The "Miracle of the Red Thread" -- The Talmud Confirms the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross
The Talmud, next to the Tanach, is considered the normative text in both versions, the Babylonian and Jerusalem, to justify the execution of Jesus, as an entire counter-narrative, an anti-Gospel and contains a variety vile statements against Christ and Christians. Nevertheless, it also unintentionally confirmed the sacrifice of the Cross of Jesus.
Talmud and Zohar report that the Jewish high priest offered animal sacrifices only once a year, on Yom Kippur, the "Day of Atonement" or "Day of Atonement", entering the Holy of Holies of the Temple (see also Heb 9.6 to 7). He asked for forgiveness for the sins of the Jews, who were once called Israelites. The Zohar is the most important font of Kabbalah, a Jewish secret doctrine. Both scriptures mention "the miracle of the red thread".
The Zohar is included in the commentary to Vayikra, as the Book of Leviticus or Third Book of Moses in Hebrew reads:
"On this day, all sins will be forgiven [...] the impurities of the souls and bodies [...] all of them, on that day [...] God forgives Israel and freed it from all sins. On this day, the priest prays for himself, his house, the priests, and for all and for the sanctuary for forgiveness [...] they would know whether the priest had success by the red thread. "(Vayikra, 3).
If the thread discolored to white from red, there was rejoicing among all the people. If it remained red, there was general dejection, because it was the sign that the sacrifice of the High Priest and his prayers were not heard by God. The priests and people knew that God had not forgiven the sins.
The emergence of the Zohar is now dated by the research in the 13th century and its authorship is attributed to Mosche de León. It is not Orthodox Judaism, that affirms Shimon ben Jochais, a Talmudic Rabbi of the 2nd century AD,.
The prophet Isaiah alluded to this "thread", without expressly describing it. That was for the Jews not even necessary. They knew how to interpret the words:
"Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool "(Isaiah 1:18).
For 40 years the miracle ceased
The Talmud reports that this great miracle of divine confirmation of the acceptance of the priestly sacrifice and therefore the forgiveness of sins, had already ceased for forty years before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.
"Originally they fastened the thread at the gate of the outer [temple] Court. Were it white, the people rejoiced, when it was not know they were troubled. [...] For forty years before the destruction of the Temple the red thread was no longer white, but remained red."(Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 31b). The same is reported in the Jerusalem Talmud (yYom 6,3,43c).
The Talmud is the central font of Judaism after the denial and execution of Christ. The quoted passage is goes back to the time of the Pharisee Rabbi Gamaliel II., who died in the year 114 AD. Gamaliel was responsible for the final expulsion of the Jewish Christians from the synagogue and cursing them as heretics.
The temple was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans under the high command of Titus, the son of Emperor Vespasian, who himself was later emperor. The "miracle of the red thread" therefore, had no longer occurred since the year 30 AD. This is exactly the time when Jesus was crucified at Calvary. The New Testament, which was written by Jews who saw Christ and followed him, teaches that the sacrifice of the Cross of Christ replaced the animal sacrifices of the Old Covenant. The old temple had lost its meaning and the animal sacrifice their effectiveness. In place of the old covenant, a new covenant was entered.
The transition from the old covenant to the new covenant
In the Letter to the Hebrews, the transition is explained theologically:
"Christ did not sacrifice the blood of goats and calves for our sins. Rather, he sacrificed his own blood in the Holy of Holies once and for all. He has set us free forever from our guilt before God.
Even according to the rules of the Old Testament, everyone who was defiled according to religious rules was, again clean on the outside, if he was sprinkled with the blood of goats and bulls or with ashes of a sacrificed cow.
How much more would the blood of Jesus Christ renew us inwardly and wash away our sins! Filled with God's eternal spirit, He offered himself for us as a flawless sacrificial God. That is why our sins are forgiven, that ultimately lead only to death, and our conscience is cleansed. Now we are free to serve the living God "(Heb 9.12 to 14)
The curtain to the Holy of Holies in the temple was rent in twain
This transition from old to new is in Scripture was also confirmed by external signs by reports, at the time as Jesus died his brutal death on the cross, "there was darkness over the whole land" (Mt 27,45; Mk 15 , 33; Lk 23,44). "The sun was darkened" (Lk 23,45a). "The earth shook and the rocks were split" (Matthew 27,51b). "Because of the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to bottom." (Mt 27,51a; Mk 15.38; Lk 23,45b). "The graves were opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised" (Mt 27,52).
The rending of the veil all could look into the Holy of Holies, which had hitherto been reserved only for the high priest. He should have hid the Holy of Holies, the Ark. In reality, it was empty because the ark in the Babylonian captivity for so many centuries, had been lost. The torn curtain made the end of the old Holy of Holies and the symbolized the transition to the new Holy of Holies, which is Christ himself visible through the sacrificial death on the cross.
