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Commentary On The Damascus Document

Discussion in the Light of Integrated Prophecy

(Numerical references are to Column and Line number in the Document.)

The Land of Damascus

The title of the document, applied my modern scholarship, comes from several references within it to Damascus. The way this Damascus is treated shows that it was not a literal reference to ancient Damascus in Syria but symbolic for some other place. Scholars seem to be in universal agreement about this view.

 

Amos 5:27 states: "therefore I shall send you into exile beyond Damascus." The kingdoms of David and Solomon extended north into what is now Syria, including the city of Damascus. From the context of the remarks Amos was telling the people of Israel their fate before their kingdom was destroyed. In 722 BC the Assyrians under Shalmaneser V, and then under Sargon II, conquered the northern Kingdom of Israel, destroyed its capital Samaria and sent the Israelites into exile and captivity in the "cities of the Medes," now part of eastern Iran and western Afghanistan. This action proved to be a fulfillment of the warning that God would send his people beyond ancient Damascus. We also know that at the breakup of the ancient kingdom of Israel the northern Ten Tribes traveled north to Asia Minor and around the Black Sea. They did not settle in Damascus, Syria. As I have shown, they then spread throughout Europe. From Europe, their descendants moved into, and controlled, the lands of North and South America. This means that a high percentage of the white population of the Americas is descended from the people of ancient Israel.

 

The natural question is why the word Damascus was used to identify someplace beyond the northern boundaries of the land of Israel. If this is not Damascus, Syria just what does the designation mean? This reference to some other symbolic Damascus is noted by:

 

6:5 . . . the penitents of Israel who went forth out of the land of Judah and sojourned in the land of Damascus . . .

6:19  . . . who entered into the New Covenant in the land of Damascus . . .

8:21 . . . All the men who entered into the New Covenant in the land of Damascus . . .

 

Map searches for Damascus and alternate language spellings reveal some interesting facts. Damas (French spelling) ) towns are found in northern Pakistan, at Guaviare, Colombia, South America, and at Puntarenas, Costa Rica. I found Damascus streets in the Netherlands (2), Dubai, Baghdad, Beirut, Lebanon, and Belfast, Ireland. I found a Damascus College in Victoria, Australia. I was unable to find reference to dimashq (Arabic spelling) or dimasheq (Hebrew spelling). Around the world the name Damascus seems sparsely used.

 

However, within the United States the use of the name Damascus is prevalent. It is found as towns in Oregon, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. Damascus townships exist in Pennsylvania and Ohio. There are literally hundreds of Damascus names for streets, roads, churches, businesses, and other appellations in the United States.

 

The United States is truly the land of Damascus.

 

We must be wary of the great use of symbolism in the Damascus Document, illustrated in Column 7.

 

14 As He said, (Amos 5:26-27)  ‘And I will cause to go into captivity the booth (Sikkut) of your King

15 and the statue (Kiyyun) of your images away from my tent (shelter) to Damascus. Blank The books of the Law are the booth (Sikkut)

16 of the King, as He said, (Amos 9:11) ‘And I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen.’ Blank The King

17 is the congregation and statue (Kiyyun) the images are the books of the Prophets,

18 whose words Israel has despised. Blank And the Star is the interpreter of the Teaching,

19 who will come to Damascus, as it is written, (Num 24:17-19) ‘There shall come forth a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise

20 out of Israel.’ The scepter is the prince of all the congregation. And when he rises he shall destroy

21 all the sons of Seth.

 

"The booth of your King" means that the kingship was lost. At some future time this kingship (booth of David) would be reinstated, but in the new world, and with Melchizedek as the new David.

 

The images are the books of the Prophets, the statues (not statutes) that God provided for us, but which Israel of old despised. These would be removed from the Israel of old, and sent to the land of Damascus, the United States.

 

In this new world a Star would arise to interpret the Teachings, the prophets, someone who will appear in the new Damascus. At that time he will raise up a new scepter, new precepts by which the children of Israel can be guided. Afterwards, after all the calamity and woe, when the people of Israel can look back, they will understand how he would be regarded as the "prince of all the congregation."

