Sunday, 21 December 2014

How Christ said the first mass, By Rev. James L. Meagher, D.D. Part 7.

This altar stood on the summit of Mount Moriah, where Abraham offered his son Isaac, who carried the wood of the sacrifice up the mount, foretelling Christ carrying his cross. At the present time the Mosque of Omar, called the "Dome of the Rock," covers the rock summit of Moriah, which rises about fifteen feet over the floor of the eight-sided building, it being within covered with beautiful faince or delf ware, mostly colored white and blue, and ornamented with passages from the koran. The rock is now inclosed with an iron railing. In the southeastern part of the rock is a round hole about two feet in diameter, through which the blood of the victims flowed down and was carried by underground pipes below the city to the Cedron "Black Valley," thus called because of the blood. The great rock, irregular like the top of a mountain, never leveled off, shows the groves where the blood flowed, and is colored by age. To Mohammedan eyes this holy place is second to Mecca, because of Abraham from whom the Arabians descended through Ishmael. Under the rock is a kind of cave, and there they showed shrines, where they told the writer Abraham, Christ and Mohammed prayed.
« During these six days the elders of the Beth Din, judges and learned lawyers of the supreme court, instruct the high priest, read to him out of Leviticus xvi., and say to him,'My lord the high priest, say it aloud lest thou hast forgotten or not studied this.' On the morning, preceding the Day of Atonement, he comes to the eastern gate and the bulls, rams and sheep are placed before him, that he might get a knowledge of the service. All the seven days he is free to eat and drink, but the eve of the Day of Atonement he is not permitted to eat much.
"The elders of the Beth Din left him to the elders of the priesthood, who took him up into the house of Abtinas, and made him swear: 'My lord the high priest, we are the delegates of the Beth Din, and thou art our delegate, and the delegate of the Beth Din, we conjure thee by Him who hast made his abode in this house, that thou shalt not alter one thing about which we have spoken to thee.' "
"They made him take an oath that he was not a Sadducee, for the Sadducees believed not in the future life. He took farewell, weeping, and they wept, he because he might be suspected of being an infidel, they lest they might suspect an innocent man. He read day by day the Scriptures, especially the Books of Job, Esdras, Chronicles and Daniel.
" He lived in two chambers, one on the north, the other on the south, the Palhedrin to sleep in, and the Abtinas as a study. He used to take a handful of incense so as not to spill any, and practised with the censer, the sacrificial knives, took five legal baths, and ten times washed his hands and feet in the brazen laver." 1
These baths were shadows of baptism. The night before the great day, he slept not, for the night of his passion Jesus did not sleep. The chief priests sang to him Psalm cxxxvi., and talked among themselves and with him all night. About the midnight hour, they cleaned the great altar of ashes, beginning at the crowing of the cock, in Hebrew the geber, while the courts and the Temple were filled with Israelites, for no one slept in the Holy City that night.
"Bezeleel 'God in protection' made three arks, the middle one was of wood nine spans high, the one inside was of gold eight spans high, that outside was of gold ten spans high, and a span and a trifle over to hide it.

