Seeing YAHWEH's Word Through
The Zadokite or Damascus Document
Note: These are not the rules for Victory Community.
1. Of YAHWEH's vengeance and care
Now listen, all right-minded men, and take note how YAHWEH acts: HE has a feud with all flesh and exacts satisfaction from all who spurn HIM.
Whenever Yisrael broke faith and renounced HIM, HE hid HIS face both from it and from HIS tabernacle and consigned them to the sword. But whenever HE called to mind the Covenant which HE had made with their forbears, HE spared them a remnant and did not consign them to utter extinction.
So, in the Era of Anger, that era of the three hundred and ninety years! when HE delivered them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, HE took care of them and brought to blossom alike out of the ke hunnah (priesthood) and out of the laity that root which had been planted of old, allowing it once more to possess the land and to grow fat in the richness of its soil. Then they realized their iniquity and knew that they had been at fault. For twenty years, however, they remained like blind men groping their way, until at last YAHWEH took note of their deeds, how that they were seeking HIM sincerely, and HE raised up for them one who would teach the TORAH (Torah) correctly, to guide them in the way of HIS heart and to demonstrate to future ages what HE does to a generation that incurs HIS anger, that is, to the congregation of those that betray HIM and turn aside from HIS way.
The period in question was that whereof it is written, 'Like a stubborn heifer, Yisrael was stubborn' [Hoshea (Hosea) 4.16]. It was the time when a certain scoffer arose to distil upon Yisrael the waters deceptive and to lead them astray in a trackless waste, bringing low whatsoever had once been high, diverting them from the proper paths and removing the landmarks which their forbears had set up, to the end that through his efforts those curses cleaved to them which had been prescribed when the Covenant was concluded, and they were delivered to the sword. Thus was avenged that breach of the Covenant which they had committed in seeking smooth things and in preferring delusion and in being constantly on the watch to breach the faith and in choosing to walk proudly and in justifying the wicked and condemning the righteous, and in abrogating the Covenant and annulling the pact, and in assailing the life of the righteous and abhorring all whose conduct was blameless, and in pursuing them with the sword, and in raising a general clamor against them. YAHWEH then grew angry with their horde and utterly destroyed all their throng and treated all their works as an abominable thing unclean.
2. YAHWEH's judgment on wickedness and HIS loving kindness to the righteous
And now, listen to ME, all who have entered the Covenant, and I will open your ears to the fate which attends the wicked.
YAHWEH loves knowledge. Wisdom and sound sense has HE posted before HIM. Prudence and knowledge minister to HIM. Patience attends on HIM and abundant forgiveness, so that HE may shrive the repentant. But also with HIM are might and power and great wrath, along with flames of fire and all the angels of destruction -appointed for them that turn aside from HIS way and treat HIS ordinance as a thing to be shunned, to the end that they shall be left without remnant or survival.
Never, from the very beginning of the world, has YAHWEH approved such men. HE has always known what their actions would be, even before the foundations of them were laid. HE has anathematized whole generations on account of bloodshed, hiding HIS face from the land. Their end has always been pre-determined. HE has always foreknown how long they would endure and the exact and precise extent of their continuance; yea, all that has happened in their several epochs throughout history, and likewise all that was to befall them.
Nevertheless, in all of their generations HE has ever raised up for HIMSELF duly designated men, so that HE might provide survival for the earth and fill the face of the world with their seed. And to these has HE ever revealed His SetApart Spirit at the hands of HIS anointed and has ever disclosed the truth; and HE has clearly specified who they were. But those whom HE hated HE has always left to wander astray.