 

He will not personally destroy all the sons of Seth, a symbol for the Devil, but will be instrumental in bringing judgment upon them, through God's help and guidance. Thus they will be destroyed.

 

This is a full quotation of the passage in the book of Numbers, showing how it was adapted to the message of the Scroll:

In this land a New Covenant will be formed.

 

The New Covenant

 

The idea of a New Covenant is also found in Column II, Lines 3 - 10 of the Habakkuk Scroll. There it refers to those who betrayed the New Covenant and did not believe when they heard all the things that were to happen in their final generation. They rejected the Priest whom God appointed in those days to interpret the prophets through whom he told of that impending disaster. The Hebrew word cohen, a priest, is used in the Habakkuk text for this individual. At the time of the establishment of the Old Covenant God called upon Moses, Aaron, and Aaron's sons to be priests. Prior to that time they were not priests. This created the official Hebrew institution. The important concept behind the priesthood was that they were men chosen to mediate between God and man. They were to act as teachers of the Law, i.e., the Holy Teachings. This individual also serves in that role. This does not mean that he comes from the Jews, nor does it mean that he was formally ordained into such a social function. Rather it means that he was called by God for his particular role in the teaching and destiny salvation of God's people.

 

As shown in the Habakkuk Scroll and the Damascus Document, this Priest is clearly an individual who does not offer prophecy of his own inspiration, but interprets the Great Truths of the prophecies of the Bible. As stated in Num 24:12-13 — And Balaam said to Balak, Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, "If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of Yahweh to do either good or bad of my own will; what Yahweh speaks, that will I speak."  Thus the words of God this individual conveys to his fellow man are not words coming directly out of his mouth from God. Who would believe him? Prophecy requires much time to "prove" but now there is little time left to formulate decisions. Since his role is as an interpreter or expositor of Biblical Prophecy it is a faith exercise that unbelieving persons can easily reject. But they do so at their own peril.

 

We can see that these people, these penitents, make a New Covenant with God. This is not a reaffirmation of the Old Covenant, nor it is a renewal of the Christian Covenant.

 

We can obtain an idea of the Christian Covenant by this statement from a United Methodist Women web site at:

 

http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/Bible/covenant.stm

 

The church did affirm the Jewish Scriptures as part of Christianity, designating them the Old Testament or Old Covenant, and understanding their purpose as preparing the world for Christ. Orthodox Christian theology developed and enhanced the teachings of Paul and the apostles, summarizing the Jewish Law as a whole, and interpreting its purpose as creating a faithful people who live out the will of God.

The legalistic details of Torah were submerged in the metaphor of the whole Covenant, which the coming of Christ completed. The New Covenant law of love freed believers from the details of the Old Covenant, with its sacred center in Jerusalem and its faith community, the Jews. For Christians the center of holiness and purity was the human heart and the entire community of believers that transcended race, culture, and class. Sin could separate a person from the community of the faithful brothers and sisters, but repentance and forgiveness could reinstate them. No obedience to a code of rules established holiness, if a person’s heart was not repentant; and no behavior was so grievous that it could not be forgiven, with repentance. Ritual purity had been replaced by purity of heart.

 

 

Jews have always understood their faith as a practice of codes and rules. The Ten Commandments were such a codified definition of human conduct. But Jesus, when he lived here in the flesh, lifted us above Mosaic Law to understanding of a relationship with God that was founded on the intent of the heart. When asked which was the greatest commandment, he said:

This freed everyone from Mosaic Law and opened the teachings of Jesus to the entire world. Christians referred to this as a New Covenant.

 

But Christians tied themselves to another concept that restricted the use of this commandment from Jesus. This concept caused the name Christian to be applied to them. It was the idea that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ. As John stated:

When John made this remark he threw the new faith back into Law. If one did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, then he was not a Christian, and would be condemned. He would become the Antichrist, or one opposed to Jesus. Thus, the Christian New Covenant became not a matter purely of heartfelt relationship with God, but also a system of beliefs. It grew from an expression of the longings of the heart to an intellectual system of theology. The apostle Paul carried on lengthy dissertations about Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, expanding upon this belief system. Paul laid the foundation for generations of Christian theologians.

