The Dead Sea Scrolls
In the north west corner of the Dead Sea, we find Qumran and the Essene, at approximately 14 miles east of Jerusalem, in an area known as the wilderness. Among the Essenes, is where most scholars agree (now) that Jesus was born, grew up and spent most of his ministry, not in Bethlehem and Jerusalem as it is commonly taught by the church.
When the Scrolls were found in 1947 they were regarded as one of the world most important discoveries, due to the parallels with Christianity, the established church rapidly assembled a team of researchers and scholars to begin the process of translation and cataloging of the scrolls and fragments found in the different caves, about 2/3 of the scrolls were copies of books of the old testament, but the others were totally new writings to the eyes of the world. These new writings are the cause of controversy because they shed new light on the interpretations of the "Holy Scriptures" and sadly, destroys the "uniqueness" of Christianity.
The debate on whether or not the books of the Dead Sea Scrolls refer to Christianity can be summarized on the argument of paleography. As you all know, paleography can be a useful tool on dating a document that by no other means could be dated, but it cannot be used as a"final word" on dating, only as a supporting argument. There is a (+/-) factor that has to be taken on account when you are going to try to determine a date on a document (+25/-25) where an old scribe could be writing contemporaneously with a young scribe and yet, you have to allow for a measure of development from old to young (others scholars prefer to go up to +50/-50). In the case of the scrolls, one of the main fragments that was used to date the works was written in a semi-cursive, not on a book-hand, and due to this fact, we can no longer use the date of approx. 140 bce that was given to the scrolls as a general consensus. Paleographers, in general, agree that it is impossible to give a firm date on a semi-cursive.
OK, now that we melted away the date, lets dig in.
Some of the parallels shared with christianity are interesting, they had a sacred meal of bread and new wine, community of property, they were expecting a fiery judgment and the coming of the messiah(s). They also called themselves by the same names "the way" and we know that the early christians called themselves "the sect of the way". the word "church" appears in the scrolls and their leaders were bishops and they called themselves "sons of light" , as in the new testament.
There are two characters that appear on the scrolls who are very important for our study, one of them is "The Teacher of Righteousness" and the other one "The Wicked Priest" (aka "The man of a Lie"). The Teacher, a stern acetic, was kind of a hero figure preaching that the world was coming to an end in a fiery judgment. Those who followed him were known as "the sons of light" those who didn't "the sons of darkness", other characteristics of the Teacher are some of his sayings and practices,
1) "The X is laid to the root of the trees".
2) He called people "Vipers".
3) He practiced Baptism.
According to the scrolls the followers of the "Teacher" began to desert their leader to follow a new teacher who was demanding a lesser rigorous kind of life style, this man appears under different names, one of them is "The man of a Lie", which could imply an illegitimate birth. Another was "The Wicked Priest". Wicked, because he flaunted the law and disregarded its taboos, those who followed him became known as "the seekers of the smooth things". Now, if we are able to understand that the Teacher can be identified with the person (character) of John the Baptist, you will see that the teachings and ways of the Wicked Priest/Man of a Lie can also be identified with the character called Jesus, let's follow the new line.*
* (again, this is one of the possibilities, not to be confused with the ultimate "truth", we work with Facts.)
The new story would have developed something like this...Jesus and John, who were together on 29ace., were the two messiahs expected by the Essenes, one from the line of David (Jesus) who was the Kingly messiah, an the other from the line of Le'vi (John) the priestly messiah. John and his followers, "sons of light" were expecting a fiery judgment to fall upon the "sons of darkness", including the Romans (kittim) who were occupying Jerusalem at the time. They were also expecting Jesus to become the king of a world purged of all evil men leaving only baptized Jews.
Jesus didn't conform to the plan, he claimed that he could become a high priest, "the Light", but it was John who was of priestly birth, he who stood in front of the Minora giving weight to his claim that he was "the Light". But Jesus declared " I am the Light of the World" and put up the white garments of a high priest, by this he was saying that the Jewish priesthood was unnecessary and that every Jew could become a priest in the eyes of "God". This act of defiance caused his enemies to call him "The Wicked Priest" meaning the "anti-priest".
