The Essenes were a third religious sect during the time of Christ that lived away from the towns. Instead they lived in simple communities. The Essenes practiced the seventh day sabbath, believed in reincarnation, non-violence to all living creatures and the sharing of all material possesions. They were uninvolved in the politics of the Sadducees and Pharisees and shunned publicity. Because of the discovery of dead sea scroll material, this ancient sect and their teachings are back alive. The dead sea scrolls were hidden by this ancient people long ago in the caves of Qumram. Josephus writing around 80 A.D. said that the Essenes were Jews by birth but seemed to have a greater affection for one another than they did for the Pharisees and Sadducees. Their piety toward God was extraordinary. They wore chitw garments. They used no profanity. They were ministers of peace and they spent a great deal of time studying the writings of the ancients.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1945, yet it took 50 years for the information to leak out about thes extraordinary people. What was so shocking to the scholars who examined the ancient documents was that there was a community of people practicing Christianity, or something very close to it, for at least 200 years before the time of Christ. Both the practice of baptism and of the sharing of the wine are recorded as part of their practices long before Jesus and John the Baptist popularized them.
The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception is a book that details the explosive contents of the Dead Sea Scrolls and how the Church conspired to suppress them. Another startling fact was that the type of society that the Essenes had practiced for 200 years was very similiar to early Christianity recorded in the book of Acts. This important scriptural document shows that the early christian sect lived in communities and encouraged its members to hold all of its possesions in common, just like the Essenes did for the previous two centuries!
Another amazing discovery was made in 1923. Edmond Bordeaux Szekely was able to discover Essene documents in the secret archives of the Vatican. In his book The Discovery of the Essene Gospel of Peace, he tells the story of how two chess players helped him meet the renowned Msgr. Angelo Mercati, Prefect of the Vatican Archives. He told the Prefect of his desire to learn all he could of the Saint called Francis. He was allowed to research the vast 25 miles of bookshelves containing scrolls, parchments, paper manuscripts and codices. Within the labarinth he found an aramaic translation of The Essene Gospel of Peace as well as the The Essene Book of Revelation. His research led him to seek out the Benedictine monastary of Monte Cassino. He was allowed, because of a letter of Msgr. had written granting access to the large vitrines in the Scriptorium. There he found the original Hebrew codices of The Essene Gospel of Peace, the source for the Aramaic version found at the secret Vatican Archives.