Extra-Bbilical PerspectivesEssene Part 6
Extra-Biblical Perspectives

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The writings herein reflect the views of the authors based upon their research into extra-Biblical writings and commentaries.  Some of the comments counter what is written in the Bible, but they do reflect some early Christian and Jewish-Christian thinking and debates over various Christian theology of that time.

Essene Part 6
By Michael Shaw

Jewish Objections:

When Christians point out the fact that the Temple is destroyed and that Jesus was the cause of it, some Jews object for the following reason.  The Jews say that scripture indicates that when the Messiah comes back, there will be a restoration of the temple and animal sacrifice.  Since the temple presently sits in ruins it is obvious that the Messiah has not yet returned.  They believe that passages like Isaiah 56:7, Jeremiah 33:17&18, Zachariah 14:21 and Ezekiel 43:22-25 which speak of a restored temple, are talking about a future event yet to come.  However, I would argue that these events did come. At the time of Jesus the temple had been restored since the time of the aforementioned prophets and animal sacrifice was going on when the Messiah (Jesus) arrived.  Therefore, these prophesies already came true.

Another objection that is raised by Jews regards the teaching of the Prophet Hosea who says that the Jewish people would remain for many days without a king, sacrifice, or high priest until the coming of the messianic age (Hosea 3:4&5).  In the mean time the Jews were told to worship God, not with sacrificial bulls, but with there lips.   To this objection I would again suggest that all this took place prior to and during the time of Jesus.  There was a restored temple, there was a King (Herod the Great), and there was a High Priest (the head of the Sanhedren) who carried out animal sacrifice.  In short, the objections of Jewish scholars based on these passages does not make sense in light of the timing of Jesus' coming to earth; for when he did arrive, the temple had already been restored and the slaughter of animals was already in process after a period when the Jews had been without a king, sacrifice and high priest.

If the Temple was restored What was Jesus' Mission?

One might ask, If the temple was functioning again, why would there be a need for the Messiah (Jesus) to come to earth?  The plain and simple fact is: the temple, just before the coming of Jesus, was seen by the Essenes as polluted; not to mention that they believed the priesthood to be corrupt.  Further, and most importantly, God had appointed this time to reveal His TRUE & RESTORED Mosaic Law.  By TRUE & RESTORED I mean exactly what the Ebionites taught, that animal sacrifice was not instituted by God, but rather Satan.

The Apostle Peter tells us the following about how animal sacrifice came about: "Moses, that faithful and wise steward, perceived that the vice of sacrificing to idols had been ingrained into the people from their association with the Egyptians, and that the root of this evil could not be extracted from them, he allowed them indeed to sacrifice, but permitted it to be done only to God, that by any means he [Moses] might cut off one half of the deeply ingrained evil, leaving the other half to be corrected by another [Jesus], and at a future time." (from the Recognitions of Clement)

The Rabbis:

Many Rabbis and Scholars from our Jewish brothers and sisters agree - The initial intention of God, according to the Bible, was that both mankind and animals were be vegetarians.  The Talmud agrees, for it says: "Adam was not permitted meat for purposes of eating." It was only after the flood, say the Rabbis, that mankind was permitted, not commanded, to eat meat.  This may have been because of a shortage of vegetation on the earth surface after the flood, and therefore was meant as a temporary measure.

Unfortunately, mankind once again became corrupt and the eating of meat continued. Moses knew that vegetarianism was God's original intention for mankind, however, by the time of the exodus, people were not yet ready to return to the Edenic diet.  If Moses had come down from the mountain and said to the people, "You must all give up eating meat and return to the vegetarianism of Adam and Eve" the people would not have followed him.  Knowing this, God had Moses lay out strict laws for the sacrificing and eating of animals, and placed all this under the charge of Satan.  Again, this was a temporary measure designed to eventually lead the Hebrew people back to vegetarianism.

Though there may be some Rabbis who believe that when the Messiah returns, the temple altar will once again run red with the blood of innocent animal victims.   There are others who believe, that in the Messianic age, only heart felt prayers will be lifted up to God in His Holy Temple, or at most, there will be offerings of grains, fruits and vegetables.  For surely the original intention of God will be restored in the days of the Messiah when all of mankind has been elevated to levels of human perfection; how could it be otherwise.

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