The Teacher of Righteousness
An esoteric look at the Dead Sea Scrolls reveals a surprising conclusion.
"Some day the gold and the silver threads of the Gospel story will be disentangled, and men will know the two interpretations which can be put upon the events and episodes in the career of Jesus the Christ. The underlying true events give us great steps and developments in the work of the Christ as he 'enveloped humanity in the mantle of love, grasped the rod of initiation on behalf of his brothers, and faced the Lord of Life Himself, unattended, unafraid and in his Own right.' The episodes refer to happenings in the life of Jesus."( R&I*) In the May 1994 issue of Share International, Benjamin Creme made the following statement: "The Dead Sea Scrolls are a more accurate account of the events surrounding the life of Jesus than are the Biblical texts. Their discovery in 1947 and those of the Nag Hammadi Scrolls in 1945 was inspired by the Master Jesus to shed a clearer light on the events of that time in preparation for the Christ's return today." Further, he identified the spiritual leader in the scrolls, the "Teacher of Righteousness", as Maitreya, and the "Pierced Messiah" as the Master Jesus. He said the documents were written in the 2nd century AD, but that it is not possible to reveal their authors. They were written as records of historical events, and there are other scrolls still to be discovered. These simple statements challenge nearly every popular assumption that now exists about the Dead Sea Scrolls. Most scholars say they were written in the 1st and 2nd centuries BC, and that the latest possible date is 70 AD when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. Most say they were written by the Essenes, a group of Jewish mystics. And most deny that the Teacher of Righteousness had any connection to Jesus, but taught 150 years before his birth. Later we will return to these questions and consider on what grounds the statements of Creme might be justified. Discovery The first scholars who gazed on the Dead Sea Scrolls never imagined them to be coexistent with the days of Jesus; they never thought it possible. But when the scrolls were translated in the late 1940s their contents told a story that electrified the world. Here were books the present world had never seen, written by a group of desert ascetics describing their lives and the times in which they lived. Here were copies of the Bible 1,000 years older than any known before. Their era, 200 BC-200 AD, is shrouded in mystery to church historians. Despite its being one of the most fertile periods for religious ideas that the world has ever seen, vast stores of both Jewish and Christian documents from this time were lost to history because of simple and total fear -- the writers were condemned and their books consigned to the flames.
Josephus (Jewish historian, c.37-95 AD) described three Jewish sects -- the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Essenes. Claiming himself to have been a member of the Essenes for three years, he gave a description of their beliefs and lifestyle that closely followed those in the scrolls.
Philo Judaeus (Platonic philosopher, c.20 BC-50 AD) wrote not only of the Essenes, but also of their closely related order in Egypt -- the Therapeutae.
In Isis Unveiled-II Helena Blavatsky writes of the mission of Jesus in Palestine and his connection with the Essenes. She claims the Essenes belonged to a larger, more ancient line of adepts called the nazars, "those set apart to consecrate their lives to God". They were the initiates of the time. In Galilee, a group called the Nazarenes had originated long before the time of Moses. Historians, in fact, have failed to find a town called Nazareth in the days of Jesus. The term may have described, not his home, but his affiliation with this group of initiates.
In apostolic times there were groups scattered from Egypt to Arabia and north to Asia Minor and Greece. They called themselves by a variety of names -- the Essenes, Ebionites, Dositheans, Therapeutae. Their moral code was similar, based on communal ethics and love. Often they had long hair and wore white linen garments. They had an exoteric teaching for the multitudes and a secret or esoteric one for the inner circle. Therefore, like Jesus, they often spoke in parable and allegory. As students of the occult sciences they could read the stars, predict the future and heal. In this region of the world, they alone knew the secret of the duration of the astrological cycles.
The Essene group originally had followed the ideas of Pythagoras but adopted Buddhist ideas from missionaries sent out by the Indian emperor Asoka in 250 BC. They reached their height at the turn of the Age but by the beginning of the 2nd century had faded into the ranks of the early Christian groups. Both Creme and Blavatsky say that John the Baptist and Jesus received their early training with the Essenes.
Both Jesus and John the Baptist led groups that had dissented from the main branch of the Essenes. John's was radical but Jesus' was even more so. Blavatsky calls his teaching "... a heresy within another heresy". (IUII, p.132) She claims that Jesus was the founder of a sect of new nazars, and that his religion of ethics was based on pure Buddhist principles.
The real opposition to Jesus' ministry lay in his use of magical powers. He was trained in the occult arts of Egypt and Israel and may have lived a long life had he kept them strictly secret. Instead he promised his disciples the power of doing greater works than he himself had done. His most fervent desire was to open to all some part of the arcane knowledge. In Palestine it was closely guarded by the Jewish priests and adepts who vigorously countered his attempts to teach it to the masses.
