Brit Hadashah Reflections 19
Torah portion Exodus 25 : 1 – 27 : 19
Haftarah portion 1 Kings 5 : 26 – 6 : 13
Brit Hadashah Mark 13 : 1 - 14 : 72
Hebraic understanding of the Gospel of Yeshua
Yeshua and His disciples left the Temple (after He had thrown out he traders as we discussed last week) and returned to the Mount of Olives, from where one is able to see the whole city of Jerusalem, including the Temple area. It is truly one of the most captivating sights in the world.
“Do you see these great buildings?” Yeshua said. “They are going to become a heap of rubble”. Wow!! Talk about a conversation stopper. The disciples were naturally curious about when it would be, but they certainly did not express any doubt that the Master might be mistaken. Then, carefully and clearly, Yeshua spelled out the programme of events which we refer to today as “the end times”. There are libraries of books and commentaries written on this subject, (much of it speculatory) and I do not feel that I can cover such a topic in this brief ‘reflection’. It is indeed a study in its own right. Sufficient to say that in reading carefully through Yeshua’s words, it is possible to conclude that we appear, at the very least, to be at the beginning of the end (and we might even be much closer to the end than most of us realize). For those who wish to delve into this topic, your study might well start in the book of Daniel, and will end in the Revelation of Yeshua given to the Apostle John.
As a matter of fact, the Temple was destroyed by Titus of Rome less than 40 years after Yeshua’s prediction, and scholars have calculated that Jerusalem itself has been ‘laid waste’ about 17 times during all its history.
Yeshua had entered the city in great triumph and with much adulation in last week’s reading. But, the Scribes and Pharisees, with the active encouragement of the Chief Priest sought, by trickery, how they could get rid of Him once and for all time. But they were conscious that with Passover just two days away, and with Jerusalem crowded by visitors for the festival, there could be an uproar if they moved too quickly. However, what they could not control was the fact (as we know from history) that this was precisely “God’s appointed time” to transact the final sacrifice by which mankind, forever afterwards, could draw close to Himself. They could not possibly have known, that what they conceived as an evil act of murder, was, in truth, the way in which God Himself voluntarily provided the gracious means of salvation for a sinful people.
There are just two observations to be made as we read the rest of this chapter of Mark’s gospel. Passover is the first of the annual Hebraic ‘feasts’ called “mo’edim” in Hebrew (‘appointed times’ in English) which are specified in Leviticus 23. It is a perpetual remembrance of the time when God saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. A lamb without blemish was killed and its blood was painted on the doorposts and lintels of their homes. On this occasion, exactly to the timing God had specified, Yeshua became the voluntary Passover Lamb, and through the sacrifice of His blood, forever afterwards, those who metaphorically paint that blood on the doorposts and lintels of their life receive salvation from the ‘slavery’ to sin by which we are bound.
The second observation, which emphasizes the voluntary nature of Yeshua’s sacrifice, is gained by an understanding of the ‘hebraic’ nature of the encounter Yeshua had with Caiaphas the High Priest. The story is well known. Yeshua was silent during most of His interrogation, but there came a moment when He spoke. And for that He was condemned.
Now we need to understand some of the commandments in the Hebrew Scriptures to grasp the significance of this encounter. Firstly, Leviticus 21 :10 has a specific instruction for the High Priest that he is not to tear his clothes, in particular referring to the holy Priestly Garments. Secondly, Leviticus 5 : 1 specifies the guilt consequences for any person, who put under oath to speak, does not do so.
In the first matter, of course, the High Priest violated that instruction by tearing his garment, and in so doing rendered himself ineligible to enact the Priestly function of slaughtering the Passover Lamb. In the second matter, Yeshua fulfilled that commandment by confirming His identity as the Son of God, In so doing, He ‘signed His own death warrant’, and fulfilled the absolute requirement of the Passover Lamb, which was to be completely ‘without blemish’. Perfect in accordance with the Torah instruction. At the same time, establishing Himself as “The Great High Priest” who sacrificed Himself, the Lamb without blemish, at that Passover. Hallelujah, what a Saviour.
Be blessed as you study the depths contained in this portion of Scripture. Share that which God reveals to you with someone you love.