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
|Moses and the Burning Bush Byzantine Mosaic|
During the day it was a cloud, and a fire during the night. When it was oppressively hot in their wanderings, the Shekina, spread over them as a great cloud, with its shade cooling the burning heat of the sun. It went be fore them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night. When it moved they followed it, when it rested they camped, and then it brooded over the Ark of the Covenant, on the mercy-seat, between the Cherubims gold wings, in the tabernacle and first Temple.
It spoke to Samuel, Nathan, David, and the prophets and holy ones of Israel, directing them how to form the ceremonies, offer sacrifices typifying and foretelling the long looked for Redeemer, and under its direction they built up the Hebrew commonwealth and religion. God was their King. You will find in the prayers of the synagogues, in the liturgy of the Passover, the words so oft repeated, "Jehovah our King." It was a perfect Theocracy. God ruled them through His Shekina. They were His people. He was their God and King.
But they were always a worldly, carnal people, and they asked Samuel to give them a king. They did not want God to be their King any longer, and the Shekina said to Samuel, " For they have not rejected thee but me, that I should not reign over them." (1. Kings viii. 7.) Saul was made their king, usurped the priesthood by offering sacrifices, (1. Kings xiii.) David was chosen in his place, and Solomon his son built temples for his wives' idols, sacrificed to them, (III. Kings xi.) and broke the contract between God and Israel, and the Shekina spoke no more.
The great Temple was doomed because of that sin of idolatry. Jeremias, under God's direction, took the Ark of the Covenant, gold within and without, sign of God's contract with his people, and buried it on Mt. Nebo where Moses died, there to remain till the Jews accept their Saviour. (II. Mach. ii.) The Shekina spoke no more. But it revealed that when the Messiah came it would appear and speak again. Rabbi Jonathan, writing on the prophet Aggeus i. 8. says, " I shall be glorified, said the Lord," (In Hebrew, "Lord Is "Yegara") means " I will cause my Shekina to dwell in it in glory " and Zach. ii. 10. means, " Lo I will come, and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem." "I will come and I will dwell in the midst of thee," and viii. 3. is " I will be revealed, and I will cause my Shekina to dwell in the midst of thee."
Ezechiel's vision of the Temple, (Ezech. xliii. 7-9.) Jonathan paraphrases as follows: "Son of man, this is the place of the house of my glory, and this is the place of the dwelling of my Shekina, where I will make my Shekina dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever."
Since the destruction of the first Temple, the Shekina directed no more Israel, but told the prophets to denounce them and revealed the things they foretold about the Saviour. But they lived on in hope that when the Redeemer came, they would be again received by God as his people. Malachi in the fifth century before Christ was the last of the prophets, and for more than 400 years Israel was left without a divine teacher, during which time the Scribes, Pharisees and Rabbis misled them. It was revealed that when the Messiah, the Holy One of Israel, would come the Shekina would again appear and speak face to face. The Rabbis taught that He was in Herod's Temple, but was neither seen or heard.
The night Christ was born: " The brightness of the Lord shone round about " the shepherds," (Luke ii. 9.) Angelic host sang the Hymn of " Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will," (Luke ii. 14.) and then for the first time in nearly 500 years man saw the Shekina. When Christ was transfigured on Tabor's heights, (Matt. xvii., Mark ix.) the Holy Ghost, the Shekina, surrounded the top. When the Lord was preaching in the Temple during Passion week before his death, the Shekina spoke from the Holy of Holies. (John xii. 28.) The moment of His death, the Shekina was felt leaving the Temple, while voices cried out: "Let us go forth hence." (Shemoth R. 2, 10. Ber. 3 s. p. 7.)
Jewish writers represent it lingering on the western wall of the Temple, towards that Sion where was held the Last Supper, (Yalkut on Isaias Ix.) and they tell of the Lord mourning over the destruction of his Temple, bemoaning the people in their desolation, (Yalkut v.; II. Par. 359.) his hair wet with dew. (Isaias Ix. i.) In the Targum we find these words: "It is a tradition from our Rabbis that in the hour when the King Messiah comes, he stands on the roof of the temple, and proclaims to them the hour of their deliverance has come, and that if they believe, they will rejoice in the light that has risen on them, as it is written. " Arise, be enlightened for the light has come." Tliis light will be for the Jews alone, for it is written: " For darkness shall cover the earth.' Then he goes on to describe the glories of the Messiah and of His kingdom. (See Shemoth R. 2, at War, p. 7.)
When the Lord ascended, a cloud, the Shekina, surrounded Him: " And a cloud received Him out of their sight." (Acts i. 9.) When the Apostles, gathered in the Cenacle on Pentecost Sunday, the Shekina rilled the room, 2 and rained down tongues of fire on the Apostles, inspiring each with the language of the nations he was to preach to.
The Jewish writers say, that about this time the Shekina took up its abode on the summit of Olivet, whence Christ had ascended, and there for three years and a half, they heard him day and night, in entreating tones begging them to come back to their God, saying: " Come back to me, O my people, O come back to me!" Then the Holy Presence was silent and never spoke again. (Acts ii.)
At the west wall of the Temple, over which the Shekina rested before going to Olivet, the Jews mourn and weep each Friday eve after sunset, when the Sabbath begins, praying for the restoration of their Temple and government.
In the Scriptures and Hebrew writings before the time of Christ, we find words and expressions which show us that they had a knowledge of the Trinity—a more or less dim revelation of the Three Persons in God. Often we run across the word Yeoara, meaning the: " unapproachable Deity " in himself : "the excellent glory," "the Eternal," existing in himself. Philo and the Kabbis use the word in the sense of the Eternal Father.