HOME   october 18, 2020  RAV SHAUL

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Chapter 14

A Historical Account of the Fulfillment of Passover


The Fulfillment of Passover

Robert D. Mock MD


Let us turn our attention to the events which led up to the crucifixion.  Galilee and Judea were astir, for it was a Sabbatical Passover that occurred every seven years.  According to Mosaic Law, every seventh year the land would rest, with no cultivation.  The only produce during that year that could be grown, was that which grew naturally, whether it was fruits or grains.  

As such, the population would have to stockpile provisions for that seventh year.  During this time, the land stood at rest, and the population was on a year long Sabbatical.  During this time, eager followers of any Messianic or Hasmonean aspirant to the throne flocked to their cause.  Those who were Torah students would spend the year in the rabbinic schools of Torah study.  These were peak years for the Zealots cause, with their obsessed goal to free Judea from Roman rule.   The Sicarii were always available to promote the cause of freedom even if it meant a quick assassination of an opponent.

We see Yahusha heading to Jerusalem, and for the first time he cautions his disciples to arm themselves, if nothing more than self-defense.  Peter takes on the stance of a personal bodyguard of Yahusha. Prior to Yahusha’ arrival word reaches him of the death of several Zealot patriots, which give every appearance that the perimeters of Jerusalem, or at least the City of David, had been secured in anticipation of a general uprising. Then the battering rams were brought into the Kidron Valley.  Soon the strong tower of Siloam toppled and with it the death of eighteen Zealot defenders.

The 8th of Nisan (Aviv) – Yahusha at Bethany

John 12:1
 “Then, six days before the Passover, Yahusha came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom he had raised from the dead.”

It was now six days before the Passover (8th of Nisan), and Yahusha was arriving in Bethany.  At this time he was a hunted man.  Ever since the resurrection of Lazarus, a few days’ prior, the Jewish leadership, were plotting to put Yahusha to death.” (John 11:53)

John 11:49-50; 53-54 – “And one of them, Caiphas, being the high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish…Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death.  Therefore, Yahusha no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples.”

In the few days prior to the Passover, Yahusha had escaped with his disciples to a wilderness town of Ephraim. (John 11:54).   There they waited out the days before the Passover.  The tension was high.  The suspense was intense.

The city of Jerusalem was abuzz.  Pilgrims by the hundreds of thousands were thronging into the city.  As with every year, this was the day when they anticipated the announcement of the coming of the Messiah.  Would this be the year?  The pilgrims in route would collect palm branches and cedar boughs to bring with them in anticipation of the Messiah.  As with every festival, every living space a pilgrim resided. There they entered the mitzvah baths to purify themselves.  And then at the temple, they awaited and watched for the coming of the Messiah.  The whole populace was also in anticipation of whether Yahusha would come to the feast.  Also the chief priests and Pharisees were also waiting, for ‘if anyone knew where he was, the word was out that he should report it, so that the temple leaders might seize him. (John 11:35)

John 11:56-57
“Then they sought Yahusha, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, ‘What do you think – that he will not come to the feast?’  Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where he was, he should report it, that they might seize him.”

The 9th of Nisan (Aviv) – Yahusha as Guest of Honor with Simon the Pharisee

On the eve of the fifth day before Passover, Yahusha was a guest of honor in the home of Simon, in a celebration feast.  There, Mary Magdalene, the sister of Martha and Lazarus was also an honored guest.  She opened an alabaster vase with a pound of spikenard and anointed the head and the feet of Yahusha, in the manner of anointing a king.

Matthew 26:6
“And when Yahusha was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table.”

John 12:1-4
“Then, six days before the Passover, Yahusha came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him.  Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Yahusha, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.  But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray him, said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’”

The 10th of Nisan (Aviv) – Yahusha Arrives in Jerusalem as a King of the House of David

It was on the evening prior to the day of the lamb selection by the high priest, Yahusha made special preparations with his disciples (talmidim) for the events of the next day.  It was a secret mission.  Yahusha knew that on the fourth day before the Passover, the High Priest was to leave the city through the north gate as he went to the sheep herds and inspected the yearling flock for the most perfect lamb of the season.  With this in mind, Yahusha then laid out his strategy with his disciples.

This morning of the 10th day of Nisan awakened.  The sky was crystal clear, the cool early spring breezes swept down through the Kidron valley. The ripened barley was waving at the base of the Mount of Olives in the Field of Ashes.  As directed, the chosen disciples found a donkey with a young colt tied in a doorway near an open street.  On the side of the Mount of Olives, the disciples (talmidim) awaited their master.  

