Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Interesting Note on the Passover

I'm just finishing up a book on the effect of Judaism on Early Christianity, and the author made what might be a profound observation.

The Passover (which many people consider Communion a form of) was the only sacrifice in ancient Israel where everyone got to take the role of a priest (or at least a position in a priest's household).

In the most commonly described sacrifices, someone would either pay money for an animal to be sacrificed or bring a sacrifice to the Temple. The priest would then be given the sacrifice as a representative of God. The priest would then given part of that sacrifice to God as a tithe and eat the rest.

The Passover was different. The head of each family would bring a sacrifice into the temple courts and sacrifice it themselves and then take the sacrifice back to their household to be eaten.

I find this interesting, but I'm wondering what conclusions one could draw are valid interpretations and which are simply fancy.


William said...

what book are you reading?

David Rudel said...

"In the Shadow of the Temple" I recommend it!

Mike said...

An interesting alternative view on the relationship between the passover and early temple theology has been put forward by Methodist minister and Biblical scholar Margaret Barker.She ties the Last supper to the first temple imagery and makes the argument that the Eucharist is really the blending of "The day of atonement" and the "Bread of presence".Her views certainly would fit in the heterodox camp.You can get her books on Amazon and if you read the book reviews about her work you'll get a better idea about how her ideas challenge how traditional Christin theologians view the New Testament.

David Rudel said...

Thanks, Mike, for the recommendation!

Mike said...

You have a nice blog and I'm glad I discovered it.I spent some time today digging through it.
One of the ways the New Testament opened up to me was to see it through the eyes of Christ and the Apostles.And the way I got their was to study all I could about the cultural era Jesus lived in.The relationship between Temple tradition and Christian theology runs like a continuous thread.Both the N.T and O.T. draw on sources that are not in the Bible and those sources help create a clearer picture in understanding the New Testament.Much of the pseudepigraphical Jewish literature was common at that time in history and was well known to Christ and the Apostles.The early church fathers refer back to a "spoken tradition" that came from the apostles.It's a fascinating and spiritual rewarding study.
I bought your book BTW.I like your approach to interpretation and your insights quite good.

David Rudel said...

Thanks, Mike.
Are you interested in reading and giving comments on a rough draft of a Bible Study I'm writing on the very topic you mention: seeing Christianity through the eyes of the earliest believers?
If so, send me an email.

Mike said...

I've been thinking about this and it seems that this sacrifice was meant to protect ones house hold from evil (almost sounds Pagan)as opposed to a sacrifice for sin.It was first done to protect the Jewish house holds from the angel of death and later it came to represent release from slavery and a new chapter in the history of the Jewish people.The other sacrifices done in the temple were for personal sins,tied to the Law, and the priest acted as an immediary between man and God.In Passover the head of house hold would bring the lamb to the priests and have it sanctified and the blood of it sprinkled on the door posts.Jesus was crucified at the time the passover lambs were killed and thus the connection.Jesus over came death; the early Israelites were spared by the action they took in placing the mark on their door.I think an analogy can be made in the sense that action must be taken on the part of the seeker to find God.The N.T. says Christ "stands at the door and knocks" and this happens when we actively call to Him and open our selves up.It also may allude to having a direct relationship with God through the fulfillment of Christ and displaces the need to go through a priest for redemption.Lastly the scriptures deal a lot with "delivering us from evil"(protection) and restoring Gods Kingdom which heals the Creation("For God so loved the world").By contrast the modern church focuses heavily on original sin and the downfall of the whole race yet in the N.T. the Adam and Eve story is mentioned only once.So a sacrifice for protection in the O.T. points to Christ over coming death and delivering us from evil.