THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CROSS
by Dr. Wesley A. Swift - 4-27-67
Today on Palm Sunday, we find that Christians are worshiping in different ways. Some churches are passing out Palms and calling attention to the significance of this being Palm Sunday. As we observe the areas of Palm Sunday we want to call your attention to the pageantry of history that is not often mentioned when we deal with the bare facts given to us in the scriptures. However, every man of god should consider this. I am speaking to your race, as I quote these scriptures.
‘I am thy Maker and thy Husband.----I am YAHWEH of Hosts, this is My name.----I am the Redeemer. I am the Holy One of Israel.----I am the God of the whole earth.
Therefore, all thy children shall be taught of YAHWEH.----Great shall be the peace of thy children.----No weapon formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue raised against thee, thou shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the LORD.’
Also, HE has expounded in HIS Word, and taught them that it was essential that God be embodied in the earth. And in the areas of this, we again turn to the words to the Virgin Mary, in which she was told that she was to have a child. And it was to be a Holy thing that she would bring forth. In this declaration, we discover also that Elizabeth, a cousin of Mary, was in her 6th month and her child would be the Prophet to prepare the way for Mary’s Child. One of the things that was declared, was that when Elizabeth’s child was born, the father Zacharias would say, ‘Thou child, shall be called the Prophet of the Highest, for thou shall go forth before the face of the LORD to prepare the way.’ When John the Baptist was a small child, he started to proclaim and praise God. His parents took him to the Essene Company who lived in the caverns outside the city of Jerusalem. And from Jerusalem, all the way to Assyria, throughout the mountains, there was a chain of caverns in which the Essenes, who were Israelites---lived. This was a network of underground caverns, but these people kept track of the events that happened in the country of Judea. They copied the scriptures so as to maintain all their areas of inspiration. They studied the areas of prophecy, and they looked forward to the Messiah. They had gone in their studies back to the time of Enoch and Job, to the antiquities of their race. Back to the time of the establishment of the two wisdom schools of the MOST HIGH. One of these schools was the Masters of the Rose Cross and the other was the Master Builders, or Masons. These two schools had followed down through the Israelites and were now carried on by the Essene Company as they carried out their rituals and services to the MOST HIGH GOD. By the days of Jesus, we discover, that the true Priesthood in most instances, had moved out into the Essene Company for protection and so that the areas of study could be carried on. Virtually, every true Pharisee in the land of Judea belonged to the Essene Company.
The Priesthood that had taken over the Temple at Jerusalem, at the time of the ministry of Christ, were the Sadducees. They were Cainanites, Amalikites, and others. And when Christ spoke to them, HE said, ‘Ye are of your father the devil and his works ye shall do.’ Also HE said they were virtually all Cainanites. Only some of the small Temples left in Judea had a true Priesthood in them. The one at Bethlehem contained Zacharias the father of John the Baptist. So John the Baptist was taken to the Essene Company where he would be protected and raised. One thing that his parents could not do, was rear this child in the Temple of Bethlehem. For it was only by the presence of the forth Wise Man, that the child had been safe at the time Herod was having the babes of Bethlehem killed.
As John the Baptist grew, he told the Essene Company of things that he remembered of what happened in the heavens and he told that the YAHSHUA--JESUS would come to earth as the Messiah. He told them that he did to know how or why, but he knew of these things in the heaven and things of God. He told them that the ‘very God’ was begotten in earth and that when HE started HIS ministry, then he, John the Baptist, would proclaim that HE was the Messiah. The Essene Company listened to John. And they pondered them for they were waiting for the Messianic purposed of God. Through out the areas of Judea, the false priesthood thru their theology, had done away with the Messianic concept. And they referred to this concept as the work of the Zealots. But the True Priesthood were listening and joining the Essenes. So it was that they prepared the crown for the Christ as John the Baptist now was preaching and proclaiming-----Jesus the Christ.
In the book of Luke, we see John as Jesus comes to be baptized. And we hear him say, ‘Behold. The Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.’ John was also to say that the areas of blessing rested on Jesus and he bore record that this was the embodiment of God. It was the day after John had baptized Jesus that he said, ‘Behold. The Lamb of God.’ And because of this, two of the Disciples of John followed Jesus as HE left. They said, ‘Master, who art thou and where do you abide?’ Jesus said, ‘Come and see.’ And they followed HIM and stayed there until about the 10th hour. One of these men was Andrew, the brother of Simon, and from this hour we see the calling forth of the Disciples.
