Jesus the Nazarene



The land of Galilee held a prominent Essene population, primarily Nazarene (Nazorean). The Nazarenes* lived as far north as Damascus, with settlements along the Dan River and in a particular area known as the Hauran (the Arabian Desert, now the Syrian Desert), founding the towns of Cochaba and Nazara.  This desert area contained ancient volcanic soil and was very fruitful.  Nazara was later transposed as Nazareth when translated into Greek.

*Acts 24.5, “sect of the Nazarenes.”
Northern Galilee, note the city of Dan, upper right.
Hauran (gray area), the probable location of Cochaba and Nazara (located in Batanea, east of the Sea of Galilee).
City and district locations, note Mt. Hauran (center-right).



Eusebius writes of the later established Nazorean sect, which was the primary designate name for Jesus’ followers until later in the 2nd Century:

“Today this Nazorean sect exists in Beroea in Coele Syria, in the Decapolis in the region of Pella, and Bashan in the place called ‘Cocaba’ [star], which in Hebrew is called ‘Kochabe’.  The Disciples dwelled in Pella after they departed from Jerusalem, for Christ had told them to leave Jerusalem and withdraw from it because it was about to be besieged.  For this reason, they settled in Perea…that was where the sect of the Nazoreans began.”*
Eisenman. The New Testament Code, 513. Sterling Pub. Co. 2006. Print.  
Victoria LePage, Mysteries of the Bridechamber: “Now Epiphanius states that Cochaba had the meaning of a star, and Justin Martyr, writing around 150 CE, says that another village lay nearby to Cochaba called Nazara, meaning a sprout or branch.  So these early Christian researchers, familiar with Nazarene symbology, seemed to have interpreted it along the same lines as Schonfield.  They located Jesus’ family home in the eastern rather than the western Galilean zone, pinpointing it at Nazara, the place that had been given a messianic nomenclature that accorded of the old biblical prophecies.”

Num. 24.17, Balaam speaks, “A star (cochab) shall rise out of Jacob, and a flower (branch) shall spring from the root of Jesse.”  This scripture is always attributed as a reference to Jesus.

Essene, both northern (Nazarenes) and southern (Osseaen) maintained synagogues apart from Pharisees. There was an Essene synagogue/temple in Jerusalem with the Essene Gate located on the southwestern side of the city just south of David’s Tower.  This was probably used primarily by the Qumran (Osseaen) Essene. This entrance would allow Essenes to come and go without mixing with the general population.




Essene quarter and gate (green)




Most Christian seminaries teach that Jesus was a Pharisee, which is incorrect—Jesus was a Nazarene Essene.  Many clues support the Nazarene origin of Jesus.  Jesus teaches through parables, a trademark of Nazarene priestly training, whereas Pharisees, Sadducees, and Qumran Essene tended to teach through the law.  For example, the Sadducees would only recognize the Pentateuch as the law, with all other books sublimated as less than the law as Moses gave it.

In Jn. 3.11, Jesus makes a revealing statement.  He speaks to Nicodemus, a high-ranking Pharisee and member of the Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.  Jesus says, “…We speak that we know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our testimony.”   The ‘we and you’ tell us Jesus was not a Pharisee.

Two statements by Jesus illustrate the divergence from Pharisaic theology: “The kingdom of God is within you,” Luke 17.2, and “… unless a person is born again from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” John 3.3. Neither of the above scriptures seems much to do with Pharisaic teachings.  As we observe the tortured response of Nicodemus (Jn. 3.4), we can also ascertain that these two statements would be news to the rest of the priesthood and Pharisee adherents.

Although Jesus taught in the Pharisee synagogues, as most of the population was Pharisaic, especially in Judea, his roots lie in the more mystical Nazarene outlook on spirituality and relationship to God.  This loftier speaking platform indicates one reason why ordinary people marveled at his knowledge, wisdom, and authority.  Jesus moves beyond the interpretation of the law and announces quintessential ideas and principles uniting all men, and reduces all interpretations of the law into subjugation under love and forgiveness, embodying grace.*  Where before stood the knowledge of God and the Law, now also enters the Spirit, the active principle that gives true life, wisdom, and enlightenment.  Jesus presents the new enlightenment for mankind. 

