THE LIFE OF CHRIST
by Dr. Wesley A. Swift - 3-22-70
As we go back into the panorama of the great drama of the Life of Christ, it is important that we see its impact upon us, even today as we review some of these situations, as we do year after year, for they are quite dramatic. This is a most beautiful and colorful story of the patterns of history. We have the beautiful records of the scripture concerning the events which took place. We have the writings of Nicodemus. We have the records of the Sanhedrin which were basically against Jesus. We have the records of the Roman Empire. And of course, we have the records that came out of the people who were symbolically writing at that time. And so it is that we can see the whole pattern, the whole picture of what took place in that time.
We want to point out that as the life of Jesus approached the time of Palm Sunday, that the land of Palestine was filled with excitement. This excitement came from the great hope that now they would overthrow the power of the Roman Empire. And that the day would come when they would be able to overthrow the power of organized Jewry which had taken control of their Temple. For the true Israelites of Judah and Benjamin, and the Galileans of the land, understood and recognize that the Jews (Canaanites) of Jerusalem were not the proper administrators of the Temple. That they were usurpers of the areas of authority. So it was that they wanted to see the removal of these people that held power over them.
We want to point out that a whole area of the community, a private group called a pastoral cult of Pharisees, were meeting outside the city of Jerusalem in the land of Palestine, in caverns and caves. And as this group met, they had with them the savants, and the philosophers and the students of Israel. They had the High Priests of the Leviticus Priesthood background. And they were meeting and copying the manuscripts in the caves outside the city. So also, was a military group present. And some of them were descended from the old military leaders of Israel. All thru out the land of Palestine, these were meeting in the underground and preparing for the day when Messiah would take the throne and overthrow the power of Jewry. Then Israel would be again, a Kingdom and a nation. And yes, they had expectancy, great expectancy. The people of Palestine were aware that the Virgin Mary had been told that the child she carried was to be named YAHSHUA, and would take the throne of HIS Father David. They had heard and remembered these words. They knew how Herod, king of the Jews, had ordered the killing of the babies of Bethlehem in order to destroy Jesus. But that Mary and Joseph had taken Jesus into the land of Egypt for protection. And there at the Temple of On, they remained. There at the ancient temples built by Enoch and Job in earlier times, they remained until the death of Herod the king. Then they returned unto Nazareth, and there in that area of Nazareth, Joseph opened his carpenter shop and there Jesus spent the remaining days of HIS boyhood. Thus, the people had watched the growth of this young man. And then later as HIS ministry started, they watched the vast miracles HE performed, such as the turning of the water into wine, the unstopping of deaf ears, the opening of blind eyes, the stilling of the wind and the waves, and the raising of the dead. All these things were the powerful record that this man was different from any other man. Surely, this man was Messiah. No man spoke as this man spoke. And the people were tense with excitement for they thought without question this was the Mighty Messiah.
Joseph of Arimathea, the uncle of Christ, and uncle of Mary, looked at the developments that were very significant. He was a powerful and wealthy man, there in the land of Palestine. And not only was a great trader, but his ships moved thru the area of the Mediterranean and on to the British Isles. He owned the tin mines of Cornwall, as well as land in Britain. And he brought the tin into the Mediterranean area and exchanged their goods with those from Britain. He was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin. But he as also a member of this mysterious company of Essenes who were living outside of the cities of Judea.
In the records of the Sanhedrin, we find that the Essenes were a pastoral cult of Pharisees who were segregationist and nationalists. Why--segregationists?---Because the Essene Company were against the intermarriage of the House of Judah and Benjamin and the Jews of Jerusalem. They claimed these Jews were Canaanites. And intermarriage was a violation of the law. So you see this was why the Sadducees of the Sanhedrin were against the so-called pastoral Essenes, and why they called them a cult. Of course, they used to call David a pastoral King, because David was for segregation also. It was not until the days of Solomon that internationalism had moved into the House of Israel. Of course, as we go back into the writings of Moses, we find that God had warned the Israelites against intermarrying with the Canaanites and all these other people, and that these of the mixed multitude would turn them from worshiping God. And that this mixing would produce a mongrel people whom God would not recognize. God had said to Israel, ‘Thou art a Holy people unto YAHWEH thy God.’
So it was that the Essene Company had an immense number of its people thru out Palestine working for the day when the Messiah would come. There was this brilliant young man who had descended from Jeroboams army and his fathers and grandfathers before him had been military leaders. His name was Barabas. And he was a brilliant young man. And he was working for the position of the leadership of Messiah’s army in the land of Palestine and Israel.
