How to Understand the New Testament-Part 14

Yom Kippur is called the “Day of Atonement” and there are many sources that you can go to find out about the Avodah, or the service for that day, so we are not going to get into detail about it. However, you can go to the Tanach; The Mishnah, Seder Moed, “Yoma”; The Tosefta “Kippurim”; Babylonian Talmud “Yoma”; the book “Yamin Noraim” by Jacobson; “The Days of Awe” by S.Y. Agnon for more information. All these sources put together will give you a full picture. People studying the Scriptures need to understand the Temple services and it is a key to unlocking prophecy.
For the service on Yom Kippur, the High Priest was separated from everyone else seven days prior to Yom Kippur. He would be in the Palhedrin Chamber of the Temple. This chamber was eventually referred to as the “politician” chamber because the office of the High Priest was controlled by politics in the last days of the Temple (Herod, the Romans). The High Priest would practice and make sure he was without blemish and qualified to do the Avodah (service). When Yom Kippur approached, the elders of the Sanhedrin would take him to the upper chamber of Avtinas and they would help prepare him for the day by keeping him awake (going over the service, no nocturnal emissions, etc). As the morning approached, we come to the “Kiryat Ha Gever” or the “service of the crier.” Many are under the impression that when Peter denied Yeshua, a “rooster” crowed, but that is not the case. The “gever” was a man, not a rooster, because roosters were not allowed in Jerusalem. This Temple crier would give a three fold cry for the priests to go to their stations, the Levites to the “dulchan” in front of the Temple (as a choir) and for the Ma’Amad (the standing men, non-priests and Levites) to come to the courts. He did this three times. It was the voice of this Temple crier that Peter heard. They would wait till sunrise and for the light to hit Hebron (already explained in an earlier teaching). Once the Tamid service was concluded, the service for Yom Kippur began. A bull was waiting between the Temple porch (the Ulam) and the Altar. Many condensed versions of this service can be found, but when you do find one, note the words, phrases and concepts found in the service that you will see in the Scriptures, especially the Gospels. Yeshua explicitly states that his second coming will be on a Yom Kippur (Matt 24.31) because an idiom for this day was “the Great Trumpet” because the “Shofar ha Gadol” was blown on this day signifying the time when repentance was no longer being accepted and you are “sealed” in whatever state you are in. Now, let’s explore the Azazel goat. There are two goats for Yom Kippur. Lots are chosen, and on each lot a name is written, and they are placed in what was called the “kalphi.” One lot says “L’Adonai” which meant “to the Lord” and the other says “L’Azazel” or “to Azazel.” The High Priest would reach into the Kalphi and draw a lot and place it over the head of the goat. The L’Adonai goat is slaughtered north of the Altar, and the blood is taken into the Holy of Holies and is considered a Korban Chata’at or “sin offering.” The L’Azazel goat is turned away from the Holy of Holies, facing east, and has hands laid upon its head (semichah) and the High Priest says a prayer. It is given to another to be lead into the wilderness. This did not have to be a priest. There was a bridge built over the Kidron Valley heading east, towards a cliff near the Dead Sea (called “the Lake of Fire” in the first century). This area is the wilderness of Judea, where Yeshua was tempted by Satan. Azazel is not the name of the goat, it is “to/for Azazel.” Azazel is a mysterious character. Azazel was seen as a supernatural being, but not God. The name is obscure. 1st and 2nd Enoch, which was written 200 years before Yeshua, refer to him and have much to say about Azazel (see 1 Enoch 8.1; 9.6; 10.5, Chapter 13, Chapter 54.1-6, 55.3-4). It was believed that Azazel belonged to the class of Serim, or “devils.” Goat worship is prevalent in pagan worship. The god “Pan” was seen as a goat. In Northern Israel there was a place called “Banias” but it was originally called “Panias.” There is a temple there, near Caesarea Phillipi, and it was believed that the “gates of hell (Sheol)” were there. It was what Yeshua was referring to in Matt 16.13-20. The wilderness was seen as the “abode of demons” so the idea was that the second goat took the sins of the people back to Satan, the father of evil (Azazel), the source of all impurity, desolation