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
The leper rites Moses established were of two kinds, one to restore them to fellowship with Israel, and the other to introduce them again to communion with God. The first is given with minute details in the Mishna. When the priest had pronounced the leper clean, over a dish of " living water" two sparrows, say the Rabbis, were taken, one killed so the blood flowed into the water and the bird's body buried. Then cedar-wood, hyssop and scarlet wool were tied together, and with the living bird seized by his wings and tail, and dipped into the blood stained water. With them the forehead of the leper was sprinkled seven times, and the live bird set free. This represented the double nature of Jesus Christ, whose human nature died and who gave the Holy Ghost, with his sevenfold gifts, to the waters of baptism poured on the forehead of all Christians, and the living bird set free typified his Divinity.
Now for seven days before the rest of the ceremony the leper passed a retreat. His hair was shaved again on the seventh day, and the Mishna tells us that 1 three classes required the cutting of their hair, the lepers, the Nazarites and the Levites at their consecration, they also being anointed with oil on their head in the form of a cross. Now we will give the rest of the rite in the words of the Mishna itself.
"On the eighth day, the leper brings three sacrifices a sin, a trespass, and a burnt offering of a bird. He stands before the trespass offering, and lays his hands on it and kills it. Two priests catch up the blood, one in a vessel, the other in his hand, He who catches it in the vessel goes and throws it on the side of the altar, and he who catches it in his hand goes and stands before the leper. And the leper, who had previously bathed in the court of the lepers, goes and stands in the Nicanor Gate. He thrusts in his head, and the priest puts the blood on the tip of his ear. He thrusts in his hand, and he puts it on the thumb, he thrusts in his foot and he puts it on his great toe " 2
All this foretold the blood of Christ, whom they killed, as they killed the innocent animals in the Temple, and his blood takes away our sins which are the leprosy of the soul. The priest now takes the log of olive oil, pours it into the palm of the hand of the other priest, dips his finger in it, and seven times sprinkles it towards the Holy of Holies, shadowing for the Holy Ghost with his sevenfold gifts, who dwelled there in the figure of the Shekina. Now he puts the oil on the leper in the same places where the blood was put, as it is written " upon the blood of the trespass offering," to symbolize that the Holy Ghost partakes in the redemption of the sinner. Now the rest of the oil he pours on the head of the leper in the form of the Hebrew Thau—a cross for an atonement.
When, through ignorance, (Levit iv.) the priests of Israel made the people sin, the ceremonial was the sacrifice of a calf without blemish. The victim was led to the priests as Christ was led to the priests after his arrest that night. They put their hands on the animal's head, placing all their sins on him, as the sins of the world were placed on Christ. They raised him up, and " waved " him to the four points of the compass, making with him a cross as Christ was raised upon his cross. They cut his throat and poured out his blood, as they did Christ's blood. Seven times the priest sprinkled the blood towards the Holy of Holies, the priest facing towards Calvary as the blood of Christ filled with the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Ghost was poured out and still cries to heaven for mercy on sinners. The sacrifice finished outside the walls as Christ was sacrificed outside the city. " But the skin, and all the flesh, with the head, and the feet, and the bowels, and the dung, and the rest of the body, he shall carry forth without the camp into a clean place, where the ashes are wont to be poured out, and he shall burn them on a pile of wood," (Levit, iv, 11, 12.) for Christ was sacrificed outside the city walls.
When the multitude of the people sinned through ignorance, " the ancients of the people shall put their hands upon the head thereof before the Lord," (Levit. iv, 15.) and the victim was offered as was the calf. If a prince sinned through ignorance, he was to do the same with a buck-goat. All these ceremonies and offerings for sins of ignorance were to foretell the time when through ignorance the Jews put the Lord to death, not knowing that he was their Messiah, the Redeemer and the Son of God.
We will not stop to give all the varied rites of purification among the Jews. Birth, the origin of life, like the shame of mankind in things relating to generation, was always unclean to them, and required special ceremonies. Death was still more unclean as the mark and the punishment of the original sin of Adam on the human race.
A woman who brought forth a child was unclean for forty or eighty days, according as it was a boy or girl, (Levit, x, ii.) to show forth that the child was born in original sin, and the longer period in the case of a female was to impress on them the sin of Eve who seduced Adam to sin. 3 After this she offered a lamb for a burnt-offering, and a turtle-dove or young pigeon for a sin-offering. But if she was very poor she might bring two pigeons, and we know that the spotless Virgin Mary was so poor that she could only procure the birds. When the morning service of the lamb had ended, the woman stood at the Nicanor Gate on the highest step and waited till one of the priests came and received from her hand the offering. The ceremony of " churching women " is a survival of this rite.
But the removal of the defilement of death was the most solemn of all purification rites. (Levit. xi.) For death had cast its icy shadows from the gates of paradise typifying with its horrors and its sorrows the eternal death of man's soul by sin, his expulsion from Paradise and his condemnation to everlasting perdition in hell.
The one who had touched a dead body, the house where the corpse was laid out, with all its furniture, the one who had even touched the smallest bone of a dead person, those who partook of the " feast of the dead with the mourners were unclean for seven days—even all those whom they touched and the utensils they used were contaminated. The rules for priests, Levites and Nazarites were still more strict. The Jewish writers distinguished six different degrees of defilement of the dead, with twenty-nine " fathers of defilement," and eleven from contact with the dead.
To purify the priests they selected and bought with money, as they gave money to Judas, a red heifer without spot, to foreshadow Christ all red with His blood after His flagellation—even three hairs not red would disqualify her, for after the scourging the Lord was covered with blood from head to foot. (Numb, xix.) On her no yoke was ever laid, not even a cloth, for the yoke of sin was never on the Saviour. A priest was chosen with the same ceremonies as the high priest on the day of the atonement. The red heifer was sacrificed, not in the Temple like the other victims, but outside the walls, for the Lord was crucified outside the walls. She was led across the very bridge Christ passed after his arrest. She was killed by the high priest's son, heir of his office, foretelling that the heir of all the high priests from Aaron down were rep resented by Caiphas, who condemned our Lord to death. In the Cedron valley, on the very spot where Christ was arrested afterwards, facing west, she was forced into a pyre, her throat cut, and seven times the priest sprinkled her blood towards the Temple, to show that the Temple priests would be guilty of Christ's blood. Then the pyre is set on fire, the whole cow is burned. All who take part in the ceremony are unclean, for all who clamored for the Lord's death were guilty of his murder.
Now the ashes of the innocent victim are gathered up by one who did not take part in the sacrifice, for he is clean and he shows forth Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea burying Jesus's body, and they were innocent, for they did not take part in the condemnation of Christ. When the body is all consumed with fire, as Jesus was consumed with the fire of the Holy Ghost, his life burned up with love of mankind, the priest who took no part in in the rite gathers up her ashes, takes it into the city, to the Temple, and they thrash it with rods, as Christ was scourged. They pass it through sieves, and divide it into three parts,—one they keep in the Choi of the Temple, another on the Mount of Olives from where he ascended, and the rest is divided among the priests. These ashes are used in various ceremonies to purify the unclean, as they wash, which foretold baptism; then they are purified from legal defilement, typifying sin washed out by the Saviour's death.
1 Negaim xiv. 7.
2 Negaim, xiv, 7, etc,