This was his meaning when he said: "Woe unto you lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering ye prevented." (Lk.11:52) A similar passage in the scrolls says: "... they have denied the drink of knowledge to the thirsty, in their thirst they have given them vinegar to drink ..." (HT-XII)
The Gospels of the New Testament are often considered rather unusual documents in that they have been stripped of an historical setting. They show us figures interacting on an isolated stage with no backdrop and little scenery. The picture we have of Jesus is of a man inspired, but removed from an historical context. Little emphasis is placed on the political, cultural and social forces that stood against the message he taught. The true situation was quite at odds with this simplistic portrayal.
Historically the Jewish people had seen many divisions and occupations. They had been transported en masse and sold into slavery more than once. They were close enough to the Mediterranean to make them prey to many nations that sought their land as a trade route. Each of these nations left their imprint of culture and language. In the three centuries before Christ, Greek ideas, emphasizing free thought and a liberal lifestyle, were the dominant cultural influence.
Between 164 and 63 BC they achieved political and religious independence. Jewish freedom fighters led by the five Maccabee brothers wrested control of Judaea (roughly the land between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, bordered by present day Gaza on the south and Tel Aviv on the north), and established the Hasmonean dynasty. This freedom, however, came with a price, because the Hasmonean rulers interrupted the ancient hereditary line of the Jewish Zadokite priesthood by declaring themselves the high priests of the temple. They changed temple practices and liberalized the moral code. This was a scandalous action to orthodox Jews.
It is thought that groups such as the Essenes separated from mainstream Judaism at this time because they could no longer participate in services and a way of life they considered blasphemous. Calling themselves the Sons of Zadok, the Essenes held faithful to the priestly (Zadokite) line of succession. They objected to slavery and Temple sacrifice and followed a solar calendar at odds with the normal lunar calendar of Judaism; this almost ensured separation, for festivals and times of worship fell on completely different days. Living in small communities on the outskirts of villages and cities, in Judaea they numbered about 4,000.
Hasmonean rule ended in 63 AD when the Roman general Pompey sacked Jerusalem. From this time the Romans were the dominant political force in the area. Radical Jewish groups, the zealots and sicarii (assassins), urged armed rebellion against the Romans. In 66 AD the first Jewish revolt against Rome began. In 70 AD, after four years of fighting, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Jews. Smaller revolts ensued, but by 135 Judaea belonged to Rome.
In this milieu, with its competing factions and rivalries, Jesus fulfilled his ministry. Claims to Messiahship abounded in his day. His own life was little noted -- historians gave him scant attention for 300 years. His death was not seen at the time as the sacrificial atonement that some regard it as today. It was, instead, the most degrading of punishments, a savage and bloody form of torture introduced by the Roman 'barbarians.'
Adherents of one so shamefully executed would have themselves been subject to intense scrutiny and derision. To claim, in addition, that the disgraced criminal was the Messiah was an act of rare courage. Such conflicts were certain to lead to internal division. The pressures on him and his followers were brutal and real. The Gospels may have been stripped of political intonation in order to ensure their very survival.
These understandings make us aware of the priceless nature of the document finds of modern times. The 'real Jesus' that was lost by history may be resurrecting once more from the secret caves of ancient times.
The Dead Sea Scrolls
The following sections will discuss the six sectarian scrolls which are the unique hallmark of the community that followed the inspiration of the Teacher of Righteousness. The first three -- Pesher, the Hymns of Thanksgiving, and the Damascus Document -- contain the main allusions to the Teacher of Righteousness. The last three -- Temple, Community Rule, and War Scroll -- are statements that show the philosophical approach of a community which saw itself as an expression of the Kingdom of God manifest on earth. In direct quotes from the scrolls, parenthetical passages designate the reconstruction of a fragmentary text. The reference following a text denotes document and column number.
The Teacher of Righteousness is called in Hebrew Moreh ha-Zedek -- one entrusted with the Law and sent by God to lead his people in the way of truth. The root word zedek is also found in "Melchizedek" -- the King of Righteousness, and in "Sons of Zadok" -- Righteous Priests. In the spring of 1950 Andre Dupont-Sommer, Professor of Semitic Languages and Civilizations at the Sorbonne, presented to the academic community a paper about the Moreh ha-Zedek which caused a sensation.
"Jesus," he claimed, "appears in many respects as an astonishing reincarnation of the Teacher of Righteousness. Like the latter, he preached penitence, poverty, humility, love of one's neighbor, chastity.... Like him, he was the Elect and the Messiah of God.... Like him, he was the object of the hostility of the priests.... Like him, he was condemned and put to death. Like him he pronounced judgment on Jerusalem, which was taken and destroyed by the Romans for having put him to death.... Like him, he founded a Church whose adherents fervently awaited his glorious return.... All these similarities -- and here I only touch upon the subject -- taken together constitute a very impressive whole."
It must be emphasized that Dupont-Sommer never suggested the Teacher of Righteousness was Jesus, but called him a prototype. Yet even this guarded statement raised numerous objections. It seems the Christians feared a challenge to the 'uniqueness' of their Christ as the only begotten Son of God. Jews were likewise skeptical. Ancient mutual antagonisms had made them cautious of any connections that brought their faith too close to Christianity.
