Summary Lesson 30: “The Prisoners Shall Go Free”
- Last Jewish Prophets Testified of Restoration: “Zechariah continued in the same task as Haggai; he too encouraged the Jews to rebuild the Temple. Zechariah reminded Israel that before God returned to the Temple the people must return to God through righteousness, justice, and mercy . . . Zechariah prophesied of the Golden Age of the Messiah when God’s Kingdom would be established on earth.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Precise Day Elijah is to Restore Family Identity: “Malachi announced the coming of the Day of Judgment which would . . . thus clear the way for the Messianic Age: ‘Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before . . . the day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers . . .’ On Shabbat ha-Gadol, a special haftarah, taken from the Book of Malachi and referring to the day (Passover) on which Elijah the Prophet will reappear as forerunner of the great day of the Lord, is read.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Door Opened, Empty Chair for Elijah: The ancient eating arrangement at the Passover meal (Seder) was “U” shaped with the oldest seated at the second seat with one of the youngest of his choice seated at his right hand, in the first seat. At the other end of the “U” shaped seating arrangement was an empty chair for Elijah, directly opposite the youngest and the oldest, symbolic (if you please) of Elijah turning the hearts of fathers to children and the children to the fathers. At one Passover I asked my youngest son at the appropriate time to open the door for Elijah. The seven-year-old refused, saying, “I don’t have to open the door for Elijah, he’s already come!” He knew of Elijah’s appearance in the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836, the beginning of Passover that year!
- Jewish Immersion OF the Dead: An immersion for the dead is included in the preparation of the deceased. “The burial is entrusted to the Chevra Kadisha. Working in teams, these men or women, depending on the gender of the deceased insure the highest level of sensitivity and dignity in conformity with Jewish law and custom. After being washed, the deceased is ritually purified through immersion in a similar manner to the mikveh, or purification bath, that was required of worshipers entering the Temple in Jerusalem.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.
- Jewish Inference to Immersion FOR the Dead: After immersion of the deceased, the scriptural reading is a precedent translated from the Hebrew Bible as follows. The inference of “pour” in total immersion means the mikve (font) must have water pouring in and out (not stagnant). “I will pour upon you pure water and you will be purified of all you defilements, and from all your abominations I will purify you” (Ezekiel 36:25) “Then will I sprinkle . . . ye shall be clean . . . from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” (Ezekiel 36:25 KJV)