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Gethsemane and Golgotha


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An attempt to combine Royal Cult Studies with Latter-day Saint Doctrine with what might be a ton of conjecture. I assault many traditional ideas for other ideas. There could be many issues and controversies for both LDS and non-LDS. This has been posted here as it is meant to be poked at so it can be addressed more at length, question, add insights, point out flaws, propose fixes, find offensive portions that may need to be removed, etc. Foes and friends, I'm hoping mainly for constructive criticism but any criticsm at all might be constructive.

Gethsemane and Golgotha
The Atonement of Christ and the Ritual of Atonement

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What Does it Mean to Atone for Sin?

Christians are classically defined by a belief that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God and that His primary mission was to “atone” for the sins on behalf of all humanity who believe in him, because that much is what the New Testament states plainly. Still, many do not know how that exactly worked, but it does not seem to require a believer to have a perfect knowledge of all things in order to benefit from it. Anyone should at first confess that they don't have all the education to understand its full meaning and naturally dependent on others for the mean time. 

The Atonement of Jesus Christ has to be one of the most important events in recorded history. Yet there is a lot of disagreement within Christianity over how Christ’s atonement worked. Why are they in such disagreement over the same passages of the same book? This is partly because the modern reader is too far removed from its historical setting, language, literature and lore to acquire its true context. Even modern Jews disagree over the meaning of the historical Atonement. Why? The atoning Temple Priests to safeguard information about their rituals, to prevent them from being corrupted. There is absolutely no Temple theology in the Bible to explain the purpose behind the purely secular details about the rituals. There is no explanation for any act or sign or symbol, at least in the written form of the Bible. They likely preserved it by other means, such as an oral or secret traditions, the transmission of such traditions would have been interrupted after 70 A.D., when the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed, the Jews dispersed, and the practice of Atonement ceased. Any books that may have contained such information outside the Hebrew Bible would have been destroyed, not only by Rome, but Jews burned many ancient sources that would validated Christianity and Rome's dispersion of the Jews from Jerusalem turned spoken Hebrew into a dead language. So even looking at a source, we might not allow understanding the original language or historical context.

The Hebrew word for “atone” which is “kippur (H#3722)”, is actually very common and ordinary in its meaning. A religious meaning only comes from using it in a religious context. Generally, it means “to cover”, but more specifically in a purpose to “recover” or “make good” a torn or broken covering. To atone is to either fix, patch or replace some type of existing covering that has ruptured, usually due to rot or piercing. A normal context for atonement involves repairing something that normally has a covering, for example: completely replacing a torn drum's covering, stitching a rip in clothing or sowing a patch into a torn tent. However, one can giving it other contexts that range in meaning, from “repair a hole” or to “cure a sickness”. In the context of the “atone” with “oil”, atone then means to “smear (and thus cover)”, so to “atone” with “blood” of the Everlasting Covenant, means “to smear blood” with the idea to repair something that breached the covenant. So, the phrase “atoning for sins” does not mean to “cover sin”, in the sense you are attempting to cover, “to hide”, sins from God, rather it is to mend or replace something that has ruptured, due to sin. What does sin, the violation of a law of a covenant, do? It ruptures that covenant; you broke the oath.

How would “blood” atone, or rather fix, a ruptured Covenant? Well, a typical covenant is known as an agreement between any two parties, in this case between God and a man, and one of a covenant's main features, other than the terms of the covenant, is the agreed consequence of breaking the oath. When one swears the oath of a covenant, the most common sort of oath sworn in in the Bible is called a “blood oath”, a statement or gesture, indicating they’d rather die than break the oath (Jeremiah 54:18-19). Blood was believed to be one's “life” (Leviticus 17:14), that means the offering of blood is the “life” you promised as recompense for violating the terms of a covenant you swore your life upon. 

So, as fundamental to Israel the Everlasting Covenant was, few today know exactly what the original everlasting covenant entailed. Adam sinned. What “sins” break the covenant are dependent on what “law” of a covenant one is under. That is to say “sin” is not a set of universal morals that breaks every covenant but are the specific conditions of a specific covenant. For example, it is a sin for a Israelite under the Mosaic Covenant to break the Sabbath or eat unclean animals, in contrast to others, the Gentiles, that were not under the Law of Moses, rather are under the covenant of their forefather Noah, the Noahide Covenant, within which Gentile nations are not commanded to cease working on any day and all animals, including unclean ones, were “meat” (Genesis 8:22; 9:3). When Jesus made a “new covenant” that forbid divorce, the Jews complained how divorce wasn’t a sin under the Mosaic Covenant, but Christ replies that it was a sin in the “beginning” (Matthew 19:7-8). The sin that ruptures the covenant can even cause the covenant to collapse entirely (Isaiah 24:4-6), and so in Israel, it seems that atonement, by the covering or smearing blood on the Ark of the Covenant (Leviticus 16:14) must involve the covenant. 

Proxies and Scapegoats

There is no Biblical explanation of the theology behind the rituals of atonement. We do know under normal conditions, covenants made with blood oaths must mean the offended party must demand the blood of the oath breaker, the sinner. Fortunately for the many that have sinned against a merciful party, such as God, there arose a need to innovate a ritual system as the Atonement, so that just one person, the High Priest, could stand as proxy for the covenant people, the sinners, in the atonement ritual. The consequences of not atoning for sins when the Covenant broke meant that the earth went from created order to original chaos and the people suffered. A priest must atone with animal blood as the proxy for the sinners, or else the blood of the sinners themselves, human blood, was apparently accepted for the Covenant to be satisfied (Numbers 25:7-13). The priest hears the confessions of the people, he bears them as he takes the place of the people to offer up his own blood in their stead. Fortunately for the Priest, the ritual also accepted a goat as a proxy for the blood the priest is supposed to pay himself. This appears to be done by making a goat another proxy for himself, a priest, and then using its blood. We see details of an ordinance that seems to signify the transference of the priesthood from the Priest to the goat by the laying on of hands upon to the goat's head, and the goat is even given a priest's crown with the name of Lord upon it. The meaning behind such a crown is that the goat, like the Priest, is to stand as a proxy for the Lord God of Israel Himself when the goat atones for the sins of all the people of Israel with His own blood. Sounds like a type and shadow of the Christ.

Again, blood was believed to be “life” of a creature (Leviticus 17:14), so this is an important distinction, a sin offering was not completed upon the death of the goat, but by a priest's offering of that goat's “blood” in a holy place (Leviticus 17:11). If a Priest had only sacrificed the goat and drained its blood, but then failed to deliver that blood to the temple, and by his hand sprinkle it there, nothing was achieved by the animal’s death. The smearing blood at the temple is what was important, or else the temple which represents the microcosm of all Creation, was not renewed and purified. Once the blood is sprinkled about the temple, and thus all Creation, it is then purified, and the High Priest absorbs and bears the sins of the people that has tainted all creation (Leviticus 10:17). Once the sins were all collected, he’d bore them and then confessed the sins of the people over the head of a second goat (as the previous one was dead), and thus he transfers the people's sin he absorbed on the head of that second goat, The goat referred to in King James English as the “scapegoat”. But the two goats were supposed to be identical (m. Yoma 6:1) that is supposedly because they were ritually the same goat. Two proxies for what was to be accomplished by one person who was to stand as a proxy for all. The scapegoat is lead from the Temple of Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives, then on a marked path out of the city, preferably by the hands of a gentile (Leviticus 16:21; m. Yoma 6:8).

Jesus Christ Sets the Stage for an Atonement Ritual 

If Jesus Christ’s Atonement wasn't just effective by a mere thematic Atonement, but a true Atonement rite, are there any signs or indications this was an official rite? For example, was there a legal officiating High Priest to perform the atonement rite? After all, Jesus has no legal right to the Aaronic Priesthood under the Mosaic Law as he was from the tribe of Judah, not Levi. The Epistle to the Hebrews takes great pains to explain to us how Jesus Christ was not self-ordained, but was legitimately initiated as a true High Priest, for no one appoints himself to be a priest (no priest ordains himself Deuteronomy 28:40; Heb 5:4). Hebrews goes on to explain the legitimate type of High Priest Jesus was. He was after the “order [taxin (H#5010), succession (from one person to another)] of Melchizedek”. This was a historically valid priesthood, there simply hasn't been a true Melchizedek priest in the city of Jerusalem in 490 years since the end of the Davidic line of kings that were ordained at their coronation (Psalm 110:4). As we are told, Christ's priesthood was legally obtained by succession from another Melchizedek priesthood holder (Hebrews 7), probably by Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9). Not by right of an Aaronic lineage which Christ didn’t possess, but by the swearing of an “oath”, as we are told. The Melchizedek Priesthood was a type of priesthood far more ancient and powerful than the Priests of Levi, who depend on a Levitical lineage (Hebrews 7:6-10, 14, 27-28). 

As a High Priest, Christ is said to have made the final sacrifice, having made an actual atonement with his own blood (Hebrews 13:12). Jews object, saying this impossible, the God does not accept human blood. If Human blood is not acceptable to atone with, then Jesus Christ could not have done it. However, human sacrifices have been accepted by God (Judges 11:39).

Since the purpose of Atonement in the past wasn’t just about forgiving sins but to purify and cleanse the holy ground of the Temple (Leviticus 16:9). If Christ’s Atonement is a final Day of Atonement Ritual, a temple is the proper venue for a temple rite. Was the venue for the Atonement of Christ a temple? The Temple of Herod in Jerusalem was under the control of a body of seventy Jewish High Priests, the Sanhedrin, comprised of a majority of Sadducees High Priests and some Pharisees High Priests. Christians as a new upstart sect in Judaism, claiming to possess an extinct priesthood, did not have the clout to have free reign of that temple. The Christians could only obtain access to the Temple of Jerusalem by submitting to the Jewish priests in charge there, like in the days of Paul who often worshiped at the temple but was forced to submit to the purification rites of the Jewish priests there if he wished to participate (Acts 24:18). The Temple was likely inaccessible for the purpose of allowing Christ to perform a human sacrificial Atonement, hosted in the season of spring. 

However, a Temple quintessentially is an artificially constructed mountain with an artificial golden tree grove at its summit. In the past, before the temple was built, the Patriarchs built up many other more literally mountainous and arboreal types of temples, utilizing the more natural and rural features of the areas rather than creating artificial ones. They built an alter and pitched a tabernacle tent on top of actual mountains with an actual grove of trees in their midst (Examples of such mountain-grove sanctuaries includes Bethel – Genesis 28:19; 35:8 and Sinai – Exodus 15:7; 3:2, etc). These features at temples are imitations of the original Holy Mountain-Grove of Eden (Ezekiel 28:13-14), the Garden of Eden was a holy grove of olive trees (Zechariah 4:3).

During the day light hours, Christ utilized the Temple of Jerusalem and could be found teaching the masses outside the Temple, while during the night, Christ taught only to his disciples on a mountain called the “Mount of Olives” (Luke 21:37-38) as was his “wont” or custom (Luke 22:39). On the Mount’s Eastern slope was the city of “Bethany [(G#963) House of the Poor]” (Matthew 21:17; Mark 11:11), the home of Mary Magdalene, Martha and Lazarus (John 11:1-46; 12:1) and Simon the leper, in whose house Mary Magdalene anointed Christ with expensive oil (Mark 14:13; Matt 26:6). While on the Mount of Olive’s western slope was an ancient grove of olive trees, the “garden of Gethsemane [(G#1068) Oil Press]” (Matthew 26:36). This is where Christ visited just before his trial and crucifixion and is the place where He seems to perform a traumatic ordeal. The olives that grew there were pressed under gigantic stones to extract its oils for generations. Poetic as it was here that Christ would say that He had felt a “heavy” weight upon him (Matthew 26:17) and “blood” would be extracted from him. Is there anything else about this place?

What would bring Christ to the Mount of Olives? This Mount was always a holy and distinguished mountain, it is where King David himself worshiped (2 Samuel 15:30, 32). When the Temple of Jerusalem was razed to the ground by Babylon, Ezekiel had a vision during the Babylonian captivity in which, “the glory of the Lord” vacated the Temple mount and came to rest of the Mount of Olives (Ezekiel 11:22-23). In the future, the Messiah was prophesied to appear there to save his people, God will send the nations to Jerusalem, the Lord will stand on the Mount of Olives (Zacharias 14:3-5). After the Resurrection, this is this same mount that Christ ascended into a “cloud” and angels were frequently seen there (Acts 1:9-12; Luke 22:43). Note that a similar cloud had overshadowed the Mount of Transfiguration, to conceal deadly form of the personage of God the Father, where from within the cloud where He spoke from inside it (Matthew 17:9-13; Mark 9:9-13; Luke 8:9-10). Clouds on holy mountains preform a naturally occurring function that artificial “clouds” of incense did for Temple service, to shield people from the full radiant and deadly glory of God (1 Kings 8:10). For the next 700 years, the Christians that lived there called the Mount of Olives, “the sanctuary of the Lord, that is, the Temple” which is to be built in the future. Thus, Emperor Constantine’s mother built a “sacred church and temple on the very summit”. On the Mountain of Olives was also a cave, “authentic history informs us that this very cave the savior imparted secret revelations to his disciples” (Philip Schaft, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Eusebias [1994], pg 531). 

The narrative tells us that the Garden of Gethsemane even had a Temple-like Tripartite division, three main areas, just like a temple has. On the Day of Atonement, the Israelites stood outside the building in the Temple Courtyard, Priests were allowed to enter the Holy Place, and the High Priest was to go into the Holy of Holies alone (Leviticus 16:17). At other rural Temple-like sites like Mount Sinai, Moses, who was a non-Aaronic priest (Psalm 99:1) was attempting to renew the original covenant (before Israel sinned) and blood atoned there (Exodus 24:8). For this they triple partitioned Mount Sinai as a Temple, the Israelites stayed at the Bottom of the Mount, Aaron and the Seventy were able to go Midway Up, and Moses as a High Priest had to go to the Top alone (Exodus 19:17). Similarly, in Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, the Disciples gathered in a main area of the garden where Christ instructs them to stay there (Matthew 26:36), only taking the Triumvirate, the three Chief Apostles; Peter, James and John, as the Priests, with Him into an Interior area of the Garden, that is until He asks them to wait there (Matthew 26:37), while Christ “went a little further” to be alone into a third Innermost area (Matthew 26:39). Being alone in a Holy Mountain Grove, Christ was in a position to act as a High Priest in an atonement ritual for a new covenant with his own blood and it was mentioned that there Jesus did bleed (Luke 22:44). While Christ also bled on Calvary’s Hill, He was not alone on Calvary’s Hill as a High Priests should be, there were two crucified with him (Matthew 29:38).

