Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Early Christian and Jewish festivals, what happened in that 1st century?
Tue, March 10, 2015 | link
Early Christian and Jewish
festivals, what happened in that 1st century?
“Today is a day of 'doing' & 'celebration'. When you
do it responsibly, life becomes soulful celebration.”
~ Vishwas Chavan
Jesus was a Jew, yet he gave birth to the movement of people
who follow his teachings called Christianity.
The early Christians therefore observed Jewish festivals and so if we need to understand their focus and context,
we need to know what these festivals were.
Most of the early festivals and feasts were mentioned in Leviticus 23.
Here is what it says and where it is mentioned in the new writings of the Christians
with Leviticus 23…
1-2 The Lord said to
Moses, “Announce to the people of Israel that they are to celebrate several annual festivals of the Lord—times
when all Israel will assemble and worship me. 3 (These are in addition to your Sabbaths[a]—the seventh day of every week—which are always days of rest in every home, times for assembling to worship,
and for resting from the normal business of the week.) 4 These are the holy festivals which are to be observed
5 “The Passover of the Lord: This is to be celebrated on the first day of April,[b] beginning at sundown.
This is the older writings of Moses, the newer writings of Paul the apostle
says the following of the Passover and feast of unleavened bread which are the basis of the Christian communion remembrance
when bread and wine are consumed. These are both linked to the Passover remembrance. The Passover is mentioned in Matthew
you know, the Passover celebration begins in two days, and I shall be betrayed and crucified.”
See in 1 Corinthians 5 it says
Lamb, has been slain for us. 8 So let us feast upon him and grow strong in the Christian life, leaving entirely
behind us the cancerous old life with all its hatreds and wickedness. Let us feast instead upon the pure bread of honor and
sincerity and truth.
Ezekiel 45:21 in the Old Testament says of the Passover
“On the fourteenth
day of the same month, you shall celebrate the Passover. It will be a seven-day feast. Only bread without
yeast shall be eaten during those days.
So what about this feast of unleavened bread. Leviticus 23
6 “The Festival of Unleavened Bread: This is to be celebrated beginning the day following the Passover, and for seven days you must not
eat any bread made with yeast. 7 On the first day of this festival, you shall gather the people for worship,
and all ordinary work shall cease.[c] 8 You shall do the same on the seventh day of the festival. On each of the intervening days you shall
make an offering by fire to the Lord.
What is unleavened bread?
29:2 says …bread made without yeast, and thin sheets of sweetened bread
mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers with oil poured over them. (The various kinds of bread
shall be made with finely ground wheat flour.)
In the newer writings Luke 22 says
Now the day of the Passover celebration arrived, when the Passover lamb was killed
and eaten with the unleavened bread.
The older writings in Leviticus
23 say the following about the next festivals
Festival of First Fruits: When you arrive in
the land I will give you and you reap your first harvest, bring the first sheaf of the harvest to the priest on the day after
the Sabbath. He shall wave it before the Lord in a gesture of offering, and it will be accepted by the Lord as your gift.
12 That same day you shall sacrifice to the Lord a male yearling lamb without defect as a burnt offering.
13 A grain offering shall accompany it, consisting of a fifth of a bushel of finely ground flour mixed with
olive oil, to be offered by fire to the Lord; this will be very pleasant to him. Also offer a drink offering consisting of
three pints of wine. 14 Until this is done you must not eat any of the harvest for yourselves—neither
fresh kernels nor bread nor parched grain. This is a permanent law throughout your nation.
15-16 “The Harvest Festival (Festival of Pentecost): Fifty days later you shall bring to the Lord an offering of a sample of the new
grain of your later crops. 17 This shall consist of two loaves of bread from your homes to be waved before
the Lord in a gesture of offering. Bake this bread from a fifth of a bushel of fine flour containing yeast. It is an offering
to the Lord of the first sampling of your later crops.[d] 18 Along with the bread and the wine, you shall sacrifice as burnt offerings to the Lord seven yearling
lambs without defects, one young bull, and two rams. All are fire offerings, very acceptable to Jehovah.[e] 19 And you shall offer one male goat for a sin offering and two male yearling lambs for a peace offering.