 

Human beings cannot live together without coming to some agreement about their social conduct and about their ideas of the universe. In their present state they simply are not built to stand above law. If we had followed the commandment of Jesus we might elevate our understanding of human laws, and obey the leadings of our hearts, but such developments are in the farther future of this world.

 

Furthermore, according to Christian understanding, if Jesus were to return to this world he would return as the Christ, the Messiah. Since the Messiah would be an earthly physical ruler, he would have to return as a man.

 

This is one of the most serious mistakes of Christianity. Jesus is not returning as a man; he is returning as God. Hence, the Christian definition of a New Covenant is not the New Covenant described in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Here another Covenant is formulated that is not dependent upon Christian interpretation of the teaching of Paul and the other apostles. Since those ideas were centered around the event of the life of Jesus upon earth, and his return, it was a religion about Jesus. As such the Christian religion, regardless of its historic form, Catholic or Protestant, always held ideas centered on Jesus as the Messiah. But if Jesus returns to this world, not as the expected Messiah, but as God, then the Christian theological framework is not sufficient to such an event.

 

The question becomes this: When Jesus returns how many people will be able to recognize him as God and welcome him in that form?

 

We surely cannot expect him to return without vivid demonstration of his power as God. Since he is a spiritual being, he must bring with him a spiritual manifestation equal to his status as a divine being.

 

But many men may not be able to respond to this mighty spiritual demonstration. They may have their minds so clouded with Messiah expectations or godlessness they cannot cope with this event. Christians will reject him because he is not returning as the Messiah. Secularists will reject him because they believe there is no God. Both groups may find other explanations for his spiritual presence. Modern scientists may think his presence in light is merely the results of a supernova. Or there may be other godless explanations.

 

On the other hand some human response, on which depends the future of the world, is that of recognizing his presence as God. This requires a major transformation in our conceptual structure. We must abandon the Christian Messiah image. And we must recognize the nature of the great spiritual battle that will break forth on our world. With a murderous onslaught by Devil's agents commencing on all sides, we will earnestly seek an ensuing reaffirmation of a closer relationship with Jesus. This longing of our hearts will bring a New Covenant. This New Covenant will not be dependent upon the interpretation of men in theological pursuits, but the development of a direct relationship with God through a great and soul searching Spiritual Experience.

 

This would be a dramatic movement away from the old Jewish and Christian covenants, the Old Covenant and the New Christian covenant. This would be a surgical severing of historic religious ties, from Moses and from Jesus as the Messiah.

 

This New Covenant will be welcomed by both Jews and Christians who have their hearts centered on God. This New Covenant will bind together people who did not know one another for two thousand years. No longer would there be allegiance to man-defined covenants that would divide the two people.

 

The Jewish and Christian covenants would not be completely abandoned. They would be redefined into a grander understanding of God and his actions on our world. Just as Christians redefined the Old Mosaic Covenant by the event of Jesus, so the New Covenant would redefine the old Messiah covenant by new and dramatic understanding of God. Moses was the basis of the Jewish covenant. Jesus was the basis of the formulation of the Christian Covenant. Now the Return of Jesus, as God, and as Creator, with spiritual responses from his people, will define this New Covenant.

 

To restate:

 

First, there will be the Return of Jesus. Not as a human mortal, but as God. He will bring about such an extraordinary change in world conditions that everyone will take notice. Atheist, agnostic, and religious believer will witness this new event on our world. Because of the extreme separation from God numerous godless interpretations of this event will be offered. No one, from our traditional religious understanding, can adequately place this event into a framework familiar to them. But those people who respond in a spiritual sense will come to know that this is God present among us. As a consequence there will be such trembling of the heart as to cause both Jews and Christians to reassign their spiritual loyalties.

