Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Imposter by Design

The year was about 5 BC.
The day, the most Holy Day on Israel's yearly calendar.   Yom Kippur or Feast of Atonement.
The question  on everyone's mind that morning was --  Would their sin be covered for another year?   Or instead of God's mercy, would His wrath fall upon them in judgement.

As was the custom, the people - pressing  together-,  gathered at the temple.  They stood, watching, waiting with bated breath as the High Priest took the incense  censor into the Holy of Holies to intercede for and receive forgiveness from God to cover the nation's year's-worth  accumulation of sin.
But wait ...   who was the High Priest at that time?  Does our scripture, in Matt. 26:3 not record it as being Caiaphas?
But it is not Caiaphas we see preparing to enter the Holy of Holies,  it is Zacharias! What is going on ?
Only the High Priest was allowed  to enter the Holy of Holies, and that only on this  one Holy Day of the year.
So why was Caiaphas not fulfilling the High Priest's God-given duty on this most holy day ?  
One reason .. and one reason only - it was a matter of life and death! 

The High Priest had to be a direct descendent of Aaron and to enter the Holy of Holies the High Priest himself had to be righteous before he could intercede for the people.  
Oops !  Caiphas has two strikes against him ! 
One-   he was an imposter High Priest, put in place by Herod who , in naming Caiaphas as the High Priest ignored the fact that he was not descended from Aaron. 
Two - he was hardly righteous!  
But if it did not trouble him that he could not claim Aaron in his ancestral tree,  why would he allow someone else to usurp his honoured place of service in the Holy of Holies ?   
Ahhhhh ..   it seems he still had the fear of God in him somewhere.   If a High Priest was not righteous, was not clean before God,  and he entered the Holy of Holies, he would never come out !  God would strike him dead the second he stepped behind the veil !

That was a deterrent strong enough to cause Caiaphas to quite willingly  allow another to take his place. 
Someone who rightfully filled the role of High Priest at that time.
And who fit the requirements?  None other than Zacharias !

How do we know that Zacharias was the 'legitimate'  High Priest at that time ?
Three reasons .
1.  Zacharias was of the lineage of Aaron --  We are told in Luke 1:5, that he was of the order of Abijah -  that order is named in I Chron. 24:10 under the lineage of Aaron.
2.  Zacharias was righteous .   Luke 1:5 is careful to make note of this.
3.  Zacharias was not struck dead in the Holy of Holies.   If he had not been the true High Priest at that time offering the incense in the Holy of Holies, he would never have left the Holy of Holies alive.

But ....   while Caiaphas was an imposter High Priest --   God 'designed'  His plan in such a way that it looks like Caiaphas was exactly where he needed to be for God's plan to unfold in perfect symmetry.

(to come in future post --  How did Jesus become our High Priest? and what does Melchezidec have to do with it ?)  


Anneliese said...

You are a good teacher, Julie!
This kind of history has always been confusing to me.

Kathy said...

I agree with Anneliese, you are a good teacher...and make the classroom of learning very interesting. I can hear you teaching this:) God 'designed' it that way. I need to go and read this whole story and then come back and read your post.