“Jesus of Nazareth was an Essene, as were most of his followers, including the twelve Apostles (some of whom were his cousins). Many elements distinguished and even separated the Essenes from the rest of Israel. Their claims about their very existence was certainly a controversial matter. For the Essenes averred that Moses had created them as a secret fraternity within Judaism, with Aaron and his descendants at their head.
“The prophet Jeremiah was a Master of the Essenes, and it was in his lifetime that they ceased to be a secret society and became a public entity. From that time many of the Essenes began living in communities. Isaiah and Saint John the Baptist were also Masters of the Essenes. Their purpose was to follow a totally esoteric religious philosophy and practice that was derived from the Egyptian Mysteries. As the grandson of the Pharaoh, Moses had been an initiate of those mysteries and destined to ultimately become the head of the Egyptian religion.” ~Abbot George Burke
The question of whether or not Jesus was an Essene is one we may never have a definite answer for. Among spiritual groups, however, the evidence is clear enough that he was a member of an Essene community. And since he was often called “Master” or “Rabbi” by his followers, it can reasonable be assumed that he was an Essene Rabbi and the leader of an Essene community.
We can say, then, that if Jesus was an Essene Rabbi, than he apostles and many of his other disciples were Essenes. There are hints of this fact in the Bible and elsewhere. When a wealthy man asked how he could join with Jesus and his community, he was told that he would have to sell his property and donate the money to the poor.
This sounds like a harsh requirement. But it was common practice in an Essene community for anyone who joined to turn over all his wealth and property to the community treasurer to administer for the good of all. And the Essenes often referred to themselves as “poor folk” because they dis not own anything individually, but only as a community. So Jesus was really telling the wealthy man what any other new member would be told: turn over your money and property to the community treasurer. So while academics can argue about it forever, most spiritual schools now except Essene Jesus as a fact.
Students of Moses
Burke says that the Essenes were students of Moses. It may be more accurate t o say that Moses was an Essene. The Essenes claim to have existed for thousands of years under different names in different places. Evidence of that has been found in India and China. Burke says they were followers of the mystery schools of Egypt. In any case, they were strongly connected to the early Christian community under Jesus, and later under Peter and James. The later Christian church formed by Paul, however, was not connected with them. Essene Jesus certainly did not select Paul to take over His church. If He had thought James and Peter were not doing a good job, He would have appeared to them and corrected them.
Essene Jesus was not the only Essene Master of early Christianity. John the Baptist was another. His baptism was a form of the Essene’s ritual bathing. The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah were as well. And his talk of the Sun of Righteousness tells us that Malachi was also.
Not much of the Essene practices have been recorded in history, largely because they were so secretive about them. We know that they were spiritual healers and were often called upon to heal people of physical and spiritual ills. They got up early, bathed, then went to a mountaintop to watch the sunrise. They refused to send animals to the temple to be ritually sacrificed. Instead, they sent donations of flour and honey. It is said they ate only occasionally and lived mostly on the spiritual light of the spiritual sun. The teachings of Essene Jesus were very much the teaching of all Essene masters.