Factions at the altar

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From the book Thy Kingdom Comes

Pharisees.jpg

Factions at the Altar

Study Comments
The Essenes read the Torah and saw the interpretation of the Pharisees to be False religion.
Messianic Judaism, Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealot, Essenes, Levites |
False religion, Public religion
Through Sophistry people have believed a lie and turned away from the Pure Religion of the early Church.
The Eucharist has become a crumb of bread. Eating the flesh and blood of Christ is not about a wafer of bread but a way. Christianity was first called The Way.
Mark 3:35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. 9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

John 1:1 ¶ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Men are still faced with the choice of the two trees. If they eat of the tree of knowledge they will be blinded to The Way of Christ and in their own imagination they will reinvent an image of God in their own minds and believe in that image. This is what Cain, Nimrod and Caesar of the world have done from the beginning.
Deuteronomy 29:19 "And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:20 The LORD will not spare him,..."
Jeremiah 9:14 "But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them:" Nicolaitan
Acts 15:29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
Acts 7:41 "And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands." Red Heifer
Acts 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written [and] concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from [things] offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.
1 Corinthians 8:4 ¶ As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol [is] nothing in the world, and that [there is] none other God but one.
1 Corinthians 8:10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
1 Corinthians 10:28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth [is] the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:
Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
Revelation 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
The Bible and history consistently warns the people that covetous practices and applying for benefits of authoritarian benefactors or eating at tables of rulers will snare the people into a yoke of bondage and make them merchandise and curse children making them a surety for debt.
Once the people are entangled[1] in the elements of the world, no prince or potentate, president or parliament will make a nation great again. Only thinking a different way and seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness will save the people.
Certainly to loose the bands of Rome we must fast from the fist of wickedness but also must meet the proviso[2] of Christ and be a doer of the word, forgiving and giving in His Name.
To create those invisible and unbreakable bonds of faith, hope and charity the practice of love must be consistent through the service of elder and minister alike in accordance with Christ.
Judges 17:6 "In those days [there was] no king in Israel, [but] every man did [that which was] right in his own eyes." which is a good thing as long as men keep their eye upon the righteousness of God.
Questions
What does fellowship mean in the Kingdom of God?
Who shall be God's living altars of Stones?
Who shall gather as His Altars of Clay and Stone?
Why Congregate?
Links for Study
Free Assemblies | Congregations
Congregants | Elders
Fractal Network | Why we gather
Congregations of Rebuke
Tips on forming a CORE | CORE Solution
CORE Off Track | Polybius
Christian conflict | Burnt_Offerings


The Sadducees

Sadducees started in the second century BC as a political party and ceased around the first century AD. They claimed to be the followers of Tsadok, a high priest who anointed Solomon or Zadok in the 3rd century BC who rebelled against the teachings of Antigonus of Soko, a government official.

As the first notable of the Jews to have a Greek name his theology was epitomized by the saying, “Be not like slaves who serve their master for their daily rations; be like those who serve their master without regard to emoluments, and let the fear of God be with you”.[3] In the original text the word for “Heaven” was substituted for “God”. He may have been the first to do this. Zadok broke with his teachings because he believed that Antigonus denounced the idea of an afterlife. Although that assumption may have been incorrect it is clear that he did not advocate doing God’s will to obtain a physical benefit, nor the specifically “Pharisaic” view which placed reward for virtue in an afterlife.

The wealthy Sadducees were unpopular with the masses and often sided with ruling power. They rejected the oral traditions and concluded that religion was the opiate of the people. They, in essence, denied the resurrection, the immortality of the soul, and the existence of angels, as they functioned in their politically-correct priestly role. They interpreted eye for an eye literally and dated all civil documents with the phrase “after the high priest of the Most High”, opposing the Pharisees in their divorce documents use of “According to the law of Moses and Israel”. Judea as a government and its public administrators were called priests, rabbi, and scribes.

The 71 members of the Sanhedrin met twice a week in the Temple at Jerusalem. They had begun to enact laws and regulated the people. It was presided over by the High Priest and had its own Temple police to maintain order and enforce its legislated statutes. Comparably today, there is Congress, a Supreme Court, and a police force, along with an alphabet soup of agencies. The Pharisees and Sadducees provided opposing parties to the Sanhedrin, dividing the people in political contention.

The Pharisees

The Pharisees were zealous “Jews” calling themselves Chasidim, or “pious ones”, and, in history, referred to as Jewish Puritans. They were patriotic and became more and more the popular leaders of some of the people. Under oppression by Herod and the growing federal influence of Rome, the strict bias of the Sadducees was becoming less desired. Not that they did not enjoy some popularity under the growing wealth of commercialism, but under any great economic machinery there is always a group who live where the rubber meets the road. Both philosophies were self-serving and judgmental.

The Pharisaical separatists found a fertile ground for their filtered love of ancient traditions in a Hellenistic constitution. They spoke of liberty and freedom under their interpretation of the law. There were those who thought they were leading the people astray with their demanding compliance to a ritualized doctrine and an often fundamentalist approach to a pompous religious piety.

Owing to their heroic history in their fight for independence, the Pharisees enjoyed a certain influence over the hearts of people. Instead of the priests, they became the sources of intellectual authority with some power and prestige. They also became arrogant and conceited and, eventually, betrayed their own conservative ideals in favor of pride, riches, and the benefits of Rome.

“Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” Matthew 23:2-4

Jesus would remove them from the seat of Moses as he stated in Matthew 21:43. The Pharisees represented the democratic tendency with a spiritual twist. They were fond of preaching, educating, and working in the missions in order to convert the gentiles, or heathens, to their form of compelled Corban. They sought both converts and control over them.