A High Priest hosts the Memorial Bread of the Everlasting Covenant

An Aaronic High Priest’s two holiest and most important duties were to first, carry the blood of the covenant for atonement and the second, offering of holy bread every week for the priests to eat as a holy communion. The scene of Gethsemane was the same night Christ hosted a Passover Meal. While the Passover was a springtime festival, the Day of Atonement was an autumn festival. This is one of many reasons Paul called Christ the “Pascal” lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) but Christ's atonement actions were not all Passover elements. Paul in the same chapter also refers to Christ as the goats of the Day of Atonement, the “sin offering” goat (1 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:11-13; 13:11-17) and the sin bearer, the second goat, (Hebrews 13:13). 

After the Passover Meal, “after supper”, Christ institutes what people consider to be a new religious sacrament, clearly a religious and clerical ordinance observed by the Christians, Paul would refer to as the “Lord’s Supper” (1 Corinthians 11:20). Once Christ broke the bread and blessed it for His Apostles, this was no longer a part of the Passover meal. To break and bless the Passover bread is not a Passover practice, as the most essential part of a Passover’s bread is that it is to be a whole offering (Exodus 12:46). The Last Supper’s bread was broken up and it was not the bread of the Passover, it was the bread of his body (Matthew 26:26). Under the idea that the bread and wine were the institution of some new bloodless sacrifice for future Christian Passover meals, this is still not a Passover, as Christ was acting as a priest, and in the offering of the Passover’s sacrifices these are the only sacrifices that are not offered by priests (Exodus 12:6; m. Pesahim 5:5).

As the officiating High Priest, this breaking of bread was the ancient priestly Temple rite. There was a prophesy that the polluted bread of the corrupt Levitical priests would one day be replaced with a pure offering of bread and “administered among the Gentiles” (Malachi 1:11; Isaiah 66:13). The Temple bread eaten by priests was the “bread of God”, not bread “for God” (Leviticus 21:6), eaten as a holy communion to priests as a memorial of the “everlasting covenant” (Leviticus 24:8) along with a cup of libations. Just like the Lord’s Supper, which the cup was the “blood of the [covenant]” (Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:20). The Lord’s Supper is linked to the renewal of the covenant (Hebrews 19:11-15). Bread and wine were the offerings of King Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18). Thus, the early Christians understood that the Christian ordinance was the re-institution of Melchizedek's original ordinance (Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, 4:25).

Location of the Building of the upper room was Mount Zion. (Church of the Apostles Found on Mt Zion, Biblical Archaeological Review May/June 1990 Issue). Even if it was a regular building, the second generation lead by Christ's uncle rebuilt the building from stones of the fallen Temple. What other reason do we suppose they would do that if not to say that the building with the “upper room” was a temple. The upper room of the Temple was a place above the Holy of Holies (1 Chronicles 28:11; 2 Chronicles 3:9; meaning a second story in the temple, 2 Kings 1:2) where the sacred ordinances like royal marriges took place (Psalm 45). It was the upper room that the reintroduction of the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, and the Endowment of the spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1–31).

Christ's Atonement seeks to repair the Original Covenant

The origin of the Everlasting Covenant is debated; as the most common thought is that it began with Abraham first, except When one notices that Abraham's commission and promises within the Abrahamic Covenant are not different from those of the commissions God also promised to Adam, Noah, or even in Christ's New Covenant. The First Book of Enoch is an ancient book found among the oldest known collection of the Biblical texts found today, called the Dead Sea Scrolls. This source comes to mind when placing the chronological date of the original Everlasting Covenant, I’d site the Book of Enoch as it gives us insight as to the origins of the Covenant. Enoch says the Everlasting Covenant originates from the Creation. To summarize it says the act of Creation was done by an Original Covenant. In the Creation, an uninhabitable primeval chaos was brought into habitable order by a series of bonds or seals. The mixed chaotic elements were each separated and bound to stay apart through a great covenant or “great oath” (1 Enoch 69:16-25). 

Now, whether you trust the Book of Enoch or not, what it says here at least is a very ancient and concise explanation of the Bible references. Like how a priest's power is referred to as the evocation of the “bonds of the covenant” to prevent variant forms of chaos and suffering (Ezekiel 20:37; Psalms 2:3). The Biblical Creation accounts outside Genesis tells us similar details as that Enoch does, how there was a pre-existing element (sometimes referred to as “hyle”), a chaotic mix of elements, and there was some type of “bond” used to keep them separate. The light was separated from the darkness, upper water from the lower waters, the land from the sea, animals separated into each their own kinds, etc. The Bible repeatedly says God had separated the sea from the land by a seal or bond (Job 38:8-10; Jeremiah 5:22; Psalms 104:9). That was until the Great Flood of Noah, as Books of Enoch and Genesis explains that the sea heaved beyond the bonds God set. They also say the harmony of creation was disrupted by rebel angels who corrupted the people, and the people corrupted the earth (Genesis 6:1-7; 1 Enoch 6-11). It was sin, the breaking of the laws of that covenant that held the world together, and anything rebellion, be it human or divine, leads to the covenant breaking. The consequence is the return of the elements to their original chaos, causing natural disasters and suffering. The Flood occurred because the Covenant Bonds that brought Peace to Creation became unmade. We see references that the breaking the covenant results in Creation returning to its former state (Isaiah 24:5; Jeremiah 5:22). Hence after the flood, Noah forges Noah's “Everlasting Covenant” (Genesis 6:8). Since it involved the peace of creation, Noah’s Covenant was also called the “Covenant of Peace” (Isaiah 54:9-10).

After Abraham reforges his Everlasting Covenant for the Hebrews, Moses attempted to renew the Everlasting Covenant of Abraham for Israel, so they could lay claim on Canaan, and attempt to bestow the priesthood after Melchizedek among every Israelite in his own household. Until Israel was found unworthy with the golden calf, and the Covenant was amended into the new Mosaic Covenant and the creation of a new inferior Priesthood was made to administer to a lesser covenant, a priesthood for the Levites only. The main role of the priests is to make atonement any time anyone gets too close to the sanctuary, because if they tainted the holy space, they risk bringing disasters and plagues upon the people (Numbers 8:9). The Tabernacle (and Temple) is a microcosm of all creation (three partition that represent all earth; the sky, land and sea also all existence; heaven, earth and the underworld). When an apostate Israelite fornicated with a Midianite, it was a breach of the covenant and caused a plague to come upon Israel. Phineas famously kills both of them, and the spilling of these sinners’ blood, it stopped the plague. Human blood can atone and mend the Covenant. Since the offering accepted by the worthy hand of Phineas, he was consecrated as worthy of the High Priesthood despite Phineas not being the proper bloodline for the High Priesthood. They also keep calling the name of the covenant that Phineas atoned for, which should have been the Mosaic Covenant, the “everlasting covenant” instead, which is the name of Abraham's Covenant and they also refer to it as the “covenant of peace” which is the name of Noah's Covenant, and they also called the Everlasting Covenant the “covenant of the everlasting priesthood” (Numbers 25:10-13) as though these covenants are all one in the same. The Aaronic High Priest was to also perform a yearly atonement, the “Day of Atonement [Yom Kippur]” (Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 16; 23:26-32; Numbers 29:7-11).

The New Testament says how Jesus Christ was replacing the “old” covenant, this “old” covenant was the Mosaic Covenant, but the “new” covenant of Christ was actually renewing the original covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant (Hebrews 6:11-15; Galatians 3:29). Christ was a High Priest, not after the old priesthood of Aaron, but neither a new priesthood, but the original lost priesthood of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:6-17) by the swearing of an “oath”. What oath? The “oath” of a “testament [covenant]” (Hebrews 7:20-22). While the Covenant of Christ is Jeremiah's prophesied “new covenant” (Jeremiah 31:31), the word “new [(H#2319) from the root of 2318, to be new, rebuild, repair]”. We know it is linked to all the original covenant for one thing, the New Covenant like the old covenants still involves the fixed order of creation (Jeremiah 31:35-36). When sin broke the everlasting covenant of Abraham and of Noah’s peace (Genesis 9:16; Isaiah 54:9-10), the breaking of the peace returns things to chaos, the earth is corrupted, and the people suffer (Isaiah 24:4-6). This is all to say, the Everlasting Covenant of Abraham cannot yet be truly done away with, and fully replaced. Corruption and suffering in the world prove the original Everlasting Covenant must still exist in a broken state, or else Christ's covenant should have brought peace on earth. There is chaos, disaster and suffering because the Everlasting Covenant continues to break. Until the new king comes possessed with the Spirit of the Lord to return the world to original Edenic harmony (Isaiah 24:21-23). That is the Millennial Reign of Christ.

An Atoning High Priest Must Approach God with Fear and Trembling

After the Last Supper, they sang a hymn before going to the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:30). It was nighttime, like on the Day of atonement. They traversed from the building with the Upper Room to Gethsemane, which involved walking east, in front of the Temple, then outside the city gate, to traverse across the brook Kedron where the Temple’s sacrificial blood was washed away, to the Mount of Olives. This is the same path of the scapegoat before it was sent into exile.

The event at Gethsemane must be something important, for no other reason than that it is even mentioned in the Gospels at all. One notices that Christ here expresses to have a separate will and personality from God the Father. He asks for the bitter cup’s removal, not by His own will but the Father's will. Trinitarian Christians try to explain this is happening because of His dual nature. That His Body is a mortal with a will, and is a separate will from His Spirit, which is God's Spirit, and His Body is afraid of death. Denominations such as The Baptist Church figures that the scene of Gethsemane was about Christ expressing fear in anticipation of the pains of the cross. However, I think this is wrong, for Christ to be afraid to be persecuted and crucified is outside of the character He has ever displayed previously and shortly thereafter when it concerned the subject of suffering and death. To interpret this as fear of death would place Christ below the heroism of the Christian martyrs, like Paul, who anticipated harsh persecution and death, even crucifixion, for Christ’s sake with joy. The point of the scene is not a mere display of Christ’s humanity, weakness or fears of death.

Instead of Christ being fearful of death on the cross, I would here interject it was the custom for High Priest who approached God (such as during the Temple's atonement ritual) to do so with “fear and trembling” (Genesis 9:2; Psalm 55:6; Judith 2:28; 4 Maccabees 4:10; 1 Enoch 13:3; Narsai, Homilies 17A). When the High Priest preformed an Atonement ritual, the proper thing to do was to approach the Holy of Holies with the purposeful attitude of fear and trembling, thus showing reverence and respect. In an Atonement, it was then that the Atoning High Priest would then open his mouth, praying in devotion until He knows his prayer has been accepted. The details about what the content of the Atonement Prayer is unknown, however what little we do know is the prayer was repeated three times as some kind of formula (Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 8:15; 16:18; 17:18). It is with much interest that here, alone on a holy mountain, that Christ trembles and opens his mouth to pray, and does so three times as a formula, “O my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: never the less not as I will, but as thou will.” (Matthew 26:39-44). If Christ was cowering over the suffering of the crucifixion, why did Christ not fear or tremble, cower or even open his mouth to respond during the Passion of Christ, but He was brave, calm and was lead as a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7; Mark 14:61; 15:31). 

How was Christ supposed to Suffer for Sin in the Atonement?

There is enough material by Christian scholars to indicate that the exact mechanics of Christ’s Atonement are not known and the exact purpose for Christ’s experience in the events from Gethsemane to Golgotha is not well understood by Christians. Most traditional studies don’t even consider Gethsemane much at all when speaking about the Atonement. They seem to place a focus only on physical aspects of Christ's atonement and death, dubbed “the passion”. They try their best to describe all of the indignity, suffering, scourging, sometimes with no transcendent meaning but merry depicting it as horrifically as they can to conjure the sufficent amount of empathy.
 
Not to diminish crucifixion, it was horrible, but to single out Christ’s Crucifixion alone as the height of human suffering, the text does not exactly say that. Suffering on the cross wasn't something humanly unique; many of the other Christians were crucified also. In fact, some of the acts of the Roman soldiers done to Christ could actually be interpreted as acts of mercy. If a Roman soldier must execute someone by crucifixion, it was often preceded by scourging until the blood flowed. That was not done to needlessly add to the cruelty of being crucified, but had a practical function to hasten his death, and so prevents prolonged suffering. Nails would make it even quicker, and Christ was even speared in the side by one Roman soldier before they had time to break his legs. For this act the Roman soldier Longinus was declared a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church, as this was an act of mercy, preventing Christ from suffering even more. Being forced to carry one’s own cross is not thought cruel, it served to break one's will and accept their fate, thus reduce the emotional trauma.

If we are discussing Christ's suffering, why don't we try to explain Christ’s non-physical suffering also. After all, didn’t Isaiah’s Suffering Servant Song describe the Messiah’s suffering as “Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…” (Isaiah 53:4-5; Matthew 8:17)? When exactly during the Crucifixion did Christ suffer “sorrows for sin” or “carry” the weight of our grief? During his Passion Christ expressed no complaint of his burdens, or express his pain, or utter any words of sorrow, He mostly kept his mouth shut (Isaiah 53:7; Mark 14:61; 15:3). This is in contrast from when He was in Gethsemane, it was there He expresses how He was “sorrowful and very heavy” and “exceedingly sorrowful unto death”. Only there does the Bible say Christ was in “agony” (Luke 22:43-44). One could argue by these words about Jesus that Gethsemane might have been the scene of Christ’s greatest agony. We merely imagine that scourges and crucifixion must have hurt more than the act of simply praying in a garden, only He didn’t express His agony nor sweat blood during the crucifixion (Mark 14:61; 15:3).

Unlike the prayers we've given, appears that for Christ, maintaining His effort to pray in Gethsemane became increasingly difficult, as he keeps asking for the cup’s removal, and an angel had to be sent to Him in order to strengthen Him to keep praying, and He was in such “agony” that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:43-44). Was his sweat really blood? It's been debated, in the King James Version it says it was “as it were” blood, instead of simply called “blood”, but the Greek does indicate it at least appeared to be blood. That is an odd comparison to make. What characteristics does sweat need to have in order to resemble blood, without actually being blood? Luke reported it, and Luke while not an apostle, he was Paul’s missionary companion (1 Timothy 4:11) and wrote the Gospel of Luke and Acts in 61 A.D. Luke was a doctor, “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14) and in his writings gave special attention to medical details only a doctor would say, such as the term “full of lepersey” (Luke 5:12). When Luke is the one who describes Christ’s sweat as blood, one would tend to assume it wasn’t an attempt at embellishment, unless there is other unknown reasons he would compare it to blood.

  The final rite of the first portion of the Atonement in the temple was to purge the holy place, the artificial garden temple, representing all creation, with blood on the that sacred ground (Leviticus 16:15). As he purifies the sanctuary, the High Priest took upon himself the sins of the people who confessed to him, he became the sin bearer, at least until he has the chance to transfer them on head of the second goat. During that time, the High Priest, is like Christ who is to have borne the sorrows and sicknesses of His people (Isaiah 5:4, 10; Matthew 8:17). Interesting to note here that excess sacrificial blood from sacrifices was sold to gardeners to use as fertilizer in their gardens (Mishnah, Yoma 5:6).

