Saturday, 20 December 2014
How Christ said the first mass, By Rev. James L. Meagher, D.D. Part 6.
You pass page after page of weary waste of discussion, disputes of learned sages, and their opinions of what the Torah "the Law," means reminding you of disputed points of moral theology. The oldest part, called the Mishna, the purest and best, is rich in information, for it comes down perhaps from beyond the Babylonian Captivity, when Israel was led by the prophets guided by the Holy Spirit.
The Gemara, coming after the Captivity, shows minds absolutely without faith, devoid of a spark of the supernatural. All is founded on the Torah, "the Law," as they call the Books of Moses,—the first five books of the Bible. The prophets are seldom quoted; the beautiful Temple service is explained, but they never look beyond and behind it to see the Christ it foretold.
They looked for two Christs—one to be born of David's family who was to establish a kingdom of matchless splendors, trample on his enemies, and wade through rivers of blood to his throne in Jerusalem, where he would make the Jews rulers over all the earth. Borrowing these ideas from the Jew, Mohammed and his successors spread their empire by the sword. The other Christ or Messiah, to be born of Joseph's tribe, was to be a suffering Christ to come and die; why, they do not explain.
Bible and Talmud, both written by Hebrews, differ in a striking degree—one is the product of inspired men, through whom God spoke to the world, the other was written by men of an outcast nation, spiritually dead, absolutely divested of every spark of supernatural faith. One pulsates with life; in every page you see, in the original, the foretold Redeemer, the face of the Holy Ghost; the other, the Talmuds, show the heart of a race punished for idolatry by the Babylonian Captivity, and for the crime of killing their Messiah driven by the Romans into all the earth fulfilling these words. "We will not have this, man rule over us," "His blood be on us and on our children."
We do not always realize what an Oriental tradition is. To us a tradition is a story, more or less true, changing from one generation to another, vague, or exaggerated, founded on truth, but developed by time.
But a tradition among the Jews was a religious truth coming down from their forefathers, told and repeated in the synagogues, in the Temple, at feasts, by family firesides, given exactly word for word as they had heard it. If it were not given as handed down, in almost the very same words, if a word were added to it, or left out, the whole company cried out, the relator was execrated and driven away. This was the way the patriarchs taught their children the story of the creation, the fall of man, the religious belief of ancient days. In this way they claim religion and history were handed down till Moses wrote them in Genesis.
Adam died in the year 930 when Mathusala was ninety-four years old. The latter lived till Sem, called also Melchisedech, was in his fiftieth years. Sem, or Melchisedech, died on Sion when Isaac was thirty-three years of age, and the latter lived till he was 180,—2288 years after the creation of Adam, and but a short time before the birth of Amram, Moses' father. Thus history came down from Adam and the patriarchs to Moses the great Lawgiver, Founder of the Hebrew nationality and writer of the first five books of the Bible. 2
In the same way, they claim, the teachings they called the "traditions" of the Jews, passed down till written in the Talmud. In the schools of Babylonia and Judea, the scholars received only what was taught, no deviation was allowed, not a word was changed. From his high seat, like a pulpit, the learned Rabbi gave the sayings of their fathers, the traditions of the elders held as sacred as the written word, sometimes more so, and the pupils learned them by heart and treasured them as the breath of their nostrils.
Living in Babylonia since the days of the Captivity, the Hebrews were not there disturbed by the Christ's life, his teachings, the tragedy of his death and the preaching of the apostles, The Talmud contains little relating to Christianity. We find in it Hebrew rules and customs of the Passover, as it was celebrated in the days of the Jewish kings.
We will describe the Temple worship on the Day of the Atonement, because we wish to lay before the reader the minute details of how God was worshiped in the days of Christ, because the Temple ceremonial was introduced into the synagogue and was followed by Christ on the night of the Last Supper, and because atonement of sin is the very foundation of every Old Testament offering fulfilled in the Last Supper and is now continued in the Mass.
