Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The tragedy of Calvary. Part 57.

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 Orientals are very demonstrative, shout, gesticulate and make all kinds of motions, while every nerve is tense. We can imagine the scene that day among the money changers when the Lord went in and drove them out.

"Jesus went into the temple of God and cast out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and over threw the tables of the money-changers, and the chairs of them that sold doves. And he said to them, It is written: My house shall be called a house of prayer to all nations, (Isaiah 56:7) but you have made it a den of thieves." This the prophet foretold, saying; "And the merchant shall be no more in the house of the Lord of Hosts that day." (Zach. xiv. 21.)

When the people heard that the great Prophet of Nazareth did this the excitement became very great. They had seen his wonderful miracles, had heard him preach, and they all began to shout his praises saying: " This is Jesus the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee." (Matt. xxi. 11.)

Nazareth comes from the Hebrew Natzer, "a sprout," "a shoot," and Isaias used this word foretelling Nazareth his dwelling place. " And there shall come forth a rod " Nalzer," out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root, and the Spirit of God shall rest upon him." (Isaias ii, 1.) Nazareth is also derived from Nazir, " Consecrated," " Devoted to God," for he was a Nazarite. The word also means " A Prince," for all recognized Jesus as a Prince of the House of David.

The Nazarite was bound by the law to drink no wine or vinegar, (Deut. xxix. 6.) to wear long hair and beard. He was separated from all men, and devoted to God. Thus Joseph was set apart before he was sold into Egypt. On his death-bed Jacob foretold Christ the Nazarite, when he said : " The blessings of thy father are strengthened with the blessings of his fathers, until the desired of the everlasting hills should come, may they be upon the head of Joseph and upon the crown of the Nazarite among his brethren." (Gen. xlix. 26.)

God laid down the Nazarite's rules. The vow was for a time or for life. Samson, Samuel and John the Baptist took the vow for life. But it might be taken for thirty, sixty or ninety days. (Talmud, Nazis, C. I., Sec. 9, p. 148.) Jewish writers tell us that Helena, Queen of Adiabne, converted to Judaism, took a vow of seven years for the success of her son's military expedition. But at the end of the vow she visited Jerusalem, and the school of Hillel told her that her vow was invalid, because she had taken it in a foreign country, and she took another seven-years' vow. But toward the end of this term, she happened to touch a dead body, and she had to take another, and thus she was a Nazarite for 21 years. Outside the walls of the Holy City, not far from the Damascus gate, they show the royal tombs of her family. They are of great extent, cut out of the living rock, and are now called the "Tombs of the Kings," because some hold that they were excavated by the Herod family. The punishment for breaking the Nazarite vow was thirty-nine stripes. The consecration of the Nazarite and his honors were like those of the high priest, and he was allowed to enter the court of the priests and even the Holy Place in the Temple. Christ was a Nazarite, and that is the reason he never shaved or cut his hair. To this day the monks of the Oriental churches never shave, and wear long hair.

The afternoon was passing, and as the westering sun was half down the sky, Christ entered the Women's Court to offer his gifts as a Nazarite, the year-old lamb for the holocaust, the ewe lamb for sin-offering, the ram, the basket of unleaven bread mixed with oil, and the bread-wafers anointed with oil in the form of a cross. (Numb. vi.) This was the law of the Nazarite, and as a good Jew Christ came to fulfil the law.

The afternoon service, begun at three o'clock, was now drawing to a close. The prayers of the Liturgy had been finished, the lamb had been immolated, its flesh was burning on the great altar, and the drink-offering had been poured out at the base of the altar. The president, Caiphas, had given the signal and the crowd of priests stood on the right and left of the marble table on which the fat of the sacrifices was laid.

Now the priests blow three blasts on the silver trumpets, and the priests gather on the steps leading from the Priests' Court up to the porch of the Holies, while the Levites crowd the fifteen steps of the Nicanor Gate leading from the Court of Israel to the court of the priests. They all face the west towards the dread Holy of Holies, where Jehovah dwelled in the majesty of the Shekina. The cymbals struck, the great organ begins, the priests sing the Psalm which ended the service of the first day of the week. (Psalm vxxii) The officiating priest first intoned the Anthem and the other priests and Levites took up the strain.

The Psalms were always sung in three sections. After the Anthem beginning the sacred Hymn, the Levites used to blow three blasts on the silver trumpets before the canticle of praise began. When the first section was finished they blew again and rested for a time. Then they sang the second part. The second section had ended, and Jesus with His gifts as a Nazarite was passing through the famous gates towards the Priests' Court, when with a mighty sound, the two choirs of priests and Levites raised their voices, as they sang the last part of the Psalm his father David, inspired by the Holy Ghost, wrote more than 1,100 years before, foretelling this incident in the Redeemer's life, and the glories of His ascension. Just as Jesus mounted the steps of Nicanor Gate, and was pass ing through the long lines of the Levite choir, the third section of Psalm xxiii began—

The Priests: Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates.

The Levites: And the King of Glory shall enter in. 

The Priests: Who is this King of Glory ? 

The Levites: The Lord who is strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 

The Priests : Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates.

The Levites : And the King of Glory shall enter in. 

The Priests : Who is this King of Glory ? 

The Levites : The Lord of Hosts, he is the King of Glory. Hallelu-Jah.

Thus amidst the glad shout of holy hymn the King of Glory advances through the gates of his Father's house, and enters the Court of the Priests. For only after the regular Temple services were the people accustomed to bring their gifts to the priests. He stood at the door with his gifts, while a priest came forward to receive them from Him as the prophet foresaw. " And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of the gate from without, and he shall stand at the threshold of the gate, and the priest shall offer his holocaust and his peace-offerings, and he shall adore upon the threshold of the gate and shall go out." (Ezech. xlvi. 2.)