Jesus Christ and Suffering Servant Song of the Isaiah Scroll

Christ predicted his crucifixion (Mark 8:31; 10:33-34) saying it was a divine necessity, a “must” (Mark 9:31). After his resurrection, Christ rebukes the Apostles for not believing the scriptures that the Messiah would suffer and then enter into glory (implying a transfigured or resurrected state). “O fools, and slow in heart to believe all the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and enter into his glory?... He explained unto them all the scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27). A fair expectation, but there is one problem in the present Bible. There is no such scripture in the Bible predicting that the coming Christ, the Anointed One, would suffer.

Traditionally Christians have interpreted Isaiah’s Suffering Servant Song as the prophecy of Jesus Christ's suffering. Despite the uncanny parallels, scholarship has long held this to be a purely Christian innovation, because nowhere does Isaiah call his subject the anointed Messiah. However, only by the chance discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has this Christian interpretation finally been vindicated. The Dead Sea Scrolls contains a pre-Christian version of Isaiah, the Isaiah Scroll. In that scroll, the Fourth Servant Song (Isaiah 52:14) is just one Hebrew letter different than the Masoretic text (the Hebrew text the Old Testament the Modern Theology Bible is based on). The Bible usually translates the word into English as “marred [H#4893]” or “disfigured” but with the extra letter added the word becomes “[masahti (H#4888) anointed]”. We know that because that is the meaning of that word when it is used in Numbers 18:8, so the Isaiah Suffering Servant was originally a Messiah. What the Isaiah Scroll says is exactly what Christ claims, “My servant… shall be exalted… I have anointed him more than any man in his appearance and he shall sprinkle many nations” (1Q Isaiaha 52:14). This would also explain why the Targums (Jewish Translations of the Torah in Aramaic, valued for its added commentary to help readers understand the meaning), indicates the subject was a Messiah in the previous verse, “My servant the Messiah shall prosper” (Targum, Isaiah 52:13). The New Testament Jesus Christ presupposed the Dead Sea Scrolls are the most original of scriptures, not the Masoretic texts the Bible is made from.

Isaiah also says the Messiah will be “exalted and extolled very high” (Isaiah 52:13). Interestingly, when John says Moses lifted the serpent in the wilderness (in Numbers 21:9) “so must the Son of Man be lifted up [(G#5312)]” (John 3:14) is considered Greek word play. That Greek word has another meaning, to be exalted (John 8:28; 12:32-33). The act of being lifted up on the cross is a type of being exalted on high. Other than being lifted upon wood, how did a serpent, the Brazen Serpent of Moses, symbolize Christ’s exaltation? In ancient symbolism, serpents were symbols of wisdom (Matthew 10:10). Like serpents, wisdom (the divined secrets imparted by revelation) is usually something hidden (1 Corinthians 2:7), concealing a secret power that can be used to destroy, but also to heal depending on the wisdom of the administrator (some utilized venom to cure illnesses). A serpent also sheds its skin, renewing itself, just as a disciple is expected to ritually shed his flesh and become a new creature, born again, resurrected (2 Corinthians 5:17). Because the serpent’s new skin is shiny, one of the Hebrew words for "serpent [nachash (H#5175)]" (Genesis 3:1) also means "shiny one" and that describes the transfigured state upon receiving the Holy Spirit of Wisdom, “wisdom maketh his face to shine” (Ecclesiastes 8:1), like the shine of transfigured Moses and Christ (Exodus 34:29; Matthew 17:2).

The Isaiah Servant, the Messiah, will suffer, become exalted, and will also perform an Atonement rite, as he says the Messiah shall “sprinkle [rhantise (H#5137)] many nations” (Isaiah 52:15) the same verb for the Atoning blood (Leviticus 16:19). The next chapter says the Servant will have “carried [yazzah (H#5445)]” our grieves and sorrows and upon him “laid” the “iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). He was “oppressed”, just as Christ was arrested, but "opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7) just as Christ would not open his mouth to the High Priests or to Pilate (Mark 14:61; 15:3). The Servant shall be ‘taken from judgment… cut off from the land of the living, made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death” (Isaiah 53:8-9), just as Christ died amidst two criminals and was entombed in a rich man’s tomb (Luke 23:39, 50-53). 

The Servant was “wounded [hll (H#2490)]” (Isaiah 53:5), this word means to “‘pierce” (Isaiah 51:9), pierced for transgressions and the “chastisement [mwsr (H#4148)] for our peace” was upon him (Isaiah 53:5). Isaiah means the 'bonds (of the covenant) of peace', as it’s the same word in Ezekiel, “bonds of the covenant [msrt hbryt]” (Ezekiel 20:37; Jeremiah 2:20; Psalm 2:3). Which is also in parallel to the next verse, “with his stripes [hbrt (H#2250)] we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). This is the same word for “stripes” is in Exodus and there it meant to “join” or “unite” the curtains of the tabernacle, as “[hbr’]’s” primary meaning is to unite (Exodus 26:4). In Hebrew poetry, chiasmus, the literary style of the Bible, parallel chiasmus will put two different words with similar meanings together in a verse. Since the first part of the verse, one word means a type of bond, the other line also contains a word that also is a type of bond, though it also means a type of bruise cause by a bond, which results from wearing bonds. These “bonds” are references to the Everlasting Covenant. The Servant pours out his “soul [‘sm (H5315)] for a sin offering” (Isaiah 53:10), a “[sm’]” is something that redresses as “[m’l]”, which is a violation of the covenant. Christ, the Messiah is offering to repair the Covenant.

The previous verse of Isaiah’s Servant Song, Isaiah describes the Messiah’s suffering as being like the scapegoat, “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard. I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6). This is the treatment seen with the Scapegoat on the Day of Atonement. The Mishnah says a red wool yarn was weaved around its horns, and either a priestly crown with the name Azazel was placed on his head, or the actual lot stone with Azazel inscribed on it was tied to his head (m. Yoma 6:4). Now this is what happens to Christ, who was smitten and mocked for claiming to be a king, and they placed upon him a scarlet robe, a crown (of thorns), and put a reed in his hands which they would take and smite him with, and spit on him (Matthew 27:28-31) a lot of spitting (Matthew 26:67; Mark 14:65; 15:19). 

The First Century Christian Views of Christ and the Two Goats 

If the Atonement of Jesus Christ has anything to do with the Atonement rites of the Day of Atonement, the original rite had at least two parts, represented by two goats. One goat makes an atonement with is blood, the second goat is cast out of the city, ideally lead by the hand of a foreigner, in hopes it will die, eaten by a lion, away from Jerusalem and not wonder back with their sins. Sometimes it would come back, and so the Jews later resolved to push it backwards off a cliff. “On Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) a goat was thrown off a high cliff in the desert, to atone for the sins of the Jews. A red ribbon was hung up in the Temple on that day. When the goat was thrown off the cliff, the ribbon turned white.” (B. Yoma 67a) This description links the Temple with the exile of the scapegoat. Viewing it as a kind of remote Temple offering as signified by the transformation of the ribbon from red to white.

The First Century Christian document, the Epistle of Barnabas, is attributed to the Biblical Barnabas the Levite, one of the Seven Assistants to the Apostles, and Paul’s Missionary Companion (Acts 4:36; 13:2). It was lost and then rediscovered in 1859 in the Sinai Codex. Now whether or not it was written by the Biblical Barnabas or another Barnabas, it is definitely a document from the apostolic era, with valuable insight. Barnabas has many quotes from Old Testament era texts we don’t have. Concerning the treatment of the scapegoat, “Spit on it, all of you, thrust your goads into it, wreath its head with scarlet wool and lead it be driven into the desert,” “when they see him coming on the Day, they are going to be struck with terror at the manifest parallel between him and the goat,”  “they shall see him on that Day, clad to the ankles in his red woolen robe and will say, ‘is this not he whom we once crucified and mocked and pierced and spat upon?” (Epistle of Barnabas 7). 

Now, Isaiah had a similar vision of the Lord, on the Day (of Vengeance), come in a red robe and when he asked the Lord why he is red, He replies his robes are bloodstained red from when he had troddened the winefat “alone, and of the people, there were none with me” (Isaiah 63:2). Jesus Christ in the Second Coming has a bloodstained red venture (Revelations 19:13). Isaiah’s quote seems to describe Christ had stained his robes while alone in Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). Christ was not alone at Golgotha (Luke 23:39). Christ did customarily wear his High Priest’s expensive, seamless and brilliantly white robe before he went to Gethsemane, and if he had sweat blood in it, it would have become bloodstained red. Though he bleed on the cross, Christ was not wearing his robe when he was crucified, the Roman Soldiers had taken it from him (John 19:23-24; Psalm 22:18).

Barnabas makes a unique claim that is contrary to Leviticus, he says that the fYirst goat, the sin offering goat, in the Day of Atonement ritual was originally eaten. The people ate the carcass, and the Priests ate the fat and bloody sacrificial portions, unwashed, in vinegar (sour wine). Barnabas quotes from an unknown quote from Jesus Christ who is quoting an unknown Book of the Prophets (an Old Testament scripture), “What does it say in the prophet? ‘Let all the priests but nobody else eat of its inward parts, unwashed and with vinegar.’ Why was this? Because, ‘When I am about to give my body for sins of this new people of mine, you will give me gall and vinegar to drink’” (Epistle of Barnabas 7). The New Testament authors were careful to note that Christ was given “vinegar to drink mingled with gall” (Matthew 27:34, 48; Psalm 69:23), though they don’t explain the significance of this.

Leviticus, seems to contradict Barnabas’s quote, saying in the Atonement, the High Priest did remove the fat and enthralls, kidneys and liver, but claims they were burned on the alter with the priests while the carcass was burned with the people outside, and does not say it was eaten (Leviticus 4:8-10). If it was eaten unwashed, Leviticus also says the consumption of blood is forbidden (Leviticus 3:17), as Jews of the first century say in the Mishnah (m. Yoma 6:7). Though the Mishnah doesn’t represent the views of all First Century Jews, the also Mishnah mentions there were Jews they refer to as “Babylonians” (presumed to be a derogatory term for other Jews, perhaps the Alexandrian Jews), who performed the Jewish Day of Atonement rites and did eat the sin offering, and if it was the Sabbath, they ate it raw, because they couldn’t cook (m. Menahoth 11:7). What is interesting about this is, if Barnabas is correct, and the sin offering was eaten unwashed, raw, and in vinegar/sour wine, then there was definitely blood consumption/drinking in the Temple by priests on the Day of Atonement.

What Barnabas is implying is that by having Christ drink vinegar with gall mingled in it on the cross, which some think it as cruel mockery, or another act of mercy (an attempt at pain reliever or for hastening death). There were some First Century Christians, like Barnabus that saw this event as being foreshadowed by the Day of Atonement ritual. It gives Christ’s Sacramental cup more context. As the Sacramental bread and wine is believed to be the foretold new Temple bread and libations reestablished (Malachi 1:7, 11) Christ insisted that the contents of his cup of fruit of the vine was his blood, even though Leviticus forbids blood drinking (Leviticus 3:17). Blood drinking while not Kosher, may have been Kosher for priests during Atonement Day practice. Just how other Temple practices and objects were forbidden outside the Temple, like using the formula for temple incense, or the temple anointing oil, or possessing a seven branched lamp stand in a private house was forbidden for general use, but not for the Temple. It's possible that Leviticus maybe, as some think, an edited late document. Or it's merely intended to be the rules of Israelites, but not royal Melchizedek priests, and later self-imposed by Jews. Some scholars think this version of the Atonement practice eating of the sacrificial goat's inward portions in wine is valid and would explain the origin of the Christian traditions to remove the inner portions of the sacramental loaf (the inward parts of the Body of Christ) and mingle it with the sacramental wine (the Blood of Christ) of the Eucharist (M. Barker, The Great High Priest, pg70).

One might question the authenticity of Barnabas’s unbiblical sources, merely because it is an unbiblical source. Though one of Barnabas' unbiblical sources ended up being discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Book of Enoch. Barnabas quotes, “It will come to pass in this last days that the Lord will deliver up destruction, the sheep of the pasture, with their sheepfold and their watchtower [1 Enoch 89:56]” (Epistle of Barnabas 16). As a side note, the watch tower is the temple (Isaiah 5; Assumption of Moses 2:4; Shepherd of Hermas, Parables 3:2:4; 9:3:1; 9:7:1). The Book of Enoch is the most quoted book in the New Testament and has a lot to add to the meaning of Christ's Atonement.

Pre-Christian Views about the Origins of the Atonement Ritual Exile of Azazel

The New Testament sites the from the First Book of Enoch as prophetic scripture (Jude 14). St. Jerome couldn't substantiate the historicity of the book because after 70 AD the Jews purposely burned all ancient Hebrew copies of Enoch. Enoch was only later rediscovered in Ethiopia in 1770, but by then it was established idea that it was the work of late Christian Pseudepigrapha (referring to a writings made under a False Name), but once we found the a fragment of Enoch in Hebrew in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and containing the same quote in Jude, it is now proven that Enoch is not a Christian book at all, it was a Pre-Christian Jewish Scripture just as old as the oldest books we have. It was saved by Christian refugees in Ethiopia and burned by Post-Christian Jews because it was a proof-text of Christianity. The Book of Enoch’s first parable contains a Christ-like angelic figure, referred to as the “Son of Man”, the “Anointed One”, and other Christ-like titles also found in Isaiah’s Servant Songs. In the Parable, the “Righteous One” uses his blood to take up to a heavenly temple to meet the “Lord of Spirits”, a title Enoch uses to refer to God the Father, the Most High God (1 Enoch 47; Daniel 7). Post-Christian Jews did not like books with named angel characters, angel “sons of God”, sons that preformed works alongside of God. It would support the claims that Christ was a pre-incarnated Son of God, a creative agent of God the Father.

Enoch says that all creation is sustained by a great oath, or covenant, “This oath became dominant over them; they are preserved by it” (1 Enoch 69:26). However, expanding on the Genesis account, the angel “Azazel” sins, breaking the covenant and corrupts the earth (1 Enoch 6-11; Genesis 6:1-5). So, “Enoch [(H#2585) initiated]”, was chosen to be initiated by an angel with angelic or rather High Priestly robes and anointing oils of a High Priest on the Day of Atonement. Enoch is declared a “Son of Man”, an angelic agent of the Lord, and was “translated” into a Heavenly Temple (1 Enoch 71:14-17 Genesis 5:22-24; Hebrews 11:5). Where in the heavenly temple, he acts as a High Priest attempting to make Atonement and intercedes on the behalf of sinners, particularly for the sinning angel Azazel (1 Enoch 15:2) but instead Enoch returns with a judgment for Azazel. This is where Enoch's tale becomes important to understanding the origin of the Day of Atonement.

