The Messiah of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Acts 17:2-3

“And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.”

The Psalms scroll, one of the Dead Sea scrolls

A debate has broken out over the image of the Messiah that’s presented in one of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Two American scholars have claimed that one of the scrolls talks about the leader of the religious community being put to death.

Since the scrolls date from about 200 B.C. to 50 A.D., some scholars say that this means the idea of an executed leader is not unique to Christianity. Modern biblical critics view Christianity as a result of human social evolution rather than revelation. Therefore they try to find the evolutionary steps in the development of Christianity. According to their translation, the scroll in question reads: “and they put to death the leader of the community, the Branch of David, with wounds (also ‘stripes’ or ‘piercings’).”

However, Hebrew scholars convened a special seminar that brought together 20 scholars from around the world to study the question. They unanimously concluded that the original translation, offered by an Oxford scholar, is accurate. The correct translation says that the Branch of David will kill Israel’s enemies, not be killed by them. They base this conclusion not only on the Hebrew, but on several other texts that speak of the Messiah as a leader who shall free Israel from her political oppressors. This was, in fact, the common expectation at the time of Christ.

It is impossible to understand Christianity when one rejects divine revelation. Christianity is not the product of man’s mind, but of God’s love.