveal their
belief that they are currently living on the verge of the End of Days, a notion
that later became normative in Qumran messianic thought [presuming the Acts
predates the Damascus Document]. It is also clear that they considered their
own age the period foretold by the Bible as the final repentance of Israel.
"In light of these beliefs, the authors exhort the addressee (singular) TO RECALL THE EVENTS SURROUNDING THE REIGNS OF ISRAEL'S KINGS, to examine their deeds, and to note that those who observed the laws of the Torah were spared misfortune, their transgressions forgiven." - Lawrence H. Schiffman, "Origin and Early History of the Qumran Sect"
"The author exhorts the recipient
of his epistle to seek the Lord's guidance so that he might eventually find
bliss 'at the End of the Season' [aharit ha'et]."
"According to the views of man's fate that Josephus attributes to the major 'philosophies' of the Jews, the idea expressed here conformed most with that of the Pharisees, lies with that attributed to the Essenes, and least with that of the Sadducees." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 198
The Pharisees "believe that souls have an immortal rigor in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments, according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life; and the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but that the former shall have power to revive and live again...But the doctrine of the Sadducees is this: That souls die with the bodies; nor do they regard the observation of any thing besides what the law enjoins them..." - Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Bk XVIII, I, Sns 2, 3
A Spiritual Temple
"The community of holy men at Qumran, who offered their whole existence as a kind of sacrifice to God, attempted to fulfill the function of the Jerusalem Temple by making 'atonement for the land' ([Community Rule] 1QS 8.6, 10). They believed that God would accept their obedience to the law and their prayers like incense and the fat of sacrifices (lQS 9.3-6). THEREFORE THE COMMUNITY UNDERSTOOD ITSELF AS A HOLY HOUSE FOR ISRAEL AND AS THE FOUNDATION OF A HOLY OF HOLIES FOR AARON (lQS 8.5-6). This holy house and living sanctuary was eschatologically significant. It could neither be destroyed nor shaken in the coming catastrophe of judgment; its walls and foundations will not move from their place (lQS 8.7-8). And God was being praised as the builder of a city on the rock that cannot be swallowed by the gates of hell ([Thanksgiving Psalm] lQH 6.24-29).
Thus the famous oracle in Isaiah 28:16-17 was thought to be fulfilled in the Qumran community. "The fragmentary text of 4QFlorilegium seems to promise a spiritual sanctuary for the messianic age. There the 2 Samuel 7 oracle, announced by the prophet Nathan to King David, is quoted, combined with other biblical passages, and related to the end of days. God will establish a sanctuary (cf. Ex 15:17-18 in line 3) which no strangers, such as Moabites or Ammonites will enter (see Deut 23:3 in line 4); only holy ones are there. This sanctuary will never be destroyed, unlike the first Temple, which fell because of the sins of Israel (line 5). God had commanded 'to build for him a sanctuary of men (miqdas 'adam) so that they will offer him words of the law as incense before him' (line 6).....This promise is preceded by an exegesis of 2 Samuel 7:10 ('I will appoint a place for my people Israel... and wicked men shall not afflict it any more') and by the quotation of Exodus 15:17-18 ('The sanctuary, 0 Lord, Thy hands establish')." - Otto Betz, "Jesus and the Temple Scroll" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (James H. Charlesworth, Ed. - 1992), p. 95
A similar hope of reform is expressed in the last book in the Old Testament. When the Lord comes he will "purge the worship of Israel. He will purify the sons of Levi till they present right offerings to the Lord." - Malachi 3:3
"Yadin (The Temple scroll: The Hidden Law of the Dead Sea Sect (London, 1985) p. 113) showed that the Temple of 11QTemple has some similarities with that of Ezekiel 40-48, but also striking differences. The same holds true for the description of Solomon's Temple given by Josephus (Ant 8.61ff), according to which it contains three concentric square courts like the Temple of 11QTemple (ibid., pp. 167-69)." - Otto Betz, "Jesus and the Temple Scroll" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (James H. Charlesworth, Ed. - 1992), p. 103
The Temple Scroll "contained abundant laws - clearly of a theoretical nature and written by an apocalpyticist - that, while resembling those of the Essenes in a few details, also resembled those of other ancient Jewish groups in additional ones. The majority of the laws could not in fact be traced to any known Jewish group of antiquity." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 202
(5) The Copper Scroll
The Copper Scroll was discovered in Cave 3 in March 1955 and was a genuine autograph text rather than a copy of an original. "The 'Copper Scroll' lists huge amounts of gold, silver precious objects and at least twenty-four scrolls within the Temple. Directions are given to sixty-one different caches; the following are typical of listings:" - Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
Examples of the caches include: "In
the cistern which is nineteen cubits in front of the eastern gateway, in it
are vessels, and in the hollow that is in it: ten talents. "In the Court
of [?]..., nine cubits under the southern corner: god and silver vessels for
tithe, sprinkling basins, cups, sacrificial bowls, libation vessels, in all
six hundred and nine."
"In the inner chamber of the twin pillars supporting the arch of the double gate, facing east, in the entrance, buried at three cubits, hidden there is a pitcher, in it, one scroll, under it forty-two talents. - Copper Scroll 3Q15 2.7-9, 3.1-3, 6.1-4
"Remarkably, the pattern of clauses in the Copper Scroll formulary finds precise parallels in Greek temple inventories from the Isle of Delos. These texts, most of which date between 180 and 90 B.C.E., were records kept by the priests of the island's temple of Apollo. They detail large numbers of votive objects brought to the temple, including crowns, jugs, earrings, and coins....Copper was used for the safekeeping of nonliterary records, Roman public laws, and even the private discharge papers of Roman military veterans. More to the point, copper and bronze were common media of choice for the archival records of temples in the Roman period." - Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr., and Edward Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation (1996) pp. 189-190
Thus the Copper Scroll appears to be an official Temple document and gives 64 different locations for treasures from the Temple in Jerusalem. If the Copper Scroll with its Greek loan words, is of 1st century origin, it may be the actual inventory of treasures which were hidden before the destruction of of the Temple in 70 C.E. and lost ever since. "John Allegro's interpretation of the 'Copper Scroll' indicated that there was at least one other copy, deposited in the Temple itself:" - Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
"In the Pit (Shith) adjoining on the north, in a hole opening northwards, and buried at its mouth; a copy of this document, with an explanation and their measurements, and an inventory of each thing, and other things." - Copper Scroll 3Q15 11.10-13
"...In at least eight passages,
writings are mentioned as being buried adjacent to the treasures. "One
of the most notable such passages is the statement (first seven lines in column
7) that one is to dig at the northern opening of the 'Cave of the Pillar', three
cubits downward, where an amphora containing a scroll (Hebrew, sefer) is to
be found, and, underneath it, forty-two silver talents. Strikingly, this passage
follows another to the effect that thirty-two talents have been hidden in a
tomb located at the 'Brook of the Dome...as (one) comes from Jericho [seven
miles from Qumran] to Sekhakha'."