*Grace, see, Noah.

Jesus also provides another often misinterpreted teaching.  He references ‘oneness’ and ‘wholeness’ as opposed to the incorrect biblical interpretation listed as ‘perfection’.  That is, the word ‘perfection’ may be used, but its meaning is intended as wholeness or oneness, as in, “I and the Father are one.”  In contrast to the Osseaen Essene and the Pharisee, whose problem becomes this vain attempt at perfect purity—outward pictured by asceticism, a multitude of purity laws, and commentaries ad infinitum—Jesus more correctly speaks to the issue of inner wholeness and unification, essentially the man himself.  

Jesus’s version of ‘perfection’ deals with the enlightened vision within a relationship with God, thence manifested in and from you as the spirit or kingdom expressed.  Essentially, Jesus teaches the basic understanding of the Way. “Be like God,” Jesus tells his disciples; in Matt. 22.32, “God is not the God of the dead [unawakened], but of the living,” or those awakened to the spirit.  Throughout his ministry, Jesus teaches, demonstrates, and prods the disciples toward this greater awakening. 

As to the word ‘perfection’ itself, the discipline of perfecting oneself can lead to nitpicking at every minor transgression and will soon lead to condemnation.  This teaching method can tear a person down and can leave deep wounds.  Following the law by iota instead of the spirit of the law seems to be much of what the scribes and Pharisees practiced.  Love leaves the room when the harshness of the law enters.  The Qumran Essenes, Sadducees, and Pharisees tried to confound Jesus with these nitpicking arguments.  With the same arguments they later convicted him of wrongdoing.  

Jesus, however, accepted their challenge.  For instance, he administered healing on the Sabbath (Mt. 12.12-14).  No Pharisee or Essene priest would do such a thing even if they were adept in the healing art.  Jesus brought wholeness to the table for them to behold, but the priests and elders stuck to their notion of what was perfect under the law. 

Near the time of Jesus’ birth, an increasing focus on the coming of the Messiah emerged.  The messianic urge was most prominent among the Essene, Galilean (Nazarene), and Judean (Osseaen).  The prophetic nature of Essene astrological studies confirms why the three wise men* appear in scripture.  They also followed the same astrological signs, Mt. 2.2,  “… his star in the east,” is the star that designates Messiah.  The wise men are usually considered Babylonian Jews from or traveling through Damascus.  Interestingly, it is to Damascus Saul is later headed to clear out Nazarenes who practiced the Way (Acts 9.1).

* The three wise men: mentioned in the court records of Herod (Mt. 2.7).

Nazarene Essenes were against and did not practice animal sacrifice, and Jesus is not known to practice sacrifice during his ministry.  That man must come to God and spiritually sacrifice himself, his mortal nature (fallen nature), would describe the Nazarene mystical relationship to God.  Mystic studies concerning spiritual light and dark (Sons of Light, Sons of Darkness), and therefore the resolution of events on a much broader scale, is an emphasized theology.  This theology has roots in the Book of Enoch (see Enoch, Watchers), and many scholars believe the historical period described in Enoch and whom we know today as the Essenes were first formed, generally identified as the Brotherhood of the Righteous.*

*Also, Great White Brotherhood, Rev. 7.9, “…standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, (10) and crying out with a loud voice, saying ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ ”  Also, v. 13-17.  [Enoch: written 300 BC-100 BC.] 

Jesus did teach the Essene theology of light contrasting with dark, as in John 3.20, “doeth evil that hateth the light.”  However, Jesus differs from his Essene counterparts and removes their teaching of predestination to a much higher standard.*  That standard is reflected in the Parable of the Prodigal Son—there is always hope, and a return to righteousness is always accepted.  Predestination is not a part of Jesus’s teaching.

*The Dead Sea Scrolls contains many references to those predestined to enter the darkness.