The name of this rebel angel “Azazel” is found in Bible, but only in the Atonement ritual in Leviticus 16. There are two goats, each is chosen by a cast lot, one “for the Lord [l-yhwh]” while the other is chosen by lot “for the scapegoat [l-azazel]” (Leviticus 16:8). With no explanation in the Bible of the theology behind the Atonement rites, the Book of Enoch gives the only narrative and insight into the origin for the atonement ritual, and how the wicked angel Azazel became a part of it. Azazel is well known by Jews and found in Jewish lore as an archdemon. Often leading to the question, why did the Israelites offer a goat up as a sacrifice to a demon in the desert during the atonement?

The goat isn’t necessarily “for” Azazel, as though it were an offering. The Hebrew word for “for” is the same word as “as”; “For [le (H#3807.1) for/as].” The goat that bears the sins and gets cast out isn’t being offered to Azazel, it is to be cast out “as Azazel” was also cast out. This aligns with the fact that crowns the goats are given have the names “YHWH” and “Azazel” upon there heads (m. Yoma 4:1). In the same manner that a priest wore a crown with the Lord’s name, YHWH, on it, which indicated that is who they are, or who they represent, while they are making atonement. The priests are representing the Lord, they are standing in the Lord’s place. So, like the sin bearer goat, the sin offering goat that shed it blood to atone for all creation isn’t a sacrifice being offered “to” the Lord, the goat is being sacrificed “as the Lord” as a blood atonement for the covenant, it is standing in for the Lord himself.

Enoch's Atonement of the corrupted earth required the punishment of Azazel. Azazel was bound by the Archangel “Raphael (Healer-of God)”, Azazel was pierced and was hung from a tree that was down inside of a canyon (1 Enoch 10:5). Possibly the origin for how the Jews learned that the meaning of being “hung from a tree” means they are the “accursed of God” (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). It is with no small irony that the Jews and Christians saw Christ's Crucifixion on a wooden cross significant, as being “hung from a tree” (Acts 5:30; 10:38-39). In Enoch, what purpose did Azazel’s punishment serve? It was a Blood Atonement, the shedding of the sinner Azazel's blood would give life to the earth, “he will proclaim life for the earth, that he is giving life to her” (1 Enoch 10:7).

The parallels of Day of Atonement's exile of the scapegoats with Azazel's exile doesn't end there. The Jews tried to send to Scapegoat to the same place Azazel was imprisoned. The Bible only says the goat was cast out into a “solitary land” (Leviticus 16:22), but the Jews in first century detailed how the goat was taken,y from the temple’s eastern gate, to the mount of Olives, from there it was lead on a marked path from the city into the wilderness to be pushed off a cliff, preferably by a foreigner (m. Yoma 6:8). The first century Jews had given this canyon they cast the goat into the name “Beth Cha-duda” (Targum, Pseudo-Johnathan Leviticus 16:22). The name of the canyon Enoch says Azazel was cast into was “Duda-el” (1 Enoch 19:5). Even though there is debate over the exact location for “Calvary’s Hill” and “Golgotha [(G#1115) the skull]” where Christ had died, what we are sure of is that like the scapegoat, Christ was also cast outside the gates of the city, by the hands of foreign soldiers no less (Matthew 28:11; Hebrews 13:12) and there He was hung from a tree (Matthew 27:33).

Azazel’s name may also had been spoken of in the New Testament. When Christ explains to the Pharisees how He exorcised devils, He says one must first “bind” the “strong man” before entering his house to take his possessions (Matthew 12:25). Exactly whom Christ is referring to as the “strong man” became very confusing to later Gentile Christians. The Roman Catholic Priests who've preformed exorcisms sometimes resorted to tying down the physical body of the possessed person. Even though this seems align with Christ's words, it seems contrary to Christ's actions. Though the possessed were strong, Christ didn’t resort to physically bind any possessed person. Instead, what seems Christ to have meant that by the binding power and authority that Christ possessed and gave to his disciples, the priesthood bonds, the Melchizedek Priest’s binding power, the Pharisee’s Aaronic Priests didn’t possess. Whereby one must first bind the devil, and it's the devil who is the strong one, before attempting to take its “possessions” away, the “possessions” is the possessed person. So, why does Christ referring to the devil as the “strong man”, intending to clarify, only to end up confusing people on the future. It is probably an issue of language. Matthew's Gospel was written in Greek but its quoting Jesus Christ who spoke the Jewish common language of Aramaic, a Babylonian dialect of Hebrew. In Hebrew, “Azazel (H#5799)” translates into the “strong one”. So, the phrase “strong man” may be translated from was originally vocalized as “Azazel”, whom Christ perhaps is acknowledging here as a real person, a devil, and as “Satan”.

The Milennium and the Binding and Banishment of Satan

In any case, if the Biblical Atonement’s exile of the Scapegoat represents the Enochian exile of Azazel and the purpose of it is to exile the people’s sins. Why does Paul still consider Christ a post-Gospel sin bearer for us and not currently an Azazel or Satanic figure? There is some ambiguity between the High Priest and the Scapegoat. The two goats were to be identical (m. Yoma 6:1) because they were ritually the same goat. Two aspects of what was to be accomplished by one goat-priest. 

The High Priest needed two goats, because while the Priest could have ritually resurrected when he prepared to enter the Holy of Holies, but the goat he slew for its blood could not ritually resurrect once it was drained of all of its blood/life, and especially so if its true that the body was eaten, the body and blood are busy being digested. Once the blood is sprinkled, the High Priest purged the taint of sin in the Temple but absorbed those sins, at that time, he is both a representative of the Lord and the sin bearer (Micah 7:8; Job 7:21). The Lord is the bearer of our guilt (Romans 4:7-8).  Jesus Christ became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 53:6). However, the High Priest is only the sin bearer for a certain amount of time until he can transfer them upon the Azazel-goat (Leviticus 16:21-27) just as the sins were transferred on him (Leviticus 1:4; Numbers 8:10). While Christ was exiled by the people of Jerusalem on the cross with our sins upon him, but that isn't the end of his atonement. Christ didn’t remain in exile, he resurrected and ascended, he is expected to return to reign for a Millennia, which the world is described as returning to a paradisaical glory of Eden and concludes with the exile Satan only at the end of the Millennium. So, Christ's Atonement has not concluded. Christ is still our sin bearer, Satan still waits to be exiled and the world is clearly not a paradise, so the covenant has not been fully repaired.

The Banishment of Satan as part of the Atonement of the Lord is foretold in other apocryphal books. As far as we know, the oldest copies of the scriptures found were among the Dead Sea Scrolls, these were the scriptures of Christ’s time. Just as Jude quotes from the First Book of Enoch as a scripture (Jude 14), Jude also references, as factual, another non-Biblical scripture called The Assumption of Moses. This is the only known source for Jude's account that the Archangel Michael contended with Satan over whether Satan had a claim over the body of Moses, or if Michael had the right to take it into heaven (Jude 9), a story nowhere in the five Books of Moses. The Assumption of Moses expands on Deuteronomy 32:43 which is the coming of the Lord on the Day of Atonement. Featuring an angel High Priest from a “holy habitation” emerging from there, then the “evil one will have an end. Sorrow will be lead away with him” (Assumption of Moses 10:1-3). Just as a High Priest emerges from the Holy of Holies recently hallowed (Leviticus 16:19), he doesn’t take away the sins, he just carries them until they can be places on the scapegoat (Leviticus 16:21). It’s the Azazel-goat that takes them away for good (Leviticus 16:22), removing them from the people and the land to preserve them and renew the covenant. 

The Book of Revelations foretells in the Second Coming, the Millennial Reign of Christ, an angel will come to bind Satan and put him in a pit for a thousand years (Revelations 20:1-3). This is very Enochian; an angel bound Azazel and put him into a canyon for a thousand years (1 Enoch 54:67). In Revelations, Christ is seen as a High Priest officiating in a Heavenly Temple (Revelations 1:3) on “the Lord’s day” (Revelations 1:10) which is the next day after the Day of Atonement, “The Great Day” (LXX, Isaiah 1:13). The Lord’s Day is the First Day (Sunday) in Enochian literature (2 Enoch). This is the day when the High Priest emerges from the Holy of Holies and pronounces judgment on Israel. John sees angels dressed as priests, and Christ, emerge from heaven's temple to judge the earth (Revelations 19:11-13). After the thousand years, the once bound Satan is loosed, continues to deceive and then cast into the lake of fire (Revelations 20:10) and hell/sin goes with him (Revelations 20:14). The sign that the Atonement has taken affect is when temptation and suffering ends, and the Earth returns to its original Edenic harmony, undoing the original sin of Adam (Isaiah 65:17-25; Revelation 22:2).

Edited by Pyreaux
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6 hours ago, Pyreaux said:

An attempt to combine Royal Cult Studies with Latter-day Saint Doctrine

I have never heard of Royal Cult Studies and the internet does not provide a clear explanation. So you lost me in the first sentence.

Perhaps you need to be an academic to know about Royal Cult Studies.  I am willing to learn new things but when you quote things that are difficult to understand with just the internet as a guide (which is all I have) then I lose interest in your post very quickly.

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11 hours ago, Pyreaux said:

An attempt to combine Royal Cult Studies with Latter-day Saint Doctrine with what might be a ton of conjecture. I assault many traditional ideas for other ideas. There could be many issues and controversies for both LDS and non-LDS. This has been posted here as it is meant to be poked at so it can be addressed more at length, question, add insights, point out flaws, propose fixes, find offensive portions that may need to be removed, etc. Foes and friends, I'm hoping mainly for constructive criticism but any criticsm at all might be constructive.

Gethsemane and Golgotha
The Atonement of Christ and the Ritual of Atonement

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What Does it Mean to Atone for Sin?

Christians are classically defined by a belief that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God and that His primary mission was to “atone” for the sins on behalf of all humanity who believe in him, because that much is what the New Testament states plainly. Still, many do not know how that exactly worked, but it does not seem to require a believer to have a perfect knowledge of all things in order to benefit from it. Anyone should at first confess that they don't have all the education to understand its full meaning and naturally dependent on others for the mean time. 

The Atonement of Jesus Christ has to be one of the most important events in recorded history. Yet there is a lot of disagreement within Christianity over how Christ’s atonement worked. Why are they in such disagreement over the same passages of the same book? This is partly because the modern reader is too far removed from its historical setting, language, literature and lore to acquire its true context. Even modern Jews disagree over the meaning of the historical Atonement. Why? The atoning Temple Priests to safeguard information about their rituals, to prevent them from being corrupted. There is absolutely no Temple theology in the Bible to explain the purpose behind the purely secular details about the rituals. There is no explanation for any act or sign or symbol, at least in the written form of the Bible. They likely preserved it by other means, such as an oral or secret traditions, the transmission of such traditions would have been interrupted after 70 A.D., when the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed, the Jews dispersed, and the practice of Atonement ceased. Any books that may have contained such information outside the Hebrew Bible would have been destroyed, not only by Rome, but Jews burned many ancient sources that would validated Christianity and Rome's dispersion of the Jews from Jerusalem turned spoken Hebrew into a dead language. So even looking at a source, we might not allow understanding the original language or historical context.

The Hebrew word for “atone” which is “kippur (H#3722)”, is actually very common and ordinary in its meaning. A religious meaning only comes from using it in a religious context. Generally, it means “to cover”, but more specifically in a purpose to “recover” or “make good” a torn or broken covering. To atone is to either fix, patch or replace some type of existing covering that has ruptured, usually due to rot or piercing. A normal context for atonement involves repairing something that normally has a covering, for example: completely replacing a torn drum's covering, stitching a rip in clothing or sowing a patch into a torn tent. However, one can giving it other contexts that range in meaning, from “repair a hole” or to “cure a sickness”. In the context of the “atone” with “oil”, atone then means to “smear (and thus cover)”, so to “atone” with “blood” of the Everlasting Covenant, means “to smear blood” with the idea to repair something that breached the covenant. So, the phrase “atoning for sins” does not mean to “cover sin”, in the sense you are attempting to cover, “to hide”, sins from God, rather it is to mend or replace something that has ruptured, due to sin. What does sin, the violation of a law of a covenant, do? It ruptures that covenant; you broke the oath.

How would “blood” atone, or rather fix, a ruptured Covenant? Well, a typical covenant is known as an agreement between any two parties, in this case between God and a man, and one of a covenant's main features, other than the terms of the covenant, is the agreed consequence of breaking the oath. When one swears the oath of a covenant, the most common sort of oath sworn in in the Bible is called a “blood oath”, a statement or gesture, indicating they’d rather die than break the oath (Jeremiah 54:18-19). Blood was believed to be one's “life” (Leviticus 17:14), that means the offering of blood is the “life” you promised as recompense for violating the terms of a covenant you swore your life upon. 

So, as fundamental to Israel the Everlasting Covenant was, few today know exactly what the original everlasting covenant entailed. Adam sinned. What “sins” break the covenant are dependent on what “law” of a covenant one is under. That is to say “sin” is not a set of universal morals that breaks every covenant but are the specific conditions of a specific covenant. For example, it is a sin for a Israelite under the Mosaic Covenant to break the Sabbath or eat unclean animals, in contrast to others, the Gentiles, that were not under the Law of Moses, rather are under the covenant of their forefather Noah, the Noahide Covenant, within which Gentile nations are not commanded to cease working on any day and all animals, including unclean ones, were “meat” (Genesis 8:22; 9:3). When Jesus made a “new covenant” that forbid divorce, the Jews complained how divorce wasn’t a sin under the Mosaic Covenant, but Christ replies that it was a sin in the “beginning” (Matthew 19:7-8). The sin that ruptures the covenant can even cause the covenant to collapse entirely (Isaiah 24:4-6), and so in Israel, it seems that atonement, by the covering or smearing blood on the Ark of the Covenant (Leviticus 16:14) must involve the covenant. 