20 “The priests shall wave these offerings before the Lord along
with the loaves representing the first sampling of your later crops. They are holy to the Lord and will be given to the priests
as food. 21 That day shall be announced as a time of sacred convocation of all the people; don’t do
any work that day. This is a law to be honored from generation to generation. 22 (When you reap your harvests,
you must not thoroughly reap all the corners of the fields, nor pick up the fallen grain; leave it for the poor and for foreigners
living among you who have no land of their own; I am Jehovah your God!)
Now the second of these, the harvest festival was especially important to early Christians
because Pentecost was when Holy Spirit came into their lives in a new and important way.
There are numerous references to Pentecost and the full history is found in
Acts. I will quote two items, one from Acts 2
Seven weeks had gone by since Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the Day of Pentecost had
now arrived.] As the believers met together that day, 2 suddenly there was a sound like the roaring
of a mighty windstorm in the skies above them and it filled the house where they were meeting. 3 Then, what
looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on their heads. 4 And everyone present was filled
with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in languages they didn’t know, for the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
Another 1 Corinthians 16 has Paul saying
7 This time I don’t want to make just a passing visit and then go right on; I
want to come and stay awhile, if the Lord will let me. 8 I will be staying here at Ephesus until the holiday
of Pentecost, 9 for there is a wide open door for me to preach and teach here
Now let’s look at the next feasts in Leviticus
23-24 “The Festival of Trumpets: Mid-September is a time for all the people to meet together for worship; it is a
time of remembrance, and is to be announced by loud blowing of trumpets. 25 Don’t do any hard work on
that day, but offer a sacrifice by fire to the Lord.
26-27 “The Day of Atonement follows nine
days later: All the people are to come together before the Lord, saddened by their sin; and they shall offer sacrifices by
fire to the Lord. 28 Don’t do any work that day, for it is a special day for making atonement before
the Lord your God. 29 Anyone who does not spend the day in repentance and sorrow for sin shall be excommunicated
from his people. 30-31 And I will put to death anyone who does any kind of work that day. This is a law of
Israel from generation to generation. 32 For this is a Sabbath of rest, and in it you shall go without food
and be filled with sorrow; this time for atonement begins in the evening and continues through the next day.
Here the New Testament says something about the festival of
trumpets directly and the Day of Atonement is important. It is a time of fasting by the early church.
They did this numerous times and fasting is referred to
Example in Acts 13 is One day as these men were worshiping and fasting the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas
and Paul for a special job I have for them.”
Trumpets are mentioned in Revelations 8 to 11 and so we know this festival was important. One example
of this mention is
the seven angels with the seven trumpets prepared to blow their mighty blasts.
7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and hail and fire mixed with blood were thrown down upon the earth.
The next feast mentioned in Leviticus 23 is of tabernacles or shelters
33-34 “The Festival of Shelters: Five days later, on the last day of September, is the Festival of Shelters* to be celebrated
before the Lord for seven days. 35 On the first day there will be a sacred assembly of all the people; don’t
do any hard work that day. 36 On each of the seven days of the festival you are to sacrifice an offering by
fire to the Lord. The eighth day requires another sacred convocation of all the people, at which time there will again be
an offering by fire to the Lord. It is the closing assembly, and no regular work is permitted.37 “(These, then, are the regular annual festivals—sacred convocations of all people—when
offerings to the Lord are to be made by fire. 38 These annual festivals are in addition to your regular Sabbaths—the
weekly days of holy rest. The sacrifices made during the festivals are to be in addition to your regular giving and normal
fulfillment of your vows.)39 “This last day of September,
at the end of your harvesting, is the time to begin to celebrate this seven-day festival before the Lord. Remember that the
first and last days of the festival are special days of rest. 40 On the first day, take boughs of fruit trees
laden with fruit, and palm fronds, and the boughs of leafy trees—such as willows that grow by the brooks—and build
shelters with them, rejoicing before the Lord your God for seven days. 41 This seven-day annual feast is a
law from generation to generation. 42 During those seven days, all of you who are native Israelites are to
live in these shelters. 43 The purpose of this is to remind the people of Israel, generation after generation,
that I rescued you from Egypt, and caused you to live in shelters. I am Jehovah your God.”This is what Paul is referring to when he says in Acts 18They asked him to stay for a few days, but
he felt that he had no time to lose.21 “I must by
all means be at Jerusalem for the holiday,” he said. But he promised to return to Ephesus later if
God permitted; and so he set sail again.Festivals
were a time of remembrance and a way to transfer these memories to younger generations. They were important and perhaps they
still are. Maybe we as Christians would do well to review these festivals this year as we move towards Easter.God is after all the same yesterday, today and tomorrow so
if they had significance to God then, perhaps they still have.