 Within the city of Jerusalem, the crowds of pilgrims were in anticipation of a great procession with the arrival of the Pesach Lamb.  Every year, four days before Passover, a vast entourage of cohanim (priests) would file out of the Herod’s Temple.  Instead of exiting out of the gate nearest the Temple on the western wall and walking over the overhanging bridge over the Tyropean Valley that connected the Temple Mount with the Upper City, the procession of hundreds of cohanim (priests) paraded out of the Royal Stoa’s western gate entrance, where the vast temple market place, the Bazaar of Hanan (Ananus the Elder) was located.  There they walked down the wide staircase over what is known as the Robinsons’ Arch, turning south, then west and finally north as they connected with the main north-west street of Jerusalem, the Damascus street going to the north gate, known as the Damascus Gate.

The procession entered the Upper City, where the densely packed homes, had the appearance of an impenetrable wall.  To the left was the tall imposing Hasmonean Palace, built over a hundred years prior looming high on the horizon.

The cohanim (priests) began to line the sides of the Damascus street, two by two, maintaining positions on either side of the street, as they rocked back and forth with palm fronds in their hands.  As the cohanim positioned themselves, the high priest and his entourage made its way north to the north gate.  Outside the city they inspected the flocks of yearling lambs to find the most perfect lamb.  Year after year this custom was dramatized on the fourth day prior to Passover.  Inside the city, the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who flocked to the city had already arrived, each one bringing a palm frond or cedar bough, they had collected in route to the Holy City. The whole city was lined with greenery as they placed these boughs outside the residence that they were staying. 

The eager cohanim (priests) awaited the return of the high priest.  When Caiphas, the high priest entered the Damascus Gate bringing the selected lamb by his side, the cohanim) at the gate began shouting, “Hosanna to the Highest!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed be the kingdom of our father David that is coming!  Hosanna in the Highest!” (Mark 11:9-10)   Upon hearing the shout the people in the city, those who had already purified themselves in the mitzvahs in the southern part of the city, ran out into the street, also bringing their fronds and started shouting, “Hosanna in the Highest!”

Outside the Damascus Gate, to the east of the city, the disciples on the Mount of Olives were waiting to rendezvous with Yahusha.  We now have a whole group of disciples (talmidim), a mother donkey and her two-three year old colt. A blanket is put over the colt and Yahusha quietly puts his hand on the colt’s mane.  This was the colt’s first riding experience.  The quietness of the master was transmitted to the colt as he mounts and they begin the descent into the Kidron Valley into the city. 

In unison, as cued by the Rabbi Yahusha, the disciples begin to shout, “Hosanna in the Highest!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of our Lord!”  The flocks of pilgrims join in the chant as Yahusha and the talmidim (disciples) went around the northern part of the Temple Mount, below the base of the Antonia Fortress towards the Gate of Damascus.

In the meantime, the Caiphas, the High Priest, has now exited the Northern Damascus Gate and was heading out to the fields to inspect the flocks of yearling lambs.  The chant intensified, the cohanim at the Gate hear the chant and began to shout, “Hosanna in the Highest!  Blessed is he who comes in the Name of our Lord!” The chant now cascaded like a domino down the Damascus street all the way to the wall to the temple mount.  Suddenly, the cohanim at the gate realize, they have been fooled.  This was not the return of the high priest.  This was Rabbi Yahusha and his disciples.  Some of the Shammaite Pharisees, the dogmatic sticklers of church protocol and defining the letter of the truth, challenged Yahusha, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”  Yahusha shouts back to them over the swelling cries of the multitude, “If these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:40) 

The people began to flock out of their homes, grabbing their palm fronds outside the doors and the shouting swelled throughout the city. Anticipation was high!  The whole land had heard of the teachings of the great Rabbi Yahusha.  Was this not a Sabbatical year, a special year in which the whole land rests?  Were not rumors abounding throughout the land that the Messiah would come in the on the Shabbat of years? 

Not only was it a Sabbatical year, it was a Sabbatical Passover, which only occurred every seven years, the Highest Passover when pilgrims throughout the Diaspora flocked to the Holy Land.   The city was swollen with pilgrims throughout the world; Macedonia, Crete, Parthia, Rome, and Ethiopia.  Each pilgrim from their own countries, each with their strange costumes akin to their native land, many trying to remember a bit of Hebrew they rarely used, occasionally breaking into the tongue of their land of residence, all producing a cacophony of sound and sight.

You can almost see a cohanim, rocking back and forth with their palm fronds, breaking the rhythm, leaning over and peering up the street.  Where is the priest?  Where is the Lamb?  Suddenly they see.  What!  “Rabbi Yahusha riding a colt. followed by mother ass. and a whole entourage of His disciples!”  What is this!

