Temple 201-The Ceremonies (Yom Kippur)-Part 30

We are going to pick up in Yoma 6.1 of the Mishnah and continue with the Temple ceremony at Yom Kippur.

6.1…The two he -goats of the Day of Atonement should be alike in appearance, in size, and in value, and have been bought at the same time. Yet even if they are not alike they are valid, and if one was bought one day and the other on the morrow they are valid. If one of them died before the lot was cast, a fellow may be bought for the other; but if after the lot was cast, another pair must be brought and the lots cast over them anew. And if that cast “for the Lord” died, he should say, “Let this on which the lot ‘For the Lord’ has fallen stand in its stead”; and if that cast for Azazel died, he should say, “Let this on which the lot ‘For Azazel’ fallen stand in its stead.” The other is left to pasture until it suffers a blemish, when it must be sold and its value falls to the Temple fund; for the Sin-offering of the congregation may not be left to die. R. Judah says, “It is left to die.” Moreover R. Judah said: “If the blood was poured away Azazel is left to die; if the scapegoat died the blood is poured away.”

6.2…He then came to Azazel and laid his two hands upon it (Semicha) and made confession (Vidui). And thus he used to say: “O God (pronounced the name YHVH), thy people, the House of Israel, have committed iniquity, transgressed, and sinned before thee. O God (YHVH), forgive, I pray, the iniquities and transgressions and sins which thy people, the House of Israel, have committed and transgressed and sinned before thee; as it is written in the Law of they servant Moses, ‘For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you: from all your sins shall ye be clean before the Lord.'” And when the priests and the people which stood in the Temple Court heard the Expressed Name come forth from the mouth of the High Priest, they used to kneel and bow themselves and fall down on their faces (prostrated) and say, ‘Blessed be the name of the glory of his kingdom for ever and ever!’

6.3…They delivered it to him that should lead it away (Azazel had been turned, with his back to the Sanctuary, facing east). All were eligible to lead it away (usually a priest), but the priests had established a custom not to suffer an Israelite to lead it away. R. Jose said: “It once happened that Arsela of Sepphoris (near Nazareth) led it away and he was an Israelite.

6.4…They made a causeway for it because of the Babylonians (Babylonian Jews) who used to pull its hair, crying to it, “Bear our sins and be gone! Bear our sins and be gone!” Certain of the eminent folk of Jerusalem used to go with him to the first booth (they would leave through Solomon’s Porch and across the bridge over the Kidron Valley, traveling southeast). There were ten booths (sukkot) from Jerusalem to the ravine (Mt Tzok, or Mt Azazel a high ridge) which was at a distance of ninety ris (12 miles) which measure seven and a half ris to a mile.

6.5…At every booth they used to say to him, ‘Here is food, here is water’ and they went with him from that booth to the next booth, but not from the last booth; for none used to go with him to the ravine (Mt Azazel, this was rough country but you can go up there today, to this exact spot); but they stood at a distance and beheld what he did.

6.6…What did he do? He divided the thread of crimson wool (tolat shanni) and tied one to the rock (the rock Chadudo) and the other half between its horns, and pushed it from behind; and it went rolling down, and before it reached half the way down the hill it was broken into pieces (it is recorded in the Talmud that a great miracle happened when this was done. We will discuss this in 6.8, but, the scarlet thread hanging on the rock Chadudo turned white, fulfilling Isa 1.18. When the cloth turned white he signaled to the next sukkah that the goat was dead. They in turn passed the signal with kerchiefs and flags from sukkah to sukkah. In minutes, the news reached the Temple and a white thread was suspended at the gate to the Sanctuary. Everyone began to celebrate. This is a clear picture of the death of the false messiah when Yeshua comes on Yom Kippur. He will be cast into the Lake of Fire, an idiom for the Dead Sea in the first century, very near the Roch Chadudo. Everyone will rejoice then also). He returned and sat down beneath the last booth until nightfall. And from what time does it render his garments unclean? After he ahs gone outside the wall of Jerusalem. R. Simeon says, “From the moment that he pushes it into the ravine.”

6.7…The High Priest came to the bullock and the he-goat which were to be burnt (back in the Temple). He cut them open and took away the sacrificial portions and put them on a dish and burnt them on the Altar. He twisted the limbs of the beasts (the bullock and goat) around carrying poles, and brought them out to the place of burning (this was north, outside of the Damascus Gate and very near where Yeshua was crucified). And from what time do they render the garments unclean? After they have gone outside the wall of the Temple Court (the kedusha changes outside of the walls). R. Simeon says: “When the fire has caught a hold on the greater part of them.”

6.8…They said to the High Priest, “Azazel has reached the wilderness (Or “the goat is dead.” Ta’anit 4.8 says this is what happened. Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel said: “There is no happier days for Israel that the 15th of Av and the Day of Atonement, for on them the daughters of Jerusalem used to go forth in white raiments; and these were borrowed, that none should be abashed which had them not; hence all the raiments required immersion. And the daughters of Jerusalem went forth to dance in the vineyards. And what did they say? “Young man, lift up thine eyes and see what thou wouldest choose for thyself (as a wife): set not thine eyes on beauty, but set thine eyes on family; for favor is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman that fears the Lord she shall be praised”; moreover it saith, “Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her works praise her in the gates.” Likewise it saith, “Go forth ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother has crowned him in the day of his espousals and in the day of gladness of his heart: In the day of his espousals”-this is the giving of the Law; “and in the day of gladness of his heart”-this is the building of the Temple. May it be built speedily, in our days! Amen.” In other words, joy broke out. This event is illustrated in Judges 21.19-24. The tribe of Benjamin was nearly wiped out. The men were told to go out and pick a wife when they danced for joy in the vineyards on Yom Kippur). And whence did they know that the he-goat had reached the wilderness? They used to set up sentinel posts and from these towels were waved and so they would know that the he-goat had reached the wilderness (dead). R. Judah said: “And had they not a most manifest sign? From Jerusalem to Beit Haroro (Chadudo) was three miles (it was really twelve); they could walk a mile, return a mile, wait time enough to go a mile, and then they would know that the he-goat had reached the wilderness.” R. Ismael says: “Had they not another sign also? A thread of crimson wool was tied to the door of the Sanctuary and when the he-goat reached the wilderness (was dead) the thread turned white; for it is written, ‘Though yours sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow.'” (Artscroll has a book called “The History of the Jewish People: Second Temple Period” and on page 153 it says, “During the last 40 years before the destruction of the Temple (remember Yeshua was crucified in 30 AD and the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD), the lot for the Yom Kippur sacrifice (L’YHVH) did not come up in the right hand of the High Priest; the ribbon did not turn white (as a sign of forgiveness); the western candle (on the Menorah) did not burn (all day) and the doors of the Sanctuary opened by themselves (indicating that the enemy would easily enter the Temple Sanctuary). Then Rabban Yochanon Ben Zakkai rebuked them and said, ‘Temple, O Temple, why are you so frightened. I know that you will finally be destroyed because Zechariah Ben Iddo has prophesied about you (Zech 11.1): Open your doors , O Lebanon (the Temple was made with the cedars of Lebanon, so this was an idiom for the Temple), that the fire may devour your cedars (Yoma 39b of the Talmud).'”

In Part 31, we will conclude the Yom Kippur Temple ceremony from the Mishnah, beginning in Yoma 7.1.

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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