Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, April 17, 2022
Shavuah Tov,

“He Is Risen, Just As He Said!” (Part 3)
Mysteries and Miracles of Yeshua’s Resurrection

by Dr. Raymond Finney

“HE IS RISEN, JUST AS HE SAID!” Today, the anniversary of Yeshua’s resurrection, is the holiest, most meaningful day of the year for Believers. Nearly two millennia ago, Yeshua demonstrated who He was/ is. Defeating death, He proved that His promise of eternal life for His Believers can come true.

“IT IS FINISHED! IT IS PAID IN FULL!” It appears that Yeshua was crucified on Passover. At the end of the Passover sacrifices (the ninth hour, or 3:00 pm), the Jewish High Priest made the sign of the Hebrew letter shin with his hands. Shinresembles Mr. Spock’s hand sign (the late actor Leonard Nimoy) in the television series “Star Trek” – mr spock hand sign at DuckDuckGo . Nimoy, a Jew, said that he learned this hand sign as a young boy attending synagogue services. Shin is the first letter, the”Sh” sound, in a name for God– El Shaddai (“The All Sufficient God” or  “God Almighty”). The Jewish High Priest raised his hands to form the letter shin (representing El Shaddai) and emphatically announced, “It is finished!” That is, the Passover sacrifices were completed for that year.

As Yeshua died, He made the same announcement, recorded only in the Gospel of John (John 19:30): … Yeshua said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. Other Gospel Scriptures tell us that Yeshua died at the ninth hour (3:00 pm), which would be just a few hours before Shabbat. Thus, two priests spoke at the same time in Jerusalem on the same day.

● The Jewish High Priest, dressed in the splendor of priestly robes, announced in the magnificent Temple inside Jerusalem that the Passover sacrifices were finished for that year.

● Yeshua, the eternal High Priest of all humankind, bloodied and stripped of all clothing, announced outside of Jerusalem along a dusty roadside at the Place of the Skull, Golgotha, that the one and only acceptable Passover sacrifice was  forever finished. Never again would God require or accept the blood sacrifice of animals (see Hebrews, chapters 9 and 10), because the perfect blood sacrifice of our Passover Lamb, Yeshua, paid the price for our sins.

Yeshua’s sacrifice for us is finished! The debt for our sins is paid in full! All we need to do is accept that sacrifice through the simple faith of a child to have our sin debt paid. “It is finished” would be Yeshua’s last recorded utterance on the cross. If you were magically transported to a church, you could tell whether it is a Catholic or a Protestant church by one feature. The crucifix in a Catholic church depicts Yeshua nailed to a cross– Yeshua’s sacrifice continues. A cross in a Protestant church, if present at all, is empty (devoid of Yeshua’s body) –  Yeshua’s sacrifice is completed.

Although Yeshua may have spoken Aramaic on the cross, the Apostle John recorded Yeshua’s last word as the Greek Tetelestai (Τετέλεσται). Tetelestai is a phrase, translated, “It is finished” (“It is completed”). To what does “It” refer? Yeshua did not announce His impending death, as some suppose. Rather, He announced that the mission entrusted to Him by Father God had been finished. No other sacrifice would ever be required for the remission of humankind’s sins. God had established the New Covenant for humans through Yeshua’s death. Sins can be forgiven through the grace of God the Father, the blood shed by Yeshua, and a person’s acceptance of that sacrifice through faith. God’s plan is simple enough that a small child can understand. Unfortunately, some people try to out-think God and reject God’s plan because it seems too simple.

To understand “Tetelestai” better, know that first century merchants wrote this statement on a sales bill or contract to show that the debt owed the merchant had been paid in full. Yeshua’s death redeemed us (bought us back from sin) and paid in full the debt for our sins.

