Trumpet this …

Trumpet this . . .

Copyright 2020 by Joan Berry

            Trumpets play an important role in the lives of Israelites. The instrument is prominent as Joshua conquers Jericho and in many other occasions. Silver trumpets are associated with redemption or war and used only by the priests; and the trumpets could sound 100 notes.  The shofar (ram’s horn) is also used in feasts and other special events. In some writings trumpet and shofar are used interchangeably; and in other writings, it is not clear what instrument is being used. However, both the trumpet and shofar remain important parts of Jewish lives as well as the Christian faith. Many Bible scholars believe the seven main feasts to be discussed are a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ and the rapture of the Church (Seventh trumpet in Revelation).

            Beginning in spring, on the New Moon, priests sound two silver trumpets to announce the New Year and the Feast of Passover, also known as the Feast of Weeks, representing the flight from Egypt with Moses and the sojourn in the wilderness. On that first Passover in Nissan, the Israelites were told to slay a lamb and place its blood on their doorframes. This was the night all the firstborn in Egypt were slain except for the Israelites who were protected by the blood of the lamb. Christ was crucified during the Passover and gave his blood to cover our sins. He is also the firstborn of His father, God.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread. During the Exodus, there was no time to wait for the leavening of bread, escaping Egypt was imminent.  During the Last Supper, unleavened bread was served. In the Bible, Leavening is a symbol of sin. The Feast of Unleavened bread represents sinless perfection. In remembrance of Jesus at the Last Supper, He broke the unleavened bread, to symbolize His sinlessness and that His body that would be broken on the cross. The wine represented the blood he would he would give. Now, when Jesus told the apostles to eat the bread (His body) and drink the wine (His Blood), He was not trying to get them or us to turn into cannibals. He was telling them to take this remembrance into their hearts and minds. The bread and wine are symbolic as well as the eating and drinking. The bread and wine do not miraculously turn into the body and blood of our Lord, they are symbolic. Regarding the precious blood of the Lord, He did not “spill” his blood for us, spilling something is accidental; He sacrificed his body and blood as planned by Almighty God to provide our salvation. Jesus was buried during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Feast of the First Fruits is observed on the day of the following Sabbath. Offerings of wheat are usually made for this feast due to the current harvest of this crop. This feast acknowledges the fertility of the land that God gave to them. No one could eat of the first harvest until the feast began. Jesus was resurrected during this event becoming the first fruit of those who had died.

The Feast of Pentecost occurs fifty days after the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when a new meat offering is offered to God. This event occurs in May or June (Christian calendar) marking the summer harvest.  This is an occasion for the people to give thanksgiving to the Lord being so merciful to them.  Pentecost is especially important to Christians because this is the event when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and other believers present. They became the first fruits of the Church. Two loaves of bread were waved at this feast and it is believed that they represent Israel and the Christian church. It was on this occasion that the Church  was born.

            The fall feasts begin with the Feast of the Trumpets. According to Leviticus, it was required by God that on the first day of the seventh month (September on Christian calendar), Israelites were to have a memorial of blowing the trumpets. No work is to be done during this feast and only burnt or sin offerings could be offered. Christians associate the trumpets with the trumpets of judgement in the Revelation. 

               Following the Feast of the Trumpets is the Day of Atonement, the holiest of the festivals. It occurs on the tenth day of the seventh month (Sept. on Christian calendar) when an offering is made by fire to God. It is a day of confessions and asking for forgiveness and as the feast comes to a close, there is a long and solemn blowing of the trumpets. It symbolizes the gates of Heaven closing – a warning to get right with God before it becomes too late.

            The seventh feast, The Feast of Tabernacles, also occurs in the the seventh month (Sept. on Christian Calendar) on the fifthteenth day. Israelites traveled to Jerusalem where they built temporary shelters and stayed there for a week. This occasion represented the sheltering of God’s people the wilderness. Currently, Israelites build little booths outside their residences to memorialize the tabernacles their ancestors built in their ancient sojourn.

