Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Feasts of Israel

Jesus In The Jewish Feasts

Question: "How did Jesus fulfill the meanings of the Jewish feasts?"

Answer: The way in which Jesus fulfilled the Jewish feasts is a fascinating study. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the Jewish prophet Amos records that God declared He would do nothing without first revealing it to His servants, the Prophets (Amos 3:7). From the Old Covenant to the New, Genesis to Revelation, God provides picture after picture of His entire plan for mankind and one of the most startling prophetic pictures is outlined for us in the Jewish Feasts of Leviticus 23.

The Hebrew word for feasts (moadim) literally means "appointed times." God has carefully planned and orchestrated the timing and sequence of each of these seven feasts to reveal to us a special story. The seven annual feasts of Israel were spread over seven months of the Jewish calendar, at set times appointed by God. They are still celebrated by observant Jews today. But for both Jews and non-Jews who have placed their faith in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, these special days demonstrate the work of redemption through God’s Son.

The first four of the seven feasts occur during the springtime (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Weeks) and they all have already been fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament. The final three holidays (Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles) occur during the fall, all within a short fifteen-day period.

Many Bible scholars and commentators believe that these fall feasts have not yet been fulfilled by Jesus. However, the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) for all believers in Jesus Christ is that they most assuredly will. As the four spring feasts were fulfilled literally and right on the actual feast day in connection with Christ's first coming, these three fall feasts, it is believed by many, will likewise be fulfilled literally in connection to the Lord's second coming.

In a nutshell, here is the prophetic significance of each of the seven Levitical feasts of Israel:

1) Passover (Leviticus 23:5) – Pointed to the Messiah as our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover at the same hour that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening.

2) Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6) – Pointed to the Messiah's sinless life (as leaven is a picture of sin in the Bible), making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus' body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.

3) First Fruits (Leviticus 23:10) – Pointed to the Messiah's resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in I Corinthians 15:20 as the "first fruits from the dead."

4) Weeks or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:16) – Occurred fifty days after the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and pointed to the great harvest of souls and the gift of the Holy Spirit for both Jew and Gentile, who would be brought into the kingdom of God during the Church Age (see Acts 2). The Church was actually established on this day when God poured out His Holy Spirit and 3,000 Jews responded to Peter's great sermon and his first proclamation of the Gospel.

5) Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24) – The first of the fall feasts. Many believe this day points to the Rapture of the Church when the Messiah Jesus will appear in the heavens as He comes for His bride, the Church. The Rapture is always associated in Scripture with the blowing of a loud trumpet (I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and I Corinthians 15:52).

6) Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27) – Many believe this prophetically points to the day of the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth. That will be the Day of Atonement for the Jewish remnant when they "look upon Him whom they have pierced," repent of their sins, and receive Him as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10 and Romans 11:1-6, 25-36).

7) Tabernacles or Booths (Leviticus 23:34) – Many scholars believe that this feast day points to the Lord's promise that He will once again “tabernacle” with His people when He returns to reign over all the world (Micah 4:1-7).

Should Christians celebrate these Levitical feast days of Israel today? Whether or not a Christian celebrates the Jewish feast days would be a matter of conscience for the individual Christian. Colossians 2:16-17 tells us “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” Christians are not bound to observe the Jewish feasts the way an Old Testament Jew was, but we should not criticize another believer who does or does not observe these special days and feasts (Romans 14:5).

While it is not required for Christians to celebrate the Jewish feast days, it is beneficial to study them. Certainly it could be beneficial to celebrate these days if it leads one to a greater understanding and appreciation for Christ’s death and resurrection and the future promise of His coming. As Christians, if we choose to celebrate these special days, we should put Christ in the center of the celebration, as the One who came to fulfill the prophetic significance of each of them.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Should Tithing Be Compulsory In The Church?

Question: "What does the Bible say about Christian tithing?"

Answer: Many Christians struggle with the issue of tithing. In some churches tithing is over-emphasized. At the same time, many Christians refuse to submit to the biblical exhortations about making offerings to the Lord. Tithing/giving is intended to be a joy and a blessing. Sadly, that is sometimes not the case in the church today.

Tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the law in which all Israelites were to give 10 percent of everything they earned and grew to the Tabernacle/Temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent, not the 10 percent which is generally considered the tithe amount today. Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system. The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. Paul states that believers should set aside a portion of their income in order to support the church (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says it is to be “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving. The New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church. Every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom in the matter of participating in tithing and/or how much to give (James 1:5). Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Who are the 7 Spirits of God?

The Operation of the Seven Spirits of God

1. the Spirit of LORD
2. the Spirit of wisdom
3. the Spirit of understanding
4. the Spirit of counsel
5. the Spirit of power
6. the Spirit of knowledge
7. the Spirit of the fear of the LORD

"Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven Spirits of GOD." The seven lamps of fire, buring before the throne, we defined as "the seven Spirits of GOD." We have already seen this description in Revelation 1:4, where John was apparently referring to the sevenfold characteristics of the HOLY SPIRIT as revealed in Isaiah 11:2...