3. Former Sinners
And now, children, listen to ME, and I will open your eyes to see and understand how YAHWEH acts, so that you may choose what HE has desired and reject what HE has hated, walking blamelessly in all HIS ways and not straying after thoughts of guilty lust or after whoring eyes. For many there be that have strayed thereby from olden times until now, and even strong heroes have stumbled thereby. Because they walked in the stubbornness of their hearts, the Watchers' of heaven fell; yea, they were caught thereby because they kept not the Commandments of YAHWEH. So too their sons, whose height was like the lofty cedars and whose bodies were as mountains. They also fell. So too 'all flesh that was upon the dry land'. They also perished. These became as though they had never been, because they did their own pleasure and kept not the Commandments of their MAKER. In the end HIS anger was kindled against them. In the same way, too, the sons of Noah went astray, and thereby they and their families were cut off.
Abraham, however, did not walk in this way. Therefore, because he kept the Commandments of YAHWEH and did not prefer the desires of his own spirit, he was accounted the Friend of YAHWEH and transmitted this status in turn to Yitzhaq (Isaac) and Ya'aqob (Jacob). They too kept the Commandments, and they too were recorded as Friends of YAHWEH and as partners in HIS everlasting Covenant.
But the sons of Ya'aqob (Jacob) strayed in that way and they were punished for their aberration. Their sons, too, when they were in Egypt, walked in the stubbornness of their hearts, plotting against the Commandments of YAHWEH and doing each what was right in his own eyes. Because they ate blood all their males were cut off in the wilderness. YAHWEH said to them at Kadesh: 'Go up and possess the land' [Devarim (Deuteronomy). 9.23], [but they followed the desire of] their own spirits and hearkened not to the voice of their MAKER neither to the orders of their leader, but kept murmuring in their tents. So the anger of YAHWEH was kindled against their horde. Their sons too perished by such conduct. Their kings were cut off through it, and their heroes perished through it, and their land was laid waste through it. Thus, whenever in ancient times those who had entered the Covenant became guilty on this account, forsaking that Covenant of YAHWEH, preferring their own pleasure and going astray after the stubbornness of their hearts, doing each man as he pleased, they were invariably delivered to the sword.
4. YAHWEH's remnant
Howbeit, with the rest of them-that is, with those that held fast to HIS Commandments-YAHWEH ever made good HIS everlasting Covenant with Yisrael, revealing to them the hidden things concerning which Yisrael in general had gone astray-even HIS SetApart shabbats and HIS excellent festivals, HIS righteous ordinances, the ways of HIS truth and the purposes of HIS will, 'the which, if a man do, he shall live' [Vayiqra (Leviticus)18.5]. HE opened for them a well with water abounding, which they might dig. But them that spurned those waters HE did not permit to live. And though they kept sullying themselves with human transgression and with filthy ways, and kept saying, "Tis our own concern,' yet did YAHWEH with HIS mysterious power shrive their iniquity and forgive their transgression and build for them in Yisrael a firmly established House the like of which has not existed from ancient times until this day.
They that hold fast unto HIM are destined for life eternal, and theirs is all mortal splendour, even as YAHWEH has sworn unto them by the hand of the prophet Yehezqel (Ezekiel), saying: 'The kohen (priests) and the Levites and the sons of Zadok that kept the charge of MY tabernacle when the children of Yisrael went astray from ME, these it is that shall offer unto ME the fat and the blood' [Yehezqel (Ezekiel) 44.15]. By kohen ('priests') is meant those in Yisrael that repented and departed from the land of Judah. [By 'Levites'] is meant those that associated themselves with them. By 'sons of Zadok' is meant those elect of Yisrael that have been designated by name and that shall go on functioning in the last days. Behold, their names have been specified, the families into which they are to be born, the epochs in which they are to function, the full tale of their tribulations, the length of their sojourn in exile, and the precise nature of their deeds.
5. Reward of the righteous
These were the 'perfect SetApart men' of former times-the men whose sins YAHWEH pardoned, who knew right for right and wrong for wrong. But all who up to the present time have succeeded them in carrying out explicitly the TORAH (Torah) from which those ancients drew their lessons, them too will YAHWEH forgive, in accordance with the Covenant which HE made with those ancients to forgive their iniquities. And when the present era is completed, there will be no more express affiliation with the house of Judah; every man will 'mount guard' for himself. 'The fence will be rebuilt, and the bounds be far-flung' Mikah- [cf. (Micah) 7.11].
