Qumran Apocalypse

A Teacher of Righteousness

A vast majority of scholars today believe that the allusions to a body of Israel in the Dead Sea Scrolls were intended for an historic religious community. They do not believe the scrolls were intended to describe a future Israel under the guidance of God. This apostate view pervades the literature on the scrolls and has heavily influenced the general public. As an example of how this misassignment is found in countless books and papers consider the Teacher of Righteousness discussed as an historic figure.

Even the translations reflect this attitude. Consider the Damascus Document opening remarks, 1-1:

To what judgment does this refer? A judgment of the past? Or a great planetary judgment at the end of the age?

 

Does God have a dispute with any mortal, or does he have a dispute with all flesh? Does he bring satisfaction to himself, or does he bring righteous judgment?

On the other hand, T. H. Gaster described conditions to take place at momentous earth events: "Just as Israel has been led of old by these prophets and teachers, so, it is held, a new Prophet and a new Teacher, (perhaps, indeed, one and the same person), will arise at the end of the present era to usher in the Golden Age." [1]

 

As stated in the Damascus Document 1-11:

The meaning of the phrase Teacher of Righteousness has been debated since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls fifty years ago. Some translators render it Right Teacher, an individual who teaches correctly. Which means that the teachers of the past, all those interpreters and expositors, all those educated men of great repute over the millennia, have not taught correctly. They simply did not know the Will of God. They did not understand his plans for this world. But now one comes who does teach correctly. Gaster renders the phrase as one who would teach the Law correctly. But even this does not capture the proper meaning. Gaster translates Law when the word comes from the Hebrew torah, or teaching, and then extrapolated into the Correct Teaching given to the people of Israel at the time of Moses, and from that into Correct Teaching from God, and then into the Law of God. This person is one who teaches the Law, the prophets and the prophecies, correctly.

Since the teaching involves Great Judgment, a great planetary cleansing and renovation, then the appearance on the world scene of this individual must come concomitant with a great world shaking. The denial by modern godless minds of God's corrective actions is utter nonsense. One thing is certain: whoever wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls had strong apocalyptic outlook and expectations. They expected the Teacher to come at the end of the age. 

Sincerity of Belief

As an example of how modern minds view the Qumran materials consider this statement by Ayala Sussman and Ruth Peled:

The biblical commentaries (pesharim), such as the Habakkuk Commentary, the Nahum Commentary, and the Hosea Commentary, are attested solely at Qumran and grew out of the sect's eschatological presuppositions. The Scriptures were scanned by the sect for allusions to current and future events. These allusions could be understood only by the sectarians themselves, because only they possessed "eyes to see" their distinct eschatological vision. Liturgical works figure prominently among the sectarian manuscripts at Qumran because of the centrality of prayer in this period. The Thanksgiving Psalms (Hodayot) are of two types: those characterized by a personal tone, attributed by some to the "teacher of righteousness," and the communal type, referring to a group. [4]

Both Sussman and Peled work for the Israel Antiquities Authority, and are the authors of Scrolls from the Dead Sea, [5], among other works.

An eschatological presupposition implies that the members of the sect had a priori ideas of the future status of the world, under divine guidance. Such men did not look upon existence as evolutionary, but rather saw the hand of God in a particular design. In other words, destiny. Sussman and Peled apparently believe that the sect came upon these ideas through religious fantasy. Members then scanned not studied holy literature for allusions that fit their model of the future. They did so in order to substantiate their delusional expectations. Sussman and Peled do not seem to believe that certain men may be blessed by God for insight into our common future, and thus obtain a unique eschatological vision by divine gift. This is far more than "eyes to see" from self-induced mental gyrations. Contrary to such godless notions the men of Qumran believed in a God who is a real living personality, one who thinks and plans and creates and administrates. Those men were merely continuing a belief that pervades our entire religious history. Jeremiah believed God knew him before he was born, Jeremiah 1:7. The Apostle Paul believed he was chosen from before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4. This belief is emphatically stated in the Thanksgiving Hymns for the one chosen by God, Column 7: Lines 14 - 16.

Clearly we have a major opposing dichotomy between the testimony of our ancestor's and recent evolutionary theories of reality. Such godless views show that modern minds are not privy to the secrets of God, nor have they ever experienced such divine blessing. They do not know God. A vast majority of modern scholars have assumed this philosophical model.