Since that day, only a few have ventured to compare the Teacher of Righteousness with Jesus Christ.
Benjamin Creme has made the following statements about the ministry of Jesus:
"Jesus gave his teaching for three years and at the end he was so unknown that one of his disciples, Judas, had to be bribed to point him out to the authorities so that he could be arrested. Everyone believes that Jesus was greeted with open arms. He was not. The only time he was greeted with open arms was his last entry into Jerusalem, when they thought he was going to lead a revolution against the Romans. Those who believed that the Messiah was coming believed that he would be a warrior king out of the House of David, who would free the Jews from the Romans.
"He did nothing of the kind. He said: 'Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, but render unto God that which is God's'. He did not come to free the Jews from the Romans at all, which is why they got rid of Him. He did not come as a warrior king but they presented him to themselves as a warrior king, and to their way of thinking he could not, therefore, be the Messiah." (MMII, pp.26-27)
In Alice Bailey we read: "... when he came before, Palestine was held in the vicious grasp of the Jewish religious leaders, and the Pharisees and the Sadducees were to the people of that land what the potentates of the church are to the people in the world today....The priests ... were not the ones who recognized him when he came before. They feared Him". (RC, p.17)
The scrolls grouped under the title of "Pesher" have been the most closely scrutinized of all for they contain the major references to events in the life of the Teacher of Righteousness. Pesher is a term that refers to a reworking of a biblical passage. The scroll writer examines a book of the Bible, usually a prophetic work, and reinterprets it in terms of the events of his own time. The prophets -- Isaiah, Habakkuk, Nahum -- were a logical choice, for their books were warnings for the Jewish leaders to return to the ways of God and prepare for a Messianic Age.
Within the nation there are other forces -- those called the "Seekers of Smooth Things", or those who are looking for easy interpretations, "... who with their fraudulent teaching and lying tongue and perfidious lip misdirect many; kings, princes, priests and people together with the proselyte attached to them. Cities and clans will perish through his advice, nobles and le(aders) will fall (due to the fero) city of their tongues.... a mass of corpses will fall in their days; there will be no end to the tally of their wounded and they will even trip over their bodies of flesh because of his mistaken counsel". (PN-II)
There is the "Scoffer" or the "Man of Lies", a member of the Teacher's own community. In Habakkuk 1:13 they had read: "O traitors, why do you look on and keep silence when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?" Their pesher interpretation was: "The explanation of this concerns the House of Absalom and the members of their council who were silent at the time of the chastisement of the Teacher of Righteousness and gave him no help against the Man of Lies who despised the Law in the midst of all their coun(cil)". (PH-V) The "House of Absalom" may be a general reference to "traitors", as Absalom was the son of King David who rebelled and betrayed him.
There is the "Wicked Priest", "... who was called by the name of truth at the beginning of his coming; but when he commanded over Israel, his heart rose up and he abandoned God and betrayed the precepts because of riches, .... and he followed the ways of a(bo)mination in every kind of unclean defilement". (PH-VIII)
The phrase "swallow up" in the next passage usually means, in Hebrew, to do away with, or to kill. The implication in this passage is that the Wicked Priest captures the Teacher on the Day of Atonement and eventually sees him killed. It speaks of "... the Wicked Priest who persecuted the Teacher of Righteousness, swallowing him up in the anger of his fury in his place of exile. But at the time of the feast of rest of the Day of Atonement he appeared before them to swallow them up and to cause them to stumble on the Day of Fasting, their Sabbath of rest". (PH-XI)
Another phrase tells of "... the Wicked (Prie)st who la(id hands on the Priest, the Teacher of Righteousness,) to put him to death.... And God will not let (the Wicked Priest go) un(punished for the blood which) he has shed, but (God will) pay him his (re)ward by delivering him into the hands of the violent of the nations to execute (vengeance) upon him". (PP 37-IV)
If one assumes that the Teacher is Maitreya/Jesus, then a logical choice for the "Wicked Priest" would be the Jewish high priest Caiaphas, or possibly Annas, his father-in-law who held the real power. One could conjecture that the "Man of Lies" was Judas.
The Kittim are portrayed as a force of vengeance for those who persecute the Teacher and the community of the poor. Pesher Habakkuk speaks of "... the last Priests of Jerusalem who heap up riches and gain by plundering the peoples. But at the end of days, their riches, together with the fruit of their plundering, will be delivered into the hands of the army of the Kittim ..." (PH-IX)
Hymns of Thanksgiving
If the Pesher documents convey an idea of the political and religious opposition there was to the work of the Teacher of Righteousness, the Hymn Scroll tells the even more poignant tale of opposition and betrayal by those of his own community. Most scholars attribute the Hymn Scroll to the Teacher Himself. It is poetic and profoundly moving, and tells at all times a dual story -- the plight of a great man of God who is caught between the eternal radiance of Heaven and the problem of shepherding its manifestation on the dim pathways of a tiny planet.