Summary: Moses, at God’s command, instituted the first three feasts; and then came the Pentecost. These four feasts have been fulfilled. If you follow the idea of the seven feasts foreshadowing the life of Christ, then the other three are yet to be fulfilled. 

The trumpets will sound and the “Catching up” or Rapture will occur marking the return of Christ.

The Day of Atonement will become the Day of Judgement with Jesus being mediator and His blood our sacrifice.

Each year, the Israelites build little booths outside their residences to memorialize the tabernacles their ancestors built in the wilderness. Jesus told us that in his father’s house, there are many mansions (shelters, tabernacles).

Sources:

Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Aramaic of the Peshitta. 1957. G. Lamsa, translator. New York, NY. A. J.  Holman. Bible Publisher.

Life Application Study Bible NIV. (2005). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Carol Stream IL; Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI.

New King James Version Study Bible (2nd ed). 2007. Thomas Nelson, Nashville TN. Editors: E. D. Radmacher, R. A. Allen, and H. W. House.

The Apologetics Study Bible: Christian Standard Bible. (2017). T. Cabol, Ed. Nashville TN

The Jewish Nation, Containing an Account of Their Manners and Customs. (1848). London UK.

The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy. (2004). LaHaye. T. and Hinson, E. (Eds). Eugene OR; Harvest House Pub. .

Scripture references:

Numbers 10:10

I Cor. 5: 72, 5:7-8, 15: 20-23

Joel 2:28

Acts 2: 1-47

Matt 24: 21-23

John 7: 2, 37-39.

Do You Believe That Time Is Linear Or Cyclical Or Something Else?

Is God linear or cyclical or something else? Time being cyclical or linear views depends somewhat on culture. Eastern cultures usually favor cyclical time, and Western cultures favor linear timelines. The argument for cyclical time says that seasons repeat, clocks travel a never-ending path round and round in 24-hour cycles, planets orbit in circles or ovals. Western cultures, such as the ancient Greeks, thought of time as traveling in a straight line which carries over to Christian theology with the Creation being the beginning and the second coming of Jesus as the end and a new Creation (renewal) of the world. Time is relative. Time past was relative when we or the ancients existed in that time, time present is tangible in that we exist now in this time, and time future is non-tangible because we are not there yet. Each second that passes becomes history and we cannot get time back.  “Then He said to me, “ . . . I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 21:6. I believe linear time makes the better argument (Anonymous).

Apocalyptic Writing

Apocalyptic writing is highly symbolic and was written in vivid imagery to reveal God’s secret purpose (revealing/revelation). This type of writing was common throughout the Middle East and the imagery was familiar to them.

Apocalyptic writing was well known in the Middle East and is seen in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament as our previous discussion question covered – it was used to reveal something important and prophetic. God gave the message of the Revelation to Jesus to give to his servants. Jesus gave the message to an angel who passed it on to John, who gave it to the church (Rev. 1:1-3 NIV). Jesus appeared to John in a vision (Rev. 1:9-19 NIV) and commanded him to write what he had seen, was currently seeing and future events revealed to him. John used detailed and vivid imagery to explain what he was seeing in the visions. John wrote the book, but it was dictated by Christ using visions. The command for John to write appears several times throughout the book of Revelation. Due to the nature of the visions, John would have naturally used this genre to record the visions and his experience in doing so. (Anonymous).

What You May Not Know About Joseph of Arimathea

What You May Not Know About Joseph of Arimathea

Copyright 2020 by Joan Berry

            We Christians are familiar with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and how Joseph of Arimathea secured permission to have Him removed from the cross. With the Sabbath approaching just a few hours away, Joseph and Nicodemus prepared Jesus for burial in a new tomb crafted earlier for Joseph.  Joseph is mentioned in all four gospels in the Bible and there is much more to learn about him. This essay is compiled from the Gospels, ancient accounts that are provable, references to letters and third-party accounts, and the Talmud.