This John the Baptist who was talking of the mystery of this being the Lamb of God, was not talking of another mystery that was not well understood by the Essenes at this time. Because the Essenes looked for their Messiah to be a conqueror of all the enemies of the land of Israel, they expected HIM to set up the Kingdom and to rule as KING. They knew that John the Baptist said that he recalled that at this time he was to prepare the way of the LORD, and call the people to repentance and that there would be a Crown---but, also there was to be a Chalice. One of the things that John remembered, was that Christ would take the Chalice before HE took the Crown. Then return to take the Crown and rule the world. The Essene company discussed this many times. They watched the ministry of the Messiah, and they were a witness to the miracles HE performed. They copied the scriptures. They gathered the forces for the protection of their people and for the Messiah. They were Master Builders and great and direct activists. They realized that HE was the Messiah, and they wanted to fulfill all the areas they felt that they were responsible for.
One of this company was the descendant of the Captain of the Kings Army, from the days when Zedekiah had fallen. And many of the descendants of this army had been carrying on every area of military action that they could to help the Israelites of that area. One of these was the man, Barabbas. In fact, Barabbas had started gathering an army which was to follow the Messiah.
Then another man of that area was Joseph of Arimathea, the uncle of Mary and therefore the uncle of the Messiah. He was also an Essene, a member of the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee and a wealthy and powerful man. He had known the scriptures. He had watched the growth of Mary’s son. He understood the significance of the prophecy-- ‘Unto us a child is given, unto us a son is born. And the government shall be upon HIS shoulders. HE shall be called the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace.’ Joseph of Arimathea had born witness to the fact that this son of Mary’s was a Prophet at least, if not the Messiah. And then he watched HIM develop and he became so sure that this was the Messiah, that HE would establish the Kingdom, and Joseph of Arimathes invested much of his fortune behind the preparation to crown HIM King. As he came back from the Isles, he brought the blue material for the tunics of the Army of the King. He brought the golden cloth and the thread for the uniforms of the Army of Barabbas. The blue tunics had on the front the crossed golden fishes. This army had grown in strength until at this time, there were over 3,000 here in Jerusalem, the day they were to try to Crown YAHSHUA--their KING. However, Barabbas and his army had conducted raids on the caravans of the priests and they had been taking some of the goods from all over the world that was being brought in to be sold from the steps of the Temple and in the court yard. They had also taken the shore swords from the Roman caravans, so a price was put on the head of these of the Essene Army.
So it is we come to the declaration of John the Baptist. This one who had come was the Messiah. This one was to have the throne of HIS father David. This was God come in the flesh. This one would redeem the race. But---also, remember, that HE is to take the Chalice. The Wise Men had brought the jewels, and the crown was made by the Essenes. Everything was in readiness. The Essenes were hopeful that their dreams would be realized. Joseph of Arimathea had even proclaimed to some of the true Pharisees in the Sanhedrin, that his nephew was the Messiah and was to be KING. The word was also given to the false Pharisees, and they wondered, but feared to do anything because of the wealth and power of Joseph of Arimathea.
The Disciples dreamed also of the day, when they would drive out the usurpers of Judea and they would once more be in power in their land, then see that power rising through the Messiah until it filled the whole earth. The Passover was coming and the Essenes thought that if they could crown Christ-- King, close to the time of the Passover there would be many of their race in the city for that event, and they would help throw out the false priesthood out of the Temple. They were forgetting that this was Herod’s temple. The drilling of the army went on every night as this army as preparing for the crowning of their King. They thought Jesus did not know about this preparation, but they were forgetting that if HE were ‘very God’, HE would know all things. HE had proved this as HE talked to Zacchaeus in the tree and talked about Nathaniel under the fig tree, for these were examples of HIS Omniscience.
