The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament

What do the Dead Sea Scrolls say about Jesus?

This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in 2015. It has been updated.—Ed.


The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the caves by Qumran, a site in the Judean Wilderness on the west side of the Dead Sea. James C. VanderKam explores similarities between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament in the March/April 2015 issue of BAR. Photo: “Caves@Dead Sea Scrolls (8246948498)” by Lux Moundi is licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.0..

What do the Dead Sea Scrolls say about Jesus? Nothing.

What do they say about the world in which Jesus lived? Lots.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are comprised primarily of two types of texts: parts of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and sectarian works written by the small group (or groups) of Jews who lived at Qumran. The scrolls date from the mid-third century B.C.E. until the mid-first century C.E.

While the Dead Sea Scrolls do not shed light on the person or ministry of Jesus, they do illuminate practices and beliefs of ancient Judaism. Since Christianity began as a sect of Judaism, the scrolls are very important for understanding the earliest Christians and their writings—the New Testament.

In the March/April 2015 issue of BAR, James C. VanderKam, the John A. O’Brien Professor of Hebrew Scriptures in the theology department at the University of Notre Dame, examines the overlap between these two bodies of texts in his article “The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament.” Dr. VanderKam was a member of the committee that prepared the scrolls for publication.

Interested in the history and meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls? In the free eBook Dead Sea Scrolls, learn what the Dead Sea Scrolls are and why are they important. Find out what they tell us about the Bible, Christianity and Judaism.

In his BAR article, James C. VanderKam explains, “The earliest followers of Jesus and the literature they produced were thoroughly Jewish in nature. As a result, the more one knows about Judaism during the time of Christian origins, the stronger basis we have for understanding the New Testament. And the scrolls are the most significant body of Hebrew/Aramaic literature related to a Jewish group or groups from roughly this time and thus are potentially invaluable for shedding light on the meaning of New Testament texts.”

There is no reason to suggest that the New Testament authors knew any of the sectarian works discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Further, it is quite possible that the two groups never interacted with each other. VanderKam points out that there is no overlap between the cast of characters in the scrolls and the New Testament (except for figures from the Hebrew Bible). He notes that “not even John the Baptist, who for a time lived in the wilderness and around the Jordan, not too far from the Dead Sea Scroll caves (see Luke 1:80; 3:3)” appears in the scrolls—let alone Jesus, much of whose ministry happened in Galilee.


What do the Dead Sea Scrolls say about Jesus? Nothing. However, they shed some light on the world in which Jesus lived. This scroll, the Messianic Apocalypse (4Q521), has a list of miracles very similar to Luke 7:21–22, even though it was written approximately 150 years before Luke’s Gospel.Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem.

The worldviews of early Christians and the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls were also starkly different. VanderKam explains, “A group that set a goal of spreading its religious message to all peoples to the ends of the earth had a very different understanding of God’s plan than ones who seem to have done no proselytizing and had no interest in bringing the nations into the fold.”

Nevertheless, there are some similarities between the two groups and their writings, which make for interesting comparisons. For example, a list of miracles appears in both Luke 7:21–22 of the New Testament and the Dead Sea Scroll known as the Messianic Apocalypse (4Q521). In Luke 7, Jesus gives these miracles to the disciples of John the Baptist as proof that he is the messiah. In the Messianic Apocalypse, which was written approximately 150 years before Luke’s Gospel, the Lord is the one who will perform these miracles. The source for both of these lists is Isaiah chapters 35 and 61. While not all of the same miracles appear in Luke 7 and the Messianic Apocalypse, the miracles that do appear in both are listed in the same order (see chart).


Parallels between Luke 7:21–22 and 4Q521 and the parts of Isaiah from which they come.