The gold on the top was a span thick, that it might seem like a small crown on the top of the ark under the mercy-seat.
"There were three crowns, one of the altar, one of the ark, and one of the table of proposition for the bread and wine. Of the altar called the 'Crown of the Priesthood' Aaron received ; that of the table called the 'Crown of Royalty' David received; that of the ark called the 'Crown of Learning is yet to be bestowed on the Messiah." (That foretold the Crown of Thorns on Jesus).
Then follows a long description of the way God spoke to them through the Urim and Thummin with their twelve precious stones, each having the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, which became bright so they read God's oracles and thus wrote his reply.
" In the Urim and Thummim were only the names of the tribes, the names of Abraham, Itz'hak, and Jacob, likewise the words Shibtei Jeshurun 'The Tribes of Israel,' we have learned that a priest on whom the Shekina does not rest, and is not inspired by the Holy Spirit, need not be inquired through. The Holy Spirit enabled him to perceive the letters.
"Five things were missing in the second Temple. What are they? The ark, the mercy-seat, the cherubim, the heavenly fire, the Shekina, 'the Holy Spirit,' and the Urim and Thummim."
Formerly, whoever desired to clear the altar of ashes did so. When there were many priests, they ran on the staircase leading to the top of the altar. Whoever came within four ells, merited it. One of two who were running up the staircase, pushed his companion so he fell and broke his leg. Another time one stabbed a priest to death. The Beth Din made a reform, that the altar should be cleared by lot—there were four lots. If a layman should sprinkle the blood, offer incense, water and wine, he would be put to death. 2
The second lot was to choose thirteen priests to slaughter the victim, 3 sprinkle its blood, clean the gold altar in the Holies of ashes, trim the lamps, take up the members of the victim to the great altar, the head, right hind leg, two fore legs, tail, left hind leg, windpipe, two flanks, entrails, fine flour, things in pans ; and the third lot was to select priests who had never offered in the Holies, and the fourth lot was to choose priests to take up the members of the animal from the staircase to the altar. The daily sacrifices were offered by nine, ten, eleven and twelve priests, according to the feast. The ram was offered by eleven priests, the flesh by five, the entrails, fine flour and wine by two."
The services began when the sunlight illumined the tomb of Abraham. When Sarah died, in her 127th year, Abraham bought of Ephron, the Hethite, the double cave of Hebron, with argument and talk, just as to-day the Arabs will haggle with you in making a contract. It is a specimen of Oriental agreement, showing how little the people of that country have changed for thousands of years. 4
A good carriage road leads south from Jerusalem to Hebron, twenty miles away, winding through Bethlehem, and south by Solomon's Pools. On the side of the hill, surrounded with ancient reservoirs, and other marks of extreme antiquity, in the midst of the city of Hebron rise the walls of a mosque once a Christian church. Moslem fanatics fill the streets scowling at you. Your life is hardly safe from those who guard with jealous care the burial-place of the patriarchs and their wives. The Prince of Wales, later Edward VII., with his suite, having the Sultan's firman, was allowed to enter the upper parts of the building, where six silk-covered cenotaphs cover the places, where down beneath, in the " double-cave," rest the remains of the fathers of Hebrew and Arabian races.
On the walls of the upper church, a bronze Greek tablet tells you that below is the tomb of " Abraham the Friend of God." Some years ago the building was repaired under the direction of an Italian architect, Farenti, who one day followed the keeper down the stone steps, although kicked and rebuffed, he persisted, and tells us, he saw on the floor of the cave the six white marble sarcophagi of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their wives.
