A highly organized religious group that renounced the priestly establishment and saw themselves as God’s soldiers. They strengthened their bodies, minds, and spirits for the battle they believed would usher in the new age. The Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran may have been their library. Some believe that John the Baptist belonged to this group, because his message was similar to that contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some of the beliefs and practices of the Essenes resembled those of Jesus and the early church.


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