Proxies and Scapegoats

There is no Biblical explanation of the theology behind the rituals of atonement. We do know under normal conditions, covenants made with blood oaths must mean the offended party must demand the blood of the oath breaker, the sinner. Fortunately for the many that have sinned against a merciful party, such as God, there arose a need to innovate a ritual system as the Atonement, so that just one person, the High Priest, could stand as proxy for the covenant people, the sinners, in the atonement ritual. The consequences of not atoning for sins when the Covenant broke meant that the earth went from created order to original chaos and the people suffered. A priest must atone with animal blood as the proxy for the sinners, or else the blood of the sinners themselves, human blood, was apparently accepted for the Covenant to be satisfied (Numbers 25:7-13). The priest hears the confessions of the people, he bears them as he takes the place of the people to offer up his own blood in their stead. Fortunately for the Priest, the ritual also accepted a goat as a proxy for the blood the priest is supposed to pay himself. This appears to be done by making a goat another proxy for himself, a priest, and then using its blood. We see details of an ordinance that seems to signify the transference of the priesthood from the Priest to the goat by the laying on of hands upon to the goat's head, and the goat is even given a priest's crown with the name of Lord upon it. The meaning behind such a crown is that the goat, like the Priest, is to stand as a proxy for the Lord God of Israel Himself when the goat atones for the sins of all the people of Israel with His own blood. Sounds like a type and shadow of the Christ.

Again, blood was believed to be “life” of a creature (Leviticus 17:14), so this is an important distinction, a sin offering was not completed upon the death of the goat, but by a priest's offering of that goat's “blood” in a holy place (Leviticus 17:11). If a Priest had only sacrificed the goat and drained its blood, but then failed to deliver that blood to the temple, and by his hand sprinkle it there, nothing was achieved by the animal’s death. The smearing blood at the temple is what was important, or else the temple which represents the microcosm of all Creation, was not renewed and purified. Once the blood is sprinkled about the temple, and thus all Creation, it is then purified, and the High Priest absorbs and bears the sins of the people that has tainted all creation (Leviticus 10:17). Once the sins were all collected, he’d bore them and then confessed the sins of the people over the head of a second goat (as the previous one was dead), and thus he transfers the people's sin he absorbed on the head of that second goat, The goat referred to in King James English as the “scapegoat”. But the two goats were supposed to be identical (m. Yoma 6:1) that is supposedly because they were ritually the same goat. Two proxies for what was to be accomplished by one person who was to stand as a proxy for all. The scapegoat is lead from the Temple of Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives, then on a marked path out of the city, preferably by the hands of a gentile (Leviticus 16:21; m. Yoma 6:8).

Jesus Christ Sets the Stage for an Atonement Ritual 

If Jesus Christ’s Atonement wasn't just effective by a mere thematic Atonement, but a true Atonement rite, are there any signs or indications this was an official rite? For example, was there a legal officiating High Priest to perform the atonement rite? After all, Jesus has no legal right to the Aaronic Priesthood under the Mosaic Law as he was from the tribe of Judah, not Levi. The Epistle to the Hebrews takes great pains to explain to us how Jesus Christ was not self-ordained, but was legitimately initiated as a true High Priest, for no one appoints himself to be a priest (no priest ordains himself Deuteronomy 28:40; Heb 5:4). Hebrews goes on to explain the legitimate type of High Priest Jesus was. He was after the “order [taxin (H#5010), succession (from one person to another)] of Melchizedek”. This was a historically valid priesthood, there simply hasn't been a true Melchizedek priest in the city of Jerusalem in 490 years since the end of the Davidic line of kings that were ordained at their coronation (Psalm 110:4). As we are told, Christ's priesthood was legally obtained by succession from another Melchizedek priesthood holder (Hebrews 7), probably by Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9). Not by right of an Aaronic lineage which Christ didn’t possess, but by the swearing of an “oath”, as we are told. The Melchizedek Priesthood was a type of priesthood far more ancient and powerful than the Priests of Levi, who depend on a Levitical lineage (Hebrews 7:6-10, 14, 27-28). 

As a High Priest, Christ is said to have made the final sacrifice, having made an actual atonement with his own blood (Hebrews 13:12). Jews object, saying this impossible, the God does not accept human blood. If Human blood is not acceptable to atone with, then Jesus Christ could not have done it. However, human sacrifices have been accepted by God (Judges 11:39).

Since the purpose of Atonement in the past wasn’t just about forgiving sins but to purify and cleanse the holy ground of the Temple (Leviticus 16:9). If Christ’s Atonement is a final Day of Atonement Ritual, a temple is the proper venue for a temple rite. Was the venue for the Atonement of Christ a temple? The Temple of Herod in Jerusalem was under the control of a body of seventy Jewish High Priests, the Sanhedrin, comprised of a majority of Sadducees High Priests and some Pharisees High Priests. Christians as a new upstart sect in Judaism, claiming to possess an extinct priesthood, did not have the clout to have free reign of that temple. The Christians could only obtain access to the Temple of Jerusalem by submitting to the Jewish priests in charge there, like in the days of Paul who often worshiped at the temple but was forced to submit to the purification rites of the Jewish priests there if he wished to participate (Acts 24:18). The Temple was likely inaccessible for the purpose of allowing Christ to perform a human sacrificial Atonement, hosted in the season of spring. 

However, a Temple quintessentially is an artificially constructed mountain with an artificial golden tree grove at its summit. In the past, before the temple was built, the Patriarchs built up many other more literally mountainous and arboreal types of temples, utilizing the more natural and rural features of the areas rather than creating artificial ones. They built an alter and pitched a tabernacle tent on top of actual mountains with an actual grove of trees in their midst (Examples of such mountain-grove sanctuaries includes Bethel – Genesis 28:19; 35:8 and Sinai – Exodus 15:7; 3:2, etc). These features at temples are imitations of the original Holy Mountain-Grove of Eden (Ezekiel 28:13-14), the Garden of Eden was a holy grove of olive trees (Zechariah 4:3).

During the day light hours, Christ utilized the Temple of Jerusalem and could be found teaching the masses outside the Temple, while during the night, Christ taught only to his disciples on a mountain called the “Mount of Olives” (Luke 21:37-38) as was his “wont” or custom (Luke 22:39). On the Mount’s Eastern slope was the city of “Bethany [(G#963) House of the Poor]” (Matthew 21:17; Mark 11:11), the home of Mary Magdalene, Martha and Lazarus (John 11:1-46; 12:1) and Simon the leper, in whose house Mary Magdalene anointed Christ with expensive oil (Mark 14:13; Matt 26:6). While on the Mount of Olive’s western slope was an ancient grove of olive trees, the “garden of Gethsemane [(G#1068) Oil Press]” (Matthew 26:36). This is where Christ visited just before his trial and crucifixion and is the place where He seems to perform a traumatic ordeal. The olives that grew there were pressed under gigantic stones to extract its oils for generations. Poetic as it was here that Christ would say that He had felt a “heavy” weight upon him (Matthew 26:17) and “blood” would be extracted from him. Is there anything else about this place?

What would bring Christ to the Mount of Olives? This Mount was always a holy and distinguished mountain, it is where King David himself worshiped (2 Samuel 15:30, 32). When the Temple of Jerusalem was razed to the ground by Babylon, Ezekiel had a vision during the Babylonian captivity in which, “the glory of the Lord” vacated the Temple mount and came to rest of the Mount of Olives (Ezekiel 11:22-23). In the future, the Messiah was prophesied to appear there to save his people, God will send the nations to Jerusalem, the Lord will stand on the Mount of Olives (Zacharias 14:3-5). After the Resurrection, this is this same mount that Christ ascended into a “cloud” and angels were frequently seen there (Acts 1:9-12; Luke 22:43). Note that a similar cloud had overshadowed the Mount of Transfiguration, to conceal deadly form of the personage of God the Father, where from within the cloud where He spoke from inside it (Matthew 17:9-13; Mark 9:9-13; Luke 8:9-10). Clouds on holy mountains preform a naturally occurring function that artificial “clouds” of incense did for Temple service, to shield people from the full radiant and deadly glory of God (1 Kings 8:10). For the next 700 years, the Christians that lived there called the Mount of Olives, “the sanctuary of the Lord, that is, the Temple” which is to be built in the future. Thus, Emperor Constantine’s mother built a “sacred church and temple on the very summit”. On the Mountain of Olives was also a cave, “authentic history informs us that this very cave the savior imparted secret revelations to his disciples” (Philip Schaft, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Eusebias [1994], pg 531). 

The narrative tells us that the Garden of Gethsemane even had a Temple-like Tripartite division, three main areas, just like a temple has. On the Day of Atonement, the Israelites stood outside the building in the Temple Courtyard, Priests were allowed to enter the Holy Place, and the High Priest was to go into the Holy of Holies alone (Leviticus 16:17). At other rural Temple-like sites like Mount Sinai, Moses, who was a non-Aaronic priest (Psalm 99:1) was attempting to renew the original covenant (before Israel sinned) and blood atoned there (Exodus 24:8). For this they triple partitioned Mount Sinai as a Temple, the Israelites stayed at the Bottom of the Mount, Aaron and the Seventy were able to go Midway Up, and Moses as a High Priest had to go to the Top alone (Exodus 19:17). Similarly, in Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, the Disciples gathered in a main area of the garden where Christ instructs them to stay there (Matthew 26:36), only taking the Triumvirate, the three Chief Apostles; Peter, James and John, as the Priests, with Him into an Interior area of the Garden, that is until He asks them to wait there (Matthew 26:37), while Christ “went a little further” to be alone into a third Innermost area (Matthew 26:39). Being alone in a Holy Mountain Grove, Christ was in a position to act as a High Priest in an atonement ritual for a new covenant with his own blood and it was mentioned that there Jesus did bleed (Luke 22:44). While Christ also bled on Calvary’s Hill, He was not alone on Calvary’s Hill as a High Priests should be, there were two crucified with him (Matthew 29:38).

A High Priest hosts the Memorial Bread of the Everlasting Covenant

An Aaronic High Priest’s two holiest and most important duties were to first, carry the blood of the covenant for atonement and the second, offering of holy bread every week for the priests to eat as a holy communion. The scene of Gethsemane was the same night Christ hosted a Passover Meal. While the Passover was a springtime festival, the Day of Atonement was an autumn festival. This is one of many reasons Paul called Christ the “Pascal” lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) but Christ's atonement actions were not all Passover elements. Paul in the same chapter also refers to Christ as the goats of the Day of Atonement, the “sin offering” goat (1 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:11-13; 13:11-17) and the sin bearer, the second goat, (Hebrews 13:13). 

After the Passover Meal, “after supper”, Christ institutes what people consider to be a new religious sacrament, clearly a religious and clerical ordinance observed by the Christians, Paul would refer to as the “Lord’s Supper” (1 Corinthians 11:20). Once Christ broke the bread and blessed it for His Apostles, this was no longer a part of the Passover meal. To break and bless the Passover bread is not a Passover practice, as the most essential part of a Passover’s bread is that it is to be a whole offering (Exodus 12:46). The Last Supper’s bread was broken up and it was not the bread of the Passover, it was the bread of his body (Matthew 26:26). Under the idea that the bread and wine were the institution of some new bloodless sacrifice for future Christian Passover meals, this is still not a Passover, as Christ was acting as a priest, and in the offering of the Passover’s sacrifices these are the only sacrifices that are not offered by priests (Exodus 12:6; m. Pesahim 5:5).

As the officiating High Priest, this breaking of bread was the ancient priestly Temple rite. There was a prophesy that the polluted bread of the corrupt Levitical priests would one day be replaced with a pure offering of bread and “administered among the Gentiles” (Malachi 1:11; Isaiah 66:13). The Temple bread eaten by priests was the “bread of God”, not bread “for God” (Leviticus 21:6), eaten as a holy communion to priests as a memorial of the “everlasting covenant” (Leviticus 24:8) along with a cup of libations. Just like the Lord’s Supper, which the cup was the “blood of the [covenant]” (Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:20). The Lord’s Supper is linked to the renewal of the covenant (Hebrews 19:11-15). Bread and wine were the offerings of King Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18). Thus, the early Christians understood that the Christian ordinance was the re-institution of Melchizedek's original ordinance (Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, 4:25).

Location of the Building of the upper room was Mount Zion. (Church of the Apostles Found on Mt Zion, Biblical Archaeological Review May/June 1990 Issue). Even if it was a regular building, the second generation lead by Christ's uncle rebuilt the building from stones of the fallen Temple. What other reason do we suppose they would do that if not to say that the building with the “upper room” was a temple. The upper room of the Temple was a place above the Holy of Holies (1 Chronicles 28:11; 2 Chronicles 3:9; meaning a second story in the temple, 2 Kings 1:2) where the sacred ordinances like royal marriges took place (Psalm 45). It was the upper room that the reintroduction of the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, and the Endowment of the spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1–31).

Christ's Atonement seeks to repair the Original Covenant

The origin of the Everlasting Covenant is debated; as the most common thought is that it began with Abraham first, except When one notices that Abraham's commission and promises within the Abrahamic Covenant are not different from those of the commissions God also promised to Adam, Noah, or even in Christ's New Covenant. The First Book of Enoch is an ancient book found among the oldest known collection of the Biblical texts found today, called the Dead Sea Scrolls. This source comes to mind when placing the chronological date of the original Everlasting Covenant, I’d site the Book of Enoch as it gives us insight as to the origins of the Covenant. Enoch says the Everlasting Covenant originates from the Creation. To summarize it says the act of Creation was done by an Original Covenant. In the Creation, an uninhabitable primeval chaos was brought into habitable order by a series of bonds or seals. The mixed chaotic elements were each separated and bound to stay apart through a great covenant or “great oath” (1 Enoch 69:16-25). 

Now, whether you trust the Book of Enoch or not, what it says here at least is a very ancient and concise explanation of the Bible references. Like how a priest's power is referred to as the evocation of the “bonds of the covenant” to prevent variant forms of chaos and suffering (Ezekiel 20:37; Psalms 2:3). The Biblical Creation accounts outside Genesis tells us similar details as that Enoch does, how there was a pre-existing element (sometimes referred to as “hyle”), a chaotic mix of elements, and there was some type of “bond” used to keep them separate. The light was separated from the darkness, upper water from the lower waters, the land from the sea, animals separated into each their own kinds, etc. The Bible repeatedly says God had separated the sea from the land by a seal or bond (Job 38:8-10; Jeremiah 5:22; Psalms 104:9). That was until the Great Flood of Noah, as Books of Enoch and Genesis explains that the sea heaved beyond the bonds God set. They also say the harmony of creation was disrupted by rebel angels who corrupted the people, and the people corrupted the earth (Genesis 6:1-7; 1 Enoch 6-11). It was sin, the breaking of the laws of that covenant that held the world together, and anything rebellion, be it human or divine, leads to the covenant breaking. The consequence is the return of the elements to their original chaos, causing natural disasters and suffering. The Flood occurred because the Covenant Bonds that brought Peace to Creation became unmade. We see references that the breaking the covenant results in Creation returning to its former state (Isaiah 24:5; Jeremiah 5:22). Hence after the flood, Noah forges Noah's “Everlasting Covenant” (Genesis 6:8). Since it involved the peace of creation, Noah’s Covenant was also called the “Covenant of Peace” (Isaiah 54:9-10).

