2008-06-21 13:35:18 UTC
In 1947 a group of children stumbled upon the first set of scrolls in a cave on the shores of
the dead sea. These scrolls were imediately identified as the work of a very devout sect of the
Jewish community that lived centuries before the birth of Jesus (pbuh). Hershel Shanks says in
his book Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls: "Such was the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls,
manuscripts a thousand years older than the oldest known Hebrew texts of the Bible, manuscripts
many of which were written a hundred years before the birth of Jesus and at least one of which
may have been written almost three hundred years before the journey of Mary and Joseph to
Bethleham" (Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls, Hershel Shanks, pp. 7-8).
An immediate frantic search ensued through the remaining caves in the region in order to find
what other ancient scrolls could be discovered therein. A small group of "international"
scholars in Israel were given exclusive access to them and the rest of the world was all but
totally barred from gaining even the slightest glimpse of the texts (Prof. Eisenman observes
that one of the major stumbling blocks for the publication of the scrolls was that "in the
first place, the team was hardly international") . Prof. Robert Eisenman was one of the key
players in the drama that finally lead to the release of the scrolls. In his book The Dead Sea
Scrolls Uncovered we read: "In the spring of 1986, at the end of his stay in Jerusalem,
Professor Eisenman went with the British scholar, Philip Davies of the University of Sheffield,
to see one of the Israeli officials responsible for this - an intermediary on behalf of the
Antiquities Department (now 'Authority') and the International Team and the Scrolls Curator at
Israel Museum. They were told in no uncertain terms 'You will not see the Scrolls in your
This stung them into action, and as a result of this statement, a massive effort was launched
and five years later, through a whirlwind of media publicity, absolute access to the scrolls
was attained. Prof. Eisenman eventually received 1800 pictures of the previously unpublished
scrolls. The book goes on to describe how "Eisenman was preparing the Facsimile Edition of all
unpublished plates. This was scheduled to appear the following spring through E. J. Brill in
Leiden, Holland. Ten days, however, before it's scheduled publication in April 1991, after
pressure was applied by the International Team, the publisher inexplicably withdrew and Hershel
Shanks (author of Biblical Archiology Review) and the Biblical Archeology Society to their
credit stepped in to fill the breach". However, finally in September 1991, the archives were
officially opened and two months later the 2-volume Facsimile Edition was published.
We have already read the words of Mr. Tom Harpur in the preface to his book: "The most
significant development since 1986 in this regard has been the discovery of the title "Son of
God" in one of the Qumran papyri (Dead Sea Scrolls) used in relation to a person other than
Jesus.....this simply reinforces the argument made there that to be called the Son of God in a
Jewish setting in the first century is not by any means the same as being identical with God
Himself." For Christ's Sake, pp. xii. So why don't we study these scrolls in a little more
detail and see what else we can learn ?
The Dead Sea Scrolls consist of fragments from many manuscripts, however, some of the most
interesting among them are the Pesher texts. The Pesher texts are strings of interpretations of
Biblical verses compiled by the most knowledgeable among the Jews. The word itself is derived
from the Hebrew root word p-sh-r, which means, "to explain". The texts consist of Biblical
passages followed by the words pesher ha-davar "the interpretation of the matter is", and then
the interpretation itself.
The basis of all of these texts is the notion that all of history is preordained by God. In
other words, God is not restricted to looking at matters as "past", "present", or "future",
rather, all of time is an open book to God Indeed, this is the essence of how prophets receive
"prophesies", because God "sees" the future. So, remembering that we are henceforth quoting
from texts that have been carbon dated at about 100 years or more before the coming of Jesus
(pbuh), and that this dating is confirmed by literary analysis, and that the authors were a
sect of very religious and devout Jews, considering all of this let us see what they have to say:
Those who have studies the scrolls have noticed a common theme prevalent throughout these
manuscripts, that is, most of the pesher texts prophesise the comming of a "Teacher of
Righteousness" who will be sent by God to the Jews. This "Teacher of Rightousness" will be
opposed by the "Teacher of Lies" and the "Wicked Priest". These scrolls also predict the coming
of two messiahs. These two messiahs are referred to as a 1) priestly and a 2) temporal messiah.
What we had here was a society of very devout Jews who were convinced that the time of the
coming of the two messiahs was at hand, therefore, they set about preparing for their advent by
detaching themselves from the mainstream society, and dedicating their lives to their worship
and the preparation for their imminent arrival.
In The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, by Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise, we read that the early
scrolls spoke of two messiahs, but that later on, the communities of the Jews began to combine
them into one messiah:
"As we have suggested, contrary to the well-known 'two-Messiah' theory of early Qumran
scholarship, these references to the 'Messiah of Aaron and Israel' in the Damascus Document are
singular not plural... and one possible explanation for it is that it is evoking a Messiah with
both priestly and kingly implications, like the somewhat similar recitations of Hebrews" (The
Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise, p. 162).
"According to the dominant view in the sectarian texts from Qumran, two messiahs were to lead
the congregation in the End of Days, one priestly, and the other lay" (Reclaiming the Dead Sea
Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, pp. 321-322).