As a result we have scholarly development of apocalypse that does not feel the immediate presence of God. In a review of apocalyptic frameworks in the Thanksgiving Hymns (Hodayot) Ken Penner evaluated the contrasting work of Heinz-Wolgang Kuhn and Émile Puech, [6]. Kuhn had argued on the basis of the Thanksgiving Hymns in 1QHa that the Qumran sect believed in a present-realized eschatological salvation alongside of and overshadowing future expectation, [7]. Decades later, Puech rejected Kuhn’s conclusions, not by denying the tension between present and future, but by placing the emphasis on the future rather than on the present, [8]. Working on the basis of a grammatical (verb-tense) foundation, Kuhn found in the Hodayot an eschatological salvation that is mostly presently realized. With context as a guide, Puech saw an eschatology compatible with a future-expected salvation evidenced by other literature from Judaism of the time. Puech was following the traditional sense of eschatological understanding. (The word Hodayot is taken directly from the Hebrew (Aramaic) word, which can mean thanks or praise, depending on context. For convenience refer to #3034 of Strong's Expanded Concordance [9], or Brown, Driver, and Briggs, page 392a [10].)

 

Penner did not answer the question of whether the salvation described in the Thanksgiving Hymns is mainly realized in the present or in the future. Instead he compared the two most prominent eschatological passages and offered a new reading of the poems as he expected their intended audience most likely heard them. These two passages are found in Column XI 19–36 and Column XIX 6–17, [11]. As he stated, Penner proposed a different approach which he felt would explain the movement of the poems more satisfactorily and that could lay the foundation for a more comprehensive and adequate theory of second-temple eschatology expressed in poetry. He went on to conclude that although salvation was expected to be realized in the future, its course had already been set by entering the earthly community of God’s people. The poetry links God’s past actions and the poet’s present experiences with future destiny. (Penner used the English translation by Martinez, [2]).

 

Penner's emphasis was on the poetic flavor of the Thanksgiving Hymns, not upon the revelation they contained. He could then compare them with biblical prophetic poetry. He suggested his approach might thus help influence future scholarly study of second-temple eschatology. Unfortunately, he did not regard the Hymns as providing guidance for some future non-scholarly readers who were committed to God as contributing members of a divine destiny. He apparently did not recognize religious poetry as an instrument of divine revelation. His interest was in the academics, not the religious reality.

 

The Purpose of the Scrolls

 

To obtain better understanding we should ask why the scrolls were secreted away in caves. If the scrolls were intended to help future persons in their understanding of the Will of God, then how could they be preserved to that future time? The Qumran community must have expected that the scrolls would come to the light of day in some future generation. One does not stash scrolls away in secret caches unless one expects them to be found at some future time. The scrolls then would serve to help that future generation understand true eschatological destiny. Although the scrolls were stashed away at the imminent threat of Roman armies, they came to the light of day, today, for their use in today's world. This insight seems to be totally lacking in the thought processes of modern scholarship. They see the discoveries of the scrolls purely as an accident of time. Unfortunately, they wrest the scrolls from the context of unfolding history at the cost of misleading the world.

 

The startling coincidence to current world events seems to go unnoticed by a vast majority of modern scholars. Why were the scrolls discovered concomitant with the development of nuclear power, in exactly the same period, 1945 to 1955? Since the apocalyptic flavor of the scrolls, and indeed the prophecies of the Old Testament and the Pseudepigrapha, spoke towards a judgment of the world, a doomsday scenario, were the scrolls somehow connected to those world events? Would that not be apocalyptic destiny, in its fullest sense? As much as we may find the thought distasteful, is not the world today proceeding at a rapid pace toward total world destruction?

 

I consider how the modern scholarly world has contributed untold millions of man-hours in the integration and translation of the scrolls. Why do so if they are merely gratifying their interest in a religious delusional enterprise? That seems to be an awful waste of time, unless we are eager to understand the psychological impulses that drove our ancestors. We are not only analyzing the religious apocalyptic power of the scrolls, but attempting to assign eschatological meaning, no matter how misguided. This shows a purpose that is far more than simple-minded eschatological presupposition. Or, to state it differently, the scrolls have taken hold on man, and caused him to go in a definite intellectual and religious direction. If I were a Planetary Supervisor, directing the state of affairs upon earth, I would be gratified how well men have followed my guidance. As Plato once said: the gods "governed us like pilots from the stern of a vessel, which is an easy way of guiding animals, holding our souls by the rudder of persuasion according to their own desires; thus did they guide all mortal creatures." And so it is with our Planetary Supervisors today and their use of the Dead Sea Scrolls to guide mankind.