The Temple high priest in the ceremonial, and the celebrant to-day offering the Mass, image Him, the High Priest of eternity who came into the world, offered his life and sufferings as a sacrifice, then passed back again into his heavenly sanctuary. Therefore ascending the altar steps, beginning Mass the celebrant recites these deep words of the Church's Liturgy :
"Take away from us, we pray thee, O Lord, our sins, that with pure minds we may be made worthy to enter into the Holy of Holies. Through Christ our Lord. Amen." 3
To link every offering with Christ and the Holy Spirit burning in him, following God's orders, every sacrifice was consumed or roasted on the altar with a fire which had come down from heaven. 4 But Nadab and Abiu, Aaron's sons, sacrificed with a strange fire, which did not typify the Holy Ghost or relate to the foretold Redeemer. For that awful sin God struck both dead. 5 Then the Eternal ordained the ceremonial the Hebrews were to follow each year on the Day of the Atonement. 6
The Bible does not go into the details of that sacred, holiest and most striking of all the Temple ceremonies. But before us is the Tract Yomah "Day of Atonement," of the Babylonian Talmud. We will go over the whole volume, search in the rubbish for the pure untarnished
gold of the days before Christ, and lay before the reader these interesting details. As we go along we will give explanations of the Hebrew texts that the reader may better understand how Christ and the Mass were foretold. 7
The high priest, representing Christ for the Hebrew nation, alone performed all the ceremonies of this solemn day which always fell on the tenth day of Tishri. In fear and trembling, he bore the sins of Israel behind the veil in the gold-walled room, the Holy of Holies, image of heaven, where the Shekina, the Holy Spirit, dwelled as a cloud by day and a fire by night, in the tabernacle and first Temple. Before the ceremonial of this day, priest and people, even the very sanctuary, were unclean, and without this ceremonial the services of the following year could not be carried on. The Law laid down numerous details, 8 but we will give the more minute descriptions of the Talmud. 9
"Seven days before the Day of Atonement, the high priest moves from his house, lest his wife might defile him, and takes up his abode in the Palhedrin Chamber, called in Greek Paraderon, (the Lord's Chamber), near the Nicanor Gate. Another priest, generally the Sagon, his substitute, is chosen and instructed to take his place if he becomes unclean. 10 Out of his own pocket he must buy all the animals for the sacrifice." 11
Thus he foretold the sinless Christ atoning for the iniquities of the world, and foreshadowed the unmarried clergy entering our sanctuary to offer Mass.
"Why was he separated six days before the feast? When God gave the Law on Sinai, he called Moses up the mountain. 'And the glory of the Lord dwelled on Sinai, covering it with a cloud six days, and on the seventh day he called him out of the midst of the cloud.' 12 During all these six days of preparation, they sprinkled the high priest with the ashes of all the red cows offered."
These animals, were sacrificed outside the walls of the city, led over the bridge spanning the Cedron, built by the high priest out of his own pocket. Across that same bridge they dragged Christ the night of his arrest. The red cows foretold Christ, red with his blood, offered in sacrifice for mankind. The high priest was sprinkled with water mixed with their ashes, to typify that the pontiff was typically in spirit sprinkled with the Redeemer's blood to clean him from sin to offer the sacrifice and enter the sacred sanctuary. Sprinkling the high priest foretold our holy water.
"Aaron was separated seven days, during which time Moses instructed him regarding the services of this day. During these days two men of the Beth Din 'The Court of Law' taught him (the high priest) the ceremony as it was written, as at this present it hath been done, that the rite of sacrifice might be accomplished.' 14 Moses ascended into the cloud and was sanctified in the cloud in order that he might receive the Torah ' The Law,' for Israel in a state of holiness." 15
"This happened the day after the Ten Commandments were given, which was the first of Moses', fast of the next-, forty days. 15a The high priest the Day of Atonement has not the gold plate with the engraved words; ' Holiness unto Jehovah' on his brow " for he represented our High Priest Christ" who his own self bore our sins in his body on the tree." 16
"The chamber where he took up his abode was first called the 'Chamber of the Lords,' but after the high priests bought their office with money, after the Roman occupation of Palestine, it was called the Hall of the Palhedrin, 'Officers.'"
