:sigh: Well, today's sermon was a bust - he lost me after the first sentence: "We're halfway to Christmess - Christ's birthday!" :gahhhhhhh!!:
I've copied this from Anna's site. I'll add my comments to it at the end, but she lays it out well (and saves me some time! :wink:)
</i>The Scriptures seem to indicate to us that Jesus was born during the festival season of Sukkot (Tabernacles). In fact, I believe that He was born on the Feast of Sukkot (which is Tishrei 15 on the biblical calendar, and is analogous to our September/October). With this in mind, let's look for some evidence of this in the Bible.
In Luke 1:5, Zachariah is a priest of the division of Abijah. What does this mean? Israel was divided into 24 districts at the time of Jesus. Each of these districts sent two representatives to officiate at the temple during the weeks of the year. In First Chronicles 24, the first division of the priests would serve in the first week of the year, which would be both in the month of Nisan and the month of Tishrei since both months begin the new year. As we saw earlier in this book, Nisan is the first month in the religious calendar set up by G-d in Exodus 12:2 and Tishrei is the first month of the year according to the civil calendar.
During the third week in the month of Nisan, the priests from all 24 districts would come to the temple to help during the week of Passover. This would also be the case for the festival of Pentecost and for the festival of Sukkot when all males were required to go to Jerusalem as specified by G-d in Deuteronomy 16:16. In First Chronicles 24:10, we see that abijah was the eighth division or course of priests. The course of abijah would minister during the tenth week of the year. Remember, the weeks of Passover and Shavuot would not be counted because all the priests were required to go to Jerusalem then.
In Luke 1:9-10, we see that Zacharias is burning incense. This is done in the room of the temple known as the Holy Place. As the incense (which represents the prayers of G-d's people [Psalm 141:2; Revelation 8:3-4]) is being burned by the priests in the temple, 18 special prayers are prayed. These 18 prayers would be prayed every day in the temple. One of these prayers is that Elijah would come. This is important because it was understood by the people, as G-d established, that Elijah would precede the coming of the Messiah as stated in Malachi 4:5.
These 18 special prayers would be prayed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. In Luke 1:11-13, the angel appeared on the right side of the altar and told Zacharias that his prayer was heard and John the Baptist would be born. John was not literally Elijah, but was of the spirit of power of Elijah (Luke 1:17).
Allowing two weeks for the laws of separation that G-d commanded in Leviticus 12:5; 15:19,24-25 after going back to the house (Luke 1:23) and then going forward nine months (Sivan [tenth week] + 2 weeks + 9 months) puts the birth of John during the festival of Passover. This is an extremely important point because during the service for Passover, which is called the Passover Seder, the people are instructed by G-d to go to the door during one part of the service and look for Elijah while the Passover meal is eaten. The cup is called the cup of Elijah. The understanding of Elijah preceding the coming of the Messiah was the basis for the question in Matthew 17:10-13.
In Luke 1:26 during the sixth month of Elisabeth's pregnancy, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. This should have been around the twenty-fifth of Kislev, otherwise known as Chanukah. During the time of the first century, Chanukah was known as the second Sukkot. During the time of Chanukah, all of the Sukkot prayers are prayed once again. Mary's dialogue with the angel Gabriel is found in the Sukkot liturgy today. If you calculate from the twenty-fifth of Kislev and add eight days for the festival of Chanukah plus nine months for Mary's pregnancy, this will bring you around the time of the festival of Sukkot, or Tishrei 15. On Tishrei 22, known as Shemini Atzeret or the eighth day, Jesus was circumcised (Luke 2:22-23; Leviticus 12:1-3).
As we have stated earlier in this chapter, the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) is called "the season of our joy" and "the feast of the nations." With this in mind, in Luke 2:10 it is written, "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings [basar in Hebrew; otherwise known as the gospel] of great joy [Sukkot is called the 'season of our joy'], which shall be to all people [Sukkot is called 'the feast of the nations']." So, we can see from this that the terminology the angel used to announce the birth of Jesus were themes and messages associated with the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles).