Personal Data

            Joseph was born in Arimathea 41 BCE (now Ramallah, Israel) and died 45 CE at age 86 at Glastonbury, England. He also was resident of de Marmore in Egypt probably due to his trading business around the Mediterranean Sea, South America, and southern England where there were rich mines of copper and tin. At that time England was the largest producer of tin mining. Joseph was a very wealthy merchant whom the Romans designated as their Minister of Mines.

Jesus, as a teenager and young man, sailed with his great-uncle on his merchant voyages and that would account for those supposed lost years of our Lord. It was also recorded that Joseph followed the teachings of the Essenes. If so, this would account for some scholars believing that Jesus had leanings toward this sect. Members lived apart from their spouses and raised others’ children to maintain their population. This, too, would account for Jesus being under the tutorage of his great-uncle. There are accounts, at that time, of seeing Jesus in coastal cities with his great-uncle, especially in southern England and India; all on trade routes.

Family relationship to Jesus

Joseph is the son of Matthat, son of Levi ben Melchi and Esthra/Estha; Joseph is the husband of Anna bat Simon of Arimathea and Alyuba bat Ekeazar; Joseph is the brother of Joachim, Heli ben Matat, and Bianca; He is the half-brother of JoAnna of Arimathea. His stepmother is Rachel of Arimathea. Joseph is the younger brother of Joachim who was Mary’s,

mother of Jesus, uncle and the great-uncle of Jesus.

Joseph and the Sanhedrin

             Joseph is recorded as being an important person in the Sanhedrin with the position of counselor and a voting member. He was careful to keep secret that he was a disciple of Jesus because the synagogue leaders held a serious disapproval of Jesus.  When he went to Pilate to secure the body of Jesus, the elders and Romans
were furious with him and Nicodemus, a Pharisee who believed in resurrection.  And aided in getting the body of Jesus ready for burial.  Normally, preparing a body for burial was left to the family women. However, this was an emergency situation because the Sabbath was only a few hours away. Joseph was family, and took on the responsibility. Most of the disciples had fled for their lives and the women left could not get the task done in time.

            The elders didn’t see it that way and arrested Joseph and imprisoned him. They tortured Nicodemus and nearly beat him to death. His brother rescued him and kept him safe for the rest of his life at his country estate. While Joseph was in prison, Jesus appeared to him as He walked through the cell bars. According to this legend, Jesus told Joseph that because he had taken care of His body, that now He would take care of Joseph’s. Jesus took his hand and together they passed through the cell bars into freedom. Joseph fled to Arimathea. The legend continues by relating that the guards found the cell vacant and the lock untouched. After reporting the incident to the elders, the elders contacted Joseph to arrange a meeting. After listening to Joseph’s testimony, they dropped the charges against him. However, that was an exception probably due to Joseph’s influence and wealth.

The Escape by Sea

             Several historical sources tell that about 37 CE and after Stephen was stoned to death on order of the Sanhedrin, Joseph and the Apostle Phillip and a group of Jesus’ followers escaped by sea by sailing from Phoenicia. They were fortunate because as they set sail, the Sanhedrin ordered any followers arrested were to be loaded onto boats without sails and oars and set adrift on the sea. Many were rescued or drifted to small islands.

            Those who accompanied Joseph and Phillip used the event as their initial sea-borne missionary journey. According to Maurus (CE 766-850), the followers were: Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and the sisters’ maid, Marcella; Eutopus; Mary Salome (Jesus’ sister) and her maid, Sara; Mary Cleopos; Saturnus; Mary Magdalene; Maximin, a young ruler; Martral; Traphimus (or Restitus) and others.

            The group sailed from the Levant in the Phoenician homeland. At that time Phoenicia bordered Judea. The Phoenicians were masters of the seas and trading routes and had trading posts around the entire Mediterranean Sea, and beyond to South America and British Isles especially southern England. They established three main trading routes: the shores of the northern sea; the shores of the southern sea; and a route running across the center of the sea to trade with the islands. It was the center route that the group took to Gaul (France) and Marseilles. It was there that Maximinus, Mary Magdalene and Lazarus parted from the group, while Phillip scouted the area for missionary work.  

