Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why Christians should be aware of Jewish Holy Days

(Disclaimer, a lot of my views cornering the Feast Days and chronology have changed since I first made this.  In fact all of these may be effectively not applicable at all besides the Crucifixion in 30 AD reference.  Though the statement in the title remains Accurate.  Follow the labels for better more up to date info.  I also address these issues in a more updated fashion in this post on my Sola Sciprtura blog.)

Not just because we believe in the Hebrew Bible. All of them also have New Testament significance. The relevance of the Passover season (Passover being the Crucifixion, First Fruits the Resurrection, and Pentecost the birth of the Church) is well known, so here I want to get into the rest. But some of my own thoughts on the Spring Feasts feasts pop up in my study on why I date the Crucifixion to 30 A.D.

Don't think I'm getting into legalism here. I'm certainly not saying that practicing them according to the Torah's instruction is necessary for Salvation, I believe in Salvation By Faith Alone and Eternal Security. Or even that a Christian, (Gentile or Jewish), ought to practice them to qualify as a good obedient Christian. Simply that spiritual insight can be gained from understanding them, and observing them if you choose to.

Colossians 2:16 shows that the New Testament era Christians were observing the Jewish holidays, New moons and Sabbaths.

John 10:22 tells us that the feast of the Dedication (Hanukkah) is when the narrative in the following verses took place. I don't believe that is incidental, I think it means something. Hanukkah is the major Jewish Holy Day commonly claimed to have no Old Testament significance. It did originate in the so called "Intertestamental period" but the history behind it is in Bible Prophecy. Mainly Daniel 8 and 11, but also Haggai 2 seems to anticipate that time of year becoming a time to rededicate the Temple. And some see Zechariah 4 as anticipating the Hanukkah menorah, the imagery of that Chapter of Zechariah is also affiliated with the 2 witnesses in Revelation 11. One Witness is obviously Elijah, the other is debatable, but I firmly believe it's Enoch.  Interestingly in the Hebrew Enoch's name (could also be rendered Henoch) is basically the first syllable of Hanukkah.
There are some things I disagree with there, but it basically explains why I date the Birth of Jesus to the 1st of Tishri in 3 BC. It also argues based on the view I agree with on the Star of Bethlehem that the magi presented their 3 gifts to Jesus on the 3rd day of the Hanukkah festival, the traditional day for gift giving.

Jesus being born on the 1st of Tishri places his circumcision on the 8th of Tishri, the day in 1 Kings when the initial dedication of Solomon's temple began, before being finished on the 10th (Yom Kippur). But also puts Jesus presentation in the Temple (when Simon gave his Prophecy and Anna the Prophetess is mentioned) on the 10th of Cheshvan (The day God commanded Noah and his Family to enter the Ark, 7 days before the rain started on the 17th).

Also if you study the chronology from Luke's account Jesus being born on the New Moon of the first month puts his conception and the Annunciation on the New Moon of the 4th month Nine months earlier, same day Esther was made Queen in Esther 2:16. That day is also the 6th or 7th day of Hanukkah. The visitation which was very soon after (Perhaps the last day of the Hanukkah festival) was when Elizabeth was 6 months Pregnant. That means John the Baptist's conception, and Gabriel appearing to his father in the Holy Place was probably on the New Moon of the 10th month. And then John's birth on the New Moon of the 7th month, Nisan, the ceremonial New Year.

What's interesting about the Nativity narrative revolving around those 4 New Moons, is that according to the Apocryphal Book of Jubilees Chapter 6 verse 23 Noah told his sons to observe remembrances on those same 4 New Moons. Now this isn't inspired, but if it's based on a real ancient tradition, it's interesting because I believe the Lunar and Solar cycles where still in synch back then (I believe they where still the days of Joshua, possibly all the way to Hezekiah), and that those 4 new moons would have exactly corresponded to the Equinoxes and Solstices. So they equate to the beginnings of each season.