The writer of the poems knows that he has been chosen by God:
And imbued by God with marvelous wisdom:
He knows that God is his only source of Being:
The Damascus Document
The translators who first read the Damascus Document were amazed because they realized it had already been published, in 1901, in a book called Fragments of a Zadokite Work, by Simon Schechter of Cambridge University. He had discovered it among a large cache of documents in a Cairo synagogue. Estimating it was written about 1000 AD, he called it a Zadokite work because its authors continually referred to themselves as the "Sons of Zadok."
In searching for clues to explain its presence in the synagogue, one scholar recalled a letter, written in the 8th century AD by Timotheus, a Jewish Patriarch. "We have learned," he wrote, "... that some books were found 10 years ago in a rock-dwelling near Jericho. The story was that the dog of an Arab out hunting went into a cave in pursuit of game and did not come out again; its owner went in after it and found a chamber in the rock, in which there were many books. The hunter went off to Jerusalem and told his story to the Jews, who came out in great numbers and found books of the Old Testament and others in the Hebrew script."
This account is almost identical to our modern one of the scroll finds at Qumran, and Jericho is close enough (nine miles north) to make it possible the earlier finds were also connected with the ruin. But the story does not stop here. It finds another connection in Baghdad. In that city, also in the 8th century, emerged a sect of heretical Jews which caused a schism in the church because it rejected the Talmud (the book of Jewish law) and sought a more direct contact with the Bible. Its members called themselves Karaites, and their ritual, language, law and calendar were similar to that of the Dead Sea scroll sect. Their literature is full of references to "the Zadokite sect" and the "Magharites" (the Arabic word for cave). They embraced a fervent Messianism and even buried their dead positioned north to south. The Zadokite work that Schechter had found in Cairo was with a group of other Karaite works. The Dead Sea scroll writers may well have left their mark upon a century long before our own.
New Covenant in the Land of Damascus
Of all the document finds, this is the one that is most impressive for sheer scope. It covers ancient cosmology, biblical history, the origin of the sect and God's eternal covenant with humanity.
In its pages the writers speak of themselves as those who had "escaped to the north" and formed a "New Covenant in the Land of Damascus". As Damascus is 135 miles northeast of Qumran, most scholars have taken little note of this reference except to consider it merely symbolic or indicative of an early migration of the sect, perhaps before its occupation of Qumran. But if it is taken literally and if one includes other historical references from the same document, it may be a clue to the identity of the sect. It is of note that many 'obscure' teachings and 'lost' manuscripts emerge from the Syrian area, and that the "Land of Damascus" can also mean the "Land of Syria" or Coele-Syria. It refers to a strip of territory on the frontier between Syria and Arabia extending from the city of Damascus south to the southern shores of the Dead Sea. This strip was home to initiate groups such as the Nazarenes and the Essenes.
In the chronicles of 4th century church historians Eusebius and Epiphanius, there is mention of an unusual event that occurred before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Epiphanius writes: "When the city was about to be conquered by the Romans all the disciples were warned by an angel to remove from the city which was shortly to be destroyed. They became refugees and settled in Pella, a town in Transjordan belonging to the Decapolis." Pella is 50 miles north of Qumran and Damascus is 85 miles beyond Pella.
In the Damascus Document we read of what could be the same occurrence. It speaks of "... the converts of Israel, who left the land of Judah and lived in the Land of Damascus all of whom God called princes." (DD-VI) It also tells of a faction opposed to the sect who "... despised the covenant (of God) and the pact which they established in the land of Damascus, which is the first covenant. And neither for them nor their families shall there be a part in the house of the law.... And from the day of the gathering in (killing) of the Unique Teacher, until the destruction of all the men of war who turned back with the man of lies, there shall be about 40 years.... And in this age the wrath of God will be kindled against Israel." (DD-XX)
Between the crucifixion of Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem there passed 40 years, the same span of time as in the scroll passage. After Jesus' death the nascent Christian church was little more than a sect of the Jewish faith. But in 70 AD a schism occurred that permanently separated the two. It may well have been based on what is implied in this passage -- that there was a faction within the early church that sympathized with the Jewish revolt, 'turned back' because they "despised the covenant", and met destruction when the Romans attacked. Those who 'left the land of Judah' were saved. This passage (and similar ones in other scrolls), though it has obvious implications for the history of the sect, has been largely ignored.
We will return to these ideas in our concluding thoughts when we speak of the dating and the possible authors of the scrolls.
The next three documents give us a picture of the moral code and belief system of the sectarians.
