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Notes on Revelation

'...hurt not the oil and the wine"

In my reading this morning I came across the following which may explain why the third seal states "...see thou hurt not the oil and the wine" (because it is needed for anointing):

"Oil, perfumed with spices, was very usual in feasts, especially sacred; and it was wont to be poured upon the head of some one present.

"'The school of Shammai saith, He holds sweet oil in his right hand, and a cup of wine in his left. He says grace first over the oil, and then over the wine. The school of Hillel saith, Oil in his right hand, and wine in his left. He blesseth the sweet oil, and anoints the head of him that serves: but if the waiter be a disciple of the wise, he anoints the wall; for it is a shame for a disciple of the wise to smell of perfumes.'"

( Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, John Lightfoot)

Oil and wine were also used in the Temple for drink offerings and meat offerings:

"When presenting a meat-offering, the priest first brought it in the golden or silver dish in which it had been prepared, and then transferred it to a holy vessel, putting oil and frankincense upon it. Taking his stand at the south-eastern corner of the altar, he next took the 'handful' that was actually to be burnt, put it in another vessel, laid some of the frankincense on it, carried it to the top of the altar, salted it, and then placed it on the fire. The rest of the meat-offering belonged to the priests. Every meat-offering was accompanied by a drink-offering of wine, which was poured at the base of the altar."

( The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, Alfred Edersheim)

"The wine for use in the Temple was brought exclusively from Judaea, not only because it was better, but because the transport through Samaria would have rendered it defiiled. Indeed, the Mishnah mentions the names of the five towns whence it was obtained. Similarly, the oil used was derived either from Judaea, or, if from Peraea, the olives only were brought, to be crushed in Jerusalem."

( Sketches of Jewish Social Life, Alfred Edersheim)

It is very interesting to read in this book of the division of the land in the time of Christ which seems to parallel the division between the Palestinians and Israelis today. Samaria (PA controlled areas?) and the land of the Philistines (Gaza Strip?) are considered inferior, etc.

Oil and wine are used for medicinal purposes, Luke 10:34: "And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine..."

Also, James 5:14 speaks to the use of oil in healing: "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." This anointing consisted of a mixture of oil, wine and water according to a formula prescribed in the Talmud.


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