"The lots to choose the ministers of the Temple took place either the evening before or at dawn. Before the break of day the Superintendent said: 5
"Go out and see whether the time for sacrificing has come."
"They ascended the Temple tower at the southeast corner of the area, and the one who saw the light first said:
"Barquai, It becomes light. The East is bright."
"As far as Hebron? Is the whole East bright as far as Hebron?"
"Yes, Baraq Barquai, the light has risen."
"Then each went to his work. Why this ceremony? Because the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and their wives were buried at Hebron. Abraham began the Mincha prayers of the morning, when the walls began to throw dark shadows, according to the words," Abraham rose up early in the morning.' 6
When the disc of the sun rose over the far-distant Kebo whence Moses saw the Promised Land, where he died and was buried, its shadows in the forenoon stretching across the mirrored waters of the Dead Sea, a band of priests, stationed in the tower on Olivet, blew blasts on their silver trumpets. The priests stationed on the Temple tower took up the strain and blew three blasts, the first reminding them of the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah and his kingdom, the second God's providence over the world, and the last the General Judgment. All the people in the sleeping city rose, each Jew put on his Phylacteries, stood beside his bed and recited his "Shema" and morning prayers. But this great Day of Atonement, all Jewry gathered in the Temple or went to the synagogue if they lived in distant lands.
The pontiff rose from his couch at the trumpet tone, clothed himself and went to take a bath showing forth the baptismal innocence required of the celebrant entering the sacred sanctuary of our church to sacrifice the Lamb of God.
Undressing he went down and dived into the water of the great bath over the Beth Haparva, a screen of linen byssus being placed between him and the people. Five times the high priest bathed, and ten times he washed his hands and feet. Each time he dived into the water he said:
"Let it be thy will, O God, my Lord, that thou causest me to come in and to go out in peace, that thou causest me to return to my place in peace, and save me from this and from like danger, in this world and in the world to come.''
The danger he feared was lest he might die within the Holy of Holies, as God struck with death the two wicked sons of Aaron. 7
"The high priest ministers in eight vestments, a common priest in four—in linen breeches, cassock, girdle and miter; to the high priest are added the breastplate, the ephod, a coat, and the tists, the gold fillet on the forehead with the words "Holy to Jehovah." 8 The Urim and Thummim "Learning and Virtue" were inquired of only when he was thus vested, but inquiries were not made for a common man, only for the nation, the king, the chief of the Beth Din. (the chief justice of the Supreme Court), and for a public official.
The vestments should be made, according to the Bible, of linen six times twisted. Where twisted linen is prescribed, it should be eightfold twisted. The material of the high priest's cassock was twelve times twisted, that of the veil twenty-four times twisted, and that of the breastplate and ephod twenty-eight. 9 They made on the lower hem of the robe pomegranates of blue, and purple and red yarn, twisted. "And thou shalt make the rational of judgment, with embroidered work of diverse colors, according to the workmanship of the ephod, of gold, violet and purple and scarlet twice dyed, and fine twisted linen." 10 Four times each sixfold is twenty-four, and the gold thread four times makes twenty-eight.
"Cleanliness is next to godliness" was the rule in the Temple. The frequent bathing of the whole body, the washing of the hands and feet required before ceremonies of the Temple and the bath taken before the Passover, foretold Christian baptism. For without this sacrament, the Eucharist cannot be received. When John the Baptist came to the banks of the Jordan at Galgal, where the Hebrews crossed to take possession of the Promised Land, preaching penance and baptizing he followed the Temple teachings. Following the customs of Jewish bathing, the Mohammedan washes himself at the mosque before entering the house to him so holy.