"Yet more notable is the statement at the beginning of column 8 that scrolls (sefarin,, plural), have been hidden along with ritual vessels at an aqueduct, also apparently located near Jericho. Other 'writings' (Hebrew, ketab; plural, ketabin) are mentioned as being placed near hidden treasures in at least five other passages of the scroll. These may have been documentary records specifying the various treasures placed near them, just as the Copper Scroll itself is designated as a ketab - not a sefer - at the end of the final column...These facts are...readily explainable on the basis of movements of the hides from the capital eastward to several areas of the Judean Wilderness: first, to locations near Jericho; then, as the Roman buildup there proceeded in the months prior to the onset of the siege on the capital, to caves south of the Wadi Mukallik (Caves 3, 11, 1, and 2); and eventually, those near Wadi Qumran, lying yet farther to the south, i.e., Caves 4 though 10." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) pp. 126, 127
Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed among my treasures?...(Deuteronomy 32:34).
"The amount of the described treasures is colossal: 26 tons of gold, 65 tons of silver, precious vases, instruments for worshipping, sacerdotal clothing...However, the excavations that have been carried out at that epoch in accordance with the instructions of the Scroll, never unearthed anything." - "Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls" - Netmagazine
"The Romans pursued a definite policy to retrieve treasure hoards that the citizens of Jerusalem had secreted during the siege. As always, the key to their recovery lay WITH THE INTERROGATION OF PRISONERS. One such, Phineas, was an official treasurer of the Temple. The historian [Josephus] tells us that this man delivered up to the Romans 'the tunics and girdles worn by the priests...along with a mass of cinnamon and cassia and a multitude of other spices...many other treasures also were delivered up by him, with numerous sacred ornaments' (War 6.390-91). Phineas led the Romans to hidden treasures from the Temple-perhaps including some that were listed in the Copper Scroll. A second passage of Josephus's War notes that as a result of the recovery and subsequent release of loot by the Romans, the standard of gold throughout Syria fell to half its previous value. The spoils of war were that enormous, the rape of Judea that complete. (Always be aware of what Jerusalem Josephus is referring to. There is that city in the East, and then there is JERUSALEM) "The probability that significant portions of treasure could escape the Romans' search techniques is minimal." - Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr., and Edward Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation (1996) pp. 190-191
"In reading the Copper Scroll I am struck by the complete absence of any Herodian Era placenames. Instead, we see sites prominent in the Hasmonean Era such as the district of Kohalith where Jannaeus conquered sixty villages, the fortress Dok (Dagon near Jericho), and the 'domicile of the queen' (probably the palace of Queen Salome in the vicinity of Jericho). Significantly, all the locations mentioned in the Copper Scroll fall neatly within the boundaries of Judea during the time of Alexander Jannaeus and shortly thereafter. To my mind this suggests a hiding of treasures in the wake of the exile from Jerusalem of the (arguably Sadducean) allies of Jannaeus during the time of Salome and Hyrkanus. We also have reference to a 'garden of Zadok' near Jerusalem, suggesting a special reverence of Zadok by the group responsible for hiding the Copper Scroll treasures. May this not also point to the Sadducees? - Robert D. Leonard Jr. (Orion)
The Legacy of the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Messianic Movement
Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls foretold
the immanent coming of a Messiah to restore the kingdom of God to his people.
"The Heavens and the earth
will obey His Messiah, the sea and all that is in them. He will not turn aside
from the commandment of the Holy Ones. Take strength in His mighty work, all
you who seek the Lord. Will you not find the Lord in this, all you who wait
(for Him) with hope in your hearts? Surely the Lord will seek out the pious
[Hassidim], and will call the righteous by name. His Spirit will hover over
the poor; by His might will He restore the faithful. He will glorify the pious
on the throne of the eternal Kingdom. He will release the captives, make the
blind see, raise up the downtrodden. Forever I will cleave to Him against the
powerful, and I will trust in His lovingkindness and in His goodness forever.
His holy Messiah will not be slow in coming. And as for the wonders that are
not the work of the Lord, when He, (Messiah), comes then He will heal the sick,
resurrect the dead, and to the poor announce glad tidings. [...He will lead
the Holy Ones, He will shepherd them. He will do...and all of it ...]"
- The Messiah of Heaven and Earth 4Q521 Frag. 2 + Frag. 4 2.1-14
"Both the Gospels and this scroll
presuppose that during the age of the messiah, the dead will be resurrected,
either by God himself or through his messianic agent. Yet nowhere in the Old
Testament do we read of this belief."
- Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr., and Edward Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation (1996) p. 420
(Note the Old Testment does mention the resurrection of the dead [i.e., Job 14:10-15, Isaiah 26:19 and Dan. 12:2-3] but not in the specific context of the "age of the messiah". See also 2 Maccabees 7:14, 23.)
"It is for these reasons that we felt it more appropriate to refer to the movement we have before us as 'the Messianic" one, and its literature as the literature of 'the Messianic Movement' in Palestine. In so far as this literature resembles Essenism, it can be called Essene; Zealotism, Zealot, Saddaceeism, Sadducee, Jewish Christianity - whatever might be meant by this - Jewish Christian." - Robert Eisman and Michael Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered
Verses from the Pseudepigrapha also express expectation that the Levite priesthood would be restored in the Temple. See the Testament of Levi 18:1-14.
End of Days
"And we recognize that some of the blessings and curses which are written in the B[ook of Mo]ses have come to pass, and that this is the End of Days when they will repent in Isra[el] for[ever] and they will not backsli[de]." - Halakhic Letter C20-22
"Here the authors reveal their belief that they are currently living on the verge of the End of Days, a notion that later became normative in Qumran [Judaic] messianic thought. It is also clear that they considered their own age the period foretold by the Bible as the final repentance of Israel." - Lawrence H. Schiffman, "Origin and Early History of the Qumran Sect"
The Teacher of Righteousness and the End of Days
The Exhortation that begins the Damascus Document of the Dead Sea Scrolls prefaces the theology of the Qumran community. Namely, it explains how God leaves the Temple and sends the Babylonians to punish those who have polluted the Sanctuary and abandoned the Temple. However, God leaves a remnant who will one day return to the land of Israel once the people learn to correctly follow Mosaic Law. But the true mark of Gods benevolence is in the guide he sends: "And God observed their deeds, that they sought Him with a whole heart, and He raised for them a Teacher of Righteousness to guide them in the way of his heart."1 Here, God raises this Teacher from the remnant of Israel and makes him a guide for the people. For the Teacher must not only guide the remnant through the desert, but he must show it the path of Righteousness to bring about the end of days: the end of days comes with proper ordering of society and return of Israel to her rightful descendants. But who is this Teacher of Righteousness? He is a prophet with God-given ability to interpret the Law. In this paper, I will try to provide a basic description of the Teacher by looking at references to him in the Scrolls and by paying close attention to the Pesherim and Hodayot. I will then explore the nature of his apocalypticism. I hope that by progressing in this manner I will shed light on the nature of this elusive character, the Teacher of Righteousness.
