Tuesday, 8 March 2016
The tragedy of Calvary. Part 45.
Then they asked him if he was a Sadducee, and he wept because he was suspected of being a free-thinker, and they wept because they might accuse an innocent man. It was the Sadducee priest-infidels who later put to death the Victim foretold in all the Temple services.
When the great day came, he bathes by diving into the great laver, saying : " Let it be thy will, O God, my Lord, that thou cause me to come in and go out in peace, that thou cause me to return to my place in peace, and save me from this and from like danger in this world, and in the world to come." 1 Five times he washes his hands and feet in the bath, and ten times again in the sanctuary over the Beth Haparnoa, a chamber over the Water-gate. Then he was clean, for washing signified the wiping out of sin in baptism, for no wickedness was on Christ, the High Priest of mankind.
All things used this day were of solid gold and most elaborate workmanship. The high priest Ben Gemla made the box for the incense of solid gold, and later the high priest Ben Katin made handles for it. King Menohaz had made gold handles for all the utensils used on this day, and his mother Helen gave the gold candelabra over the Temple gate.
The services to-day were for all the Israelites, but the Temple prayers blamed the Garmo family, because they exacted twelve menas a day for making the proposition, or shew-bread, of which they guarded the secret; the members of the Abtinas families because they would not tell the way they prepared the incense, of which they had a monopoly ; the Hogros Ben Levi family, because they kept their secrets regarding music ; and the members of the Ben Kamlsao family, for they would not teach students the secrets of writing.
Four days before they had taken money from the Temple treasury, from the very place from which they later took the thirty pieces of silver and bought Christ through Judas's treason, and they bought with it two goats without blemish for the service They drove and led the animals up into the city, across that same bridge they led and dragged Christ the night of his arrest.
Now from the urn, called the Calpi, standing in the eastern part of the Priests' Court, they drew two lots, one bearing the name : " For Jehovah," the other " 'For Azazel.' The one drawn for Jehovah is to be sacrificed, to foretell Christ's death, the other is to be the scape goat to "bear the sins of Israel.
On this goat they tie between the horns a scarlet cloth, and Jewish writers say that all down their his tory this cloth became white as a sign from God that their sacrifice was accepted. 2 After Christ died the scarlet changed to white no more, for all the ceremonial had foretold was then fulfilled. The Talmud says that about forty years before the Temple was destroyed, that is about the time of the crucifixion, it did not whiten ; the western lamp of the golden candlestick in the Holies went out; the Temple gates opened of themselves and other wonders took place.
Now before the great altar facing west, for so faced Christ on the cross, the two animals stand, and they began the daily sacrifices 3 of the lamb. They immolated seven lambs, a year old, a kid for sin-offerings, a young bull for the priest, his house, and for the sons of Aaron, a ram for a burnt-offering for the people and meat and drink-offerings.
Maimonides says fifteen animals were offered that day. The Jewish traditions state that the whole services were carried out by the high priest alone that day, for the whole work of our salvation was done by our High Priest, Jesus Christ. The high priest bought with his own money all these sacrifices. In his ministrations, his white vestments were frequently soiled with blood, and he had to change and bathe after each sacrifice, and he is twice sprinkled with the ashes of the red heifer.
Now the bullock for the priest's sin-offering stands between the altar and Temple porch, facing the vast congregation, and the high priest turns the head of the animal to the west, spreads out his hands over the head of the beast and confesses his sins.
"Ah, Jehovah, I have committed iniquity, I have transgressed, I have sinned—I and my house. Oh, then, Jehovah, I entreat Thee, cover over, atone for, let there be the atonement for the iniquities, the transgressions, and the sins, which I have committed, transgressed and sinned before Thee, I and my house, even as it is written in the law of Moses, Thy servant, * For on that day, He will cover over for you, to make you clean from all your transgressions, before Jehovah you shall be cleaned. ' "
In this solemn confession, the awful name of Jehovah occurs three times, and three times it was pronounced over the bullock ; again it was pronounced when the lot was cast for the scape-goat, and three times he spoke it over the scapegoat. Each time the awful name was pronounced the priests, Levites, and the whole people fell on their knees, bent down their bodies, and prostrated themselves, with their faces on the ground, saying : " Blessed be the Name, the glory of His kingdom is for ever and ever." 4 For many centuries after Moses' time it was pronounced thus. But after the pontificate of Simon the Upright they used the name Adonai, or Lord, for Jehovah was too sacred to be heard on earth.
The high priest now faces the people, with his assist ant at his right, and the chief priest of the ministry on his left, and the two animals stand, like Jesus in Pilate's Hall before the people. Now the high priest again enters the court, and with the same prayer, he places the sins of priests and people on the head of the bullock to be immolated, adding the words " The seed of Aaron Thy holy people," Then he sentences the animal, to be killed, as Caiphas pronounced the sentence of death on Jesus, and gives the blood to an attendant to keep it stirred.
1 Talmud, Day of Atonement.
2 Edersheim, Life of Christ, Temple, etc.,
3 Numb. xxix. 7-11.
4 Deut. xxxiii. 29.