and ruin. Azazel was seen as a contrast to the righteous ways of the Lord. The goat was seen as the embodiment of evil, equal to the Golden Calf. Satanic congregations are called “Azazel” if you research the Internet. In the Gesenius Lexicon, p 616-617, under “Azazel” (5799 in the Strongs) you find some very interesting information on this word. It says that the Arabs also used “Azazel” and it referred to a demon. You can also use the Brown, Driver, Briggs Lexicon on Azazel, and the Jewish Encyclopedia also has an article on Azazel. This goat was sent from the Temple through the eastern gate, across a specially constructed bridge over the Kidron Valley to the desert in a southeasterly direction following a valley that connected Gehenna and the Dead Sea, escorted by many prominent men. They escorted the goat past ten stations along the way until it got to a high cliff called Mount Tzok or Mount Azazel. At each station, food and drink was offered the escort but that was often refused. Once at the cliff, the men stopped and a priest took the goat and went up Mount Tzok and at the summit, pushed the goat off backwards “into the abyss.” A piece of scarlett wool that was around the horns was split, and one piece was tied to a rock called “Chudo” which means “to rip, tear.” When the goat went over the cliff into the abyss, it was torn to pieces before it ever reached the bottom. The Talmud says that a miracle would occur every year this was done. The scarlett wool hanging on the rock turned white, fulfilling a Yom Kippur passage found in Isa 1.18. When the cloth turned white, a signal was given and this signal was carried all the way back to Jerusalem by waving white cloths, where the people were waiting. A white thread was suspended in the Temple, telling the people the goat was dead. A great celebration commenced because that was good news. Now, with the rejoicing over the death of Azazel, the High Priest would continue with the rest of the ceremony involving the bull. Azazel represents not only the false messiah, but Satan (Rev 20.7-10). As you study the festivals, you will have an “overlapping” of themes and concepts. The two goats on Yom Kippur, one for the Lord and the other for Azazel to the wilderness, is illustrated at the trial of Yeshua. Two men stood before Pilate, both named Yeshua Bar Abbas. Yeshua was the goat for the Lord and Yeshua Bar Abbas was Azazel, who was released into the wilderness (the world) and died. In Rev 19.20 we read that the false messiah will be taken and cast into the Lake of Fire. Now, the Azazel goat was killed near the Dead Sea, at the northwest corner. The Dead Sea was called the Valley of Siddim in Gen 14.10 and there were tar pits there. It was referred to as “the lake of fire” because oil would bubble up to the surface, and the Nabateans sold it for lamps and so on, and the area smoked and occasionally burned and that is why it was called “the Lake of Fire.” It was called “Lake Asphaltus” by the Romans. For the last 200 years or so the Dead Sea has not done this, but it will again. Now, when Yeshua returns on Yom Kippur, there will be earthquakes, releasing gas and pressure in the Dead Sea, causing fires and smoke. The Dead Sea will come up to where the Azazel goat was killed. Jewish scholars in the past knew that this lake symbolized judgment (Sodom and Gomorrah were there) and it is possible that Yeshua will actually seize the false messiah (Azazel) and cast him into the Dead Sea (symbolic of the Lake of fire) and literally fulfill Rev 19.20. The Dead Sea will actually burn due to this oil and gases in the past. The Book of Revelation has imagery that makes this entirely possible. What we have been developing is an eschatological picture with the festivals. Yeshua was crucified on Passover, buried on Unleavened Bread and resurrected on the waving of the Omer on First Fruits. The Holy Spirit came upon the believers in power on Shavuot. The fall festivals begin on Yom Teruah (the day of the Awakening Blast) with the Gathering (rapture) and believers being taken to the wedding of the Messiah and his coronation at the beginning of the Day of the Lord, a Day of Judgment. Yom Kippur teaches the second coming of Yeshua, the death of the false messiah and God’s enemies destroyed. We will pick up here in Part 15 with the festival of Sukkot and see what that speaks of and how understanding this festival will help in understanding the New Testament.

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Understanding the New Testament

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