During this time, we see that Joseph of Arimathea was also very busy and very interested in the events that were taking place. While a member of the Sanhedrin, he was also a Pharisee and an Essene. But the true Pharisee believed in the Laws of God. They believed in the Mishnah, the oral Laws of God. They believed in the coming of Messiah, the power of Resurrection. And they looked forward to the areas of Truth. Then also in the Sanhedrin, were Asiatic. And they were reincarnationists of course. They had taken the Temple by fraud and Annas was high priest. And then Caiaphas the son-in-law of Annas, was high priest in the days we review in our meditation of today. We point out that Barabas had been building an army as he watched Jesus expanding HIS ministry. Jesus sent out 70, two by two to every village and town thru out the land of Palestine. And thus, they notified the crowds that Jesus was coming. And under this organization the people gathered and they heard Jesus speak. And they watched the miracles of Jesus as they were performed. And thus, excitement was intense all over the land of Palestine---that this was truly Messiah---that Messiah had come.
Then Jesus was to turn to Peter and HE said, ‘Peter who do you say that I am?’ (Matthew 16:15-16). And Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the embodiment of the Living YAHWEH.’ And then Jesus said, ‘Peter, flesh and blood did not reveal this unto you, it was revealed unto you by the Spirit.’
Thus, it was that Joseph of Arimathea involved in all the events of that time, then brought the beautiful blue velvet material from along the coasts of the Mediterranean into Palestine for these uniforms for this army of YAHWEH-YAHSHUA. And across the chest of the uniforms were the crossed golden fishes--the sign of the Church (children) and the army of YAHWEH-YAHSHUA. And in the hands of this army flashed the short swords of Damascus which Joseph of Arimathea also brought in. He had spent time and money and he secretly sought to help the organization for this army for Jesus. Across the country, the army was rising and they thought that miracle power would be bestowed upon them and they would overthrow the powers of darkness. True, the Sanhedrin could refer to them as nationalists, for they thought that Rome should not control their land. And also, they were segregationalist, because they would not marry Canaanites and would have nothing to do with the Sadducees who ruled the Temple.
Jesus proved that they were Canaanites when HE said they were of their father the devil and a lair and a murderer from the beginning, and the truth was not in him. So HE identified them for what they were. For Jesus in that day speaking to the people, said, ‘Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.’ But the Jews said, ‘We were never in bondage at any time.’ Thus, they proved that they were not the children of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Nor are they a part of the 10 tribes. For they said they were never in bondage. Thus, they had excluded themselves of the Egyptian bondage and the Assyrian, and Babylonian captivities as well. They were Canaanites indeed. And they proved it by their actions and their activities.
So it was that as the people had prepared and worked for this climax of this period when the time was getting close. Strangely enough, when John the Baptist as the messenger to prepare the way for the Messiah. So when he was a child, and until he was 10 years of age, he spoke of the mysteries of heaven, and of the magnitude of the ministry of the Christ, whom he had come to announce. He was the forerunner of the Christ. And we remember that his father had been High Priest in the city of Bethlehem. Then it was necessary for his father to take this babe out to the Essenes in the caves outside the city, and there they cared for him lest Herod find him and kill him, as he had the other babies of Bethlehem. And there the Essenes were engrossed with the words of John the Baptist as he said that, ‘Yes, Messiah would come, but there would be a mystery surrounding HIS taking the crown, because HE would take the Chalice instead.’ They were somewhat mystified by this. And Joseph of Arimathea was also mystified for he, himself, had quizzed John the Baptist as a boy and John had told him that he knew not why, but Messiah would take the Chalice.
So it was that Joseph of Arimathea and others decided there were several things they must do to prepare for the crowing of Messiah. They had one of the crowns worn by David when King, and they had used artisans to install a ruby, emerald, and diamonds and a sapphire of enormous size. Jewels were brought to Mary by the High Priests--wise men--who came to see Jesus when a babe. And these had been given to Joseph of Arimathea for safe keeping. These jewels were now placed in this crown and now it was a beautiful crown. Besides this, Joseph of Arimathea had the beautiful robe brought by the 4th wise man. This was the robe which had been used to save the life of John the Baptist at the time of the killing of the babes of Bethlehem, as this babe had been wrapped under this great robe by the 4th wise man.
