Questions on the Non-Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls contain about 95,000 fragments of both ancient Bible manuscripts and other religious works. These works included commentaries on the scriptures, as well as other works that taught their distinctive religious views. The following answers questions about these other works.

The religious group living in Qumran called themselves the Children of light. They were an extreme group, believing, for example that if an animal is giving birth, it should not be helped on the Sabbath (4Q271 frag. 3 col.1 line 8). If a man falls into a pit, he should not be helped out on the Sabbath (4Q271 frag.3 col.1 line 9). Like the Essenes, they also believed one should not defecate (go to the bathroom) on the Sabbath (Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls p.102-104).

A Muslim apologist has claimed that the non-Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls prophesy both Jesus and Mohammed. Here are some reasons why that is far from the truth. See the DeadSeaScrollIndex for more on this and other topics in the non-Biblical Dead Sea scrolls.

Q1: In the Dead Sea Scrolls extra-Biblical manuscripts, could the Righteous Teacher be a prophecy of Mohammed, Jesus, John the Baptist, or someone else?

A: No, because the one they called the righteous teacher had come before these manuscripts were written, according to the evidence of the manuscripts themselves. Here are the relevant parts taken from The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated : The Qumran Texts in English by Florentino Garcia Martinez.

The Teacher of Righteousness came 390 + 20 years after the exile. The exile was in 586 B.C., so that would during the time of the Maccabees, well before the time of Christ.

"For when they were unfaithful in forsaking him, he [God] hid his face from Israel and from his sanctuary and delivered them up to the sword. However, when he remembered the covenant of the very first, he saved a remnant for Israel and did not deliver them up to destruction. And at the moment of wrath, three hundred and ninety years after having delivered them up into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, he visited them and caused to sprout from Israel and from Aaron a shoot of the planting, in order to possess his land and to become fat with the good things of his soil. And they realized their sin and knew that they were guilty men; but they were like blind persons and like those who grope for the path over twenty years. And God appraised their deeds, because they sought him with a perfect heart and raised up for them a Teacher of Righteousness, in order to direct them in the path of his heart." The Damascus Document copies from the Genizah (CD-A) col.1 lines 3-11. p.33

The same thing is mentioned in the copy of the Damascus Document 4Q268 (=4QDc) lines 13-17 p.48 and 4Q266 (=4QCa) fragment 2 lines 7-14 p.49

As an aside, the Teacher of Righteousness is mentioned prominently in the Habakkuk Pesher (1QpHab) col.1 line 13 p.198; col.2 line 2 p.198; col. 5 line 10 p.199; col.7 line 4 p.200; col.8 line 3 p.200; col.9 lines 9-10 p.201; col.11 line 5 p.201.

Also, there is a very brief mention of the Teacher of Righteousness in the Psalms Pesher 4Q173 fragment 1 p.206.


The Teacher of Righteousness was the founder of the Qumran community (p.liii)

The introduction also says that various discredited theories have claimed the Teacher of Righteousness was Jesus, or else John the Baptist, or else the apostle James). It adds, "However, in common to all these theories is denial of the conclusions reached by archaeological investigation, which infers that all the manuscripts were deposited in the cases (and by the same toke, were written) prior to the destruction of Khirbet Qumran in 68 CE. Above all, these theories deny the conclusions from palaeographic analysis of the manuscripts." (p.xlvii)

Florentino Garcia Martinez heads the Qumran Institute at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.


Q2: In the Dead Sea Scrolls extra-Biblical manuscripts, could the [alleged] priestly Messiah be Jesus and the [alleged] kingly Messiah" be a prophecy of Mohammed, as one Muslim claimed?

A: No. First of all there is no "priestly Messiah" and no "kingly Messiah" in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Rather some Dead Sea scrolls have one messiah, and other Dead Sea scrolls have two messiahs, a messiah of Aaron and a messiah of Israel. Which tribe of Israel was Mohammed from? Since Mohammed was not from any tribe of Israel, one cannot say he could be either one.

Mention of the two messiahs of Aaron and Israel in The Rule of the Community 1QRule col.9 p.13-14

The regulations are to be followed, through the time of wickedness until the Messiah of Aaron arises. The Damascus Document CD-A col.12 line 23 p.43

Mention of the messiah (singular) of Aaron and Israel in The Damascus Document CD-A col.9 lines 10-11 p.45; col.19 lines 10-11 p.46; col.20 lines 1 p.46

Mention of the Messiah (singular) of Aaron and Israel. Q266 fragment 18 col.3 line 12 p.56

Furthermore, the messiah of Aaron is the same as the Teacher of Righteousness. "Its interpretation concerns the Priest, the Teacher of [Righteousness, whom] God chose to stand [in front of him, for] he installed him to found the congregation [of his chosen ones[ for him," Psalms Pesher 4Q171 Col.3 lines 13-16 p.205

The Rule of the Congregation (1Q28a) col.2 p.127 says many things about the Messiah. "when [God] begets the Messiah with them" (line 11 [God] is in Florentino’s book) . After, [The Me]ssiah of Israel shall ent[er] and before him shall sit the chiefs [of the clans of Israel, each] one according to his dignity," (lines 14-15).

Did Mohammed drink wine? "And [when] they gather at the table of community [or to drink] the new wine, and the table of community is prepared [and] the new wine [is mixed] for drinking, [no-one should stretch out] his hand to the first-fruit of the bread and of the [new wine] before the priest, for [he is the one who bl]esses the first-fruit of bread and of the new wine [and stretches out] his hand towards the bread before them. Afterwards the Messiah of Israel shall stretch out his hand towards the bread." lines 17-20.

Conclusion: The Messiah of Aaron is the Teacher of Righteousness (Psalms Pesher 4Q171 Col.3 lines 13-16 p.205), so it is not Christ. There is no kingly Messiah, only a Messiah of Israel, and Mohammed is not from Israel.