a Thiering is of the opinion that these twelve head priests were superior to the other priests not solely because of their office, but because of their Zadokite lineage as well (Thiering, Redating the Teacher of Righteousness, 4, 63,126). In my opinion, all the priests in the sect were considered equal as to their descent and the designations "sons of Zadok" and "sons of Aaron" applied to them all.
b. The "wise men" were the members of the Council of the Community who were not in the ranks of government.
The writer of 1QSa believed that he was living in the "end of days."403 When the Messiah of Israel was anointed into his office the "last period" of history would commence. Then at a Council of the Community meeting he would preside over the sect's special Meal with the (High) Priest (i.e., John the Baptist)404 who would be the first to bless the first fruits of bread and wine.405 1QSa starts off its description of this meeting as follows:
[This is the sea]ting plan of the men of renown, [those summoned to] the gathering of the Council of the Community, when [God] begets the Messiah with them [i.e., when the Messiah is anointed to his office] 406
This rite was to be repeated from then on when at least ten men were present.407 In due time, the Messiah of Israel would lead the sect in the final war against its enemies.408
It was expected that all those men along with their families who had been baptized by John during the revolt of 4 BC and were still alive would now join the sect en masse. 1QSa describes this situation as follows:
And this is the rule for all the Congregation of Israel in the end of days, when they [i.e., those baptized in 4 BC] gather [in community to wa]lk in obedience to the law of the sons of Zadok the priests and of the members of their Covenant who have refus[ed to walk in] the way of the people ... On their arrival they shall gather them all together, including the children and the women, and they shall read into [their] ea[rs] all the precepts of the Covenant and shall instruct them in all their ordinances lest they stray in [their] st[ray]ing.409
Judas the Galilean was probably anointed as the Messiah of Israel in AD 3. For reasons unknown the final war had to be postponed. Then, because of certain disagreements with the leadership, Judas left the sect in AD 6 and founded the "fourth school of philosophy" (i.e., the Sicarii). As a result, a further postponement was required and Judas was labeled a false Messiah. Nevertheless, the real Messiah of Israel was still expected to arise in the near future.
The tax revolt led by Judas in AD 6 was a failure and he "perished, and all who followed him were scattered."410 John the Baptist, who had been baptizing again in the Jordan River, was implicated in the affair, although he did not really approve of it. After the revolts of 4 BC and AD 6 the Jewish establishment had lost all patience with would be prophets and messiahs. Furthermore, now that a Roman governor was in office the Sanhedrin had to be more vigilant in watching out for possible revolts. John was in serious danger of being arrested a second time and this time it would not go so well for him. The decision was made to take refuge in the land of Damascus and lead the sect while in exile.
In AD 15/16, an individual who was to become the Messiah of Israel (he will be identified in a later chapter) prematurely declared himself to be this personage and caused a schism in the sect. Many laymen and perhaps some levites and priests went over to him.
It was at this time that 1QS 5:1-20a was written in order to deal with these schismatics. It is stated that the members were to "separate themselves from the Congregation of perverse men."411 Such a man "is not to enter into the waters to
share in the pure food of the men of holiness, for a man is not pure unless he be converted from his malice."412 The property was now under the control of "the sons of Zadok the priests who keep the Covenant, and under the authority of the majority of the members of the Community."413 Perhaps the reason why there was no mention of a "Holy of Holies" (i.e., a high priest) in this section of 1QS414 was that John the Baptist, who was leading the sect while in exile, was not actually present with it on a daily basis.415 Luke 3:1-3 states the following:
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar ... the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Luke 3:21-2 implies that John baptized Jesus "in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar" as well. Furthermore, soon after Jesus was baptized by John and went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover John 2:19-20 records the following dialog that was supposed to have occurred between some people and Jesus:
Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it in three days?"
AD 28 appears to be the year that both passages are indicating. Starting from the death of Emperor Augustus on August 19, AD 14 the fifteenth year of Tiberius would take us to AD 28.416 Starting from the date that the building of the Temple began in 19 BC forty-six years would take us to AD 28 as well417 What is the significance of AD 28? It has nothing to do with the date of John's first appearance, which we have seen was 4 BC, or the date of Jesus' baptism,
414. It does mention "all who are volunteers for the holiness of Aaron and for the house of truth in Israel" (1QS 5:6).
415. In two later sections of 1QS, which were written after the death of John the Baptist (AD 35), the "Holy of Holies" is mentioned. At 1QS 8:5-6 (cf. 8:8-9), it refers to three priests (8:1) and at 1QS 9:6-7, it again refers to the high priest.
