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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Ripping Of The Temple Veil (by Barbara)

 Barbara gave this presentation at Belen Christian Church on Good Friday. We thought you might enjoy it.

Ripping of the Temple Veil

Matthew 27:50-51

From the measurements in Exodus 26:1-6 the Veil was 10 cubits long and 10 cubits wide and constructed from 10 sheets of fine twined linen, which is 15 ft x 15 ft. No thickness is provided for the fine linen weave. Nor does 2 Chronicles 3:14 Solomon's temple veil description does not provide any dimensions (“He made the curtain of blue, purple and crimson yarn and fine linen, with cherubim worked into it.”)




Tradition holds that the first century historian Josephus presumed the thickness to be 4 inches, so strong that a horse on either end could not pull it apart. Although Josephus does not really describe the veil thickness, a deep internet search provided

This quotation references a passage from the Mishnah, the early codification of Judaism’s “oral law” — explanations of the Torah. Here is the passage from Herbert Danby’s translation of the Mishnah:

...The veil was one handbreadth thick and was woven on [a loom having] seventy-two rods, and over each rod were twenty-four threads. Its length was forty cubits and its breadth twenty cubits; it was made by eighty-two young girls, and they used to make two in every year; and three hundred priests immersed it.

Alfred Edersheim,The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. In this work, Edersheim states;

The Veils before the Most Holy Place were 40 cubits (60 feet) long, and 20 (30 feet) wide, of the thickness of the palm of the hand, and wrought in 72 squares, which were joined together; and these Veils were so heavy, that, in the exaggerated language of the time, it needed 300 priests to manipulate each.  If the Veil was at all such as is described in the Talmud, it could not have been rent in twain by a mere earthquake or the fall of the lintel, although its composition in squares fastened together might explain, how the rent might be as described in the Gospel.1
Traditionally the Most Holy Place in Herod's Temple was known to be 60ft tall x 30ft wide. Which was greater in height than King Solomon's temple built for the LORD with dimensions of twenty cubits wide and thirty high. (1 Kings 6:2) Translating to 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Envision the veil in Herod's Temple 5.5 stories high and 30 ft wide.

 


Ancient Egyptian time to today High quality Fine linen is made from the Flax or Linseed plant's fibrous stem portion. The plant stem proportions is 3ft-4ft in length, slender, and flexible. A plant most modern populous would consider a useless wild flower. The woody stalk when soaked in water, dried, the outer protective shell crushed, the fibers removed and “combed” to separate the shorter fibers from the longer fibers, creates the longer fibers that are twined and spun into a yard then woven into a cloth.







We read this short passage from the 3 Gospels ( Matthew, Mark, and Luke) quickly without the understanding of the moment. “...And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent..” The 5.5 story high veil ripped from top to bottom, now in two pieces and the Most Holy Place, the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat, reserved for only one elected High priest to see yearly, is exposed for the whole priesthood to see. The earth quaked so violently that the rocks rent/split.


What rocks? Where?


The Temple had large stones for the paved flooring in the Holy Place and Most Holy Place as well as the walls. These were quarried stones slabs for the floor and blocks stacked upon blocks for the wall.





Let's paint a picture of the day. This is like every other Jerusalem Friday before sundown except more busy due to the multitude present for the Passover that just occurred. The Temple is busy with Sabbath purchases and sacrifices, the courtyard is busy, and the Holy Place daily functions are being done by assigned priests. An eclipse occurred from noon until 3PM, then suddenly the events of a rent veil, earthquake, and the rocks renting happens. Where do the frightened multitude escape for shelter, the only place they can, the Holy Place? But it's breaking and as a Jew not a priest cannot enter or they will die. But and earthquake does not just the immediate area. This is such a calamity that the natural “God' event is spoken about in Jerusalem and beyond.


The magnitude of the Father's pain, anger, and wrath of sin and death is leashed upon the Temple. An final act sealing the Spirit leaving the Temple more than 400 years prior. In one swift moment Jesus' obedience and death opened access directly to the One True God and shattered the sacrificial third party ritual, for those who followed Jesus in His ministry days, those who followed Jesus the days after His resurrection and Jesus' followers up to today. We take refuge in these events.


2 Samuel 22:2-3
He said,
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge;
My savior, You save me from violence.

Music from Nathan Jess, with Tear The Veil.


Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.

Friends are everything. I couldn't have done it.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.










Thursday, April 1, 2021

Of Two Worlds

 You'd think that dying, going to Heaven, and coming back would make facing illness and death easier.

You'd be right.

The symptoms are not alleviated by any means; pain's really hard, and a cough will start every so often that results in, at best, dry heaves. At worst, well, don't ask.

But the thing is, I know now that there is a beyond, and it's better than I could have imagined to imagine. The memory of my death and return on March 14 is still blindingly clear and bright. Dreams fade; this has not, and the details still stand out with a definition unembellished by imagination, and undimmed by time and space.

And so the worst of cancer is really, really bad, but this will not be the end of me. We'll meet again.

When it's time to go, I'll gladly leave, but until then, I'll gladly stay.

But, you know, going and staying have lost some of their meaning. I'm there now, as well as being here. Nothing of Heaven is lost to me, and will it will never be gone.

A question...would any of you like to actually read the narrative of the experience? I wrote it fresh, after telling Barb about it, and she checked that my recounting and writing matched. Parts of it may seem almost mundane (like kite-flying, and the presence of a swimming pool), and some things may surprise you as much as they did me. It's just a straight telling of an extraordinary experience; I didn't want to sully it through interpretation.