The Community Rule
The composition of the Community Rule scroll may date from the sect's early beginnings (150-200 BC), as it is the foundation rule for the organization of their communal life and moral code. It is addressed to the "community in Israel", who "... are to be segregated from within the dwelling of the men of sin to walk to the desert in order to open there his path". (CR-VIII) Its laws are rigid and precise, imposing dignity, order, and strict adherence to Mosaic tradition. There are rules of conduct between members, and rules pertaining to the pooling of money, common worship, and common meals. There are prescriptions for entry and for progression through a three-year period of probation.
Prayer and the reading of the law were of prime importance: "... where there are 10 men of the Community council, there should not be a priest missing amongst them.... And in the place in which the Ten assemble there should not be missing a man to interpret the law day and night, always, each man relieving his fellow. And the Many shall be on watch together for a third of each night of the year in order to read the book, explain the regulation, and bless together." (CR-VI)
The group was hierarchical, and a yearly review would determine advancement. "In the Community council (there shall be) 12 men and three priests, perfect in everything that has been revealed about all the law." (CR-VIII) This mirrors what we know about the Ashrams of the Masters. The inner ashram includes the Master and 12 disciples. Three of these disciples are particularly beloved; they are "responsible to the Master for all ashramic activity". (DNAI, p.758)
Ritual purity was important for the group. Like John the Baptist they practised immersion. "And by the compliance of his soul with all the laws of God his flesh is cleansed by being sprinkled with cleansing waters and being made holy with the waters of repentance." (CR-III)
The two Messiahs
Scattered throughout the documents are several concepts which may refer to the interrelation between Hierarchy and humanity -- the way the spiritual kingdom makes itself manifest in our own world of form. One expression is the idea of God establishing his Kingdom on earth by means of a "plant root" or "eternal plantation." The rule reads: "... the Community council shall be founded on truth ... like an everlasting plantation, a holy house for Israel and the foundation of the holy of holies for Aaron ... It will be the tested rampart, the precious cornerstone ...". (CR-VIII) The depiction of the Community council as "an everlasting plantation" may refer to the energies of the Hierarchy, continually cultivating and nurturing the human kingdom. In another metaphor expressing the same concept, humanity is the foundation and "precious cornerstone" for the earthly temple, the expression of God in form.
In Judaism the terms Israel and Aaron are used as comparative concepts. "Israel" refers to the earthly realm while "Aaron" refers to the heavenly. In the above passage the "holy house for Israel" is humanity, the kingdom of souls, being nurtured and cultivated by the "holy of holies for Aaron" -- the spiritual Hierarchy.
A similar concept -- that of "the two Messiahs" -- has remained baffling to most scholars. They are called the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel, and are often depicted as one person residing over a heavenly kingdom on earth. Some passages mention a future coming of the two Messiahs, possibly a reference to the Second Coming. We read at the end of a long list of rules: "And this is the exact interpretation of the regulations by which (they shall be ruled until there arises the Messiah) of Aaron and Israel. He shall atone for their sins." (DD-XIV)
This concept may relate to the idea of overshadowing, whereby a great adept uses the body of a disciple to "pour his energy and force for the helping of the world". (TCF, p.749) So did the Buddha overshadow the disciple Gautama, and Maitreya the disciple Jesus.
The War Scroll
In the early years of the scroll discoveries the Qumran sectarians were usually viewed as totally pacifist. But when Essene documents were found in the fortress of Masada, opinions began to change and documents like The War Scroll, which depicts an allegorical battle between good and evil, began to be taken more literally. Some writers have suggested that many of the radical war faction of the period -- the Zealots -- came from Essene ranks.
One controversy that emerged in the popular press in recent years was an argument over a highly fragmented text from a larger manuscript called "The War Rule." It referred to a Messiah who was either "Pierced" or "Piercing." Because of the difficulties in translating ancient Hebrew no one could really be certain which adjective was meant. The fragment was used to defend one side or the other, depending on the point of view.
Whatever the truth may be, it is certain from all of their documents that the sectarians considered themselves warriors of the spirit, fighting on the side of God and his Angelic Hierarchy.
The War of the Sons of Light
The document depicts a time when "... the sons of light and the lot of darkness shall battle together for God's might, between the roar of a huge multitude and the shout of gods and of men, on the day of the calamity. It will be a time of suffering fo(r al)l the people redeemed by God". (WS-I)
The language of the work is cast in Roman times, and it is a blend of the mythological and the real. The enemy are the Kittim (the Romans) and the accoutrement and battle plan follow Roman custom. God is the divine commander and Belial (the devil) his foe. Angelic hosts -- Michael, Gabriel, Sariel, and Raphael -- are called for assistance. Mundane rules that could apply to any actual army encampment are interspersed with the allegorical scenes.
