Temple- Its Ministry and Services Term Paper

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Temple- Its Ministry and Services

The Temple: Its Ministry and Services

In The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, Alfred Edersheim seeks to show the reader Jerusalem as it was in the days of Christ. First, Edersheim seeks to show how the physical structure of the Temple. Then Edersheim attempts to describe the Temple's ordinances. Next, Edersheim discusses those who worshipped in the Temple during Jesus' time. Finally, Edersheim concentrates on the priesthood, discussing both its ministry and its rituals.

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Edersheim begins chapter one by giving the reader an initial impression of Jerusalem. First, he discusses the charm of Jerusalem, which is based on its religious and spiritual promise to people of many faiths. Next, he talks about the ancient memories in Jerusalem, which was the birthplace of those who became the Hebrews, and who eventually formed the foundation of three major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Edersheim maintains that God named Jerusalem, and that its name means either the foundation, the abode, or the inheritance of peace. Next, Edersheim talks about how Jerusalem is situated. He points out that Jerusalem sat higher than the surrounding land. However, Jerusalem was not flat, but was actually situated on four hills. In addition, Jerusalem had extraordinary architecture, which was unrivaled in ancient times, was at the top of the Mount of Olives, and surrounded by city walls, which were protected by towers. Edersheim describes the High Priest's palace, which was located on the northeast corner of Mount Zion. The Shushan Gate led one to Jerusalem through the Mount of Olives. It is in this description that Edersheim gives his first description of the Temple, which was located on an artificially leveled plateau. He also discusses how the Rabbis struggled to keep Jerusalem free from pollution. Edersheim ends his introduction by speaking of Jerusalem being in ruins.

Term Paper on Temple- Its Ministry and Services the Temple: Assignment

In chapter two, Edersheim discusses being within the Holy Place. He begins by talking about the various entrances into Jerusalem. There was an avenue referred to as the Royal Bridge, which was an ascent into the Temple. The Temple was surrounded by porches, which ran the length of the inside of its wall. While the Temple was a place for Jews, gentiles were permitted in its lowest enclosure. Nine gates opened from the terrace into the sanctuary. The most beautiful of those gates was the eastern gate. The Temple contained a Court of the Women, which was as far into the Temple as women could go except for the purpose of sacrifices. The four corners of the Court of the Women had chambers, and different levels of priests worked in different areas. There was a Court of Israel, which was actually two courts that were divided into two sections. That chamber was divided into different sections, with different purposes. One part of the chamber was the Court of the Priests. Inside the Court of the Priests was an altar, with three fires and four altars. Between the Temple's altar and porch was a laver, where the priests washed.

In chapter three, Edersheim speaks about Temple order, revenues, and music. He points that there were three divisions in the Holy City, just as there had been in the wilderness: the camps of Israel, the Levites, and of God. Edersheim makes it clear that outward reverence was expected of those who entered upon the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount was only to be used for strictly religious purposes. In fact, the priests had many of the same prohibitive ordinances as Jesus incorporated for his Temple. The purity of the Temple was so important that there was no atonement for willful profanity. Those who willfully profaned the Temple could be punished by cutting off, death by the hand of God, whipping after a trial, and a "rebel's beating," which was an immediate beating on the spot of defiance. Edersheim points out that Jesus received the "rebel's beating" on multiple occasions. The strictness of punishment was necessary because of the huge number of worshippers passing through the Temple.

Edersheim next discusses the Temple treasury, because worshippers could give any object or person to the Temple. If it was not suitable for Temple use, then it was sold for the Temple's treasury. In addition, people brought voluntary contributions to the Temple. Furthermore, every adult male Israelite was expected to bring a half-shekel for Temple tribute. This tribute was enforced by law and was about 76,000 pounds annually. The Temple money was spent on public sacrifices, services for the sanctuary, Temple repairs, salaries for officials, and repairs for the upkeep of Jerusalem. The Temple's wealth was matched by the character of its services, which included the sacrificial rites, and the hymnody of the sanctuary. Praise in the Temple was done only with the voice, and instrumental music was merely an accompaniment. The trumpet blasts were not part of the service, but were symbolically claiming the Kingdom of God. Temple music was influenced by David, who was a musician, and was played with the harp, the lute, and, on special occasions, the flute.