We will now approach one of the so called miracles and address it in the light of the discovery of the "pesher" ( it is the hebrew word for "interpretation") that is used to find the double layer of meaning in these works (scrolls). Keep in mind that the established church is afraid of having their miracles de-mistifyed because the outcome will affect negatively its credibility.
One of the strongest pinnacles of christianity is the "Virgin Birth".
But what if we have found information that shows us a very different scenario?
The custom of the Essenes was, some men in their ranks must marry, those who must continue their blood lines. The highest Essenes had no sex because it was considered sinful, but the men on their second order left the monastery to cohabit with their wives from time to time, the woman in such marriages had the status of a "Nun", the name of a nun in the Hellenistic world was a "virgin", it meant both, when a woman was physically a virgin and a dedicated woman. The marriage had stages, first there was the vow of dedication, then there was a bethrodal period were they should stay apart for as long as possible (no sex). Next, there was a wedding with a trial period of three years were sex was allowed, if the woman became pregnant after the trial period, there was a second wedding and this was for good, for there was going to be a child and divorce was not permitted by the Essenes.
The story would have been this:
Mary was bethroded to Joseph, during the trial period, they had sex and she became pregnant. It says in the new testament that if a man has a virgin, let them marry. So we see that it was a play of words that was used to mention the "virgin birth", because Mary was still legally in the status of a virgin when she became pregnant.
Check the material on Josephus on the marriage customs of the Essenes that has been available for many years.
But what about the intervention of the "Holy Spirit"?
Isn't that what the Bible says?
Glad you asked...
In the scrolls you will find that certain people were regarded as incarnations of gods, angels and spirits, the angel Gabriel was a REAL person and so was the "Holy Spirit" (Joseph) and so were all the other angels in the story. This takes away the mysticism of the virgin birth and places the conception and birth of Jesus in a more humane form, through biological process.
The clues are in the scrolls, they need to be carefully analyzed, we need to look at the historical background and the interpretations that we (as the researcher) can draw from them, to be able to have a new perspective on the gospels.
A quick review on one of this metaphors that is commonly known to us " it is easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of god". The actual meaning is " The only way for a person to enter into the monk ranks is to graduate, regardless of their social status". You do the research!
Once again we will use the "pasher" to view another of the "miracles":
According to the gospel of John, one of the first miracles performed by Jesus was at the wedding feast when he turned water into wine...
" And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firskins apiece.
Jesus saith unto them, "Fill the waterpots with water," and they filled them up to the brim.
And he said unto them, "Draw out now and bear unto the governor of the feast," and they bear it.
The ruler of the feast tasted the water that was made wine and knew not whence it was".
We know that the Qumran community gave water baptisms to their low grade members and saved their wine (communal sacred drink) for full members only. Turning water into wine simply signifies that Jesus was now offering the privilege of full membership to those who previously could not. From that time on, the gentile, the woman and the married men were able to receive communion, the sacred meal of bread and wine. This actually describes the origin of the christian communion service.
For more information on this, check on the works of Dr. Barbara Thiering.
1) Re-dating the teacher of righteousness
2) Jesus and the riddle of the dead sea scrolls
*New information reveals that the scrolls "new" date is from150 bce to 70 ace, well within the time of Jesus.
The church is still reluctant to accept the process of DNA sampling to put together some of the fragments into the existing texts due to the fact that it would re-write the information that they accept at this point in time.
This is also based on the asumption that Jesus was a real person, not the creation of later writers, there is evidence that most of the books of the bible are copyes and/or adaptations of older works.
We have traveled a long and hard road, but you know we are not at the end of it. The need for knowledge is a great force, the force that drives us to look for answers, and those answers will still, bring new questions and we will try to approach them with an open-mind. All of your research must be based on facts in order to achieve your goal. I must leave you now, in your hands are all the tools that you need to continue your journey, it won't be easy, but it will be fulfilling.