DARKNESS AT NOON: The Gospels record a supernatural event (Matthew 27:45): Now from the sixth hour [noon], darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour [3:00 pm]. The same event is also recorded in Mark 15:33 and Luke 23:45. This daytime darkness could not have been caused by a solar eclipse. Yeshua  was crucified on Passover, which occurs at the time of a full moon. A solar eclipse cannot occur when there is a full moon. The sun and moon are opposite each other at the time of a full moon. For a solar eclipse to occur, the moon’s orbit must pass between the orbits of the sun and earth. Also, darkness of a solar eclipse lasts for only a few minutes, never three hours.

Evidence outside of the Gospels substantiates this extraordinary claim:

● Thallus, a Syrian Greek historian and pagan, wrote in Third History, in AD 52 (approximately twenty years after Yeshua’s crucifixion), that darkness totally covered the land at the time of Passover in the year Yeshua was crucified.

● A little later, Julius Africanus quoted Thallus’ historical account, providing evidence that Thallus’ manuscript was authentically contemporaneous (not added at a later date by a Believer seeking to make Yeshua look good).

● Another Greek pagan historian, Phlegon, wrote in AD 138 in the Olympiades about the “great and extraordinary” darkness of the sun that occurred at the time Yeshua would have died.

● The historian Tertullian (AD 160-220) consulted official Roman government archives available in his day, and found that official documents recorded an unusual darkness that occurred at noon at the time of Yeshua’s  crucifixion.

● Before his death as a martyr in AD 312, the Christian teacher Lucian of Antioch wrote that he read the account of darkness during the reign of Pilate in official Roman archives.

Early Believers/ Christians knew about this supernatural darkness, because they experienced it. Later Believers/ Christians read about the darkness in official Roman records, before the records were destroyed (when barbarians overthrew Rome). This darkness was known and discussed throughout the Roman Empire, but not one person wrote that this event, claimed as true by Believers/ Christians and pagans alike, did not occur.

Amos, who wrote his prophecies nearly eight centuries before Yeshua’s crucifixion, prophesied this darkness (Amos 8:9-10): “It will be in that day” – declares my Lord Adonai– “I will make the sun go down at noon, yes, I will darken the earth in daylight. I will turn your festivals into mourning and all your songs into a dirge. I will pull up sackcloth on every waist and baldness on every head. I will make it like the mourning for an only son– its end a bitter day.” Note Amos’ references to a darkness beginning at noon (compatible with first century eyewitness accounts), darkness during a festival (Passover), and mourning for an only son (Yeshua was God’s “only begotten Son” – read John 3:16). The significance of this supernatural darkness is that man tried to kill Yeshua, the Light of the world (see John 9:5), and God withheld the light of the sun for three hours. When we rebel against God, we have no assurance that He will continue to grace and bless us.

RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD: “Many” saints (Believers) arose from their graves after Yeshua’s resurrection (Matthew 27:52-53): And the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the kedoshim who were sleeping were raised to life. And coming forth out of the tombs after His [Yeshua’s] resurrection, they went into the holy city [Jerusalem] and appeared to many.

Why were so many resurrected after Yeshua’s death and resurrection? Yeshua  was the First Fruit of God’s New Covenant (and He was resurrected at the ancient Feast of First Fruits). Resurrection was given to Him, and resurrection of many saints provided additional proof of the promise that those who believe in Yeshua as Savior– Paul’s “dead in Messiah” (1 Thessalonians 4:16) – will defeat death and share Yeshua’s eternal life. Yeshua’s tomb is now empty, as all Believers’ tombs will be empty. Yeshua is in Paradise/ Heaven now, and His followers’ spirits are not confined to their graves (John 5:28-29): [Yeshua said] “Do not be amazed at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out! Those who have done good will come to a resurrection of life, and those who have done evil will come to a resurrection of judgment.” (Dead Believers are now in Paradise with the Lord– see Luke 23:43 and 2 Corinthians 5:8.)