 

Second, concomitant with the Return of Jesus will be a great spiritual and physical tribulation. Jesus will let loose our former Planetary Prince in order for him to prove his true spiritual state.  In the prospect of destroying God's people he will bring miraculous demonstrations of his power. Thousands upon thousands of Christians and Jews will be slaughtered to his insane purpose. No one on the planet will be safe. The hearts of men will turn to God as never before. They will seek after God in a manner not known in world history. They will abandon the old worn traditions of our historical religions. Now a truly New Covenant will be formed.

 

Third, the intense spiritual warfare between our God and our former Planetary Prince will multiply political tension among the nations. This will lead to the destruction of our civilization.

 

We cannot come to a New Covenant without mighty demonstration of spiritual power from God and his divine Sons, the rebellious gods.

 

The Divine Visitation

 

The visitation of Jesus is told to us plainly in this document and throughout the Dead Sea Scrolls. Repeatedly, time and again, we are told that we will be visited by our God.

 

To be faithful to the revelation given to us we must deal with the Visitation to take place at the time of the Great Judgment. A description is provided in the text, but it is so clouded with symbolism, and subject to such diverse and extraordinary interpretations, that we must consider it in detail.

 

Column 1

1 Blank Now, therefore, hearken (unto me) all ye who know righteousness, and have understanding in the works of

2 God. For He hath a controversy with all flesh, And will execute judgment upon all who despise Him.

3 For because of the trespass of those who forsook Him, He hid His face from Israel and from His Sanctuary,

4 And gave them over to the sword. But when He remembered the covenant of the forefathers, He left a remnant

5 to Israel, and gave them not over to destruction. And in the period of the wrath three hundred and

6 ninety years after He had given them in the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon

7 He visited them, and He made to spring forth from Israel and Aaron, a root of His planting to inherit

8 His land, And to grow fat through the goodness of His earth. And they had understanding of their iniquity. And they knew that

9 they were guilty men, And had like the blind been groping

10 after the way twenty years.  And God considered their works; for they sought Him with a perfect heart

11 And He raised them up a Teacher of Righteousness to lead them in the way of His heart.

 

Here the Judgment is specified. He gave them over to the sword, but remembered the covenant he made with their forefathers. He preserved a remnant and did not give them completely over to destruction.

 

Since this is a specification of world conditions at the time of Judgment, we must interpret the symbolism to that effect. Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, is not a description of ancient Babylon and that Nebuchadnezzar, but of some land and some rulership at the end of the age. That is why no one could make heads or tails of this passage. It was not intended to be taken as a reference to ancient Babylon, but to some other time period. This means that the 390 years must be understood in terms of our times. For example, if we were to take the demarcation point at the onset of the settling of the New Land, the new Damascus, we might take the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock in 1620. 390 years elapsed from that point would be 2010.

 

This is a remarkable coincidence to today.

 

While we recognize the settling of the lands of Central and South America more than a hundred years prior to 1620 the reference to the new Damascus concentrates the remark to North America, and the United States. Hence, we do not necessarily mean this to be literal to the exact year, but to a close approximation of that date. God would then raise up for them a Teacher of Righteousness to lead his people in the way of his heart. This is the time of the Visitation. He will now return to this world. Then the 20 years in which they groped their way must be understood as events to follow the Great Judgment. This would be a groping for 20 years after the Great Earth Events. Then the earth will spring forth in abundance, in 1:8 the goodness of the earth. When he raises up a Teacher he does so before the great events, not after.

 

The arrangement of the clauses in this statement makes it very difficult to understand the time sequence.

 

But many will reject this teaching, with the great price of death to pay for their refusal to accept.

Here we see a promise of the Visitation, and the recompense upon unbelievers. Fortunately for this world,

Compare with the "B" version, XIX and the fragment 4Q266, 3:3.

 

Those who believe the Teacher of Righteousness shall escape from nuclear destruction.

 

We can understand that the Teacher of Righteousness will arise at the end of the age. This is the time of the visitation of God.

 

More than one visitation is specified. God will visit us more than one time, perhaps many.

