Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Bible: Episode 4 - The King is Revealed

Alice C. Linsley

Episode four opens with Jesus healing a paralytic and a leper. He draws large crowds and the number of his disciples grows.

Among his followers is a woman named Mary. She is from Magdala near Tiberias, on the west shore of the Sea of Galilee. The notion that she was a prostitute comes from a Talmudic expression meaning "curling women's hair," which the Talmud applies to an adulteress. This is how the rumor began that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute.

Some Talmudic writings cast aspersions on the early Christian leaders. That Mary Magdalen, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary were hated by the Jewish authorities is a testimony to their prominence. All were slandered by the rabbis. Sanhedrin 106a says Jesus' mother was a whore: “She who was the descendant of princes and governors played the harlot with carpenters.” She is called "Charia" which means dung or excrement, and Jesus is called "Jeschu" which means "May his name be blotted out."

Many Jews believe that the Talmud contains truth of greater authority than the Bible. The Talmud itself encourages readers to place it above the authority of the Old Testament. We read this instruction: “My son, be more careful in the observance of the words of the Scribes than in the words of the Torah." (Talmud Erubin 21b)

The Jews divided over Jesus

With Jesus' appearing, a great conflict arose within Judaism. The Jewish rulers necessarily sought to avoid trouble with the Romans. Jesus was being hailed as the long-expected Messiah, the Seed/Son of God (Gen. 3:15) anticipated by the Patriarchs and Prophets of old. This caused division among the Jewish leaders. Some of the Jewish leaders became Jesus' followers. This is the case with Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, both members of the Sanhedrin. Ari-Mathea refers to the Horite Hebrew priest line of Mathea (Mattai/Matthew).

Jesus in a scene with Mary of Magdala

Even today Jews remain divided on Jesus' identity.

Jesus feeds the multitude in Galilee

A small boy gives Jesus five small barley loaves and two small fish. Jesus blessed these and fed five thousand men; not including women and children. The abundance of this provision is expressed in the twelve baskets of left over pieces. The number twelve is significant because it represents how Jesus will equip his disciples to go forward in ministry. Such feedings symbolize the Lord's power to satisfy physical and spiritual hunger.

Jesus returns to Nazareth

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but grew up in Nazareth of Galilee. His closest followers were from Galilee and it was to Galilee that Jesus returned and met with His disciples after His resurrection. At the Last Supper He informed his disciples: "After I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” (Matt. 26:32)

In 1962 excavators discovered in the ruins of a Caesarea synagogue a small 3rd to 4th century marble fragment with a list of the twenty-four priestly divisions. This lists names the places where four of the divisions resided, including Nazareth. Until the discovery of this fragment, there was no extra-biblical record of Nazareth's existence before the sixth century A.D and no identification of a priestly division at that town.

According to 1 Chronicles 24:15, Nazareth was the home of the eighteenth priestly division, ha·pi·TSETS (Happizzez). The name Happizzez is related to the ancient Egyptian word for water, specifically the life-sustaining Nile which was call Hap. Earlier in the episode Jesus walked on water and at his first public miracle he turned water to wine at a wedding in Cana.

While in Nazareth, Jesus reads from the scroll of Isaiah. He opens the scroll to Isaiah 61:1-3 and reads about the Messiah. Then he says, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead

Jesus' raising of his friend Lazarus in Bethany causes a furor. Bethany is a short distance from Jerusalem and the news traveled quickly to the Jewish leaders. One of the signs of the expected Messiah was that he would raise the dead.

Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem

When Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey he is greeted as a king according to the ancient Jebusite tradition. In the time of Abraham and David Jerusalem was a Jebusite city and it was the custom to enthrone rulers using palm branches.

To this day, the Ijebu (Jebusites) use fresh palm fronds when installing a ruler or priest. The supreme ruler of the Ijebu is called "Awujali” and his coronation ceremony involves palm branches. The present Awajali describes how the Ijebus are descended from ancient Nubians and Egyptians (Kushites), as were Abraham and David, from whom Jesus descended.

Fresh palm tree fronds are used ceremonially at the installation of chiefs and kings and are used to decorate places of worship. When the people of Jerusalem used palm fronds to greet Jesus, they hailed him as one to be enthroned according to the custom of his ruler-priest ancestors. One of those ancestors was Melchizedek, the ruler-priest of Jerusalem.

The Last Supper

Jesus gathers with his disciples to eat the Passover meal in the upper room. His words and actions express the true meaning of the Passover whereby the Lamb of God becomes the meal. Jesus takes the bread and after breaking it says, "This is my body." Then he takes the cup of wine and says, "This is my blood. Do this to remember me."

The association of blood and wine is made in the prophecies concerning Judah, who will be elevated above his brothers and from whom “the scepter shall not depart… nor a lawgiver until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the expectations of the nations…who will “wash his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes” (Gen. 49:10-11).

Jesus gives Judas a fragment of bread and whispers instruction that Judas should do his deed quickly. Judas flees from the upper room and vomits in the alley under the watchful eye of Satan.

The Arrest

Jesus is arrested and condemned to death at a secret trial held contrary to the law of Israel. Nicodemus recognizes that Jesus might be the Messiah, as is being claimed by the people. The religious leaders are intent upon eliminating this threat to their power, but fear a riot that would bring down upon them the wrath of Caesar. They have no authority to execute Jesus, but persuade Pilate to punish him. When that does not satisfy Jesus' enemies, Pilate consents to Jesus' crucifixion.

In 70 A.D. the greatest fears of the Temple authorities were realized. The Temple was destroyed by the Romans, "leaving not a stone upon a stone." The distinctive and unique marriage and ascendancy pattern of Jesus' ruler-priest people also came to an end, having fulfilled its purpose in the divine Son, Jesus Christ.

Related reading:  The Genesis Begats Speak of Archaic Rulers and Jesus Christ; The Significance of Galilee in Matthew's GospelThe Talmud versus the Doctrine of the Lord; Matthew's Testimony Concerning the Empty Tomb; The Messianic Priesthood of Jesus; The Bible: Episode 3 - The Messiah Appears!; The Bible: Episode 2 ; The History Channel Scores a C; Success of Bible Series Hard to Assess

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