 

I shall address the task facing both the scholar and the laymen in our understanding of the Thanksgiving Hymns in their statements of personal and community salvation. How did the Qumran community link the present with the future? How did the historical apocalyptic statements define future expectation of eschatological salvation? Do we truly understand Qumran apocalypse concerning the future experiences of mankind? Why have we not properly framed future salvation through a grand expectation of a renovation of the world by God?

 

Importantly, implied in the concept of salvation is the necessity that the world must be saved. Something is amiss in creation. God is retrieving it. Without administrative default there would be no need for salvation. The elements of creative discord are found in the remarks about Belial, and numerous other statements about an error that crept into creation. If mankind is in a purely naturalistic evolutionary development, does that mean that apocalyptic expectation, and the idea of a God who is in control of man's destiny, is purely delusional? Quite the contrary, the notion of salvation does not imply a naturalistic evolutionary growth, but that there is a real living God who interposes his hand by extraordinary actions. Unusual steps are taken by God to bring his creation back to his program of time. The discovery of the scrolls would then serve that divine purpose.

 

Of course, we could look upon salvation as a simple evolutionary concept, invented to bring rational justification to our expectations of the purpose of life. But that view denies a real living God who operates in the universe.

 

These are some of the momentous issues facing us in our attempts to properly understand Qumran apocalypse as expressed in the Thanksgiving Hymns. I approach these issues with the perception that we cannot possibly understand their eschatology unless we consider the religious context faced by the members of the respective communities two thousand years ago. Jewish, Christian, and Qumran eschatology were not mutually isolated understanding of world future expectation, but were all part of a common tradition, a tradition that believed God was in control of his creation and was directing it from the heavenly realms. Then the preparation and secreting of the scrolls was an extraordinary exercise for the preservation of essential knowledge that otherwise would have been lost through historic channels. The validity of biblical and traditional texts was reinforced in a dramatic way. Who would have thought how the ancient scribes regarded the traditional texts as holy and would so carefully preserve them through time, in copy after copy, generation after generation? But the extra-biblical scroll material was held until a day of destiny. It contained apocalyptic information not previously known to mankind.

 

(Note that I do not here engage in a review of the various non-canonical manuscripts, Septuagint, Greek, and so on, found in the caves. The evidence of the intact Isaiah scroll was a mighty confirmation of the integrity of the received text.)

 

Background to the Translations

 

I read through the various English translations of the non-biblical scrolls. These include the works of Gaster [1], Martinez [2], Wise, Abegg, and Cook [3], Martinez and Tigchelaar [11], Vermes [12], and the more scholarly edition of Parry and Tov [13]. I soon realized that the translations were mechanical. I saw that the translators did not understand the eschatological allusions, and hence could not render faithful translations. The various scholars may or may not have respected the Hebrew text of the scrolls but they all failed to capture the fervor and tone of the originals. All secondary works based on those translations are then inherently conditioned by the failure of the translators. To put it another way, the attitude of the translators then caused a whole river of godless secondary works to follow their inherent precondition.

 

Here I offer the remark originally formulated by Theodore H. Gaster.  His pioneering work, although deficient on later Scroll discoveries, brought the extra-biblical Qumran texts to the attention of the general public as they were published through several editions, 1956, 1964, and 1976. (I found that the work of Vermes who came slightly later was styled for literary appearance without any pretense toward integrity of text.) It may be helpful to quote the statement made by Gaster to place his publication into a proper religious context. He did not offer a cold, analytical, scholarly presentation, but styled his translation according to the "old" biblical tradition. He attempted to keep the warmth and feeling of the original composition that common laymen could recognize.

. . . the writer adheres to the view that the Dead Sea Scrolls should be regarded as something more than the subject matter of a scholarly controversy. For those who will read them sympathetically, they possess value in their own right as conveying the religious message of men who gave up the world and were able to find God in a wilderness . . .The translation of the non-literary documents (e.g., The Manual of Discipline) aims to reproduce the original in idiomatic English. The same liberties have been taken in breaking up the sequences of the Hebrew sentences, rendering copulas by punctuation-marks, and the like as would readily be permitted—even expected—in any version of a modern work. These renderings, therefore, while they are not to be regarded as slavish `ponies', are not mere paraphrases. They stick strictly to the letter of the text, and every word of the original is covered.

