Thursday, 31 March 2016

The tragedy of Calvary. Part 63.

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 whole congregation, with backs turned towards the east as a protest against the pagan world worshiping the rising sun, moon and stars, faced towards the west, toward the " Golden House " the Holy of Holies. On the victims they put their sins, and the sins of all the people, with palms outspread, the thumbs forming a cross. Twice a day at nine and three they lifted up the lamb and offered him to God and moved him to the four points of the compass making with him a cross. All the ceremony, prayers, and the whole service showed forth that these millions of innocent victims, the blood of which they poured out, did not take away sin, but only covered it up "till the Messiah came, the real Victim foretold by them all. Standing thus and sacrificing the countless animals they faced the west waiting and looking for the coming Messiah to fulfil the sacrifices. Draw a line through the center of the Temple, through the Nicanor Gate, through the great high altar, through the Holy of Holies, and continuing that line about 1,000 feet to the west, it will pass through the center of Calvary, where, the following Friday, Christ, the real Victim, represented by the Temple victims, was sacrificed by the Jewish priesthood.

While reciting that part of the Liturgy called the Shemoneh, "The Eighteen," they all stretched out their arms, the whole body forming a cross, following the example of Moses who stood with his body and outstretched arms making- a cross when the Hebrews fought against the Amalekites. (Exod. xvii.) Thus standing with outstretched arms in prayer, they prefigured Christ stretched out upon the cross praying for the victory of His race over all the powers of hell. The celebrant of the Mass still holds his arms thus at the chief prayers of the service.

When the awful name of Jehovah was mentioned, priest and people prostrated themselves on the floor with their faces to the ground. In the course of time they did not mention this name, but Adonai took its place.

The Hebrew word for prayer comes from a root which means "to incline," "to be gracious." We find no regular Temple Liturgy in the Books of Moses, or in any part of the Old Testament. But detached prayers are given in many places by Jewish writers relating to the tithes; (Deut. xxvi. 15.) the threefold blessing; (Numb, vi, 24-36.) the short prayer Moses offered. (Numb, x. 35, 36.) But Moses' Song, (Deut, xxxii, 1-43) and his Canticle, (Exod. xv, 1-19) Deborah's and Anna's Canticles, (Jud. v.; II. Kings viii., and I. Chronicles, or I. Paralip. xvi. 8-36.) which are all filled with the most beautiful imagery, were sung in the tabernacle. But David, a youth keeping his father's sheep on the hills of Bethlehem, began to compose hymns of praise to God, which became the Book of Psalms. These Psalms formed the Hymn-book of Temple and synagogue, and to-day these Psalms are sung in every Christian church. They became the foundation on which all books of devotion were founded, and they are remarkable for the wonderful prophecies relating to Christ.

When the Temple was finished, and Solomon had dedicated it, he offered a long prayer. But this was formed on the spur of the moment. (III. Kings viii. 12-61) Joshua the high priest prayed after the return from captivity. (Esdras, ix. 6-15.) Daniel offered prayer, (Dan. ix. 4-19) and we find other remarkable prayers in various parts of the Old Testament But nowhere do we find the Liturgy of the Temple in the Bible, and we must look elsewhere for it.

The prophets had denounced them in awful terms. Their Rabbis had not dared to preach from the prophets, and that vast congregation of Jews, who had come up to the Holy City from all the lands into which they had been dispersed, did not know that the real Victim was there in their midst taking part in the ceremonial.