What role does the Holy Spirit play in our lives? It played a big role in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. The people being addressed in the Dead Sea Scrolls are Jews and Christians, so they do not yet know the modern day Holy Spirit. However, they do deal with spirits that affect their lives the same way the Holy Spirit affects the lives of the Galatians. In both cases the audience is being tested by falsehood, vanity, freedom and slavery. The Holy Spirit is the tool used to bring the people back to the Word of God and the Gospels.
2. Leaders of the People
There are some major similarities and dissimilarities between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the First letter to the Galatians. The Dead Sea Scrolls are addressing the Jews and preaching to them not to stray away from the teachings of God. The leader or preacher in the Dead Sea Scrolls is the Master or leader of the community (1QS, 4Q55-264, 4Q280, 286-7,4Q502,5Q11,13).
This is the same role that Paul takes with the Galatians. The new Christians look to him for guidance and for the word of Jesus. The master in the Dead Sea Scrolls teaches and preaches from the Book of Community Rule. Paul is teaching the Galatians the Gospels. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, God Himself hands down His word to Moses and to his people. The word that Paul was preaching to the Galatians was given to him by Jesus Christ (Gal 1:11).
Both the Dead Sea Scrolls and Paul’s Letters were addressing the people straying away from the Word of God and the Word of Jesus. Both sources are dealing with false missionaries trying to preach fallacies.
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Paul’s letter to the Galatians and the Dead Sea Scrolls both address the issue of faith and vanity. Paul wants to know if the Galatians received their faith from the Spirit or from the works of the Law (Gal 3:2).
The Galatians were crucified with Jesus and born with the Holy Spirit. But through vanity, and fallacy by false prophets they were becoming flesh. In the Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q255) the author tells the people to keep away from all things that are false. He says that only men who are not holy will go towards works of vanity. Only people who are vain will not know the true word of God and that their deeds are defilement before God. It is possible that Paul could have read this and then related it to his situation. In both cases, people are straying away from the true word of God through their own vanity and through the false words of others.
Another issue that Paul is dealing with in Galatians is the issue of circumcision. The Galatians are Gentile Christians, not Jews. The false missionaries that they have encountered are preaching to them that they have to follow Jewish Law, which teaches that they must be circumcised. Paul though, had preached to them that because they are Christians they are free from the Jewish law and need not be circumcised because they were crucified and reborn with Jesus. Circumcision is also discussed in the Dead Sea Scrolls, but not quite in the same way. In the Community Rule the Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q255, 4Q258), the author discusses the issue of man walking in stubbornness and straying towards evil. The author, though, says that he will circumcise the foreskin of evil so that there may be a foundation of truth and the Community can have an everlasting covenant. The author also discussed the uncircumcised heart and how this causes people to stray. Perhaps Paul interprets this to mean that it is not the physical circumcision of the body that makes the people true followers, but the circumcision of the mind and heart to be true followers of God and Jesus Christ.
The Dead Sea Scrolls talks about many different spirits. One spirit is the Spirit of Truth. In the Dead Sea Scrolls the author describes the Spirit of Truth. He says that it is a spirit of humanity, patience, unending goodness and understanding. It is a spirit of mighty wisdom, which trusts in all deeds of God and leans on his great loving kindness. It is a spirit of discernment in every purpose of zeal for just laws of holy intent with steadfastness of heart. The spirit has charity towards all sons of truth, and is a spirit of faithful concealment of the mysteries of truth (4Q255 pg. 102).
Introduction to the Glossary of Terms Go to Glossary Quick Index A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, XYZ, This Glossary contains specialized terms for both scroll scholarship and Eastern Mediterranean archaeology. Its technical contents are based on at least four specific sources (I have rewritten and reinterpreted the information in these sources as I deemed ...
This spirit could possibly be the Holy Spirit that Paul discusses in Galatians. Paul preaches that the Holy Spirit lives in each of his followers in one with God and Jesus. The Holy Spirit guides them. In Gal 5:22-23, Paul tells the Galatians that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These characteristics are very similar to the spirit of truth that is talked about in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Maybe Paul makes a connection between the two spirits and figures that the author of the Dead Sea Scrolls was probably talking about our modern day Holy Spirit.