References to the Teacher in the Dead Sea Scrolls
As E.P. Sanders begins his quest for the historical Jesus,2 he explains that the best place to begin is with the facts. Likewise, as we try to understand the Teacher of Righteousness (T of R), it is preferable to begin with what we know about the Teacher from the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves. Authors of the scrolls know the Teacher as Teacher, Teacher of the Community, Teacher of Righteousness,3 Interpreter, Interpreter of the Law,4 Priest,5 The Priest.6 He is never explicitly referred to as prophet, but descriptions, context, and tradition lead one to believe that the Teacher is in fact a prophet. The Damascus Document (CD), the Commentary on Micah, the Commentary on Habakkuk, and the Commentary on Psalms use the titles Teacher, Teacher of the Community, and Teacher of Righteousness. From such passages, we learn that the Teacher is the founder of the community7 and that the present generation of the community looks to him as an historical authority. In all of these references, the Teacher, Teacher of the Community, and Teacher of Righteousness is a figure divinely chosen to expound the Law and set Community members on the righteous path for the end of days.8 His words help prepare for the end:
Who have listened to the voice of the Teacher of Righteousness and have not despised the precepts of righteousness when they heard them; they shall rejoice and their hearts shall be strong, and they shall prevail over all the sons of the earth. God will forgive them and they shall see His salvation because they took refuge in His holy name. (CD XIII, 30-5)
Here, the Teacher of Righteousness is one who dispels the precepts of righteousness which one must follow in order to reach salvation. God speaks through the Teacher so that those listening to the Teacher follow Gods words and receive His salvation. Moreover, the Teacher speaks Gods words when he interprets divine scripture; the DSS knows the Teacher as Interpreter of the Law in documents such as The Community Rule, the Damascus Document, the Commentary on Habakkuk, and Midrash on the Last Days. The fact that the Teacher is the authority on the Law reflects his role in the community because the Law is pivotal to the Community. In the Thanksgiving Hymns, for instance, the Teacher refers to himself as having the waters of the Covenant confirmed in his heart for those who seek it, for God has hidden Thy Law [within (him)].9 In this passage, the Teacher of Righteousness not only knows the Law, but his knowledge of the Law is given to him by God. As in Numbers 12:6-8 when Moses receives the Law mouth to mouth from God, the Teacher also receives the law from the mouth of God in 1 Qp Hab II 2-3. The community respects the T of Rs legal understanding and uses his interpretations for redemption:
But all those who hold fast to these precepts and coming in accordance with the Law, who heed the voice of the Teacher and confess before God, saying, Truly we have sinned... by walking counter to the precepts of the covenant...; they shall rejoice and their hearts shall be strong. (CD 28-30)
Here, members of the CD Community that listen to the T of R and follow his teachings will rejoice in the eschaton. Lastly, the teacher is referred to explicitly as a priest in the pesher on Ps 37:23-24. These references to the Teacher in the DSS as a Teacher of Righteousness, an Interpreter of the Law, and a Priest paint the most general, most undeniable portrait of the Teacher.
Pesherim: Interpretations of the Law
The pesherim10 are interpretations of written prophetic texts that can be understood as unraveling of mysteries.11 J. Carmignac broke the pesherim into two categories: continuous, which interpret a single book section by section, and thematic, which consist of certain citations grouped around a thematic idea.12 Both of these forms of pesherim are characterized by raz, a term taken from the notion of the ancient prophets being introduced in their visions into the heavenly assembly of special knowledge.13 However, the pesherim take the idea of divine prophetic revelation a step further, because they claim to contain the mystery of things hidden even to the prophets themselves who wrote the words now interpreted. Horgan points to 1 QpHab 7:4-5 as an example of this: and God told Habakkuk to write down that which would happen to the final generation, but He did not make known to him when time would come to an end. And as for that which He said, That he who reads may read it speedily: interpreted this concerns the Teacher of Righteousness, to whom God made known all the mysteries of the words of His servants the Prophets.
In this pesher, the Teacher understands what is to come because God allows him to unravel the mystery of Habakkuks prophecy; namely that within the words, God buries his plans for the founding of the community, the rise of the Teacher, and the end of days. Once God gives the Teacher prophetic understanding, the Teacher unravels the mystery in scripture and he uses that new knowledge to create rules which will regulate the Community. In this manner, the entire Community order, every rule, every hierarchical position, is governed by the Teachers interpretation of scripture in anticipation for the end of days.
Moreover, because the Teacher is the Interpreter of the Law, the pesherim provide additional insight into the Teacher. That is, these pesherim are the Teachers mode of divine revelation via interpretation of scripture. By carefully examining how the Teacher interprets scripture, one can learn even more about the figure. For instance, in the Commentary on Habakkuk: [Behold the nations and see, marvel and be astonished; for I accomplish a deed in your days, but you will not believe it when] told. They, the men of violence and the breakers of the Covenant, will not believe when they hear all that [is to happen to] the final generation from the Priest [in whose heart] God set [understanding] that he might interpret all the words of His servants the Prophets, through whom He foretold all that would happen to his people and [His land]. (1QpHab II, 5-10)
In the passage, the Teacher is a priest who has the divine power to interpret Scripture, namely the Prophetic Books. Moreover, the Teacher prefers the Prophets because God imparted them with the knowledge of what is to come in the generation of the Teacher. The Teacher is given knowledge by God to understand these prophets so he can likewise teach the people righteousness and prevent their destruction at the end of days. This passage reveals much about the Communitys theology of prophecy. The Teacher was chosen long ago by God to prepare the remnant for the end of days; the prophets were likewise sent generations ago to prepare for this event.14 When the Teacher interprets the Law, he is more similar to the biblical Prophets in his mode of revelation than a scribe or a midrashic rabbi. Unlike the rabbis, the Teacher does not rely on the peshat or derash. His interpretations are more than mere allegories of text, but at the same time, they are not visions as the ancient prophets experienced them. Additionally, the Teacher is different from other exegetes because he does not merely apply scripture to his situation, but rather claims that scripture is written with him in mind. Based on the manner in which he interprets scripture, we can generalize that the Teacher is similar to the prophets, but also unique in his own right.
