Author and biblical researcher Josh Peck joined Richard Syrett (Twitter) to discuss the history and importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Peck provided background on the Essenes, a religious sect formed during the period between the Old and New Testaments. The Essenes, who were still around during the time of Christ, believed the Pharisees and Sadducees had become corrupt, and only they held the original Jewish tradition, Peck explained. The Essenes formed a settlement away from Jerusalem in the remote area of Qumran, and wrote and kept what are now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, he noted.
The Dead Sea Scrolls include fragments of every book in the Old Testament except Esther, as well as extra-biblical texts such as the Book of Enoch, and history about the intertestamental period. "These scrolls talk about the 400 silent years between the Old and New Testaments," Peck said. No one knows what happened to the Essenes or why they left behind the Dead Sea Scrolls. According to Peck, one theory suggests the Essenes recognized Jesus as messiah, likely became Christians, and left as part of the great commission to spread the gospel message to other nations. They may have left copies behind so there was always a record of the Temple library, he added.
Peck commented on a text called The War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness, also known as the War Scroll, describing it as a fascinating document which records supernatural entities involved in warfare. Peck admitted he is unsure if the war mentioned in the scroll is historical or prophetic. He also talked about John the Baptist, his possible connection to the Essenes, and his fulfillment of the prophecy about the person to "make straight the way of the Lord." Peck pointed out John was baptizing because the Essenes had ritual bathing as part of their initiation into the sect. "That's where John the Baptist likely got it... and that transferred over into Jesus' ministry," he said.
The remainder of the program featured Open Lines.