The hymns and prayers present a special problem. These are written, by and large, in the style of the Biblical Psalms; but to the composer this style was a conscious archaism, while it fell on the ears of the reciters with the same effect as does the language of the Anglican Prayer-book or the King James Version upon the modern churchgoer. The only feasible way of reproducing this effect is to fall back on 'Biblical English' . . . A translator therefore short-changes both author and reader if he does not at least try his best to reproduce tone as well as text . . .

Although Gaster did at times take liberties with the translated text, even paraphrasing, he was merely giving voice to the intent of the writing. We must keep in mind that the Qumran personages were human beings, giving expression to human thoughts and feelings. They were not mechanical robots creating written works for the heartless analytical study of modern godless scholarship. If we are to understand their works we must approach them in such human light.

 

An Example Passage

I shall now illustrate with the passage cited by Penner, Column XI: 19–36 of the Thanksgiving Hymns. I offer the Hebrew text for the interested reader to follow.

vacat 19אודכה אדוני כי פדיתה נפשי משחת ומשאול אבדון

 20העליתני לרום עולם ואתהלכה במישור לאין חקר ואדעה כיא יש מקוה לאשר

 21יצרתה מעפר לסוד עולם ורוח נעוה טהרתה מפשע רב להתיצב במעמד עם

 22צבא קדושים ולבוא ביחד עם עדת בני שמים ותפל לאיש גורל עולם עם רוחות

 23דעת להלל שמכה ביחד רנה ולספר נפלאותיכה לנגד כול מעשיכה ואני יצר

 24החמר מה אני מגבל במים ולמי נחשבתי ומה כוח לי כיא התיצבתי בגבול רשעה

 25ועם חלכאים בגורל ותגור נפש אביון עם מהומות רבה והוות מדהבה עם מצעדי

 26בהפתח כל פחי שחת ויפרשו כול מצודות רשעה ומכמרת חלכאים על פני מים

 27בהתעופף כול חצי שחת לאין השב ויורו לאין תקוה בנפול קו על משפט וגורל אף

 28על נעזבים ומתך חמה על נעלמים וקץ חרון לכול בליעל וחבלי מות אפפו לאין פלט

 29וילכו נחלי בליעל על כול אגפי רום כאש אוכלת בכול שנאביהם להתם כול עץ לח

 30ויבש מפלגיהם ותשוט בשביבי להוב עד אפס כול שותיהם באושי חמר תאוכל

 31וברקוע יבשה יסודי הרים לשרפה ושורשי חלמיש לנחלי זפת ותאוכל עד תהום

32 רבה ויבקעו לאבדון נחלי בליעל ויהמו מחשבי תהום בהמון גורשי רפש וארץ

 33תצרח על ההווה הנהיה בתבל וכול מחשביה ירועו ויתהוללו כול אשר עליה

 34ויתמוגגו בהווה גד[ו]לה כיא ירעם אל בהמון כוחו ויהם זבול קודשו באמת

 35כבודו וצבא השמים יתנו בקולם [ו]יתמוגגו וירעדו אושי עולם ומלחמת גבורי

 36שמים תשוט בתבל ולא תש[וב ע]ד כלה ונחרצה לעד ואפס כמוה vacat

I compared all the translations, listing them side-by-side, in order to understand where each was different, or where they might have failed. I then examined the text above, word by word, to determine the best translation, giving regard for the heartfelt purpose of the passage. I offer my translation here:

19. I give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast redeemed my soul from destruction and from Sheol Abaddon.

20. Thou hast lifted me up to an everlasting height, so walk I on unsearchable uplands, and know that there is hope for that which

21. Thou created from the dust for the eternal (secret) council. This staggering spirit Thou hast cleansed from many transgressions so that he might take his stand with 

22. the host of the holy beings, and enter in union with the congregation of the sons of heaven. A mere man has everlasting destiny with the Spirits

23. of Knowledge, to praise Thy name in their chorus, and to declare Thy wonders before all Thy works. But I, molded of

24. clay, what am I? Kneaded with water, with whom shall I be counted? What is my strength? Surely I have taken my stand in the domain of the ungodly

25. and with the unfortunate is my lot. Strife is with this destitute soul. Amid great tumult and calamity is the portion of my steps.