By examining stylistic features such as use of the first person pronoun, content, and linguistic uniformity, three German scholars derived a criteria that distinguishes hymns written by the Teacher from those written by the community at a later date. Gert Jeremias, Jurgen Becker, and Heinz-Wolfgang Kuhn18 individually note the following: that in many of the hymns, the use of I speaks passionately about personal experiences; that these hymns often deal with individual accounts of dire need or use the motif of the mediator of revelation;19 and that these hymns are historical and specific, rather than theological and general, with regard to language. These scholars then designated such hymns as written by the Teacher of Righteousness himself; they are Teacher hymns as opposed to Community hymns or didactic hymns. But such an explanation cries out for an example. Take the following passage:
They have banished me from my land
like a bird from its nest;
all my friends and brethren are driven far from me
and hold me for a broken vessel.
And they, teachers of lies and seers of falsehood,
have schemed against me a devilish scheme,
to exchange the Law engraved on my heart by Thee
for the smooth things (which they speak) to Thy people.
And they withhold from the thirsty the drink of Knowledge, and assuage their thirst with vinegar,
that they may gaze on their straying,
on their folly concerning feast-days,
on their fall into their snares.
(1 QH IV, 7-12)
In contrast to teachers of lies and seers of falsehood, the Teacher is a teacher of truth and a seer of righteousness. The Teachers truth, which is engraved on his heart by God, is emphasized by the fact that those who are able to receive knowledge do so by drinking it. The reader also learns about the concerns of the Teacher from his final charge against the teachers of lies: the author of the hymn worries about the timing of the feasts.20 For the following reasons, this passage fulfills the description of the typical Teacher hymn as set out by Jeremias, Becker, and Kuhn: 1. the Teacher uses the first person to relay his personal situation; 2. the Teacher, who is set apart because God engraved truth in his heart, is full of woe; 3. the Teacher uses specifics, such as his calendar concerns, that do not speak to the general problems of mankind. Because this hymn is so personal, so moving, and so specific, it does not seem likely that it could have been written by anyone other than the Teacher.21 Moreover, once we recognize the components of this hymn as characteristic of the Teacher, we get a better sense of his agenda and how he views himself. Based on the facts of the hymn, God grants the Teacher divine understanding of the Law for the imparting of this Law to those thirsty for righteousness.
The Teacher is not the Lawgiver, but rather the Interpreter of the Law. Instead of creating his own law, the Teacher uses his divine power to understand biblical scripture...The fact that the Teacher is not the author of the Temple Scroll makes it easier to understand how the Teacher does not write the Law for the end of days, but that another figure is to come.
Who is the Teacher of Righteousness? Who is this son of man?
Difficulties arise when one tries to describe the Teacher of Righteousness; however, the complexity that most affects the description deals with whether to place the figure in the past or in the future. Many point to this ambiguity in a midrash of Num 21:18 that is in the Damascus Document.26 Unlike other passages in the same document, the figure mentioned here is in the future.
The well is the Law, and those who dug it were the converts of Israel who went out of the land of Judah to sojourn in the land of Damascus....The Staff is the Interpreter of the Law of whom Isaiah said, He makes a tool for His work; and the nobles of the peoples are those who come to dig the well with the staffs with which the staff ordained that they should walk in all age of wickedness- and without them they shall find nothing- until he comes who shall teach righteousness at the end of days. (CD, VI)
Here, confusion arises because the titles Interpreter of the Law and Teacher of Righteousness are interchangeable.27 The Teacher must have a role in both the past and the future: he is a figure of the communitys past as its founder and writer of its law. But, the law he writes is pertinent to the eschaton, for by following this law as divinely interpreted by the Teacher, community members can bring about the endtime. This dual nature of the Teacher, however, should not be overexaggerated. The Teacher himself is in no way a messianic figure. He will not return at the endtime, but he does anticipate the arrival of his eschatological counterpart.28 It should also be made clear in the initial stages of this inquiry what the Teacher of Righteousness is not: he is not John the Baptist, he is not Jesus Christ (think of Paul..Galatians 1:15,16...See the chapter entitled Elisha ben Abuyah), and we cannot attribute a specific, personal name to him.29 But, the reader can paint a general portrait of the Teacher. Based on the way the Teacher interprets the Law in the Pesherim and the way he describes his experiences in the Hodayot, it seems that he is priest who writes divinely inspired interpretations of the Law. He is a figure in the past who prepares his community for the imminent end.
The Teacher as the Communitys Founder
The passage mentioned earlier offers several assumptions about the historical Teacher: The well is the Law, and those who dug it were converts of Israel who went out of the land of Judah to sojourn in the land of Damascus...The Staff is the Interpreter of the Law of whom Isaiah said, He makes a tool for His work.... (CD, VI) This offers possibilities for the identity of the Teacher by putting the Teacher in the context of his own Community. Here, it can be assumed that the founding of the Community has a great deal to do with the Law itself; the founders left Judah and went into Damascus for this "well," the Law. The metaphor of the well as the Law is powerful: the well offers essential water that cannot be found in Judah. Ironically, the water is found in the desert. Of further irony is that even though the converts themselves dig this well in Damascus, they are still not able to find the well, the Law. Only the Staff, the Interpreter of the Law, finds the water. We now have a full picture of the Teacher: the Teacher helps found a community that left Judah because the Law is not able to exist there. The Teacher interprets the Law for the community, thus making it drinkable. Here, the reader is offered a number of roles for the Teacher. In this section, I will build on this portrait. I will explain how the Teacher and the community see the Teacher as a priest and a prophet who experiences revelation in the mode of divine interpretation of Law.
Teacher as Priest
The evidence clearly shows that the T of R is a priest: this is explicit in textual evidence and suggested contextually based on the T of Rs concerns. For instance, in the pesher on Ps 37:23-24 (4QpPs 1-10 iii 15): The steps of the man are confirmed by the Lord and He delights in all his ways; though [he stumbles, he shall not fall, for the Lord shall support his hand] (23-4). Interpreted, this concerns the Priest, the Teacher [of Righteousness] whom God chose to stand before Him, for He established him to build for Himself the congregation of (Israel) (Understand Zechariah, chapter 3...KJV)...
Here, the Teacher is a priest who establishes the Community based on the will of God: the priest is chosen by God. As a priest, the Teacher is concerned with purity and the proper ordering of the Temple. Moreover, he behaves as a priest when the reader sees him on a more personal level. This is evident throughout the Thanksgiving Hymns, many of which can be typed as introspective confessions in the style of the priest-prophet Jeremiah. It is also clear that the Teacher is a priest based on the way priests are regarded throughout the Dead Sea Scrolls. Members of the Council of the Community (the elect of Israel) are known as sons of Zadok, the Priests; the Law of Moses has been revealed to these men.30 God raises these priests and they will be called by name at the end of days.31 The priests act as Gods counsel, so that the man who does not listen but acts arrogantly without obeying the priest who is posted there to minister before [God]...that man shall die.32 Clearly, the priests are the authority in the community. It is then logical to assume that the Teacher, as the eminent authority figure who most probably wrote this passage, would also be a priest. Although this piece of information helps the reader better understand the Teacher, it begs the question: how is the Teacher different from the other priests in the community? The next section addresses just that point.
