Code Name for Pella
Damascus (the Land of Damashek) is mentioned throughout Acts and the Dead Sea Scrolls as a safe haven for Nazoreans and other Essenic / Zadokite groups. Scholars tell us that "Damascus" is not necessarily the city in Syria, for there is no reference to that city as being friendly to Zadokites. I have long suspected that Damascus was a code name for Pella, the place where followers of Shimon Cleopas, the head of the Jerusalem Assembly in 70 AD, encamped after Titus let them go during the siege of Jerusalem.
Pella was one of the towns of the Decapolis; it was in a desert region in the province called Damascus. On a map, it looks as though Pella has been right in between Jerusalem and Damascus. Exploring the fine map of Herod's territories in the National Geographic issue December 2008, it became clear that when the Zadokites of Acts and the Scrolls spoke of camping in Damascus, they are speaking of the sanctuary village in the province of Damascus, namely Pella.
Here I have reproduced the map with a green line from Jerusalem to Damascus. Pella is EXACTLY on that line, as you can see. Amazing.
(It's not my intention to break copyright laws in this reproduction, and I hope National Geographic, if they discover this illustration, will allow it to stand. But the line on the map tells an important story to those who have had a life interest in the lost years of the Nazorean.)