The Jews had prophesies of two messiahs. The first was best known to them for his "religious"
or "preistly" works which he would perform. The second was best known to them for his "kingly"
works; his bringing of an epoch of peace.
These two prophesies refer to Jesus (pbuh) and Muhammad (pbuh). Jesus (pbuh) was best know for
his "preistly" works. However, he never lead an army, and he never established a kingdom or a
government. Quite the opposite, he called to peace and submissiveness and to leave the rule of
the land to others (Matthew 22:21). He told his followers that he yet had many things to teach
them but they could not bear them yet and that another would be coming after him who would
teach them the complete truth (John 16:7-14).
Muhammad (pbuh) too began his ministry preaching submissivness and passiveness. However, his
ministry was nurtured by God almighty to a point where it was able to defend itself and
establish justice in the earth and abolish evil. His followers fought several wars in self
defense and against injustice. The Islamic empire finally stretched from China to Spain and
even those who did not follow Muhammad (pbuh) knew him well. However, what did they know him
for? They knew him for his "kingly" actions and not for the "priestly" side of him that his
"And fight against them until persecution is no more and religion is for God alone. But if they
desist then let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers"
--The Qur'an, al-Baqarah(2):193
"Those unto whom We gave the Scripture recognize him Muhammad as they recognize their sons. But
verilly, a party of them conceal the truth while they know it"
--The Qur'an, al-Baqarah(2):146
Over time, the prophesies of the Jews began to become a little blurred, and this in addition to
the continuous persecution of many nations towards the Jews eventually lead to their blending
of these prophesies into one single prophesy and their aggrandizing of this one all- conquering
wondrous event that would finally relieve them of their persecution and pave the way for them
to march forth conquering all nations, and establishing themselves as the protectors of the
kingdom of God. For this reason, when we read the Gospel of Barnabas, we find that when the
Jews ask Jesus (pbuh) whether he is "the messiah" he replys that he is not "the messiah" that
they are expecting.
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I
am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and
the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."
This is because he understood their question. They were not asking him for his title, rather,
they wanted to know whether he was the one who would finally fulfill all of their prophesies of
leadership, power, and grandeur that they had been waiting for for so many centuries. For this
reason, he told them that he was not "the messiah", but that "the Messiah" they were waiting
for would not come until later. He was referring to the SECOND messiah in their prophesies.
(the Jews had expectations of three prophecies to be fulfilled)
Lawrence Schiffman says regarding Pesher Habakkuk: "It (Pesher Habakkuk) describes the struggle
between the Teacher of Righteousness and his opponents - the Man of Lies (also 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". (Reclaiming the Dead Sea
Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 228).
This prophesy also continues in Pesher Psalms: "This text also mentions the familiar dramatis
personae: the Teacher of Righteousness, termed 'the priest'; the wicked priest; and the Man of
Lies. The Wicked Priest persecuted the Teacher and sought to kill him. The man of lies lead
people astray".(Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 229). What we begin
to see in all of this is the story of the coming of Jesus (pbuh), his selection of Judas as one
of the apostles, the deviance of Judas from the truth, how a sect of the Jews persecuted Jesus
(pbuh), how this sect tried to deceive the masses and differed with Jesus (pbuh) regarding the
truth of God's message, and finally, how they schemed with Judas to kill Jesus (pbuh). The
Teacher of Righteousness is thus a reference to Jesus (pbuh); the "priestly" Messiah. The
Wicked Priest is a reference to Judas, and the Spouter of Lies is most likely the leader of the
"chief priests and Pharisees" who persecuted Jesus (pbuh) and are mentioned so often in the Bible.
Many Christian scholars have snatched up these prophesies in order to prove the validity of
their claim that Jesus (pbuh) was indeed sent by God and that the Jews are required to follow
him. However, they have been thwarted in their attempts by one other quite amazing piece of
evidence that the Jews continually manage to refute their claims with, specifically, that the
Dead Sea Scrolls claim that the coming messiah will be persecuted and that the Wicked Priest
will try to kill him, but that the Wicked Priest will not be successful and that it is he who
will recieve the fate he wished for the messiah.
In interpreting Psalms 37:32,
"The Wicked watches for the righteous, seeking to put him to death,"
the text states: 'Its interpretation concerns the Wicked Priest who watched out for the Teacher
of Righteousness and sought to put him to death'"
(Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 233). So Judas will try to kill
"The Wicked Priest began his career with the support of the sectarians, but he quickly lost his
way and began to transgress in order to increase his wealth". (Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls,
Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 233).
"And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted
with him for thirty pieces of silver".
"Various theories have sought to identify the Teacher with Jesus, claiming that he was executed
by the Wicked Priest. However, had that been the case, the text would not have gone on to
explain how God took vengeance against the priest by turning him over to the 'ruthless ones of
the nations'. And according to this text, the teacher certainly survived the ambush. Indeed the
entire passage is an interpretation of Psalms (37:33) where the text continues,
"The Lord will not abandon him (the Righteous), into his hand (the Wicked); He (The Lord) will
not let him (the Righteous) be condemned in judgment (by the wicked)." (Reclaiming the Dead Sea
Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, pp. 233-234).