6. Belial ensnares
Meanwhile, however, Belial will be rampant in Yisrael, even as YAHWEH has said through the prophet YeshaYahu (Isaiah), the son of Amoz: 'Terror and the pit and the trap shall be upon you, O inhabitant of the land!' [YeshaYahu (Isaiah) 24.17]. The reference is to those three snares, viz. (a) whoredom, (b) lucre, and (c) desecration, concerning which Levi the son of Ya'aqob (Jacob) said that by making them look like three kinds of righteousness Belial ensnares Yisrael in them. He who escapes the one gets caught in the other, and he who escapes the other gets caught in the third.
Such men may be described as 'builders of a rickety wall' [Yehezqel (Ezekiel) 13.10], or as persons that have 'walked after filth' [Hoshea (Hosea) 5.11]. The 'filth' in question is the babbling preacher of whom YAHWEH said, 'Babble-babble shall they preach' [Mikah (Micah) 2.6]; while the fact that two words [viz. 'pit' and 'trap'] are used to describe the net in which they will be caught alludes to the whorish practice of taking two wives at the same time, the true basis of nature being the pairing of one male with one female, even as it is said (of Adam and Eve), 'A male and a female created HE them' [Bereshith (Genesis). 1.27], and of those that went into the ark, 'In pairs they entered' [Bereshith (Genesis) 7.9]. Similarly, too, it is said concerning a prince: 'He shall not take more than one wife' [Devarim (Deuteronomy) 17.17].* Such persons commit [desecration] inasmuch as they lie with women in their periods and do not put them aside, as enjoined in the TORAH (Torah). Moreover, they marry the daughters of their brothers and sisters, whereas Moshe has said: 'You shall not enter into intimate relations with the sister of your mother; she is your mother's kin' [Vayiqra cf. (Leviticus) 18.13]. (The laws of forbidden degrees are written, to be sure, with reference to males, but they hold good equally for females. A niece, for instance, who indulges in carnal intercourse with her paternal uncle is equally to be regarded as his kin.) Furthermore, such men have desecrated the SetApart Spirit within them, and with mocking tongue have opened their mouths against the statutes of YAHWEH's Covenant, declaring, 'They have no foundation'. They have spoken disgracefully about them. All such men may be described as persons that 'kindle a fire and set firebrands alight' [YeshaYahu (Isaiah) 50.11]. Of them it may be said that 'their webs are spiders' webs and their eggs basilisks' eggs' [YeshaYahu (Isaiah) 59.5]. None that have contact with them shall go unscathed; the more one does so, the more guilty he becomes-unless, of course, he does so under compulsion.
Throughout antiquity, however, YAHWEH has always taken note of the deeds of such men, and HIS anger has always been kindled against their acts. Always, in fact, they have proved to be 'a witless folk' [YeshaYahu (Isaiah) 27.11], a nation void of sense [Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32.28] in that they lacked discernment.
* David, however, had never read the Book of Torah, for it was sealed up in the ark and remained unopened in Yisrael from the day when Eleazar and Joshua-Ben Nun and the Elders were gathered to their rest. The people worshiped Ashtoreth, while the ark remained hidden and unopened until indeed a Zadokite entered into office [in the person of Hilkiah the kohen (priest)]. Accordingly, David's actions were not punished, save the spilling of the blood of Uriah, but YAHWEH remitted the penalty for them.
This is part of the original text, but is here relegated to a foot note, as it would have been in a modern work, in order not to interrupt the sequence of thought.
7. A Remnant
When, in antiquity, Yisrael was first delivered, Moshe and Aaron still continued in their charge, through the help of the Malak of Lights," even though Belial in his cunning had set up Jannes and his brother in opposition to them.
