Mel Gibson's epic - “The Passion of The Christ" - ended with Jesus’ Resurrection. Three significant Holy Events occurred during the forty years following Gibson's screenplay. Almost nobody has heard of those Glorious Events. Indeed, a “mini-series" would be required to adequately describe that period following The Crucifixion.
Gibson's objective was only to demonstrate dramatically and graphically, Jesus’ suffering. The film withheld “sanitizing" the violence, brutality and merciless behavior of the Roman soldiers at their grisly task. Gibson's goal was to show it ugly, as it really was!
Nevertheless, those subsequent Events were equally dramatic, important and Glorifying of Jesus, as well as God, The Father. These Events have been shielded, ignored, misunderstood, overlooked or otherwise withheld from all but a handful of diligent, principally Jewish scholars. In my knowledge, almost no Christian scholars have even tried to learn of these Glorious and inspiring Events.
The Three Events are:
1st - The First “Event" actually was a series of Temple miracles that ceased completely during those forty years after The Crucifixion. Several Temple “miracles" had begun to appear during tenure of a certain highly respected Jewish High Priest, Simeon the Just (4th century B. C. E. ). These encouraging miracles appeared during worship at Jerusalem's Holy Temple. However, after Simeon's time, these “signs" were not as “reliable" as with Simeon. Sometimes they showed and sometimes not. When they did appear, that was taken as a “good omen" for Israel. After The Crucifixion, they were to appear never again.
2nd - Departure of the Glory of God, (Divine Presence or Shekhinah), the “Pillar of fire and Pillar of Cloud" from the Temple. This was that same “burning bush" who first spoke to Moses, then later led the people to the Promised Land and who dwelled in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle and eventually the Temple. The Rabbis (Tamud and Midrash) report that after leaving the Holy of Holies just before Passover, He sat on the roof of the Temple until Shavuoth (Pentecost). The Rabbis further record that Shekhinah then returned back into the Temple, just for one last “tearful" farewell to His Holy House. He then proceeded to “the mountain that is on the east side of The City" - The Mount of Olives. Historians Flavius Josephus and Eusebius also report this Event. Josephus reports the exact year, month, date and hour of Shekhinah's initial departure. The Event is prophesied and described as a “vision" in Ezekiel Chapters 10 and11.
3rd - This 3rd Event began about 3 ½ years before the Roman siege leading to destruction of the Temple. Shekhinah sat at Olivet summit for three and one-half years, pleading with His People to “repent and return unto Me. " - “But, we would not. " Shekhinah then ascended to Heaven, just a few months before the Roman soldiers began their siege, razed the Temple and destroyed Jerusalem (70 C. E. ). - Shekhinah probably ascended at or near that same point from which that “Galilean" Miracle Worker had ascended forty years earlier (30 C. E. ).
The Rabbis’ descriptions of Simeon's miracles and “signs" are listed in Talmud Yoma 23-39 and described here in more detail as follows:
On the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, two “he-goats" were brought before the High Priest. Also, two lot pieces were placed in an urn; the priest would reach into the urn, grasping one lot in each hand as he faced the goats before him. One lot was marked “For Azazel" (i. e. , “scapegoat"). The other piece was marked: “For the Lord. " The priest would open both hands to view the determination from the lots. . " The goat that was opposite the lot marked “For the Lord" was slain, some of its blood sprinkled on the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies and its remains burned to ashes and “poured out" atop the Mt. of Olives. The goat opposite the lot marked “For Azazel" was taken into “the wilderness" and released. (We can see how the term “scapegoat" ironically has been reversed from its original meaning. )
The Miracle during Simeon's 40 years as High Priest was that the lot “For the Lord" turned up in the priest's right hand EVERY year on Yom Kippur. This was observed as a “good omen" for Israel.
Symbolizing the scapegoat's throat having been slashed, a “crimson strap" was tied to each horn and passed under his throat during this ceremony. Before being led away to the wilderness, the crimson strap was tied to one of the Temple gates.
The miracle being that, during Simeon's tenure, the crimson strap would mysteriously turn white when the goat was released to freedom in his new surroundings. The Rabbis referred from Isaiah 1:18 - “. . . though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; . . . " - signaling joyously to Israel, their sins had been forgiven for another year.
A very meaningful sign appeared during Simeon's time con¬cerning the seven candlesticks (Menorah). The seven candles were positioned along the south wall of the Holy Place; the westernmost candle being nearest the Holy of Holies, where Shekhinah dwelled therein. All seven candles were cleaned each evening and filled to the same level with oil. The westernmost candle was lighted first and the remaining six were lighted from the flame of that western candle. Yet, during Simeon's priesthood, the westernmost candle always was still burning each evening after all six remaining candles had long been consumed!