The author goes on to quote Pesher Habakkuk with regard to the Wicked Priest's intentions and
his punishment. He says: "Ultimately, however, the Wicked Priest was punished: '.. because of
his transgression against the Teacher of Righteousness and the men of his council, God gave him
over to the hands of his enemies to afflict him with disease so as to destroy him with mortal
suffering because he had acted wickedly against His chosen one'.
The Wicked Priest's enemies tortured him which represents divine punishment for his attacks on
the Teacher of Righteousness. The sufferings of the Wicked Priest are even more graphically
described in another passage: 'and all his enemies arose and abused him in order for his
suffering to be fit punishment for his evil. And they inflicted upon him horrible diseases, and
acts of vengeance in the flesh of his body'. But the one who suffered was the Wicked Priest,
not the Teacher of Righteousness.
"The enemies of the Wicked Priest, the nation against whom he had made war, are said to have
tortured him, so that his life ended in mortal disease and affliction." (Reclaiming the Dead
Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 234). If we read the Gospel of Barnabas, we will find
that when Judas came with the Roman troops in order to betray Jesus (pbuh), God raised Jesus
(pbuh) unto Him and saved him. He then made Judas look and even speak like Jesus (pbuh) so that
the Romans dragged him (Judas) away with them kicking and screaming that he was not Jesus
(pbuh) but Judas. Even the Apostles were totally bewildered.
After the Romans had their fill afflicting Judas with all manner of abuse and torture, he was
finally taken to trial. By now he had totally given up hope of ever being believed. So now when
he was asked, "art thou Jesus?" He replied "Thou sayest". In other words, "you will not believe
me if I say otherwise, so why fight it any more". His enemies (the Romans) then took him,
mocked him, kicked him, cut him, spat on him, humiliated him, and tortured him. Finally, they
put him up on the cross. It appears, however, that shortly after they took him down, he
disappeared from his tomb (maybe to live in disease and torment and die later on if he was not
already dead). The Gospel of Baranabas then goes on to describe how Jesus (pbuh) returned to
the apostles to tell them of how God had saved him from the hands of the Jews and the Romans
and how the traitor (Judas) was taken instead.
This is exactly what the Qur'an has been saying for 1400 years now; that Jesus (pbuh) was not
forsaken by God to be killed by the conspiracy of the Jews and Judas, but that "it was made to
appear so to them":
"But when Jesus became conscious of their disbelief, he cried: Who will be my helpers in the
cause of Allah? The disciples said: We will be Allah's helpers. We believe in Allah, and bear
you witness that we have surrendered (unto Him). Our Lord! We believe in that which You have
revealed and we follow him whom You have sent. Enroll us among those who witness (to the
truth). And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the
best of schemers"
--The Qur'an, A'l-Umran(3):52-54.
"And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger, and
they slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree
concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a
conjecture; for of a surety they slew him not"
--The Qur'an, Al-Nissa(4):157
. The scrolls then go on to describe how "Kittim" (the Roman empire) and the kings of Greece
would both try to take Jerusalem (the symbol of the faithful), but that it would be Kittim (the
Romans) who would finally be successful.
"Some texts also speak about an eschatological prophet who will announce the coming of the
Messiah, a figure similar to Elijah in the rabinnic tradition" (Reclaiming the Dead Sea
Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 323).
Referring to the manuscript titled The Rule of the Community, verse 9:11-12, Mr. Schiffman
says: "this text unquestionably refers to two messiahs who will be announced by an
eschatological prophet and based on a the cave 4 manuscripts of Rule of the Community, the
original publication team argued that this passage was added to the text later in the history
of the sect. However, the evidence in these manuscripts does not sufficiently support such an
assertion. As far as we can tell, the two-messiah concept was part of Rule of the Community
from the time it was composed". (Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 324).
"And when there came unto them (the Jews) a Scripture from Allah, confirming that in their
possession though before that they were invoking Allah (for the coming of Muhammad ) in order
to gain victory over those who disbelieved, then when there came unto them that which they had
recognized, they disbelieved in it. So let the curse of Allah be on disbelievers"
--The Qur'an, Al-Baqarah(2):89
The Dead Sea Scrolls make mention of many more quite amazing and illuminating prophesies and
parallels with the teachings of the Qur'an and Islam. There are also many parallels with the
historical series of events presented in this book, such as the reference to the "seekers of
smooth things" (simplifying the law of the religion) which sounds amazingly similar to the
description of Paul and his followers who "simplified" the religion of Jesus after his
departure and removed all obligation from it all the while claiming that his authority came
directly from "visions" of Jesus (pbuh). He is even quoted, while preaching this removal of
obligation, as saying
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds
should be corrupted from the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ"
--2 Corinthians 11:3
There is so much more that could be said about the Dead Sea Scrolls and their confirmation of
the Qur'an and the mission of Muhammad , however, that will have to be left to a future article
where, God willing, many more detailed examples of this sort shall be analyzed in detail.
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