The curious thing is that not all of these miracles, such as “raising the dead,” appear in the passages from Isaiah, which were the source material for the lists—the prophecies being fulfilled. Yet the miracle of “raising the dead” appears in both Luke 7 and the Messianic Apocalypse right before bringing “good news to the poor.” Rather than suggesting that the writer of Luke 7 copied from—or was even aware of—the Messianic Apocalypse, this similarity suggests that both groups shared certain “interpretive and theological traditions on which writers in both communities drew.”

Visit the Dead Sea Scrolls study page in Bible History Daily for more on this priceless collection of ancient manuscripts.

For VanderKam’s full analysis of this text and to learn more about the similarities and differences between the scrolls uncovered at Qumran and the New Testament, read his full article “The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament” in the March/April 2015 issue of BAR.


BAS Library Members: Read the full article “The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament,” by James C. VanderKam in the March/April 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.

This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on February 16, 2015.


Read more articles by James C. VanderKam in the BAS Library:

“The People of The Dead Sea Scrolls,” Bible Review, April 1991.

“Tracking The Law in The Mishnah and in a Qumran Text,” Bible Review, April 1991.

“The Dead Sea Scrolls and Early Christianity: Part One,” Bible Review, December 1991.

“The Dead Sea Scrolls and Early Christianity: Part Two,” Bible Review, February 1992.

“Enoch’s Vision of the Next World,” Bible Review, April 2003.

James H. Charlesworth and James C. VanderKam, “The Dead Sea Scrolls: How They Changed My Life,” BAR, September/October 2007.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.


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  1. James says

    The article above states: “There is no reason to suggest that the New Testament authors knew any of the sectarian works discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls.” First Enoch is part of the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery. Fragments of most sections of it were found: The author of the Book of Jude quoted First Enoch in his New Testament epistle (letter). 1 Enoch (1 En 1:9) is quoted in the New Testament (Letter of Jude 1:14-15), and is there attributed to “Enoch the Seventh from Adam” (1 En 60:8). For more examples of the influence of the Book of First Enoch on early Christian writings, in and outside of, the New Testament, see: “The Book of Enoch”, by R. H. Charles, published decades ago.

  2. Wardell says

    The Dead Sea Scrolls say a lot about Jesus/Yeshu AND the Early Christians if you look.
    Jesus is the Teacher of Righteousness to the Qumran Community and Jesus ha Notzri to the Pharisees.

    See the Jewish Literature,

    Jesus was born in 100 BCE, he was killed by the Pharisees in 67 BCE under Queen Salome..
    The Dead Sea Scrolls is History, the Bible is Not…The period 76-67 BCE is the history of Jesus leadership as the Teacher of Righteousness.

    The Qumran Community was Conservative Judaism and became Christianity under Paul and Rome.. Pharisaism became today’s Judaism, under Queen Salome and Shimon ben Shetah.

  3. Charles says

    Nothing about Jesus? 7Q5?
    From Wilbur N. Pickering, ThM PhD; The Identity of The New Testament II

    The identification of papyrus fragment 5 from Qumran cave 7 with Mark 6:52-53 by Jesuit scholar Jose O’Callaghan in early 1972 produced a flurry of reaction. The implications of such an identification are such that I suppose it was inevitable that much of the reaction should be partisan. But the lack of objectivity and restraint on the part of some scholars can only be construed as bad manners, at best. O’Callaghan is an experienced papyrologist, a careful scholar, and is entitled to a respectful hearing.

    To my mind, the lack of restraint and objectivity in M. Baillet’s response borders on the
    reprehensible. Unfortunately Baillet’s article has been widely quoted and seems to have influenced many people, including K. Aland. Having myself done a little work with papyri from the Ptolemaic period (third century B.C.) I should like to comment upon Baillet’s response to O’Callaghan’s transcription of 7Q5.

    Once 7Q5 is firmly identified with Mark 6:52-53 then the probability that 7Q4 is to be identified with 1 Tim. 3:16, 4:1,3 and 7Q8 with James 1:23-24 becomes very strong. The remaining fragments are so small that dogmatism is untenable—O’Callaghan’s identifications are possible, but cannot be insisted upon. It seems to me that 7Q5, 4, and 8 may be viewed as relevant to the thesis of this book in the following sense.That someone should have such a collection of New Testament writings at such an early date may suggest their early recognition as Scripture and even imply an early notion of a New Testament canon.