So it was that as Joseph of Arimathea pondered these things, he sent to Greece for Demetrius the artist, the silversmith of great fame. And so in Jerusalem, then Demetrius was installed in an alcove off the great dining room in the home of Joseph of Arimathea. Here he was to produce a chalice and to engrave it. And as Jesus and HIS Disciples came often to the home of Joseph of Arimathea, when Jesus and HIS Disciples were in the area around Jerusalem, they would set upon the couches around the dining table and they would talk about the program of the Kingdom. And peoples of Jerusalem would come and they spent hours there listening to the words of Jesus, and questioning HIM. All this while the silversmith was carefully engraving. He had engraved Jesus in all the magnitude of HIS ministry, as HE was visiting with the people. And on either side of HIM sat all the 12 Disciples. Thus, Jesus and the 12 were pictured upon the outer cup, or chalice with its inner cup or Holy Grail, as it was later known. And one of the areas of mysteries was that as the silversmith came to Judas, this one Disciple, he could not place that face upon this chalice. So that face is blank---turning away. But the Chalice had the beauty of the magnitude of the Christ and HIS Disciples of HIS ministry as HE sat in the home of Joseph of Arimathea. So it was that Jesus went out around the city with HIS Disciples and they were becoming very excited, for they were discussing with the Essene Company and others of Palestine, as to the day when they would crown HIM King. James and John were over-excited. And their mother got over-excited as well, for one day, she said to Jesus, ‘when you take over your Kingdom, will you put my two sons, one on your right hand, and one on your left?’ Jesus replied that HIS Kingdom was not coming at this time, for it would still be in the future. But they thought, ‘oh, yes, it will come, we have made all the preparations which Christ did not know about.’ Of course, Jesus in Omniscience, knew what as in the mind of the people, and what was going on in the land of Palestine.
Then it grew close to Passover, and the people said of this week, ‘We will gather all Israel in the land of Palestine, and then we will crown HIM King.’ So they began to pour in to the city of Jerusalem and the Essene Company, those of true Levites, were also very much excited.
And Barabbas was also getting his company ready. They had attacked many of the caravans of Rome coming into the city. And they took weapons and food for their army, as well as taking from the caravans that the Jews brought in with foreign goods for trading on the Temple steps. Jesus said that they had made of HIS Father’s House a den of merchandise and of thieves. And thus, the Jews had done this by buying and selling on the steps of the Temple.
Barabbas had killed a Roman soldier in one of these raids, and Rome now had a price on his head. So they called him a murderer. But he was also a Zealot and a Patriot. After all, if George Washington had failed in his Revolution, he would have been called a murderer also, instead of being called the father of your country.
But the program was of great magnitude as they prepared for this day. And then Jesus turned to HIS Disciples and said, ‘I go to Jerusalem.’ And HIS Disciples were tense with excitement. As they came over the hill toward Jerusalem, they stopped and Jesus said, ‘Over the next hill is the little town of Bethany.’ And it was just a little way over on the other side of the Mount of Olives. Jesus said, ‘I want you to go over there and you will find a little ass with a foal by its side. Untie this ass and bring it to me, for I will fulfill the passage of scripture which says, ‘Behold, thy King cometh riding upon an ass, with a colt, the foal of an ass by its side.’ (John 12:15.) Literally, HE fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy (Zechariah 9:9) as HE came into Jerusalem riding on the ass with a colt, the foal of an ass along side. Now, the Disciples were more excited than ever, for they knew this old prophecy. And they knew that they had made preparations for this day. When the two Disciples went to take the ass, the man who owned it said, ‘Where are you going with this animal?’ And the Disciples said, ‘The master has need of it.’ The man said, ‘Take it,’ for it was a great honor for him to supply the ass for the Master whom he also recognized as THE MESSIAH.
Thus, Jesus mounted the ass and started the ride toward the gate of Jerusalem. And the multitude were not streaming out the gate and were throwing their garments down before HIM as they shouted, ‘Hosannah in the highest.’ Then out of the city came the people by the thousands, and the great cry rose up, ‘Hosannah to the Son of David. Hosannah to YAHSHUA who comes in the name of YAHWEH.’ Yes, the cry rang out. And instantly the blue tunic army is in full view, and their glistening swords shown in the sun. And they with the multitudes, cried, ‘CROWN HIM KING, CROWN HIM KING.’ All Jerusalem is now echoing with the cry, ‘CROWN HIM KING.’
Jesus made HIS way to the steps of the Temple and the throngs followed. And the whole city was filled with excitement for the cry came again and again, ‘CROWN HIM KING.’ The true Israelites had gathered for this very purpose. Joseph of Arimathea had separated himself from the other members of the Sanhedrin, and was in this crowd of Israelites there at the steps of the Temple when on a beautiful crimson pillow, the Crown appeared, and it was carried by the True Levi of Israel. And Joseph of Arimathea was also with them. As they moved to Jesus with this Crown of jewels showing in the sun, also came another pillow, and on this pillow was the Chalice. For altho they had great hopes, they knew not quite what to expect in this hour. Therefore, they approached the Christ still shouting ‘Hosannah in the highest---CROWN HIM KING.’