Death is merely passing from one existence (life) to another. Everyone will most assuredly be resurrected to eternal life from death. Will a person be resurrected to blessed life, and eventually spend eternity in Heaven? Or, will a person be resurrected to shame, and eventually spend eternity in Hell? Each person alone  determines his/ her future, eternal life– whether in Heaven or in Hell.

DISAPPEARANCE OF YESHUA’S BODY; THE FOLDED GRAVE CLOTHS: Matthew 28:1ff, Mark 16:1ff, Luke 24:1ff, and John 20:1ff tell that Yeshua was buried in a rich man’s (Joseph of Arimathea’s) tomb. A large stone was rolled across the entrance, and Roman soldiers were stationed to prevent theft of the body. Yeshua was buried in haste on Friday (just before the beginning of Shabbat) and stayed in the tomb the following Saturday (during Shabbat).

After Shabbat, women came at daybreak on Sunday to prepare the body for a proper burial. The guards had fled in terror, the large stone was rolled aside, the funeral cloths were neatly folded in the tomb, and Yeshua’s body was not there (see Matthew 28:6). As the First Fruit of the New Covenant, Yeshua was resurrected! Today, tourists view a site said (according to tradition) to be Yeshua’s tomb, although no one knows whether this is the authentic burial place of our Savior. The important aspect of an empty tomb– wherever it might be– is that Yeshua rose to life from death. All other religious leaders– Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius, and others– are still entombed, but our Savior, Yeshua, is not in His tomb! Having defeated death, He is alive now, and will live throughout eternity! And, He has promised that we, too, can have such immortality!

Yeshua left His grave cloths behind, because He had no further use for them. John recorded what might seem to be a minor point, but a point significant for first century followers (John 20:6-7): Then Simon Peter comes following him, and he entered the tomb. He looks upon the linen strips lying there, and the face cloth that had been on His head. It was not lying with the linen strips, but was rolled up in a place by itself.

Pieces of cloth would have been used in Yeshua’s burial. Pieces of cloth, now housed in European shrines, are thought by many to represent Yeshua’s burial cloths. Use a search engine to read more about each relic. They are:

● Shroud of Turin: Housed in Turin Cathedral (Turin, Italy) is a long linen strip with the image and blood stains which are consistent with that of a crucified Man. The image is a negative, rather than a positive image. (If you are too young to remember film cameras and negatives, sorry.) No one knows what created the image. The blood stains are of human origin. Many believe this shroud is the shroud in which was sandwiched Yeshua’s crucified body.

● Sudarium of Oveida: Housed in the Cathedral of San Salvador (Oveido, Spain) is a smaller piece of blood-stained linen. (Sudarium, from Latin = “sweat cloth” || originally from Greek σουδάριον [soudarion]. This cloth probably resembled our handkerchief, and was used by Jews to cover the face of a corpse.) Many believe this sudarium covered Yeshua’s face during burial.

● Volto Santo of Manoppello: Housed in a church, the Basilica Volto Santo, or  Basilica of the Holy Face (Manoppello, Italy), is an extremely delicate veil made of byssus cloth. (Volto Santo = “Holy Face.”) Byssus, or sea silk, is a rare and delicate fabric woven from a silky filament produced by sea mollusks (mussels). The process of making this cloth is essentially a lost art today. This cloth relic is almost as transparent as glass, and bears the image of a face. Some believe this was Yeshua’s face veil, and the image was made by Yeshua after death.

Decades ago, I spent many hours studying the Shroud of Turin. Having since moved on to other interests, I will not present possibly outdated information from memory. The Shroud is a most interesting topic, if you want to study more.

