Friday, March 17, 2023

What Are the Doctrines of the Essenes?

By Maria Merola אריאל 

© Copyright Double Portion Inheritance, August 2002-2023

The Book of Jubilees, sometimes called the “Lesser Genesis,” or “Little Genesis,” or “The Testament of Moses,” is a Pseudepigraphal work of Jewish apocalyptic literature. The term Pseudepigraphal, means that it is falsely attributed to the wrong author.

An example of this is with the Book of Chanowk (Enoch), which is falsely attributed to the Patriarch Enoch, but was not written until about 300 B.C. -100 A.D. through a collection of writings, all written by various authors. The Book of Enoch, is also referred to as a Pseudepigraphal, work, because it was not written by the original Enoch. See the following link to learn more: The Book of Enoch Debunked

The Book of Jubilees was probably written in the second century B.C., sometime between 135 and 105. Jubilees records an account of biblical history from the creation of the world to the time of Moses, as delivered to Moses by an angel on Mount Sinai. The Hebrew word for angel is malak, which means the following: “A priest, prophet, king, messenger, teacher.” This is a strong indicator that the malak, was the Pre-Incarnate Messiah, who literally gave the Torah “Written with the finger of Elohiym” (Exodus 9:10 & Deuteronomy 31:18).

The Book of Jubilees, was very influential among some sects of Judaism during the Messiahs earthly ministry. It would not be an exaggeration to say that this book is anti-Gentile: In Jubilees, Elohiym himself created spirits to rule over the Gentiles, and lead them away from following him (Jubilees 15:30-32). Jubilees also prohibits Yahuwdiym (Jews) from having fellowship and sharing meals with Gentiles (Jubilees 22:16) and forbids Gentiles from keeping the Sabbath (Jubilees 2:31). 

These anti-Gentile sentiments in Jubilees are opposed to what Scripture reveals about Yah’s heart toward the Gentiles. In Scripture, instead of preventing the Gentiles from following him, YaHuWaH repeatedly calls upon the Gentiles to repent, worship him, and keep his Sabbaths (e.g., Isa 56:1-8). Moreover, the prohibition against associating with Gentiles contradicts Yah’s expressed plan for Yisrael, which was to bless and disciple the Gentiles (Matthew 28:19-20). The narrative in Acts 10-11 of Elohiym instructing Peter to visit Cornelius explicitly undermines Jubilees’ command against eating with Gentiles.

The Book of Jubilees divides history into periods or “Jubilees” of 49 years. Generally, the Book of Jubilees follows the account of creation as recorded in the Book of Genesis, but it inserts interesting details such as the names of Adam’s daughters and the creation of angels.

Some scholars consider the Book of Jubilees to be an extended midrash on Genesis through the first part of Exodus. The only complete text of the Book of Jubilees still extant is an Ethiopic manuscript from the sixth century A.D., and it contains 1,307 verses.

Most scholars believe that the book was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic. That theory is bolstered by the discovery among the Dead Sea Scrolls of fragmented Hebrew texts containing portions of the Book of Jubilees. So far, at least fifteen separate manuscripts of the Book of Jubilees have been identified at Qumran. All have been reduced to fragments----“The Dead Sea Scrolls: The Book of Jubilees,” VanderKam, J., and Morgan, S., The Missouri Review, the College of Arts & Science of the University of Missouri, 12/1/1992.

These fragments provide only about 3 percent of the total content of the book. There are also some fragments of Jubilees existing today in Greek and Latin, but nowhere near a complete book in either of those languages or in Hebrew. 

According to the Book of Jubilees, on Mount Sinai “The malak of the presence spoke to Moses according to the word of YHWH, saying:

Write the complete history of the creation (Jubilees 2:1, Charles, R. H., trans., 1902). This malak (angel) told Moses that Elohiym created various categories of malakiym (angels) on the first day of creation. Great stress is laid on the Sabbath in Jubilees 2:17–32. 

