The tragedy of Calvary: or the minute details of Christ's life from Palm Sunday morning till the resurrection and ascension taken prophecy, history, revelations and ancient writings
by Meagher, Jas. L. (James Luke), 1848-1920
With them the Law was everything. The Prophecies relating to Christ were not studied, hardly known—hence they did not receive Him, but rejected and put Him to death. It is almost incredible how far they went in their religious enthusiasm regarding the Torah, " the Law " of Moses, and their own importance as teachers. The Law must not be taught to any one but a Jew. St. Jerome could not find any one in Bethlehem, or Jerusalem, who would dare help him in his Hebrew studies, and at Tiberias his teacher " feared the Jews like a second Nicodemus." (Epist. Opera. Edit. Val., Vol., I., p. 534.) " He who teaches infidels the Law, transgresses the express words of the command, for God made Jacob " that is the Jews," not the heathens," to know the Law." (Geikie, Life of Christ, Vol. I., p. 63.) Life of Christ. The writer went to four different places be fore he could find a Jewish family in Jerusalem who would let him be present at the Passover.
None but these Pharisee Rabbis know the Law. They had a complete monopoly of the whole thing. They alone were the holy ones of Israel. The rest of the people were ignorant, did not knew the Law, and were going to hell. Their pride was incredible. You will find it the same to day if you talk with them on religion.
The Talmud tells us that there are three schools of heavenly Rabbis in heaven, as well as three schools of them on earth. It says that once in the great Rabbis* heavenly school, a dispute arose between God Almighty, who is the Chief Rabbi in the skies, and the Angels. God had pronounced a certain case of leprosy given in the text as being clean. But all the Angels thought differently, and the dispute waxed warm. " Who shall decide this matter between us," said God to the Angels, and it was agreed to leave the matter to him who used to say : " No one is equal to me in questions respecting leprosy." The Angel of death was sent to him, caused him to die, and brought his soul up to heaven, to settle the great dispute between God and the Angels. When this learned Rabbi, who was named Ravah son of Nachman, was brought before the heavenly college, he decided in favor of God, which caused no little delight to the Almighty. Then heavenly voices, heard even down to earth, praised the name of Ravah greatly, and miracles were worked at his grave." (Geikie, Life of Christ, Vol. I., p. 70.)
The Rabbis were classed with the patriarchs, Moses, and the prophets, claimed equal reverence, and Josephus calls the prophets of Saul's day Rabbis. To the Targum all the patriarchs are learned Rabbis. Isaac studied in Seth's school, Jacob in that of Heber. Abraham learned of Sem, who was Melchisedech. They were filled with love of adulation and praise. They were dearer to the people of Israel than father or mother, who were only for this world, while the Rabbis were for the future life. They were above kings, their entry into a house brought the
The Mishna says that it is a greater crime to speak against a Rabbi than against the Law. (Eisenmenger, Vol. I,, p. 339.) A Rabbi's word is to be taken before that of a prophet. They claimed miracles to prove their teachings, and cite many. The Law, the Prophets and most of the Old Testament were written in Hebrew, which the people did not understand after the return from the Babylonian Captivity, and only the Rabbis could explain it to the people, and they put their own construction on it; and the Bible must be understood only in their own way so as to keep them in authority. The Scriptures were to be studied an hour each day, but two hours were devoted to Pharisaic traditions. The study of the Talmudic traditions, which now fill sixty folio volumes, alone won honor from God and man. The wild fanaticism of the people, fostered by such teachings, tended to set value only on ceremonies, on worthless externals, to the neglect of the spirit of the Old Testament.
Living under the Roman dominion, the people left all religious matters in the hands of these Rabbaic Pharisees, and every act of life, from the cradle to the grave, required their supervision. Their advice was required for everything, and their influence over the people came from their learning, their strict lives, and the custom of receiving no pay for their services. Each one had a business, or trade, from which he lived, and he gave his services gratis. Hillel, their greatest Rabbi, said: "He who makes gain of the words of the Law, his life will be taken from the world." (Schurer. Lehrbuch, p 443)
A boy destined for this dignity began his studies at five years, passed through all grades till he was ready for ordination. He learned only what had come down to him. He had no freedom—only what was handed down —no innovations, no changes were allowed. Then he was ordained by the imposition of hands. While the priests must have been of the family of Aaron and the Levites of the tribe of Levi, any one could become a Rabbi.