Yeshua apparently received a preliminary burial on Friday afternoon, just before the beginning of Shabbat. A linen cloth would have been placed over His face. His body would have been positioned over half of a long strip of linen, the other half folded over to completely enshroud the body. His linen-draped body would have been placed on a rock ledge in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, which had been dug into a rock cliff. A large circular stone would have been rolled across the tomb’s entrance. Neither the Jewish priests nor Pontius Pilate wished Yeshua’s followers to steal Yeshua’s body, and Roman centurions were stationed at the tomb’s entrance for enhanced security. Women, awaiting the opportunity to prepare properly Yeshua’s body for an appropriate Jewish burial, stayed in their homes during Shabbat, returning at daybreak on Sunday morning to complete the sad task of preparing to bury their beloved Yeshua.

A RISEN SAVIOR: After Yeshua’s resurrection, His grave cloths were neatly folded in the tomb. Disciples rushing into the empty tomb immediately understood the message Yeshua had left for them. To understand the significance of the folded grave cloths, understand first century dining customs.

Formal meals lasted for hours in the ancient world, instead of our relatively brief meals. If a diner needed to leave the table for some reason but planned to return, he/ she would casually drop his/ her napkin on the table. Servers recognized that the diner would return, and the meal setting was left in place. If a diner was through eating and did not plan to return, he/ she would neatly fold the napkin and place it on the table. Servers recognized that the diner would not return, and the meal setting was removed. By neatly folding His burial cloths, Yeshua left a silent message that He was through with both the burial cloths and the tomb. He would not return.

WHERE WAS GOLGOTHA? Yeshua was crucified at Golgotha. [Aramaic Golgotha = English “Place of the Skull” || AramaicGolgotha = Greek Kranίou, from which comes the English “cranium,” which is the rounded dome of the skull just beneath the scalp. || Golgotha has been Latinized to Calvaria = English “Skull” or “Calvary.”] This place resembled a “skull” and was “near the city.” See Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22, and John 19:17. Golgotha apparently was a rock cliff with protrusions and indentations, which resembled a human skull.

Golgotha may have been located just outside Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, facing the major east-west road that runs north of Old Jerusalem. Yeshua almost certainly was not crucified on a lonely hill (“Mount Calvary”), as artists and poets would have us believe, based on early church errors. He was likely crucified on a busy road leading into the city. I suspect the cross was as short as possible to make construction easier, to make easier lifting a grown man to the top of the cross, and to present the victim essentially at eye level with passersby.

Stripped naked, bleeding from many sites, and writhing in pain, crucified victims would have made pitiable examples for other citizens, sending a graphic message that the Roman government must not be opposed. Yeshua probably could not have dragged a cross to the top of a hill, but He could have made the journey on a well-traveled road. Today, Golgotha may be located immediately across from the East Jerusalem Central Bus Station. A photograph of presumed Golgotha may be seen at GOLGOTHA – Where Is Golgotha / Calvary In Jerusalem? (israeljerusalem.com) at DuckDuckGo and other sites.

Yeshua probably was stripped naked as further humiliation. Why do I suggest He was naked, when the Bible is silent on this matter? I base Yeshua’s possible nakedness on one verse (Matthew 27:35): And when they [the soldiers in the crucifixion detail] had crucified Him [Yeshua], they divided His clothing among themselves by casting lots,and His fulfillment of a prophecy in Psalm 22:19. To add to the humiliation of crucifixion, the Romans knew that first-century Jews would be greatly offended by public nudity, especially in front of relatives– a conduct prohibition known as tzniut. (Yeshua’s mother, Miriam, likely witnessed Yeshua’s death.)

WHY WE SHOULD NOT LET ARTISTS CORRUPT YESHUA’S CRUCIFIXION: For many centuries, artists have engraved, painted, and sculpted Biblical persons and events, including Yeshua and others beloved by Him

The Pietà and the Sistine Chapel ceiling come to mind as incomparable works of art. But, we should look to art for its beauty, not to learn history or theology. I mention, following, but a few errors artists have introduced:

● No one in the history of humankind– including Yeshua, the Holy Family, or the apostles– ever wore a halo. Yeshua walked unnoticed through crowds, and Judah from Kriot (Judas Iscariot) had to identify Yeshua in Gethsemane for the  soldiers to arrest.

