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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 22: Matthew 27:27-28:20, by Kevin M. Williams

The Holy of Holies, separated from the rest of the world by this veil, had two other names of consequence: Paradise and the Tree of Life.

The way that had been shut, but by the sacrifice of God’s only Son the curse that had expelled all mankind from Eden had been removed. The barrier had been startlingly and awesomely cleared and the path of redemption opened once again.

There was a centurion standing there who said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54). The Tree of Life was now open to him.

One of the thieves who hung alongside Yeshua had promised, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43), and the veil fell away, opening Paradise.

“Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil” (Hebrews 10:19).

And when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given over to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth” (Matthew 27:57-59).

Arimathea, Ramatayim in the Hebrew, meaning a man from Ramah, the land of the tribe of Simeon, and the birthplace of the prophet Samuel. We read in Mark 15:43 That Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, and in Luke 23:51 that he had not voted to condemn Yeshua.

It should be noted that as a Pharisee, and man of great prominence in Israeli and Roman society, taking possession of an unclean, dead body during the weeklong Feast of Unleavened Bread would have ramifications for this “secret disciple” (John 19:38). Joseph would himself become ritually unclean, and disallowed from his own home under the instructions of the Torah: “And when anyone touches anything unclean, whether human uncleanness, or an unclean animal, or any unclean detestable thing … that person shall be cut off from his people” (Leviticus 7:21). Joseph would not be able to participate in the Feast of Unleavened Bread with is family. He put his beloved Messiah first, risking both his reputation and fortunes.

___

Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave (Matthew 28:1).

This verse is one of the most solid biblical testimonies of God’s ordained Sabbath—Saturday.

Sunday (or as it is put here, the “first day of the week”) is important because in God’s calendar during this season of Passover, it is known as the “Day of Firstfruits.”

“Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it” (Leviticus 23:10-11).

The Sadducees held that the “day after the Sabbath” of the week after Passover, that is the first Sunday within the week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, was this day of Yom HaBikkurim, the Day of Firstfruits (not to be confused with the Feast of Firstfruits, 50 days later).

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Category: Biblical Studies, Fall 2006, Pneuma Review

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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