For the Nazarene, contemplative life is considered central to the practice of the Way (also noted as the Way of Love).  Jesus would offer revelation from the spirit of God, revelatory from the heart, such as expressing compassion and assigning grace (healing) to an individual.  Countering such are the scribes who collected and transcribed manuscripts. Their working method emphasized the practice of the law that requires an intellectual discipline rather than contemplative or inspirational.  The lawyered mentality (not revelatory) might best describe the Qumran Osseaen Essene, especially active scribes and lawyers.  Although contemplation was always a Jewish tradition, the view of what the law said overrode all other considerations.  

Nazarene Essenes would be relatively easy to convert to Jesus as the Anointed One (Messiah).  During Jesus’ last Passover, some scholars believe that many of his supporters in Jerusalem were Essene.  Since the celibate Qumran Essene did not have children,* this would leave only the Nazarenes as candidates for such numerous support groups.  The hardcore Knowers gathered and waited expectantly to recognize what they considered one of their own.  These adherents were also evident during the early ministry in Galilee.  

*see Mt. 23.15, “…for you compass land and sea to make one proselyte, and when he is made you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”


In all, there were probably 7,000 to 12,000 of his supporters in Jerusalem.  The crowds speak to those numbers.  The attending crowds provided the motivation for authorities to perceive Jesus as a threat.  Imagine thousands welcoming this one man into Jerusalem and with all the accolades which signify Messiah—he enters by the eastern gate, he rides on a donkey never ridden, palm fronds (not native to Jerusalem, but brought in from Jericho) laid before his pathway—this frightening vision would startle the High Priests of the Sanhedrin.  Later revolutionary actions confirmed their fears.







Holy Spirit


The term ‘Father’ represents the masculine, the Creator of Creation.  Holy Spirit stems from ‘Shekinah’ or ‘Shekinah Glory’, which is feminine.  The root of Shekinah is ‘Shin’.  Shin is a feminine attribution in Hebrew and infers new birth or awakening.  The anointing by the ‘Shekinah Glory’ awakened the mind to the indwelling of God, the kingdom within, and thus to accept the workings of God into each individual’s daily life.  All Jews, including Jesus’ supporters, would believe in the One God indivisible or unified, with masculine and feminine attributes. 

 Exodus 29.46 tells us, “That brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them.”*   The concept of indwelling is emphasized throughout scripture and will become critical to the Nazarene conversion.  No spiritual conversion occurs through the intellectual discipline, as one might study the law, but hinges upon realization.  Whether greater or lesser in impact, realization leading to conversion begins the enlightened journey.  The realization, the revelation, initiates the enlightened condition.  The principle of the kingdom within becomes paramount.

*God in the Tent.

The anointing of the Holy Spirit accomplished many of the conversions.  However, many also came to know from within, or the kingdom within made manifest—the very dawning of the awakened or enlightened condition.  Conversions today are the same, the Holy Spirit (Shekinah) perhaps arriving with power, yet may arrive quietly or with knowledge and certainty.   The act of conversion leads one to be ‘set apart’ in a similar manner that a Nazarite is set apart (see Nazarite John)—where once sitting (uncommitted), now standing and apart (committed).  A common Christian reference for those who receive the Holy Spirit becomes a “people set apart,” much like the historical Jewish tradition.  

Holy Spirit is sometimes interpreted as the ‘Mother’ or birth of the awakening consciousness, thus the awakening is given a feminine attribution.  ‘Born again’ was the phrase Jesus himself used, Jn. 3.3, “born again”; 3.5, “of water (physical birth) and the spirit (spiritual birth), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” For the Essene, releasing the feminine aspect of God offered blessings, spiritual gifts, a settling into God, or awakening.  In other words, God contains masculine and feminine (Father=masculine—Holy Spirit or Shekinah=feminine), much as we would describe masculine and feminine on earth.  However, God remains One within Himself, but with two aspects—one which creates and one which nourishes.*

*The Father, The Unnameable, Boundless One, Father of the Universe, First Light, and other such descriptive names inferring masculinity are just some of the terms mentioned in reference to God in The Sophia [Wisdom] of Jesus Christ  (search Nag Hammadi Library).  

