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4Q521 or the 4QMessianic Apocalypse is one of the Dead Sea Scrolls found in the Cave 4 near Qumran.


4Q521 comprises two larger fragments.[1] The original editor was Jean Starcky,[2] though translation revisions have been proposed by Émile Puech.[3]


The text:

[the hea]vens and the earth will listen to His Messiah ["anointed one"], and none therein will stray from the commandments of the holy ones.
Seekers of the Lord, strengthen yourselves in His service!
All you hopeful in (your) heart, will you not find the Lord in this?
For the Lord will consider the pious (hasidim) and call the righteous by name.
Over the poor His spirit will hover and will renew the faithful with His power.
And He will glorify the pious on the throne of the eternal Kingdom.
He who liberates the captives, restores sight to the blind, straightens the b[ent]
And f[or] ever I will cleav[ve to the h]opeful and in His mercy...
And the fr[uit...] will not be delayed for anyone.
And the Lord will accomplish glorious things which have never been as [He...]
For He will heal the wounded, and revive the dead and bring good news to the poor
...He will lead the uprooted and knowledge...and smoke (?)

— Michael O. Wise, translation[4]


The subject of the text is eschatological[5] and makes a connection with the healing ministry of the Messiah.[6] 4Q521 may be related to other apocalyptic end-time texts, 4QSecond Ezekiel[7] 4QApocryphon of Daniel,[8] and has been studied in relation to Gospel of Luke's Messianic Magnificat and Benedictus and especially striking is the comparison with Luke 7:22 about raising the dead.[9]

The references to heaven and earth listening to the Messiah are not paralleled in any other text in the context of Second Temple Judaism and have given speculation as to the heavenly status of the Messiah in this text. Some see it as an allusion to Isaiah 1:2a which says "Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the Lord has spoken". However, heaven and earth are also said to listen to Moses in Deuteronomy 32:1, precluding any conclusions about the heavenly status of the Messiah in 4Q521.[10][11] There is also some dispute among scholars as to whether the Greek "anointed one" should be read in the defective plural as "anointed ones", which would form a parallelism to the second half of the first line to the "holy ones" (angels) and imply that both halves of the text are referring to angelic figures, rather than a Messiah.[12][13]