 

A description of the perversity within man and God's action to remove it, and his visitations, are described in the Rules of the Community (The Manual of Discipline).

 

In Column 13 and 14 we find remarks again pertinent to the Return of Jesus, the coming destruction, and the rescue of God's people.

The word translated as Instructor is maskiyl which means to be instructive. It derives from sakal, to be circumspect, hence intelligent. It denotes to be prudent, wise, and to ponder. This individual cares for God's people, and gives of himself in prudence and wisdom to help rescue them.

 

Although I have refrained from using the "B" version of the Damascus Document, since I believe it was written by men at Qumran who were expounding on the revelations they had been given, nevertheless we find pertinent remarks. Those men strongly believed in the God's word. In spite of their strong faith they could not help but conflate upon that knowledge.

 

Column B:9

5: But over all those who despise the precepts

6: and the ordinances may be emptied over them the punishment of the wicked, when God visits the earth.

7: when there comes the word which is written by the hand of the prophet Zechariah: (Zech 13:7) Wake up sword against

8: my shepherd, and against the male who is my companion — oracle of God — strike the shepherd, and the flock may scatter.

9: and I shall turn my hand against the little ones. Those who revere him are (Zech 11:11) the poor ones of the flock.

10: These shall escape in the age of the visitation: but those that remain shall be delivered up to the sword when there comes the messiah

11: of Aaron and Israel. As happened in the age of the first visitation, as Ezekiel said

12: by the hand of Ezekiel: Blank Ezek 9:4 . . . To mark with a tau the foreheads of those who sigh and groan.

13: But those who remained were delivered up to the sword, which carries out the vengeance of the covenant. Thus will be the judgment of all those entering

14: his covenant, who do not remain steadfast in these precepts; they shall be visited for destruction at the hand of Belial.

15: This is the day when God will make a visitation, as he said: (Hos 5:10) The princes of Judah will be like those who move

16: the boundary. Upon them he will pour out his fury like water. For they entered the covenant of conversion,

17: but have not left the path of traitors and have defiled themselves by paths of licentiousness and with wicked wealth,

18: avenging themselves, and each one bearing resentment against his brother, and each one hating his fellow. Each one became obscured

19: by blood relatives, approached for debauchery and bragged about wealth and gain (. . .)

20: Each one did what was right in his eyes and each one has chosen the stubbornness of his heart. They did not keep apart from the people

21: and from their sins. And they have rebelled with insolence. walking on the path of the wicked ones.

22: about whom God said: (Deut 32:33) Their wine is serpents' venom and cruel poison of asps. The serpents

23: are the kings of the peoples and their wine is their paths, and the asps' poison is the head

24: of the kings of Greece, who comes upon them to execute vengeance. . . .

 

 

We can see that those men believed when God visits the earth a great punishment would come upon mankind, Line 6. The poor ones of the flock, Line 9, would escape during the time of Visitation, Line 10. Those who reject the teaching offered by the Instructor will be delivered up to the sword.

 

Their confusion is shown by the messiah of Aaron and Israel. They are confusing two different destiny periods, one without the Messiah, now, and one with the Messiah, in the future.

 

Again, destruction at the hand of Belial could be the coming Great Tribulation, but could also be the work of the Devil when he appears in human form at the end of the Millennium, Line 14. God will visit the earth now, Line 6, and then perhaps again at the closing of the Millennium, Line 15.

 

Just prior to the Great Holocaust that will destroy our civilization the Devil will bring a Great Tribulation. This is specified:

  • 8:2 they shall be visited for destruction through the hand of Belial.

  • 8:3 This is the day on which God shall visit (as He hath spoken).

However, the remarks following Line 16 shows the great licentiousness and wicked wealth obtained by men living today. Great animosity exists today, with enmity and resentment, with men hating one another. Debauchery is rampant today among mankind. A reprimanding hand today is insolently rejected, with serpents venom and the cruel poison of asps, Line 22.

 

Yet again, the writer of Version B inserts the word ivan, Javan, to denote Greece, but this is his understanding of the holy texts.

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