The Essenes were similar to the Pharisees, but different in the fact that they were more separatist. The Qumran community, whom made the Dead Sea Scrolls, were believed to be Essenes. This community came about when a group of priests descended from Zadok withdrew from Jerusalem priesthood and moved near the Dead Sea. The withdrawal was because of the opposition to the Hasmonean priest-kings, who they viewed as “illegitimate”. Over the years the Essenes had developed their own legal code that was highly important to them. Part of this code involved animal sacrifice. They did not offer up animal sacrifices in the temple of Jerusalem because they referred to the temple as “polluted by a corrupt priesthood” (Strauss, 135).
The Essenes were also apocalyptic in their beliefs, and they viewed themselves as the “True Israel”, enduring the end of the age. They interpreted scripture in a way that was relevant to their lives. They believed that God would come to bring them up with Him to fight alongside God’s angels in a war against the Romans. They were expecting two Messiahs to come at that time. The first was a military messiah from the line of David and the second a priesthood messiah from the line of Aaron. The Qumran/Essenes were strong rooted, but were eventually destroyed by the Romans in the Jewish Revolt of AD 66-73 (Strauss, 135).