The question has also been raised as to whether the Teacher was the High Priest of the Temple before escaping into the desert. On this question, scholars point to historical reconstruction and passages discussing the Teachers struggle with the Wicked Priest . Indirect evidence here leads many to conclude that the Teacher is a High Priest and that the Scrolls are primarily concerned with restoring a legitimate priest. However, this evidence is not conclusive. Based on the text, it is more reasonable to say that the Teacher struggles with the High Priest over purity rules, rather than for a power position or restoration of a legitimate High Priest. More likely, the T of R was at one time a prophet in the Temple who was not popular with Temple authority because of his views on contentious issues of the day; this authority most likely drove him into exile. The Teacher thus laments over the Temple because Temple authorities do not follow the purity laws as dictated by God through Moses...
The argument explaining why the Teacher was at one point High Priest of the Temple is based on speculation after speculation; it is historically implausible and it misunderstands the Teachers message. A better understanding of the Teacher can be achieved through the Scrolls. For instance, 1 QpHab 11:4-8 describes how the Wicked Priest pursues the Teacher to his place of exile and then attempts to disrupt his Day of Atonement. Of note, this passage shows that the Wicked Priest and the Teacher observe different calendars. It is unlikely that the Teacher was the High Priest if he was observing his own cultic calendar, because he would not have switched calendars in Qumran and Jonathan would not have introduced a new calendar in 152 BC.37 Moreover, there is no evidence in the text even to support that the Wicked Priest is not legitimate. The Teacher, however, repeatedly shows concerns over other issues of impurity. Notably, the Teacher names three types of impurity that profane the land: fornication, riches, and profanation of the Temple. Included among those things that profane the Temple are menstrual blood, incestuous relationships, and a breach of the Mosaic Covenant....This charismatic figure blames the Wicked Priest for polluting the Temple through the priests inappropriate behavior. In 1 QpHab 12:1-10, the Wicked Priest plots the destruction of the poor, commits abominable deeds, and defiles the Temple. Rather than planning an insurrection or attempt to overthrow the High Priest, the T of R condemns the Wicked Priest to an eschatological punishment. In this manner, the T of R fits the model of a prophet acting outside of the court.
Teacher as Prophet
Although the Teacher does not share many of the traits that the ancient prophets hold in common, he is clearly a prophet; his visions can be understood as a correct understanding or ordering of words through divine revelation of scripture. In this sense, the Teacher sees more. On the most basic level, the Teacher is unlike the other prophets because he does not have visions that come in the form of dream-like scenesHowever, a deeper understanding of the meaning of prophecy shows that the Teacher is similar to the biblical prophets. Otto Betz compares the Teachers divine revelation of scripture to Daniels interpretation of dreams and concludes that pesher and apocalypse are quite similar.39 Moreover, Betz notes that both the Teacher and Daniel use the term raz to help describe the mystery of their interpretations. A clear parallel can be seen when Daniel interprets the writings on the wall at Belshazzars feast.40 Here, only Daniel is able to interpret the writings of a supernatural author. Moreover, he dissects the inscription so as to give an interpretation based on each word, similar to the Teachers manner of interpreting the prophets.
The Teacher is similar to the other prophets both in his manner of interpretation and the reasons behind his revelation. In the following passage, the Teacher is similar to the prophets in a number of ways:
And they, teachers of lies and seers of falsehood,
have schemed against me a devilish scheme,
to exchange the Law engraved on my heart...
for the smooth things (which they speak) to Thy people.
And they withhold from the thirsty the drink of Knowledge, and assuage their thirst with vinegar...
(1 QH IV, 8-10)
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that brought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And many shall follow their pernicious ways: by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not...(2 Peter, chapter 2; The Book of Jude; Ezekiel 13).
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap unto themselves teachers, having itching ears...(2 Timothy 4:3; 1 Samuel 2:35; 3:11-14).
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they shall believe a lie...(2 Thessalonians 2:11,12).
Like the Staff, the Teacher is needed by those thirsty for knowledge. In this passage, we also see that the Teachers righteousness is not fully human; because the Law is engraved on his heart by God, his interpretation of the Law is a divine interpretation.41 God has given the Teacher the power to interpret all the words of his servants the prophets42 and then God feeds the Teacher His words by which to prophesy.43 Here, the relationship between God and the Teacher is inextricably close; like the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, the Teacher cannot escape his righteousness, despite the distress it causes him.44 Moreover, the Teacher is similar to the other prophets in his impetus for making the interpretations. Like Amos, Ezekiel, and Daniel, the Teacher writes at a time of serious social turmoil. He attempts to solve this turmoil by urging a new world order.
The Teachers Role in the End of Days
When the question concerning the identity of the Teacher of Righteousness was initially asked, the following passage was used as an example: The nobles of the peoples are those who come to dig the well with staffs with which the staff ordained that they should walk in all age of wickedness- and without them they shall find nothing- until he comes who shall teach righteousness at the end of days. (CD, VI)
The eschaton cannot take place until there is a proper ordering of Society in the World:45 namely, Jerusalem must be the religious capital of the world (Isaiah 7, 9, 11); Temple Worship must be correct; Israel must not be dominated by foreign oppressors; and society must have just ownership of land.46 Evidence throughout this paper seems to show that the Teacher of Righteousness extracts principles to regulate the Community as God aids him in interpreting scripture. Through these regulations, a proper order is established and the eschaton is realized.
