And so dear brothers and sisters,
we can boldly enter heaven’s most holy place
because of the blood of Jesus.
By his death, Jesus opened a new and
Life giving way through the curtain
into the most holy place. Let us go
into the presence of God with sincere
hearts fully trusting Him.
Hebrews 10: 19-20 NLT
Clavenia, wife of Serou and devoted scholar was more than just delighted to share her knowledge with such illustrious guests as Lucius Pontius Pilate and Claudia Procula.
“Herein, I will retell a story with two endings. People of all convictions scoffed at the prophecy of Jesus when he foretold “the temple will be destroyed and rise again in three days.” People expected the stone temple to fall apart and paid no heed to Jesus being the temple of God’s words. Jesus was falsely tried, brutally lashed and nailed to the rude timbers of a Dogwood tree. As you said. At the moment that Jesus died, the veil at the temple was ripped in half. Those present all concluded that the tear occurred from top to bottom indicating the force that ripped it was God sent direct from heaven.
The high priests had multiple reasons to fear the wrath of God. First an angry tempest attacked the land making treacherous rivers from harmless trickles. An earthquake shook the world violently and God discharged the sun from duty for hours. The ripping of the veil at the temple was God’s way of saying “your services are no longer required.” The blood of Jesus cleared the way for all people to commune with God. Jesus’ death opened the doors of heaven through the torn veil for all people of righteous heart and their sins were paid for in full by his death. One could easily say that the ripping of the veil was God’s way of saying, “I’m tearing up our contract.” Three days later, the temple of God resurrected and was seen rising into the sky escorted by an angel. Jesus was gone to be with his heavenly father.
The holy of holies was a separate compartment within the temple where the ark of the covenant was stored. The veil was an immense carpet. A hand woven work to isolate the ark from all eyes. It was precious in that God ordered it be made of Acacia wood and lined with pure gold throughout. The gold embellished chest contained three items most precious to the Israelites. Perhaps even four. I will take liberty to say that first of all, it contained fragments of the tablets containing the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God for his people. The rules by which God wanted his people to live. No other set of rules has ever been declared by the parade of Gods men have worshipped throughout time. While lost in the desert and near starvation the Israelites grumbled much and God listened to their pitiful sorrows. Some had barely enough strength to put one foot before the other. They were hungry, thirsty and they slept on the dirt every night. They had a right to fear wild beasts, scorpions and poisonous snakes. Swirls of ominous buzzards followed them daily in eager anticipation. Death has an odor attractive to vultures, the eaters of carrion. Their strength reserve was used up and they had none left to worship their liberator. But on a certain morning, God spread across their eyes a sweet resin type bread to save them from starvation. In bits and pieces the fungi type product of heavenly magic spread out for them to harvest. The Hebrews called it “Manna” which means “What is it” in their language. They existed on “what is it” ‘til they reached the land of Canaan. They were ordered to eat this bread in the mornings ‘til they were filled, and so they survived. Moses commanded a portion of this manna be saved in a jar for posterity. That jar is supposedly stored within the Ark of the Covenant along with the rod of Aaron, the brother of Moses. The rod of Aaron was a simple shepherd’s staff worn smooth from much use. But endowed With Godly power, the same as the staff of Moses. Faced with rebellion, Aaron placed his rod upright and from it sprouted fresh growth and blossoms. The growth is said to have produced sweet edible almonds for those that remained faithful to God and a bitter product for those that sheared away.” Clavenia’s voice had developed an emotional rasp and rose to pour herself some of Senobia’s wine mixture. She had to wipe an emotional tear from her eye. After which she addressed her foster son, Onofrio.
”I find infinite wonder in your story of how a persistent little cream colored blossom made so many valiant efforts to survive. I remember vividly you re-telling that experience. It was from the limbs of a dogwood tree that the beams were fashioned for such use. The little four pedal flower sprung out of the timbers you used to built the penalizing cross. The stub from which it sprouted became a reference point when you searched the beams the Nazarene struggled with. It helped you accept that His cross was the one you built. Don’t you think it’s amazing that your chosen beams should sprout little four petal flowers as the cross has four beams and the rod of Aaron should bear fruit for the faithful and bitterness for others? I wonder what these two instances mean. Your four petal blossoms and the almonds of Aaron?”
Admiring his wife’s oratory Serou was magnetized to Clavenia and clapped his hands lightly in admiration as well as the accuracy of her story. Although her story was abbreviated and without the usual story teller’s embellishments it focused on other miracles surrounding the infamous crucifixion. The Hebrew God Yahweh was putting on a convincing display of Godly power. (Pronunciation can vary from neighbor to neighbor- Yahweh or Jehovah.)
