Sons of light

In 1945, the secret caves of the Essene library, miscalled the "Dead Sea Scrolls," were discovered by Bedouin nomads in Qumran, about fourteen miles from Jerusalem.  The Essenes was a sect that split off from the Pharisees (Yes, they were Israelites) and settled in Qumran in the Judean desert and became their own community, which was called "The Community of the New Covenant." They were a sect that started during the time of the Second Temple that flourished from 2nd century B.C. to the 1st century A.D. The Essenes began when they became followers of an individual known simply as the Teacher of Righteousness, that they followed to Damascus (he is found in some of the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran) The Teacher of Righteousness was at odds with a figure referred to as the "Wicked Priest" some scholars identify him as Alexander Jannaeus. 


Greek author, Philo, is the first author to speak on the Essenes and the first to give them the name “Essenes,” which is not found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Philo stated that the name Essenes, that he gave them, transcribes an untranslatable Hebrew word that indicated holiness (Quod Probus, 75) When Philo visited Jerusalem, he gave his account on what he observed of this community of Israelites.

 "The life of the Essenes, a life so highly to be prized that not only commoners but also great kings look upon them with admiration and amazement, and the approbation and honours which they give add further veneration to their venerable name.   

Philo; Every Good Man, Hypothetica 2 viii. 11.18  

Divine Revelation

 "Many of the Essenes have by their excellent virtue been thought worthy of this knowledge of divine revelation."  


The Essenes separated from the Pharisees because they felt that their teachings of the Torah were not strict enough and that the temple was being defiled.  According to one of their Qumran scrolls (Dead Sea scrolls) that were found at Qumran in Judean Samaria, known as the Halakhic letter (4QMMT), the Essenes said:

 "We separated from the majority of the people and from all their uncleanness and from being party to or going along with them in these matters." (4QMMT C7-9)

"They also defile the sanctuary, for they do not separate clean from unclean according to the LAW." (Dam. Doc. 5, 6-7)


Qumran caves

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Essenes Way of Life


  • They worked the land or they worked as artisans.  (Quod Probus, 76-79).
  • There is mention of work in the fields and care for the flocks (Damascus Documents, X, 20; XI, 6-7).
  • Manufacture and commerce were condemned (Damascus Document, XII, 7-12)


  • Philosophy they abandon the logical part, except in “that which treats philosophically of Elohim (ALHYM) and the creation of the universe.”
  • The ethical part they study very industriously” (Ibid., 57; Quod Probus, 80)
  •  What concerns the origin of the universe?
  • Moral teaching: Piety, holiness, justice, domestic and civic conduct.
  • Doctrine is that of the two spirits, of TRUTH and of INIQUITY created by ALHYM (Elohim) at the beginning and presiding over all human history (Manual of Discipline, III, 18-19, IV, 15)


  • Gatherings took place on the Sabbath, but bible study was daily. They are stricter than any of the Jews (Israelites) in resting from their labors on the seventh day." (Wars 2:8:9
  • They neither buy nor sell anything at all
  •  These men are despisers of riches and so very communicative as raises our admiration.  Jewish Wars; 2:8:3
  • They had no slaves
  • Swearing is avoided by them, and they esteem it worse than perjury. Jewish Wars; 2:8:6 (Matt. 5:34-37)
  •  Nor is there any one to be found among them who hath more than another; for it is a law among them, that those who come to them must let what they have be common to the whole order, - insomuch that among them all there is no appearance of poverty, or excess of riches, but every one's possessions are intermingled with every other's possessions; and so there is, as it were, one patrimony among all the brethren. (Jewish Wars 2:8:3) (Proverbs 22:2)
  • They also have stewards appointed to take care of their common affairs, who every one of them have no separate business for any, but what is for the uses of them all.  
  • Everywhere that there are ten members, there will be one who studies the law continually. ( Manual of Discipline, VI, 6-7)  
  • They study the writings of the ancients.
  • Order is practice in ceremonial gatherings  
  • Setting down rules to follow, for behavior (Quod Probus, 81) (Manual of Discipline, VI, 9-13)  
    • Rules to be followed during a meeting: (Manual of Discipline, VII, 9-14)  
      • No falling asleep
      • No spit
      • No Laughing
      • No leaving
      • No interruptions
      • Moral teaching: 
        • Piety
        • Holiness
        • Justice
        • Domestic and civic conduct
        • Knowledge of what is truly good or evil, or indifferent
        • How to choose what they should and avoid the opposite  
        • Taking for their defining standards these three:
          • Love of ALHYM  
          • Love of virtue  
          • Love of men  (Quod Probus 83)


  • They continue in an orderly manner, and with perseverance pray from early dawn, and they do not speak a word unless they have praised God in a hymn.  Hippolytus; Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX 
  • Before sunrise they speak not a word about profane matters, but put up certain prayers which they received from their forefathers, as if they made a supplication for its rising.
  • A priest says grace before and after eating and it is unlawful for anyone to taste of the food before grace.