The crowd became ecstatic; the town was in a tumult.  They shouted, “Hosanna in the Highest!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of our Lord! Blessed be the kingdom of our father David that is coming!  Hosanna in the Highest!” Jumping in glee they threw off their cloaks, so that the Messiah could ride over on a garment-laden path. Yes, said the Zealots, this is our man!  We have sealed the perimeters of the city, and the revolt is ripe to take the city in the name of Yahuah. Yes, said the Sicarii, we have waited for him.  Now we can destroy the hated Romans and the traitorous temple leaders, the Herodians, and the Sadducees, who have played into and have been bought by the blood money of the Romans. Yes, said the peasants and the populous!  Here is the Messiah, who will bring in the Kingdom of the God of Israel.  The crowds thronged behind Yahusha as he headed south to the Temple Mount and the Royal Stoa.  The people, the cohanim were swept up in vast tide of humanity.  Guess what? 

Caiphas, the high priest was returning from the northern fields with the Passover Lamb in hand and as he entered the northern Damascus Gate, the street was empty. What’s going on!  When he hears that Rabbi Yahusha has entered the city as a royal aspirant to the throne of David, the Messiah who is come, he was furious.  Type met antitype at this moment.  The Passover Lamb met the Lamb of God.

Yahusha on the other hand, passed under the Robinson’s Archway of the Royal Causeway and dismounted at the base of the assent to the Royal Stoa of the Temple.  Up the vast gateway he climbed.  This entry gate was awe-inspiring with polished limestone capped with fold plated Corinthian capitals.  Into the Royal Stoa, he strode.  It was a long hallway straddled out before him with four broad columned aisles.  There in the quietness of the Royal Stoa, in the stillness of the hour, in the temple of his Father, he prayed.  It was getting late, so he left the Temple and walked over to Bethany.

The 11th of Nisan –Yahusha Throws out the Moneychangers

The next day, Yahusha returned to Jerusalem and entered the temple.  Along the street the merchants were setting up their stalls to begin the commercial activity of the day.  The lower market was a very busy area.  There were cheeses in mounds, baskets with all manner of fruit in them, jars with wine and various types of grain bread lying in piles on the side. Merchants from the east were unloading a wagon of silk, as farmers and traders jostled as they weaved in and out of the crowds.  Here they came to a large plaza with a monumental stairway leading up to the double gate of the temple mount.

Straight ahead was the main entry into the Temple courts. This area should have been an area of peaceful repose, to bring one into a spirit of meditation before entering the House of the Yahuah.  Yet instead of the quiet meditation, He remembered there in the Royal Stoa, there was frenzied commotion.  The clanging sounds and rabble of commercial activity abound.  To the right and left were the moneychangers, exchanging the coin of the empire, each bearing the image of Caesar into the silver temple shekel.  The walls were lined with small cages of doves and pigeons, where the newly moms were bargaining for a thank offering to celebrate the happy conclusion of their pregnancy.  Oxen and sheep were lining the halls bellowing in the aroma of a barnyard. Let us imagine the Houston Live Stock Show in the grandeur of the Temple of God, and we can visualize in part what Yahusha saw.   

Yahusha squinted his eyes and then His face began to flush with anger. He picked up a whip and began overturning tables, chasing out the merchants, with sheep, oxen, and pigeons careening in three dimensions. In a provocative show of force, he threw out the money exchangers and the commerce in the temple courts suddenly ceased. 

The 11th to the 13th of Nisan – the Attempted Revolt by the Zealots

For three days, the sacrificial system ceased and it appeared that Yahusha had full control of the Temple compound.   He spent the time preaching and healing the masses of pilgrims. 

With an estimated one million attendees to the Passover, a three-day shutdown was a major financial blow to the high priest Caiphas and the House of Ananus, along with the Sadducean authorities, who made millions of shekels for their own personal bank portfolios.  Yet the Sadducean Temple guards, and the Roman cohort of troops (about 500), made no attempt to arrest Yahusha because they feared the people who were in sympathetic support of the ministry of Yahusha. 

Matthew 21:46-46
“Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.”

Was Yahusha the Nazarene an armed revolutionary?  No! Though anti-Christian literature later would depict Him as such, we must understand the political and seething cauldron that Jerusalem was in that day. The Zealots as can be suspected (Luke 23:19) took advantage of the political environment to seal the perimeters of the city, in hopes of staging a political coup.  They were hoping to force Yahusha to make a rightful claim to the throne of David.  Knowing His allegiance with the multitudes, His powers over nature, His ability to heal, and raise the dead to life, there was every expectation that this claimant, Yahusha, would succeed and lay full claim to the Messianic legacy.        

