What does the Bible say about the future?
My search to understand ancient times led me to various extra-biblical texts that were preserved by the Essenes in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are being rediscovered since 1948. The Bible doesn’t mention the Essenes, but we’re familiar with the Pharisees and the Sadducees. We could categorize the Church today similarly as legalists, liberals, and spirit-filled.
Around 200BC, the Maccabees overthrew the Greek occupation as celebrated at Hannukah. Priests appointed themselves as rulers and forced everyone to follow laws intended only for the priests. They even forced gentiles to be circumcised and become Jews. This was the beginnings of the Pharisees. The Sadducees arose who didn’t believe in an afterlife and taught political compromise with the dominant Greek influences to avoid trouble. These two apostatized into civil war to kill off the other heretics. They independently requested the Romans to come in to bring order to their chaos. The Essenes formed around the lawful Priests who descend from Zadok of King David’s time. With the civil war, and when usurpers bought the political power of the priesthood, they fled to the desert of Qumran near the Dead Sea and took their library with them.
John the Baptist was an Essene, and therefore his disciples Peter and Andrew whom Jesus chose. Jesus sometimes talks about “the scribes”, in reference to those guys who spent their lives copying ancient writings.
Where the Pharisees and modern Orthodox Jews follow Oral Torah or “the traditions of the elders”, supposedly passed down by word of mouth since Moses, the Essenes call this a load of made-up junk. They interpret scriptures according to the ancient writings of the Patriarchs, handed down in writing since Adam. They were renowned for their accuracy in prophecy, and they lived twice as long as average. Their theology and understanding of the coming Messiah are very similar to Christians’, which suggests why they disappeared as the Gospel spread.