In chapter four, Edersheim discusses the officiating priesthood. Half of all Jewish priests were to reside in Jerusalem. The priests served a symbolic purpose, reconciled Jews with God, and mediated on behalf of Jews in their relationships with God. The object of reconciliation was holiness, and things such as dress were meant to symbolize their holiness. Israel was divided into different classes.

Likewise, different groups had different duties. The Levites were the Temple police and kept the sanctuary clean. The priests kept watch over the innermost places of the Temple and the Temple's inner gates. Each course of priests and Levites served for a week at a time. However, the priesthood was merely representative of the people and priests received only modest payment. Priests generally underwent instruction and had to pass an examination before being allowed to officiate. The high-priest was answerable to the Sanhedrim, and the Sanhedrim was watched over by an ecclesiastical council. The office of high-priest was originally hereditary. Having a good voice was the only qualification for a priest, although certain bloodlines helped. Priests were not anointed, but merely investitured. High priests dressed in eight sacred vestments. Four of those vestments were distinctive: the breast-plate, mitre, phylacteries, and the ziz. However, those garments may have been indicative of parties. The priests were divided into different categories: the Sagan, two Katholikin, seven Ammarcalin, and three Gizbarin. While each category had specific duties, Edersheim states that it is difficult to determine what those duties were. There were lower officials underneath these groups. There was also a 24-point system of support for the priests.

In chapter five, Edersheim discusses sacrifices, their order, and meaning. First, he points out that modern Jews believe that sacrifices were imported into the Old Testament from other sources, rather than being part of ancient Judaism. He believes this is a mistake. Edersheim indicates that the Old Testament sacrifices were both symbolic and typical. The sacrifices indicated a blessing yet to appear. Sacrifices were the center of the Old Testament. The central idea of a sacrifice was substitution. Sacrifices could be divided into two categories: bloody and unbloody. God appointed the means and modes of sacrifice. Oxen, sheep, goats, turtle-doves, and pigeons were appointed for sacrifices. There were eleven public sacrifices. There were also private sacrifices. In addition, there were some required sacrifices and some voluntary sacrifices. Sacrifices were also separated into degrees of holiness. There were acts of sacrifice that belonged to the offerer: the laying on of hands, slaying, skinning, cutting up, and washing the inwards. However, five acts of sacrifice belonged solely to the priests: catching up the blood, sprinkling it, lighting the altar fire, laying on the wood, bringing up the pieces, and anything else done at the altar. Women could not participate in any of these activities. The Old Testament and New Testament versions of sacrifice were in agreement.

In chapter six, Edersheim goes into greater detail regarding various sacrifices: the burnt-offering, the sin and trespass offering, and the peace offering. Jews argued whether or not sacrifices were to cease after the coming of the Messiah. However, it was agreed that the Messiah was the ultimate substitute sacrifice. When read as a unit, the Old Testament Messianic prophecies form a unified picture and predicted Christian theology. Once the reader figures in Christian and some older Judaic interpretations of the Old Testament, it becomes clear that the Messiah was intended to be the substitute for mankind. However, Jewish scholars abandoned this point-of-view when it became clear that it was supporting Jesus' claims as the Messiah. Edersheim then explains the individual types of offerings. A burnt offering was offered wholly to God and could precede a peace offering. A sin offering was offered for general redemption of sins through ignorance, differed according to the role of who was giving the offering, and had their blood sprinkled not thrown. In contrast, trespass offerings were offered for redemption of particular sins. Trespass offerings could be… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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