All houses, chambers, etc., had hangings on the doorposts boxes of leather, in which on parchments were written the morning and evening prayers. "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul and with thy whole strength," etc. "And thou shall write them in the entry, and on the doors of thy house." 17 Did they give rise to the holy water founts of our churches and houses, that by taking the water, and blessing ourselves we may remember our baptism and redemption through Christ?
"No chamber of the Temple had these Muzuzahs except the Palhedrin Chamber, because for seven days it was the high priest's abode, and the Nicanor Gate through which the people entered the Temple.
" First he clothed himself in the eight vestments God prescribed for Aaron and his sons, went with the gold basin turned over the sacrifices burning on the altar to make it burn better. Every day he sprinkled the blood of the victims, offered the incense in the Holies, trimmed the lamps of the seven-branched candelabrum, and takes for his own use a part of the first offerings, which he eats. Incense he offers first, then he trims the lamps, and sacrifices the lamb morning and afternoon. (Incense typified the prayers of Christ offered to his Father before he was sacrificed.)" They drew lots to choose the priests to wait on him. The first lot was to select the priests to clean the ashes from the great altar, called the Ariel, ' Lion of God,' the second, for those who would kill the victim, sprinkle the blood, clear the ashes on the altar of incense in the Holies, trim the lamps and carry up the members of the sacrifices. The third lot was to choose the one among the nine priests to offer the incense in the Holies."
The incense was offered first, and that is the reason the candles are first lighted and the celebrant of the Mass first incenses the altar at the beginning of Mass. "And Aaron shall burn sweet-smelling incense upon it in the morning. When he shall dress the lamps, he shall burn it." 18
"Then follow directions to mark the horns of the great altar with the blood of the victims in the form of a cross which we will describe later." Four chambers were in the heating-house, like small rooms opening into a great hall, two belonged to the sanctuary (the Priests' Court in the middle of which stood the great altar of sacrifice), and two were profane, and small wickets parted the sacred ones from the profane. The southwestern was for the lambs for the sacrifice.
The southeastern was for the showbreads (the proposition bread in our Bible). In the northeastern the Machabees, the Asmoneans, had hidden the stones of the altar profaned by the Greeks. The northwestern was used as a passage to the bath-house. The chamber at the northeast was the place where the wood was kept, and blemished priests examined the wood there, as moldy wood was unfit for the altar. The northwestern chamber was the place for the cured lepers, who came to the Temple to be sprinkled. Wine and oil for the offerings were kept there, and it was called the chamber of oil.
"The altar stood in the middle of the court, and was in size thirty-two ells, ten ells opposite to the door of the Temple, twenty ells wide, eleven ells toward the north, and eleven ells to the south, so that the altar was opposite to the Temple, and its walls."
1 See Edersheim, Life of Christ, i. 47,103,104,175.
2 De Religione Hebrӕorum, n. 68.
3 Roman Missal.
4 Levit. ix. 24.
5 Levit. x. 2.
6 Levit, xvi. 16.
7 The words of the Old Testament in the Talmud are not the very same as those found in the translations Christians use, but the sense is the same. No two persons will give the same terms when translating from another language.
8 Levit. xvi.
9 See Geikie, Life of Christ, i. 95.
10 Levit. viii. 34.
11 Babylonian Talmud, Tract Yomah.
12 "Day of Atonement," Chap 1; Mishna and Gamaras.
13 Exod. xxiv. 16.
14 Levit. viii. 34.
15(a) Talmud, Tract Yomah, "Day of Atonement" p. 4.
16 I. Peter ii. 24.
17 Deut. vi. 4-9.
18 Exod. xxx. 7, 8, etc.