After Abraham reforges his Everlasting Covenant for the Hebrews, Moses attempted to renew the Everlasting Covenant of Abraham for Israel, so they could lay claim on Canaan, and attempt to bestow the priesthood after Melchizedek among every Israelite in his own household. Until Israel was found unworthy with the golden calf, and the Covenant was amended into the new Mosaic Covenant and the creation of a new inferior Priesthood was made to administer to a lesser covenant, a priesthood for the Levites only. The main role of the priests is to make atonement any time anyone gets too close to the sanctuary, because if they tainted the holy space, they risk bringing disasters and plagues upon the people (Numbers 8:9). The Tabernacle (and Temple) is a microcosm of all creation (three partition that represent all earth; the sky, land and sea also all existence; heaven, earth and the underworld). When an apostate Israelite fornicated with a Midianite, it was a breach of the covenant and caused a plague to come upon Israel. Phineas famously kills both of them, and the spilling of these sinners’ blood, it stopped the plague. Human blood can atone and mend the Covenant. Since the offering accepted by the worthy hand of Phineas, he was consecrated as worthy of the High Priesthood despite Phineas not being the proper bloodline for the High Priesthood. They also keep calling the name of the covenant that Phineas atoned for, which should have been the Mosaic Covenant, the “everlasting covenant” instead, which is the name of Abraham's Covenant and they also refer to it as the “covenant of peace” which is the name of Noah's Covenant, and they also called the Everlasting Covenant the “covenant of the everlasting priesthood” (Numbers 25:10-13) as though these covenants are all one in the same. The Aaronic High Priest was to also perform a yearly atonement, the “Day of Atonement [Yom Kippur]” (Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 16; 23:26-32; Numbers 29:7-11).

The New Testament says how Jesus Christ was replacing the “old” covenant, this “old” covenant was the Mosaic Covenant, but the “new” covenant of Christ was actually renewing the original covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant (Hebrews 6:11-15; Galatians 3:29). Christ was a High Priest, not after the old priesthood of Aaron, but neither a new priesthood, but the original lost priesthood of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:6-17) by the swearing of an “oath”. What oath? The “oath” of a “testament [covenant]” (Hebrews 7:20-22). While the Covenant of Christ is Jeremiah's prophesied “new covenant” (Jeremiah 31:31), the word “new [(H#2319) from the root of 2318, to be new, rebuild, repair]”. We know it is linked to all the original covenant for one thing, the New Covenant like the old covenants still involves the fixed order of creation (Jeremiah 31:35-36). When sin broke the everlasting covenant of Abraham and of Noah’s peace (Genesis 9:16; Isaiah 54:9-10), the breaking of the peace returns things to chaos, the earth is corrupted, and the people suffer (Isaiah 24:4-6). This is all to say, the Everlasting Covenant of Abraham cannot yet be truly done away with, and fully replaced. Corruption and suffering in the world prove the original Everlasting Covenant must still exist in a broken state, or else Christ's covenant should have brought peace on earth. There is chaos, disaster and suffering because the Everlasting Covenant continues to break. Until the new king comes possessed with the Spirit of the Lord to return the world to original Edenic harmony (Isaiah 24:21-23). That is the Millennial Reign of Christ.

An Atoning High Priest Must Approach God with Fear and Trembling

After the Last Supper, they sang a hymn before going to the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:30). It was nighttime, like on the Day of atonement. They traversed from the building with the Upper Room to Gethsemane, which involved walking east, in front of the Temple, then outside the city gate, to traverse across the brook Kedron where the Temple’s sacrificial blood was washed away, to the Mount of Olives. This is the same path of the scapegoat before it was sent into exile.

The event at Gethsemane must be something important, for no other reason than that it is even mentioned in the Gospels at all. One notices that Christ here expresses to have a separate will and personality from God the Father. He asks for the bitter cup’s removal, not by His own will but the Father's will. Trinitarian Christians try to explain this is happening because of His dual nature. That His Body is a mortal with a will, and is a separate will from His Spirit, which is God's Spirit, and His Body is afraid of death. Denominations such as The Baptist Church figures that the scene of Gethsemane was about Christ expressing fear in anticipation of the pains of the cross. However, I think this is wrong, for Christ to be afraid to be persecuted and crucified is outside of the character He has ever displayed previously and shortly thereafter when it concerned the subject of suffering and death. To interpret this as fear of death would place Christ below the heroism of the Christian martyrs, like Paul, who anticipated harsh persecution and death, even crucifixion, for Christ’s sake with joy. The point of the scene is not a mere display of Christ’s humanity, weakness or fears of death.

Instead of Christ being fearful of death on the cross, I would here interject it was the custom for High Priest who approached God (such as during the Temple's atonement ritual) to do so with “fear and trembling” (Genesis 9:2; Psalm 55:6; Judith 2:28; 4 Maccabees 4:10; 1 Enoch 13:3; Narsai, Homilies 17A). When the High Priest preformed an Atonement ritual, the proper thing to do was to approach the Holy of Holies with the purposeful attitude of fear and trembling, thus showing reverence and respect. In an Atonement, it was then that the Atoning High Priest would then open his mouth, praying in devotion until He knows his prayer has been accepted. The details about what the content of the Atonement Prayer is unknown, however what little we do know is the prayer was repeated three times as some kind of formula (Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 8:15; 16:18; 17:18). It is with much interest that here, alone on a holy mountain, that Christ trembles and opens his mouth to pray, and does so three times as a formula, “O my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: never the less not as I will, but as thou will.” (Matthew 26:39-44). If Christ was cowering over the suffering of the crucifixion, why did Christ not fear or tremble, cower or even open his mouth to respond during the Passion of Christ, but He was brave, calm and was lead as a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7; Mark 14:61; 15:31). 

How was Christ supposed to Suffer for Sin in the Atonement?

There is enough material by Christian scholars to indicate that the exact mechanics of Christ’s Atonement are not known and the exact purpose for Christ’s experience in the events from Gethsemane to Golgotha is not well understood by Christians. Most traditional studies don’t even consider Gethsemane much at all when speaking about the Atonement. They seem to place a focus only on physical aspects of Christ's atonement and death, dubbed “the passion”. They try their best to describe all of the indignity, suffering, scourging, sometimes with no transcendent meaning but merry depicting it as horrifically as they can to conjure the sufficent amount of empathy.
 
Not to diminish crucifixion, it was horrible, but to single out Christ’s Crucifixion alone as the height of human suffering, the text does not exactly say that. Suffering on the cross wasn't something humanly unique; many of the other Christians were crucified also. In fact, some of the acts of the Roman soldiers done to Christ could actually be interpreted as acts of mercy. If a Roman soldier must execute someone by crucifixion, it was often preceded by scourging until the blood flowed. That was not done to needlessly add to the cruelty of being crucified, but had a practical function to hasten his death, and so prevents prolonged suffering. Nails would make it even quicker, and Christ was even speared in the side by one Roman soldier before they had time to break his legs. For this act the Roman soldier Longinus was declared a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church, as this was an act of mercy, preventing Christ from suffering even more. Being forced to carry one’s own cross is not thought cruel, it served to break one's will and accept their fate, thus reduce the emotional trauma.

If we are discussing Christ's suffering, why don't we try to explain Christ’s non-physical suffering also. After all, didn’t Isaiah’s Suffering Servant Song describe the Messiah’s suffering as “Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…” (Isaiah 53:4-5; Matthew 8:17)? When exactly during the Crucifixion did Christ suffer “sorrows for sin” or “carry” the weight of our grief? During his Passion Christ expressed no complaint of his burdens, or express his pain, or utter any words of sorrow, He mostly kept his mouth shut (Isaiah 53:7; Mark 14:61; 15:3). This is in contrast from when He was in Gethsemane, it was there He expresses how He was “sorrowful and very heavy” and “exceedingly sorrowful unto death”. Only there does the Bible say Christ was in “agony” (Luke 22:43-44). One could argue by these words about Jesus that Gethsemane might have been the scene of Christ’s greatest agony. We merely imagine that scourges and crucifixion must have hurt more than the act of simply praying in a garden, only He didn’t express His agony nor sweat blood during the crucifixion (Mark 14:61; 15:3).

Unlike the prayers we've given, appears that for Christ, maintaining His effort to pray in Gethsemane became increasingly difficult, as he keeps asking for the cup’s removal, and an angel had to be sent to Him in order to strengthen Him to keep praying, and He was in such “agony” that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:43-44). Was his sweat really blood? It's been debated, in the King James Version it says it was “as it were” blood, instead of simply called “blood”, but the Greek does indicate it at least appeared to be blood. That is an odd comparison to make. What characteristics does sweat need to have in order to resemble blood, without actually being blood? Luke reported it, and Luke while not an apostle, he was Paul’s missionary companion (1 Timothy 4:11) and wrote the Gospel of Luke and Acts in 61 A.D. Luke was a doctor, “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14) and in his writings gave special attention to medical details only a doctor would say, such as the term “full of lepersey” (Luke 5:12). When Luke is the one who describes Christ’s sweat as blood, one would tend to assume it wasn’t an attempt at embellishment, unless there is other unknown reasons he would compare it to blood.

  The final rite of the first portion of the Atonement in the temple was to purge the holy place, the artificial garden temple, representing all creation, with blood on the that sacred ground (Leviticus 16:15). As he purifies the sanctuary, the High Priest took upon himself the sins of the people who confessed to him, he became the sin bearer, at least until he has the chance to transfer them on head of the second goat. During that time, the High Priest, is like Christ who is to have borne the sorrows and sicknesses of His people (Isaiah 5:4, 10; Matthew 8:17). Interesting to note here that excess sacrificial blood from sacrifices was sold to gardeners to use as fertilizer in their gardens (Mishnah, Yoma 5:6).

Jesus Christ and Suffering Servant Song of the Isaiah Scroll

Christ predicted his crucifixion (Mark 8:31; 10:33-34) saying it was a divine necessity, a “must” (Mark 9:31). After his resurrection, Christ rebukes the Apostles for not believing the scriptures that the Messiah would suffer and then enter into glory (implying a transfigured or resurrected state). “O fools, and slow in heart to believe all the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and enter into his glory?... He explained unto them all the scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27). A fair expectation, but there is one problem in the present Bible. There is no such scripture in the Bible predicting that the coming Christ, the Anointed One, would suffer.

Traditionally Christians have interpreted Isaiah’s Suffering Servant Song as the prophecy of Jesus Christ's suffering. Despite the uncanny parallels, scholarship has long held this to be a purely Christian innovation, because nowhere does Isaiah call his subject the anointed Messiah. However, only by the chance discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has this Christian interpretation finally been vindicated. The Dead Sea Scrolls contains a pre-Christian version of Isaiah, the Isaiah Scroll. In that scroll, the Fourth Servant Song (Isaiah 52:14) is just one Hebrew letter different than the Masoretic text (the Hebrew text the Old Testament the Modern Theology Bible is based on). The Bible usually translates the word into English as “marred [H#4893]” or “disfigured” but with the extra letter added the word becomes “[masahti (H#4888) anointed]”. We know that because that is the meaning of that word when it is used in Numbers 18:8, so the Isaiah Suffering Servant was originally a Messiah. What the Isaiah Scroll says is exactly what Christ claims, “My servant… shall be exalted… I have anointed him more than any man in his appearance and he shall sprinkle many nations” (1Q Isaiaha 52:14). This would also explain why the Targums (Jewish Translations of the Torah in Aramaic, valued for its added commentary to help readers understand the meaning), indicates the subject was a Messiah in the previous verse, “My servant the Messiah shall prosper” (Targum, Isaiah 52:13). The New Testament Jesus Christ presupposed the Dead Sea Scrolls are the most original of scriptures, not the Masoretic texts the Bible is made from.

Isaiah also says the Messiah will be “exalted and extolled very high” (Isaiah 52:13). Interestingly, when John says Moses lifted the serpent in the wilderness (in Numbers 21:9) “so must the Son of Man be lifted up [(G#5312)]” (John 3:14) is considered Greek word play. That Greek word has another meaning, to be exalted (John 8:28; 12:32-33). The act of being lifted up on the cross is a type of being exalted on high. Other than being lifted upon wood, how did a serpent, the Brazen Serpent of Moses, symbolize Christ’s exaltation? In ancient symbolism, serpents were symbols of wisdom (Matthew 10:10). Like serpents, wisdom (the divined secrets imparted by revelation) is usually something hidden (1 Corinthians 2:7), concealing a secret power that can be used to destroy, but also to heal depending on the wisdom of the administrator (some utilized venom to cure illnesses). A serpent also sheds its skin, renewing itself, just as a disciple is expected to ritually shed his flesh and become a new creature, born again, resurrected (2 Corinthians 5:17). Because the serpent’s new skin is shiny, one of the Hebrew words for "serpent [nachash (H#5175)]" (Genesis 3:1) also means "shiny one" and that describes the transfigured state upon receiving the Holy Spirit of Wisdom, “wisdom maketh his face to shine” (Ecclesiastes 8:1), like the shine of transfigured Moses and Christ (Exodus 34:29; Matthew 17:2).

The Isaiah Servant, the Messiah, will suffer, become exalted, and will also perform an Atonement rite, as he says the Messiah shall “sprinkle [rhantise (H#5137)] many nations” (Isaiah 52:15) the same verb for the Atoning blood (Leviticus 16:19). The next chapter says the Servant will have “carried [yazzah (H#5445)]” our grieves and sorrows and upon him “laid” the “iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). He was “oppressed”, just as Christ was arrested, but "opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7) just as Christ would not open his mouth to the High Priests or to Pilate (Mark 14:61; 15:3). The Servant shall be ‘taken from judgment… cut off from the land of the living, made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death” (Isaiah 53:8-9), just as Christ died amidst two criminals and was entombed in a rich man’s tomb (Luke 23:39, 50-53). 

The Servant was “wounded [hll (H#2490)]” (Isaiah 53:5), this word means to “‘pierce” (Isaiah 51:9), pierced for transgressions and the “chastisement [mwsr (H#4148)] for our peace” was upon him (Isaiah 53:5). Isaiah means the 'bonds (of the covenant) of peace', as it’s the same word in Ezekiel, “bonds of the covenant [msrt hbryt]” (Ezekiel 20:37; Jeremiah 2:20; Psalm 2:3). Which is also in parallel to the next verse, “with his stripes [hbrt (H#2250)] we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). This is the same word for “stripes” is in Exodus and there it meant to “join” or “unite” the curtains of the tabernacle, as “[hbr’]’s” primary meaning is to unite (Exodus 26:4). In Hebrew poetry, chiasmus, the literary style of the Bible, parallel chiasmus will put two different words with similar meanings together in a verse. Since the first part of the verse, one word means a type of bond, the other line also contains a word that also is a type of bond, though it also means a type of bruise cause by a bond, which results from wearing bonds. These “bonds” are references to the Everlasting Covenant. The Servant pours out his “soul [‘sm (H5315)] for a sin offering” (Isaiah 53:10), a “[sm’]” is something that redresses as “[m’l]”, which is a violation of the covenant. Christ, the Messiah is offering to repair the Covenant.