  4. Paul says

    I have the print version of this article and it’s dazzling how many similarities there were between the Christians as they evolved within the framework of Judaism and apparently adopted an Essene covenant ritual on the festival of Shevuot, otherwise known as the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1). The synagogue reading for this day is about the revelation at Mount Sinai in Exodus chapter 19 as well as the revelation to the Babylonian captivity in Ezekiel chapter 1. As commentator James noted, the book of Enoch is referenced in the book of Jude and of course this mystical tradition is found in Revelation chapter 4 that is a work produced at a certain stage of the evolution of what was a distinctly Jewish form of gnosticism, as Gershom Scholem explains:
    “As a matter of fact there exists indubitable proof that among certain groups of Jewish Gnostics who tried to stay within the religious community of rabbinical Judaism, Gnostic speculation and related semi-mythical thought was kept alive. Traces of such ideas in Aggadic literature are few but they exist. Thus for instance there is the well-known saying of the Babylonian teacher Rav in the third centuryu A.D.: ‘Ten are the qualities with which the world has been created: wisdom, insight, knowledge, force, appeal, power, justice, right, love and compassion.’ Or the following reference to seven hypostases of similar general ideas of the kind so often found in the names of Gnostical aeons: Seven middoth serve before the throne of glory: wisdom, right and justice, love and mercy, truth and peace.’ What the aeons and the archons are to the Gnostics, the middoth are to this form of seculation, i.e. the hypostatized attributes of God” (“Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism” p.74).
    Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls which contained a hymn (4Q286-287) of a Heavenly “Chariot” or “Throne” vision and we have the account in Josephus’ writings of the Essene oath to “preserve the books belonging to their sect, and the means of the angels” (“War” 2.8.7) and here’s a link to Josephus on the Essenes:

  5. GENE says

    Some have claimed that Christianity had its beginnings at Qumran. Nevertheless, many striking differences can be noted between the religious views of the Qumran sect and the early Christians. The Qumran writings reveal ultrastrict Sabbath regulations and an almost obsessive preoccupation with ceremonial purity. (Matthew 15:1-20; Luke 6:1-11) Much the same could be said regarding the Essenes’ seclusion from society, their belief in fate and the immortality of the soul, and their emphasis on celibacy and mystical ideas about participating with the angels in their worship. This shows them to be at variance with Jesus’ teachings and those of early Christians.—Matthew 5:14-16; John 11:23, 24; Colossians 2:18; 1 Timothy 4:1-3.

  6. GENE says

    Does the Bible Quote From the Book of Enoch?

    The Book of Enoch is an apocryphal and pseudepigraphic text. It is falsely ascribed to Enoch. Produced probably sometime during the second and first centuries B.C.E., it is a collection of extravagant and unhistorical Jewish myths, evidently the product of exegetical elaborations on the brief Genesis reference to Enoch. This alone is sufficient for lovers of God’s inspired Word to dismiss it.

    In the Bible, only the book of Jude contains Enoch’s prophetic words: “Look! Jehovah came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all, and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way, and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.” (Jude 14, 15) Many scholars contend that Enoch’s prophecy against his ungodly contemporaries is quoted directly from the Book of Enoch. Is it possible that Jude used an unreliable apocryphal book as his source?

    How Jude knew of Enoch’s prophecy is not revealed in the Scriptures. He may simply have quoted a common source, a reliable tradition handed down from remote antiquity. Paul evidently did something similar when he named Jannes and Jambres as the otherwise anonymous magicians of Pharaoh’s court who opposed Moses. If the writer of the Book of Enoch had access to an ancient source of this kind, why should we deny it to Jude?*—Exodus 7:11, 22; 2 Timothy 3:8.