In the morning, while the vast crowds are filling the Temple courts, and 1,000 priests and Levites are preparing for the service, the high priest again takes a bath saying the prayer we have given. While the high priest sacrifices the ordinary morning lamb the priests and Levites sing the Temple Liturgy, the Psalms, the Canticles and the prayers. Surrounded by twelve priests, at his right hand the Segan, ready to take his place if he became unclean, at his right and left the heads of the "course" of priests serving that week, like the assistant priest, deacon and subdeacon of the Mass, with twelve other priests around him he carried out the service.
In the morning, he clothed himself in vestments of Pelusian linen costing $180, in the evening, Hindoo linen worth not less than 1100; sometimes they were more valuable, and they were paid for from the Temple treasury. But he could use still more costly vestments bought from his own funds. 12
After the service of the congregation was finished, if the high priest had a linen vestment made by his mother at her own expense, he might put it on and perform the service for a private person, but not for the congregation, carry out the 'spoons for the frankincense, and incense from the Holies of Holies, but after taking it off ho must give it to the congregation.
His mother made for R. Ishmael ben Phabi, 13 who was the high priest, a linen vestment worth $9,000. He used to put it on, perform the services for private persons, and mentally give it to the congregation, but brought it home. R. Eliezer ben Harsum's mother made him a linen vestment worth 20,000 minas. (It seems hard to believe this, for as the former vestment cost $9,000 that is 100 minas, what did this cost? But we are giving the statements just as we find them in the Talmud, Tract Yomah.) His brethren the priests did not let him put it on, as in it he seemed to be naked, so delicate was its texture.
If priests of Jehovah's Temple vested in such magnificent and costly vestments, when sacrificing animals to foretell the Victim of the cross, how beautiful and spotless should be our vestments, when we ofter in the Mass the real Lamb of God.
"The high priest Ben Katin made twelve cocks to the laver, which had only two. He also made a machine for the laver to take it down into the well at will, that its water might not become unfit by being kept overnight. The King Monobaz made all the handles of the utensils used on the Day of Atonement of gold. Helen, his mother, made the gold candlelabrum over the temple-gate. She likewise made a tablet of gold whereon was inscribed the section about a woman who goes aside." 14
This Queen Helen, a convert to Judaism, carefully followed its tenets, took the vow of a Nazarene three times and practised it for twenty-one years. Her family tombs, called the "Tombs of the Kings" are now shown at the north of Jerusalem. They are very extensive, being rooms excavated out of the solid rock to the north of what was once a deep quarry. The steps leading down were cut so the rainwater is conveyed into cisterns under the rock to the south. The door to the tombs was closed by a round flat stone like the stone which closed the door of Christ's tomb.
The high priest bathed. Coming out, he wiped himself with a sponge, his vestments of cloth of gold were brought him, which he put on, and then again he washed his hands and feet. They brought him the daily sacrifice, the lamb offered morning and evening at nine o'clock and three p. m. He cut the lamb's throat, another priest finished the sacrifice in his presence.
He took up the blood, sprinkled it on the horns of the great altar. He went into the Holies and there offered the incense, trimmed the seven lamps of the gold candelabrum, and coming out he offered the head and members of the lamb, the things in pans and the bread and wine.