The high priests high on the steps of the Temple were puzzled. And they said, ‘How can they call HIM David’s son, when David called HIM LORD?’ But the people of Israel were saying, ‘HOSANNA, HOSANNA TO YAHSHUA WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF YAHWEH.’
Then these of Israel approached Jesus and would have placed this beautiful shimmering diadem, this crown upon HIS head. But then Jesus dashed their hopes as HE said to them, ‘No, I cannot at this time take this crown.’ Even the little Jew who carried the money bag began thinking, ‘sure, crown HIM King and I will then carry the money bag for a King.’ And he said, ‘Take the crown.’ But Jesus just looked at this little Jew and HE turned back to these of HIS Children, and HE said, ‘No, I will not take this crown. If I were to take this crown at this time, I would rule you in sin, and in slavery and without freedom. I must fulfill this purpose for which I have come. I MUST TAKE THE CUP. What man of you can drink of this cup, and by taking this cup, fulfill My responsibilities in the purposes of YAHWEH? For when you are set free, then you will be free indeed, for now My Kingdom is hence, and later it will not be delivered to the Jews.’ Then HE also elaborated on this as HE said, ‘At the proper time My servants (Israel) will fight, and My Kingdom will not fall into the hands of the Jews (Canaanites).’ Then Jesus pushed the great crown back and HE took the Chalice instead.
Instantly, the crowd felt a great wave of total disappointment. The wave of excitement disappeared as did the blue tunics of the army and their swords. The anger of the priests on the highest steps of the Temple had been high, but they were also worried as they saw the masses, and the swords. And they did not quite know what to do.
Jesus took the beautiful Chalice and held it for a moment and then turned and handed it to John. Then HE turned and took a rope and quickly wove it into a cat-o-nine tails, and with it HE drove the moneychangers and overturned the tables of merchandise that were on the steps of the Temple. HE said, ‘Ye have made My Father’s House a den of thieves, murderers, and robbers.’ And HE started to scourge those on the steps of the Temple. And the high priests and even their armies drew back in fear that day, whereas still in the back of the crowd they were still saying, ‘CROWN HIM KING.’
Then the crowd disappeared, each unto his own place. And Jesus and HIS Disciples then went to the house of Zebedee. Judas of Iscariot separated himself from the other Disciples and he went to the head Jews and he said, ‘do you want to know where this Barabbas--the head of this army which saw with their gleaming swords, and blue tunics--this power behind this Jesus, is? He is going to be at the home of Peter’s father, Bar Jonas tonight. And there you will find this one who is the head of this army which can take over Palestine at any time they wish.’ Well, the Jews called the leaders of the Romans and told them where they could find Barabbas. So they went and took Barabbas and put him in prison.
As the end of the week was approaching, then Jesus told HIS Disciples to prepare for HIM an Upper Room, that they might eat the Passover Supper together. And at the Passover, the Disciples sat with Jesus eating the Passover and the Master took the ‘Inner Cup’ from the Chalice and said, ‘Can you drink of this ‘inner cup’ with ME?’ And the Disciples said sure we can. And Jesus said, ‘Yes, so shall ye drink of this cup.’ Then Jesus broke of the bread and then said, ‘One of ye who puts his hand in this cup with Me shall betray Me.’ And Peter said, ‘Oh, LORD, is it I?’ Peter could not imagine this happening. Then each of the Disciples asked, ‘LORD, is it I?’ Then later this would come back to the mind of John, and he would record that even Judas of Iscariot asked ‘Lord, is it I?’ Then Jesus turned to Judas and answered him, ‘Go and do what you must do.’ And Judas of Iscariot went out of their midst and ran to the Jews. After all this was not surprising for Jesus had told HIS Disciples earlier, that, ‘I have chosen you twelve, but one of you is a devil.’ We are told that after this ‘Jesus walked in Galilee, for the Jews sought to kill HIM. (John 7:1). Of course, thru out the background of the life covered by the Gospels, always the Jews sought to take the Christ, to stone HIM, or to kill HIM in some way. Even to sending out soldiers to do that work for them. But the soldiers returned saying, ‘Never a man spake as this man spake.’