    How Jude received the information about Enoch’s message to the ungodly is a minor matter. Its reliability is attested to by the fact that Jude wrote under divine inspiration. (2 Timothy 3:16) God’s holy spirit guarded him from stating anything that was not true.


    The disciple Stephen also provided information found nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures. It concerned Moses’ Egyptian education, his being 40 years old when he fled Egypt, the 40-year duration of his stay in Midian, and the angelic role in transmitting the Mosaic Law.—Acts 7:22, 23, 30, 38.

  7. James says

    Jude was part of the real and original form of Christianity that existed during the first century. What books he thought were quote-worthy is rather revealing and compelling. Devotees of other religious systems or theologies far removed from the scene thousands of years later who disagree with Jude makes me even more curious about Jude and that original, untainted Jesus Movement.

  8. Paul says

    Commentator Gene R. made a point about Stephen’s version of Hebrew history as being different since the Samaritans possessed a gnosis that differed from the mainstream of Judaism, in particular the part about Moses being instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and who was mighty in words and deeds (Acts 7:22).
    “The phrase ‘mighty in words’ probably means that, like the goddess Isis, he was ‘strong of tongue’ and uttered the words of power which he knew with correct pronunciation, and halted not in his speech, and was perfect both in giving the command and in saying the word” (“Egyptian Magic” by E.A. Wallis Budge, p.5).
    Apparently this wisdom that Moses possessed was the ancient Egyptian term known as “hekau” and is related to the Hebrew word “hokmah,” or wisdom … effectively rendering Moses as “the maker of rules dealing with fools” from the song “Eye in the Sky” by the Alan Parsons Project.

  9. Kurt says

    Were the Qumran Residents Essenes?
    If these scrolls were Qumran’s library, who were its residents? Professor Eleazar Sukenik, who obtained three scrolls for the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1947, was the first to propose that these scrolls had belonged to a community of Essenes.
    The Essenes were a Jewish sect mentioned by first-century writers Josephus, Philo of Alexandria, and Pliny the Elder. The exact origin of the Essenes is a matter of speculation, but they seem to have arisen during the period of turmoil following the Maccabean revolt in the second century B.C.E. Josephus reported on their existence during that period as he detailed how their religious views differed from those of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Pliny mentioned the location of a community of Essenes by the Dead Sea between Jericho and En-gedi.
    Professor James VanderKam, a Dead Sea Scroll scholar, proposes that “the Essenes who lived at Qumran were just a small part of the larger Essene movement,” which Josephus numbered at about four thousand. Although not perfectly fitting all descriptions, the picture that emerges from the Qumran texts seems to match the Essenes better than any other known Jewish group of that period.
    Some have claimed that Christianity had its beginnings at Qumran. Nevertheless, many striking differences can be noted between the religious views of the Qumran sect and the early Christians. The Qumran writings reveal ultrastrict Sabbath regulations (se: Must Christians Keep the Sabbath?)
    and an almost obsessive preoccupation with ceremonial purity. (Matthew 15:1-20; Luke 6:1-11) Much the same could be said regarding the Essenes’ seclusion from society, their belief in fate and the immortality of the soul, and their emphasis on celibacy and mystical ideas about participating with the angels in their worship. This shows them to be at variance with Jesus’ teachings and those of early Christians.—Matthew 5:14-16; John 11:23, 24; Colossians 2:18; 1 Timothy 4:1-3.

  10. Wardell says

    Kurt, Christianity is defined by belief in Jesus “Christ” , not the Bible.

    The Essenes did arise during the Maccabean Revolt, they were the Hassidim, the pious Jews who did not support the Hasmonean Priests. They were Doers of the Torah. They were the Early “Christians”. in the sense of their leader was The Teacher of Righteousness aka Jesus ha Notzri aka Jesus ben Panther, to the Pharisees.

