Chapter 4 – The Essenes
Mary went to the central market one day when Jesus was 14 year of age. While at the central market in Nazareth a man approached her, and asked, “pardon me madam, but is your name Mary the wife of Joseph of Nazareth. “Yes, I am, who are you,” Mary asked? “I am Simon of Nazareth,” the man responded. “I am one of the leaders of the Mount Carmel Essene community. My family and I live in Nazareth, but conduct our worship services on Mount Carmel,” Simon said. “ What is your business with me,” Mary asked. “ I would like to meet with your husband, Joseph the builder regarding some repairs to my house in Nazareth. “We live four blocks down this road on the right side. You will see a sign hanging in front of our house,” Mary responded. “My husband and my sons are working there now if you wish to see him today,” Mary said. “Thank you Mary,” Simon answered. After their exchange, Simon headed down the street that Mary pointed to where her husband had his workshop.
When Simon came to the house of Joseph, he noticed a young man outside cutting a log. “Can you tell me where I can find Joseph the builder,” Simon asked? The young man was Jesus, and he answered, “he is inside stranger.” Simon knocked on the door, and called inside for Joseph. A few minutes later Joseph came out and greeted Simon. “ Joseph, I am Simon of Nazareth, and I have a home on the other side of Nazareth which requires some roof repair,” Simon said. “I have many jobs this week,” Joseph replied. “I can come to your house next week to assess the damage to your roof and what it will cost to repair it,” Joseph responded. “Fine,” said Simon. “My home is on the road of Olives, and it located on the corner of the street,” Simon said. “I look forward to your visit,” Simon replied. They shook hands, and Simon walked off down the street. “What did the stranger want, “ Jesus asked. “He has a roof that requires repair,” Joseph said.
Two weeks afterward Joseph, James, Jesus and Joses all headed to the other side of Nazareth to repair Simons house on Olive road. Together they carried two ladders and their tools. The house of Simon was easy to find and Joseph had James and Jesus set the ladders up against the roof to inspect the damage.
“How bad is the damage,“ Joseph asked Jesus and James. “It looks like we will have to replace some of the beams with new wood, and then put in a roof over the hole in the roof,” Jesus yelled down to his father. Joseph and Simon came to reasonable terms for the repair of the roof for the wood and covering plus labor. “We can begin tomorrow, “ Joseph told Simon. “That would be wonderful,” Simon replied. “My sons and I have to purchase some wood from Lebanon, and supplies and bring them to your house tomorrow,” Joseph stated. “Come my sons let us go to the market, and see if we can find a dealer in Lebanon wood,” Joseph remarked.
The next day Joseph and his sons returned and began to work on removing the rotted wood on the roof. They started early to avoid the broiling midday Judean sun. While James and Jesus were up on the roof, Simon and Joseph stood on the ground below. “What do you do for a livelihood,” Joseph asked Simon. “ “I buy and sell cloth at the market,” Simon replied. “I have not seen you at the Synagogue,” Joseph said. Simon replied, “I am a leader of the Mount Carmel Essenes community.” “Really, what is the Essene community all about,” Joseph asked. “We prepare ourselves for the coming of the Messiah,” Simon answered. “I have heard of your community, many of whom live in tents on Mount Carmel,” Joseph said. “Yes, some of our communities seek solitude on Mount Carmel to pray, and study the Torah and the bible. “We welcome anyone to come and join our community or visit with our community in prayer, “Simon said.
When Joseph returned home that day he mentioned to Mary that he had met an Essene Jew. Mary asked, “What do these Essene do?” “I am not sure,” Joseph said. “They worship God on Mount Carmel, and some of them live in tents on sacred ground, and that is all I know,” Joseph replied. “How strange, why do they not come to our synagogue to worship as the rest of us do,” Mary questioned? “I do not know,” Joseph remarked.
Six months later Mary and Jesus were in the marketplace shopping for food when Simon and his wife Ruth walked by and said “hello.“ Jesus asked his mother, “is that not the man called Simon that we repaired his roof.” “Yes, I think it is the man whom your father said was an Essene,” Mary replied. “What is an Essene mother,” Jesus asked? “I do not really know my son. There is something mysterious about their movement. They are like the Pharisees and the Seduces whom study and practice in the temple. The Essenes prefer to worship outside of the temple on Holy ground on Mount Carmel,” Mary said. “John mention something about the Essene community at Qumram near the Dead Sea,” Jesus said. After their discussion Mary purchased some greens and gave them to Jesus to carry.
