WE HAVE IN PAST POSTS SEEN SOME OF THE ESSENES' TEACHING, BUT I'LL GIVE YOU WHAT DeSALVO has said in his book on pages 111-115.
FIRST, they were separatists. They removed themselves from general society to live in an isolated and remote site. As before stated it would seem they did do trade with others. We have groups today who live this way of life.
THEY SHARED everything they had. They had everything in common. They taught the community owned everything. They shared their meals, work, and just about everything else. Their life was simplicity. They ate simple foods, and wore simple or plain clothes. It appears they prayed together twice a day. They owned no slaves, and did not believe in slavery. Some groups today live this way.
RELIGIOUS BELIEF: They held some beliefs that the Pharisees held, but there were differences. They believed in One God, in angels, in the Torah, and many things taken directly from the Bible. They believed in a life of purity. They believed in good and evil, and considered themselves sons of the Light, and would oppose the sons of Darkness. They believed in a MESSIAH. They actually believed in TWO Messiah's - one who would be political and one the priest messiah. They practiced some forms of astrology; the degree of belief is unknown, but at the time it would not have been uncommon. They did not observe or practice the rituals of the Temple in Jerusalem; they felt they were distorted and corrupt.
On reading the scrolls it is apparent they believed in a Divine Plan - that God was in control of everything. In the end God would intervene and they would become victorious. Similar belief is found in the book of Revelation, so they were what today we would call - determinists. They believed the battle between good and evil was not only on earth but in the spirit or angelic realm. They believed more strongly than other Jewish sect that God would intervene in world affairs. They believed they had a special place or part to play in this task of good prevailing over evil.
LEADERS: Their community had leaders; there was a master, a council, and an entire community. New members were accepted once a year on a specific day. At the same time old members renewed their pledge. Their calendar differed from the Jewish religious calendar, based not only on the moon but also the sun.
INTERESTING RULES: reading from the Dead Sea scrolls you see they had a rule on "spitting" - you were not to spit to the right or middle of people.
ESOTERIC CONNECTIONS: Most scroll scholars will say they were esoteric as they invoked the names of angels. Angelic communication goes back as far as the beginning of man, and this one practice made them different from the Pharisees and scribes. It would seem from the scrolls they believed one reason to separate themselves from others, was that they would be joined by angels to fight the last apocalyptic battle at the end time. The good angels were very real to them, and they expected them to come to their aid - in the "War Scroll" there is mention of the angels joining them in the wilderness. Other esoteric areas they may have practiced include divination, prophecy, use of herbs, a type of spiritualism, because they believed there was an afterlife, and that the soul continued to live on.
WITH ALL THAT SAID, SOME SCROLL SCHOLARS DO NOT ACCEPT IT WAS THE ESSENES AT QUMRAN WHO WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SCROLLS, BUT MOST SCHOLARS DO AGREE IT WAS THE ESSENES WHO WROTE AND PLACED THE SCROLLS IN THE CAVES.
NEXT TIME: ARTIFACTS, CEMETERIES, GRAVES AND CAVES.