The Book of Mysteries – Book of Secrets

 

Word of the Week: yom tov = Good day.  Combined with shalom Aleichem (may you have peace).

This email speaks of similarities between a Dead Sea Scroll which is unlike the other scrolls, and the similarity of content found in the Book of Mormon, recognizing these texts were written within a few hundred years of one another, on different continents, by those unaware of any similarity to any other wisdom literature.

The Dead Sea Scrolls contain found manuscripts of most of the Torah scrolls. They also contain texts called “wisdom texts”. These are from the Qumran area where the Scrolls were found. These texts are almost non-Essene in origin. The Essenes were a sect living in Kirbet Qumran, where the DSS were discovered. Written in Aramaic, the leaders of this ancient Gospel set forth a much higher moral and spiritual understanding than other teachings of that time.

In my study of portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls I came across information on the Book of Mysteries, aka Book of Secrets. This is an ancient Essene text found in fragmentary form among the Dead Sea scrolls. It is considered by scholars to be “wisdom literature” in that its contents are defined as “a type of wisdom or knowledge that is known by God and can only be known by humans by divine revelation”.  Harrington, Daniel J. Wisdom Texts of Qumran. London: Routledge, 1996.

The book is authored by some unnamed teacher who claims to be the recipient of this revelation and is passing it along to his students.  This book is as least as old as the first century A.D.  (A.D 1 – A.D. 100). The man mentioned in the scroll seems to be a prototype of Jesus. He is the Teacher of Righteousness of the Scrolls. This book and these scrolls are valid examples of the earliest teachings of Judaism as well as the roots of Christianity.

  • “The tone of the writing reflects an elite group which believes that it alone holds the correct understanding of YHWH‘s plan for the universe and how to please him so as to be saved from the fate of the ignorant and hypocritical. Much of The Book of Mysteriesappears to be a teaching of correction against those who do not live righteously in the author’s eyes. They warn of the hypocrisy of nations, the false knowledge of magicians, and the wrath of God upon sinners. They especially warn against the fate of those who do not recognize the divine mysteries.”
  • Larson, Erik W. “Mysteries”. Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Lawrence H. Schiffman, James C. VanderKam, eds. New York: Oxford, 2000.  He is one of the sources given.

The dates of this manuscript tell us that Jesus was on the earth at that time.  that he was born about three years before the death of King Herod in 4 B.C., and that he was crucified in the year A.D. 30. See  https://sites.google.com/site/calendarstudies/bible-studies/bible_study_year_of_crucifixion for discussion. See also D&C Section 138:27 re crucifixion and resurrection.

 

In any case, the Book of Mystery text reflects an essential teaching of Christ, though he is not named therein.  We look to our Book of Mormon for similar teachings and a similar timeline of events: about 600 BC. to AD. 600.  It is another witness of Yeshua (Savior), Jesus.

In 1Ne 13:40 we read that the Book of Mormon “shall establish the truth” of the Bible. In its more than 6,000 verses, the Book of Mormon refers to Jesus Christ almost 4,000 times and by 100 different names: “Jehovah,” “Immanuel,” “Holy Messiah,” “Lamb of God,” “Redeemer of Israel,” and so on. Both volumes of scripture are a compilation of teachings as recorded by ancient prophets. While the Bible details events in the eastern hemisphere, the Book of Mormon documents the lives of the inhabitants of the ancient Americas. The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Just as there were people who knew the revealed truth of God in Qumran during the first century, the early residents on both continents of America were aware by revelation of the true nature of Deity.

Here is a treat for you: Hugh Nibley teaches us about the Dead Sea Scrolls!

https://youtu.be/muTEo3_ZPkE

Handout  #1 – Ancient Near East, Times of Moses, Yocheved, YHVH,  Josephus, Hayah, Israel   Jan 2014, 2018,

The  earliest civilizations in history were established in the region now known as the Middle East around 3500 b.c. by the Sumerians, in Mesopotamia (Iraq). The Sumerians and the Akkadians – later Babylonians-  all flourished in this region.  It begins with the rise of Sumerin the 4th millennium BC covering the Bronze Age (from 3300 b.c. – 1200 b.c.) and the Iron Age (1200 b.c. – 539 b.c.) in the region, until the conquest by the  First Persian Empire (600 b.c. by Cyrus the Great)  or Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC.

The ancient Near East is considered the cradle of civilization. It was the first to practice intensive year-round agriculture, it gave the rest of the world the first writing system, invented the potter’s wheel and then the vehicular- and millwheel, created the first centralized governments, law codes and empires, as well as introducing social stratification, slavery and organized warfare, and it laid the foundation for the fields of astronomy and mathematics.

Moses (Hebrew: Mosheh – drawn out or he who draws out, in the sense of deliverer).  Also called Moshe Rabbenu – “Moses our Teacher/Rabbi”), he is the most important prophet in Judaism; he is also an important prophet in Christianity and Islam, as well as a number of other faiths. Rabbinical Judaism calculated a lifespan of Moses corresponding to 1391–1271 BC. But possibly 1592 as his birth year, around the Middle Bronze Age that included early Babylonia and the middle period of the Egyptian Kingdom. His death at 120 is recorded Deut. 34:7. This predates the kingdoms of Israel and Judah which were important powers around 800 b.c.

In the Hebrew Bible, the narratives of Moses are in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. According to the Book of Exodus, Moses was a son of Amram, a member of the Levite tribe of Israel descended from Jacob, and his wife, Jochebed. She  (Hebrew:  Yocheved: Yahveh is glory) was  of the royal family in Egypt and was kin to Amram’s father Kehath (Exodus 6:20). Moses had one older (by seven years) sister, Miriam, and one older (by three years) brother, Aaron. According to Genesis 46:11, Amram’s father Kehath immigrated to Egypt with 70 of Jacob’s household, making Moses part of the second generation of Israelites born during their time in Egypt. He elected to cast his lot with the people of his father and we learn that he was interested in freeing them from their captors.