Then one day, the Disciples heard Jesus say, ‘We move into Jerusalem on the morrow.’ The two of the Disciples left and one went to the Essene Company and the other went to Jerusalem and runners were sent out to bring the people of Israel, into Jerusalem. Some had been coming for the Passover and thus a great crowd was gathering. Then Jesus said for HIS Disciples to go over the hill and there they would find an ass, the foal of an ass, tied to a tree. They were to untie it and bring it to HIM and if anyone asked what they wanted of the ass, they were to tel them that ‘My Master, YAHSHUA hath need of him.’
Thus, we have the story of the beginning of Palm Sunday, from the book of Matthew, and the book of Mark. And also, it is found in Luke as well. This was a tremendous happening, for now Christ was to enter Jerusalem. HE was fulfilling the scripture found in Zechariah 9:9.
‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy King cometh unto thee; HE is just and HE has salvation. But HE is lowly. He is riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.’
In this chapter, Zechariah had been talking about the burden of the LORD and about Damascus. Then suddenly, he stops and talks about Judah and then gives this prophecy about Christ coming to Jerusalem. Then he goes on talking of Ephraim. But this statement of Zechariah was to stand out. Then the Disciples realize that this was the word of the prophecy of Zechariah concerning the coming of the King. So they went for the ass and as the people asked them about its use, they replied, ‘YAHWEH, thy YAHSHUA hath need of this.’----- They brought the ass to Jesus and placed their cloaks upon it and with Jesus on the ass, they started for Jerusalem.
What a preparation there had been for this. For in Jerusalem, the city was filling with people. And the announcement was made, ‘the King is coming.’ And they hoped and they thought, ‘surely, HE will take the crown and restore the Kingdom.’
But in case HE did not, take the crown, then they were also prepared. For Joseph of Arimathea has seen to that preparation of the Chalice, altho he did not know why. The Disciples knew that the Messiah had told them that HE must lay down HIS life for them. And yet, they did not understand why or how. They did not understand the meaning of the Chalice. Nevertheless, Joseph of Arimathea had sent to Greece for the finest silversmiths he could find. Demetrius the silversmith had come to Jerusalem and to the home of Joseph of Arimathea on the outskirts of that city. There as the Disciples and Jesus sat many nights as they dined in that home. And as they discussed the Kingdom and what was to happen, Demetrius was behind a screen in a corner of the room and he carved the faces of Christ and HIS Disciples on the Chalice. All the faces were finished but that of Judas Iscariot. And tho he had tried many times, still the silversmith could not carve that face on the Chalice. And he finally carved Judas as he had his head turned away. The face of Jesus was one of those miracles of inspiration. For the face of Jesus was beautifully wrought. For anyone could recognize HIM. And an Italian might paint HIM as tho HE had brown eyes, and light brown hair. And a Scandinavian would paint HIM as having blue eyes and light reddish brown hair. Still, in the silver, all comes out without color and anyone would recognize Jesus. There is a mystery in all of this. I think one of the great areas of inspiration and vision is to keep the vision of the features of Christ and the countenance of Christ alive in the hearts of all the House of Israel. So it is that Demetrius had placed the faces of Christ and HIS Disciples upon the Chalice. Then he prepared an inner cup, a much smaller cup to go inside the Chalice. And not knowing quite why, still the Chalice and the cup were ready.
The Essenes thought of one passage of scripture:-- ‘The Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.’ They had studied this. But the type of atonement they could not figure out. But they did know that they had also prepared a Crown. Then as Jesus approached the city, multitudes came out to meet HIM. And they came singing, ‘Hosannah in the highest,’ to the son of David.’ Hosannah in the highest to HE who comes in the name of YAHWEH.’ They sang and chanted and thought, ‘HE sill take the crown. HE will restore the Kingdom. Hosannah to YAHSHUA who comes in the name of YAHWEH.’ They cut palm branches and scattered them in HIS path. They put their garments on the ground for HIM to pass over. And they cried, ‘YAHSHUA---JESUS COMES.’
The army of Barabbas put on their blue tunics with the golden crossed fishes blazing in the sun. Their short swords were strapped to their sides and they formed around Christ, as HE moved toward the Temple. From every angle, came the Essene to cry, ‘The King, the King is here.’