    Early Christians were led by Jesus aka Teacher of Righteousness and followed the Torah and the Essene Calendar..

    Christian religious views evolved when Paul made Jesus the savior and Messiah and discounted the Torah Law as binding for Christians. The Christian Bible was dictated by Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, changing Christian views again…

  11. GENE says

    A Harmonious Library

    “Prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.”—2 PETER 1:21.

    HOW IS THE BIBLE DIFFERENT? Even contemporaneous records from ancient times often contradict one another. Books written by different men, in different places, at different times rarely harmonize completely. Yet, the Bible claims that all of its 66 books have but one Author—presenting a unified and harmonious message.—2 Timothy 3:16.

    AN EXAMPLE: Moses, a shepherd of the 16th century B.C.E., wrote in the Bible’s first book that a “seed” would come to save mankind. This book later foretold that the seed would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Genesis 3:15; 22:17, 18; 26:24; 28:14) About 500 years later, the prophet Nathan revealed that the seed would be in the royal line of David. (2 Samuel 7:12) One thousand years after that, the apostle Paul explained that the seed would be made up of Jesus and a group of his chosen followers. (Romans 1:1-4; Galatians 3:16, 29) Finally, by the end of the first century C.E., the last book of the Bible prophesied that members of the seed would bear witness to Jesus on earth, be raised to heaven, and rule with him for 1,000 years. This composite seed will destroy the Devil and save mankind.—Revelation 12:17; 20:6-10.

    WHAT BIBLE COMMENTATORS SAY: After a thorough investigation of the Bible’s 66 books, Louis Gaussen wrote that he was astonished by “the imposing unity of this book, composed during fifteen hundred years by so many authors, . . . who yet pursued one and the same plan, and advanced constantly, as if they themselves understood it, towards that one great end, the history of the world’s redemption by the Son of God.”—Theopneusty—The Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.

  12. Howard says

    What about? In a series of publications in German beginning in 1984, Thiede has championed this theory of Mark among the Dead Sea Scrolls, but for nearly a decade his views attracted little interest. Recently, however, interest has been fueled by two publications, one by Thiede (The Earliest Gospel Manuscript? The Qumran Fragment 7Q5 and Its Significance for New Testament Studies [Exeter: Paternoster, 1992]) and the other a book of scholarly papers given by Thiede and several well-known New Testament scholars at a symposium on this alleged fragment of Mark held at Eichstätt, Germany.

  13. Kurt says

    Essenes the First Christians?
    Many religious scholars claim that early Christianity sprang from the Jewish sect of the Essenes. Recently (before 1978) a major study and translation of a 27-foot-long (8.2-meter-long) Dead Sea Scroll was published in Hebrew by Yigael Yadin, the famed archaeologist. Does it support the claim that the Essenes were a link between Judaism and Christianity? According to Yadin, this scroll surprisingly showed that the Essenes were, “not only the most extreme in their legalistic approach to all temple laws of purity, but ardently believing that the sacrifices and all that go with them are essential, as prescribed in the Torah [law of Moses].” Yet, clearly, Christians were noted for their not observing such rituals.
    Though Mr. Yadin believes that the Essenes influenced Christianity, he was obliged to ask: “How come that such an extreme sect influenced early Christianity, which broke away from this very law of Moses . . . ?” In answer, he could only offer a guess that the “early Christians came in touch with the Essenes in a late phase,” when the Essenes had changed some of their views.
    However, the Bible makes irrelevant such unfounded speculations about how Christianity got its teachings. They came from God himself.

