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"Messianic" Texts at Qumran

 

One value of the Qumran or Dead Sea Scrolls is that they are a time capsule from the age before and during the time of Yeshua. As such, they reveal how some Jewish priests from Jerusalem understood their faith and how they interpreted the Hebrew Bible.

The scrolls were not altered by Jewish scribes trying to downplay Bible interpretations that would make Jews "susceptible" to New Testament teaching. Nor were they tampered with by Christian scribes who might insert material to make it appear Jews believed certain Christian doctines before the era of Yeshua.

Among the nearly 900 distinct scroll fragments, a few documents mention the Messiah and apparently two Messiahs. In some texts, he appears to be a member of the Qumran community. In others, he is called "son of God" (4Q246), "elect of God" (4Q534), or "first-born son" of God (4Q369). In 1Q28a, the texts says "God begets the Messiah."

In addition, these scrolls show that several passages from the Hebrew Bible were interpreted "messianically" by some rabbis prior to the New Testament era. Among these texts are Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17; 2 Samuel 7:14; Isaiah 9:5-6, 11:1-4, and 52:7; Jeremiah 23:5; Psalm 2:1; Daniel 7:13-14 and 9:25.

Related to the "Messiah Question" in the Dead Sea Scrolls is the book of Jubilees, a non-biblical work in the Pseudepigrapha collection of Jewish writings. As a retelling of biblical history through the lens of prophecy, it held great authority at Qumran. Fragments of some 15 copies of the work have been found so far. Written around 140 BC/E, Jubilees follows Daniel 9:25 in attempting to calculate the precise time of the "Anointed One's" arrival.

Based on the time patterns proposed in Jubilees and Daniel's prophecy, the Messiah would come during the time-window 3 BC/E to 2 AD. [See the details in the research by Beckwith on p. 3 of the article.]

(Though he is not called "Messiah," the figure of Melchizedek plays an important role in the final day judgment at the last jubilee. See the introduction and text of 11QMelchizedek elsewhere on this site.)

Click HERE to open and download the article "Messianic" Texts at Qumran. It's a PDF and runs 9 pages.

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