“Leave us not forget,” Clavenia continued, “The Ark of the Covenant was covered in pure gold in and out. A king’s ransom in gold lay behind a cloth curtain without a strong body of guards to ensure its safety. The ark had changed hands from conflict before. After a battle the Philistines took the Ark back to their capitol city of Ashdod as a prized trophy of war. They placed it in a temple with their god named, Dagon. The following morning the statue of Dagon was found face down on the floor. They did their repairs and reinstalled their god in its rightful place. The morning after the statue was found demolished. Torn to shreds as if in anger. Unconvinced the Philistines moved the Ark to several of their cities and every city where the Ark was taken got struck by plague. Hundreds of people died for just looking at the Ark. After six months the Philistines returned the Ark to the Israelites along with some very expensive gifts. Gladly they got rid of the killer trophy. The Philistines paid a heavy price for their victory that proved to be a defeat. King David suffered also from improper care of such a Godly object. The Ark was kept heavily covered and prevented all eyes from seeing it. To lay eyes upon it meant instant death with no regard to friend or foe. King David gathered special talented workers to weave the security curtain that protected the object of Godly power from view. It’s called “the temple veil”. An added miracle is that when the veil was ripped apart, it opened a door for all people to praise God openly in the tabernacle and atone for their wrong doing, according to Hebrew belief,” Clavenia concluded.
With Senobia close to his side, Onofrio chose to contribute his thoughts to the learned gathering, “There will no doubt be countless explanations to the miracles we have all seen and know to be fact. I came to be in this place penniless, homeless and worse yet no memory of my origin. I have explored the miracle of my present state and have concluded that Nature had nothing to do with it. It had to be the governing power of Jehovah that put light in my eyes to pass along the works of the Nazarene.
I see in the lessons He left behind much work that needs to be done. At one time I wanted to travel to my homeland in Iberia and tell the story of my day with the son of God. That thought does not leave me. There are times when I feel commanded by a greater force to pursue that thought. I am weak, in that I see the security of my family and the worldly comforts of their lives as a responsibility I owe them. I fear my family would suffer in the process of my calling and I am forced to retreat. As for the almonds of Aaron and the blossoms on my cross, they are reminders of the awesome power of resurrection when Mother Nature unites with God.” The never ceasing mind of Serou made note that Onofrio had for the first time said, “the blossoms on my cross.” A true sign of healing lament with public announcement. He had grown to love his adopted son as a faint smile creased his weathered but timeless face.
Senobia in her naïve innocence posed an interesting question, “What happened to the mother of Jesus, the virgin Mary, after her son was elevated to heaven?“
Her father, Tremiyo chose to address the question, “Mary of Nazareth was given to the apostle John by Jesus from the cross. “Behold thy mother.” He told John. Almost in the same breath, he asked his mother to accept John as her son. “Woman, behold thy son.” In the simplicity of that arrangement, Mary became a permanent guest in the house of John. He saw to all her needs as he would for his own flesh and blood mother. He had begun ministerial work in Anatolia in the city of Ephesus in the Asian province, where he had a comfortable home. The Hebrew council stepped up their persecution of the Nazarene’s disciples. However, their efforts to cleanse the land of the words of Jesus had a reverse effect. Every day more and more people are joining the movement loosely called “Christianity” after Jesus whom many now considered to be the Messiah or by translation “the Christ.” In that light, John chose to take the mother of Jesus to Ephesus where she would be safe from the misguided minds of the Jewish council. Countless people have suffered high penalties by the Jewish council and still enlistment continues in rapid fashion.
The council thought all this is a passing delusion by ignorant minds with no proper religious guidance. They labeled the words of the Nazarene as a preposterous doctrine with no bases in reality. Even though more than a thousand people had seen Jesus rising to Heaven with angelic escort. Futhermore nobody found his body in a worldly tomb. They posted a reward to anybody that found where the body was hidden and prove it’s the Nazarene.
As they were looking on, he was lifted
up, and a cloud took him out of their
sight. And while they were gazing into
heaven as he went, behold two men stood
them in white robes and said, “ Men of
Galilee, why do you stand looking into
heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up
from you into heaven, will come in the
Same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Acts of the Apostles 1: 9-11 NRSV
The night had reached its mature hours and the congenial group began to think of bed. Moon and stars showered their heavenly glow on earth as happy guests made ready to go home. Each took with them a feeling that God had been among them. But not before Serou the knowledgeable Master of public works over all Judea made a final declaration. “In all the realms of men, No greater promise exists than to reside in heaven in the company of a righteous God.”
For where two or three are gathered in my
Name, there am I among them.
Matthew 18:20 ESV[Previous Episode] [Next Episode]