Crown HIM King. But Christ continued on HIS way to the steps of the Temple. Then came Joseph of Arimathea and the True High Priest of Israel. And with them came the Crown and the Chalice each upon great blue pillows. Somehow, they hoped HE would be able to take both the Crown and the Chalice. They had been guided in their preparation by the messenger of the LORD. But they moved in hope, yet, also in apprehension. The cry came stronger ‘CROWN HIM KING.’ Christ stepped down from the small ass and turned to the crowd that had shouted ‘Crown HIM King.’ The sharp short swords of the army of Barabbas gleamed in the sun as they formed in formation around their KING.
High up on the steps of the Temple, stood the pagan priesthood which had never taught any Messianic destiny in their ministry. Here stood the Cainanite priests of the false priesthood who had despised every part of the ministry of the Messiah. As they looked down on the Christ, and the multitude, they gnashed their teeth. But they feared to come down from the top of the steps of the Temple. They were afraid of this multitude which cried ‘Crown HIM King.’
The True Priests of Israel brought forth the great Crown and they advanced to Jesus and they said, ‘Thou YAHSHUA of Nazareth, we would Crown Thee King.’ There was expectancy, there was hope in this wish. But Jesus said, ‘No, My right it is to reign, and I shall receive this Crown some time hence. But if I was to take this Crown now, I would rule My people in bondage and sin. Rather, I came to redeem My people and thru thy redemption, I shall also redeem the world. I cannot at this time take this Crown. But I shall take the Chalice.’ Then HE said, ‘With this Chalice, shall the redemption of Israel be complete. For I will drain this cup until it is an empty cup. And with the symbol of the draining of this cup, I shall have received upon Myself all the sins of the world. More than this, not only will I have redeemed Israel, but also the whole world, having paid the price for every man. I shall as the Lamb of God, lay down My life for My people. But I shall raise again in three days.’ Then HE made the statement, ‘I shall come to take the Crown. And when I come to take the Crown, the earth shall be from one end to the other, My Kingdom. And shall fall beneath the power of My Throne.’ HE also said, ‘I redeem the whole world so as to take out of the world, My people, thus I take the Chalice for this is the ministry for which I have come.’
The people were still crying, ‘Oh take the crown’ and even Judas the betrayer cried, take the crown. For he had thought of the gold that would flow to the Crown. But Jesus said, ‘Judas, you have no comprehension of this matter.’ Then Jesus took the Chalice and then handed it to John. Then Jesus looked at the steps of the Temple. HE looked at the great bazaar that they had assembles on the steps of the Temple. And Jesus started to tie cords together and HE started for the Temple steps and HE drove the money changers from the steps of the Temple. The high priests looked down from the top of the steps and they drew back as Christ mounted the steps, but they made no move to stop HIM.
Then Jesus and the Disciples and others went to the home of Joseph of Arimathea. The blue tunic army disappeared into the crowd as it melted away. That night, Judas went to the Cainanite priests in the Temple and he betrayed the whereabouts of Barabbas. Then the priests told the Roman soldiers his location , and Barabbas was taken that night. To the Romans, he was a robber. To the false prophets, he was a thief. But to Israel, he was a Zealot and a patriot. Even in the hour when Pilate was to say to this pagan priesthood, ‘Priesthood, whom shall I release to you? Barabbas, who has stolen your goods, or the ONE who has only done good?’ Pilate thought they would release Christ, for Barabbas had robbed their caravans. But the hatred in these hearts of the descendants of Cain was so strong, that they cried, ‘Give us Barabbas.’
Yes, Barabbas was released and tho heavy of heart, he still fought to defend the Christians of that area of Palestine. And we are told that almost all the soldiers of Barabbas were put to death for that reason.
The Essene Company studying the areas of Messianic destiny, thought this was the hour, and so it was that they had raised this army which was to fight for Christ’s command. Now it would be used to fight for the followers of Christ.
When Jesus had returned, to the house of HIS uncle, then Joseph of Arimathea again asked, ‘Why must you take the Chalice, for I do not understand?’ Jesus replied, ‘Because My people must be free. And for that it will take the price of blood, the blood of one without transgression, the blood of one embodied as I have been in a physical body. Only I will be able to drink this cup. Only I will be able to redeem this people.’