The writing is replete with symbologies of seven. The war itself will be fought in seven rounds. In three, the lot of Belial, will be strongest, in another three the Sons of Light. "And in the seventh lot, God's great hand will subdue." (WS-I) The battalions are armed with swords and spears, encrusted with silver, gold and precious stones. "They shall line up in seven lines ..." and "... will hurl against the enemy line seven javelins of war." (WS-V&VI) "Seven cavalry formations shall take up position.... 700 cavalry on one flank and 700 on the second flank." (WS-VI)
Directing the battle are the priests, "... seven priests of the sons of Aaron" (WS-VII) carrying war trumpets. Following the priests are seven levites (lesser priests) carrying seven ram's horns. Then proceeds the battle -- the priests and levites blow their horns in "... a deafening war alarm, to melt the heart of the enemy". (WS-VII) For seven rounds the trumpets continue while the war javelins are thrown seven times until the enemy is routed in "... God's battle for eternal destruction." (WS-IX) Throughout the document are interspersed long poems of exhortation and praise of God.
As in these battle scenes, evolution is played out in cycles of seven -- in our bodies, our planet, our solar system and the systems beyond. As each seven-round cycle of achievement is completed a new one opens ahead. The "weapons" of evolutionary progress through these cycles of creation and destruction are the esoteric science of sound -- represented here by the trumpets and horns, and the "cutting sword" of discrimination -- symbolized by the spear and javelins.
Christianity -- a religion of duality
The idea of a cosmic war between good and evil is mirrored in all religions. It is the battleground of the spirit as it loosens the shackles of materiality -- Armageddon and the Kurukshetra of the Bhagavad Gita. It operates at levels far beyond our present comprehension.
The Master DK says that: "Just as the planet called earth is regarded as the turning point or the battle-ground between Spirit and matter, ... so our solar system holds an analogous place in the cosmic scheme. The cosmic man, the solar Arjuna, is wrestling for his individualized perfected self-consciousness, and for freedom and liberation from the form.... So man on this planet battles for similar ideals on his tiny scale", so battle in heaven Michael and his Angels ... Whose problem is the same on the higher scale." (TCF, p.242)
Alice Bailey applies the concept to Christianity. "Modern thinkers would do well to remember that Christianity is a bridging religion. Herein lies its great importance. Christianity is the religion of that transitional period which links the era of self-conscious individualistic existence to a future group-conscious unified world. It is outstandingly a religion of cleavage, demonstrating to man his duality, and thus laying the foundation for his effort to achieve unity or at-one-ment. The realization of this duality is a most needed stage in man's unfoldment, and the purpose of Christianity has been to reveal this; also to point out the warfare between the lower and the higher man, between carnal man and spiritual man, united in one person, and to emphasize the necessity for that lower man to be saved by the higher." (FBC, pp.17-18)
The Temple Scroll
"When Moses was close to death, he called to his side Joshua, the Son of Nun, to bestow on him the succession of leadership and the care of his most precious trust -- the Books of Law, given by God to his people in the wilderness. This he told Joshua: 'And receive thou this writing that thou mayest know how to preserve the books which I shall deliver unto thee: and thou shalt set these in order and anoint them with oil of cedar, and put them away in earthen vessels ... until ... the Lord will visit them in the consummation of the End of Days.'" -- Assumption of Moses, an Apocryphal work.
When the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the Judaean wilderness, carefully wrapped in linen and preserved in earthenware jars, these words of Moses took on a brilliant new meaning. Among the Jewish people there had always been the legend of a hidden law, too stringent for most, but preserved in a secret tradition. In 2 Kings 22 we read of King Josiah who ordered repairs to the Temple of Yahweh. When the carpenters found a book of Law and it was read in the King's presence, he "tore his garments", and said: "Great indeed must be the anger of Yahweh blazing out against us because our ancestors did not obey what this book says by practising everything written in it". Josiah went on to lead a great reform of the religion.
There was, as well, the legend of a lost Temple plan, given by God to Moses and handed down through the rulers. So when the Temple Scroll was found, with its plans for a temple in minute detail and elaborate design, and with its laws and festivals covered nowhere else in the Old Testament, it was of profound interest.
The first Temple of Jerusalem was built by Solomon in the 9th century BC, and at that time temple worship centered in Jerusalem became the dominant factor of Jewish spiritual ritual. Solomon's temple was destroyed during the Babylonian captivity in 586 BC but rebuilt by the high priest Zerubbabel in 516 BC after the Jews were liberated and returned to Jerusalem. Herod rebuilt this temple in Jesus' day, but only a few years after its completion, in 70 AD, it was destroyed by the Romans. At this point temple worship ceased and Judaism found other outlets for spiritual expression.
Measuring 30 feet, the Temple Scroll is the longest scroll of all, and is also called "The Hidden Torah". The text is of particular interest; it is written in the first person, as though it were the hand of God Himself, giving his law to humanity. Yigael Yadin, Israeli scholar, wrote an insightful and beautifully illustrated book, the Temple Scroll, which visually depicts the layout and construction of the building.