 

Moses was thus the human instrument in the creation of the nation of Israel by communicating to it the Torah.  More humble than any other man (Num. 12:3), he enjoyed unique privileges, for “there hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom YHWH knew face to face” (Deut. 34:10).  See also Jude 1:9 and Zechariah 3.

 

In Josephus’ (37 – c. 100 AD) Antiquities of the Jews, Moses is mentioned throughout. For example Book 8, chapter 4 describes Solomon’s Temple, also known as the First Temple, at the time the Ark of the Covenant was first moved into the newly built temple:  When King Solomon had finished these works, these large and beautiful buildings, and had laid up his donations in the temple, and all this in the interval of seven years, and had given a demonstration of his riches and alacrity therein;  he also wrote to the rulers and elders of the Hebrews, and ordered all the people to gather themselves together to Jerusalem, both to see the temple which he had built, and to remove the ark of God into it; and when this invitation of the whole body of the people to come to Jerusalem was everywhere carried abroad, … The Feast of Tabernacles happened to fall at the same time, which was kept by the Hebrews as a most holy and most eminent feast. So they carried the ark and the tabernacle which Moses had pitched, and all the vessels that were for ministration to the sacrifices of God, and removed them to the temple… Now the ark contained nothing else but those two tables of stone that preserved the ten commandments, which God spake to Moses in Mount Sinai, and which were engraved upon them…

 

Josephus  attaches particular significance to Moses’ possession of the “cardinal virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice.” He also includes piety as an added fifth virtue. In addition, he “stresses Moses’ willingness to undergo toil and his careful avoidance of bribery. Like Plato’s philosopher-king, Moses excels as an educator.”

From Moses to John the Baptist there extended an unbroken line of faithful teachers who passed the monotheistic torch of light from one generation to another while they unceasingly rebuked unscrupulous rulers and ever exhorted the people to adhere to the worship of the supreme YHVH (Hebrew name of God – the Tetragrammaton = 4 letters).  Similar to YHWH – the W was eventually absorbed into Hebrew, replaced by the V. The text derives Yahweh (יהוה) from the Hebrew word hayah (אהיה), meaning he who is he, or  I AM THAT I AM = the uncreated Creator.

Moses was an extraordinary combination of military leader, social organizer and religious teacher until the time of Jesus. Because the Hebrews had no written language at the time of the Exodus, little has been brought forward. He had a great vision of God and taught the Hebrews that if they would obey God, He will love, bless, multiply you and the fruit of your womb and your land. He forbade the making of images. There is little of the mercy of God shown in these times in scripture. The Hebrews learned of God as the Almighty, the God of battles, glorious in power, He who hardened Pharaoh’s heart and cursed the enemies of the Israelites. But the children of Israel slowly learned to trust the God who spoke to Moses from Mt. Horeb more than other tribal gods which for centuries earlier they had been taught to worship by the Egyptians, Sumerians, Persians.

Remember the First Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. (Ex 20:3, Deut 5:7) This commandment establishes the exclusive nature of the relationship between the nation of Israel and its national god, Yahweh the god of Israel, a covenant initiated by YHVH after delivering the Israelites from slavery through the plagues of Egypt and the Exodus.

The burning bush is an object described by the Book of Exodus (Ex 3:1-22)] as being located on Mount Horeb; according to the narrative, the bush was on fire, but was not consumed by the flames, hence the name. In the narrative, the burning bush is the location at which Moses was appointed by Yahweh (God) to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into Canaan.

As a powerful religious symbol, the burning bush represents many things to Jews and Christians such as God’s miraculous energy, sacred light, illumination, and the burning heart of purity, love and clarity. From a human standpoint, it also represents Moses’ reverence and fear before the divine presence. The Hebrew word used in the narrative, that is translated into English as bush, is seneh, which refers in particular to brambles. When challenged on his identity, Yahweh replies that he is the God of the Patriarchs – Abraham,Isaac, and Jacob and that he is Yahweh.

The Jews have no conception of Holy Ghost – they are a visual people. The Burning Bush episode is accepted as a sign of God’s presence – called the Ruach ha Kodesh – the Holy One, blessed be He. The basic meaning of ruach is both ‘wind’ or ‘breath,’ but neither is understood as essence; rather it is the power encountered in the breath and the wind, whose whence and whither remains mysterious. Ruach as a designation for the wind is necessarily something found in motion with the power to set other things in motion…  Not a presence or a person, but  the carried life force of God.  Other Hebrew names for the Holy Ghost:

Comforter, Eternal Spirit, Holy Spirit of Promise, spirit of Adonai (God), Spirit of Revelation, Spirit of the Living God, Spirit of the Messiah, Spirit of the Truth, Spirit of Wisdom, Spirit of Yeshua our Messiah, Spirit of YHVH.

“Hebrews are the children of Israel; the twelve-tribe confederation – the descendants of Abraham. All Jews are Hebrews, but not all Hebrews are Jews. Initially, Jews are those tribal factions of Judah and Benjamin [and a smattering of Levitical Priests] who nationalized themselves, during the Divided Monarchy, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, as “The Yehudim” [the Jews], while the ten tribal factions of Israel which seceded from the twelve, and resided in and about Samaria, retained their Hebrew identities until their dissolution in the Syro-Ephraimite conflicts of 735-721 B.C.E. and the Assyrian Diaspora.”

 

 

By Marlena Tanya Muchnick-Baker   marlenatanya@gmail.com   206-335-9338

 

 

See diagram next page.

 

 

 

 

 

lass.

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