Then later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, with Christ and HIS Disciples, was also this cup and the Chalice. While HIS Disciples slept, the Christ filled the cup with cold water, and lifting HIS head in all the areas of HIS humanity, HE said, ‘Let this cup pass from ME. But not the will of the flesh, but the will of the Spirit be done.’ Christ drank every drop of that inner cup, and as HE drank, HE assumed every transgression of the world and of HIS people Israel. It had been ceremonially consummated by the drinking of every drop of water in the Chalice. In the evening before this, the Chalice had been used as HE poured into this cup, the wine of the Last Supper. HE had made the statement to them, that this cup was the covenant of HIS blood, in the New Testament. Then came the army to seize Jesus and John picked up the Chalice and the inner cup and took it to the home of Joseph of Arimathea.
This Chalice has had a long and eventful history. Later, it was found in the church that Mark pastored in Alexandria, Egypt. It was used in that Church in the service of the Sacraments in the time of Mark. It went from there to other churches in Christendom. We do know that it was in Constantinople when the Saracens came and the Mohammadans came in and tore down the great East Church and built a Mosque of San Sophia on the sight of that ancient Christian Church. The Chalice was spirited away from Constantinople by Christians and they took it to Antioch. And it was found behind the Altar when the Church was partially destroyed. But in the process of that destruction, it became buried, to later be found by Archaeologist going through those ruins. The silversmiths confirmed that this was the work of one at the time of Christ. Yes. This was the Chalice. And when they looked at the beauty of the face of Christ, it stood out. And they knew they had the Chalice. I believe it was Mr. Rockefeller who brought the Chalice to America, for he purchased it somewhere. And it has been in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts in the United States for some time. It has been displayed at several world fairs. And whenever great churches have been dedicate, the Chalice has been loaned to them. The Greek Orthodox Cathedral of San Sophia, was dedicated with the Chalice used in that service. I understand that the Chalice is again on its way to Europe to be used at a dedication. Then it will return to these United States. This is the Chalice that Christ used and even until this day, it is revered and used in ceremonies of the Church.
We point out to you that the people gathering at Jerusalem thought that Christ would take the Crown. The Essenes thought HE would take the Crown and so did HIS Disciples. And Christ knew all about what they were thinking. But HE said, ‘I am your King, this Crown, I have the right to wear, but I will not take the Crown until I have redeemed you, My people.’ So the majesty of the atonement was more manifest by HE, who was of Israel. HE who was King of Israel. On HIS first advent to the city of Jerusalem for the recognition and honor of the people.
No wonder the people were taught of God, word for word. Prophecy by prophecy, literally it was being fulfilled. And HE had declared, ‘I am YAHWEH thy YAHSHUA. I am the husband of Israel. I am thy Savior.’
As we look back to these events of the first Advent of God, we are looking forward to the time when we shall see the sky filled with these flying ships of YAHWEH our God. We are looking again for the Advent of Christ. I know that some people cannot see this. But the awakened of the sons and daughters are looking for the return of the Messiah, as King. More than this, I do not know of any other time that I would have rather lived than right now. For this generation in which you and I live, is not going to pas away until we see the return of Christ. With all the difficulties brought about by the enemies of Christ, with all the designs to destroy these that know, we are concerned, but we are waiting for the return of the KING. We believe that the day will come when the sky will be filled with the great flying ships of our God. On the great Flag Ship that leads this fleet will be the KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. As this fleet comes in, with the Archangel Michael in command, we are going to see the Majestic deliverance by our God. There will be an ever greater greeting than HE received at the gates of Jerusalem for HE shall join HIS people and they shall acknowledge their God and their King.
We can say that we are happy that in the procedure of atonement that HE took the Chalice at that time. From the mysteries that we are now unraveling, we find that God has paid the price for our transgressions and that we are a free people.
We look now for the re-entrance of the King into the affairs of the world. It may be weeks, it may be years, but we are standing in the measuring cycles of the day of the LORD. We life up our heads to the Second Advent of YAHWEH our GOD, embodied in this hour.
We here in 1967, see the ending of an age. And we see the apostasy in the abortive state of Israeli. There would be no welcome for HIM in that country until HE splits the Mount of Olives. But HE has declared that HE will be in the midst of HIS people, in a NEW NATION, in a NEW JERUSALEM---WILL THE KING REIGN AND HIS REIGN SHALL BE OVER ALL THE EARTH.
(End of sermon)