This is the continuation of an excursus about sacrifices – perhaps appropriate that we have got here at the start of Lent! We all talk about ‘making sacrifices’ and the ‘paschal sacrifice’ but this is in context of a long history of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. What did sacrifice mean for the early Israelites when they left Egypt. What was the meaning of the bloody temple sacrifices which were so much a feature of Jewish worship until 70 CE? When Israel leaves Egypt, they sacrifice the first paschal lamb – a big insult to the worshippers of the ram god of Egypt. Jewish commentators point out that, in many other ways, Jewish sacrifices challenged the cults of the gods around them, replacing them with the worship of the One God.
It was a remarkable achievement! This small fragile nation persisted over more than 2,000 years to such good effect that, by the time of Christ, the world was ready for the worship of the One God, and millenia of worship of multiple gods was swept away in a few short centuries. As a Christian, it has been humbling to realise, during this study, to what degree Judaism ‘prepared the way of the Lord.’ This podcast focuses on the proto-covenant with Abraham – the Covenant of the Pieces (Genesis 15), and the significance of the sacrifice – not only of a ram, but also of a young cow, a goat, a turtle dove and a pigeon.
In the process, we come across Lenten ashes, holy water, and a number of icons. Did you know the cleansing water came from the Pool of Siloam, and the arcading we see in icons of the paralytic, was built in the time of Herod the Great. Did you know it is in Leviticus the the association of goat cults with the devil is first mentioned (Leviticus 17:7)? We discuss the goats of Yom Kippur and the parable of the sheep and the goats, in context of the Last Judgement icon. Well… sign up for the course for the rest!