In the Temple plan there is a central courtyard housing a temple and various buildings dedicated to the performance of ritual sacrifice. Enclosing these central structures is a square wall, 280 cubits to a side. (A cubit is about one-and-a-half feet.) Each side contains a gate opening onto a middle courtyard which is again surrounded by a square wall, 480 cubits to a side. This middle wall has 12 gates, three on each side. The gates represent the 12 tribes of Israel; each is named for a son of Jacob. The middle courtyard gates open onto an outer court that is also surrounded by a wall, 1,600 cubits to a side. It too contains 12 gates. Each gate of the outer court is 70 cubits high and 50 deep. Built into the walls are hundreds of enclosures to house the worshippers who come. The outer wall is three stories high and contains over 800 rooms. The complex is completely surrounded by a moat.
The Temple of Solomon
In esoteric terms, as referenced in the work of Alice Bailey and Helena Blavatsky, the Temple of Solomon symbolizes the causal body or soul. It is built by knowledge and links the physical-plane vehicle with the Monad (the spark of inspiration from the spiritual kingdom.) The causal body was created in our race at the moment of individualization, when animal man became thinking man.
The temple of the causal body, called the "city foursquare", is built on the Lower Quaternary or four aspects of the personality. These are the physical, astral, mental, and etheric bodies. Here is expressed the "Son" aspect of the Trinity -- the "consciousness" that is produced when spirit and matter unite.
The temple plan represents the first four initiations. The outer court is furthest from the temple and therefore the least pure. It represents the first initiation, taken when the disciple transcends the limitations of the physical vehicle. The middle court is the second initiation, taken when the pull of the astral vehicle is overcome. The inner court is the third initiation, taken when the mental vehicle is controlled.
The walls of these courts contain gates named for the sons of Jacob. Each "son" has its correspondence on an astrological sign. The enclosing wall with its 12 gates represents a person's progression through the zodiacal signs over the course of many incarnations. The inner court with its four gates may be symbolic of the sacrifice on the "cross of matter."
The central court houses the temple, with its Holy of Holies, the innermost shrine of the Jewish temple, and sacrificial altar. This depicts the 4th initiation, when the causal body or soul, having transcended all experience in the physical world, offers itself for consummation. On the altar of sacrifice, the blood stands for life because it distributes the energy of the soul throughout the physical body. When the blood is spilled the thread of life is severed -- the physical vehicle dies.
The Lower Quaternary of the personality -- the temple building -- is then consumed by fire. It becomes the "burnt offering". This is the unification of the fire of the higher Self with that of the lower, "... the two fires meet, and eventually the egoic body disappears; the fire burns up entirely the Temple of Solomon; the permanent atoms are destroyed, and all is reabsorbed into the Triad. The essence of the Personality, the faculties developed, the knowledge gained, and the remembrance of all that has transpired becomes part of the equipment of the Spirit and eventually finds its way to the Spirit or Monad on its own plane." (LOM, p.79)
At this point the initiate can truly echo the words of the Christ: "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me." (Jn.12:32)
To the side of the central building the scroll prescribes an edifice called the "House of the Winding Stair". It contains a spiral staircase opening onto the temple roof and completely overlain with gold. The disciple literally mounts the staircase into the spiritual kingdom, his lower elements transmuted into pure Gold.
In just this way does evolution proceed -- from creation to destruction to creation again. Each edifice erected serves a purpose for the extent of its life span. Eventually the physical form crumbles and disappears, but its essence is gathered into the Universal Consciousness. All of this is but the beginning groundwork for "... the foundation of the future Temple of Truth where the light of the Lord will be seen and which will prove adequate as an expression of Reality". (TWM, p.326)
Lastly we are left with the questions: "Who wrote the documents?" and: "When were they deposited in the caves?" It is important to understand that the date they were written does not necessarily correspond to their date of composition, which undoubtedly varied from scroll to scroll. The Biblical works were composed many centuries before Christ and the sectarian documents were probably composed over a number of centuries. Scrolls in use wear out after a few years and must be continuously transcribed. This transcription process may be Creme's meaning when he speaks about when they were written.
If they had been written before Christ, as most scholars say, the answer is easy -- they were written by the Qumran Essenes and probably hidden in the nearby caves. But if they were written in the 2nd century, as Creme says, it is a different matter because after 70 AD Judaea became increasingly off-limits to Jews. It is difficult to imagine a very large community existing at Qumran given the Roman occupation and their massive suppression of the Jews. It seems likely that Qumran was destroyed at this time, apparently by fire, as the excavators found a layer of ash covering this stratum of excavation. A small part of the site was re-occupied until 135 AD but there are no signs of occupation after this date.
