Zadok was the high priest, son of Ahitub of the house of Eleazar the son of Aaron, and 11th in descent from Aaron; he joined David after Saul's death and supported him against Absalom and Adonijah; and later anointed Solomon as king.
Acts 7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. These priests were not the traditional Sadducees of the day in league with Rome. These were the Essenic residue of the Zadok priesthood which no longer had control or ties with the Temple.
There were thousands of them, and their monasteries were to be counted by the score. Evidently the Qumran sect maintained a priesthood and a ritual organization. The origin of the sect known as Essenes is enveloped in mist, and will probably never be revealed fully. To speak of all the different ideas entertained as to their origin would make a volume of itself, we can therefore but glance at the subject.
I am indebted to many authors for their informative books on the Essenes who have given us the ability to understand the religious climate of the first century in Palestine; authors like James Charlesworth, Lawrence Schiffman, A. What escapes most Christian writers today is that the Essenes contemporary with the Jesus era are completely different in theology and scope from the original Zaddok Priests of Qumran from the early second century B.
What began as a righteous "separatist movement" by the Zadok priesthood since being prevented from returning to their rightful priesthood following Israel's victory over Antiochus Epiphanies, they protested the Hasmoneans' control of the Temple and possession of the Priesthood by separating from the Temple cult and beginning a "New Israel" and a "New Covenant" in the desert of Qumran.
Sadly, what began as a righteous movement of Judaism will culminate in the days of Jesus and following in a synchronistic Phythagorean-Buddhist-Jewish sect containing a synthesis of religious beliefs built upon astrology and sun-worship mixed with their Jewish heritage; many of these "Essene" beliefs deviated significantly from conservative Torah faith and the traditional Messianic hope. On must look deeper than the superficial accounts of the Essenes provided by Pliny, Philo, and Josephus to acquaint oneself with such facts, as their accounts are somewhat superficial in many aspects and tend to provide only summaries of the sect and their beliefs.
In-depth theological analysis of their beliefs is not possible from these accounts; one must be quite familiar with the individual writings to be able to understand the nuances of their theology. Theophilus Gale, who wrote a work called The Court of the Gentiles, Oxford, , undoubtedly hits upon the truth when he says:. With such an admission one must understand that implied in "Babylonian captivity" is the borrowing of many theological beliefs by the returning Jews from their captors.
Needless to say, the Persian victory over the Babylonians only furthered such borrowing of beliefs as these captive Jews were now introduced into the Persian Mysteries and Zoroastrianism. Now it is understandable with the Jewish nation's return by Cyrus to Palestine that another "mixed multitude" was to find its way to Palestine as had once before again possessing a syncretism of beliefs; the irony of the whole story is found that behind the Jewish, Babylonian, and Persian beliefs was an Egyptian religious substrate that had contributed to all of the above as well.
The out-working of such beliefs are to be found the the new Apocalyptic of the Jewish faith held by some, but not all. Thus we find in the Judaism that developed after the return from Babylonian captivity the multitude of competing "sects" all with varying religious belief systems.
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This new Apocalyptic literature consists of those parts of the Jewish Bible and other Jewish and Christian books that embody an apocalypse, or revelation, given through a symbolic vision of the future. Apocalyptic literature concerns the final period of world history, and depicts the final confrontation between God and the powers of evil.
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The conflict frequently culminates in a world catastrophe; sometimes a messianic figure is responsible for the triumph over evil. It will be here we find the Essenic Angel-Messiah. Frequently the authors recount history up to their own time in symbolic form as in Dan. Classic examples are the books of Daniel and Revelation.
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Passages such as Isaiah , Zechariah , and Mark 13 belong to this type of literature. Other examples of literature held sacred by the Essenes are Enoch, Jubilees, and the Apocalypse of Baruch today which can be found in the Jewish Pseudepigrapha, as well as the Apocalypse of Peter in the Apocryphal New Testament. Apocalyptic literature is usually pseudonymous, written under the name of a famous person.
Books such as Daniel and Enoch are examples. But St. John, the author of Revelation in the New Testament, apparently wrote in his own name. Sometimes apocalypses, especially the Apocalypse of Adam and others in the literature of Gnosticism, contain elements drawn from Greek Mythology as well as from the Bible and from Jewish tradition. The New Testament contains all of the above.
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Many Christian writers trace the origin of the Essenes all the way back to an origin in India that is where they picked up many of their sun-myths and were a sort of Buddhist sect. All of these influences will be amalgamated into a complex theological system that found its latest expression among the Essenes of Qumran in the first century A. The identity of many of the precepts and practices of Essenes and those of the New Testament is unquestionable T.
Essenism urged on its disciples to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. The Essenes forbade the laying up of treasures upon earth. The Essenes demanded of those who wished to join them to sell all heir possessions, and to divide it among the poor brethren.