Many in Judea were converts due to the zeal of the Pharisees. Like much of Modern Christianity, they “developed a proud and arrogant orthodoxy and an exaggerated formalism, which insisted on ceremonial details at the expense of the more important precepts of the Law”.[4]

Many of these political groups were a strange mix of conservatism, liberalism, religion, and patriotism. The Pax Romana[5] was desired because of its economic security, but their controls and regulations were opposed when they pinched the people. These groups often did not mind the government exercising authority, as long as these political groups were the ones in control.

The Pharisees had suffered bitter defeats and bloody persecutions in the past, but their position had become more comfortable under Roman influence. They conscientiously objected to military service and enjoyed other exemptions and guaranteed protection. They became content to recite their prayers and practice their rituals within the walls of their lavish temples and their churches, called synagogues. They often excused government abuse and condemned those who did question excessive exercise of authority, claiming its practices as God’s instituted government should be unquestioned.

The Zealots

The Zealots were extremists, Pharasaical men of action. They ran out of patience with corruption, sin, and the Roman presence. Their idea of a good prophet was a good military strategist who would overthrow the constitutional heretics of Judea, rid the streets of harlots and homosexuals, and return to the constitutional order of Mosaic Law.

They all attached a great importance to their descent from Abraham, but never really came to understand his purpose or repulsion to the very seats of authority that they desired to create in the name of freedom. As is usual of those who aspire to a freedom based upon force and power, they undermined the very liberty they claimed to seek by the means of their pursuit.

The real harlotry in Judea was promoted and practiced by these meretricious politicians who daily abandoned God’s ways and kingdom. The precepts upon which they functioned has been incorporated into more modern states and religions. Now, their jealous desire for exclusive nationalism and patrimonial control has been replaced by a cunning universalism. Such a progression is only natural, coming from the same spirit of rigidity, vanity, and control that guided them, their predecessors and their successors.

The patriotic nationalism and ritual religious orthodoxy were to be replaced by a single-minded mix of global union and ecumenicalism. This would soon be overturned with the coming of Jesus and the true ways of God’s Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

The system preached by Moses and the prophets was not the system operating in most of Judea during the arrival of Jesus. The Sadducees and Pharisees, including the scribes, were just a few of the more dominating political and philosophical groups of Judea.

The Hasmonean Dynasty

The Sadducees espoused the Hellenizing philosophy of the early Hasmonean princes, which had merged Church and State, allowing the Levites to own land and profit from collected taxes forced on the people by statutes and their own application for benefits.

The Pharisees or Separatists supposedly abhorred all forms of Greek or any foreign influence. They were religious fundamentalists whose righteousness was displayed in their own ceremonies and symbols, but nowhere else. Aristobulus and the Sadducees opposed Hyrcanus II who was supported by the Pharisees. Aristobulus invited Rome to Judea to settle this dispute, as to who should be the king of God’s Kingdom. Hyrcanus did not appeal to the Romans for support and neither would Jesus, but the Pharisees did.

Hyrcanus was hoped by some to be the promised King and High priest.[6] But others disputed his legitimacy as heir. Many died for their lack of faith and allegiance.[7] At one point, there were so few priests that there was no one to even say grace at the kings table.[8]

There was no formal appeal to Rome by Hyrcanus, which made their lawful presence questionable, if not merely commercial. The Romans could no longer rely on Aristobulus’ invitation to justify their occupation since, by their own decree, he was illegitimate.

The Sadducees retained their traditional priestly functions, although it was altered by Pompey, who turned back some of the power unlawfully granted by the Hasmonean Kings years before. Many of the Pharisees also were a part of this corruption and were called “those who seek smooth things” by ministers who sought a purer interpretation of the ancient ways.

These original charitable ministers of the kingdom, working, according to what Moses set up, under what we might call a vow of poverty. Ordered by God, they were not allowed to own land as a personal estate to accumulate wealth. The Hasmonean Dynasty had changed the nature of Israel with the acquiescent blessing of the people. It was during this period that the ministers of God’s government became more like the governments of the gentiles. The temple tax was enforced by statutes and the charitable altars of the government blended with the office of King and public policy. This new apostasy attracted a different kind of minister and steadily altered the nature and spirit of God’s established kingdom.

“Cursed be the man who rebuilds this city! May he lay its foundation on his firstborn, and set its gate upon his youngest son. Behold, an accursed man, a man of the adversary, has risen to become a fowler’s net to his people, and a cause of destruction to all his neighbours. And arose to exercise authority, also being instruments of violence. they have rebuilt a wall and towers, to make of it a stronghold of ungodliness … They have committed an abomination in the land, and a great blasphemy among the children…” [9]

This curse of Joshua seemed to fall upon the Hasmonean dynasty, specifically John Hyrcanus. The blasphemy was not so much the building of a particular city, but the turning away from God’s ways of charity and liberty, and the return to the adversarial civil system of Belial, the “worthless or wicked”, a return to Egypt.

There was soon little difference between the operation of the civil powers of the other kingdoms and God’s with the implementation of forced sacrifice (Corban), corvee labor obligations (income tax) and compulsory taxes on trade (sales tax), on land (property tax) and possessions (personal property tax).[10]

Herod the Idumite

“Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you… the last priests of Jerusalem, who shall amass money and wealth by plundering the peoples. But in the last days, their riches and booty shall be delivered into the hands of the army of the Kittim,[11] for it is they who shall be the ‘remnant of the Peoples.’”[12]

Herod the Idumite, on his accession to power in 37 BC, attacked the Sadducees to thwart their influence. Even the Roman procurators of Judea found it necessary to remove the high priests due to corruption and complaints by the people. The Romans wanted peace to ply their trade and commerce. Romans, as peace keepers, often rejected God’s way.

“Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” Mark 7:7-9, also Matthew 15:9…

These words are rather strong. What commandments, laws, or traditions of men are held and which commandments of God are laid aside? “Commandments” in this verse is from the Greek entalma, which is from entellomai, meaning “to order, command to be done, enjoin” and imparts the idea of precepts. “Tradition” is from paradosis, which means “giving up, giving over.. the act of giving up .. the surrender of cities”. Is Jesus upset because they wash their dishes? In what doctrines, traditions, and teachings are men indulging that is construed as a rejection of commandments and precepts of God?

He tells you that Moses told you to honor your Father and Mother so that your days be long upon the land. This was God’s entitlement to a parent from their child:

  • “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12

Jesus includes the idea of cursing Father and Mother, but, in the original Hebrew text, we see the word qalal meaning to “be of little account, be light”.

  • “And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.” Exodus 21:17

Be of little account with what? With your Father and Mother? How are you slighting Father and Mother with the cry of Corban? Corban was a sacrifice in charity given to the temple in hopes that someone would be helped. It was to be a casting of your daily bread upon the water, in love and charity, so that it would, in hope and faith, come back to you. But that is not what it had become in that time or this. It had become an accounted regular tax contribution given to the temple so that when your parents or you were elderly or infirm, the temple would care for them. It was an entitlement program, permitting the government to impose a tax on its subject citizenry in exchange for social benefits.

It was an abandonment of responsibility with a reciprocating loss of rights. Men began to think that it was the responsibility of their government to take care of their family and these men believed that they were free of that responsibility. The Romans agreed, but Christ, the true King, did not.

Those who practiced this system of social security, called Corban, were defying the teachings of Moses and the system of God and obviously were turning from the Way presented by Jesus.

Any system that says, “We will care for your parents and you are free from that obligation” is laying aside the commandment of God and, in doing so, they should know “Full well they reject the commandment of God” by accepting that offer and making that unlawful contract.

In the ancient and modern City-State, it has been common to set up temples or treasuries that care for the aged and infirm, the poor and the needy. These altars or common treasuries accomplished this spiritual duty by contributions from the people. God allows such altars as long as they are based on charity and not power, force or covetousness.

There were also fees charged for the ownership or use of slaves and restrictions with penalties for those who released unneeded slaves and wards on the common welfare, just as there is unemployment insurance, welfare, and social security laws now.

Originally, Israel’s civil power and responsibility was centered in the family and not in a central government. The wealth of the nation was held by the families and managed by fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and locally by the congregations of the families.

The homes of the families (also called tents or tabernacles) contained both kings and high priests. The King was the chief Elder of a family group and the princes were the Fathers of each household. The high priest was usually the eldest son or firstborn. But the firstborn of the nation was the Levites because they stepped forward in faith, answering the call of Moses to serve the Lord by serving the tents of the congregation.

The people took care of most of the needs of the community within the families in ancient Israel before kings and centralized government. The Levites ministered to the tabernacles or tents of the congregation. They received the sacrifices given freely by the people and those given as an offer of repentance. In turn, they gave away those offerings within the scope of the daily ministration to the poor, needy orphans of society, those without sufficient family to care for themselves, or simply need additional assistance.

This was their system of government, not merely a religion. It was to be God’s Kingdom, but they had strayed from God’s precepts and followed men who walked not in His ways. Jesus was about to take that kingdom away and give it to another.

“Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” Matthew 21:43


The Essenes, The Healers of a Nation

“And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” Luke 10:9

If you were to divide the Jewish people, at the time of Jesus, into three different sects, you would see them parted along three political groups with very different religious perceptions of the Kingdom.

The first two we have mentioned were the Pharisees and the Sadducees, but the third are that which is least spoken or understood within the Biblical text and yet they may be the most important. They were sometimes called the Essenes.

Essene, or “assaya, which means doctor or healer... are not mentioned anywhere in the New Testament, although their numbers were at least as great as the Sadducees and Pharisees”.[13] The Essenes did not call themselves Essenes.

“The Dead Sea Scrolls community, who are probably Essenes, were led by a high priestly leadership, who are thought to be the descendants of the “legitimate” high priestly lineage, which the Hasmoneans ousted.”[14] The Essenes were a humble service-oriented group. According to Philos, the label “Essene” was not their own. This may be why the word, “Essene”, is not mentioned. “There are about sixty proposed etymologies, involving Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and/or Syriac, Persian Avestan, Sanskrit, Akkadian, and others.”[15] The “Essene” label was possibly derived originally from a word meaning “holy” or “separate”, or words that mean “healer”. Ahmed Osman suggests in his book, “Out of Egypt”, that “Essene” is translated as Essa, or “follower of Jesus.”

They desired to be of service in the “world”, but chose not to live of its authoritarian bureaucracy, but desired to purify their life in voluntary service to humanity.

They were labeled as healers and doctors. They sought the natural herbs and the use of oils in service, as well as the content of natural minerals and diet used in healing. They were devoted to service of poor and rich, Jew and gentile alike, even refusing to own slaves. They were hailed for their honesty, temperance, reason, and justice, as well as their talent as healers and prophets.

  • “The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” Luke 4:18

Essene often lived in secluded places during training and preparation. Cities and towns did not have a monopoly on immorality, but they often had the lion’s share of it. They believed that service and fasting allowed one to confront the beast or evil in their own heart. With the aid of grace, one could seek and find the truth of God’s Way on earth through service and sacrifice.

“And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.” Mark 1:13

The followers of Christ and John the Baptist were familiar with much of what was called “Essene”. They washed their bodies, but also their hearts. They spoke of enlightenment, not entitlements. They sought the sincerity in their novitiates with adherence to precepts, overlooked by others. They studied and meditated on the issues of man and God. Their “Schools of Prophets” were famous. Josephus tells of Manahem the Essene who prophesied Herod’s kingship when he had no royal expectations. They believed divine revelation was essential.