26. When unstopped are all destructions snares, and dispersed are all the nets of wickedness, and the hapless set their drags on the face of the waters.

27. When fly off all the arrows of destruction without returning. They burst forth without hope. The line falls upon judgment, the lot of anger

28. upon the forsaken, the outpouring of wrath upon the dissemblers, and the end of (burning) anger nourished by Belial. The ropes of death surround with no escape.

29. The torrents of Belial run upon all his arrogant hordes as a fire that devours all --------- so as to destroy every green tree

30. and dry. From channels travels a flame that is a blazing fire, until there comes an end to all who drink. It devours clay foundations,

31. and solid bedrock. The foundations of the mountains are set to burning. Granite roots turn to streams of pitch, and it devours down to the great abyss.

32. The torrents of Belial multiply and burst through unto Abaddon, and the plotters from the deep in great uproar cast up mire. The earth

33. cries out over the calamity: Lo, the world and all the cunning plotters quiver as if mad and all those upon it faint.

34. They melt away in the great disaster. For God will roar in thunderous power from his holy dwelling in glorious truth.

35. The heavenly host shall add their voice, and the world's foundations shall shudder and melt - when warfare waged by the soldiers of heaven

36. shall sweep through the world and shall not turn back until the decreed destruction, as it were, an everlasting end.

 

Aspects of the Passage

 

Some highlights of the passage.

In order to understand a larger context, to show how the Qumran community looked upon divine destiny, as did segments of Jewish and Christian society, it is necessary to consider some of the statements made in Old Testament prophecy, in the Pseudipigrapha, and in the New Testament.

 

Isaiah 10:22-23
For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. For the Lord, Yahweh of hosts, will make a full end, as decreed, in the midst of all the earth.

Joel 2:30-32
And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, when the great and terrible day of Yahweh comes. And it shall come to pass that all who call upon the name of Yahweh shall be delivered; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as Yahweh has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom Yahweh calls.
 

Enoch 84: 5-6

And now, O God and Lord and Great King,
I implore and beseech Thee to fulfill my prayer,
To leave me a posterity on earth,
And not destroy all the flesh of man,
And make the earth without inhabitant,
So that there should be an eternal destruction.
And now, my Lord, destroy from the earth the flesh which has aroused Thy wrath,
But the flesh of righteousness and uprightness establish as a plant of the eternal seed,
And hide not Thy face from the prayer of Thy servant, O Lord.

 

Matthew 24:22
If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.
 

John 5:26
For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.

John 12:30
Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out.

Rev 14:7
And (the angel) said with a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come."


We cannot, with intellectual integrity, and scholarly honesty, isolate the apocalyptic Dead Sea Scrolls from the traditional apocalyptic literature. The Thanksgiving Hymns show this in dramatic manner. The scrolls cannot be properly understood devoid of that context. If we are to adequately study and analyze the Qumran texts we must incorporate the traditional texts into our studies. Modern scholars who treat these texts in academic isolation have no sense or regard for eschatological reality.

 

Clearly a theme of a universal destruction runs throughout Jewish and Christian traditional texts. But there is also a theme of salvation for a remnant of Israel.

 

We have in the Thanksgiving Hymns a unique presentation not known in our traditional literature. This one scroll, so different, shows why the Dead Sea Scrolls were brought to the light of day in our day. World circumstances have now focused the meaning of the text in a manner never before possible in world history.

 

The threat to the peoples of the earth is in man-made nuclear destruction. The awesome danger may be estimated by considering nuclear power worldwide. Refer to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In an article by http://www.thebulletin.org/article_nn.php?art_ofn=mj04norris

 

The total world arsenal of nuclear weapons may be found at Wikipedia, the free Internet encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_states_with_nuclear_weapons. (The numbers for the United States and Russia are active and non-active number of nuclear warheads.)

 

 

Country Warheads active/total Year of first test
Declared nuclear weapons states
United States United States 5,735/9,960 1945 ("Trinity")
Russia Russia (formerly the Soviet Union) 5,830/16,000 1949 ("RDS-1")
United Kingdom United Kingdom <200 1952 ("Hurricane")
France France 350 1960 ("Gerboise Bleue")
People's Republic of China China 130 1964 ("596")
India India 60 1974 ("Smiling Buddha")
Pakistan Pakistan 24-48 1998 ("Chagai-I")
North Korea North Korea 1-10 2006
Undeclared nuclear weapons states
Israel Israel 75-200 none or 1979 (see Vela Incident)

 

 

Detailed Comparison of the Column 11 Text

 

Some idea of the effect of nuclear weapons may be had by considering the disruption caused by hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans in 2005. This one non-nuclear event had a significant economic impact. Consider the effect one nuclear weapon would have on New Orleans, or any other city. It would cause a much more serious disruption. Judiciously chosen, one nuclear strike could bring the United States to its knees. And the radiation fall-out would filter throughout the country. Now consider that the United States, Russia, and the other nuclear countries have more than ten thousand of such weapons. This world has entered sheer and utter madness.