Complying with Leviticus 1:7-8, the Rabbis interpreted that only two wooden logs could be placed on the Altar supporting the wood pile for burning the sacrifices.
A miracle resulted in that, during the time of Simeon, two logs always lasted through a full day of sacrifices.
There were other miracles we must omit for space consideration.
After Simeon's passing, the westernmost candle would some¬times continue burning after the others - and sometimes not. Finally, during the “forty years before the Temple was destroyed, " the westernmost candle never outlasted the others. Talmud states (Shabbath 22b) this miracle was always taken to indicate Shekhinah rested over Israel. Thus, it was well under¬stood when that miracle ceased, it was a warning that Shekhinah was going to depart. As we have stated, about forty years later (70 C. E. ) the Lord did indeed depart from the Temple and ascended into Heaven from Olivet summit.
As with the Westernmost Candle, after Simeon's passing, the other miracles “sometimes" would manifest; although, not “reliably" on a regular basis as before. When they did appear, it was of course considered a good omen for Israel. - Yoma 39a describes:
"Our Rabbis taught: Throughout the forty years that Simeon the Righteous ministered, the lot ['For the Lord'] would always come up in the right hand; from that time on, it would come up now in the right hand, now in the left. And [during the same time] the crimson-coloured strap would become white. From that time on it would at times become white, at others not. Also: Throughout those forty years the westernmost light was shining, from that time on, it was now shining, now failing; also the fire of the pile of wood kept burning strong, so that the priests did not have to bring to the pile any other wood besides the two logs, in order to fulfill the command about providing the wood unintermittently; from that time on, it would occasionally keep burning strongly, at other times not, so that the priests could not do without bringing throughout the day wood for the pile [on the altar]. [During the whole period] a blessing was bestowed upon the ‘omer, the two breads, and the shewbread, so that every priest, who obtained a piece thereof as big as an olive, ate it and became satisfied with some eating thereof and even leaving something over. From that time on a curse was sent upon ‘omer, two breads, and shewbread, so that every priest received a piece as small as a bean: the well-bred ones withdrew their hands from it, whilst voracious folk took and devoured it. "
But, now listen to this! -
The Rabbis lament further and plaintively about status of these miracles during the period they sadly describe as: “forty years before the Temple was destroyed" - as follows, in Talmud Yoma 39b:
"Our Rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot ['For the Lord'] did not come up in the right hand; nor did the crimson-coloured strap become white; nor did the westernmost light shine; and the doors of the Hekal* would open by themselves, until R. Johanan b. Zakkai rebuked them, saying: Hekal, Hekal, why wilt thou be the alarmer thyself? I know about thee that thou wilt be destroyed, for Zechariah ben Ido has already prophesied concerning thee: Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars. "
* Hekal: Temple main building - (Referring to Zechariah 11:1)
A calamitous future was foretold for Israel in the complete cessation of all these miracles.
Explaining which “forty years" where NO miracles showed in the Temple, we recall the Jewish “11 - 9"event. The Temple was destroyed on the 9th day of the 11th Jewish month, Av -70 C. E. We further recall the Event, depicted in Gibson's film, occurring “forty years" prior, on Passover, 30 C. E. That gentle Galilean, who taught in parables, healed the sick, working even more remarkable “miracles, " was put to death between two thieves on a Cross. His most Glorious “miracle" was that He was raised alive from His Tomb three days after being crucified, forty days later ascending into Heaven from the Mount of Olives. - NO Temple miracles during those 40 years, nor ever again!
As a side note, there may be a subtle “9 - 11" lesson here. In Scriptural Numerology, God's Number for Divine Finality of Judgment is “9. " - His Number for Divinely Ordained Disorder and Chaos is “11. " - Could there be a Divine “signal" to a nation given a calamitous event on the 11th day of the 9th month?! - Something to think about.
All these Events are well documented in authentic historical sources; although, reported in the Bible only as prophecies. Those prophecies were fulfilled when these Events occurred after the last New Testament books were written. Because of that absence and because of anti-Jewish skepticism, as well as other less obvious reasons, hardly any scholars have reported these Glorious and significant happenings to the public at large. Timing of these Events does not appear to be by coincidence. - Was God telling the children of Israel they had committed a grave error?
Please read “Jesus and the Third Temple - His Return and the Red Heifer Ceremony" for more detail on these Events and miracles, plus several other stories bringing Glory to God and to Jesus as Messiah, Son of David.
An abstract of the book is presented at the site:
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