That’s a thought for today!
Monday, March 9, 2015
Requesting or demanding of God?
Requesting or demanding of God?
Mon, March 9, 2015 | link
demand is a request without respect or option.
The online dictionaries say that a demand is an insistent and peremptory request, made
as if by right. It is to ask authoritatively or brusquely.
How often do we ask for something
trying to influence the answer?
We so easily move from the request to a demand,
and sometimes ever so subtly. We sometimes don’t even know we have done it, do we?
The interesting thing is people who speak to God and make the mistake of
turning a request into a demand. We need to know that God is not someone we should be bargaining with. God is supreme and
will hear our requests, but is not to be manipulated by us.
A typical example of mistakes people make occurs is in an advert by Christians I saw on the internet
Here is what it says
“Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, led by Pastor
Ed Young, has launched a 90-Day Challenge, encouraging members of the multi-campus megachurch to put God to the test by "Bringing
(their) tithes and offerings to the House."
"Each of us has a unique opportunity to be a part of the incredible life change
happening around us at Fellowship Church by bringing our tithes and offerings to the House," reads a description of the
90-Day Challenge. "If you are not tithing already, the 90-Day Challenge is the best place to start. We commit to you
that if you tithe for 90 days and God doesn't hold true to his promise of blessings, we will refund 100 percent of your tithe."
What is wrong with
this (other than pastor Ed is collecting the interest on 90 days of money belonging to others)?
Well it is basically saying that we can manipulate God
or use him like a trained monkey or machine. We push this button and then that happens!
Where is the respect for God
seems to me to be an attempt to manipulate people and God!
We should not be doing this!
God is not our benevolent controllable benefactor.
No! God created and sustains this universe and is not to be
mocked or manipulated.
we do this same activity by bargaining with our Lord. Instead of placing the request with an open heart (which is okay) and
the simply without expectation allowing God to fulfill or not fulfill as is his choice, we say God if you … then we
Our loving god
is just that! Sometimes he lowers himself to fulfilling the demands as a means of communicating with us. What
we need to realize is that we have no right to demand!
God will do as he wills! That is who God is. He does not needs our help or advice or anything we
have to offer. He may appreciate our attitude of heart, but the correct attitude of heart comes with a request and not a demand.
“But remember the persistent
widow” I have been told when explaining this. The widow complained until she got what she wanted. We should do the same,
the bible says so!
How does that story start, let’s
see… One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they
must keep praying until the answer comes.
was a city judge,” he said, “a very godless man who had great contempt for everyone. 3 A widow
of that city came to him frequently to appeal for justice against a man who had harmed her. 4-5 The judge
ignored her for a while, but eventually she got on his nerves.“‘I fear neither God nor man,’ he said to himself, ‘but this
woman bothers me. I’m going to see that she gets justice, for she is wearing me out with her constant coming!’”
6 Then the Lord said, “If even an evil judge can be worn down
like that, 7 don’t you think that God will surely give justice to his people who plead with him day
and night? 8 Yes! He will answer them quickly! But the question is: When I, the Messiah, return, how many
will I find who have faith and are praying*?”
Notice how the story starts…
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer
and to show them that they must keep praying until the answer comes.
Jesus was not saying pray until you get what you want, but pray until you get an answer!
We need to ask of God continually until we get answers, but should not try to influence what the answer will
Requesting instead of demanding
is a sign of growing faith.
Will you request or demand today?