  14. Paul says

    Commentator Kurt is correct in that Christianity was created by God, not unlike the evolutionary process described in Genesis chapter 1 where God does not say “it was good” in regard to the second day when the newly formed planet was bombarded with meteors and tradition has it that the rebellious angels were cast down to Hell on this day. From the books of Acts 1:3 and Luke 6:15 we have a reference to Simon the Zealot who is a likely candidate for a former member of the sect that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls. Through trial and error, though, the extremism of the zealots was rooted out of the early Christian movement(s), especially after the catastrophe at Masada (at which time the scrolls were stashed in the cave). In the blessing of Jacob (Genesis 49:5-7) we are reminded that the refined priestly tradition of the stateless tribe of Levi doesn’t mix well with the territorial instincts of the tribe of Simeon dwelling the Negeb desert and that religion should not be given sole custody to a click of sword-toting hicks.
    It’s interesting that the festival of Shevuot or Pentecost coincided about same time as the Festival of Weeks which celebrated the period of the sojourn through the wilderness and during which the Israelites constructed booths made of fragrants trees, hence the name of this festival is “Succoth” which means “booths.” The Hebrew word “shekin,” meaning “to dwell,” was the root of the technical term used for the presence of God manifested in this world through the indwelling of the Spirit, known as the “Shekinah.”
    The temple-centered cults at Jerusalem and Mount Gerizem had already become obsolete before Stephen emphasized the centrality of the revelation to the congregation in the wilderness where Moses and their ancestors received through a divine mediator “living sacred pronouncements” (Acts 7:38). This tradition endured within post-temple Judaism especially with the mystical writings composed during the golden age of medieval Spain where Jewish communities were wedged in between Christians and Muslims and in a book known as The Faithful Shepherd (Ra’aya Meheimna), the Christian teachings were referred to as “the wrathful waters of Edom” and the Islamic teachings as “the malicious waters of Ishmael.” Among the Jews who were expelled from Christian-dominated Spain was the kabbalist Joseph Karo, who was accredited with being a recipient of the “Shekinah” through the agency of a divine mediator known as the “magid” which is a word based on the root word “mag” which means “to divine.” One such episode was documented on the day of Shebuot after reading the required synagogue readings known as”haftorah.” Compare this account with the revelation on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 as the mystics of Safed near the Sea of Galilee in the 15th century hear an automated voice which is the voice I hear when reading the Dead Sea Scrolls, being androgynous, both male and female:
    “All this (readings of the haftorah) we did in dread and awe, with quite unbelievable melody and tunefulness. We studied the whole of the order Zear’im (seads) in the Mishnah and then we studied in the way of truth [ – the Kabbalah]. No sooner had we studied two tractates of the Mishnah then our Creator smote us so that we heard a voice speaking out of the mouth of the saint, may his light shine. It was a loud voice with letters clearly enunciated. All the companions heard the voice but were unable to understand what was said. It was an exceedingly pleasant voice, becoming increasingly strong. We all fell upon our faces and none of us had any spirit left in him because of our great dread and awe” (“Jewish Mystical Testimonies ” by Louis Jacobs, p.124).

  15. Paul says

    Correction: the mystics of Safed during the 16th century.

  16. Paul says

    I got my festivals mixed up, whereas the Festival of Soccoth is distinct from the Festival of Weeks which celebrates the 50th day after the waving of the barley sheaf on the day of Shebuot. “The Festival of Harvest, or Pentecost, called for a more open and hospitable liberality, in this sense resembling the Festival of Booths” (“Insight on the Scriptures” by the Watch Tower Society, vol.2, p.598). There is an illustration from a 15th century Armenian manuscript on page 45 of the current issue of BAR that depicts the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem and three of the participants are dressed in foreign garb and one of them has what the author James VanderKam writes; “the head of a dog, a stylistic decision used by some Armenian artists to represent diversity.”

  17. Paul says

    Interesting also is how the Scrolls reveal how music was incorporated into the liturgy recited on the Sabbath and that they had a designated song for every occasion and this was found in the Dead Sea caves 4 and 11 as well as the site of Masada.

  18. Kurt says

    Genesis 1:31
    After that God saw everything he had made, and look! it was very good.And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.
    From day 1 to day 6, God say:It was very good.