In chapter 3, Adam and Eve are in Eden for a period of seven years. Then, after “seven years exactly,” the serpent tempted Eve (Jubilees 3:17). According to Jubilees, it was only after the fall that Adam had sex with his wife (Jubilees 3:34). However, this is contrary to scripture, since YaHuWaH commanded Adam & Eve to be fruitful and to multiply at the time that he first created them:

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 1:27  So Elohiym created man in his own image, in the image of Elohiym created he him; male and female created he them.  

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 1:28 And Elohiym blessed them, and Elohiym said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. 

There is no mention in the creation account in Genesis, that Adam & Eve only procreated after the fall. This seems to imply that married couples having sex is dirty and sinful. This aligns with the celibacy commands of the Roman Catholic nuns and priests, which the Apostle Shaul (Paul) warned us about in 1st Timothy 4:1-5. 

Jubilees, the fourth chapter, introduces Noah and his wife (who is named Emzara). Chapter 5 narrates the flood. The author of Jubilees writes that, after the flood, Elohiym says to Noah, “Command thou the children of Israel that they observe the years according to this reckoning—three hundred and sixty-four days, and (these) will constitute a complete year” (Jubilees 5:32). 

The 364-day solar year (rather than the 360-day lunar year) is one of the main thrusts of the Book of Jubilees. Some scholars have pointed out that it appears that Jubilees was written precisely for the purpose of pushing the author’s commitment to a solar-based calendar. 

Once again, this is contrary to the Torah, which says in Genesis 1:14-16 to observe the sun, the moon, and the stars for “seasons.” The Hebrew word for “seasons” is “mowediym,” which means the biblical feasts or festivals laid out in Leviticus 23.

In Jubilees, it is suggested that Elohiym is concerned that his people might “disturb all their seasons and the years will be dislodged . . . and they will neglect their ordinances” (Jubilees 6:33). 

While it is true that the sun governs the days and years, the moon governs the months. So, in Jubilees, to prevent confusion and to keep holy days from getting “dislodged,” the authors claim that Elohiym instituted the 364-day solar calendar.

However, this, (once again) is contrary to Scripture, as we are shown in Genesis 7:24 & 8:23, that the ark built by Noah rested on the waters for 150 days, which is 5 months of 30-day lunar cycles:

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 7:24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days. 

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 8:3 And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.

Under the calendar put forth in the Book of Jubilees, the number seven is a denomination of  364 days, therefore, the same date falls on the same day of the week each year (e.g., every year on Passover, it will always fall on the same day of the week). 

The command governing the calendar reflects another major emphasis in Jubilees: the laws concerning Sabbaths, Passover, First-fruits, and other holy days. 

The author of Jubilees claims that the feasts of YaHuWaH were observed by the patriarchs long before the time of Moses (which I do agree with). Although scripture appears to be silent about this, there are enough hints in Scripture that this may be the case.

Circumcision is also stressed in the book, which promises “Great wrath from YaHuWaH” on uncircumcised Israelites (Jubilees 15:40). 

This is contrary to what the Apostle Shaul (Paul) wrote in Romans & Galatians, stating that outward circumcision is merely a sign of the covenant, but not a means to salvation, and never was. Shaul (Paul) openly rebuked the teachings of the Essenes, even though he did not name them. In Colossians 2:14-18, he is addressing their false doctrines, such as worshiping angels, and eliminating the new moons as part of their unbiblical calendar.

The author of the Book of Jubilees was probably an Essene member of the Qumran community—the people who copied and preserved the Dead Sea Scrolls. Theological and cultural details within the book differ from the teachings of both the Pharisees and the Sadducees. 

The calendar system advocated in Jubilees is the one used in other Essene writings. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the only group today that accepts the Book of Jubilees as canonical. 

There are several problems with including the Book of Jubilees in the Bible as part of inspired Scripture. Probably the most significant is that the author of Jubilees, in retelling the story of Genesis, as he changes the biblical record in several respects. 