● Yeshua was probably not crucified on a towering cross on Golgotha (“Mount” Calvary). Crucifixion was meant to deliver a message to area residents, and this  execution was probably carried out on a busy roadway. It would also be difficult to hoist a struggling adult man nailed to a heavy beam of wood to the top of a tall cross.

● The “nail-scarred hand” is the figment of artists’ imagination. A nail driven in the palm of the hand (between the metacarpals) would not offer enough “purchase” to hold a struggling man to the cross. The nail would rip out. The nail surely was driven between the two forearm bones (radius and ulna) near the wrist joint. Here, the nail would be securely seated between strong bones. In the B’rit Chadashah Greek, χείρ (cheir) can refer to either hand or wrist.

● Miriam (Mary) probably graces most Roman Catholic churches or facilities. She is usually depicted as wearing expensively dyed robes and an exquisite  crown. من هو كريستيانو رونالدو (Wrong. She, as the wife/ widow of a working man, wore plain clothing  and certainly owned no expensive jewelry.) She is typically depicted as a mature woman, with northern European (Italian) features, pale peaches-and-cream skin, and perfectly coiffed hair. (Wrong. Miriam was a young teenager at the time of Yeshua’s birth. She worked in the Mediterranean sun, and was probably deeply tanned. Her appearance was more like the Jews of the Jerusalem area, rather than Italians of the Vatican area.) Every statue of Miriam seems to have  different facial features. Was Miriam a master of disguise, or do none of the statues resemble the real Miriam?

Do these statues violate one of the Ten Commandments, or Ten Words (Exodus 20:3-5): [God spoke] “You shall have no other gods before Me. Do not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or on the earth below or in the water under the earth. Do not bow down to them, do not let anyone make you serve them. For I, Adonai your God, am a jealous God,….” [“Graven image,” from Hebrew Pe-sel = “crafted idol.”]

● Yeshua is depicted as dragging a Roman cross to Golgotha. We do not know the shape of Yeshua’s cross, but He almost certainly did not drag an entire cross. A complete cross would be very heavy, especially for someone who had just been scourged nearly to death. The Romans were smart and efficient, and would not want to secure the upright, vertical member (stipes) in the ground with each crucifixion. They surely would keep this portion permanently in place between crucifixions. The victim would carry only the smaller, more manageable horizontal member (patibulum) to the place of execution.

● Yeshua and Miriam (Mary) may be depicted with a “Sacred Heart.” I find this a bizarre image, but Catholics claim it shows “God’s boundless and passionate love for mankind.” This image, introduced in the twelfth or thirteenth century, is often depicted as a “flaming heart shining with divine light,” pierced by a lance wound, bleeding, encircled by the crown of thorns, and topped by a cross.  (Wrong. Yeshua’s cardiac anatomy was the same as our anatomy.)

GIFTS OF THE MAGI AND YESHUA’S DEATH: Recall that the magi– wise men from the East– traveled to Bethlehem to honor the newborn Messiah (Matthew 2:9-11). They brought three gifts for Baby Yeshua– gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts had prophetic significance and, I suspect, practical utility.

Prophetically, the gifts foretold Yeshua’s life and ministry:

● Gold, a most desired precious metal, prophesied the Kingship of Yeshua.

● Frankincense, a type of incense used in religious ceremonies, prophesied  Yeshua’s part in the Godhead (the Trinity).

● Myrrh, a component of embalming oil, prophesied Yeshua’s death. It seems strange the magi would bring an embalming oil component to a newborn infant. If you are invited to a baby shower and your gift is a few gallons of embalming fluid, you probably will be scratched off future baby shower invitations.

