Triumphal Entry or
Connects The Higher & Lower Laws To Temple Imagery & Drama
What was the 'hoopla' around Jesus' Triumphant Entry?
"The purpose . . . appears to have been the symbolic renewing of the power of the kingship. . . . there are indications that a 'mock' burial and resurrection . . . may have been one of the rites . . . The aim or the destination of the procession is . . . probably the temple". These near sequential excerpts from Jocelyn Gohary's book, 'Akhenatan's Sed-Festival At Karnak', describe very similar events to the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The way to look at this event is within the context of the ancient Middle-East and its coronation rites. That includes Jerusalem. The Sed Festival was a Royal Procession in ancient Egypt. It's focus was sacrifice, good triumphing over evil and an eventful journey toward coronation. And it wasn't just the Sed Festival that carried out these rites. This tradition and these rituals were found in numerous ancient civilizations including the Babylonians, Assyrians, Canaanites and in Mari as well as in Greece. When we look at the 'Triumphant Entry' of Jesus in this light we get a very different picture of what is happening. With pre-planned precision, the large crowd moved both before and after Jesus in a traditionally rich ceremony. They knew what to do as they hearkened back to the 'old ways' of their fathers. The King was moving from the East toward the temple. It was the Royal Procession, a parade that traditionally ended in a coronation. The King would make a grand entrance entering the city, his citizens would hail him as a 'Savior' and would offer him 'blessings' and use sacred items such as 'palms' typically used annually during a sacred coronation event.
If we add in the research of biblical scholar Margaret Barker, and presume that many of the traditions and rituals from the Festival of Tabernacles and The Day of Atonement were inserted here in this very special Passover, then we can make some educated assumptions. The fall festival is typically when a Royal Procession would occur anciently and when the temple drama that included the King and Queen would have often occurred.
But why would this understanding of this single event be considered a 'Principle' to use throughout the scriptures? Because to me this Royal Procession which would have been very familiar to most ancient Israelites and Jews, seems to have been used by prophets as a metaphor to teach gospel principles. With this idea in mind, we can now try and recognize allusions to this ritual and assimilate other scriptures and Cwic Principles into this prophesied event. For example, when Isaiah and Nephi speak of 'the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord" (Isaiah 40:3) or even more appropriately Malachi's,, "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple" (Malachi 3:1) This now could take on a more precise meaning in our metaphor. In other words, 'the way' could be seen as the path of the Lord from the east to the temple where he would be crowned. John the Baptist is the key figure for the Aaronic Priesthood. We are told that the Aaronic or Lesser Priesthood "holdeth the key of . . . the preparatory gospel" (D&C 84:26). This then would bring in other scriptures about repentance, a function of 'prepare ye the way", and the Aaronic Priesthood into the metaphor such as, "make his paths straight" or "Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way -- but that thou wouldst clear my way before me . . ." (2 Nephi 4:33). Even the Sed Festival of Egypt had its Wepwawet, the "opener of the ways". So John the Baptist and all of us, through a function of the Aaronic Priesthood, repent and clear our own path that will lead us where? To the same place that the New Melchizedek, Jesus Christ went to in His Royal Procession, a Melchizedek function -- to the temple and ultimately to the Holy of Holies, or to Exaltation. So then, there is first the "preparing of the way" and the "making his paths straight" and removing all "stumbling blocks" in the way before we are able to follow the King of Kings, the Savior through our own Royal Procession to the temple, even to its drama, and the Holy of Holies.
Of course, there are still some places in the world that still carry out these rituals. One great example is the UK. Watch very closely the coronation ceremony after Queen Elizabeth passes away. You will be shocked! Don't miss any of it. It's all part of the ritual!
This Cwic Principle ties together The Higher & Lower Laws, Temple Imagery & Drama and even The 4 Phases of the Priesthood. All find a very comfortable home in this axial, poignant event and metaphor.
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