Lazarus became the Bishop of Marseilles, and Maximinus traveled with Mary Magdalene throughout southern France as escort and protector as they carried out missionary work. Maximinus later became the Bishop of Aix-en-Provence. Mary died in 63CE at 72 years of age. When she knew her time was near, she traveled to Aix where the bishop, her friend, took her confession. Her remains reside in the Basilica of Mary Magdalene in Sainte- Maximinus-la-Sainte-Baume. Other countries claim she died in them, but King Charles II found her gravesite and built a new tomb. Due to wars and looting, her remains were eventually moved to the basilica with King Charles being informed of the move and why.

Glastonbury

From Marseilles, Josepha and Phillip and the remainder of the group sailed to southern England turning east along the coast toward the English Channel and ran aground in the Glastonbury marshes where Apostle Phillip sent Joseph ashore with twelve disciples. According to a legend, that is mostly true, the group climbed a nearby hill to view the surrounding countryside and being tired rested there. This place became known as “Wearyall Hill.” Joseph declared the place as sacred and planted his walking staff that was crafted from Jesus’ crown of thorns. The staff took root and a whitethorn bush sprouted and grew. It is reported that this species only naturally grows in the eastern Mediterranean area including Judea. It is also said that the bush blooms twice a year – Easter and Christmas.

Joseph built an abbey (Vetresta Ecclesia) from mud wattle on the sacred site and decreed that twelve monks should always reside there; this church was destroyed by fire in 1184. It was the first Christian church built after Jesus’ resurrection. Joseph died in 45CE at age 86 and was buried very near the abbey. Later, after the abbey was destroyed, his remains were moved to a new grave in the chancel of Glastonbury-abbey where he is honored with an elegant tomb that bears the following engraving:

HERE LIES THE BODY OF THAT MOST NOBLE DISCIPLE, RECORDED IN SCRIPTURE BY THE NAME OF JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA, AND NOTED BY THE FOUR EVANGELISTS, ST. MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE, AND JOHN, FOR HIS BEGGING THE BODY OF OUR BLESSED SAVIOUR WHEN CRUCIFIED TO REDEEM LOST MEN FROM ETERNAL DESTRUCTION, AND BURYING IT IN A TOMB OF HIS OWN MAKING. HE DIED A.D. 45, AGED 86.

The Chalice

            Another legend concerning Joseph is that he was in possession of the chalice (cup) from the Last Supper, The legend reports that Joseph collected some of the blood and sweat from Jesus’ side after it was pierced by the Roman soldier.  According to the legend, he hid the cup at the bottom of a deep well at Glastonbury. The well is called the Chalice Well or Blood Well. The well water runs red due to its high iron content.

Apostle Phillip

            There are no records regarding how or when Phillip and others aboard the grounded ship continued their voyage by sea. It could be assumed that with Joseph’s influence in that mining area, help would not be far away; however they did continue. Phillip became an important missionary in Samaria and what is today Turkey. He preached mainly in Phrygia until he was martyred in Hierapolis by hanging

Sources

Berry, J. (2019), Historical & Spiritual Views of the Seven Churches of Revelation & Other Topics of Study.

Britanni. (n.d.) www.britannia/backs/history/abbey.html

Dumond, J. D. (2012). Joseph of Arimathea. www.sightedmoon-archives/josephofarimathea/

Gospel of Nicodemus. (n.d.).

Howell C. & Khler K. (n. d.) Jewish Encyclopedia.

Kraentzler E. F. (1978). History of Richard Plantagenet & Cecily de Neville.

Nag Hammadi Scriptures. (2007), New York, NY: HarperCollins.

New King James Study Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. (2018). Nashville TN. Thomas Nelson Bibles/

Rabanus Maurus. (CE776-856). Copy of this text exists in Bodleian Library , Oxford University UK

Talmud

Walker A. (Trans). (n.d.)  Gospel of Nicodemus.