The Qumran ritual washings were no doubt instituted in the light of God's promise in Ezek. 36:25, that He would purify His people from their uncleanness by sprinkling clean water on them. The same promise also underlies the words of Jesus to Nicodemus in John 3:5 about the necessity of a new birth "of water and the Spirit" for anyone who would enter the kingdom of God. But in the latter place this new birth is bound up with faith in Jesus and consequent union with Him and sharing of His eternal life. Jesus has filled the old words with a new content.

Such features of early Christian life as baptism and the breaking of bread, the rules of fellowship laid down in Matt. 18, the question of precedence at the Last Supper, the community of goods in the primitive Jerusalem church, the government of the group by apostles, elders and financial officers, have their analogues in the Qumran organization. But their significance within the Christian community is controlled by the person and the work of Jesus. The Messiah was different from any kind of Messiah expected at Qumran or elsewhere in Israel in those days, and all the accompaniments of messianic expectation had their meaning transformed in the light of His Messianic achievement.

 

 

from pages 146- 147, Second Thoughts on the Dead Sea Scrolls