    The “seventh day” was different from any of the preceding six days in that it was a day that God blessed and made sacred, that is, a day set aside for, or dedicated to, a special purpose. What was that purpose?Find out

    Deuteronomy 32:4
    The Rock, perfect is his activity,
    For all his ways are justice.
    A God of faithfulness who is never unjust;
    Righteous and upright is he.
    Psalm 104:24
    How many your works are, O Jehovah!
    You have made all of them in wisdom.
    The earth is full of what you have made.
    1 Timothy 4:4
    For every creation of God is fine, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

  19. Daniel says

    Quotes from the New Testament in the Dead Sea Scrolls

    Finally, after a public relations campaign demanded the release of the unpublished scrolls to other scholars, the last of the unpublished scrolls were released to the academic world. To the great joy and surprise of many scholars, the scrolls contain definite references to the New Testament and, most importantly, to Jesus of Nazareth. In the last few years several significant scrolls were released that shed new light on the New Testament and the life of Jesus. One of the most extraordinary of these scrolls released in 1991 actually referred directly to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

    The Crucified Messiah Scroll

    In 1991 the world was astonished to hear that one of the unpublished scrolls included incredible references to a “Messiah” who suffered crucifixion for the sins of men. The scroll was translated by Dr. Robert Eisenman, Professor of Middle East Religions of California State University. He declared, “The text is of the most far-reaching significance because it shows that whatever group was responsible for these writings was operating in the same general scriptural and Messianic framework of early Christianity.” Although the original scroll team still claimed that there was no evidence about early Christianity in the unpublished scrolls, this new scroll totally contradicted their statements. This single scroll is earth-shaking in its importance. As Dr. Norman Golb, Professor of Jewish History at the University of Chicago said, “It shows that contrary to what some of the editors said, there are lots of surprises in the scrolls, and this is one of them.”

    This remarkable five-line scroll contained fascinating information about the death of the Messiah. It referred to “the Prophet Isaiah” and his Messianic prophecy (Chapter 53) that identified the Messiah as one who will suffer for the sins of his people. This scroll provides an amazing parallel to the New Testament revelation that the Messiah would first suffer death before He would ultimately return to rule the nations. Many scholars believed that the Jews during the first century of our era believed that, when he finally came, the Messiah would rule forever without dying. The exciting discovery of this scroll reveals that the Essene writer of this scroll understood the dual role of the Messiah as Christians did. This scroll identified the Messiah as the “Shoot of Jesse” (King David’s father) the “Branch of David,” and declared that he was “pierced” and “wounded.” The word “pierced” remind us of the Messianic prophecy in Psalms 22:16: “They pierced my hands and feet.” The prophet Jeremiah (23:5) said, “I will raise unto David a righteous branch.”

    The scroll also describes the Messiah as a “leader of the community” who was “put to death.” This reference pointing clearly to the historical Jesus of Nazareth is creating shock waves for liberal scholarship that previously assumed that the Gospel account about Jesus was a myth. Jesus is the only one who ever claimed to be the Messiah who was crucified. The genealogies recorded in both Matthew and Luke’s Gospels, reveal that Jesus was the only one who could prove by the genealogical records kept in the Temple that He was the lineage of King David as the “Son of Jesse.” Since the tragic destruction of the Temple and its records in A.D. 70 it would be impossible for anyone else to ever prove their claim to be the Messiah based on their genealogical descent from King David. Additionally, the scroll identified the Messiah as “the sceptre” which probably refers to the Genesis 49:10 prophecy, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” This scroll confirms the historical truthfulness of the New Testament record about Jesus and His crucifixion. The evidence from the scroll suggests that the Jewish Essene writer acknowledged that Jesus of Nazareth was the “suffering Messiah” who died for the sins of His people.

    The “Son of God” Scroll

    Another fascinating scroll discovered in Cave Four known as 4Q246 refers to the hope of a future Messiah figure. This is another of the scrolls that was unpublished until recently. Amazingly, the text in this scroll refers to the Messiah as “the son of God” and the “son of the Most High.” These words are the exact wording recorded in the Gospel of Luke.