The Messiah/anointed figure in 4Q521 is commonly interpreted as an Elijah-type figure rather than a Davidic warrior Messiah. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, Hebrew prophets, such as Elijah, are regularly referred to as "anointed ones". Furthermore, it is the role of a herald or messenger to "bring good news to the poor" (line 12), suggesting a prophetic rather than warrior figure. Only in 4Q521 does an ancient Jewish text say the Messiah will raise the dead in the eternal kingdom (line 12) (even in the New Testament, Jesus is the firstfruit but not the agent of the final resurrection). Rather, raising the dead was most commonly associated with the historical career of Elijah (1 Kings 17), and later Jewish commentary solely placed the role of resurrection in God's future kingdom with Elijah. For example, "the resurrection of the dead comes through Elijah" (m. Sota 9, end; j . Sheqalim 3:3) and "Everything that the Holy One will do, he has already anticipated by the hands of the righteous in this world, the resurrection of the dead by Elijah and Ezekiel, the drying of the Dead Sea by Moses..." (Pesikta de R. Kahana 76a). The description of Elijah in Ben Sira provides a direct parallel with 4Q521's reference to the Messiah commanding the heavens and the earth, where, through the authority of God, Elijah himself commands the heavens: "By the word of the Lord he shut up the heavens and also three times brought down fire" (Sira 48:3). The two trees in Revelation 11 that prevent rainfall are also commonly interpreted as symbols for Elijah and Moses. Another fragment of 4Q521 reads "(1) and the precept of your mercy and I will liberate them (2) for it is sure: 'the fathers will return to the sons.'" This phrase is a reference to Malachi 3:24, where Elijah "will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers." Sirach 48:10 also cites Malachi 3:24 when describing Elijah.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Albert L. A. Hogeterp, Expectations of the end: A Comparative Traditio-Historical Study of Eschatological, Apocalyptic and Messianic Ideas in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament, Leiden: Brill, 2009, p. 277, 4Q521 (4QMessianic Apocalypse). The composition 4Q521, generally designated as 'Messianic Apocalypse', comprises two larger fragments (frgs. 2 ii + 4 and frgs. 71–8 + 5 ii7–16) 113 with evidence relevant for the discussion of resurrection.
  2. ^ Géza G. Xeravits, King, priest, prophet: positive eschatological protagonists of the Qumran library, Leiden: Brill, 2003, p. 98, "Messianc Apocalypse (4Q521)" 70 4.1. Introduction. Fragments of 4Q521 were found in Qumran Cave 4.71 The significance of this Hebrew composition was already noticed by its original editor, Jean Starcky, when he introduced the various MSS.
  3. ^ Michael T. Davis, Brent A. Strawn (eds.), Qumran studies: new approaches, new questions, Grand Rapids (MI): Eerdmans, 2007 – Page 211 -"The translation of this and other phrases from 4Q521 incorporates the modifications proposed by Emile Puech, "Some Remarks on 4Q246 and 4Q521 and Qumran messianism", in Donald W. Parry, Eugen Ulrich (eds.), The Provo International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Leiden: Brll, 1999, 553; for the Hebrew text of 4Q521 and restorations of this and other phrases, see Puech, cit.
  4. ^ Dr. James Tabor. "The Signs of the Messiah: 4Q521". Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls. University of North Carolina. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  5. ^ Rodrigo J. Morales, The Spirit and the Restoration of Israel: New Exodus and New Creation Motifs in Galatians, Ph.D. thesis, Duke University 2007, p. 55 "4Q521: The Messiah, the Spirit, and the Eternal Kingdom – Though also fragmentary in nature, the so-called Messianic Apocalypse (4Q521) presents a fascinating conjunction of eschatological themes and serves as a fitting transition to the ...
  6. ^ Eric Eve, The Jewish context of Jesus' miracles, New York: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002, p. 189, "The Messianic Apocalypse (4Q521) Several fragments of the text of the Messianic Apocalypse survive, but the one that has ... 7 1 -73 , for a more recent attempt to make a close connexion between 4Q521 and Jesus' healing ministry. 47.
  7. ^ Andrew Chester, Messiah and exaltation: Jewish messianic and visionary traditions and New Testament Christology, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007, p. 151, "4QSecond Ezekiel (= 4Q385-388) and 4Q521. Both are fragmentary, and their meaning is correspondingly fragile and uncertain; equally, neither may have been produced by the Qumran sect, although that point is certainly debatable."
  8. ^ Årstein Justnes, The Time of Salvation: An Analysis of 4QApocryphon of Daniel ar (4Q246), 4QMessianic Apocalypse (4Q521 2), and 4QTime of Righteousness (4Q215a), Bern: Peter Lang, 2009, p. 188, "On the basis of this detailed treatment of the three texts, the images they present of the time of salvation are compared in a synthetic presentation."
  9. ^ Florentino García Martínez (ed.), Echoes from the Caves: Qumran and the New Testament, Leiden: Brill, 2009, p. 119, Stephen Hultgren "4Q521 and Luke's Magnificat and Benedictus", The purpose of this paper is to compare the fascinating text in 4Q521 2 II 1–15 with Luke's Magnificat and Benedictus in order to ....
  10. ^ Novakovic, Lidija, "4Q521: The Works of the Messiah or the Signs of Messianic Times?" in Davis, Michael Thomas, and Brent A. Strawn, eds. Qumran studies: new approaches, new questions. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2007, pg. 221 esp. fn. 10.
  11. ^ Grabbe, Lester L., Gabriele Boccaccini, and Jason M. Zurawski, eds. The Seleucid and Hasmonean Periods and the Apocalyptic Worldview. Vol. 88. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016, 180.
  12. ^ Cook, Edward M. Solving the Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls: New Light on the Bible. Harper Collins, 1994, 166.
  13. ^ Novakovic, Lidija. Messiah, the Healer of the Sick: A Study of Jesus as the Son of David in the Gospel of Matthew. Vol. 170. Mohr Siebeck, 2003, pg. 171 n. 194.
  14. ^ Collins, John Joseph. The scepter and the star: Messianism in light of the Dead Sea Scrolls. WB Eerdmans Pub., 2010, 131-141

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