“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 16:17

They were almost a secret society, but were also in regular contact with the people. They did own land throughout Judea, but only as a group, holding that land in common, like the Levites. Individually, they owned no personal estate, but sought a godly Kingdom for all men.

In almost every city, their hospitality and the tender care of a healer was always to be found behind the Door of the Essene and was available to all for the price of asking.[16]

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” Matthew 7:7

They dressed simply in white garments and shunned wealth and comfort. The use of oils was common in those days, but they avoided it for themselves as an extravagance.

“Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” John 12:5

Philo wrote, “For they are unique among all the race of men, having become penniless and landless (no personal estate) by choice rather than lack of good luck. But they count themselves very wealthy, judging ready satisfaction and contentment with little (to be) abundance, as it is”.[17] Because of their simple, even austere, lifestyle, they were not ones to be infiltrated by lustful usurers and comfort seekers. They held all things in common, much like that required of the ancient Levites. This choice today would be called a “vow of poverty”. Many Essenes were Levites by birth, but were true to those ancient requirements of God and Moses.

“And all that believed were together, and had all things common;” Acts 2:44

Much of Philo's writings on the Essenes have been lost, but early church writers claim:

“No one possesses a house absolutely his own, one which does not at the same time belong to all; for in addition to living together in companies ('haburot') their houses are open also to their adherents coming from other quarters.” “Whatever they receive for their wages after having worked the whole day they do not keep as their own, but bring into the common treasury for the use of all; nor do they neglect the sick who are unable to contribute their share, as they have in their treasury ample means to offer relief to those in need.”[18]

One Hasidean term for renouncing all claim property is “hefker”. It was a way of declaring a thing held by a company or order of men to be held in trust for another, in this case, for God.

“…And all who volunteer for his Truth shall bring all their knowledge and powers and possessions into the Unity of God: to purify their knowledge by the truth of God’s precepts, and --to measure their powers according to the perfection of his ways and all their possessions according to his righteous counsel.” [19]

This idea of the ministers of God’s government was insisted upon by Abraham, Moses, and Jesus and no honest account could leave it out of the description of those in national ministry. The evidence is overwhelming that the instructions of Jesus and the acts of the early Church were in common:

“By selling all that they had and giving it to themselves collectively, by turning over to the Order all that they earned during many years of industry, and by living always in the strictest frugality, the members had made their community wealthy ... the Society could practically guarantee life-long security from the ills and buffetings of a cruel and uncertain life.”[20]

“They reject personal wealth, and do not refrain from sharing what they have with those in need; in fact, none among them is richer than the other; for the law with them is that whosoever joins their order must sell his possessions and hand the proceeds over to the common stock; and the leader distributes it to all according to their need. The overseers who provide for the common wants are elected by them. They do not use oil, as they regard anointing as a defilement, and they always dress in white garments.”[21]

The idea of the ministers of God’s kingdom not owning any property in their own name is not popular today, but both Moses and Christ concurred on this subject. Having no personal estate or no inheritance[22] is an essential prerequisite before receiving any tithing from the people as the government of God. Jesus not only told this to the rich man who wanted to join His ministry, but made it a requirement for those to whom he would eventually appoint the kingdom.[23]

“... whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33

Here, the word hath is from huparchonta, meaning “wealth and property”. We find the same word again in Luke 12:33 when Christ instructed his disciples to sell their property:

“Sell that ye have (huparchonta), and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.” Luke 12:33

Jesus knew the importance of not centralizing power or wealth in His government. The temptation for corruption and tyranny proves too great for men who are not willing to make such a commitment.

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” Matthew 6:19-20

The Essenes appealed to the best part of the nature of man. They were not steeped in orthodoxy and legalism. They often fulfilled the tasks of the early Levites. Eusebius, an early Church writer of the fourth century, states in his History of the Church that those ancient Essenes, who he calls Therapeuts, “were Christians, and their ancient writings were our gospels”. They were practical in the practice of their faith and humble and efficient in the performance of its service. Philo wrote that the Essenes believed, “It is our first duty to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness”.

“… he will exercise piety towards God, and then that he will observe justice towards men, and that he will do no harm to any one, either of his own accord, or by the command of others; that he will always hate the wicked, and be assistant to the righteous; that he will ever show fidelity to all men, and especially to those in authority… [24]

There may seem at first to be a Roman Catholic or even communistic approach in the Essene community when we read perceptions of their history like:

“We must note that when the Essenes gave their wealth to the poor, they were themselves those ‘poor', whose storehouses were amply stocked. What they surrendered as individuals, they regained as members of the group, which might possess unlimited wealth. Thus, their communism was a device by which to escape the sinfulness and contamination of private property without foregoing its blessings and benefits. It is interesting to note that one of the Dead Sea Scrolls proves that the Essene monastery possessed vast quantities of hidden gold and silver.”[25]

There are distinctive elements to their common brotherhood that made them the antithesis of communism. They structured their community in cell groups called twelve “men of holiness”, which included a titular leader or mebaqqerim. Leaders served their constituency, which consisted of about ten families or family groups. They were accepted to their office by unanimous agreement of those they served, forming a national network of charity and thanksgiving or Eucharist.

“In the council of the community there shall be twelve men and three priests.”[26]

Three “priests” were often selected among the group to perform certain duties. In the Bible, we see Peter, James, and John taken aside by Jesus and given separate instructions.

  • “And after six days Jesus taketh [with him] Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.” Mark 9:2, Mark 14:33, Luke 8:51.