“Several months later Jesus met a new friend at the synagogue. His name was Elisha of Nazareth, and he just happened to be the son of Simon of Nazareth whom Jesus had repaired his roof. Elisha and Jesus often discussed the Torah and the bible for many hours after visiting the synagogue. During one of their talks they were discussing what a Messiah was and whether one would ever come. Elisha invited Jesus to join him and his father in worship at Mount Carmel with the community of Essenes. Jesus accepted and was very curious to see what these Essenes were all about. After he told Elisha he would attend the worship service of the Essenes, Jesus mentioned it to his mother in passing. “Jesus my son, it might be good for you to see another approach to Judaism and learn from it. Do not tell your father however,” Mary said secretly.
The following Sabbath Jesus went up to the Mount Carmel Essene community after attending his own synagogue. It was a long one-hour walk to Mount Carmel for Jesus. As he approached the Mountain Jesus noticed many tents arranged in a large circle. This he knew must be where the Essenes were holding their worship service. As he came close to the tents Elisha came out to meet him and welcome him to the Essene community of Mount Carmel.
The Essenes were all dressed in white robes for the worship service, and many read from the Torah and the Old Testament, as was the same in Jesus’ synagogue. When the leader known as “the Enlightened One,” began to speak Jesus was mesmerized. The Enlightened One spoke very softly about the coming of the Messiah and how the Essene community by living the pure life might make ready for the Messiah. Jesus was most interested in this talk of a Messiah. It was a topic that he had never heard before in his own synagogue. After the service the Essenes sat down in small groups to discuss living the good life for God. Jesus and Elisha sat in one group of men and listened to the discussion. After they had some food and drink, Jesus returned home with many ideas in his head about the coming of the Messiah.
Jesus and Elisha became fast friends and Jesus continued to visit the Mount Carmel Essenes as often as he could. Eventually he told his father Joseph that he was attending the services at the Essene community. “If you find the Essene community to your liking son, they you have my support. Just beware of false prophets,” Joseph said to Jesus.
As the years went by Jesus asked Simon of Nazareth is he could formally be initiated into the Essene Community of Mount Carmel. Simon agreed to speak to his father Simon the leader of the Essenes for him. So, at age 18 Jesus began his formal initiation to the Essenes Community at Mount Carmel.
John his 2nd cousin had joined the Qumran Essene community a year before after his father Zechariah had died. The Qumran Essene community was located on the Dead Sea far out in the desert area of Judea. The Qumran community was more of a monastic community with spiritual purity and cleanliness of thought living a simple life in exile from the rest of the Jewish world.
Jesus being a Nazarene and a northerner of Galilee found a whole different philosophy with the Essenes of Mount Carmel. The Mount Carmel Essene community was not monastic, and some of the community lived in Nazareth and worship on Mount Carmel. Others of the community lived in tents on Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel was sacred ground, and only gardens or trees could be planted. No permanent structures or houses were permitted on Holy Ground. No trees could be chopped down or no one could kill anything there for food, not animals or birds. It was the prophet Elijah that made the mountain Holy Ground by making the mountain his home. It was here that Elijah built an altar of twelve stones (one for each tribe of Israel) on the mountain. The Essenes established a divine school of holiness here in the tradition of Elijah. The Simon of Nazareth the Leader of the Essenes community taught the Essenes to prepare themselves through purity, dedication to the Torah, and deeply mystical spiritual life to receive the Messiah.
Eventually Mary and Joseph and their children followed Jesus’ lead and become members of the Mount Carmel Essene Community. Mary and Joseph were obsessed with the meaning of the coming of the son of man, and the messiah according to the Essenes who based a lot of their philosophy on the prophet Elijah.
Jesus was a good student and became well known in the Essene community for his understanding of the Torah, The scriptures, and The Book of Meditation. Jesus had to promise to Essene community to:
- exercise piety before God,
- observe justice before all,
- do not harm to others,
- despise wickedness and help the righteous,
- show fidelity to all and those in authority,
- not abuse authority,
- show a simple of manner of dress,
- love the truth and reprove those who lie,
- never steal,
- preserve the Holy Writings.
“Simon how do you know that the Messiah is coming in our time,” Jesus asked. “ Because my son it is written that at the end of time a Messiah will come,” Simon answered. “Stay true to your studies,” Simon encouraged Jesus. “Your destiny may well lie in the studies of our Essene community,” Simon said. Mary had told Jesus many times about the Angel that foretold that Jesus would be a leader among men. Jesus knew that in some way, he must find his true destiny with God through study and prayer. Mary also told Simon of Jesus supposed destiny. Simon took great interest in Jesus when he found that an Angel appeared to Mary before Jesus’ birth.
