Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The tragedy of Calvary. Part 58.

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

Why did Jesus go out when he had given the offerings to the priests as the law laid down? Because in one of the rooms opening into the Women's Court, which he had passed, the Nazarites were accustomed to have their hair polled, and Jesus went into it and there His hair was tonsured and his beard trimmed. The hair He offered as a holocaust to be burned on the altar as the law of the Nazarite directed. (Numb. vi. 18.) That is the reason that in His ministry of preaching, He is represented with long flowing hair, parted in the middle, for that was the way the Nazarites wore their hair. In his Passion, he is pictured with short hair, because he had it cut and offered it with the other Nazarites on Palm Sunday.

Taking the hair, with the trimmings of his beard according to the laws relating to the Nazarites (Numb. vi. 18.) with his gifts of animals as laid down in the Books of Moses, he brought them to the priests appointed for that service. Then he placed the offering of the half shekel required of every Israelite in the Corban, and going to the center, to the door of the Priests' Court, there he adores his Eternal Father, as the prophet says. " And the prince shall enter by way of the porch of the gate from without, and he shall stand at the threshold of the gate, and the priests shall offer his holocaust, and his peace-offerings, and he shall adore upon the threshold of the gate, and shall go out, and the gate shall not be shut till the evening." (Ezechiel xlvi. 2.)

Ezechiel saw this Temple restored by Herod as it was at the time when Jesus Christ visited it this Palm Sunday, and he describes its glories as a figure of the Church. It was customary to close the great gates after the evening sacrifice for the whole people, and after the particular sacrifices had been offered by the thousands of persons, who brought them to the priests for their special devotions with the prescribed prayers. But this day there was great excitement in the Temple, and the whole people were shouting the praises of Jesus of Nazareth, who had come up to the feast and did such mighty works.

Like a good Jew, Jesus had come up to the Temple each Passover. He had attended every Feast of Israel since he was confirmed as a Jewish boy at twelve years of age, but this time he came to take possession of his Father's house, to found his Church on the great Temple and its stately ceremonial, to make the Hebrew people his priests and missionaries to the other nations.

Now passing through the still opened gates, he enters again the Court of Israel, he ascends the marble steps and enters the Priests' Court, for he was a priest as well as a Nazarite. His forefathers had married into Aaron's family, and that gave him the right to enter the sacred precincts. As a sign of his priestly descent he wore the seamless garment worn by all the Temple priests. He was the last heir of David's royal family. No one ever disputed his titles as Priest and King. Passing into the Priest's Court he sat down. From the most remote antiquity members of royalty were allowed to sit in the Priest's Court. There he sat clothed in purple. For in the days of Christ all members of the royal families wore the royal purple, even if their dynasty did not actually sit on the throne.

We may imagine that this caused a sensation among the priests. Now comes forward Caiphas with his assistants the Katholikin, on each side of him, and behind him walked his suffragan Annas, the Sagan, his father-in-law, with the other officers of the course serving that day.

"And whereas he had done so many miracles before them, they believe not in him. That the saying of Isaias the prophet might be fulfilled, when he said : " Lord who hath believed our hearing ? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed ? Therefore they could not believe, for Isaias said again : He hath blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Isaias when he saw his glory. However many of the chief men also believed in him; but because of the Pharisees, they did not confess it, that they might not be cast out of the synagogue." (John xii. 37-42.)

The Asiatic or Semitic character is the most headstrong, the most unbending, the most conservative on earth. This is why they have remained till our day as they were in the days of the patriarchs. But in religion they seem as unbending as the eternal hills. This is why the Jew has preserved his religion amidst most terrible persecutions until our time. The vast vested interests of the Temple, the glorious history of Israel would be overthrown by any change of religion. The prophets had foretold his every act, but they had also denounced the idolatrous priesthood and the Pharisaic spirit. The Rabbis seldom preached from the prophets, for a congregation does not like to be told its faults, and they had confined their preachings to the Law and the history of Israel. Therefore the prophets were not well known, and that is why Christ said: " Search the Scriptures . . . and the same are they that give testimony of me. (1 John v. 39.)

There we see two heads of God's two Priesthoods. Caiphas a priest according to Aaron's priesthood, and Christ " A priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech." (Psalm cix. 4.) He came to found his order of priests on that of Aaron, but he was to be rejected, and he went farther back, to the Passover, and Thursday night he founded a priesthood on that of the patriarchs, for Melchisedech was Sem, eldest son of Noe, the last of the original priests of mankind, going back to Abel and to Adam.