But, the Teacher of Righteousness does not take part in the end of days himself. Instead, he prepares the way for the eschatological messiahs. He sets the standard for interpretation of scripture which the Priestly Messiah, who takes the Teachers place in interpretation of the Law, relies on at the end of days. (Our author seems to be a little mixed up here, and does not see the whole picture yet). The following passage will first help the reader understand the messianic expectation of the community:
The king is the congregation; and the bases of the statutes are the Books of the Prophets whose saying Israel despised. The star is the Interpreter of the Law who shall come to Damascus; as it is written, A star shall come forth out of Jacob and a scepter shall rise out of Israel (Num xxiv, 17). The scepter is the Prince of the whole congregation and when he comes he shall smite all the children of Seth (Num. xxiv, 17). [CD VII, 15-20]
Here, two messiahs emerge at the end of days: the Interpreter of the law, or Priest-Messiah, and the Prince of the whole congregation, the Davidic Messiah.47 These figures are also referred to throughout the DSS as the messiahs of Aaron and Israel. They are not equal counter-parts: the Priest-Messiah has precedence over the Davidic Messiah in all legal matters: As they teach him so shall he judge.48 This precedence can be seen in passages from the community rule; When the table has been prepared for eating, and the new wine for drinking, the Priest shall be the first to stretch out his hand to bless the first-fruits of the bread and new wine.49
Here, the Messiah of Aaron takes precedence because he is the eschatological high priest who teaches righteousness at the end of days.50 Although the Prince of the Congregation presides over the battle liturgy (1 QM XV, 4; XVI, 13; XVIII) and the eschatological banquet (1 QSa II, 12-21),51 the Messiah of Aaron is more important for understanding the Teacher of Righteousness because he is the one who continues the Teachers message. The arrival of the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel marks the eschatological turning point; once they arrive, the Messiah of Aaron interprets the Law.52 His legacy in the community is the basic interpretation of the Law that functions at the end of days.
Is the Teacher an Apocalyptic Figure?
An analysis of all the literature that has ever been regarded as apocalyptic was printed in Semeia 14 to show the extent and limits of the category apocalyptic literature. The following features were identified as common to apocalypses: a narrative framework that describes the revelation; the main means of revelation as visions and otherworldly visions; presence of an angel who interprets the vision; disclosure of a transcendent reality which is temporal (eschatological salvation); transcendent reality which is spatial (involves another, supernatural world).54 Based on these criteria, it would appear that the Teacher does not write apocalypses. That is, the T of R is not a visionary.55 Unlike many figures in apocalypses, he does not resort to using a pseudonym. Such a phenomenon can be explained based on the charismatic nature of the Teacher: the Teacher is able to rest on his own authority. Also, the Teacher bases his interpretations on older scripture which gives him greater authority. Rather than an apocalypse, it may be more accurate to say that the Qumran community is apocalyptic. According to John Collins in The Apocalyptic Genre, Qumran fits the criteria for apocalypticism as the ideology of a movement: it shares the conceptual framework of the genre and endorses a world view in which supernatural revelation, the heavenly world, and eschatological judgement play essential parts.
Summary and Conclusion
Although we cannot say a great deal concerning the Teacher of Righteousness in the Dead Sea Scrolls, we are able to paint a general portrait of this Teacher. Based on references to the Teacher throughout the Scrolls, we learn that he is a priest and the interpreter of the Law. Moreover, by reading the pesherim, or interpretations of the Law, and the Hodayot actually written by the Teacher, it becomes clear that the Teacher is a prophet whose mode of revelation is divine interpretation of scripture. Within this mold, the Teacher has a role in both the Communitys past and future: he is a figure of the Communitys past as its founder, but his interpretation of the Law helps order society in anticipation for the two Messiahs and the eschaton.
6 The Teacher is also referred to as the shepherd (1 Q11 VII, 20), anointed one (1 Q11 II, 12), and possibly as judge (1QpHab XIII, 2-3). But these references are not nearly as common as Teacher of Righteousness, Interpreter of the Law, or Priest.
7 CD VIII, 22 and 15 seem to regard the Teacher as the founder of the Community.
8 The Teacher of Righteousness is one to whom God made known all the mysteries of the words of His servants the Prophets (1QpHab VII, 16).
20 Unlike non-sectarian Judaism, the Qumran community used a calendar that was based on the sun. The calendar issue was a great point of dissension. Geza Vermes. The Dead Sea Scrolls in English. 43 I will expand on the issue when I discuss hypotheses on the identity of the TR.
21 Such criteria, although helpful, is not a recipe for deciding the authorship of hymns. For instance, Jeremias, Becker, and Kuhn do not indicate that this passage was written by the TR, although the author uses the first person pronoun, speaks of his woe, and seems to be a mediator of revelation:
For as a light from out of the darkness,
so wilt Thou enlighten me.
[Thou wilt bring healing to] my wound,
and marvelous might in place of my stumbling,
and everlasting space to my straitened soul. (1QH IX 25-30)
22 Michael Wise explains in The Temple Scroll and the Teacher of Righteousness that the Temple Scroll has similar eschatological expectations as those held by the CD community. He explains that the redactor of the TS was the T of R whom the community had been awaiting. Thus, two major theories concerning the authorship of the Temple Scroll seem to be these: first, the author can be identified as the T of R by examining how he uses I/Thou terminology and passages that are not based on scripture. Because this I-thou-they formulation comes from Exodus, the author of 11 Q Torah must consider his work to be similar to that of Exodus and he must consider himself to be a new Moses. Second, the author can be identified by using redaction criticism of the TS with regard to purity laws (cols. 45-50) and the Damascus Document.
The Temple Scroll and the Teacher of Righteousness, Mogliany 1989: Papers on the Dead Sea Scrolls Offered in Memory of Jean Carmignac. (Krakow, Enigma. 1991) 137
Wacholder claims that the same evidence that proves the T of R is the author of the TS also explains the authors purpose; namely, to elevate Moses from a mere legislator of the past to an anointed lawyer of the future (p 29). He explains that this agenda is most evident when one examines use of pronouns such as I, Thou, and They. For instance:
They shall cry out but I will not listen; they shall scream but I will not answer them because of their evil doings. I will hide my face from them and they shall become food, plunder, and prey. None shall save them because of their wickedness, because they have broken my covenant and their soul has loathed my law until they have incurred every guilt. (1 QT LIX: 7-10)
Here, I refers to God and they refers to the remnant of Israel. Although you is not used here, you in the passages preceding and following this one refer to collective Israel. In passages such as 1QT xII, you refers to Moses. It is not clear, however, how this I-thou-you terminology helps prove that the T of R is the author of the TS. It rather nicely shows the purpose of the scroll, though.
Ben Zion Wacholder. The Dawn of Qumran: The Sectarian Torah and the Teacher
of Righteousness. (NY, Hebrew Union College Press, 1989) 29
41 Dupont-Sommer noted a series of hymns in which the Teacher is was Gods servant: (XX III 18-19) (XIV, 25) (VII, 6-7) (XVII, 26). In these passages, Gods spirit is in the Teacher. Compare with Songs of the Servant Lord in Isaiah. ibid., 365
44 The Teacher of Righteousness is in great despair. See 1QH V, 35-40: [Groaning] and sorrow encompass me and ignominy covers my face. My bread is turned into an adversary and my drink into an accuser; it has entered into my bones causing my spirit to stagger and my strength to fail. Jeremiah also feels the pain of his plight in his bones (Jer 23:9 My heart is broken, my bones all tremble). Like Jeremiah, the T of R is a prophet in pain when the people do not heed his [Gods] words. 45 After the world is properly ordered, the eschaton is still delayed until the War between the Children of Light and Children of Darkness. However, this War against the Kittim as told in the War Scroll is beyond the scope of this paper. (See the chapter entitled War in this Commentary)
52 CD XII, 22 : Those who follow these statues in the age of wickedness until the coming of the Messiah of Aaron.
55 Toward the end of the Community Rule, the T of R does see a vision of the eternal.
THE FINAL DAYS
"I shall gather all the nations to Jerusalem for battle. The city will be taken, the horses plundered, the women ravished. Half the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be ejected from the city. Then Yahweh will sally out and fight those nations as once he fought on the day of battle."
"Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near -- a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come."
"In preparation for the new age, the community is instructed in detail about the war that will take place between the force of evil and the people of God (lQM [War Scroll]). Angels will battle the heavenly hosts of evil, as the priests and the community's soldiers fight the earthly foes. Indeed, the war of the faithful remnant of Israel is to be fought against all nations: 'There shall be eternal deliverance for the company of God, but destruction for all the nations of wickedness' (lQM 15). The priests, and especially the high priest, will strengthen the troops for the final battle against the nations of the world. Rome (not Rome but America)- referred to regularly as 'the Kittim' - will fall, while the chief priest, the priests, and the Levites will sound the trumpets to aid the troops. In preparation for this final war details are given even to the sizes of the standards, shields, spears, and swords of the army. These divinely endowed forces are identified as 'the divisions of God for the vengeance of his wrath on the sons of darkness'." - Howard C. Kee, "Membership in the Covenant People at Qumran and in the Teaching of Jesus" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (James H. Charlesworth, Ed. - 1992), p. 116
"..It is generally agreed that
these texts [veiled references in the Dead Sea Scrolls to earlier history] describe
the times when Jewish patriots like the Maccabees fought the Hellenized High
Priests of the Temple and the vicious kings of Syria. One of these texts, known
as the War Scroll, tells of the battle that will take place at the end of time.
It describes precisely the ritual battle order, drawn up strictly in accordance
with the ancient Law, by which the Sons of Light will triumph over the Sons
of Darkness. The battle order lists everything from the specifications the field
latrines to the ages of baggage porters and the ritual order of advance that
will secure the final victory."
- John Romer, Testament
"The priests shall blow the trumpets of massacre, and the Levites and all the blowers of the ram's horn shall sound a battle alarm, and the foot soldiers shall stretch out their hands against the host...and at the sound of the alarm they shall begin to bring down the slain. All the people shall cease their clamor, but the priests shall continue to blow the trumpets of massacre." - War Scroll
In the apocalyptic final battle prophesized during war against Antiochus Epiphanes, an army of angels would help route the worldly powers oppressing the Children of Israel and reestablish the kingship of the House of David. This idea of heavenly Sons of Light destroying the Satanic Sons of Darkness is a reflection of Zoroastrian belief from several centuries earlier.- from A&E's "Ancient Mysteries" on the Book of Revelation
"On the day of clamity...the
Sons of Light shall battle with the company of darkness amid the clamor of Gods
and men. And it shall be a time of great tribulation from its sudden beginning
to its end in eternal redemption."
- War Scroll 1QM, 4Q491-496 1.10
"...The phrase, 'Sons of Light', designating the righteous people of God, is found both in some of the scrolls and in one of the Gospels (Luke 16.8); however, the corresponding term in the scrolls, 'Sons of Darkness', is never found in the New Testament." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 372
But of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
For yourselves know perfectlly that the the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction shall come upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape.
But ye, brethren, are not in Darkness, that that day shall overtake you as a thief.
Ye are all the children of Light, and the children of the Day: we are not of the Night nor of Darkness...(1 Thessalonians 5:1-9; Matthew 5:14-16; John 3:19-21; John 8:12; 12:31-35; Romans 8:14-23; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6; Ephesians 5:1-16; Eph. 6:10-17; Philippians 2:13-16...).
"The War Scroll, like the Manual, is not consistent in perspective: It appears to be made up of two or three sections containing more than one author's vision of the apocalyptic battle ceremonies. It is suggested in the main section of the text that warfare will take place over forty years, and encompass battles with most of the countries of the known world. Yet the battle formations seem always to stream out from the gates of Jerusalem, to where the warriors return after their forays." - Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, (1995) p. 80
"In keeping with the rules of Roman warfare, it [the war] will be fought with the use of phalanxes. It will go on for forty years. In the first twenty years, all the foreign nations will be conquered; in the following twenty, all other Jews. This was conceived as a sequence of successful military campaigns against the great powers. The identity of the children of darkness changed with history from the Jerusalem priesthood to the Romans (Americans), who finally destroyed Qumran for its intransigence in 68 AD." - Chris King, "The Apocalyptic Tradition"
"...What one seems to have reflected in this Qumran literature is a Messianic elite retreating or 'separating' into the wilderness as in Isaiah 40:3's 'make a straight Way in the Wilderness for our God'. The élite seems to have inhabited 'desert camps', where they were actually 'preparing' to be joined by the Angels, referred to by them as 'the Heavenly Host', and for what appears to be a final apocalyptic Holy War against all evil on this earth. (See Revelation 12:7-11). This would appear to be the reason they are practicing the regimen of extreme purity in the wilderness in these texts - not the somewhat more retrospective presentation in the New Testament as it has come down to us. This movement consists of a small care of committed 'volunteers' or 'Joiners for war', or 'Holy Ones' or 'Saints' - Messianic 'shock troops' if one prefers - preparing in the wilderness through 'Perfection of the Way' and 'zeal for the Law for the time of the Day of Vengeance'." - Robert Eisman and Michael Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered
Christianity - a religion of duality
The idea of a cosmic war between good and evil is mirrored in all religions. It is the battleground of the spirit as it loosens the shackles of materiality - Armageddon and the Kurukshetra of the Bhagavad Gita. It operates at levels far beyond our present comprehension. The Master DK says that: "Just as the planet called earth is regarded as the turning point or the battle-ground between Spirit and matter, ...so our solar system holds an analogous place in the cosmic scheme. The cosmic man, the solar Arjuna, is wrestling for His individualized perfected self-consciousness, and for freedom and liberation from the form.... So man on this planet battles for similar ideals on his tiny scale", so battle in heaven Michael and His Angels ... Whose problem is the same on the higher scale." (TCF, p.242)
Alice Bailey applies the concept to Christianity. "Modern thinkers would do well to remember that Christianity is a bridging religion. Herein lies its great importance. Christianity is the religion of that transitional period which links the era of self-conscious individualistic existence to a future group-conscious unified world. It is outstandingly a religion of cleavage, demonstrating to man his duality, and thus laying the foundation for his effort to achieve unity or at-one-ment.