  20. Yuser says

    The crucified Messiah scroll and the Son of God scroll of Qumran at least give evidence that there existed in second temple judaism interpretation and beleiving of 1 Suffering Messiah whose suffering possess atonement/redemptive significance, and 2 a human-divine messiah, along other mainline interpretations.

  21. Sheryl says

    Not true about the Scrolls not mentioning Jesus. There is a great deal in there about his child hood and early years.

  22. rashid says

    dont miss latest research theme on dead scrolls

  23. Daniel says

    DEAD SEA SCROLLS ARE informative, but im going with the Apostle paul’s GOSPEL OF GRACE. “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:12 DEAD SEA SCROLLS TRY THE BOOKS OF ENOCH naww

  24. Niels says

    It is quite possible that the scrolls tell us about the first Christians, but as they were originally just a Jewish sect, you will – of course – find no reference to any part of the new testament. None of the (Jewish) actors in what later became the new testament knew that their activities would be turned into a new religious fundament, and one might seriously doubt if they would ever have accepted this interpretation if asked.

  25. Peter says

    I have been reading about Josephus’s description of the essenes, and I find a lot of similarities between them and the gospels. I also read “The opponents of Paul in Second Coorinthians” by Diet;er Georgi, and there is a fair fit of the opponents theology and those of the essenes. Josephus says that there were only three branches of Judaism: Pharasees; Sadduces; and essenes. And the essenes were t just at Qumron. They may have had an extensive missionary recruitment force. A knowledge of the various Jewish beliefs common in the early first century can be found in Georgi’s book, from extra-biblical sources.

  26. Ken says

    “Since Christianity began as a sect of Judaism”

    Are you kidding me?! Talk about the blind leading the blind. Yahshua, the Prophet that Moses said would come (Deuteronomy 18:15) came to restore the Torah and everything He did was against the man made religion known as Judaism.

  27. David says

    Well, Ken, if Judaism is a “man-made religion”, why do you reference it as foretelling your messiah? And even your holy book refers to the Hebrew Scriptures as validating what your book says. Judaism is Torah-based. If there’s a man-made religion, it’s the one Paul started.

  28. Junior says


    Seems you have been fully hoodwinked by Hebrew Roots Cult member. Sorry to burst your bubble but you are a student of the Judaizers which is quite grave, whom Jesus (not “YAH”-shua, the moon / thunder / war god depending on which pagans or heathens we are referencing) and the Apostles had severe rebuke for;

    Tit 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, *specially they of the circumcision:*
    Tit 1:11 *Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.*
    Tit 1:12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
    Tit 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

    ..and others would have stoned them in around 100 A.D.

    Judasim is not Old Testament Mosaic Torah Faith, since the people who teach it is are the synagogue of satan talmudists;

    *”We have already seen substantial evidence that any notion of Pharisaism (or later rabbinic Judaism) as the true and direct descendants of the Old Testament is contradicted by the most fundamental assumptions of one Mishnah-tractate after another. These stand wholly separate from the Priestly Code… and generally contradict it!”* –Jacob Neusner _A History of the Mishnaic Law of Purities_ (Brill Academic, 1974), p. 7. – ISBN-10: 9004038973

    The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia confirms that Judaism is based on the teachings of the Pharisees and not upon the Law of Moses: *“The Jewish religion as it is today traces its descent, without a break, through all the centuries, from the Pharisees. Their leading ideas and methods found expression in a literature of enormous extent, of which a very great deal is still in existence. The Talmud is the largest and most important single member of that literature.”* – Vol. VIII, p. 474 (1942).

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Jesus Through Historicity and Science | When is Jesus Coming Back? linked to this post on June 1, 2015

    […] [ad_1] Accounts of the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ (c. 5 BC-AD 33), describe…between AD 50-60), and the Dead Sea Scrolls (written c. 335-100 BC), to name a few, have been the […]

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