Similarly, at the time when the land was destroyed, men arose who removed the ancient landmarks and led Yisrael astray; and it was, indeed, because they uttered sedition against the Commandments of YAHWEH which HE had given through Moshe and through HIS SetApart anointed kohen (priest) Aaron, and because they gave forth false prophecies in order to subvert Yisrael from YAHWEH, that the land was laid utterly waste. Nevertheless, YAHWEH still remembered the Covenant which HE had made with their forbears and raised from the ke hunnah (priesthood) men of discernment and from the laity men of wisdom, and HE made them hearken to HIM. And these men 'dug the well'-that well whereof it is written, 'Princes digged it, nobles of the people delved it, with the aid of a mehoqeq [Bemidbar (Numbers) 21.18]. The 'well' in question is the TORAH (Torah). They that 'digged' are those of Yisrael who repented and departed from the land of Judah to sojourn in 'the land of Damascus'. ** YAHWEH called them all 'princes' because they went in search of HIM and because their excellence was ever gainsaid (?) by any man's mouth. The term mehoqeq [which can mean 'lawgiver' as well as 'stave'] refers to the man who expounds the TORAH. Yisaiah has employed an analogous piece of imagery when in allusion to the TORAH he has spoken of YAHWEH's 'producing a tool for HIS work' [YeshaYahu cf. Isaiah 54.16]. As for the 'nobles of the people', these are the men that come, in every era of wickedness, to delve the well, using as their staves [Heb. me-hoq-eq] the statutes [Heb. huq-im] which the Lawgiver prescribed [Heb. haqaq-mehoqeq] for them to walk in. Without such 'implements', they would, indeed, never achieve their goal until such time as the true Expositor arises at the end of days.
8. Moral duty of the Covenant
All that enter the Covenant with no intention of going into the tabernacle to
keep the flame alive on the altar do so in vain. They have as good as shut the
door. Of them YAHWEH has said: 'Who is there among you that would shut
the door, and who of you would not keep alive the flame upon MINE altar?' In
vain [Malachi- 1.10] [are all their deeds] if, in an era of wickedness, they do
not take heed to act in accordance with the explicit injunctions of the TORAH;
to keep away from men of ill-repute; to hold themselves aloof from ill-gotten
gain; not to defile themselves by laying hands on that which has been vowed or
devoted to YAHWEH or on the property of the tabernacle; not to rob the poor of
YAHWEH's people; not to make widows their prey or murder the fatherless; to
distinguish between unclean and clean and to recognize SetApart from profane; to
keep the shabbat in its every detail, and the festivals and fasts in accordance
with the practice laid down originally by the men who entered the Covenant in
'the land of Damascus'; to pay their required dues in conformity with the
detailed rules thereof; to love each man his neighbour like himself; to grasp
the hand of the poor, the needy and the stranger; to seek each man the welfare
of his fellow;
to cheat not his own kin; to abstain from whoredom, as is meet; to bring no charge against his neighbour except by due process, and not to nurse grudges from day to day; to keep away from all unclean things, in accordance with what has been prescribed in each case and with the distinctions which YAHWEH HIMSELF has drawn for them; not to sully any man the SetApart Spirit within him.
Howbeit, for all that perform these rules in SetApart Pureness unimpaired, according to all the instruction that has been given them-for them will YAHWEH's Covenant be made good, that they shall be preserved for a thousand generations, even as it is written: 'HE keepeth Covenant and loyalty with them that love HIM and keep HIS Commandments, even unto a thousand generations' [Devarim (Deuteronomy) 7.9].
9. Family life
If members of the community happen to be living in encampments, in accordance with a usage which obtains in this country, and if they marry and beget children, they are [in such matters] to follow the precepts of the [TORAH] (Torah) and the disciplinary regulations therein prescribed for the relationship of husband to wife and of father to child."