The trial of Jesus
This transition was not recognized by the high priest and the majority of the people. But they recognized the end of their most holy place. This end had already been initiated earlier and seen by another sign. Caiaphas, the high priest of 18-36 AD, as the highest representative of Judaism, led Jesus was before the Sanhedrin, to accuse Him of blasphemy, because Jesus said of himself that he was the Son of God. Caiaphas was driven by blind determination to destroy Jesus and to bring him forever to silence.
In Matthew's Gospel the decisive moment of the council is reported as follows:
"Then the high priest said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God? Jesus answered: Thou hast said. But I tell you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven "(Mt 26.63 - 64). Then Jesus was found guilty by the Sanhedrin and condemned to death. In order to achieve a certain death sentence, the high priest was outraged with theatrical gestures and did something that was quite common in Judaism, but was forbidden to him:
"Then the high priest tore his garments and exclaimed: Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What is your opinion? And they precipitated unanimously the sentence: He is guilty and must die." (Mk, 14. 63 - 64; Mt 26,65).
The end of the Jewish high priesthood
The tearing of the clothes in the Jewish world expressed a deep emotion, particularly in moments of despair, great outrage, deep sorrow or great humiliation. The Scriptures reported multiple episodes (Gen 37.18 to 35; Job 1.18 to 20; 1 Sam 4.12 to 17; 2 Kings 22.8 to 13; Acts 14:14; 22.23). The rending of garments was mandatory when a Jew heard a blasphemy of God's name. It was precisely what Caiaphas claimed in the Sanhedrin Assembly of Jesus. But already the Prophet Joel warned that an inner contrition was just as crucial, as an outward gesture: "Rend your hearts and not your garments, and do penance." (Joel 2, 13).
It is not the tearing of the robe that would have been forbidden to the high priest at a blasphemy. In his zeal, however, Caiaphas tore upper and lower garment, and did not do this in the usual manner for a high priest for such a fatal type of event from below but from above. At this point he can not be entered as the high priest in particular on the details of these Jewish practices and those in general. It also violates the dress code of the high priest, the special fabrics, colors and weaves of its garments. It is crucial that Caiaphas in the way he tore his garments, unintentionally, even indicated the end of the old High Priesthood.
The high priesthood ended de facto with tearing the robes by Caiaphas in the evening of Holy Thursday, the rending of the temple curtain on Good Friday and the absence of discoloration of the red thread on Yom Kippur in September / October of the same year.
Formally the Jewish high priest ended after Jesus death and resurrection, as Phannias ben Samuel who held it from 66-70 was the last to hold the office of the High Priest, even though he came from no priestly family. In 70 he met his death in the destruction of the Temple by the Roman troops. With him the old office of high priest also ended de jure.
The loss of capital Jurisdiction
Another aspect worthy of mention. With the sentence of death by the Sanhedrin the fate of Jesus would have been sealed. But as both Talmudic traditions, both of Jerusalem and the Babylonian unanimously report, the Sanhedrin had been deprived 40 years before the destruction of the temple, so turn in 30 AD, by the Romans of the capital jurisdiction (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 41b; Jerusalem Talmud , Sanhedrin I, 1). With the year in which Jesus was put on trial by the Jewish elite, it was no longer possible for the Sanhedrin to carry out death sentences. Yet Jesus was executed since Caiaphas and his Sadducean and Pharisaic followers forced an audition with Herod Antipas and Pontius Pilate, even though they hated the one, and despised the other. Herod Antipas from the Idumean dynasty of the Herodians, Roman clientele kings, was Tetrarch of Galilee. Pontius Pilate ruled from 26-36 with an iron fist as Roman Prefect of Judea.
However, instead of the hoped execution there was a fourfold determination of the innocence of Jesus: first finding of innocence by Pilate, followed by the same such finding by Herod, a second determination by Pilate and even a third finding of innocence by Pilate. Only when the prefect realized the relentless determination of the Jewish leadership and the resources deployed in the form of the crowd and was afraid of a riot, he gave in and put the judgment of the Sanhedrin in force (Lk 23.1 to 24).
From animal sacrifices to sacrifice on the cross: the completion of the High Priesthood
The Jewish tradition confirms, albeit unintentionally, the relationship between the crucifixion of Jesus and the end of the old ministry of the High Priest, the Jerusalem temple and animal sacrifice for the remission of sins of the Old Testament. In 30, the high priesthood was transferred to Christ. He made himself through the death on the cross a victim to expiate the sins of men, and thus founded a new covenant (Heb 9,11ff). The high priesthood found in him its completion an eternal High Priest. The fact that he was brought here by the high priest of the Jerusalem Temple to the cross is not a coincidence, as is apparent from the above.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi Image: Lloyd Wolf / Christ before Caiaphas, Duccio (1300) / Wikicommons / Youtube (Screenshot)