  • “They are long-lived also, insomuch that many of them live above a hundred years, by means of the simplicity of their diet; as well as, I think, by means of the regular course of life the observe also.” Jewish Wars; 2:8:10


  • When they traverse their native land, and on each occasion that they go on a journey, they carry nothing except arms. - Hippolytus; Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX (Matt. 10:9-10, Luke 22:35-38)
  •  They carry nothing with them when they travel into remote parts, though still they take their weapons with them, for fear of thieves.   Josephus; Wars 2:8:4 (Matt. 10:9-10, Luke 22:35-38)


  • Their robe and its shape are modest. And they do not own two cloaks, or a double set of shoes. (Hippolytus; Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX)
  • They wore all white (Josephus; Wars 2:8:3
  • They do not allow the change of garments and shoes until they be first torn to pieces, or worn out by time.  (Josephus; Wars 2:8:4
  •  They have also in their cities a president, who expends the moneys collected for this purpose in procuring clothing and food for them. 
  •  Their clothing, for in winter, they have a stock of stout coats ready and in summer cheap vests , so that he who wishes may easily take any garment he likes, since what one has is held to belong to all and conversely what all have one has.   Philo; Every Good Man, Hypothetica   2 viii. 11.12



  • They neglect wedlock, however, they do not absolutely deny the fitness of marriage, and the succession of mankind thereby continued; but they guard against the lascivious behavior (a person manner often offensive sexual desire) of women, and are persuaded that none of them preserve their faithfulness to one man. (Josephus; Wars 2:8:2)
  •  They turn away from every act of inordinate desire, being averse even to hearing of things of the sort. (Hippolytus; Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX)
  • Some avoid marriage, because they practice continence.  Philo; Every Good Man, Hypothetica   2 viii. 11.14


Taking Care of Others

  • In every city, where they live, one appointed particularly to take care of strangers and provide garments and other necessities for them. (Josephus; Wars 2:8:4)
  • They commonly raised other people children (Josephus; Wars 2:8:3
  • They take the boys of others, and thus have an offspring begotten for them. And they lead these adopted children into an observance of their own peculiar customs, and in this way bring them up and impel them to learn the 'SCIENCES.' They do not, however, forbid them to marry, though themselves refraining from matrimony.   (Hippolytus; Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX)
  •  For a regulation with them is, that an individual coming forward to join the sect, must sell his possessions, and present the price of them to the community (Matt. 19:21). And on receiving the money, the head of the order distributes it to all according to their necessities. Thus there is no one among them in distress.  (Hippolytus; Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX)
  • Whatever any one has he gives to him that has not, and that which one has not he receives. (Hippolytus; Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX)


The Qumran community/Essenes and John (Matt. 1:3; Luke 3:4) quoted Isaiah 40:3 as being a prophecy foretelling their work. 

"The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare THE WAY of YHWH;" make straight in the desert a highway for our ALHYM" Isaiah 40:3

 Later during HaMashiach ministry he proclaimed that he was THE WAY (John 14:5-6)  

 Also, they referred to themselves as being "in the wilderness," which would make sense because, they did live in the desert and they built their foundations from notably the greater Hebrew prophets. They interpreted the writings of the prophets but in a new way, in accordance with "the new covenant," which they believed was revealed to them through the instructions of the Teacher of Righteousness.  Yet, according to (Jer. 31:33-34) the new covenant that is said that will be made with the house of Israel is, YHWH putting the law in our inward parts, writing it on our hearts so we will not have to teach it anymore.  So, it’s impossible that we are living under the new covenant because if we were everyone would know the law, as YHWH stated in (Jer. 31:33-34.)

 It is said that HaMashiach students for the most part came from the Essene background. HaMashiach followers had much in common with the Essenes they both were called "THE WAY " (Acts 9:2 & 1QS 9, 18) and "B'nai or" (Sons of Light) (John 12:36; Eph5:8; 1Thes. 5:5; Man. Of Disc. 1, 9; 2, 24; 1QM.)  Not only were they called "The Way or  Sons of Light" by others but, the Qumran community and early believers in HaMashiach, called their movement "THE WAY" too (Matt.3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4; John 1:23; Dam. Doc. viii, 12-14; ix, 20.) HaMashiach advocated and preached the Essenes beliefs (so did John the Baptist) to an extent, as the Qumran scrolls are revealing, such as: 


HaMashiach twelve disciples and the Essenes council of twelve at Qumran

(Matt. 10:1-4; Man. of Dis. 1QS 8:1)

HaMashiach disagreed with taking an oath as did the Essenes

(Matt. 5:34; Josephus; Wars 2:8:6; Man. of Dis. 1QS 5:1-3)

HaMashiach Passover dinner reflects the Qumran communities’ Messianic banquet

(Matt. 26:17-30; Josephus; Wars 2:8:5; Man. of Discipline 6:3-6 & 1QS Sa. 2, 17-20)

such as:

reaching for bread, which was a phase used during the "Last Supper"

(Matt. 26:26; 1QSa. 2:20-21) ​

Those are just some examples. Some teachings of HaMashiach were different but most agreed with the Essenes. 

 Paul & the Essenes 
Paul and the Essenes shared similarities one of which is very important.  According to Hebrew 7:13-17 Paul said that HaMashiach is considered a priest in the order of Melchizedek (high priest), yet, he is not a descendent of Aaron, which means he is not from the Levitical priesthood, but of the priest hood of YHWH and according to a Qumran document known as 11Q13, the Essenes spoke of HaMashiach as a figure called "Melchizedek."   

 Other Names that scholars put on "The Essenes"

The Seers
The Pious
The Silent Ones
The Performers of the Law
The Physicians
The Puritans
The Associates
The Retired Ones
The Brethren
The Servants of Elohim
The Men of Essa
The Stout Ones
The Strong Race
The Mysterious Ones
The Holiness Sect
The Third Sect
The Prophesiers
The Saints
The School of Healers
The Bathers
The Daily Baptists
The Observers of The Laws of Purity
The Apron- Wearers 

The Ministers of Peace

Essenes Way of Life

Essenes Way of Life