The Dead Sea Scrolls
Do they reveal the true origins of Christianity ?
Do they reveal the Historical Messiah ?
First discovered in 1947 in clay jars in caves near Qumran on the Dead Sea, the Dead Sea Scrolls have provoked controversy ever since. In the early years experts were extremely impressed by close parallels between the Dead Sea sect and early Christianity. But the Essenes sect who wrote the Scrolls came immediately BEFORE the first Christians. These revelations alarmed the Church.
Two Jewish Messiahs for Two Similar Sects ?
The Dead Sea Scrolls had been extensively copied by the Nazarenes, the first Christians, especially St Paul, although the Essenes were extremely secretive. Many of the Nazarenes’ basic ideas were very close to the Essenes’ ideas. They had both been founded by the Jewish Messiah. Remarkably, even the system of discipline described in Acts is identical to the Essenes’ procedure. Both groups lived in communities, like Qumran, with no private property, sharing everything, another unusual and remarkable feature. But surely early Christianity would never copy so closely from another sect with a rival Messiah !
The Historical Messiah
The Essenes, who eventually settled at Qumran, were apparently founded about 170 B.C. by a man who is recognised in the Book of Daniel as the Messiah and is probably the historical Messiah, the model for the legendary portrait of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. This is Onias III. He was High Priest in Jerusalem before he was deposed and finally killed by the bitter rivals who succeeded him. This is an extremely dramatic and colourful story of which we have an excellent account that fits together with the clues in the Dead Sea Scrolls like a jigsaw.
This may be the true and inspiring story of the origins of Christianity and the true history of the Christ.
This is a brief summary of a stunning new interpretation of the Scrolls, supported by Sid Jefferies' years of research. A fuller explanation is available in the Dead Sea Scrolls section of Facts Behind Faith. This challenging interpretation has not yet been accepted by the experts but judge for yourself whether it makes good sense and fits the evidence.
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