The previous verse of Isaiah’s Servant Song, Isaiah describes the Messiah’s suffering as being like the scapegoat, “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard. I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6). This is the treatment seen with the Scapegoat on the Day of Atonement. The Mishnah says a red wool yarn was weaved around its horns, and either a priestly crown with the name Azazel was placed on his head, or the actual lot stone with Azazel inscribed on it was tied to his head (m. Yoma 6:4). Now this is what happens to Christ, who was smitten and mocked for claiming to be a king, and they placed upon him a scarlet robe, a crown (of thorns), and put a reed in his hands which they would take and smite him with, and spit on him (Matthew 27:28-31) a lot of spitting (Matthew 26:67; Mark 14:65; 15:19). 

The First Century Christian Views of Christ and the Two Goats 

If the Atonement of Jesus Christ has anything to do with the Atonement rites of the Day of Atonement, the original rite had at least two parts, represented by two goats. One goat makes an atonement with is blood, the second goat is cast out of the city, ideally lead by the hand of a foreigner, in hopes it will die, eaten by a lion, away from Jerusalem and not wonder back with their sins. Sometimes it would come back, and so the Jews later resolved to push it backwards off a cliff. “On Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) a goat was thrown off a high cliff in the desert, to atone for the sins of the Jews. A red ribbon was hung up in the Temple on that day. When the goat was thrown off the cliff, the ribbon turned white.” (B. Yoma 67a) This description links the Temple with the exile of the scapegoat. Viewing it as a kind of remote Temple offering as signified by the transformation of the ribbon from red to white.

The First Century Christian document, the Epistle of Barnabas, is attributed to the Biblical Barnabas the Levite, one of the Seven Assistants to the Apostles, and Paul’s Missionary Companion (Acts 4:36; 13:2). It was lost and then rediscovered in 1859 in the Sinai Codex. Now whether or not it was written by the Biblical Barnabas or another Barnabas, it is definitely a document from the apostolic era, with valuable insight. Barnabas has many quotes from Old Testament era texts we don’t have. Concerning the treatment of the scapegoat, “Spit on it, all of you, thrust your goads into it, wreath its head with scarlet wool and lead it be driven into the desert,” “when they see him coming on the Day, they are going to be struck with terror at the manifest parallel between him and the goat,”  “they shall see him on that Day, clad to the ankles in his red woolen robe and will say, ‘is this not he whom we once crucified and mocked and pierced and spat upon?” (Epistle of Barnabas 7). 

Now, Isaiah had a similar vision of the Lord, on the Day (of Vengeance), come in a red robe and when he asked the Lord why he is red, He replies his robes are bloodstained red from when he had troddened the winefat “alone, and of the people, there were none with me” (Isaiah 63:2). Jesus Christ in the Second Coming has a bloodstained red venture (Revelations 19:13). Isaiah’s quote seems to describe Christ had stained his robes while alone in Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). Christ was not alone at Golgotha (Luke 23:39). Christ did customarily wear his High Priest’s expensive, seamless and brilliantly white robe before he went to Gethsemane, and if he had sweat blood in it, it would have become bloodstained red. Though he bleed on the cross, Christ was not wearing his robe when he was crucified, the Roman Soldiers had taken it from him (John 19:23-24; Psalm 22:18).

Barnabas makes a unique claim that is contrary to Leviticus, he says that the fYirst goat, the sin offering goat, in the Day of Atonement ritual was originally eaten. The people ate the carcass, and the Priests ate the fat and bloody sacrificial portions, unwashed, in vinegar (sour wine). Barnabas quotes from an unknown quote from Jesus Christ who is quoting an unknown Book of the Prophets (an Old Testament scripture), “What does it say in the prophet? ‘Let all the priests but nobody else eat of its inward parts, unwashed and with vinegar.’ Why was this? Because, ‘When I am about to give my body for sins of this new people of mine, you will give me gall and vinegar to drink’” (Epistle of Barnabas 7). The New Testament authors were careful to note that Christ was given “vinegar to drink mingled with gall” (Matthew 27:34, 48; Psalm 69:23), though they don’t explain the significance of this.

Leviticus, seems to contradict Barnabas’s quote, saying in the Atonement, the High Priest did remove the fat and enthralls, kidneys and liver, but claims they were burned on the alter with the priests while the carcass was burned with the people outside, and does not say it was eaten (Leviticus 4:8-10). If it was eaten unwashed, Leviticus also says the consumption of blood is forbidden (Leviticus 3:17), as Jews of the first century say in the Mishnah (m. Yoma 6:7). Though the Mishnah doesn’t represent the views of all First Century Jews, the also Mishnah mentions there were Jews they refer to as “Babylonians” (presumed to be a derogatory term for other Jews, perhaps the Alexandrian Jews), who performed the Jewish Day of Atonement rites and did eat the sin offering, and if it was the Sabbath, they ate it raw, because they couldn’t cook (m. Menahoth 11:7). What is interesting about this is, if Barnabas is correct, and the sin offering was eaten unwashed, raw, and in vinegar/sour wine, then there was definitely blood consumption/drinking in the Temple by priests on the Day of Atonement.

What Barnabas is implying is that by having Christ drink vinegar with gall mingled in it on the cross, which some think it as cruel mockery, or another act of mercy (an attempt at pain reliever or for hastening death). There were some First Century Christians, like Barnabus that saw this event as being foreshadowed by the Day of Atonement ritual. It gives Christ’s Sacramental cup more context. As the Sacramental bread and wine is believed to be the foretold new Temple bread and libations reestablished (Malachi 1:7, 11) Christ insisted that the contents of his cup of fruit of the vine was his blood, even though Leviticus forbids blood drinking (Leviticus 3:17). Blood drinking while not Kosher, may have been Kosher for priests during Atonement Day practice. Just how other Temple practices and objects were forbidden outside the Temple, like using the formula for temple incense, or the temple anointing oil, or possessing a seven branched lamp stand in a private house was forbidden for general use, but not for the Temple. It's possible that Leviticus maybe, as some think, an edited late document. Or it's merely intended to be the rules of Israelites, but not royal Melchizedek priests, and later self-imposed by Jews. Some scholars think this version of the Atonement practice eating of the sacrificial goat's inward portions in wine is valid and would explain the origin of the Christian traditions to remove the inner portions of the sacramental loaf (the inward parts of the Body of Christ) and mingle it with the sacramental wine (the Blood of Christ) of the Eucharist (M. Barker, The Great High Priest, pg70).

One might question the authenticity of Barnabas’s unbiblical sources, merely because it is an unbiblical source. Though one of Barnabas' unbiblical sources ended up being discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Book of Enoch. Barnabas quotes, “It will come to pass in this last days that the Lord will deliver up destruction, the sheep of the pasture, with their sheepfold and their watchtower [1 Enoch 89:56]” (Epistle of Barnabas 16). As a side note, the watch tower is the temple (Isaiah 5; Assumption of Moses 2:4; Shepherd of Hermas, Parables 3:2:4; 9:3:1; 9:7:1). The Book of Enoch is the most quoted book in the New Testament and has a lot to add to the meaning of Christ's Atonement.

Pre-Christian Views about the Origins of the Atonement Ritual Exile of Azazel

The New Testament sites the from the First Book of Enoch as prophetic scripture (Jude 14). St. Jerome couldn't substantiate the historicity of the book because after 70 AD the Jews purposely burned all ancient Hebrew copies of Enoch. Enoch was only later rediscovered in Ethiopia in 1770, but by then it was established idea that it was the work of late Christian Pseudepigrapha (referring to a writings made under a False Name), but once we found the a fragment of Enoch in Hebrew in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and containing the same quote in Jude, it is now proven that Enoch is not a Christian book at all, it was a Pre-Christian Jewish Scripture just as old as the oldest books we have. It was saved by Christian refugees in Ethiopia and burned by Post-Christian Jews because it was a proof-text of Christianity. The Book of Enoch’s first parable contains a Christ-like angelic figure, referred to as the “Son of Man”, the “Anointed One”, and other Christ-like titles also found in Isaiah’s Servant Songs. In the Parable, the “Righteous One” uses his blood to take up to a heavenly temple to meet the “Lord of Spirits”, a title Enoch uses to refer to God the Father, the Most High God (1 Enoch 47; Daniel 7). Post-Christian Jews did not like books with named angel characters, angel “sons of God”, sons that preformed works alongside of God. It would support the claims that Christ was a pre-incarnated Son of God, a creative agent of God the Father.

Enoch says that all creation is sustained by a great oath, or covenant, “This oath became dominant over them; they are preserved by it” (1 Enoch 69:26). However, expanding on the Genesis account, the angel “Azazel” sins, breaking the covenant and corrupts the earth (1 Enoch 6-11; Genesis 6:1-5). So, “Enoch [(H#2585) initiated]”, was chosen to be initiated by an angel with angelic or rather High Priestly robes and anointing oils of a High Priest on the Day of Atonement. Enoch is declared a “Son of Man”, an angelic agent of the Lord, and was “translated” into a Heavenly Temple (1 Enoch 71:14-17 Genesis 5:22-24; Hebrews 11:5). Where in the heavenly temple, he acts as a High Priest attempting to make Atonement and intercedes on the behalf of sinners, particularly for the sinning angel Azazel (1 Enoch 15:2) but instead Enoch returns with a judgment for Azazel. This is where Enoch's tale becomes important to understanding the origin of the Day of Atonement.

The name of this rebel angel “Azazel” is found in Bible, but only in the Atonement ritual in Leviticus 16. There are two goats, each is chosen by a cast lot, one “for the Lord [l-yhwh]” while the other is chosen by lot “for the scapegoat [l-azazel]” (Leviticus 16:8). With no explanation in the Bible of the theology behind the Atonement rites, the Book of Enoch gives the only narrative and insight into the origin for the atonement ritual, and how the wicked angel Azazel became a part of it. Azazel is well known by Jews and found in Jewish lore as an archdemon. Often leading to the question, why did the Israelites offer a goat up as a sacrifice to a demon in the desert during the atonement?

The goat isn’t necessarily “for” Azazel, as though it were an offering. The Hebrew word for “for” is the same word as “as”; “For [le (H#3807.1) for/as].” The goat that bears the sins and gets cast out isn’t being offered to Azazel, it is to be cast out “as Azazel” was also cast out. This aligns with the fact that crowns the goats are given have the names “YHWH” and “Azazel” upon there heads (m. Yoma 4:1). In the same manner that a priest wore a crown with the Lord’s name, YHWH, on it, which indicated that is who they are, or who they represent, while they are making atonement. The priests are representing the Lord, they are standing in the Lord’s place. So, like the sin bearer goat, the sin offering goat that shed it blood to atone for all creation isn’t a sacrifice being offered “to” the Lord, the goat is being sacrificed “as the Lord” as a blood atonement for the covenant, it is standing in for the Lord himself.

Enoch's Atonement of the corrupted earth required the punishment of Azazel. Azazel was bound by the Archangel “Raphael (Healer-of God)”, Azazel was pierced and was hung from a tree that was down inside of a canyon (1 Enoch 10:5). Possibly the origin for how the Jews learned that the meaning of being “hung from a tree” means they are the “accursed of God” (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). It is with no small irony that the Jews and Christians saw Christ's Crucifixion on a wooden cross significant, as being “hung from a tree” (Acts 5:30; 10:38-39). In Enoch, what purpose did Azazel’s punishment serve? It was a Blood Atonement, the shedding of the sinner Azazel's blood would give life to the earth, “he will proclaim life for the earth, that he is giving life to her” (1 Enoch 10:7).

The parallels of Day of Atonement's exile of the scapegoats with Azazel's exile doesn't end there. The Jews tried to send to Scapegoat to the same place Azazel was imprisoned. The Bible only says the goat was cast out into a “solitary land” (Leviticus 16:22), but the Jews in first century detailed how the goat was taken,y from the temple’s eastern gate, to the mount of Olives, from there it was lead on a marked path from the city into the wilderness to be pushed off a cliff, preferably by a foreigner (m. Yoma 6:8). The first century Jews had given this canyon they cast the goat into the name “Beth Cha-duda” (Targum, Pseudo-Johnathan Leviticus 16:22). The name of the canyon Enoch says Azazel was cast into was “Duda-el” (1 Enoch 19:5). Even though there is debate over the exact location for “Calvary’s Hill” and “Golgotha [(G#1115) the skull]” where Christ had died, what we are sure of is that like the scapegoat, Christ was also cast outside the gates of the city, by the hands of foreign soldiers no less (Matthew 28:11; Hebrews 13:12) and there He was hung from a tree (Matthew 27:33).

Azazel’s name may also had been spoken of in the New Testament. When Christ explains to the Pharisees how He exorcised devils, He says one must first “bind” the “strong man” before entering his house to take his possessions (Matthew 12:25). Exactly whom Christ is referring to as the “strong man” became very confusing to later Gentile Christians. The Roman Catholic Priests who've preformed exorcisms sometimes resorted to tying down the physical body of the possessed person. Even though this seems align with Christ's words, it seems contrary to Christ's actions. Though the possessed were strong, Christ didn’t resort to physically bind any possessed person. Instead, what seems Christ to have meant that by the binding power and authority that Christ possessed and gave to his disciples, the priesthood bonds, the Melchizedek Priest’s binding power, the Pharisee’s Aaronic Priests didn’t possess. Whereby one must first bind the devil, and it's the devil who is the strong one, before attempting to take its “possessions” away, the “possessions” is the possessed person. So, why does Christ referring to the devil as the “strong man”, intending to clarify, only to end up confusing people on the future. It is probably an issue of language. Matthew's Gospel was written in Greek but its quoting Jesus Christ who spoke the Jewish common language of Aramaic, a Babylonian dialect of Hebrew. In Hebrew, “Azazel (H#5799)” translates into the “strong one”. So, the phrase “strong man” may be translated from was originally vocalized as “Azazel”, whom Christ perhaps is acknowledging here as a real person, a devil, and as “Satan”.

The Milennium and the Binding and Banishment of Satan

In any case, if the Biblical Atonement’s exile of the Scapegoat represents the Enochian exile of Azazel and the purpose of it is to exile the people’s sins. Why does Paul still consider Christ a post-Gospel sin bearer for us and not currently an Azazel or Satanic figure? There is some ambiguity between the High Priest and the Scapegoat. The two goats were to be identical (m. Yoma 6:1) because they were ritually the same goat. Two aspects of what was to be accomplished by one goat-priest. 