The terms ‘Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’ were used only by the Essene.  Neither the Essene nor these terms give attribution to a Triune God, as defined much later in Roman Orthodoxy.  However, and to be fair, Messiah had not yet become self-evident.  So, Roman Orthodoxy perceived God from a different viewpoint.  For them, and to the point of Jesus’ arrival, God’s full identity became finally revealed.  It seemed clear to them that God in His person, God who anoints or awakens (His Holy Spirit), and the Son who implements and administers unto us, thus Savior, are observed as three different people but united into one.  Early Essene and Pharisee converts would see Jesus as the Anointed One, Messiah, and observed him as the High Son of God, or sent from the heavenly realms.*

*Matt. 10.40, “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives He who sent me,” (also, Jn. 13.16).  Although this scripture has been used to support the One God Indivisible theory, it may not denote ‘other than God’ but may denote ‘part of God’, as given in Isaiah 48.16: “I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there I am: and now the Lord God, and His Spirit, hath sent me.”  

The continuing blessing of the Holy Spirit will depend upon the relationship.  Many ascribe but many do not note their relationship as foremost.  Jesus speaks to dedication and commitment throughout his ministry.  These attributes will keynote the teaching of the Way and its practice.




Nazarene theology contains strong support relative to the feminine.
 The Nazarenes considered women ‘different but equal’.  
Thus, Jesus not only traveled with women                                                       
but the women functioned as disciples.                                                





Social custom disallowed men to freely discourse with ‘strange’ women, meaning unrelated or unmarried to the man.  Women might speak to a rabbi, for instance, but approaches toward men for general or lengthy conversation might begin to be noticed.  Naturally, this practice of men and women remaining distant lends the idea that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married.  Otherwise, Mary left herself open to accusations as a harlot, and Jesus would likewise be disdained, essentially destroying the ministry.  No such chance would have been risked.  Furthermore, the expectation of marriage for Nazarene men stood above all standards relative to full manhood.  This standard held doubly true for priests.  An unmarried rabbi could not reasonably counsel on marriage or family—not acceptable in this historical period.

Josephus writes about celibate Qumran Essenes and Essenes who married foremost for family (Nazarenes).  Almost all scholars agree with these designations.  As an added note concerning marriage, the term ‘companion’ and ‘wife’ were synonymous in biblical times.

Though not against the law, the Pharisees nonetheless became conflicted when Jesus included women within his ministry organization, as it was most unusual.  The fact that the women spoke as disciples, woman to woman, leads to a consequential feminine ministry influence, stirring who knows what within the home.  Mt. 10.34-39, “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own house,” tells us of the controversy Jesus believed his ministry would create.  In other words, the wife might become converted but the husband not, or perhaps roundabout.  


The women’s conversion might have occurred from
speaking to Mary Magdalene herself.  


Jesus also includes common folk, those not of the priesthood.  By extension, Jesus moves the Nazarene Essene vision of an enlightened mind from the confines of retreat and specific to those only within the priesthood, thence into the general population.  Legalism is set aside.  Jesus revealed close-held secrets, even though often related in parables.  Many priests would find the revelation of hidden knowledge close to blasphemy.  Jesus however, continued to sow good seeds amongst the populous.



The revelation of Jesus’ identity keynotes his Southern ministry.  His performance as a true Adept becomes a point of contention between Jesus and the Qumran scribes (Jn. 10.17-30).  These verses concern references to soul identity, the application of healing, the declaration of oneness with God, and Jesus himself having the power to offer eternal life (v. 28, “and I give unto them eternal life [the spirit]”).  To those who follow him, this scriptural passage becomes perhaps the most important of speakings.  It denotes Jesus as Messiah.  It also separates the wheat and the chaff, those who hail him as Messiah and those bitterly against him.  V. 31 witnesses this last, “the Jews (usually noted as Pharisaic priests and scribes) took up stones again to stone him.”