416. Jerry Vardaman, Edwin M. Yamauchi, eds. Chronos, Kairos, Christos (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1989), 58-61. It should be noted that Vardaman postulates that Luke 3:1 was corrupted from the "second year" (AD 15), which was the original reading, to the "fifteenth year" (AD 28).
417. Emil Schurer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, vols. I, II, III.1, III.2, rev. and ed. by Geza Vermes, et al. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1973/87), 292, note 12. If we start from 20 BC, the date would be AD 27.
which we will see was probably AD 3. What it really gives us is the date of John's return from exile in the land of Damascus.
Why did John return from the land of Damascus in AD 28? Perhaps he expected the last period of history to begin in AD 36 and he returned to prepare for it.418 The time from 4 BC (the first appearance of John) to AD 37 was exactly 40 years or one generation according to CD.419 AD 37 would be the beginning of the next generation. A new Messiah of Israel would be anointed into his office in that year and the final war would soon begin. Doubtless as the critical period approached, John's discourses at the Jordan became more zealous and the people in turn became more excited politically.
In AD 35, Herod Antipas had John put to death at the fortress of Machaerus, because he feared that his teaching might lead to a revolt. The Slavonic Josephus states that John died after Philip the tetrarch (Herod Antipas' brother) died in AD 34420 and the Antiquities passage states that Herod Antipas' defeat by the Arabs in AD 36 was God's punishment on him for killing John.421 According to Robert Eisler, "the statements of both sources indicate with a high degree of probability that the Baptist was arrested and executed in AD 35."422 John's arrest and death must have postponed the sect's war plans again.
I will end this chapter by quoting the Antiquities passage about John423 as restored by Robert Eisler:424
Some of the Jews, however, regarded the destruction of Herod's army as the work of God, who thus exacted a [very just]425 retribution for John, surnamed the Baptist. For Herod killed him, a wild man with a shaggy body and clothed in animal's hair, who incited the Jews to liberty and bade them cultivate valour, practice justice toward each other and piety toward God, and to band together through baptism.426 For baptism would only appear acceptable to God if practiced, not for the purification of the body, but for the expiation of sins, after the soul had been thoroughly cleansed by righteousness.427 And when the masses banded together — for they were roused to the greatest revolt by the words
418. The last period of history was originally thought to have begun in AD 3, but this date would now have been revised to AD 37.
420. Josephus, Bk. III, Appendix, 646-8; Ant. XVIII, 106.
422. Eisler, The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist, 291.
424. Eisler, The Messiah Jesus andJohn the Baptist, 245-50. Robert Eisler's restorations are in italics.
425. Robert Eisler takes the words in square brackets to be a Christian interpolation. Josephus did not approve of John (Eisler, The Messiah Jesus andJohn the Baptist, 248).
426. This verse actually reads as follows: "For Herod slew him, a good man, who bade the Jews cultivate virtue, practice justice toward each other and piety towards God, and come together through baptism."
which they heard — 428 Herod feared that the powerful influence which he exercised over men's minds might lead to some act of revolt; for they seemed ready to do anything upon his advice. Herod therefore considered it far better to forestall him by putting him to death, before any revolution arose through him, than to rue his delay when plunged in the turmoil of an insurrection. And so, through Herod's suspicion, John was sent in chains to Machaerus, the fortress already mentioned, and there slain. Now some429 Jews believed that the destruction of Herod's army was the penalty inflicted upon him to avenge John, God being wroth against Herod.
427. This verse actually reads as follows: "For thus immersion would appear acceptable to God, if practiced, not as an expiation for certain offenses, but for a purification of the body, after the soul had already been previously cleansed by righteousness."
428. This verse actually reads as follows: "And when the others banded together — for they were highly delighted to listen to his words — "
429. Robert Eisler takes the original word here to be "some," rather than "the," which is the present reading (Eisler, The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist, 248).
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