Temple 201-The Temple Officials-Conclusion

The priests cannot wear their priestly garments outside of the Azarah because of their keduaha (Ezek 42.14, 44.19). The kohanim come on duty like this. There are 24 mishmarot (courses), just like the Levites. There are also 24 districts. These districts send a contingent to the Temple to pray at the incense service and are called the Ma’Amad (standing men). These courses change every Sabbath (2 Kings 11.4-7) and Josephus says it was at noon (Against Apion). The kohanim entered the Temple Mount from the south and use the mikva’ot there. Then they enter the Huldah Gates and go through the Soreg up to the Chel. They then enter the southeast building of the Azarah called Beit Avitinas. This building was 200 feet long and 100 feet wide, with many chambers and offices. They would then go into the Sanhedrin Chamber (Hewn Stone) and they were interviewed to make sure they were ritually clean. Those that are declared clean have a banquet, but the one who was declared unclean put on a black garment. They do not leave, but stand in a special place in the Temple. The ones that are ritually clean go into another chamber in the Beit Avtinas.

The Sanhedrin sits in both the sanctified and the unsanctified area of the Temple. The judges are to sit in judgment, so thay can sit in the unsanctified area (Exo 18). It is required for the Nasi (president) of the Sanhedrin to be standing in the sanctified area, which had an opening to the Azarah. Only a king descended from David can sit in the Azarah. Yeshua will be the next one. There were Levitical officers over the garments and there were “lockers” for the kohanim to change clothes. Everything changes from this point.

They go to wash their hands and feet at the Kior (laver) located in the Beit Avtinas. In Solomon’s Temple, they had the “Yam” (sea) on 12 oxen. You cannot leave the water in the Kior overnight because it is corrosive to the brass. The Beit Avtinas had a gate running through it called the Sha’ar ha Mayim (The Water Gate). In Ezek 47.1 it says that water flowed from the right side (south) of the altar. This is the same side as the Water Gate. There was a channel that went through the Water Gate 1 cubit wide and 1 cubit deep called the Amah. The water comes into the Temple from the north to the Azarah. The Kior was in the northwest corner of Beit Avtinas. There was a “moat” around the Kior 1 cubit deep. When the kohanim came off duty, they took off their garments and took them to their “dorm” in the Beit ha Moked. They washed their hands and their feet to get the blood off. The blood belonged to God and had a kedushah, so the blood had to saty in the Azarah area. The water flowed from there around the altar and sacrificial area in the amah. Water came out from under the altar every few minutes, like a water clock.

When the Sabbath came, they blocked up the amah so the water backed up. The water flooded the Azarah up to the ankles to wash the blood out of the Azarah. The Azarah was 187 cubits long and 135 cubits wide. Using a 23.04 inch cubit, that means it was 359.4 feet long and 259.2 feet wide. They push the water and the blood from this area and then pull the “stopper” and the blood flowed out to the Kidron Valley through the amah. The amah channel goes down from Mount Moriah to the bottom of the valley where it meets the Tyropoen and Hinnom Valley. These three valleys form the letter “shin” on Jerusalem. The letter shin stands for the name of God (Deut 12.11; 1 Kings 8.29). When the kohanim give the priestly blessing (Num 6.22-23) they form the letter shin with their hands. A mezuzah that is put on the doorposts has a shin on it. A shin has an accent point that is placed in the letter called a “dagesh.” Where the Temple is located is where this dagesh is in the letter shin.

The amah channel came down to where these three valleys meet. They found part of this amah channel near the Gihon Spring. At the bottom, the blood and water emptied out at the Hinnom Valley into the ground (Deut 12.16). Now, you cannot derive benefit from things dedicated to the Temple because it has a certain level of kedushah. The death of Yeshua is related to this water channel.