The High Priest needed two goats, because while the Priest could have ritually resurrected when he prepared to enter the Holy of Holies, but the goat he slew for its blood could not ritually resurrect once it was drained of all of its blood/life, and especially so if its true that the body was eaten, the body and blood are busy being digested. Once the blood is sprinkled, the High Priest purged the taint of sin in the Temple but absorbed those sins, at that time, he is both a representative of the Lord and the sin bearer (Micah 7:8; Job 7:21). The Lord is the bearer of our guilt (Romans 4:7-8).  Jesus Christ became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 53:6). However, the High Priest is only the sin bearer for a certain amount of time until he can transfer them upon the Azazel-goat (Leviticus 16:21-27) just as the sins were transferred on him (Leviticus 1:4; Numbers 8:10). While Christ was exiled by the people of Jerusalem on the cross with our sins upon him, but that isn't the end of his atonement. Christ didn’t remain in exile, he resurrected and ascended, he is expected to return to reign for a Millennia, which the world is described as returning to a paradisaical glory of Eden and concludes with the exile Satan only at the end of the Millennium. So, Christ's Atonement has not concluded. Christ is still our sin bearer, Satan still waits to be exiled and the world is clearly not a paradise, so the covenant has not been fully repaired.

The Banishment of Satan as part of the Atonement of the Lord is foretold in other apocryphal books. As far as we know, the oldest copies of the scriptures found were among the Dead Sea Scrolls, these were the scriptures of Christ’s time. Just as Jude quotes from the First Book of Enoch as a scripture (Jude 14), Jude also references, as factual, another non-Biblical scripture called The Assumption of Moses. This is the only known source for Jude's account that the Archangel Michael contended with Satan over whether Satan had a claim over the body of Moses, or if Michael had the right to take it into heaven (Jude 9), a story nowhere in the five Books of Moses. The Assumption of Moses expands on Deuteronomy 32:43 which is the coming of the Lord on the Day of Atonement. Featuring an angel High Priest from a “holy habitation” emerging from there, then the “evil one will have an end. Sorrow will be lead away with him” (Assumption of Moses 10:1-3). Just as a High Priest emerges from the Holy of Holies recently hallowed (Leviticus 16:19), he doesn’t take away the sins, he just carries them until they can be places on the scapegoat (Leviticus 16:21). It’s the Azazel-goat that takes them away for good (Leviticus 16:22), removing them from the people and the land to preserve them and renew the covenant. 

The Book of Revelations foretells in the Second Coming, the Millennial Reign of Christ, an angel will come to bind Satan and put him in a pit for a thousand years (Revelations 20:1-3). This is very Enochian; an angel bound Azazel and put him into a canyon for a thousand years (1 Enoch 54:67). In Revelations, Christ is seen as a High Priest officiating in a Heavenly Temple (Revelations 1:3) on “the Lord’s day” (Revelations 1:10) which is the next day after the Day of Atonement, “The Great Day” (LXX, Isaiah 1:13). The Lord’s Day is the First Day (Sunday) in Enochian literature (2 Enoch). This is the day when the High Priest emerges from the Holy of Holies and pronounces judgment on Israel. John sees angels dressed as priests, and Christ, emerge from heaven's temple to judge the earth (Revelations 19:11-13). After the thousand years, the once bound Satan is loosed, continues to deceive and then cast into the lake of fire (Revelations 20:10) and hell/sin goes with him (Revelations 20:14). The sign that the Atonement has taken affect is when temptation and suffering ends, and the Earth returns to its original Edenic harmony, undoing the original sin of Adam (Isaiah 65:17-25; Revelation 22:2).

Both James E. Talmage and Bruce R. McConkie, the two foremost apostolic Latter-Day Saint biographers of the life of Christ, testify that while Christ was nailed to the cross, during the 3 hours of darkness, the spiritual agonies of Gethsemane recurred and we’re even intensified. This can only mean that in addition to the horrific death inducing torture of Crucifixion, Christ’s sufferings on Calvary’s hill were infinitely and eternally compounded with absolute spiritual estrangement (the perception that he was forever utterly abandoned in hell by his Father). If the spiritual sufferings Christ endured in Gethsemane were enough to atone for the sins of the world, it would have been an act of unspeakable, gratuitous cruelty to cause the Lord to have to endure the spiritual agonies of Gethsemane again while also simultaneously being taunted and mocked by evil men and brutally tortured by crucifixion.

In addition to the above, if Christ fully suffered for our sins in Gethsemane, and thereby satisfied the demands of justice required in order to complete the required atonement, one wonders why in the temple it’s the ritually applied symbolism of Christs crucifixion that enables the initiates to ascend to higher spiritual realms and ultimately to pass through the veil to gain entry into the celestial kingdom? And if what occurred in Gethsemane fully completed the suffering for sin process of the atonement, one wonders why the ordinance of eternal marriage is only validated and made of force by the applied symbolism of Christ’s sufferings while on the cross? And remember, Christ shed his precious blood not only in Gethsemane but also while being scourged (by his stripes we are healed) and while being crucified (for without the shedding of blood there is no remission).

“Finally, on a hill called Calvary—again, it was outside Jerusalem's walls—while helpless disciples looked on and felt the agonies of near death in their own bodies, the Roman soldiers laid him upon the cross.

With great mallets they drove spikes of iron through his feet and hands and wrists. Truly he was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.

Then the cross was raised that all might see and gape and curse and deride. This they did, with evil venom, for three hours from 9:00 A.M. to noon.

Then the heavens grew black. Darkness covered the land for the space of three hours, as it did among the Nephites. There was a mighty storm, as though the very God of Nature was in agony.

And truly he was, for while he was hanging on the cross for another three hours, from noon to 3:00 P.M., all the infinite agonies and merciless pains of Gethsemane recurred.” (Bruce R. McConkie, "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane," Ensign, May 1985, p. 10)

Edited by teddyaware
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the perception that he was forever utterly abandoned in hell by his Father”

Are you suggesting he actually believed he was abandoned or that he just felt that way, but knew better because he understood God’s plan?

If the first, please provide sources to justify this. 

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

the perception that he was forever utterly abandoned in hell by his Father”

Are you suggesting he actually believed he was abandoned or that he just felt that way, but knew better because he understood God’s plan?

If the first, please provide sources to justify this. 

I thought that the word ‘perceived’ would answer any questions. Bruce R. McConkie —  whom I love and respect despite the widespread disdain for him often expressed by the woke on this board — taught that the Lord experienced what it’s like to be a son of perdition who’s been totally cast out of God’s presence for all eternity. But in the sense of memory, I’m sure that his experience in hell, where he “desceded below all things,” is a most dreadful experience that he will never forget. After all, because he is God he “comprehendeth all things,” including knowing experientially what’s it’s like to be banished into perdition forever.

Edited by teddyaware
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I wonder, why was it necessary, apparently, for Him to feel as though He had been abandoned twice?  (See Matthew 27:45-50).

 

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1 hour ago, teddyaware said:

I thought that the word ‘perceived’ would answer any questions.

Perception is defined as awareness as well as impression.  Depending on which definition you are using, the post I was quoting has very different meanings and implications. 

Edited by Calm
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18 hours ago, Metis_LDS said:

I have never heard of Royal Cult Studies and the internet does not provide a clear explanation. So you lost me in the first sentence.

Perhaps you need to be an academic to know about Royal Cult Studies.  I am willing to learn new things but when you quote things that are difficult to understand with just the internet as a guide (which is all I have) then I lose interest in your post very quickly.

Ancient Israel Royal Cult Studies refers to the 'cult', rather 'sect' of the Israelite religion among the royal court of the Davidic Kings. It began as seeking to understand the religious role of the king through bits of riddling information in the Royal Psalms in the Bible. Its modernly caught like wildfire in the wake of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which demolished the foundation of a thousand years of dominant German Protestant Biblical studies built on the unfounded premise that every book in the Bible is older than any book left out of it, and the once unprovable assumption that books in the Bible are exactly as Jesus had them, translated by dutiful scribes. Honest scholars know this is false, these other books like Enoch and the Testament of Levi are just as old as the oldest books we have, and the wording of the oldest Biblical texts are significantly different in several places. So, there is an increased interest in these scrolls and pseudepigraphal books (books deemed to be written under a false name) in the great quest for context, to challenge these preestablished systems that would ignore these discoveries as impediments of progress.

The fruits of these studies are evidence that Davidic Kings were messianic priests after Melchizedek that went extinct at the end of the line of Davidic Kings and whitewashed from history by unnamed anti-king Deuteronomistic scribes who authored the Books of the Kings in the Bible. The Christian interest in these studies comes from the signs it would seem that Jesus was never a classic Jew at all, the Rabbis and Gnostics are all late products of the 2nd century and cannot be, as some thought, the origin of Christianity, nor is it an odd mixture of modern Judaism and Greek religion. Christianity is clearly a reboot of the ancient Royal Cult itself with Christ the Melchizedek priest from a Davidic line. Jews were never a monolithic group. If all Jews only adhered to the books of the Old Testament, how did Christ convince Jews that he was a High Priest after Melchizedek, as a non-Levite? If they were all strict monotheists, how did Christ convince Jews to worship him as the Son of God? Christ did not invent Baptism, but it's the first initiation rite of the Melchizedek priesthood, as displayed in the pre-Christian book, the Testament of Levi. If temples could only be built in Jerusalem, what is the Temple on Elephantine Island? Do you see where LDS interest comes into play? The Book of Mormon tells of how non-Levitical priests practiced temple worship and had built temples far away from Jerusalem, baptized people unto a preincarnate Son of God, and claims plain and precious things were lost in the Bible. Ancient Royal Cult Studies are practically Ancient Mormonism Studies. LDS scholarship has been lured to the Royal Cult Studies in the works of Dr. Margret Barker.

The main point of this paper is a claim the Book of Enoch Atonement of the Priestly Enoch and Banishment of Azazel is the original context for the Jewish Atonement rite, and that the Jewish Atonement is context of Christ's Atonement. The Jewish Atonement was two pronged, as represented by two goats, drawing that the Christian focus of Christ's death on the Cross as end all and be all of the Atonement, while it was key, it's an incomplete picture. LDS have wider view of the events particularly a dual importance for Gethsemane and the Cross. I've maxed out all evidence I could for arguing the importance of Gethsemane, even at the Cross' expense, such as all evidence implying Christ might have suffered more at Gethsemane than on the cross, which I realize even LDS dare not say. I can respect that, but if they articulate the harm I could be causing, I will labor on how to better present as just a thought they can embrace or reject individually without rejecting the entire paper. 

Edited by Pyreaux
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14 hours ago, teddyaware said:

Both James E. Talmage and Bruce R. McConkie, the two foremost apostolic Latter-Day Saint biographers of the life of Christ, testify that while Christ was nailed to the cross, during the 3 hours of darkness, the spiritual agonies of Gethsemane recurred and we’re even intensified. This can only mean that in addition to the horrific death inducing torture of Crucifixion, Christ’s sufferings on Calvary’s hill were infinitely and eternally compounded with absolute spiritual estrangement (the perception that he was forever utterly abandoned in hell by his Father). If the spiritual sufferings Christ endured in Gethsemane were enough to atone for the sins of the world, it would have been an act of unspeakable, gratuitous cruelty to cause the Lord to have to endure the spiritual agonies of Gethsemane again while also simultaneously being taunted and mocked by evil men and brutally tortured by crucifixion.

In addition to the above, if Christ fully suffered for our sins in Gethsemane, and thereby satisfied the demands of justice required in order to complete the required atonement, one wonders why in the temple it’s the ritually applied symbolism of Christs crucifixion that enables the initiates to ascend to higher spiritual realms and ultimately to pass through the veil to gain entry into the celestial kingdom? And if what occurred in Gethsemane fully completed the suffering for sin process of the atonement, one wonders why the ordinance of eternal marriage is only validated and made of force by the applied symbolism of Christ’s sufferings while on the cross? And remember, Christ shed his precious blood not only in Gethsemane but also while being scourged (by his stripes we are healed) and while being crucified (for without the shedding of blood there is no remission).

“Finally, on a hill called Calvary—again, it was outside Jerusalem's walls—while helpless disciples looked on and felt the agonies of near death in their own bodies, the Roman soldiers laid him upon the cross.

With great mallets they drove spikes of iron through his feet and hands and wrists. Truly he was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.

Then the cross was raised that all might see and gape and curse and deride. This they did, with evil venom, for three hours from 9:00 A.M. to noon.

Then the heavens grew black. Darkness covered the land for the space of three hours, as it did among the Nephites. There was a mighty storm, as though the very God of Nature was in agony.

And truly he was, for while he was hanging on the cross for another three hours, from noon to 3:00 P.M., all the infinite agonies and merciless pains of Gethsemane recurred.” (Bruce R. McConkie, "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane," Ensign, May 1985, p. 10)

Both Isaiah and Alma depict the atonement as a type of suffering no whip or cross can deliver. No Roman torture can make a man feel all sorrow, sicknesses and sin of all people, or transfer the guilt for abominations of his people so great that he bled from every pour. Though McConkie doesn't exactly disagree, he is not speaking of the physical passion after all, but when He was cut off from the presence of the Father, like a damned soul. Perhaps comparable to the "agony" of Gethsemane, as a new and different horror, but I would not call it the same as to refer to it as a literal "reoccurrence"... Perhaps McConkie meant Christ relived his memories of the event it in light of his new condition, as post-traumatic stress or as phantom pain.

In atonement ritual, spilling atoning blood on the ground usually does nothing to atone if it was not at a proper holy location, such as the temple or the Mount of Olives. Unless the Roman prison and Golgotha were holy sites (like being above Adam's tomb), but since we don't know where either place is, that is conjecture, Gethsemane is on a holy sanctuary mountain, that is not conjecture.

Christ's estrangement is to me separate from Christ's Descensus into "hell". Christ was not suffering hellfire as Protestants suppose but as Catholics once suppose that Christ was merely on a most triumphant mission to preach in hell, furthermore in LDS teachings include that Christ was merely in the paradisical partition of "Hades", a place of rest, and organized others to preach to spirits in the prison of "Tartarus" for him. I don't suppose he suffered the full hellscape from where he stood in hades. Unless Decent itself is considered suffering, a loss of dignify for an exalted one as He.

Thanks for your critique, it's has given me much to consider.

Edited by Pyreaux
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40 minutes ago, Calm said:

Raphael Patai, but I can't say all 35 books he wrote are necessarily Royal Cult studies, but he is highly referenced in many Royal Studies. I only own Hebrew Goddess but there are ones that speak of Kingship, Temple lore, Royal coronation/initiation rites and Royal temple marriages.

https://www.commentary.org/articles/theodor-gaster/man-and-temple-in-ancient-jewish-myth-and-ritual-by-raphael-patai/

Edited by Pyreaux
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