The mebaqqer, or “overseers”, also gathered in groups of twelve to minister to their immediate group of overseers and to tie larger groups into a network of communication and efficient service. This was an identical system repeated in the early days of the Levites with the twelve tribes and also seen throughout the first-century Church. Remnants of this pattern were still being used in Europe25Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; refs with no name must have content at the turn of the first millennium after Christ’s death and resurrection.

The Essenes were notorious travelers. The image we have of them living solitary lives in communes gives a distorted perception. They had to get out to the people and used communes as places of learning and rest. There were some groups that were more monastic, and even celibate for the time of their training. Some community records have survived because of their isolated locations.

Epiphanius, an early Church writer, distinguishes between the Osseaens and the Nazarean Essenes. They both believed there were great errors in the reading and translation of scripture.

The Nazarean

“The Nazarean - they were Jews by nationality - originally from Gileaditis, where the early followers of Yeshua fled after the martyrdom of James, the brother of Jesus, Bashanitis and the Transjordon. They acknowledged Moses and believed that he had received laws - not this law, however, but some other. And so, they were Jews who kept all the Jewish observances, but they would not offer sacrifice or eat meat. They considered it unlawful to eat meat or make sacrifices with it. They claim that these Books are fictions [as presented at the time], and that none of these customs were instituted by the fathers. This was the difference between the Nazarean and the others. . .” (Panarion 1:18)

Their priests were not really priests, as we might think today, but stewards or servants of the people. Service was the highest valued character or virtue. They all depended on hard work, self-reliance, and charity amongst the brethren, not upon taxes or accounted tithes. They were dispersed all over the country in every community throughout the world, living in it, but not of it.

  • “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 23:11

Their word was held so reputable that even Herod excused them from taking the oath of allegiance, which was demanded due to his fear of the people and his own love of Hellenism.

“They master an even temper and control their anger. They advocate trust and assist peace. And all that is spoken by them has more force than an oath. But they avoid swearing, regarding it worse than perjury. For they say that he who cannot be believed unless God is against him is already condemned…"[27]

Some refused to take oaths before men or serve any gods other than the Creator.

We see Christ saying the same, “But I say unto you, Swear not at all; … But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil:” Matthew 5:34-37

  • “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.” James 5:12

No trading or commerce was done except by barter or with commodity money, which is barter, not “business”. Their union of each cell or order was more that of family unit who shared a common brotherhood, not because of a common womb, but because they had one Father who was in Heaven.

“...for it is a law among them that those who come to them must let what they have be common to the whole order, insomuch that among them all there is no appearance of poverty, or excess of riches, but every one’s possessions are intermingled with every other’s possession, and so there is, as it were, one patrimony among all the brethren.... Nor do they either buy or sell anything to one another, but every one of them gives what he hath to him that wanteth it, and receives from him again in lieu of it what may be convenient for himself ; and although there be no requital made, they are fully allowed to take what they want of whomsoever they please.”[28]

Their exchange between orders was based on charity and national brotherhood, not commerce, incurring no national debt. They paid all their debts and debt was to be avoided.

  • “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8

They did not enjoy paying Roman taxes and avoided it even if it meant avoiding Roman tolls by traveling the ancient paths or living in a more self-reliant and independent way, seeing contributions as a form of worship or homage. They contributed regularly to the common welfare through their own system of charitable congregational networks.

They avoided almost anything done merely for pleasure or self-gratification. With a few exceptions, this included delaying marriage. They considered marriage a sacred relationship and duty; and, as a divine institution, for the procreation of children.[29] It was customary for Essenes, desiring to marry, to wait three years before the marriage took place, during which time they would take the vow of the Nazarite. In either case, they took their vows before God and kept them devoutly. Women were accepted, as a part of the brotherhood like sisters and they had an almost androgynous approach to the sexes when it came to rights and responsibilities.

“Our lawgiver, Moses, has trained thousands of disciples who, on account of their saintliness, I believe, are honored with the name of Essæi. They inhabit many cities and villages, and large and populous quarters of Judea. Their institution is not based upon family connections, which are not matters of free choice, but upon zeal for virtue and philanthropy... all are full-grown men, already declining toward old age, such as are no longer carried away by the vehemence of the flesh nor under the influence of their passions, but are in the enjoyment of genuine and true liberty.”[30]

The Essene network formed communities to which were ministered by these leaders, who had proven themselves faithful throughout their lives upon the precept of voluntary service. The broader Essene community included people and their families that had been served by these ministers in times of need. In turn, the humble and pious ministers and their missions were supported by the people who sought the charitable ways of the Kingdom of God in spirit and in truth. Communities grew in virtue as they were bound together by faith, hope, and charity.

Forgiving and asking forgiveness was as essential in their life as breathing in and out. Giving thanks for everything that came their way, both the good and the bad, the sunrise and the sunset, comfort or discomfort. All was a blessing from God and could be turned to good.

  • “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” Luke 23:34

They obtained such resolution of mind and body that Roman torture failed to produce fear or anger. It had been said that they met death with a smile.[31]

They were messengers of peace. They were allowed to carry a staff for defense, but generally for the protection of others. Even though some trained in military style for the coming of the Messiah, they were considered harmless by even the Romans, who, in fact, were generally suspicious of everyone.

The Essenes considered themselves as a people with a mission. They were not just the servants of God, but His sons and daughters. They were the depository of His secret knowledge and wisdom and workers for the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

  • “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” Matthew 13:11

The Kingdom of Heaven on earth was a present reality in the Essene teachings. It passed from generation to generation through the families of the people who lived in righteousness by faith and hope through charity. Those who went out of the presence of God and His righteous light and lived by the dark laws of Cain and Lemech, oppressing one another for their personal benefit and security, walked in error.