 

Return now to the Thanksgiving Hymn that we may see how the writer styled his words.

 

When fly off all the arrows of destruction without returning.

 

When nuclear missiles are let loose in disastrous barrage they will not return. They will consummate their overwhelming destruction.

 

How does one describe the conditions of a future world with the phrases of ancient times? We do not have the word missiles in the ancient vocabulary. But we certainly have arrows. And nuclear missiles can adequately be described as arrows of destruction.

 

They burst forth without hope.

 

Does any hope exist when nuclear missiles burst forth from their silos?

 

Now the line falls upon judgment.

 

This is the great judgment of the earth. But this is not just any judgment. This is a judgment by God.

 

The lot of anger will fall upon the forsaken, the outpouring of wrath upon the dissemblers, and the end of (burning) anger nourished by Belial.

 

Who are the forsaken? Are they not those human mortals upon earth who have been forsaken by God? Were they not forsaken because they forgot God? Is this not God's anger, not in retribution, but in justice and righteousness?

 

Who are the dissemblers? Are they not the ones who hid under false appearances, who concealed facts, intentions, and feelings important for mankind's understanding of his own destiny. Is that not the method and operation of men in governments today?

 

Did not Belial, the Devil, nourish anger against his God when his God pronounced sentence upon him? Now is the Ruler of this world cast out, John 12:31.

 

The ropes of death surround with no escape.

 

The phraseology may be antique, but can anyone not understand the meaning? Will there be any escape from the overwhelming destruction of those abominations? Are they not abominations of desolation, making the earth desolate wherever they are employed? Can we not now understand Matthew 24:15?

 

The torrents of Belial run upon all his arrogant hordes as a fire that devours all --------- so as to destroy every green tree and dry.

 

When I examined the Hebrew text I had trouble with the phrases. All translators offer high banks instead of arrogant hordes. What high banks? They base this on the following use of the word streams or channels. While the word translated as high, רום, is present, I could not find banks in my lexicons. But רום also means haughty and can be extrapolated to mean arrogant. The word translated as banks is אגפי and means bands of people, troops, or hordes. Were not all men under the influence of the Devil his hordes? Did not the torrents of death run upon all mankind? Would those torrents not destroy every green and dry tree? (The space indicated by dash marks is a metaphor not now understood by any of us and indicated by a question mark by all translators.)

 

Compare this with the Book of Revelation:

 

Rev 8:7 And the first (trumpet) sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

 

Compare this with the phrasing of the Thanksgiving Hymn.
 

From channels travels a flame that is blazing fire, until there comes an end to all who drink.

 

Surely the flame that comes forth from nuclear missiles is a blazing fire. The Bible commentators illustrate the word with the flash from the tip of a spear. Can we fail to understand the great flash of overwhelming light that comes with a nuclear explosion? Then there will be an end to all who drink of that divine wrath.

 

It devours clay foundations and solid bedrock.

The foundations of the mountains are set to burning. Granite roots turn to streams of pitch, and it devours down to the great abyss.

 

Of all the instruments devised by men, none is so powerful as that which can literally turn granite into streams of pitch. It truly devours down to the great abyss.

 

We can now understand the remark:

 

Lo, the world and all the cunning plotters quiver as if mad and all those upon it faint.

 

The cunning plotters are all those men who control our social directions toward total destruction. Will not men faint with fear of what is coming on the world? The world is literally mad.

 

Luke 21:26-28 Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
 

The earth cries out over the calamity.

 

When the missiles are let loose how many human beings will faint in fear? Untold millions of people will literally melt away in the great disaster.

 

Millions upon millions of people will die hour by hour.

 

When God strikes He will roar in thunderous power from his holy dwelling in glorious truth. Then the survivors will come to know God's truth, His justice and His righteousness.