Having concluded the Last Supper, Jesus took the ‘inner cup’ and left the outer Chalice with John, and HE said, ‘we go to the Garden of Gethsemane and there I will pray.’ So they went into the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus went a little apart from the Disciples and there HE filled that Cup with Living Water. As HE filled this Cup with clear water, it was to fulfill the most important area of the drama of that week up until the Crucifixion of Jesus the Christ. Symbolically, this was to fulfill a symbol of mystery which comes down out of the program of the Kingdom of Heaven. For as Jesus took this water as a substitution for the transgressions of the human race, it was for every transgression that had been committed by the sons of Adam on down to the time of Christ’s ministry and on into the future unto your life, until the fulfillment of HIS returning majesty. All transgression--all sin--was significantly and symbolically in the liquid of that cup. And thus, JESUS BECAME TRANSGRESSION FOR US. When HE drank that Cup, HE said, speaking here in HIS humanity, ‘Eternal Spirit, if it be possible, let this cup pass from ME, but not My will, but thy will be done.’ As HE drank that cup to the last drop, HE was the Lamb of God without spot or blemish, without sin. HE was the magnitude of God walking in the flesh, and HE became transgression for you. HE took upon HIS spotless nature, all the guilt, the condemnation, the background of all transgression, and every sin upon the face of the earth. Only God could do this. Only God had this authority. And only God assumed this responsibility. And the agony of all this upon the body of Christ caused HIM to sweat great drops of blood, as HE took that Chalice, that Holy Grail and drank it to the last drop. Thus, it is we have the mystery of the Holy Grail.
The Holy Grail, this Inner Cup, was taken by John from the Garden as the soldiers came to take Jesus and lead HIM off to the chambers of Annas and Caiaphas the high priest, after the betrayal of Judas of Iscariot. This Holy Grail was then taken by Jon and placed again inside the Chalice and then given into the care of Joseph of Arimathea.
Thus, we have the background of these events that were to transpire, and we know that Joseph of Arimathea took this cup which later, after the Resurrection of Christ, the Church was to guard this Holy Grail with their life, for it was a priceless treasure, this Chalice with its inner cup.
As pressure increased against the Disciples and the people of HIS Church, the treasure was taken in to Egypt to Alexandria, where later Mark would be the Pastor. It passed then from Church to Church in the East. And later the Great Church of St. Sophia was built at Constantinople, and this chalice and inner cup was taken to that Great Church and used in the communion services. Then when the Turkish conqueror Sultan______(Suleman?) came, he conquered Constantinople and the Priests of this great Temple fled and with them went this Chalice with its inner cup to Antioch. There in a small church in Antioch, this great treasure graced the Altar for about twelve years. At that time, then the Turkish conqueror then conquered that city and part of this little church was burned. But the Turkish conqueror did not take the chalice form he did not even know it was there. Later Arabs excavating the ruins of Antioch about twenty-five years ago, unearthed the Chalice of Christ. This Chalice had long been sought. We remember that King _______(Applestain) With the Knights of the Round Table---and you know that this king was King Arthur, and the Knights of his Round Table had hoped to find that Holy Grail.
Then later this inner cup was found and brought forth, this great treasure of Christendom, and Rockefeller bought this great cup and gave it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for a treasure of Christendom forever. The Greeks keep borrowing it when they open up a great Cathedral. This cup is also now in this city for the opening of a great church, in the Cathedral of St. Sophia. And is in another museum of art, where you can go and behold that treasure,---this cup used by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, that Chalice that the KING took instead of the Crown.
We can be so thankful this afternoon, that the King took the Chalice instead of the Crown, because now we stand before HIM absolutely free. Because when HE drank the cup to the last drop, HE removed our transgressions from us as far as the East is from the West--- and TO REMEMBER THEM NO MORE. Thus, by HIS stripes, we are healed.
As we turn to this pattern of the Chalice and the King, then we recognize that we will behold the day when HE shall take the crown. We know not where this crown is today, but it shall appear again when they bring it forth to crown HIM ‘LORD OF LORDS.’ As we see the conditions that are sweeping this world, we see the fulfillment of the patterns of prophecy. We see these conditions getting worse in some instances. But again, these are some things which must come to pass. For very soon the Heavens are going to be filled with the Divine glory of the Host of Heaven as they make their appearance with Michael, with the power of God. And then the King of Kings will re-enter the affairs of this world and re assume the administration of HIS Kingdom. In that day, we will then bring forth that Royal Diadem and Christ will take the Crown. We will crown HIM KING of Kings, and the majesty and Glory of YAHWEH will spread over the House of Israel, like the sun upon the earth and the waters which cover the sea. In that day, when we behold the Majesty of God’s Glory, we shall remember that HE is our KING of Kings, our LORD OF LORDS.
(End of sermon)