Monday, September 21, 2009

Big Changes after Savior's Death

Here's some additional information about a previously posted
topic...and then we'll move on tomorrow to other subjects.

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Hebrews 9:12

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.”

Every year on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest of Israel entered the Most Holy Place (also known as the Holy of Holies) to sprinkle the blood of a sacrificed goat as an offering for the sins of the people. A second animal was designated as the scapegoat and a red sash was tied around its horns. The priest then laid his hands on the head of the scapegoat and it was sent away in the wilderness, symbolic of sending away the sins of the people. It was escorted to the wilderness by a priest, who waited to release the goat until a specific sign from God was given: the red sash would turn to white, signifying that God had accepted the sacrifice and forgiven the sins of the people.

This transaction was repeated annually without fail—the sash always supernaturally changed color—until one very eventful year. It was the year of the death of Jesus. The Talmud makes this incredible concession: “Forty years before the Holy Temple was destroyed, the lot of the Yom Kippur goat ceased to be supernatural; the red cord of wool that used to change white now remained red and did not change, and the western candle in the menorah in the sanctuary refused to burn continually, while the doors of the Holy Temple would open of themselves.[note: these huge doors usually needed TEN priests to open them!]

Some eye-opening things were taking place, among them the sign that God no longer accepted the Yom Kippur sacrifice. The red sash now remained red because the acceptable sacrifice had been fulfilled in the death of the suffering servant, the Messiah. And the Talmud itself confirms that this change occurred around 30 C.E.

(Peterson, Galen. 1995. The Everlasting Tradition. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications., pgs 94-95)


  1. This is great. It brought to mind some insight from John Pratt, who wrote a great article at Meridian on the scapegoat and the "strangeness" of things that changed direction during the time of the Savior's ministry such as you mention above.

    One note in particular he writes along this same theme is of the "casting lots" to select the scapegoat. He writes:

    "Another whole dimension is introduced into the meaning of the lots if we remember that the high priest used both his right and left hands to draw them, and that the right hand signifies righteousness and the left wickedness (see Mat. 25:32-46). Thus, even without the goats, there was meaning in the high priest picking [the goat] "for Jehovah" with his right hand. That was considered to be a good omen for Israel.

    During the 40 years that Simeon the Righteous was high priest at the time of Alexander the Great, it was said that he picked "for Jehovah" with his right hand every time.

    On the other hand, during the forty years before the fall of the temple in AD 70, which would include the entire minsitry of Christ from AD 30-33, the Jewish records state that the high priest chose "for Jehovah" in his left hand every time. That was considered a very bad omen. See Robert Reiland, Jesus and the Third Temple, (Silver Springs, NV: Your Own World Books, 2007), p. 131.

    The odds against forty identical picks happening consecutively by chance are 1 in a trillion (1 in 240 )." End of quote.

    So many signs were there for them to see, and yet still so many missed them all...

  2. Thanks, Jennifer for that fabulous quote. None of the ones I have are as good as that. I like Pratt's material so much.