Jubilees goes on to also try and connect specific events of the Flood narrative to those 4 dates, but only the events for the 10th and First months are accurate. It says the rain stopped on the New Moon of the 4th month, but that would have actually been the 27th of Kislev, but it has in common that both those days are during what would become Hanukkah, and as I showed above the 27th is when the Magi presented their gifts to Yeshua.

Educated Christians like me love pointing out how the Birth of Jesus couldn't possibly be in late December/Early January. But as I've shown events from the Nativity narrative did take place around that time, during The Hanukkah (2 different Hanukkahs separated by 2 years, 4 BC and 2 B.C.) festival, so our celebrating it then isn't unjustified.

Tradition also holds the martyrdom of Stephen to have been the 26th of December (The Feast of Stephen) which may have originally meant the 26th of Kislev, the second day of Hanukkah. Stephen introduced in Acts 6 was part of a synagogue of Christians who where Hellenistic Jews (which the KJV confusingly translates Grecians). And he was accused of speaking " blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law". If you know the full story behind the history leading up to the Hasmonean revolt, you can see why Hanukkah might be a time where tensions between Hellenistic Jews and traditional Jews might have flared up, and seeming disrespect to The Temple an extra sensitive topic.

I have a hunch Jesus Baptism was on Tu B'Av, the 15th (Full Moon) of Av, a day when the unmarried girls of Jerusalem dressed in white garments and went out to dance in the vineyards to seek a husband. Also the day the Tribe of Benjamin was allowed to intermarry with the other tribes after the incident of the Concubine of Gibeah (see Judges chapters 19-21). Since the only Jewish precedent for Baptism is the Mikveh, one of it's usages was a ritual cleansing of a Bride before her wedding.

There is a 40 day period in Jewish tradition equating to the entire month of Elul and the first 10 days of Tishri when it's believed the Gates of Heaven are open, and is the ideal time to Pray and Repent. Believed to originate with being the 40s days Moses prayed on behalf of Israel after the Golden Calf incident. I believe this is also the 40 day period Yeshua fasted in the wilderness soon after his Baptism. This also places when Satan tempted him on Yom Kippur, which is interesting since many believe Yom Kippur was the day The Serpent tempted Havah (Eve), and Adam fell.

That was the Yom Kippur of 28 AD (I place the Crucifixion on the Passover of 30 AD as I explained in a separate thread), the Yom Kippur of 29 AD is referenced back to in John 11:51, where it refers to the annual Prophecy made by the High Priest.

John chapter 7 clearly defines itself as revolving around the 7 day feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), it ends with "And every man went unto his own house." referring to their leaving their temporary dwellings. I believe we need to study this feast and it's deeper meanings more to fully comprehend that Chapter. But also I believe John 8, 9 and the first 21 verses of Chapter 10 all take place on Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah (In Israel those are the same day). The first part of Chapter 8, the well known story of the Adulteress I believe has an additional typological significance, remember that Israel is often symbolized as an Adulteress (Like in Hosea). It occurred very early that day.

Then when Jesus blurts out "I am the Light of the World" I believe he was interrupting the key Torah reading of that day. And everything afterwards occurs still on the same day or perhaps into the next by my understanding.

Purim is an interesting holiday, it's linked to Passover in a sense (The actual climatic sequence of Esther occurs over passover, Haman was hanged on the 17th of Nisan, the day of the Resurrection). It is also customary to avoid eating Matzah for thirty days before Passover, which is Purim.

"Starting from the day of Purim (which is thirty days before Passover), one should start teaching and learning the laws of the holiday. However, since the laws are available in print and everyone can learn it on his or her own, it is no longer customary to teach it so much publicly. Rather each one should review the laws on his own until they know it well"-Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch 429:1.

I think in John 11 it might have been over the days Purim is observed that the Death and Resurrection of Lazarus took place.

The eschatological significance of Jewish Holy Days has come up and shall continue to come up in many studies here.  This post helps us understand their context.

No comments:

Post a Comment