The Temple its Ministry and Services By Alfred Edersheim – This Book Will Transform The Way You Read The Gospels Forever!
The Temple its Ministry and Services By Alfred Edersheim Will Transform The Way You Read The Gospels Forever!
And I’ll share how you can get this book for less than lunch.
But there are a few reasons I thought about not recommending this book, and making this post.
I’ll let you know why later.
The first thing I want to share about this book, is the clear way it transforms the way you read the Gospel.
One example I can share with you is when Jesus totally destroyed the religious leaders. I was reading through this day and came to page 216Alfred Edersheim. The temple: It’s ministry and services at the time of Christ. Pg 216.
Good on the outside, dead on the inside!
It began providing insights about Matthew 23, where Jesus goes on a long speech, tearing into the religious leaders.
One of the things Jesus says, I always think about.
And there is likely something in the Gospels which stands out to you, he mentions in the book as well.
Jesus said these leaders were like
“white-washed tombs…full of dead men’s bones…”
They appeared righteous, but inside were wicked and disgusting.
I think it stands out to me, because I never want to be like this as a minister of God. Clean on the outside, but inside, DEAD!
And this is something he discusses,
He says “it was ordered that all ‘sepulchres’ (all graves)
Should be ‘whitened’ a month before the Passover.
It was, therefore, evidently in reference to what He actually saw going on around Him at the time he spoke.”
I always felt it was just about what Jesus explained.
They look good on the outside, but dead on the inside.
But there is also the tradition they were familiar with at the time, which cut them even deeper.
And imagine reading one or two sentences in this book and having a deeper understanding of the Bible forever.
It’s things like this, which can help you bridge the gap between our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ, being an Israelite, who came to fulfil the law and save his people.
And the appeal to the rest of the world for salvation as well, made so clear in Christianity.
Another way which bridges that gap is by showing you how the same message is found in The OT & The NT.
It deals death blows to certain claims from groups which try to attack Christianity flagrantly…
“God never appeared as a man in the OT”,
or even some Jewish groups today, who claim Christianity invented something contradictory to the OT writings.
On pg. 125 he speaks about Isaiah 53.ibid. pg 125
This text is one of the greatest examples of what the Messiah would come and do. That He would come, be killed, and die for the sins of others.
And his atoning sacrifice, would cover the sins of the guilty.
Because he was perfect.
It points to Jesus so clearly.
Speaking about 2 Jewish sources he says on pg. 125,
“[they] frankly adopt the messianic interpretation of these prophecies [Isaiah 53]”
He continues and says something…even more startling to those who have never heard this before.
Even I still get goosebumps when I read about these kind of things.
“The later rabbis also admit that this had been the common view of the Jewish fathers; but, on account of, ‘the sages of the Nazarenes, who apply it to that man whom they hanged in Jerusalem towards the close of the second temple, and who, according to their opinion, was the Son of the Most Blessed, and had taken human nature in the womb of the virgin,’
They reject that interpretation, and refer the prediction of suffering either to some individual, or mostly to Israel as a nation.”
Basically, Jews before the time of Christ, during the time of Christ, and after the time of Christ, believe passages like Isaiah 53 are about the Messiah.
But some rabbis after Jesus’ crucifixion don’t like to admit it, because Christians say it was about Christ.
I’ve done several videos on all of these groups & topics previously, but it was great to see things like this covered in this book for someone to learn for the first time.
Or to refresh and enhance previous knowledge.
Why I Almost Never Recommended The Temple Its Ministry And Services!
This is a good time to discuss one of the concerns I had,
And why I nearly did not speak about this book publicly in this way. This is a scholarly work, and covers some deep topics at times.
And I felt like you might get this book and want to give up.
I first started reading the book as I do most books.
I just start reading when I have time and will eventually complete it. So as I started this book, I was quickly intrigued, but as you know, with children, a wife, socialising, work…
“Life can get in the way.”
When I read the book, I didn’t feel like giving up.
It was enjoyable every time and I think it may be based on something I did (for different reasons).
I found myself looking forward to reading this book, and anticipating the next great reading session.
Because I was enjoying the book, but was not reading as consistently as I would like. I decided to start reading the book in blocks.
Every day I would set a timer and read until the timer went off.
If I read 3 pages, or 15 pages it didn’t matter.
But it helped me look forward to the next reading session.
And this is a way you can read this book, enjoy the contents of the book,
not be overwhelmed, and actually gives you time to take in and meditate on some of the things discussed in the book.
But one problem I did have was the long-winded sentences at times. Sometimes, I found myself looking for air, as the sentences wouldn’t end.
Not a deal breaker, but something to prepare yourself for at times when reading the book.
Some Personal Favorites About This Book
I think now might be the time to share one of my most favourite things about the book. Maybe my personal favourite.
I mentioned earlier on, this is a scholarly work.
But his unashamed mention of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout was refreshing. It’s so rare today to see scholarly work of any kind, be so personal. But it’s something I love to see in books of this magnitude.
The next thing I want to share, gives deeper meaning to something Jesus said. It also was something I made sure to share with my wife Emma.
Growing up, one of the things people said was “WATCH!”
As in “watch what is going to happen to you because of the thing you just did to me” As was my custom, when I got into a relationship with Emma, from time to time when she would do something to me I did not like I would say “watch”.