“…From the God of Knowledge is all that is and shall be; before they were, he made all their designs. And when they come to be they testify to his glory as planned, fulfilling their deeds and changing nothing. In his hand are all judgments, and he will support them in all their needs. And he created Man (Enosh) for dominion over the earth; and he appointed two spirits for him to walk in until the time of his visitation. These are the Spirits of Truth and of Error. Those born of Truth are in a spring of Light; and those born of Error are from a well of darkness. In the hand of the Prince of Light is dominion over all the sons of Righteousness who walk in all the ways of Light. But in the hand of the Angel of Darkness is dominion over all the sons of Error, who walk in the ways of darkness.”[32]

The Essenes would regularly donate to the temple, giving both freewill offerings and sin offerings, but they absolutely would not participate in blood sacrifice, believing it to be a misinterpretation of the ancient text. This, too, was in accordance with the teachings of Jesus.

“The doctrine of the Essenes is this: That all things are best ascribed to God. They teach the immortality of souls, and esteem that the rewards of righteousness are to be earnestly striven for; and when they send what they have dedicated to God into the temple, they do not offer sacrifices because they have more pure lustrations of their own; on which account they are excluded from the common court of the temple, but offer their sacrifices themselves; yet is their course of life better than that of other men; and they entirely addict themselves to husbandry.”[33]

There were Nazarene Essenes, Pharisee Essenes, Mandaean Essenes, and Sadducee Essenes, just to mention a few. The Essenes’ influence, although not homogeneous, was more in line with Abraham, Moses, and Jesus Christ. They had a political philosophy that clearly manifested the precepts of God. The early Church was undoubtedly filled with Essenes.

  • “And there shalt thou build an altar unto the LORD thy God, an altar of stones: thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them.” Deuteronomy 27:5

Many of the Essenes, as followers of Christ, were men of God, seeking His ways and performing the tasks of the “firstborn” of a nation of God in faith, hope, and charity. There was no need for social insurance, either private or public.

“For the Essenes, the contribution of their erstwhile private property to the ‘union of God’ meant nothing less than its reacquisition as a gift from God. The profits that the Essenes reaped thanks to their type of community of goods were at any rate so great that they were the only Jewish organization of their time to be able to afford to include nonmembers in their charitable system.”[34]

They were the living altars of white stones made of flesh and bone. The law was written on their hearts and minds in service to the people of God and His Heavenly Kingdom on earth.

  • “To whom coming, [as unto] a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, [and] precious,” 1 Peter 2:4

“Moreover, if any of them should fall sick, he is medically treated out of the common resources. . . And so the old men if they happen to be childless, are wont to end their lives on a very happy and bright old age, inasmuch as they are blest with sons both many and good.”[35]

Members of Modern Monastic orders are subject to the rule of the leaders of the orders, while the Essenes’ love of liberty was the bedrock of their union. “[T]heir mode of life is our evidence of their liberty; none ventures to acquire any private property at all, no house or slave, or farm cattle, or any of the other things which procure or minister to wealth; but they deposit them all in public together, and enjoy the benefit of all in common.”[36]

The Essene owned nothing himself, but was designated as the ba‘al, “possessor, holder,” and could “even engage in trade... even selling to pagans the products of their workshops. Their ownership... was basically inalienable”. The Overseer could accuse any member before the members of the Order. If there was any misappropriation of “community property” or through careless management they caused a loss for the community restitution might be required or exclusion from the community services, even though it was counted as the member’s “property” because the “legal proprietor” was the Order.[37]

Among all the people of that time, you will not find any living closer to the nature of the true Church than some of those early Essenes. Understanding their function and unique status, their practices would be essential to functioning of the early Church and fits well into the old and new scripture. Modern Christians have a far different view of the early Church even though they must stretch the text as the Pharisees did to support it.

Judaism had undergone many changes during its years of captivity, under corrupt kings and priests, and on through the Hasmonean dynasty. Herod was no exception. With vast funds available, a temple was built, not only in Jerusalem, but many were constructed around the world. The constitutional provisions of Deuteronomy 17:15 had clearly stated that “…you may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.” Yet, Herod rose as king.

“As an Idumean he (Herod) was disliked by Judeans; as the usurper of the Hasmoneans he was resented by the aristocracy. During his reign he succeeded in creating his own ‘aristocracy’ from those loyal to Rome and appointed by himself. But he apparently favored those traditional religious groups who did not oppose him, such as Pharisees and Essenes.”[38]

Herod’s grand scheme of a vast Kingdom of Heaven on earth involved sending out evangelists and missionaries all over the world. Herod enjoyed the support of some Essenes, although they would not hold an office requiring an oath. In part, this support was because of the prophecy concerning the Messiah coming during Herod’s reign and for other reasons.

“Diaspora Essenes shared the divergent [solar] calendar and many traditions of Palestinian Essenes, but did not espouse their unworldliness and strict views on morality. For the Palestinians, the Diaspora kind were ‘seekers after smooth things’, taking the easy way.”[39]

These were not the only evangelists and missionaries of the time. There were others baptizing people into a different kind of Kingdom of Heaven on earth. There was another King who was not Idumean, nor part of the world of Rome. He would establish his Kingdom, not by schemes of compelled Corban, offerings forced by statute, but by faith, hope, and charity.

“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” John 18:36

His Kingdom is not of the “world” of Roman constitutional order. His Kingdom is established under the perfect law of liberty. His ekklesia, “called out”, or Christ appointed ministers, were priests of practical service to the people without exercising authority over the free contributions. They were to manifest the character of Christ to receive, preserve, and propagate his doctrines and ordinances, teaching the people to love their neighbor, rather than covet their goods and property through benefactors who exercised authority one over the other.