Many other truths Jesus hid within parable teaching.  The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15.11-17) contains a plentitude of obvious lessons for any thinking woman or man.  In Matt. 13.17 Jesus follows with the Parable of the Sower and mentions how the wicked one will snatch the seed of knowledge from those unwitting or whose heart has waxed gross.  In the Matthew scripture, Jesus next talks about the tares (Mt. 13.24-26), which contain an implied meaning toward the current priesthood.  The lawyers of the Qumran Essene and the Pharisees would have grasped the meaning and taken offense.*

  *John 10.17-30

Even so, the disciples, who attained only partial illumination, and other citizens previously deemed unworthy of higher knowledge, all generally heard and understood as they might.  Jesus did not make all parables equal, nor did Jesus always explain them.  However, the people did understand other parables, such as The Parable of the Mustard Seed in Mt. 13.31-35 (Parables).  That all parables were not understood would stir up controversy as to meaning.

All Essene advocated some separation into the desert for mystical/spiritual development, undisturbed seeking, and continuing the practice of contemplative life.  Jesus and John the Baptist engaged in this practice.  


For Jesus, the succinct scripture as to times of separation is found in Mark 1.12-13, “And immediately the Spirit drove him into the wilderness.”  For John, Mark 1.4 is as direct, “John came baptizing in the wilderness [as opposed to the cities] and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins [forgiveness].”  The anointing of Jesus would have to be described as a mystical experience, essentially the Shekinah glory, the administration of the spirit of God upon Jesus: Mark 1.10, “…spirit descending upon him like a dove.”

The Nazarenes would heavily emphasize qualities from direct communion with God: Jn. 8.16, “am with the Father who sent me;” Jn. 10.30, “I and my Father are one,” direct knowledge of God; Lk. 17.21, “kingdom of God is within you;” and spiritual truth, Jn. 4.23, “worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him,” and Jn. 15.26, “Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of me.”  The teaching of the Way soars compared to scribal or Levitical interpretations or legalism.  Jesus’ understanding confounds the Essene scribes,* Pharisees, and Sadducees and reveals the gulf between the two.

*In the New Testament, the scribes are mentioned more than any other group.

From the Essene mystical traditions and applications, such as the practice of laying on hands, are yet another example of mystical development and conveyed mystic secrets.  Many historical references denote Nazarenes for the healing application or gift (see Acts 9.10-19, concerning Ananias), as well as prophecy.*   The Messiah would demonstrate these two outstanding gifts.  The mystic healing art and prophecy gifts would assist men in recognizing Jesus, thence allowing Jesus to tender the final interpretation of the Law and the Prophets.  Even though previous prophets each made his or her historical contribution, all Essene believed this final interpretation remained for Messiah to deliver.

*Prophets are more correctly denoted as ‘speakers’ or ‘spokesmen’. The term does infer revelatory knowledge or inspirational speaking.

Jesaus’ teaching is both mystical and practical, which is in the nature of the Way.  In Jn. 16.16 he tells the people, “A little while, and you will not see me; and again a little while, and you will see me, because I go to the Father.”  For the people who are so oppressed, this mystical expression and its implications might be more comforting than any message Jesus could deliver.  Jesus explains his meaning in John 16.16-31.

With the addition of non-Mosaic purification laws, the sabbath had become measured by a strictly defined performance of man unto God.  This imposition into the sabbath greatly contrasted what had more traditionally been a day of rest for man, just as illustrated in Genesis by God resting on the seventh day and also supported in Exodus as a day from labor, and given by Jesus as a day wherein good works may be done (Mt. 12.10-13).  Again, the spiritual clarity Jesus brings to the sabbath fulfills the actual interpretation of the Law and the intent of the Prophets, even unto the full measure.

In all this, Nazarene Jesus views the current priesthood as having lost the spirit of the law.  The tradition of love and mercy as foremost had become muddled, and sensitivity toward the people had become dispassionate.  The situation resembled the many players on a stage whose intents and purposes had become nothing but the players’ own.  All three sects, Sadducee-Pharisee-Qumran (Osseaen) Essene, stood guilty in the eyes of Jesus.  


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5 comments on “Jesus the Nazarene

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