On occasion she would say it to me.
But over time, it became apparent it was not productive to say this. And that was when I switched up the whole context of saying “Watch”. It was no longer about “watching” as I learned to say growing up.
I now applied it to something Jesus said, which sticks close to me, just like Jesus saying “white-washed tombs” as discussed earlier.
I began saying,
“WATCH…for you know not when the Son of man cometh”.
Now it was pushing us to think about Christ’s return.
And this is the point in the book which obviously stood out to me when reading it on pg. 148.ibid. pg 148
It brought so much deeper meaning.
As he spoke about the guards who worked in the temple,
He begins to speak about some of the things they were required to do when on duty.
One of the things he mentions is not falling asleep while guarding the temple. He says,
During the night the ‘captain of the temple’ made his rounds. On his approach the guards had to rise and salute him in a particular manner. Any guard found asleep when on duty was beaten, or his garments were set on fire.
And he says this actually happened,
This wasn’t a joke.
But he continues…
“Hence the admonition to us who, as it were, are here on Temple guard, ‘blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments.’” In Revelation 16:15.
As I read this, it not only linked in with my marriage, but it also made me think of the fact that there’s a whole deeper level to things Jesus said, which I already think are deep.
I don’t want to get beaten up or have my clothes burned so to speak, because I’m found sleeping. I need to “Watch!”
And the last point should make you realise this book will totally transform the way you read the Gospels forever, which is true.
But this goes beyond the Gospels, to books like Revelation.
Paul’s letters are included as well.
On pg. 188ibid. pg 188, he mentions 2 examples about priests’ weekly activities & how Paul’s writings may be using them as the backdrop.
He speaks about priests carrying contributions in hand for religious purposes (like doing a good deed for someone).
And how Paul said to the Corinthians in1 Corinthians 16:2,
“they should lay up something in store on the first day of the week.”
Or how taking communion on a weekly basis may have been an imitation of the priests who ate the sacred bread every sabbath day.
This book goes way beyond transforming your reading of the Gospels. Even in different ways. By referencing Jewish sources, it creates opportunities for deeper thinking.
On pg. 326-27 & 338ibid. pg 326-27. 338, He discusses the Jewish Mishnah.
This is a really significant source for Jews today.
He shares how 2 days in the year, women dressed in white.
(Poor and rich women)
And presented themselves for men to choose a life partner.
They apparently sang a hymn which related to Proverbs 31, which is a Proverb about “the perfect woman” as some people say. It just got me thinking about,
if I had to pick my wife, based on all of these women in a vineyard dressed in white.
If I didn’t know whether they were rich or poor,
Didn’t know anything about them,
Other than what I could see in front of me.
Picking just based on how someone looks wouldn’t be the wise decision.
Which is one of the things Proverbs 31 basically teaches.
But it made me think about how beauty is something most people make a decision based on, and live to regret it later.
And they end up with a jewel of Gold in a pig’s nostril.
Why Was I Afraid To Recommend The Temple Its Ministry and Services Book?
My major concern in recommending The Temple its Ministry and Services was a big one.
As I was reading the book and enjoying every chapter.
Every timed block of reading took me to new levels of appreciation for the Bible.
But there was one day reading when I came across something and just stopped. And I said,
“there’s no way I can recommend this book for most Christians.”
I’m reading this, and these things are standing out to me, and are deep, because I know what he’s talking about.
But what about people who have barely read a Gospel account.
Or haven’t read the New Testament as a whole.
Or Christians who have no Old Testament knowledge to draw from.
If they cannot link these things together, it will go over their head.
And I started thinking about what it would be like if I read this book as a new Christian…WITHOUT, The knowledge I have.
And this was when I thought something deep.
Maybe they can get the kind of knowledge and passion you have for God’s Word quicker. Maybe, just maybe, having limited understanding of the Gospels,
Might be a good thing.
Why should you just decide for them?
So I’m going to leave it to you to decide.
This book will also present at least one thing you’ve never heard before.
And these are the kind of things which create new passions for God’s Word. And can lead you down rabbit-trails for deeper insights.
By the time I got to pg. 140ibid. pg 140, I already thought this was a good book.
But what I read totally took me by surprise.
He shared an opinion he has on John, the disciple who wrote the Gospel and Revelation.
It shocked me because, I wasn’t expecting this at this point in the book.
And I do not believe I have ever heard someone make this argument about him. I knew it would be one of the trails I would go down after reading this book.
He mentions how John speaks about things regarding the temple, and priestly duties in a way which suggests strongly,
Get this, he was a priest.
John a priest.
HOW HAVE I NEVER HEARD OF THIS?
I always read the Gospel & Revelation, thinking about the Old Testament references, the temple and priest allusions John makes, as something a 1st century Israelite, deep in the Word would make.
Reading The Temple its Ministry and Services Will Transform The Way You Read The Gospels
But I guess this sums up the book in many ways.
I was able to purchase The Temple Its Ministry and Services for less than $4. Don’t be afraid to get a used copy in good condition either. It will take you to a deeper level of understanding God’s Word, and will present some things for you to study deeper, and see where this takes you.
…WATCH… and if you prefer watching, here is the video😉
Remember, if you enjoyed reading this post or watching the video above, please share your insights in the comments section. Share this post with other Christians. Let’s ‘Watch’ and learn together!