Jesus learned the power of prayer after hours of prayer, and meditation each day at the Essene community. His spiritual “eyes” were beginning to see a new meaning to life. The preparation of a good and simple life helped to prepare for the coming of the messiah. “Could this Messiah really save all the Jews from oppression,” Jesus asked himself?
As age twenty, Jesus was imitated into the Community of Essenes that worshipped on Mount Carmel. He had completed several years of study, and learned the Community Rule, the council of Holiness, and study of the Torah. He observed fasting, immersion in mikveh, kosher observance, and vegetarianism to live a purer life. He now had a choice of becoming a Scribe and studying with a Senior Scribe for several years. He chose to follow this path to his enlightenment. Becoming an Essene Scribe would help him to become an expert in the scriptures and the Torah. Jesus was always a mild mannered young man who deeply believed that he had a destiny one day. He, being only human, lacked some self-confidence in becoming a Scribe. He hoped that in time he would be more self-confident and follow in the ways of the Lord.
Jesus was required to give up his worldly possessions to the Essene community who would hold it in trust for him. At the end of the second year it was merged with the goods of the community. This was an opportunity Jesus could not pass up. He accepted the promise to life a pure life and became a Scribe for the Essene community. “I have little to give Master Simon,” Jesus said. “Here are some personal items, and mementos my mother Mary kept from my childhood,” Jesus remarked. “it is enough that you give up worldly goods and distractions my son,” Simon said. “Come let me introduce you to the senior scribe under whom you will be studying. His name is Mathias and he has been in our community for over 40 years,” Simon said. “Brother Mathias this is Jesus of Nazareth of whom I have told you great things,” Simon remarked. “He is about to enter into our program to become an Essene Scribe,” Simon said. “Welcome and God’s Peace be with you Jesus,” Mathias said to Jesus. “It is my honor teacher to learn in your presence,” Jesus remarked. And so it was that Jesus began his ministry as a Scribe. Now he would become more of an expert on the scriptures, the Torah, and the Book of Mediations. Mary and Joseph were very proud of Jesus’ accomplishments in the Essene community of Mount Carmel. He was fulfilling the prophecy that the Angel had predicted, “…a leader among men.”
One Sabbath Jesus noticed Elisha coming out of one of the tents in the Essene community. “God’s Peace Elisha,” Jesus shouted. “And peace be unto you brother Jesus,” Elisha said. “Where have you been lately Jesus,” Elisha asked? “I have been deep in study with Mathias the Senior Scribe in my dedication to becoming an Essene Scribe and have had little time for anything else except prayer,” Jesus said. “I am not old enough yet to become a scribe,” Elisha said. “I have learned a great deal about the prophets and especially Elijah whom predicted the coming of the Messiah,” Jesus said. “You must come and join us in the seder and lead us in prayers,” Elija asked. “I will try to come and see you and your father Simon in Nazareth when I have time,” Jesus promised. “God go with you Jesus,” Elija said as he walked off down the Mount Carmel rocky road. At that time Jesus had hoped to finish his Scribe studies by the time he was 25.
At the age of 28 Jesus could begin rabbinical studies with twelve men, and three priests. This was Jesus’ ultimate mission to become a rabbi and preacher for the Essene community. Jesus would then study the Holy Writings that God warned ‘Ezra’ to only “show the wise.” These writings would include the “Book of Jasher,” “The book of Enoch,” and others. After two years at age thirty, Jesus would be set apart as a rabbi of the Essene Community. So it was, and so it was recorded that Jesus after baptism by John the Baptist began his ministry at age 30. Never did he mention in public or private that he was a trained and active member of the Mount Carmel Essene community. Jesus had the Essenes to thank for his preparation for his ministry, and for his understanding of “the son of man,” and the Messiah to come. He had his mentors Simon the Essene and Mathias the Essene teachers to always turn to when he doubted himself. Simon and Mathias instilled in Jesus the importance of the end of time and the coming of the “Righteous Teacher and the Messiah.” No one could be as well prepared in the knowledge of the scriptures as Jesus was, thanks to Simon the Essene and Mathias the Essene. In time Simon would tell Jesus that it was time for him to go out and be baptized by John the Baptist to certify the beginning of his Essene minded mission. Jesus obeyed Simon and at the age of 29 he went to the Jordan river to be baptized. He spoke first with him mother Mary about his seeking a ministry and she agreed.