Another spirit talked about in the Dead Sea Scrolls is the spirit of injustice and falsehood. The ways of this spirit are greed, wickedness, lies, haughtiness and pride, cruelty and abundant evil, ill-temper, horrible deeds committed in the spirit of lust, a blaspheming tongue, blindness of eye, dullness of ear, stiffness of neck, and heaviness of heart (4Q255 pg. 102).
In Gal 5:19-21 Paul discusses the works of the flesh. He tells the Galatians that the works of the flesh are immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness dissension’s, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. The works of the flesh appear to be very similar to the characteristics of the spirit of injustice and falsehood. Again, it is conceivable that Paul is using the spirit of falsehood as a parallel to the issue of works of the flesh that he is dealing with. Each led the people away from God and into darkness.
Maybe Paul discovers a connection between the spirit of injustice and falsehood with the false missionaries that are trying to preach to the Galatians. Paul is the spirit of truth and the false missionaries are the spirit of falsehood. The missionaries are trying to deter the Galatians away from the Word of Jesus though vanity and to have them walk in darkness. Paul on the other hand is teaching them the true word of God and wants them to walk in the light. There could also be a parallel between good and evil and even possibly God and the devil. In all cases, it is a situation of two strong opposites working against each other.
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6. Freedom and Slavery
A further look into the passages shows that there is discussion in both the Dead Sea Scrolls and in Paul’s letters about freedom and slavery. The Jews in the Dead Sea Scrolls have a choice of freedom or slavery. Which spirit will they choose? Since God gave all men the power of free will, His people could choose to walk in the light or to walk in darkness. Paul is also discussing this with the Galatians. In Gal 5:13, Paul tells the Galatians that they were called for freedom, but to not use their freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather to serve one another through love.
7. Sons of Light and Darkness
1QM of the Dead Sea Scrolls discusses The War Scroll. In 1QM the sons of light are attacking the sons of darkness, the army of Belial…and against the bands of the Kittim of Assyria and their allies the ungodly of the covenant (1QM, 1Q33, 4Q491-7, 4Q471 pg.163).
The sons of light are God’s army. They are going to bring about a time of salvation for the people of God and an everlasting destruction for anyone or anything the goes against His covenant. Paul is a son of light. He is attacking the false missionaries or the sons of darkness. Even though Paul does not use actual weapons to win his battle, he is using the Word of God. His followers are his army and by their faith and commitment to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, they will shine over all the ends of the earth; they shall go on shining until all the seasons of darkness are consumed (1QM, 1Q33, 4Q491-7, 4Q471 pg.163), just as the sons of light. Both are soldiers of God.
In Gal 6:6-8 Paul is telling his audience that God will not be mocked, for a person will reap what he sows, because the one who sows for the flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit. In the end God has the final say. He will punish His people for their wrong doings. This is the case in the Dead Sea Scrolls. God has done His will and by the power of His own hands He levels the hordes of Belial. God consumes all ungodliness and does not cease until iniquity is destroyed (1QM, 1Q33, 4Q491-7, 4Q471).
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God lets His people make their own choices and gives them the choice of working for the flesh or working for the spirit. If His people choose the right path they will live eternally with the Spirit. If they choose the wrong path, He can cause their destruction.
Although Paul’s letter to the Galatians and the Dead Sea Scrolls were written at two totally different times and by people of different lifestyles and religions, they still faced similar problems. Words do not have to be identical for there to be a relationship between the people and the situations they are addressing. Jews and Christians are all people of God. They all hear His Word and deal with the dilemmas of faith, truth, and fallacy. Both Paul and the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls are trying to guide the followers of God and Jesus into the light and away from the darkness. Their main tool is the Holy Spirit, or a spirit of truth. In the end, both are the same and God’s people will hear His word.