In the scrolls, we can find several indicators. In an earlier discussion of the Damascus Document we noted that the writers speak of themselves as those who entered the "New Covenant in the Land of Damascus". In addition they often refer to themselves as ebhyonim, meaning the "poor." Blavatsky claims that the first Christians were the Ebionites, from the same Hebrew word ebhyonim, and that they were pupils and followers of the early Nazarenes, the initiates of Jesus' day. Ebionite Christianity, she says "... had once been the purest form of primitive Christianity ..." and numbered "... among their sect all the surviving relatives of Jesus". (Isis Unveiled II -- pp.180-181)
The Jewish author J.L.Teicher (who is one of the few who argues that the Teacher of Righteousness is Jesus) writes in The Journal of Jewish Studies, 1951, that he thinks the scroll writers were Ebionites or Nazarenes and that they had migrated to the Damascus area when Jerusalem was destroyed. He cites historical evidence, again from Epiphanius, saying that both groups were "... started after the destruction of Jerusalem ... in consequence of Christ's injunction to leave the city and to emigrate in view of the impending siege". Eventually they settled in Coele-Syria, which could mean "the Land of Damascus" mentioned so often in the scrolls.
The Essenes of Qumran, then, possibly fled to the north when their Dead Sea existence was faced with destruction. They were not the only ones, for there is evidence that Christian Jews from Jerusalem and other areas left as well. There they reformed into various groups, probably suffering the same divisions as were experienced by religious groups throughout the land. One of these newly formed groups may have been the Ebionites -- a group which viewed Jesus as a wise man and a prophet, not a god. They saw him, not so much as a Messiah himself, but rather an early manifestation of the future Messiah -- a great leader who would eventually come as a king and reign for 1,000 years.
If the scroll writers were indeed Ebionites then it is logical to assign a 2nd-century date to their writings. They would undoubtedly have continued their most sacred tradition -- study of the Law -- in their new home. In addition they would have considered it of primary importance to record the events they had seen -- the persecution of their sect, the death of their Teacher, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the scattering of their own people. With their understanding of the astrological period they were entering, they may have returned to the Old Testament books for direction and read again what the prophets had to say about the coming times. These ideas and events are recorded in the Damascus Document and the Pesher scrolls.
How, then, did the scrolls return to Qumran? Teicher again affords us a clue. He claims the Ebionites disappeared around 300 AD. He connects their demise with an edict of persecution issued by the Roman emperor Diocletian in 303 AD. This edict contained an order to seize all the sacred books of the Christians and to burn them in public. Teicher suggests that the Ebionites collected their scrolls and their storage jars and returned them to the isolation of the Qumran caves where they would not easily be discovered.
It is a plausible assumption. Anyone who reads the Acts of the Apostles knows that the Christian proselytes were neither sedentary nor without imagination. Paul and his companions traveled throughout the Mediterranean with little hesitation. The Ebionites would have gone to great lengths to preserve their sacred books. They understood well the great isolation of the Dead Sea area, and would have been justified by history, for Qumran was never occupied again.
The eternity of truth
Throughout the eons of history, truth has followed a wayward path. From unknown depths it surfaces to find an abode in our most brilliant minds. From these few it spreads its embrace for a time, then inevitably finds the resistance that begs its departure. The seers of the ages have long understood this flow. Thus they watch and know when to act, to remove their thoughts and words to silence. Buried and quiescent they stay, a dormant witness, until opportunity opens, another era is born, and humanity awakens -- eager once more for the counsels of the spirit.
In 1945 Maitreya announced his decision to re-enter our daily lives. In 1945 the Nag-Hammadi library was found in Egypt. In 1947 the Dead Sea Scrolls came to light. Its survival was a true surprise for archeologists because the Jordan Valley had always been considered too humid to preserve documents of such delicate nature for very long.
The scroll writers understood the ways of the world. That is why they wrote in allegory and allusion. They had a way of speech, an expression they used, when introducing a "hidden truth." They would say: "For the man of understanding ..." warning the reader of secret meaning below the surface. It is so with all that is written. One can approach it on many levels. One can see what is not there. One can be blind to the purely obvious.
For the past 50 years the scrolls have been surrounded by controversy and conflict. There were books to be published, money to be made, and fame achieved. There was delay and exclusivity and volumes written defending everything save truth. Sadly, their pages have become the arguments of scholars, while their translations gather dust on library shelves, ignored by a world that does not know, that has been misled -- not by duplicity -- but by sheer blindness.
If the scrolls are a record of Christ's time, then the fear denying that possibility is depriving the world of a rightful heritage. If a document such as the Hymn Scroll was written by Jesus/Maitreya then we are missing a priceless record that could inspire many lives. Until recent history the Gospels have been our only readily available accounts of Jesus' life. They are largely repetitious and sadly incomplete. One longs for so much more.
The writers of the scrolls were alive with fervour for their vital mission and shining with love for their Teacher from God. They recorded their times in a uniquely poetic voice and left for us a priceless store. Truths that are buried so long should not be lost in controversy and denial. They are given to us all, the precious heritage from another age -- a heritage forged by our Elder Brother, Maitreya, who guided our path through the wilderness of biblical times, and returns again -- today -- to lead us onto an even more brilliant path into tomorrow.
* Scroll quotes are from the following documents:
Remaining quotes are from the following sources:
Scroll translations are from the following sources:
From the July/August 1996 issue of Share International
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