10. Requital of the disobedient
All that reject these things shall be doomed to extinction when YAHWEH visits the world to requite the wicked that is, when that ensues which is described by the prophet YeshaYahu (Isaiah) the son of Amoz in the words: 'There shall come upon you and upon your kindred and upon your father's house days the like of which have not come since the time that Ephraim departed from Judah' [YeshaYahu (Isaiah) 7.17]. In other words, the same situation will then obtain as obtained at the time of the great schism between the two houses of Yisrael, when Ephraim departed from Judah. At that time all who turned back were delivered to the sword, whereas all who stood fast were vouchsafed escape to 'the land of the north'.
It is to this that allusion is also made in the statement: 'I will exile Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun your image, the star of your God . . . beyond Damascus' [Amoz- cf. (Amos) 5.26]. The expression 'Sikkuth your king' refers to the Books of the TORAH, [for the word 'Sikkuth' is to be explained from the like-sounding sukkah, 'tabernacle'] as in the passage of Scripture which says: 'I will raise up the fallen sukkah [tabernacle] of David' [Amoz (Amos) 9:11]. The expression 'king' denotes the congregation; and the expression 'Kiyyun your image' refers to the books of the prophets whose words the House of Yisrael has despised. As for the 'star', that refers to every such interpreter of the Torah as indeed repairs to 'Damascus', even as it is written: 'There shall step forth a star out of Ya'aqob (Jacob), and a sceptre shall rise out of Yisrael' [Bemidbar (Numbers) 24.17]. The 'sceptre', it may be added, is the leader of the community, for in the exercise of his office he shall 'batter all the sons of pride', as the Scripture says.
In the former visitation, these saints escaped, while those that turned back were delivered to the sword. Such will be the fate also of those who in the latter days will have entered YAHWEH's Covenant but not held fast to these things. Them will YAHWEH punish unto extinction by the hand of Belial. The day on which YAHWEH will carry out the punishment will be that to which the prophet alluded when he said: 'The princes of Judah have become like them that remove landmarks; I will pour out MY wrath upon them like water' [Hoshea- (Hosea) 5.10]. They shall hope for healing, but the blemish shall cling to them. They are all of them apostates in that they have not turned from the way of the treacherous but have sullied themselves with wantonness and with wicked lucre and with the nursing of grudges against their fellows and with hatred of their neighbours. They have cheated their own kin and have had contact with lewdness and have been overbearing by virtue of wealth and possession and have done every man of them what was right in his own eyes, and have preferred the stubbornness of their own hearts, and have not kept aloof from the rabble, but have behaved lawlessly and high-handedly, walking in the way of the wicked. Concerning them has YAHWEH said: 'Their wine shall prove the poison of serpents and the cruel venom of asps' [Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32.33]. The 'wine' in question is their conduct; the 'serpents' are the kings of the nations; and the 'venom [Heb. ro'sh] of asps' is the chief [Heb. ro'sh] of the Grecian kings who will come to wreak vengeance upon them.
Those that have been 'builders of the rickety wall' and 'daubers of veneer upon it' have never considered all this, because the man who walks in wind, who raises whirlwinds, who spouts lies-the kind of man against all of whose ilk YAHWEH's wrath has always been kindled-has kept spouting at them. Howbeit, what Moshe said of old, 'Not for your righteousness nor for the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess these nations but because of HIS love wherewith HE loved your forefathers and because HE would keep the oath' [Devarim cf. (Deuteronomy) 9.5],35 applies equally to those in Yisrael who in those latter days show repentance and eschew the way of the rabble. The same love which YAHWEH showed to the men of old who pledged themselves to follow HIM will HE show also to their successors. The ancestral Covenant shall stand good for them. But inasmuch as HE hates and abominates all that 'build a rickety wall', HIS anger has been kindled against them; and all who reject HIS Commandments and forsake them and go on walking in the stubbornness of their own hearts will be visited with such judgment as has been described. It is to this that YermeYah (Jeremiah) was referring when he spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, and Elisha when he spoke to his servant Gehazi.