 

The heavenly host shall add their voice, and the world's foundations shall shudder and melt when warfare waged by the soldiers of heaven shall sweep through the world and shall not turn back until the decreed destruction, as it were, an everlasting end.

 

The translators were uncertain about the last phrases. Gaster gave it as and turns not back until final doom — warfare the like of which has never been? Martin Abegg gave it as until an annihilation that has been determined from eternity is completed. Nothing like this has ever occurred.

 

Can any of us, in intellectual honesty, fail to see that which is being described in this passage?

 

God did not create nuclear weapons. Man created them. Under the influence of the Devil. Belial brought mankind to such destructive paths.

 

God is bringing a judgment of fire, a judgment that we ourselves created. The fire, literal fire, of judgment now comes. And all those who drink of that judgment shall come to an end.

 

Now where is our academic scholarly understanding? Where is our publication rigor, and our peer reviews?

 

The Profound Implications

 

Since Column 11 in the Thanksgiving Hymn so vividly describes current world circumstances we have a passage that is truly predictive a literal prophecy. To arrive at a communication that tells us in such explicit terms of the future of the world, now realized in our day, means:

We can now recognize a more important purpose behind secreting the scrolls in caves: those scrolls carry a destiny confirmation that was not to be known before the world had evolved to these awesome circumstances. That is why they came to light simultaneously with the development of nuclear weapons. God had his hand in bringing them to light. They are true apocalypse.

 

It also means that the purpose of God in the social evolution of mankind was not to be spoiled. He did not want mankind to disrupt his destiny program. However, we should keep in mind that mankind would not have understood the descriptions in both the traditional literature and the Dead Sea Scrolls before modern developments, before the creation of instruments to carry out that destiny. How many debated Matthew 24 in great frustration over 2000 years? All current scholars who have worked on the scrolls confirm this assessment: they do not recognize, nor do they believe in such vivid apocalyptic application.

 

Still more profound implications are carried in this passage. It is written in the first person. It is written as though the subject of the discourse is alive: Amid great tumult and calamity is the portion of my steps. As a human mortal he could not be alive to write this document, and also be alive today to read it.

 

All the many secular theories of a Teacher of Righteousness, of his life, and of his role, are now reduced to ashes. All who read the Thanksgiving Hymns in our modern world did not see the words they read. They live in more blindness than all those who supposedly live in eschatological presuppositions.

 

We arrive at an inescapable conclusion: This Teacher, this Instructor, Col 20: Lines 4, 11, this informed mediator of wonderful mysteries, Col 10: Line 13, is alive today. The Hymns were not written by him; they were written for him. They were written by someone who was intimately familiar with his life two thousand years before he was born. They could only have been written by God. But not literally written by God. They must have been written by some human being who had dictation given to him. The dictation came from God to create that scroll.

 

The scroll was written as an instrument of revelation, and of reassurance, to someone living on earth during these dire events.

 

Now we can understand more fully what Jeremiah, and Paul, and others have felt about being known before the foundations of the world. A theme of God knowing all time is repeated time and again in the Thanksgiving Hymns. (Remember, the following translations are from men who did not fully understand the allusions.)

 

Col 7: 13-14 [ and all] his [works] You have determined before ever You created him.

Col 9: 7-8 By You[r] wisdom [You have] e[stablish]ed the successive [generations] and before You created them You knew {all} their works for ever and ever.

Col 9: 23-25 What can I say that is not known and declare that is not told? Everything is engraved before You with the ink of remembrance for all the times of eternity, for the numbered seasons of eternal years in all their appointed times. Nothing is hidden, nor does anything exist apart from Your presence.

 

I cannot here engage in a philosophical or theological discussion about the powers of God. We should recognize that if there is an intelligent being who created space and time He had to do so outside of space and time. All space is known to Him, and all time.

 

An intriguing thought now asserts itself. Jesus was alive when some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were being created. The Qumran community was fully functional during his life-time. Qumran is a short day's walk from Jerusalem. Is it possible that the Thanksgiving Hymns were dictated by Jesus? Is he their author? Was he taking his knowledge, as God, of the future of the world and setting it into written form at Qumran? Paleographic evaluation, and radio-carbon dating, would put the creation of the Thanksgiving Hymns exactly at the period when Jesus was alive. Then Jesus was talking directly to the future Righteous Teacher. He was sustaining him and supporting him at a time of great tumult and calamity. And he was laying out his life for him, from birth to death.