Setting men free from the servitude of sin in this world is a constant theme of the Bible, sometimes called salvation; but, if God is to release us from spiritual servitude, it is also mandatory to release us from greed, avarice, and covetousness that leads us into physical servitude. Jesus made it clear that God is the God of the living, so His salvation and liberty must include this world, as well as the next. The Essenes saw men first as a spiritual creature living in a physical body. They knew that, as they became spiritually close to the character of God, the whole man would be set free, just as Christ was set free upon His resurrection.

“It is a fixed belief of theirs that the body is corruptible and its constituent matter impermanent, but that the soul is immortal and imperishable. Emanating from the finest ether, these souls become entangled, as it were, in the prison-house of the body, to which they are dragged down by a sort of natural spell; but when once they are released from the bonds of the flesh, then, as though liberated from a long servitude, they rejoice and are borne Aloft…”[40]

The Kingdom of Heaven is first a spiritual place that begins with the incorporeal change of the individual. That change is not wrought with our will, but by the grace of God within us. That divine spark of truth should and will lead us to both a spiritual kingdom and a physical corporeal kingdom at hand. His kingdom comes as His will is done. The same is true of all kingdoms; only the will of the kings changes.

  • “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” 1 Corinthians 15:50

The Levites began to occupy a distinct position as the spiritual primogeniture of a nation, since that terrible scene of sin established with the golden calf. They were conferred with the office of service to the tents of the congregation. They were selected for this purpose because, as a tribe, they were willing to come out first and serve Moses and the Lord.

As being wholly consecrated or separated to the service of the Lord, they had no territorial possessions. Jehovah was their inheritance[41] and, for their support, it was ordained that they should receive from the other tribes the tithes of the produce of the land and the people, but only according to their service. It was not automatic nor collected by force.

“Forty-eight civil jurisdictions were assigned to them, thirteen of which were called priest cities. Along with their dwellings they had ‘suburbs’, and ‘commons’, for their herds and flocks, and also fields and vineyards (Num. 35:2-5). Nine of these cities were in Judah, three in Naphtali, and four in each of the other tribes (Josh. 21). Six of the Levitical cities were set apart as ‘cities of refuge’ (q.v.). Thus the Levites were scattered among the tribes to keep alive among them the knowledge and service to God.” [42]

By the time of Christ, the remainder of the Levites had become steeped in apostasy. They were often rich and no longer served the tents of the congregation as much as the people were serving them. The men appointed to keep them free in the wisdom of God now kept them ignorant, superstitious, distracted, entertained, and in bondage.

The Essenes assumed the role of the Levites in Spirit and in Truth. Their teachings and actions paralleled those of Moses and the Levites from centuries before. Many of the Essenes and repentant Levites became the ministers of the Church. The Levites, like Joses, repenting, sold their land, set the money at the foot of the kingdom’s Ambassadors, and went into the service as the Kingdom’s first ministers, His Holy Church.

  • “And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, [and] of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” Acts 4:36-37

In order for Barnabas to become a minister of Christ’s Church, serving His Kingdom, he was required to sell all of his property as Jesus had commanded.[43] Ananias failed to obey Christ and was struck dead, as we see in the very next verses:

  • “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price… fell down, and gave up the ghost…” Acts 5:1-5

The mission of the Levites was the same for the Essenes as it was for Christ’s Church. If not, the bureaucracy of government would soon become ineffective or oppressive like Cain, Lemech, Nimrod, Pharaoh, and Caesar. People then return to the bondage of Egypt; but, if they return to the way of God and seek His righteous Kingdom and do the will of the Father, then they shall again be a whole nation, under God with liberty and justice for all.

“That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.” Psalms 67:2

If we are to understand our place in God’s Kingdom of Heaven, we must also learn from and understand that which was held in common by the Levites, the Essenes, and the first-century Church, established by Christ Jesus the King.

“In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations.” Revelation 22:2

The origin of what was called Essene reaches back to Enoch who walked with God. They are the men who separate themselves from the “world”, living in it, but not of it. They live according to and under the authority of God’s government, which is foreign to other states.

  • “The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” Luke 4:18

They were the first servants of God and they were the first spiritually-born Children of God in repentance and in the acceptance of God’s true character, doing all things in His “Name”. They fed His sheep in service to His Kingdom of God at hand, guiding men in freedom to liberty under God.