The Essenes had all things in common, and appointed one of the brethren as steward to manage the common bag. Essenism put all its members on the same level, forbidding the exercise of authority of one over the other, and enjoining mutual service. Essenism commanded its disciples to call no man master upon the earth.
Essenism laid the greatest stress upon being meek and lowly in spirit. The Essenes commended the poor in spirit, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemaker. They combined the healing of the body with that of the soul. They declared that the power to cast out evil spirits, to perform miraculous cures, etc.
They taught that such power should be possessed by their disciples as signs of their belief. The Essenes did not swear at all; their answer was yea, yea, and nay, nay. When the Essenes started on a mission of mercy, they provided neither gold nor silver, neither took coats, neither shoes, but relied on hospitality for support. The Essenes though repudiating offensive war, yet took weapons with them when they went on a perilous journey. The Essenes abstained from connubial intercourse! The Essenes did not offer animal sacrifices, but strove to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which they regarded as a reasonable service!
It was the great aim of the Essenes to live such a life of purity and holiness as to be the temples of the Holy Spirit, and to be able to prophesy. Many other comparisons might be made, but these are sufficient to show that there is a great similarity between the two.
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These similarities have led many Christian writers to believe that Jesus, if he did not belong to this order, was influenced by them. Ginsburg, an advocate of this theory, says :. This will especially be apparent when we remember that the whole Jewish community, at the advent of Christ, was divided into three parties, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes, and that every Jew had to belong to one of these sects. Jesus, who, in all things, conformed to the Jewish law, and who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, would therefore naturally associate himself with that order of Judaism which was most congenial to his holy nature.
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Moreover, the fact that Christ, with the exception of once, was not heard of in public until his thirtieth year, implying that he lived in seclusion with this fraternity, and that though he frequently rebuked the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees, he never denounced the Essenes, strongly confirms this conclusion" Ginsburg, Essenes, p. We hear very little of the Essenes after A. Ginsburg tell us: "We hear very little of them after A.
Ginsburg, Essenes , p. The similarity of the sentiments of the Essenes, or Therapeutae, to those of the Church of Rome, induced the learned Jesuit, Nicolaus Serarius, to seek for them an honorable origin. He contended therefore, that they were Asideans and derived them from the Rechabites, described so circumstantially in the thirty-fifth chapter of Jeremiah; at the same time, he asserted that the first Christians monks Essenes. Hardy, Eastern Monachism , p. There is strong evidence to believe the first Christians were Essenes, or as you are more familiar with the term, "Nazarenes. King, Gnostics and their Remains , on page 1 speaking of the Christian sect called "Gnostics," says:.
There, it is probable, they first came into existence as " Mystae," upon the establishment of a direct intercourse with India under the Seleucidae and the Ptolemies Egypt. The colleges of Essenes and Megabyzae at Ephesus, the Orphics of Thrace, the Curetes of Crete, are all merely branches of one antique and common religion, and that originally Asiatic.
These edicts are engraven on a rock at Girnur, in Guzerat. Eusebius, in quoting from Philo concerning the Essenes, seems to take it for granted that they [the Essenes] and the Christians were one and the same, and from the manner in which he writes, it would appear that it was generally understood so. He says that Philo called them "Worshipers," and concludes by saying:. History , lib. This celebrated ecclesiastical historian Eusebius considered it very probable that the writings of the Essenic Therapeuts in Egypt had been incorporated into the gospels of the New Testament, and into some Pauline epistles.
You need to stop and think about what was just said. The key word was "incorporated"!
These Essene Therapeuts did not possess the Gospels in Egypt "after their writing;" but had before their writing much that would be incorporated into these "gospels" when they would be written In other words, stories and doctrines from these Pythagorean-Buddhist Essenes were later to be ascribed to Jesus which had no historical value or relationship to the real man from Galilee. The synthesis of their Egyptian, Babylonian, and Persian religious beliefs would be filtered through Biblical Judaism and like as before "out jumped this golden-calf" which we call the Christian Jesus today.
Instead of understanding Jesus as a Jew we attach to him the theologies of pagan nations never knowing that when reading the New Testament today we are reading a lot of Pythagorean-Buddhist theology from their sun-myths and we think we are reading the truth about the Jesus who really lived.
Nothing could be further from the truth! It would be a serious mistake on your part to assume that the above reference to the "Gospels" included the Four Gospels which most are familiar with today since it can be shown that at the destruction of Qumran and the Essenic library and community in 68 A. You should consider this amazing if they yet existed.
Yet understand, many such references in the writings of these Church Fathers came from nothing more than oral tradition or possibly some of the hundreds of conflicting "gospels" possessed by competing sects which were in circulation after the death of Jesus as we are informed by the writer of the Gospel today called by the name of Luke.
Dunlap, The Son of Man , p.
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