Although not stated in the Bible, I suspect the gifts had financial benefits for the Holy Family. Joseph was a young working man. (In the Greek text, Joseph was a tekton– a craftsman, carpenter, stone mason, or metal worker.) Joseph was recently betrothed to Miriam. Just starting in life, the family would have been poor. The magi inadvertently told Herod the Great of the birth of a newborn King in his country. مطلوب لكازينو Herod ordered all newborn boys two years and younger in the vicinity of Bethlehem to be killed, in order that they would not pose a succession threat for his throne (Matthew 2:16). This killing of infants has been called “The Slaughter of the Innocents.” Herod, combining and perfecting insanity and evil, had a history of murdering even his own family members.

An angel warned Joseph to take Yeshua and Miriam to Egypt to avoid Herod’s insane slaughter of infants (Matthew 2:13-18). In Egypt, Yeshua would be safe from Herod’s evil decree. By fleeing to and returning from Egypt, Adonai’s statement was fulfilled that He called His Son out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1).

How could a young, poor family travel to and live in a foreign country (Egypt) until Herod died and it was safe to return home? Joseph and Miriam likely had packed away the valuable gifts from the magi. Selling the gold, frankincense, and myrrh, they could finance their temporary exile in Egypt. Adonai once again  lived up to His name, Yehovah Yireh (Jehovah Jireh) – “God provides.”

IS TODAY YOUR DAY? If you have not accepted Yeshua as your Savior, today would be an excellent day to listen to the quiet urging of the Ruach ha-Kodesh to follow Yeshua. God loves you. He wants you to come home and be with Him forever. (Read the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-24. If you are prodigal, your Father is always watching for your return.) God will forgive any  sin, except blasphemy of the Ruach ha-Kodesh. Someone at this synagogue is ready to tell you more about salvation, to pray with you, and to help you in any way possible. Yeshua has done the hard work. He died for you in His love. All He asks is that you love Him enough in return to change your life and follow Him. العاب دومينو If you need someone to tell you more about salvation through faith in Yeshua, please contact Rabbi Weiner at rabbi@syknox.org .

SO MUCH MORE: Writing about Resurrection Day is like eating potato chips. Once started, it is difficult to stop. Even now, I am uncomfortable that I have deleted so many sections, such as:

● It is most important to understand the tearing of the massive Temple veil at Yeshua’s crucifixion, which was God’s way of telling us that He no longer lived in the Temple’s Holy of Holies, but thereafter lived in each person’s body (1 Corinthians 6:19, etc.) and that we are our own priests (1 Peter 2:9 and other sites). Rabbi Weiner has written about this subject within the past month.

● The Apostles Creed– recited by Catholic and some Protestant congregations, but not at Shomair– states that Yeshua “descended into Hell” after His resurrection. Several Bible verses, including Psalm 68:19(18) and Ephesians 4:8-10, suggest that Yeshua went to Hades to give the poor souls there a chance to repent. This post-resurrection journey is controversial. Since I am unqualified to settle the controversy, I will not address the question in this RR.

● In celebrating a Communion meal, we re-live, memorialize, and honor Yeshua’s sacrificial death and establishment of the New Covenant by partaking the bread (Body) and fruit of the vine (Blood) of Yeshua’s crucifixion.

● Yeshua’s crucifixion was prophesied in the Tanakh, including Psalm 22. I encourage you to read this psalm during this season.

● Etcetera: I feel unworthy to write about Resurrection Day. I suppose I have, by now, overstayed my welcome in your home and have and lost most (all?) readers. I will stop, but I encourage you to study to understand more fully Yeshua’s love that nailed Him to a cross and the many miracles and answered prophecies that occurred during these few days in the first century. Yeshua’s love and God’s grace established the New Covenant, whereby a Believer may be forgiven of sin through child-like faith. Halleluyah! Shalom and Maranatha.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sun 17-Apr-2022 16th of Nisan, 5782 Pesach II
Le 22:26-23:44 Nu 28:16-25 2 Ki 23:1-9, 21-25 Mk 16:1-14, 1 Co 15:12-28