The realization of this duality is a most needed stage in man's unfoldment, and the purpose of Christianity has been to reveal this; also to point out the warfare between the lower and the higher man, between carnal man and spiritual man, united in one person, and to emphasize the necessity for that lower man to be saved by the higher." (FBC, pp.17-18)
The Temple Scroll
"When Moses was close to death, he called to his side Joshua, the Son of Nun, to bestow on him the succession of leadership and the care of his most precious trust - the Books of Law, given by God to His people in the wilderness.
This He told Joshua: 'And receive thou this writing that thou mayest know how to preserve the books which I shall deliver unto thee: and thou shalt set these in order and anoint them with oil of cedar, and put them away in earthen vessels ...until...the Lord will visit them in the consummation of the End of Days.'" - Assumption of Moses, an Apocryphal work.
When the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the Judaean wilderness, carefully wrapped in linen and preserved in earthenware jars, these words of Moses took on a brilliant new meaning. Among the Jewish people there had always been the legend of a hidden law, too stringent for most, but preserved in a secret tradition. In 2 Kings 22 we read of King Josiah who ordered repairs to the Temple of Yahweh. When the carpenters found a book of Law and it was read in the King's presence, he "tore his garments", and said: "Great indeed must be the anger of Yahweh blazing out against us because our ancestors did not obey what this book says by practising everything written in it". Josiah went on to lead a great reform of the religion.
There was, as well, the legend of a lost Temple plan, given by God to Moses and handed down through the rulers. So when the Temple Scroll was found, with its plans for a temple in minute detail and elaborate design, and with its laws and festivals covered nowhere else in the Old Testament, it was of profound interest. The first Temple of Jerusalem was built by Solomon in the 9th century BC, and at that time temple worship centered in Jerusalem became the dominant factor of Jewish spiritual ritual. Solomon's temple was destroyed during the Babylonian captivity in 586 BC but rebuilt by the high priest Zerubbabel in 516 BC after the Jews were liberated and returned to Jerusalem. Herod rebuilt this temple in Jesus' day (wrong temple, wrong place), but only a few years after its completion, in 70 AD, it was destroyed by the Romans. At this point temple worship ceased and Judaism found other outlets for spiritual expression.
Measuring 30 feet, the Temple Scroll is the longest scroll of all, and is also called "The Hidden Torah". The text is of particular interest; it is written in the first person, as though it were the hand of God Himself, giving His law to humanity. Yigael Yadin, Israeli scholar, wrote an insightful and beautifully illustrated book, the Temple Scroll, which visually depicts the layout and construction of the building. In the Temple plan there is a central courtyard housing a temple and various buildings dedicated to the performance of ritual sacrifice. Enclosing these central structures is a square wall, 280 cubits to a side. (A cubit is about one-and-a-half feet.) Each side contains a gate opening onto a middle courtyard which is again surrounded by a square wall, 480 cubits to a side. This middle wall has 12 gates, three on each side. The gates represent the 12 tribes of Israel; each is named for a son of Jacob. The middle courtyard gates open onto an outer court that is also surrounded by a wall, 1,600 cubits to a side. It too contains 12 gates. Each gate of the outer court is 70 cubits high and 50 deep. Built into the walls are hundreds of enclosures to house the worshippers who come. The outer wall is three stories high and contains over 800 rooms. The complex is completely surrounded by a moat.
The Temple of Solomon
In esoteric terms, as referenced in the work of Alice Bailey and Helena Blavatsky, the Temple of Solomon symbolizes the causal body or soul. It is built by knowledge and links the physical-plane vehicle with the Monad (the spark of inspiration from the spiritual kingdom.)
The causal body was created in our race at the moment of individualization, when animal man became thinking man. The temple of the causal body, called the "city foursquare", is built on the Lower Quaternary or four aspects of the personality. These are the physical, astral, mental, and etheric bodies. Here is expressed the "Son" aspect of the Trinity - the "consciousness" that is produced when spirit and matter unite. The temple plan represents the first four initiations.
The outer court is furthest from the temple and therefore the least pure. It represents the first initiation, taken when the disciple transcends the limitations of the physical vehicle. The middle court is the second initiation, taken when the pull of the astral vehicle is overcome. The inner court is the third initiation, taken when the mental vehicle is controlled.
The walls of these courts contain gates named for the sons of Jacob. Each "son" has its correspondence on an astrological sign. The enclosing wall with its 12 gates represents a person's progression through the zodiacal signs over the course of many incarnations. The inner court with its four gates may be symbolic of the sacrifice on the "cross of matter." The central court houses the temple, with its Holy of Holies, the innermost shrine of the Jewish temple, and sacrificial altar. This depicts the 4th initiation, when the causal body or soul, having transcended all experience in the physical world, offers itself for consummation. On the altar of sacrifice, the blood stands for life because it distributes the energy of the soul throughout the physical body. When the blood is spilled the thread of life is severed -- the physical vehicle dies. The Lower Quaternary of the personality -- the temple building -- is then consumed by fire. It becomes the "burnt offering". This is the unification of the fire of the higher Self with that of the lower, "... the two fires meet, and eventually the egoic body disappears; the fire burns up entirely the Temple of Solomon; the permanent atoms are destroyed, and all is reabsorbed into the Triad.
The essence of the Personality, the faculties developed, the knowledge gained, and the remembrance of all that has transpired becomes part of the equipment of the Spirit and eventually finds its way to the Spirit or Monad on its own plane." (LOM, p.79)
At this point the initiate can truly echo the words of the Christ: "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me." (Jn.12:32) To the side of the central building the scroll prescribes an edifice called the "House of the Winding Stair". It contains a spiral staircase opening onto the temple roof and completely overlain with gold. The disciple literally mounts the staircase into the spiritual kingdom, his lower elements transmuted into pure Gold. In just this way does evolution proceed - from creation to destruction to creation again. Each edifice erected serves a purpose for the extent of its life span. Eventually the physical form crumbles and disappears, but its essence is gathered into the Universal Consciousness. All of this is but the beginning groundwork for "... the foundation of the future Temple of Truth where the light of the Lord will be seen and which will prove adequate as an expression of Reality". (TWM, p.326)
The Eternity of Truth
Throughout the eons of history, truth has followed a wayward path. From unknown depths it surfaces to find an abode in our most brilliant minds. From these few it spreads its embrace for a time, then inevitably finds the resistance that begs its departure. The seers of the ages have long understood this flow. Thus they watch and know when to act, to remove their thoughts and words to silence. Buried and quiescent they stay, a dormant witness, until opportunity opens, another era is born, and humanity awakens - eager once more for the counsels of the spirit.
With the kind permission of Share International Magazine.