 

We can see how modern godless scholarship has failed to make the one proposal that would set the world a roar. How much did Jesus help with the creation of the Dead Sea Scrolls?

 

My purpose here does not include a detailed study of the Thanksgiving Hymns. I must limit myself to this presentation. However, I shall make a few brief remarks about the source document and the role of the servant who is described.

 

Considerable personal biographical material that exists in the Hymns.

From these various statements we can deduce features of the revelation and the individual who is the subject of the scroll.

 

We know he lives a full life. His character is described from before he was born until old age. He then dies, dust returning to dust.

 

His father and mother have great difficulty with him. His father does not recognize his character, but his mother may do so. Unable to deal with it she abandons him to God.

 

If the servant lives to old age his father and mother must be dead by that time.

 

He was preserved until a time of revelation, until the time of God's salvation. This means that there is an unfolding destiny development that is timed by God.

 

Gaster translated the remarks of Col 13: Line 11-12 in a much more telling way:

 

Thou hast sheltered me, O my God, in the face of all mankind,
And hidden Thy teaching within me, until it be shown unto me that the hour of Thy triumph is come.

 

He has a place among the holy beings of heaven. This function is stated several times, in the fragment from 4Q427 and Column 11 above:

 

There is hope for that which Thou created from the dust for the eternal (secret) council. This staggering spirit Thou hast cleansed from many transgressions so that he might take his stand with the host of the holy beings, and enter in union with the congregation of the sons of heaven. A mere man has everlasting destiny with the Spirits of Knowledge, to praise Thy name in their chorus, and to declare Thy wonders before all Thy works.

 

The question is how he assumes the heavenly role from his status as a human being. There must be a transformation that changes his status.

 

Rev 11:3-12 has a very interesting passage. While the statements may be greatly exaggerated and embellished the sense of Two Witnesses being killed and rising again carries great portent. Under the modern miracle of satellite broadcast and television it is now easily possible for the entire world to observe the death and resurrection of these two. Then they would rise in transformed bodies, and not in bodies of clay. In such manner the subject of the Thanksgiving Hymns would find his way to the congregation of the Sons of Heaven.

 

Ernest Moyer

January 3, 2007

 

List of References:

 

[1] Theodore H. Gaster, The Dead Sea Scriptures, Third Edition, Anchor Books, Doubleday, Garden City, 1976.

[2] Florentino Garcia Martinez, The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, The Qumran Texts in English, Wilfred G. E. Watson, translator, William B. Erdmans, Grand Rapids, 1996.

[3] Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr, and Edward Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation, Harper, San Francisco, 1996.

[4] Jewish Virtual Library, The Dead Sea Scrolls, Ayala Sussman and Ruth Peled: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/deadsea.html

[5] Scrolls from the Dead Sea: An Exhibition of Scrolls and Archeological Artifacts from the Collections of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Ayala Sussmann and Ruth Peled, Library of Congress, Washington, 1993.

 

[6} Ken Penner, Realized or Future Salvation in the Hodayot, The Journal of Biblical Studies, Issue 2.1, Jan-Mar 2002, Vol 2, No. 1: http://www.journalofbiblicalstudies.org/Issue5/realized_or_future_salvation_in_.htm

 

[7] Heinz-Wolfgang Kuhn, Enderwartung und gegenwärtiges Heil, Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, Göttingen,1966.

 

[8]  Émile Puech, primarily in La croyance des Esséniens end la vie future: Immortalité, resurrection, vie éternelle? (2 vols.; Paris: Librarie Llecoffre, 1993), but also to a lesser extent in “Messianism, Resurrection, and Eschatology at Qumran and in the New Testament,” in The Community of the Renewed Covenant, ed. Eugene Ulrich and James VanderKam (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994), 235–256. Page numbers citing Puech refer to La croyance.

 

[9] James Strong, The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance, with dictionary contribution by John R. Kohlenberger, III, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 2001.

 

[10] Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon,  Clarendon Press, Oxford,

 

[11] Florentino Garcia Martinez and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, 2000.

 

[12] Geza Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, Penguin Press, New York, 2004. (His work as repeatedly been reprinted with constant revisions, 1962, 1965, 1968, 1975, 1987, 1995, 1997, 2004.)
 

[13] Donald W. Parry and Emanuel Tov, The Dead Sea Scroll Reader, Part 5, Poetic and Liturgical Texts, Brill, Boston, 2005.