All those that entered into the new Covenant in 'the land of Damascus' but subsequently relapsed and played false and turned away from the well of living waters shall not be reckoned as of the communion of the people nor inscribed in the roster of it throughout the period from the time the teacher of the community is gathered to his rest until that in which the lay and the priestly MESSIYAH- [anointed] assume their office. The same applies also to all that entered the company of the 'perfect SetApart and blameless' but were loath to carry out the rules imposed upon the upright. Every such man is, as it were, like 'one molten in the furnace' [Yehezqel (Ezekiel) 22.22]. When his deeds come clearly to light, he shall be cast out of that company as being one who has no share among the disciples of YAHWEH. Men of knowledge shall reprove him according to his perfidy until he repent and thereby resume his place among the perfect SetApart and blameless-that is, until it become clear that his actions are again in accordance with the interpretation of the Torah adopted by the perfect SetApart and blameless. Meanwhile, no man shall have commerce with him in matters either of property or of employment, for he has been cursed by all the SetApart Ones of YAHWEH on high. The same applies again-in the future as it did in the past-to all who commit their hearts to idolatry and walk in the stubbornness of their hearts. All such have no portion in the household of the Torah [TORAH]. The same applies, once again, to all of their fellows that relapse in the company of scoffers. These too shall be judged; for they will have spoken error against the righteous ordinances and have rejected the Covenant of YAHWEH and the pledge which they swore in 'the land of Damascus' -that is, the new Covenant. Neither they nor their families shall have a portion in the household of the Torah [TORAH].
About forty years will elapse from the death of the teacher of the community until all the men who take up arms and relapse in the company of the Man of Falsehood are brought to an end. At that time, the wrath of YAHWEH will be kindled against Yisrael, and that will ensue which is described by the prophet when he says: 'No king shall there be nor kohen (priest) nor judge nor any that reproves aright' [Hoshea cf. (Hosea) 3.4]. But they of Ya'aqob (Jacob) that have repented, that have kept the Covenant of YAHWEH, shall then speak each to his neighbour to bring him to righteousness, to direct his steps upon the way. And YAHWEH will pay heed to their words and hearken, and HE will draw up a record of those that fear HIM and esteem HIS NAME, to the end that yeshua shall be revealed for all YAHWEH-fearing men. Then you shall again distinguish the righteous from the wicked, him that serves YAHWEH from him that serves HIM not. And YAHWEH will 'show mercy unto thousands, unto them that love HIM and keep HIM Commandments'-yea, even unto a thousand generations.
The divisive elements that, in the era of Yisrael's perfidy, when it defiled the tabernacle, indeed went out from the SetApart city and placed their reliance on YAHWEH and returned to YAHWEH, but through whose wrangles the people were thrown into discord these shall be subjected to judgment at the hands of the sacred council, each according to his attitude. Those, however, who had entered the Covenant but subsequently broke through the bounds of the Torah-all of those shall be 'cut off from the midst of the camp' at the time when YAHWEH's honour is made manifest to Yisrael. And along with them shall go those that sought to turn Judah to wickedness in the days when it was being put to the test.
11. Yeshua of the Saints
Howbeit, all that hold fast to these enactments, going and coming in accordance with the TORAH; that hearken to the voice of the Teacher; that make confession before YAHWEH, saying: Just and truthful are YAHWEH'S judgments against us, for we have done wickedly, both we and our fathers, in that we have gone contrary to the statutes of the Covenant; all who raise not their hands against HIS SetApart statutes or HIS righteous judgments or HIS truthful ordinances; all who learn the lessons of the former judgments wherewith the men of the community were adjudged in time past; all who give ear to him who imparts the true interpretation of the Torah and who do not controvert the right ordinances when they hear them-all of these shall rejoice and their hearts shall be strong, and they shall prevail over all that dwell in the world. And YAHWEH will accept their atonement, and because they took refuge in HIS SetApart NAME they shall indeed see yeshua at YAHWEH'S hand.
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