The seven Spirits do not mean seven different Spirits, but the seven characteristics of the One HOLY SPIRIT. It should be borne in mind, however, that these characteristics are not limited to HIS role in heaven, HIS role during the Tribulation, or HIS role during the Chruch Age, but are an eternal part of the HOLY SPIRIT. Therefore, when we are filled with the HOLY SPIRIT, in addition to the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22, we should expect to manifest these characteristics--wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, and reverence for the LORD.

From "Revelation Unveiled" by Tim Lahaye Part 2, 11. The Throne of GOD (Rev. 4-5).

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Like Unto Me: Moses as a Type of Christ

Moses Lived in the Reflection of Christ

There can be no doubt that Moses is a picture of Jesus Christ. Deuteronomy 18:15 says, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, LIKE UNTO ME; unto him ye shall hearken;” (emphasis added). The following is a list of some of the ways in which Moses is a type or picture of Jesus Christ. Although this is not an exhaustive list, it does include 40 different ways in which Moses typifies Christ. This list, then, is designed for the benefit of Bible students to think about the ways in which Moses and Christ are alike.

1. Both were born at a time when Israel was under foreign domination (Moses – Egyptian bondage & Jesus – Roman bondage).

2. Both had rulers that tried to kill them shortly after their births (Exodus 1:15-22; Matthew 2:16-18 ).

3. Both spent time in the wilderness before taking on their callings (Exodus 3; Matthew 4:1-11 ).

4. Both dealt with wicked kings (Pharaoh – Exodus 5-12; Herod – Luke 13:31-32 ).

5. Both dealt with folks who hardened their hearts (Exodus 8:15 ; Mark 6:45-52 ).

6. Both dealt with lepers (Numbers 12:10-15 ; Matthew 8:1-4 ).

7. Both had the world offered to them (Hebrews 11:24-27 ; Matthew 4:8-9 ).

8. Both were shepherds (Exodus 3:1 ; John 10:11 ).

9. Both fasted for 40 days (Exodus 34:28 ; Luke 4:2 ).

10. Both climbed mountains (Exodus 34; Matthew 5:1 ).

11. Both were meek (Numbers 12:3 ; Matthew 11:29 ; Matthew 21:5 ).

12. Both were envied (Psalm 106:16 ; Matthew 27:18 ).

13. Both did some writing (Exodus 34:27 ; John 8:6-8 ).

14. Both have a connection to the law - Moses, humanly speaking, wrote the law, but Jesus Christ fulfilled the law (Deuteronomy 31:9 ; Matthew 5:17 ).

15. Both kept the Passover (Exodus 12; Hebrews 11:28 ; Luke 22:11 ; Matthew 26:17-19 ).

16. Both had a connection to innocent blood (Deuteronomy 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 21:7-9; Matthew 27:3-4 ).

17. Both sang (Exodus 15:1 ;Matthew 26:30 ).

18. Both had ministries to the nation of Israel (Exodus 3:1-10;Matthew 15:21-8 ).

19. Both did miraculous things (no references needed ).

20. Both did miraculous things to/on large bodies of water (Exodus 7:20 ; Exodus 14:16, 27; Matthew 8:23-27 ; Mark 6:45-51 ).

21. Both fed hungry people in a wilderness (Exodus 16; Mark 8:1-9 ).

22. Both provided water for thirsty people (Exodus 15:22-25 ; John 4:10 ,14).

23. Both spoke of future tribulation (Deuteronomy 4:30-31; Matthew 24:21-22 ).

24. Both spoke of eternal fire (Leviticus 6:12-13 ; Matthew 25:40-41 ).

25. Both paid tribute (Numbers 31:41 ; Matthew 17:24-27 ).

26. Both sent out 12 men (Numbers 13; Luke 9:1-6 ).

27. Both were called God’s servants – “my servant” (Numbers 12:7 ; Matthew 12:14-21 ).

28. Both were prophets (Deuteronomy 34:10 ; John 6:14 ).

29. Both were priests (Exodus 40; Hebrews 4:14 ).

30. Both were kings (Deuteronomy 33:4-5 ; John 18:33-40 ).

31. Both were judges (Exodus 18:13 ; John 5:24-30 ).

32. Both were teachers (Deuteronomy 4:5 ; John 18:20 ).

33. Both told wicked men to depart (Numbers 16:26 ; Matthew 25:41 ).

34. Both met together on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9 ).

35. Both are connected through the brasen serpent (Numbers 21:4-9 ; John 3:14 ).

36. Both had outstretched arms with 2 men beside them, and in both cases there was a war going on (Exodus 17:8-16 ; Matthew 27:38 ). In Moses’ case, it was a physical war with Amalek. In Christ’s case, it was a spiritual war with the devil (Isaiah 50:8 in the context of the crucifixion).