  • “And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” Luke 9:2


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Footnotes

  1. Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
    2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
  2. "a condition attached to an agreement."
  3. The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, , Volume 1, edited by Isidore Singer, Cyrus Adler. (Ab. i. 3; see Grätz, “Gesch d. Juden,” ii. 6, 239.)
  4. he Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church, Volume 11: Pharisees
  5. Roman Peace. An internal peace in the Roman empire initiated by Caesar Augustus, who was hailed as the “peacemaker” and “savior” of Rome.
  6. “…Judah ben Yedidyah, who said to King Hyrcanus, ‘King !Hyrcanus Thou hast enough with the royal crown, leave the crown of priesthood to the seed of Aaron!’” Babylonian Talmud, Kidd. 66a. see also "However, this prosperous state of affairs moved the Jews to envy Hyrcanus; but they that were the worst disposed to him were the Pharisees, who were one of the sects of the Jews, as we have informed you already. These have so great a power over the multitude, that when they say any thing against the king, or against the high priest, they are presently believed. Now Hyrcanus was a disciple of theirs, and greatly beloved by them. And when he once invited them to a feast, and entertained them very kindly, when he saw them in a good humor, he began to say to them, that they knew he was desirous to be a righteous man, and to do all things whereby he might please God, which was the profession of the Pharisees also. However, he desired, that if they observed him offending in any point, and going out of the right way, they would call him back and correct him. On which occasion they attested to his being entirely virtuous; with which commendation he was well pleased. But still there was one of his guests there, whose name was Eleazar, a man of an ill temper, and delighting in seditious practices. This man said, “Since thou desirest to know the truth, if thou wilt be righteous in earnest, lay down the high priesthood, and content thyself with the civil government of the people,” 292And when he desired to know for what cause he ought to lay down the high priesthood, the other replied, “We have heard it from old men, that thy mother had been a captive under the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. “ This story was false, and Hyrcanus was provoked against him; and all the Pharisees had a very great indignation against him. 2936. Now there was one Jonathan, a very great friend of Hyrcanus’s, but of the sect of the Sadducees, whose notions are quite contrary to those of the Pharisees. He told Hyrcanus that Eleazar had cast such a reproach upon him, according to the common sentiments of all the Pharisees, and that this would be made manifest if he would but ask them the question, What punishment they thought this man deserved? 294for that he might depend upon it, that the reproach was not laid on him with their approbation, if they were for punishing him as his crime deserved. So the Pharisees made answer, that he deserved stripes and bonds, but that it did not seem right to punish reproaches with death. And indeed the Pharisees, even upon other occasions, are not apt to be severe in punishments. 295At this gentle sentence, Hyrcanus was very angry, and thought that this man reproached him by their approbation. It was this Jonathan who chiefly irritated him, and influenced him so far, 296that he made him leave the party of the Pharisees, and abolish the decrees they had imposed on the people, and to punish those that observed them. From this source arose that hatred which he and his sons met with from the multitude: 297but of these matters we shall speak hereafter. What I would now explain is this, that the Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the laws of Moses; and for that reason it is that the Sadducees reject them, and say that we are to esteem those observances to be obligatory which are in the written word, but are not to observe what are derived from the tradition of our forefathers. 298And concerning these things it is that great disputes and differences have arisen among them, while the Sadducees are able to persuade none but the rich, and have not the populace obsequious to them, but the Pharisees have the multitude on their side. But about these two sects, and that of the Essenes, I have treated accurately in the second book of Jewish affairs." Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 13.288-298, translated by William Whiston
  7. “… his own people revolted against him…, they pelted him with citrons… at the festival of Tabernacles… and they added insult to injury by saying that he was descended from captives and was unfit to hold office and to sacrifice; and being enraged at this, he killed some 6,000 of them, and also placed a wooden barrier about the altar and the Temple as far as the coping of the court which the priests alone were permitted to enter, and by this means blocked the people’s way to him.” Josephus, Ant. 13.372-4
  8. “…he had put the rabbis to death, there was no-one to say grace for them…” Babylonian Talmud, Berakoth 48a.
  9. A Dead Sea Scrolls text 4Q175 21-30
  10. See The Covenants of the gods published by His Church.
  11. The Kittim are believed to be the Romans at that time. One reasons is that they have an almost religious devotion for their flag.
  12. Dead Sea Scrolls: 1QpHabakkuk IX
  13. The Jesus Conspiracy, The Turin Shroud & The Truth About the Resurrection Holger Kersten & Elmar Gruber, (1992)
  14. Sadducees. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saducees
  15. Stephen Goranson
  16. Flavius Josephus, War of the Jews, Bk II, Ch VIII, Sn 4. Also There were “more than four thousand” Essaioi living in “Palestinian Syria” (Philo, Quod Omn. Prob. XII.75), and “in many cities of Judaea and in many villages and grouped in great societies of many members” ( Hyp. 11.1).
  17. Philo, Every Good Man is Free 12.77
  18. “Præparatio Evangelica” by Eusebius (viii.), (ch. Xi.):
  19. Dead Sea Scrolls, Community Rule (1QS) 1.11-13
  20. The Essene-Christian Faith : A Study in the Sources of Western Religion, Martin A. Larson, The Noontide Press, Costa Mesa, California, 1989, p. 40.
  21. Hippolytus, the author of “Refutatio Omnium Hæresium” (ix. 18-28) but quoted in Josephus.
  22. Numbers 18:23-24, Deuteronomy 14:27-29, Joshua 18:7.
  23. Luke 22:29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;
  24. Flavius Josephus, War of the Jews, Bk II, Ch XIII, Sn 7.
  25. The Religion of the Occident : The Origin and Development of the Essene-Christian Faith, Martin A. Larson, Littlefield, Adams & Co., Paterson, New Jersey, 1961, p. 341.
  26. Dead Sea Scrolls, Essene Community Rule (1QS) 8.1-4
  27. Josephus, Jewish War 2.135
  28. Josephus, Wars of the Jews II viii 2 – 13.
  29. Josephus, Jewish War 2.160
  30. "This is the most essential feature of the Essenism (comp. Pliny, l.c) and has been almost entirely ignored. The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, Volume 5
  31. The Jewish War By Flavius Josephus.
  32. Dead Sea Scrolls, Community Rule (1QS) 3.15-21
  33. Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Bk XVIII, Ch I, Sn 5
  34. The Library of Qumran : On the Essenes, Qumran, John the Baptist, and Jesus, Hartmut Stegemann, Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, the Netherlands, 1993 / 1998:
  35. Apology for the Jews, in Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel VIII, 8, Philo Judaeus
  36. Philo Judaeus, Apology for the Jews, found in Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel VIII, 8.
  37. Quotes in this paragraph taken from The Library of Qumran: On the Essenes, Qumran, John the Baptist, and Jesus, by Hartmut Stegemann, Published by Brill, 1998. pp. 186 - 187
  38. The Old Testament World, John Roberson and Philip Davies. First Edition published in 1989.
  39. Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Barbara Thiering, Harper Collins: 1992
  40. Flavius Josephus, War of the Jews, II, VIII, Sn 11
  41. Num. 18:20; 26:62; Deut. 10:9; 18:1, 2
  42. Easton’s Bible Dictionary.
  43. "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:33