Everything appears to go as planned by the Zealots, yet Yahusha, when he took control of the temple complex, instead of making an armed political coup against the Sadducean Temple Guard and the limited Roman garrison in the Antonia Tower, He instead began to heal the sick and minister to the spiritual and physical needs of the people.  A live demonstration of the true “Kingdom of God” was demonstrated those three days prior to the Passover feast in the courtyard of the temple.   There was always swift retribution to any aspirant to the throne of David by the Romans, yet Yahusha, recently anointed in Bethany, made a peaceful yet highly visible entrance as a new claimant to the throne of David.  The governor of Judea, the Procurator Pilate, would later say, “I find no fault in him.”  That a revolt was thwarted is known by the legal swap of Bar-Abbas, the grandson of Judas of Galilee, the famed revolutionary in 6 CE, who revolted with the census of Roman.  Now his grandson was plotting an armed revolutionary overthrow of the Roman.  While Bar-Abbas was set free, Yahusha was hung on a tree with two of Bar-Abbas revolutionists.

By the 14th of Nisan, the Zealot forces went into retreat without the full support of Yahusha and the thousands of the supporters of His cause.   Yahusha had come as the “Prince of Peace” not as a fiery messianic warlord, like David.  The revolt in the making fizzled out.  The price of the failed revolt, was the lifeless body of Judas, hanging from a tree in a potter’s field.

The Four Days of Inspection

According to the Mosaic instructions on the observance of the Passover, the lamb was to be inspected by the High Priest and cohanim for four days before the Passover slaying of the lamb.  For four days, Yahusha was also inspected, interrogated, accosted, intimidated, and challenged by the Pharisees, scribes and lawyers. 

From the 11th to the 14th of Nisan, the Passover Lamb stood in the inner temple arena and was scrutinized by the high priest and Sadducees.  On these same four days, Yahusha stood in the outer courts of the temple, ministering to the populous and repeatedly responding to the inspecting challenges by the rabbinic masters of law, halakhah, temple authority, and religious dogma, or eventually in the judgment hall of Pilate listening to the slanderous accusations against Him. 

What was the Nature of these Challenges by the Pharisees, Herodians, Sadducees, and Scribes

The first challenge against Yahusha was on the authority of Yahusha, and who gave Him his authority? (Matt 21:23-27, Mark, 11: 27-33, Luke 20:1-8)

Yahusha’ rebuttal was initiated by telling the parable of the landowner of the vineyard, whose tenants slew the land owner’s son. (Matt 21:33-46, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19)  

Yahusha then spoke a parable of the king preparing a wedding feast for his son, the heir apparent.  The invitees to the feast either ignored the invitation or killed the servants who brought the invitation. A guest without a wedding garment is cast out. (Matt 22:1-14)

The second challenge was concerning three questions by the Pharisees, Herodians, and scribes to Yahusha and the one question by Yahusha to his challengers.

The first question was by the Pharisees and Herodians concerning paying taxes to Caesar. (Matthew 22: 15-22, Mark 12:13-17, Luke 20:20-26)

The second question was from the Sadducees concerning the resurrection (Matthew 22:23-33, Mark 12:18-27, Luke 20:27-38)

The third question was from the scribes about the great commandment. (Matthew 2:34-40, Mark 12:28-43, Luke 20:39,40)

Yahusha then sent the challenge to the Pharisees, scribes and Herodians concerning the Messiah’s ancestry. (Matthew 22:41-46, Mark 12:35-37, Luke 20:41-44)  In a final rebuttal, Yahusha proclaimed the “woes” upon the scribes and pharisees. (Matt 23:1-39, Mark 12:38-40, Luke 20:45-47)

And so while the selected Pesach lamb was being examined by the temple authorities, during these same three days Yahusha was scrutinized on whether his teaching were according to the halakhah of the Torah.  He was challenged on his spiritual and ancestral authority plus his civil responsibility as a dependant of Rome.  Here he met face to face with his accusers which included: the temple lawyers, the scribal codifiers of the law, the Pharisees of the House of Shammai who controlled the Synagogues in Judea in this era, the controlling Sadducean authorities of the House of Ananus and the Herodians who ruled parts of Judea as administrative representatives of Rome. 

In the inner courts, the high priest could find no fault with the selected Passover Lamb and on the 14th of Nisan, Passover, slew him on the altar of the Lord.  On the outer courts of the Temple, the religious leaders and the civil governor could find no fault in Yahusha, and hung Him on one of two sites:  the Mount of Olives at the site of where the “red heifer” was burnt and the ashes were collected or on Mount Moriah where Abraham slew the goat in substitution for his son, Isaac on the altar to the Lord.


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