So, please let me know in your comments, if this is something you'd like to see.

One night the world will fade away,
and death will close your eyes,
but this is not your final day,
my friend, for you will rise
to stand upon a grass so green,
bright shining in a sun
that smiles in gladness on the scene
of Eternity made young
by tomb no longer prison,
by scourging-whip made Glory,
by sacrifice now risen
to join you in the story
of His Dad's forever land
as He stoops to take your hand.

Music from Cat Stevens, with Morning Has Broken.


Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.

Friends are everything. I couldn't have done it.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.










Thursday, March 25, 2021

Thoughts On Heaven, And A T. Rex in Lip Gloss

 Following up my death, trip to Heaven, and return to life as mentioned last week...(click here if you're interested)...

...it's become more real in the passing days, particularly the tactile parts...the feel of the perfect grass, and...well, the hugs...I'm not a hugger, but hugs are a part of Heaven, and I will have to get used to that.

It may not be so hard.

What's also more focused is the experience, not of being taken up 'into God's arms', but being taken up into God, that, to repeat myself from last week, Heaven isn't where God lives.

It's HIM.

And I was sent back, and Barb (and others) asked if I was upset by that.

Not at all, because I was sent back with a job to do, to pass the word that you are made for Heaven, and it's made for you.

There's nothing to fear. You're safe.

And you are loved, far more than you could ever imagine.

You would think that this revelation would make me more serious and sober, less the clown and more the...

...more the...

...well, whatever.

Nice try.

I'm still me, and below is the second part of the weird title to this post, dedicated to a wife (Hey, Barb!) who most assuredly does not suffer fools gladly.


You really do not want to get

upon Barb's displeased side,

for I have not discovered yet

that there's safe place to hide,

and I said that she reminds me

of a major movie queen,

one whom it's delight to see

in her defining scene:

'Jurassic Park”, T. Rex set to leap

upon her fleeing prey

in a clearly foredoomed jeep,

who cannot look away

from the mirror facing rear:

Objects are closer than they may appear.”


And here's the iconic scene from Jurassic Park. (If your device doesn't load the video, please click here.)


Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.

Friends are everything. I couldn't have done it.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.










Thursday, March 18, 2021

To Heaven And Back - A Near-Death Experience

 I died in the early morning hours of March 14, 2021, went to Heaven, and came back.

I think I came back...or was sent back...to tell you a bit about it.

As background, I have a serious problem breathing now. Any exertion, I run out of air and sometimes can't draw breath for a bit. Scary, yeah?

So I guess that's what happened. Breath stopped, and I left.

This was not an hallucination brought on by oxygen starvation; I've run out of oxygen underneath a seaweed bed while diving. It wasn't like that at all.

Run out of oxy, everything gets kind of grey and vague and you see weird stuff (like talking sharks). What was salient about this experience was its clarity, and specificity.

It wasn't a dream, either. My dreams are never internally consistent; there are always jarring notes. Not so, in this care. Everything fit together seamlessly.

I did write a narrative (which is consistent with how I described the experience to Barb immediately afterwards; she read it and verified this), but it's too long to post here. I'll give you the highlights.

But first, this is what Barb said...

I, Barb, as an eye-witness to the first telling of the vision saw in Andrew a joy in his eyes that I have never encountered with him through our 20 years. His eyes and countenance glowed , there was a feeling of enlightenment, safety, and calm amid his elated telling and painting of the scene.

The biggest highlight is that it's the culmination of everything you've hoped for, everything you imagined it could be...and far, far better than that.

It is a place of such vivid colours, such green grass, a sky of purest blue and red-gold sunsets, storm-clouds and thunderheads.

It is a place of people, people you knew and perhaps were meant to know, all arriving at the same time and taking with them the best of their souls. There is no room for anger or pettiness or sorrow. Simply no room at all.

No room for feeling triumphant over the devil either; he lost, and that's simply all there is.

It is a place where you might not be recognized at first, because you are seen as you truly are. For me, that was an improvement.

It is a place where we are ageless...where we just are.

It is a place of animals, barking running dogs, and scurrying mice (yes, mice). 

It is a place of activity, laughter, music...of things done for their own sake and for no other reason.

It is a place of perfection, of the softest grass you could imagine that you wouldn't hesitate to walk through barefoot...like the best carpet, but alive and growing.

And there are weeds, but they are perfect weeds.

It is a place where you meet the unexpected and immediately say, "Of course...how could it have been otherwise?"

It is a place without limits, where you know that each day will be better than the one before, higher, brighter, wider, deeper...and that is only a foretaste.

Heaven is that place for which we are made, and which has been made for us.

It is not a place where God lives.

Heaven is God.

And coming back, was that soul-shattering? Did I weep for what I'd experienced and for which I now have to wait?

Not at all, because there's still so much to do here...like pass on this message...

What had been hope is now certainty.


What was hope is certainty,

what was hazed, now clear,

and I know there's victory

beyond what I have here.

I have seen the bright green fields,

have heard the joyous song,

but nonetheless, I will not yield,

for it would be wrong

to pack it in a bit too soon;

there is still work to do

beneath harsh sun and cool white moon,

and I must see it through

'till I'm full-poured as His libation,

and Heav'n becomes my duty station.


It's said that no music can equal that of Heaven, but I beg to disagree...John Williams' theme from Jurassic Park does the job quite nicely. (Please click here if your device doesn't load it.)


Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.

Friends are everything. I couldn't have done it.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.