37. Both had people weep when they died (Deuteronomy 34:8 ; John 20:11 ).

38. Both died but did not stay in their burial places (Deuteronomy 34:5-6; Jude 9; Matthew 17:1-9 ; Matthew 28).

39. Both were the subject of controversies concerning their dead bodies (Jude 9; Matthew 28:11-15 ).

40. Both had important “dignitaries” interested in their dead bodies (Michael & the devil – Jude 9; the Pharisees, the Roman soldiers, and Pilate – Matthew 27:62-65 ; Mark 15:43-45 ).

Friday, December 17, 2010

When did Joseph the Father of Jesus, Married Mary?

How Old Was Joseph?

Q. We know that Mary was a teenager (when she was betrothed), how old was Joseph?

A. Yes it’s likely that Mary was just a teenager, since that was the custom of the day. Joseph’s age is not indicated but circumstantial evidence can lead us to conclude that he was much older.

For example, the word generation is defined as the length of time from a man’s birth to the birth of his first child. In the Bible this averaged out to be about 40 years, suggesting that a man would normally be in his mid to late thirties at the time of his marriage.

Also, a Jewish man had to pay the girl’s father a negotiated “bride price” before taking her, and show that he could provide for her and the family they’d have with a stable income and a suitable house for them to live in. It would normally take years after learning a trade for a man to become financially prepared for marriage. So all things considered it seems likely that Joseph would have been much older than Mary.

Did Jesus Practice What He Preached?

Was Jesus Wealthy?

Q. I was having a conversation with a sister and I asked what Joseph and Mary did with all the gold and precious spices the wise men gave to them when they came to worship the Lord. This sister told me that Jesus was not a poor man, that He wouldn’t have called up His disciples to leave their families poor and unfed, and that He wore the clothes of a rich man otherwise why else would the soldiers gamble for His clothing.

This goes against everything I’ve known. I don’t think it’s a correct view. I think He survived on donations, and I have read that Mary Magdalene was an independent woman of means who was one of the key monetary contributors. What say you? I am very confused by this. How could Jesus be touting the forsaking of money and possessions, yet be a rich man? That would have made Him a hypocrite, and that’s impossible.

A. Your friend is mistaken, and has probably been influenced by the so-called prosperity Gospel teachers. Tradition has it that the gifts brought by the Magi were used to support the Lord’s family during the 2 years they spent in Egypt hiding from Herod.

Jesus never owned a home or any other possessions. He learned a trade, lived with his brothers and mother until he began his ministry, and after that wandered through Israel and the surrounding area with His disciples, sleeping under the stars. They were supported by contributions, and although they always had enough, were not wealthy. The soldiers did cast lots for his robe, a seamless garment of linen usually worn by royalty, but it was likely the only clothing he had. The Bible doesn’t say how He got it.

Of course at any moment Jesus could have conjured up enough wealth to buy anything he needed any time He wanted to. He could have had a fancy chariot and horses, caravans of camels and servants, stayed in all the best hotels, and ate at 5 star restaurants. But that was not His mission. He was to live an ordinary life, just like any one else, humbling Himself even to the point of living like a servant (Phil. 2:5-8).

None of this is meant to imply that Jesus was opposed to wealth. He just doesn’t like the way money often causes a person to be too focused on the things of this world, and not focused enough on things of the kingdom. That’s why He told us not to worry about money, but to trust that God would make sure that we always have what we need (Matt. 6:31-33). I think He practiced what He preached.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Was Adam a Literate?

Could Adam Read And Write?

Q. I think you mentioned in one of your articles that there is evidence that Adam could read and write and that possibly he even wrote books that Moses read and used to write the first five books of the Bible. I would love to know the evidences for this. What do we have that shows both Adam’s ability to read and to write, and what evidences are there also for his writings influencing Moses? Thanks as usual for your wisdom and heart. I read your emails daily.

A. The first appearance of the Hebrew word for book is in Genesis 5, in reference to Adam. But beginning in Genesis 2:4 we have Adam’s account of the Creation (chapter 1 being God’s version). The doubt about Adam’s ability to read and write stems from the foolish claim that man evolved from monkeys. According to the Bible Adam was created in the image of God. Do we question whether God could read and write?

Sumerian Cuneiform writing dates back about 5000 years and discoveries in Egypt and Pakistan are even older. Since Adam was born about 6000 years ago and lived for 930 years, this would place archeological evidence of writing within his lifetime. I believe the evidence of Scripture shows that man could read and write from the beginning.

I think it also makes sense that Moses had written documents from which he compiled the Book of Genesis. It contains the accounts of Adam (Gen. 5:1), Noah (Gen 6:9), Shem (Gen 11:10), Terah (Gen. 11:27), Ishmael (Gen 25:12), Isaac (Gen 25:19), Esau (Gen. 26) and Jacob (Gen. 37). The other four books of the Torah contain events that occurred during the lifetime of Moses and are eye witness accounts.