This day there were five services. The daily morning sacrifice in vestments of cloth of gold, the service of the day in linen vestments, his ram and the people's ram in vestments of cloth of gold, the spoon, and censer in linen vestments, and the daily offerings in cloth of gold. Between each service, he had to change his vestments, and dive deep into the bath, washing his hands and feet before and after the bath, according to the words of the Lord to Moses regarding his brother Aaron. 15
He made an incision in the throat of the next victim. How much? Says Ulla: The greater part of the windpipe and the gullet. Abyi ordered the services according to a tradition he had, and it agrees with that of Abbu Saul. The first great arrangement of wood precedes the second arrangement of wood on the southwestern corner of the altar, as will be explained in the Tamid. This preceded the two measures of wood, and they preceded the removal of the ashes from the inner altar, and this preceded the trimming of the five lamps. This preceded the sprinkling of the blood of the morning daily offering, and this preceded the trimming of the two lamps, and this preceded the offering of incense, which came before the offering of the members, this was before the flour-offering, and this was before the things baked in pans. This preceded the drink offering (the bread and wine), and this preceded the additional offerings for Sabbath or festival, and these were before the spoonfuls of frankincense. From the word Hashlamin, 'Peace-offerings,' it can be inferred that they complete the service of the day.
Now they lead the bullock into the priests' court, facing his body north and south, as he stands at the north of the great altar, they turn the animal's face to the west. For so faced Christ on the cross away from the city which killed him towards the western nations which would later receive his Gospel. The high priest stood towards the east, his face to the west. He placed his two hands, palms down, thumbs forming a cross, on the head of the victim, between the horns. "On this sin-offering he confessed the sins for which the sin-offering was brought, on the trespass-offering the sins corresponding to it, and on a burnt-offering sins of preventing the poor to gather, for forgetting the poor and not leaving corners." 16
"He put his two hands on him and confessed his sins in the following words:
"I beseech Thee, O Jehovah, I have committed iniquities, I have transgressed and have sinned before Thee, I and my house. I beseech Thee, O Jehovah, forgive, I pray, the iniquities, the transgressions, and the sins I have committed, transgressed before Thee, I and my house, as it is written in the Law of Moses thy servant, "Upon this day shall be the expiation for you and the cleansing from all your sins, that you shall be cleansed from all your sins." 17
With a mighty sound the whole congregation reply, "Blessed be the name of His kingdom's glory for ever."
The lust of money was on them. Families had monopolies of Temple duties, which brought them large revenues, and they would not tell the secrets of their crafts.
And the memories of the following were mentioned with blame: those of the house of Garmo, they were unwilling to teach the art of making the showbreads (the proposition bread foretelling the altar bread); those of the house of Abtinas, who did not want to teach the art of preparing the incense; Hogros ben Levi who knew something in music, in which he was unwilling to instruct others. Ben Kamstar did not want to teach the art of writing.
"The house of Garmo was skilled in making the showbreads. The sages sent for workers from Alexandria, and they could bake it well, but could not take it from the oven for it got broken. They heated the oven from the outside, while the house of Garmo heated it from the inside. The showbreads of the Alexandrian bakers used to become mouldy, and that of the former never became so. So the Beth Garmo had to be invited to resume their post. The sages inquired of them : 'Why are you unwilling to instruct others?' 'Our family knows by tradition that this Temple will one day fall, and then if we should have taught it to an improper person, he may go and serve idols.'"
"The house of Abtinas was skilled in preparing incense, and were unwilling to teach it. The sages sent for workers from Alexandria, who could prepare the incense, but could not make it so the smoke would ascend. R. Ishmael said, 'I was once on the road, and I met one of their grandchildren, and said, ' Your ancestors wished to increase their own glory, and diminish that of the Lord.' R. Ishmael b. Luga said: 'I and one of their grandchildren went out into the fields to gather grass, and he wept, saying: "I see the herbs we used to put in the incense to make it smoke." "Point it out to me." " We are under an oath not to show it to any one." R. Johanan b. Nuri met an old man of the family of Abtinas with a scroll, on which was a list of the names of the spices for incense. I said: 'Show it to me.' 'As long as our family lived, they did not show it any man. But now when they have all died, and the Temple no longer exists, I can give it to thee, but be careful with it.' 18
Now the high priest comes to the front of the altar, and a priest holds out to him the gold box, wherein are the ' lots,' on one is written: 'For Jehovah,' on the other 'For Azazael.' 19 The Segan is on his right, the head of the family of priests serving that week on his left. If that of Jehovah was taken out by his right hand, the Segan says to him : 'My Lord the high priest, raise thy right hand.' If that of Jehovah was taken out by his left hand, the head of the family says: ' My lord the high priest, raise thy left hand.' He placed the lots on the two goats saying : ' To Jehovah, a sin offering.' 'For Azazael the scapegoat.' The whole assembly responded with a mighty voice : 'Blessed be the name of His Kingdom's glory forever.'
"The Segan always walked or remained at the pontiff's right hand, that if he became unfit for the service he might take his place. He tore the scarlet cloth in two, tied one half to the rack and the tongue of crimson wool to the head of the goat that was to be sent away, the scapegoat, and placed him opposite the gate, through which he was to be led, and the one to be sacrificed opposite the place of its slaughtering."

1 Exod xxx. 18.

2 See Yomah, chap. xi. 33.

3 Yomah, chap. xi. 35.

4 Gen. xxiii.

5 Yomah, chap. iii. 40-41.

6 Gen. xxii. 3.

7 Levit. x. 2.

8 Exod. xxviii. 36,

9 Exod, xxxix, 28.

10 Exod. xxviii. 15.

12 Yomah, chap. iii. 47.

13 He was very wealthy, dressed in the height of fashion, decked with gold lace and jewels. He seized the property of widow and orphan. He was one of the judges of the Sanhedrin, was bitterly opposed to Christ and with the others condemned him to death.

14 Numb. v. 12.

15 Levit. xvi. 23, 24, etc. See, Tract Yomah, p. 45, for details, etc.

16 Levit. xix. 9,10.

17 Levit. xvi. 30, Yomah, vi. 9.

18 Yomah, chapter iii. 53-55.

19 Azazael means "Almighty Eloi," the Eternal Father; for Christ, foretold by the scapegoat, offered himself on the cross to his Father, with the sins of mankind on him.