There are key figures in Yeshua’s death. Chanan (Annas) was a wicked high priest, and this is what the Talmud says about him. Katros is Caiaphas and mentioned alongside of Chanan. There was a huge stoa along the southern end of the Temple called the Royal Stoa. At the east end, at the top, the headquarters of the Sanhedrin was located if they ever moved out of the Chamber of Hewn Stone. The other half or so of the Royal Stoa was all shops called the Bazaars of Annas, a market place. Annas sold booth spaces to traders who sold kornanot or changed money. He charged extra for these spaces and that was wrong. Shopkeepers paid high rent and they passed on this extra expense to the worshipper. Now, in Jer 7.1-15 he is speaking at the southern end of the Temple, where the Royal Stoa would be located Jer 7.28-34 speaks of Tophet, which became a picture of Gehenna (gay Hinnom), and this was located at the southern end of the city, in the Valley of Hinnim. This was where terrible atrocities and idolatry took place. Tophet became the most cursed place on earth, and a half mile away was the Temple, the most blessed place on earth.

Now, let’s say we have followed the amah to the Hinnom Valley and Tophet. As you look up, you see the shin where God placed his name. In Jer 19.1-2 we learn about the Potter’s Gate. This was also at the south end of the city and called the Dung Gate (trash and dung taken there). Everything bad happened there. Potter’s had their fires there and the wind blew the smoke to the east, along with the smoke from the trash burning. Now, Tophet was a bad place. Isa 66.23-24 talks about that area in the future. It is called the valley of Jehoshaphat in Joel 3.1-2. Rev 14.14-20 and 19.21 allude to it. The blood from the Temple flowed there.

Now, what connection is there to the death of Yeshua? John was the youngest talmid of Yeshua. We know this from the order Joseph put his brothers in, the oldest sat to the left and the youngest to the right. At the Last Supper, John sat to the right of Yeshua. Judas (Yehudah ha Sicarii) sat to the left of Yeshua. Chanan was high priest from 10 BC and went for a few years. Five of his sons, one son-in-law became high priests as well because Chanan paid the Romans off with bribes to keep it in the family. He also had a grandson as high priest. Most of the high priests were honorable, but this family was bad. Chanan was probably more wicked than Herod. He held power through his sons. Yeshua was brought to the house of Chanan. They paid Judas 30 pieces of silver from the Temple treasury. This money had a kedushah on it and this was a mismanagement of Temple funds. This carried a death penalty, and the Lord would see to it.

The amah channel brought the blood to the southern side of the Valley of Hinnom. The water that washed the priests hands and feet had blood and it all went into the ground at the Hinnom Valley, and Tophet. Now, in Matt 27.1-10 there is a reference to the “potter’s field” which alludes to the potters gate and the valley of Hinnom. Judah had hung himself and he threw the money back into the Sanctuary. The kohanim did not put it back into the treasury, so they bought the Potter’s Field and it was called “Akeldama” or “field of blood.” It was not called Akeldama because Judas hung himself there, it was because the blood from the Temple flowed there into the ground, the Potters Field. It was not an accident that Judas hung himself there. He betrayed the Messiah and sold him, and it was the Lord who led him to the most cursed place on earth.

However, Chanan would eventually have a tomb there and it was found in Akeldama. It was decorated with carvings of the Temple and a guard stood there. Chanan and Caiaphas took the money that he got back from Judas, which he did not have a right to, and bought a field for paupers. He then builds for himself an elaborate tomb. Because he was a Sadducee, he doesn’t believe in the prophecies of Jeremiah and Zechariah. But the Lord does, and this guy and Caiaphas ends up right in Tophet.

We started out talking about how a priest came on duty and how he had to wash his hands and feet. He had to deal with the blood. Chanan and Judas violated the laws of sacrilege (Mishnah tractate Meilah) and they both ended up in Akeldama. The tomb of Chanan (Annas) and Caiaphas became a chicken coop and is filthy today. You can see the hand of God in all of this. The depth of the Scriptures is endless.

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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