The religious order known by the Greek name Essenes, were also known as Chassids.  They were mystics who strictly obeyed their scripture, avoided materialistic pursuits, and shared everything they had with their community.  It is interesting that, while some fundamentalist preachers of today make fun of new age types who carry crystals around with them, the very name “Essene” come from the “Essen stones” that they carried in a little bag tied to their waist cord, which they used for healing and divination.  
    The Essenes were prosecuted by the false priests placed in the temple by the Roman governor forcing them to move into the desert.  They kept their teaching secret, revealing them gradually to those accepted into the order.  They were very discriminating about who they would accept into the community, fearing that accepting unrepeated sinners would not change the sinners so much as it would change the order, and not for the better.  That is very similar to the way the early Christian church operated under St. Peter and St. James.  It was only when Paul started his Christian church that virtually anyone was accepted.


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