In general, the patriarchs are glorified as holy men who were scrupulous in keeping the Torah (law)—even the ceremonial aspects—long before Moses climbed Sinai. 

As portrayed in the Book of Jubilees, Jacob does not lie to his father; Isaac eventually declares Jacob to be his true heir, an elderly Jacob settles on Leah as the wife he loves, and Abram’s deceit of Pharaoh is never mentioned. 

Clearly, these heroes of the faith are handled with kid gloves by the author of Jubilees; in contrast, Scripture presents a candid record of their faults. Further, the Book of Jubilees adds to the Torah (Law of Moses), and goes far beyond Scripture in it's stress on punishment. 

For example, a father who gives his daughter in marriage to a Gentile “shall surely die, and they shall stone him with stones . . . and they shall burn the woman with fire” (Jubilees 30:11–12). This is more in alignment with the religion of Islam. There were plenty of Patriarchs who married women from the nations, to include Moses, who married an Ethiopian (Cushite) woman.

Adding to the Bible, the Book of Jubilees says that during the Feast of Tabernacles (which Abraham first celebrated) Israel is to “set wreaths upon their heads” and carry branches around the altar seven times each morning (Jubilees 16:39, 41). 

Also, Jubilees stipulates the type of wood to be used for the fire of the burnt offering (Jubilees 21:16–19). In summary, the Book of Jubilees adds to the Torah (Mosaic Law), and leans toward hagiography. This means that it embellishes about the history of the lives of qowdeshiym (saints), and adds more details than what Scripture teaches). Jubilees also introduces sectarian teachings regarding the calendar, and lacks sufficient manuscript evidence. 

For each of these reasons, the Book of Jubilees fails the standards of the canon of Scripture.

There are two fundamental problems existing with the book of Jubilees, and the teachings of the Gnostic Essenes:

1.) Jewry being infiltrated by Greek Hellenism, in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes IV in 167 B.C.

2.) The later corruptions of Judaism in the first century, when Rabbinical Judaism supplanted the original teachings of the Torah & Prophets.

3.) The teachings of Rome & Greece, which infiltrated the Gospel message within the first 300 years after Messiah died, which ultimately led to the invention of Roman Catholicism under the Roman Emperor, Constantine

There is compelling evidence that Yahuwdiym (Jews) participated in Greek gymnasiums, and attended Greek philosophical schools, and there is also evidence that Christians were practicing Jewish customs as late as the fourth century.

If we presume that the Second Temple Jewish tendency towards asceticism; and the rabbinic tendency towards indulgence represent polemical responses to outside enemies, (incompatible with their own lifestyles), we easily forget the internal conflicts within these Jewish communities that also helped these groups to formulate their identities. 

As unsatisfying as it is, the question of whether there is a direct sociocultural link between these attitudes may be lost for perpetuity. Although we may not be able to know how this change occurred, we can nevertheless appreciate the ingenuity of the rabbis in nurturing the experiential and sensual aspects of Judaism.

By encouraging marital intimacy on the Sabbath, and by composing blessings for even the basest of bodily functions, Rabbinic traditions invite us to merge our physical surroundings with our religious identities. Rather than live in tension between indulging physical necessity and transcending these needs to attain spiritual meaning, Rabbinic Judaism helps us to attain spiritual meaning by acknowledging that Yah’s universal dominion is both physical and spiritual, vast and infinite. 

*View Footnotes: Dr. Malka Zeiger Simkovich is a the Crown-Ryan Chair of Jewish Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and the director of their Catholic-Jewish Studies program. She holds a Ph.D. in Second Temple Judaism. 

Why the Book of Jubilees Cannot be Viewed as Inspired Scripture:

YaHuWaH created Adam & Eve on the 6th day, and then commanded them to be fruitful and multiply at the end of the 6th day (before it became the Sabbath on the 7th day).

