As I've said before in another article; The oldest part of the Dead Sea scrolls, the Isaiah Scroll, found relatively intact, is 1000 years older than any previously known copy of Isaiah. In fact, the scrolls are the oldest group of Old Testament manuscripts ever found. Here are some more from the dead Sea Scrolls.
I peronaly believe that during part of the lost years of Jesus, he studied with the essenes at the community of Qumran.
'Blessed are the meek', Jesus says, for example, in perhaps the most famous line of the Sermon on the Mount, 'for they shall inherit the earth'
This assertion derives from Psalm 37:11:
'But the meek shall possess the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.'
Now why would Jesus do this when many people think he wrote this himself? Why not? Isn’t this what teacher’s do, quote from text that impresses them and means something to them?
Here are more examples of Jesus quoting from scripture.
'Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven', preaches Jesus (Matt. 5:3); this line comes from the 'War Scroll' from the Dead Sea Scrolls found in Cave 1 and states: 'Among the poor in spirit there is a power... '8
Indeed, the whole of the Gospel of Matthew, and especially Chapters 10 and 18, contains metaphors and terminology at times almost interchangeable with those of the 'Community Rule'. In Matthew 5:48, for instance, Jesus stresses the concept of perfection:
'You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.'
The 'Community Rule' speaks of those 'who walk in the way of perfection as commanded by God'. 9 There will be, the text affirms,
'no pity on all who depart from the way ... no comfort... until their way becomes perfect'.10
In Matthew 21:42, Jesus invokes Isaiah 28:16 and echoes Psalm 118:22:
'Have you never read in the scriptures: It was the stone rejected by the builders that became the keystone.'
The 'Community Rule' invokes the same reference, stating that 'the Council of the Community... shall be that tried wall, that precious corner-stone'.11
If the Qumran scrolls and the Gospels echo each other, such echoes are even more apparent between the scrolls and the Pauline texts - the Acts of the Apostles and Paul's letters. The concept of 'sainthood', for example, and, indeed, the very word 'saint', are common enough in later Christianity, but striking in the context of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
According to the opening line of the 'Community Rule', however,
'The Master shall teach the saints to live according to the Book of the Community Rule...'12
Paul, in his letter to the Romans (15:25-7), uses the same terminology of the 'early Church': 'I must take a present of money to the saints in Jerusalem.'
Indeed, Paul is particularly lavish in his use of Qumran terms and images. One of the Qumran texts, for example, speaks of 'all those who observe the Law in the House of Judah, whom God will deliver... because of their suffering and because of their faith in the Teacher of Righteousness'.13 Paul, of course, ascribes a similar redemptive power to faith in Jesus.
Deliverance, he says in his epistle to the Romans (3:21-3), 'comes through faith to everyone... who believes in Jesus Christ'. To the Galatians (2:16-17), he declares that 'what makes a man righteous is not obedience to the Law, but faith in Jesus Christ'. It is clear that Paul is familiar with the metaphors, the figures of speech, the turns of phrase, the rhetoric used by the Qumran community in their interpretation of Old Testament texts. As we shall see, however, he presses this familiarity to the service of a very different purpose.
In the above quote from his letter to the Galatians, Paul ascribes no inordinate significance to the Law. In the Qumran texts, however, the Law is of paramount importance.
The 'Community Rule' begins:
'The Master shall teach the saints to live according to the Book of the Community Rule, that they may seek God... and do what is good and right before Him, as He commanded by the hand of Moses and all His servants the Prophets...'14
Later, the 'Community Rule' states that anyone who 'transgresses one word of the Law of Moses, on any point whatever, shall be expelled'15 and that the Law will endure 'for as long as the domain of Satan endures'.16 In his rigorous adherence to the Law, Jesus, strikingly enough, is much closer to the Qumran texts than he is to Paul.
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:17-19), Jesus makes his position unequivocally clear - a position that Paul was subsequently to betray:
Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish
but to complete them. I tell you solemnly... not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from
the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of
these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the
kingdom of heaven...
If Jesus' adherence to the Law concurs with that of the Qumran community, so, too, does his timing of the Last Supper. For centuries, biblical commentators have been confused by apparently conflicting accounts in the Gospels. In Matthew (26:17-19), the Last Supper is depicted as a Passover meal, and Jesus is crucified the next day.
In the Fourth Gospel (13:1 and 18:28), however, it is said to occur before the Passover. Some scholars have sought to reconcile the contradiction by acknowledging the Last Supper as indeed a Passover feast, but a Passover feast conducted in accordance with a different calendar. The Qumran community used precisely such a calendar - a solar calendar, in contrast to the lunar calendar used by the priesthood of the Temple.17 In each calendar, the Passover fell on a different date; and Jesus, it is clear, was using the same calendar as that of the Qumran community.
Certainly the Qumran community observed a feast which sounds very similar in its ritual characteristics to the Last Supper as it is described in the Gospels.
The 'Community Rule' states that,
'when the table has been prepared... the Priest shall be the first to stretch out his hand to bless the first-fruits of the bread and new wine'.18
And another Qumran text, the 'Messianic Rule', adds:
'they shall gather for the common table, to eat and to drink new wine... let no man extend his hand over the first fruits of bread and wine before the Priest... thereafter, the Messiah of Israel shall extend his hand over the bread'.19
This text was sufficient to convince even Rome. According to Cardinal Jean Danielou, writing with a 'Nihil Obstat' from the Vatican:
'Christ must have celebrated the last supper on the eve of Easter according to the Essenian calendar. '20
One can only imagine the reaction of Father de Vaux and his team on first discovering the seemingly extraordinary parallels between the Qumran texts and what was known of 'early Christianity'. It had hitherto been believed that Jesus' teachings were unique - that he admittedly drew on Old Testament sources, but wove his references into a message, a gospel, a statement of 'good news' which had never been enunciated in the world before.
Now, however, echoes of that message, and perhaps even of Jesus' drama itself, had come to light among a collection of ancient parchments preserved in the Judaean desert.