Moses was the humblest man on earth (Numbers 12:3). King David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). Paul the Apostle said we’re to imitate him as he imitates Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). If the Bible puts someone on a pedestal, why is it wrong if/when we do it? Or perhaps the question should be, what is wrong and/or right about doing so?
In the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS),
MOSES AS A VIRTUAL PSEUDONYM
In fame and respect, Moses ranks alongside Abraham. Moses is known as the great lawgiver…. The name of Moses occurs in the DSS some 200 times. Many times his name is virtually synonymous with the law…. Josephus remarks that “after God, [the Essenes] hold most in awe the name of their lawgiver; any blasphemer of which is punished with death” (War 2.145). The Essenes held Moses in such high esteem they multiplied his works through rewriting and expansion and named a number of pseudepigraphal works after him….Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls
MOSES AS A PROPHET
A distinctive element in the scrolls is the portrayal of Moses as a prophet foretelling the ups and downs of Israel’s future. One scroll declares: “That is why You have caused the scourge of Your plagues to cleave to us, that of which Moses and Your servants the prophets wrote: You would send evil against us in the Last Days.” …Moses foretold the future…spoke of the last days, which the men of Qumran believed were at hand.Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls
MOSES AS A SANCTION FOR THE LEGALISM OF WHOM?
The reference of the “Law of Moses” was understood by the men of the scrolls to refer to their legal interpretations that go beyond the explicit teaching of the books of the law. Thus, we find that the scrolls not only study Moses but also expand on his teachings. These interpretive expansions are similar to the oral “traditions” that developed among the scribes and Pharisees, against which Jesus complained (see Mark 7).Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls
This means the Qumran men used Moses to sanction their list of dos and don’ts. Just like the scribes and Pharisees used Moses to sanction theirs. It reminds me of the churches that make a big deal of their differences with other denominations around them. I mean, the differences that aren’t clearly spelled out in scriptures.
AARON AS CO-RULER WITH THE MESSIAH
Keep in mind messiah means “anointed one.”
Aaron, the brother of Moses, is cited by name more than 100 times in the DSS. The anointed high priest who will someday rule over Israel, alongside the anointed king (i.e., the Messiah), is several times in the scrolls called the “anointed (or messiah) of Aaron….” Aaron will be printed on the banners of the holy army that will engage the Sons of Darkness in the great and final war…Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls
AARON FIGHTING AGAINST EVIL
Remember, Aaron was the first High Priest, so he would be referred to as the first of the priesthood institution in Israel.
Most of the references to Aaron are honorary and are used to identify other people. However, a few times the historical Aaron plays a role in a narrative. One of the most interesting instances of this is an allusion to his contest with Pharaoh’s magicians, who in later Jewish lore are identified as Jannes and Jambres. Here…in the Damascus Document: “For in times past Moses and Aaron stood in the power of the Prince of Lights and Belial raised up Yannes and his brother…when seeking to do evil to Israel…”Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls
Here we have one of Qumran’s favorite themes, the contest between light and darkness…. The story of the infamous brothers who served Pharaoh is also alluded to in…2 Timothy 3:8-9.
AARON EXCUSED FOR HIS SIN
In the Bible Aaron’s greatest failing was overseeing the making of the golden calf (Exodus 32:1-6). The making of the idol is recounted in the scrolls, but Aaron’s role goes unmentioned…. By omitting the role played by Aaron, the author cleansed Aaron’s reputation, thus heightening his status as a hero of the faith.Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls
WHAT’S RIGHT AND WRONG ABOUT PEOPLE ON PEDESTALS
Paul the Apostle put himself on a pedestal. I agree with a most interesting blog about this. Also with another blog on true humility. But I must focus on other aspects of truth connected with people on pedestals and false humility.
We need to learn about Christ’s example enough to know when others are truly following in his footsteps. Then, to the extent that we truly get it, we can use their lives as our inspiration to follow. You may recall I wrote 2 blogs on my discovery of what true spirituality is, and another on what true humility is. In my limited studies of the DSS, after seeing a pattern of destructive anger and self-righteousness, I also saw this pattern of false humility and false spirituality.
Next week I’ll focus on what’s behind false humility and spirituality. The misleading potential and harmful effects will be exposed and contrasted with Christ, too.
Above pictures scanned from Aaron before Jannes and Jambres, Aaron making the golden calf, and Moses throwing 10 commandments