FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 028

NAHAN THE PRIEST
31 AD – Temple Mount, Jerusalemfaithful-encounters-cover-w

On the appointed eighth day, Nahan amusingly watched Simon enter the Temple complex with the entire clan and a crowd of friends. The source of his amusement was that Simon had shaved his head and his beard, as required. The mirth on the faces of all three of Simon’s children testify that they too were trying not to breakout laughing themselves. Then he noticed the animals the family handed over to the priests who already started to examine them for any blemishes. Nahan knew that the final part of the purifiction ceremony only required two male lambs and a one-year-old female lamb, all with no defects, along with a grain offering of choice flour and pressed oil extracted from olives. Instead, Simon took from his herd, two young bulls and a heifer cow that has yet to borne a calf. The women separated from the men and stayed at an elevated floor area designated just for them. The men, being prompted by the priests, moved forward up to the steps of the elevated columned portico that separated the Court of the Priests from the Court of Israel where only those men of Hebrew descent can gather.

Nahan watched them approach with a little apprehension. The men were festive and the women were singing a Psalm of rejoice. But that may change as soon as he makes his announcement. Seeing that he could not delay any longer, he took a step forward and raised his hand up to signal for everyone’s silence. When everyone went quiet, he took a deep breath.

“My friends and family, I must announce that the priesthood no longer consider this as a purification ceremony.” Mumbling voices rose in crescendo. “Please allow me to explain. Ten years ago, I and two others diagnosed Simon to have signs of unusual and spreading whitening of the skin. But I must confess that we were too hasty to declare leprosy. It is quite apparent that by Simon’s healing, the priesthood believes that it was just a skin ailment that lasted so long.”

Simon’s son, Lazarus, was about to protest but Simon held him back by calmly shaking his head.

“Simon?” asked Nahan. “Since you have been away from worship for so long, would you offer your animal and grain sacrifice as a freewill offering of thanksgiving.”

Simon nodded his ascent which was a relief to Nahan. He proceeded through the portico into the inner court or the Court of the Priests. Since he was the presiding priest, he went to the Brazen Sea. It was a massive bronze basin constantly filled with thousands of gallons of water which sat on the southeastern corner of the court. The basin itself sat on the hind quarters of twelve lifesize bronze oxens. Also known as the Laver, it stood taller than two men. Nahan went to a smaller basin that stood waste high, where another priest waited. He rolled up his sleeves and extended his hands and forearms over the basin. The other priest reached up to turn a valve, on the side of the mouth of one of the bronze oxen. Then water poured out of a spout ingeniously hidden in the mouth. After ritually washing his hands, he solemnly crossed to the massive altar on the eastern side. He went up the twelve steps to the top of the platform where he felt the heat from the coals that were just stoked by a priest. Hearing distressed animal sounds, he moved to the edge of the platform to observe the slaughter. The two bulls were already down and the cow was frantically mooing as it was led to the already bloody slaughter area. A priest was calmly stroking it head to help it quiet down. Another brought a clean basin and positioned it under the cow’s neck. He held a knife behind his back waiting for the animal to calm down. And when it did, the priest had adeptly cut into the cow’s jugular. The animal didn’t even feel the slice. Blood poured into the basin held by a priest and was quickly taken away as the cow collapse on the ground. Then, the animals were strung up and other priests start to cut into them.

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 28th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.  Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

PS… If you want to support my writing, please purchase my ebook, THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL, in Amazon.com for only $1.99. The Centurion’s Gospel is the story of Cornelius Metellus, a Roman Centurion who almost saved Jesus Christ from the cross. Just click the link below.

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 027

NAHAN THE PRIEST
31 AD – Temple Mount, Jerusalemfaithful-encounters-cover-w

The doors to the office of the High Priest are as tall as two men and carved with intricate geometric designs. Standing watch were two Temple guardsmen.

Nahan was summoned. He suspects it has something to do with the wandering rabbi in the Galilee area. Ever since he caused such a raucous on the Temple court just a few months ago, Nahan was tasked to investigate. One of the doors swang open and a minor priest let him. The room was long with narrow slit windows on one side.

“Father, your time as High Priest is over. I cannot do the same things that you used to do,” said Caiaphas.

“Herod is a fool,” cranked Annas. “He imprisoned the Baptist instead of having him killed. The Baptist goes around declaring the great sin of him marrying Herodias, his own brother’s wife, but all he does is put him in a cell. I have even heard that the Baptist is taken to his room every night so they can talk. It is like he is keeping him like a pet. We can’t even get our hands on him for as long as he is held at Machaerus in Perea.”

Caiaphas saw Nahan approaching. “Wait, father,” he said. “Nahan. It is good that you have come.”

“Anointed one,” Nahan said bowing. Then, he bowed to Annas. “Your emminence.”

“Last week, you performed a purification ceremony in the valley of Kidron,” said Caiaphas.

“Yes, holy one. Ten years ago, a relative came to me and he was declared unclean for leprosy. All the signs were there. More than a week ago, his brother came to me and requested me to perform this ceremony for a kin. He didn’t tell me who it was. So, I followed protocol. Since the ceremony was suppose to take place outside the Temple, I instructed them to set up camp in the Kidron Valley. Three days later, I and two other priests descended the eastern stairs to find a fairly large encampment. It looked like the entire clan was assembled including that of my own family. It seem I was the only one kept in the dark. Though I admit, I was a little intrigued to see who it was that needed ceremonial purification. When I came into the camp, my family and relatives were all clustered together watching me. They all had this mirthful expression and a few almost brokeout laughing. I suspected I was the butt of a family jest. I was about to harshly rebuke them for sinning when they parted and out walked, to my surprise, someone I didnot expect. It was Simon, my cousin, the very same one I declared unclean many years back.

“I asked him how was it that he was not a leper anymore. He would not say except that he was here in accordance to the Law. And he had prepared everything needed for the ceremony. So, we took him to a tent and we examined every inch of his body and no trace of the leprosy can be found. After, he dressed, we went out and I declared to the family he was free of the disease. Then, they brought two birds needed. I commanded that one of the two birds be slaughtered over a clay pot filled with water. As the blood mixed, I took the other bird and tied the scarlet yarn on its leg. Then, I tied the hyssop branch to the cedar stick. One of the priest both dipped the bird and the hyssop branch in the blood in the clay pot. Then I took the hyssop branch and sprinkled Simon with the blood seven times as is ascribed. After that, we released the other bird.

“It had to be the Nazarene!” blurted Annas.

“It was,” said Nahan. “I got it out of my niece during the celebration. Apparently, my nephew brought him to Galilee and this Jesus supposedly healed him in public.”

“We also knew it,” said Caiaphas. “Some of our people returned from up north and confirmed the event. They recognized your cousin. Anyway, what is the latest with your cousin?” .

“He is suppose to return tomorrow and bring his offerings to complete his purifiction.”

“Very well,” said Caiaphas. “You will make an announcement that you made a mistake ten years ago. That this Simon was not really leprous but was inflicted with a skin condition that healed itself after ten years.”

Noticing the baffled look on Nahan’s face, Annas explained, “Nahan, it is important that we discourage and cut off every information of that Galilean troublemaker.”

“I see, Holy one.” Though at the back of his mind, he was not liking it.
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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 27th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.