Temple 201-The Ceremonies (Passover)-Part 13

What happened after the lamb was slain? Pesachim 5.9-10 says, “How did they hang up the carcasses and flay them? There were iron hooks (like nails) fixed in the walls and pillars, and on these they used to hang the carcasses and flay them. And if any had no place to hang and flay them, there were there smooth staves which a man could put on his and his fellow’s shoulders and so hang and flay. Rabbi Eliezar says, ‘If the 14th fell on a Sabbath, a man would rest his hand on his fellow’s shoulder, while the hand of his fellow rested on his shoulder, and so would they hang and flay.’ When he had slit the carcass and removed the sacrificial portions (the fat and certain organs). He put them on a tray and the kohen burned them on the Altar. When the first group went out they remained in the Temple Mount (if the 14th fell on the Sabbath), and the second group in the Chel, and the third group remained where they were (within the Temple court). After nightfall, they went out and roasted their Passover offerings.”

Now, is the 14th of Nisan a Shabbaton, or “high Sabbath?” No, the 15th was and it was the first day of Hag a Matzah (Unleavened Bread). They roasted the lamb on the 15th because you can cook for the festivals, carry the lamb and do anything that was connected to the festival. That is what is meant when it says “do no servile work” or “laborious work” when talking about the festivals. No occupational work could be done, but you can do what is connected to the festival. The lamb was taken to the house and roasted in a special Passover oven, made of mud brick. It was tall, like a bee hive, because the lamb was roasted upright. This oven was made that day because it avoided any leaven that might have been left in an old oven. This oven was taken down after Passover.

How did they roast the lamb? They bring a skewer of pomegranate wood. Now, the pomegranate is very symbolic of the Messiah. So, let’s deal with the pomegranate, the Messiah and the Magen David (Shield of David). In Exo 28.33-34, 39.25 we have the pomegranate on the garments of the Kohen ha Gadol. The bells on his garment drew attention to the pomegranate, which is symbolic of the Messiah. A pomegranate is deep red and when cut open has many seeds and it is the color of blood. In the Temple of Solomon there were pomegranates everywhere (1 Kings 7.18, 42). On the shekel there were pomegranates and archeology found pomegranates on top of a staff that may have been for the High Priest or a King. It had the name of the Lord on it. The Menorah had pomegranates and one of the seven fruits brought to the Temple on Shavuot was a pomegranate (Deut 8.8). On the bottom of a pomegranate you have the flower petals. There are archeological finds in Edom where four petaled pomegranates have been found. The Canaanites had five or seven petaled pomegranates. However, only in Israel were six petaled pomegranates found.

In Jewish thought, the pomegranate symbolized Protection and Kingship. Let’s look at the concept of Protection. The word tzitzit or “fringes” at the bottom of a four cornered garment has the numerical value of 613, the number of commandments in the Torah. The pomegranate has many seeds, and these seeds symbolize the precepts of God. Tradition says that there are 613 seeds, but that is just a way of saying that these symbolize the Torah. The Aleph through the Tav in the Hebrew alphabet symbolize all of the Torah (the Word), and we know that is a name for the Messiah. David cut off the tzitzit on Saul’s garment to indicate that God was not going to protect him anymore. Saul tore the tzitzit off of Samuel’s garment, and Samuel told him that in a like manner the Lord was going to tear the kingship away from Saul.

The term for “shield” in Hebrew is “zinah” or “magen.” A zinah is a large shield and the magen is a smaller shield. In Psa 84.9 it says, “Behold our shield (magen), O God, and look upon the face of thine anointed (Messiah)” and Prov 30.5-6 says, “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield (notice the Word is a “he” and a “shield”) to those who take refuge in him.” So, the magen or shield is an idiom for the Messiah. If you take the six petals on a pomegranate and spread them out, it forms the “Star” of David, also called the “shield” or Magen David. Do it in a store sometime. Psalm 91 has every letter of the Hebrew alphabet except the letter “zayin” which means weapon. In verse 4 we have the word “pinion” and that has the numerical value of 613, the same as the Torah commands. A pinion resembles an arm and part of the “wing” of a bird. The word “wing” in Hebrew is the word “kanaf” and that is where the tzitzit, or fringes, hang on the four corned garments of the Jewish people (Zech 8.23; Mal 4.2).

The second concept associated with the pomegranate is Kingship. The Kingdom of God is basically the rule of God in our life. This rule involves the commandments of God, or “Mitzva’ot.” Gen 49.10 says that the “scepter” or “kingship” will not depart from Judah. Num 24.17 says, “I see him, but not now: I behold him, but not near. A star shall come forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Israel, and shall crush through the two temples of Moab, and tear down all the sons of Sheth.” In other words, a king shall rise out of Israel and it is like a star rising. This “star” is what is symbolized on the pomegranate of six petals and it symbolizes the concept of kingship. Rev 22.16 says, “I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright and morning star.” When Yeshua was born, the Chachamim (wise men) were Jewish scholars and familiar with the above concepts. They followed the “star” because it was linked to the Messiah in Jewish thought and we know that it led them to where Yeshua, the King, was born. 135 years later, during the third Jewish war against Rome, the leader was called the “messiah” by leading scholars and called “Bar Kochba” or “son of the star. They associated the star with the Messiah based on all of these concepts. So, we see that the pomegranate is linked to the Messiah, “seeds” or precepts of the Torah, the “star”, “David”, “shield”, “kingship”, “protection”, the Temple and the High Priestly garments. The Star of David today looks like a six petaled pomegranate flower that is open.

So, it is very significant that pomegranate wood was used. This skewer of pomegranate wood was thrust through the lamb from its mouth to its buttocks. Its legs and entrails were inside of it (Pesachim 7.1). In the Mishnah by Artscroll it has a commentary on Pesachim 7.1 and it says they placed the legs and the entrails on the head of the lamb and it was called the “helmeted lamb” and in other commentaries it has been called the “crowned sacrifice.” This was like Yeshua who was placed upright on a cross and wore a crown of thorns on his head.

In a modern Passover Seder there are 15 steps, just like there were 15 steps to the Court of Israel in the Temple and 15 Psalms of Ascent when you were going to the Temple. In the Seder there is a part called “Maggid” and you tell the story of the Exodus from the Book of Deuteronomy, not Exodus, because it alludes to the second redemption when Yeshua comes to set up the Kingdom of God on earth. When is Passover and Unleavened Bread over? The Torah says on Nisan 21, but it really isn’t “over” until Shavuot. Why is this the case? Because the Torah also teaches that if the people stopped after Nisan 21 they would not have been to Mount Sinai yet. They would have stopped in the middle of the desert. It is the same thing for us. When we are delivered from our “Egypt” by the blood od the Passover lamb, we have to keep going to Shavuot and the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.

Moses was to bring the people out of Egypt (Passover) and then take them to Sinai (Shavuot). Passover without the Torah is not complete. You count the Omer 49 days to Shavuot and Mount Sinai. This speaks of the journey which began on the “morrow after the Sabbath” of Passover week. The Passover lamb is just one ceremony. In Part 14 we will pick up here and discuss another ceremony connected to Passover.

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, The Temple, Understanding the New Testament

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