They were both naked, and he wanted them to procreate. He did not say “But wait until the Sabbath is over to procreate.” 

As a matter of fact, Yahuwshuwa commands us to “Save Life” on the Sabbath day, and making a baby is producing/saving life. 

David & his men went to the Temple on the Sabbath, and asked the High Priest for some bread for his men. 

The priest gave them the old showbread to eat, because he was baking fresh bread on the Sabbath, which is when they were commanded to swap out the old showbread with the new showbread.

The bread of the Presence (also called the showbread or shewbread in some translations) was special bread always present on a table in the tabernacle (and later in the temple). 

Leviticus 24:5–7 describes this bread: “You shall take fine flour and bake twelve loaves from it; two tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. And you shall set them in two piles, six in a pile, on the table of pure gold before YHWH. And you shall put pure frankincense on each pile, that it may go with the bread as a memorial portion as a food offering to YHWH.” 

The bread could only be eaten by Aaron and his sons in a holy place and was set out every Sabbath day (Leviticus 24:8–9). 

This Bread of the Presence was:

1.) Made of fine flour. 
2.) Baked in 12 loaves.
3.) Arranged in two piles of six loaves each on a table of pure gold.
4.) Covered with frankincense.
5.) Served as a memorial food offering to YaHuWaH. 

The bread could only be eaten by Aaron and his sons in a holy place and was set out every Sabbath day (Leviticus 24:8–9). 

The other important thing, is that Messiah will return for his bride in the 7th Millennium, which will be in the 6,000th year from creation.

This means that he will consummate with his bride in the “Sabbath Millennium!” 

The reason why the Sabbath Day is most holy, is because the number “seven” is symbolic of “covenant,” and the word “seven,” in Hebrew is “sheba,” meaning “to take take an oath by repeating seven times.” 

In 2nd Peter 3:8, it says that “One day is with YaHuWaH as a thousand years.”  

Therefore, the 7th Millennium is equivalent to the 7th day of the week, the Weekly Shabbat! 

The most advantageous time for married couples to be intimate with one another is when the bride of Messiah will be intimate with her bridegroom in the 7th Millennium. 

Shaul (Paul) spoke of this mystery of the earthly marriage being a shadow of the heavenly marriage between Messiah and his bride in Ephesians 5:22-32, ending with these words: 

Ephesians 5:

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 

32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Mashiyach and the assembly. I have not finished writing a blog about it yet. 

There are many contradictions in the Book of Jubilees to the Torah & Prophets. 

#1.) Jubilees claims it’s a sin to go to war on Shabbat, but our Messiah said that we are to “Save life on the Sabbath.” If somebody comes to kill you and your family on Shabbat, you have to defend your family and yourself, because this is the command of our Messiah---to save life! 

#2.) Jubilees claims it’s a sin to fast on the Shabbat, but our Messiah fasted for 40 days, in the wilderness, which means that he fasted for 5 Sabbaths! 

#3.) Jubilees says it’s a sin for married couples to be intimate on the Shabbat, but YaHuWaH commanded Adam & Eve to “Be fruitful and multiply” at the end of the 6th day of the week, going into the seventh day of the week! 

#4.) Shabbat is the best time for couples to be fruitful and multiply, because it is SAVING/PRODUCING LIFE!

In Luke 24:44, Yahuwshuwa said that Law, Prophets & Psalms TESTIFY of him! He never mentioned Jubilees! 

Genesis 1:14-16 says that there are THREE WITNESSES: the sun, the moon and the stars! This is the chronology of time-keeping that we use: 

1.) We wait for the Spring Equinox to determine the Tequwphah (Solar Year). 

2.) We wait for the closes Renewed Moon to the Spring Equinox, according to Deuteronomy 16:1. 

3.) We cite the constellation of the Ram inside the path of the Sun, because the Ram symbolizes when Abraham offered up his son “first-born son,” Yitschaq (Isaac), who became the substitute sacrifice.

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