Holy of Holies


#1

How do I answer this argument about the priesthood made to me by a protestant.

He says that when Jesus died and the Curtain on the Holy of Holies was split this was symbolic of the end of the priesthood, and that we now do not need the mediation of a priest we can contact God directly.

How do Catholics interpret the breaking on the curtain of the holy of holies?

Thankyou


#2

The curtain symbolized the separation between God and His people; when it was torn after Jesus’ death, it symbolized that, through Jesus, there is no more separation; we are made one with the Father.

The priesthood of the all faithful shares in the Priesthood of the Son: Through Him, With Him, and In Him…

Our priesthood isn’t another curtain; it’s a sharing of Christ’s perpetual priesthood.


#3

[quote=ak29]How do I answer this argument about the priesthood made to me by a protestant.

He says that when Jesus died and the Curtain on the Holy of Holies was split this was symbolic of the end of the priesthood, and that we now do not need the mediation of a priest we can contact God directly.

How do Catholics interpret the breaking on the curtain of the holy of holies?

Thankyou
[/quote]

What I see happening there was symbolic of God’s presence forever leaving the Temple, also the end of the Levitical Priesthood of the Jews.

Your friend’s interpretation is aimed at disproving the Ministerial Priesthood of the Church, and he is doing so through his Protestant tradition coming from Martin Luther and the rest of them. You can tell him that his concept of that teaching was never taught in Christianity until the 16’th century, and if he feels that is wrong ask him to provide for you proof.

Ken


#4

This means that the holy of holies is not holy anymore.
and also the end of judaism for their sacrifice at the temple is no more needed and the birth of christianity and the 7 sacraments through the blood and water from jesus wounds.

just my own interpretation

[quote=kleary]What I see happening there was symbolic of God’s presence forever leaving the Temple, also the end of the Levitical Priesthood of the Jews.

Your friend’s interpretation is aimed at disproving the Ministerial Priesthood of the Church, and he is doing so through his Protestant tradition coming from Martin Luther and the rest of them. You can tell him that his concept of that teaching was never taught in Christianity until the 16’th century, and if he feels that is wrong ask him to provide for you proof.

Ken
[/quote]


#5

[quote=ak29]How do I answer this argument about the priesthood made to me by a protestant.

He says that when Jesus died and the Curtain on the Holy of Holies was split this was symbolic of the end of the priesthood, and that we now do not need the mediation of a priest we can contact God directly.

How do Catholics interpret the breaking on the curtain of the holy of holies?

Thankyou
[/quote]

It used to be only the High Priest that had access to the tabernacle, and at that, once a year. Now, we may all approach the presence of God in the Eucharist as often as we would like (i.e., daily). The tearing of the veil shows that we do have a great, direct access to God, all of us Christians.

And he’s half right. The levitical priesthood is meaningless. But the Catholic priesthood is not the levitical priesthood (i.e, it is not conferred through familial succession, which is the mark of the levitical priesthood), but through consecration. But just because we don’t need the levitical priesthood (which he doesn’t need the tearing of the veil to prove), doesn’t mean we don’t need the priesthood that Jesus Christ established.


#6

Here’s Tim Gray’s take on it. I think it’s pretty interesting. It shows that God has come down and joined His people again:

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John.*** On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open* (schizo) and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.** (1:9-10) Schizo means to tear asunder. The only other time this phrase occurs is the veil being torn asunder in the Passion. Mark is wanting to show that Heaven and the Cosmos are dramatically impacted by this Baptism. There is now a connection between Heaven and Earth that never existed until Jesus is baptized. Isaiah 64:1 comes in a crucial point in the prophecies of Isaiah. After hearing in Isaiah 40 of a new Exodus, and a new beginning, now time has passed - and nothing has happened. The people get weary, so after time, the people are crying out, they lament, “Lord where is this Exodus”! In the middle of this lament, we come to Isaiah 64,*** “Oh (Lord), that you would rend (schizo) the heavens and come down*, with the mountains quaking before you**,” (Is. 64:1). Would you, Lord, come down and fix this mess that we’re in. Where are you God, that we are still in exile. Would you rend the heavens, again the word used is Schizo. What Mark is saying that, here at the Jordan, that long-awaited Exodus is here! The exodus is happening, and it has been created in the form of Jesus! This New Exodus is a theme that is recurrent in Mark.

Notworthy


#7

Ignatius of Antioch–taught by the apostles themselves. In his letters to the Churches in Asia he outlines exactly how the Church is set up–bishops, priests, and deacons. If the protestant you are talking with claims that Christianity needs no priests–show him or her that from its very beginning, there WERE priests! Evidently the apostles didn’t hold your friend’s view! :slight_smile:


#8

[quote=kleary]What I see happening there was symbolic of God’s presence forever leaving the Temple, also the end of the Levitical Priesthood of the Jews.
[/quote]

Roy H.Schoeman, in his book “Salvation is From The Jews” writes of the practice of placing a scarlet thread on the curtain of the Holy of Holies, on the day of Atonement, that would turn snow white if God accepted that day’s sacrifice for the remission of sins. It was said that after the time of Christ’s death that the thread never turned white for the next 40 years till the temple was destroyed by the Romans. He cites a translation of the “Zohar” by Maurice Simon and Dr. Paul Levertoff as the souce for the fact of the use of the thread(published by Soncino Press, London, 1949.) The citation for the fact that it ceased to turn white is found in a text called “Yoma” 39b.


#9

The curtain in question was located between two sanctuaries: the tabernacle, where the altar was, and the holy of holies, where the ark of the covenant was. The ministerial priests could enter the tabernacle and approach the altar, but only the high priest could enter the holy of holies.

The holy of holies was the place where God, usually in the form of His “glory cloud” (the Shekinah) would be present. Tear this curtain and the two sanctuaries, the tabernacle and the holy of holies becomes one sanctuary. This is perfectly reflected in the Catholic church. The ministerial priest is still at the altar, but now God is present in that sanctuary where the altar is - when His real presence enters the Eucharist. Before, the ministerial priest could not stand in the presence of God in the same sanctuary. Now, he does - and so do we when we approach the altar. (The presence of the 12 tribes of Israel, who could not enter the santuary, was represented by the 12 loaves of proposition.)

If anything, tearing the curtain empowers the ministerial priesthood by allowing them closer access to the presence of God. It does not in any way invalidate the office.

Thal59


#10

Another thing to think about is, that which was in the ark became flesh and “walked out” of the holy of holies among us.
Just as Jesus tear a small piece of flesh to come into this world to be with us so the curtain had to be torn so that we may approach him to receive him in the eucharist.

That’s why we are now a royal nation, a holy priesthood. No longer are there priests because of geneology but because they can heed the call.

Hope this makes a little sense.:slight_smile:


#11

thanks for all the help everyone.


#12

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