In Luke 2:12, the babe was wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. The swaddling cloths were also used as wicks to light the 16 vats of oil within the court of the women during the festival of Sukkot. So, swaddling cloths are associated with the festival of Sukkot.
Notice also in Luke 2:12 that the baby Jesus was laid in a manger. The word manger is the Greek word phatn'e. It is the same word translated as "stall" in Luke 13:15. By seeing how the word is used in Luke 13:15, we can see that the Greek word phatn'e means a place for hitching cattle. The Hebrew word for stall is marbek, which can be found in Amos 6:4 and Malachi 4:2. In Genesis 33:17 it is written that Jacob journeyed to Sukkoth and made booths (the word booth in this passage is the Hebrew word sukkah; the plural is sukkot) for his cattle. So we can see from these passages how the word booth (sukkah or sukkot) was used by Jacob for his cattle in Genesis 33:17, and how the Greek word for manger or "stall," phatn'e, was also used to refer to hitching cattle in Luke 13:15. Phatn'e is the same word translated as "manger" in Luke 2:12, where Jesus was laid at the time of His birth.
During the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles), G-d required that all male Jews come to Jerusalem(Deuteronomy 16:16). For this reason, the city would be overcrowded with people and would explain why Mary and Joseph could not find lodging in and around Jerusalem (Luke 2:7). Bethlehem, the place where Jesus was born, is only about four miles from Jerusalem.
The last evidence I will give for the birth of Jesus during Sukkot according to the Scriptures is in Matthew 2:1. There we see that wise men come from the East to visit Jesus. The land of the East is Babylon, where the largest Jewish population was at the time of the birth of Jesus. These Jews were descendants from the captivity when King Nebuchadnezzar defeated Israel and took the Jews to Babylon to serve him. Babylon is referred to as the land of the East in Genesis 29:1 and Judges 6:3. The wise men in Matthew 2:1 were rabbis. The rabbis, also called sages, are known in Hebrew as chakamim, which means wise men. The word in Matthew 2:1 in Greek is magos, which is translated into English as "Magi." Magos in Greek is the Hebrew word ravmag. Ravmag comes from the Hebrew word rav, which means "rabbi." It should also be noted that the Greek word magos can also mean scientist, counselor, scholar, or teacher. The rabbis were scholars or teachers of the Jewish law. Jesus was referred to as "Rabbi," or "Teacher" in John 1:38,47,49; 3:2. So, we can see that the wise men were Jewish rabbis coming from Babylon to witness the birth of Jesus.
A question we can ask ourselves is, "What made the rabbis make the journey from Babylon to Bethlehem to witness the birth of Jesus?" The answer is given in Matthew 2:2, as it is written, "...we have seen His star in the east...."
One of the requirements during the time of Sukkot was to build an outside temporary shelter and live in it during this festival season. This shelter is called a booth, or sukkah. The sukkah had to be built with an opening in the roof so the people could see the stars in heaven. This is another reason for why the rabbis would be looking for, and thus seeing, the star in the sky when it appeared. King Herod inquired about where the Messiah would be born in Matthew 2:4. He was told in Bethlehem, based upon the prophecy in Micah 5:2. In Matthew 2:10 it is written, "When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy." Once again, remember that Sukkot is called "the season of our joy." In Matthew 2:2, the rabbis saw the star from the East. Salvation was seen by the Jewish people as coming from the East. Jesus descended from the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). The tribe of Judah was positioned on the east side of the tabernacle of Moses in the wilderness.
Therefore, by studying and understanding the festival of Sukkot and the themes and messages that G-d desired to be conveyed during this festival, enables us to read the Bible in a new light; it enables us to understand that Yeshua was born during the season of Sukkot and that He is the Star we are all called to see with our (spiritual) eyes! </i>
One of my big beefs is that we (the "Christian" church) do NOT follow the Bible anymore. Oh, we *say* we do...but we've been brainwashed into believing whatever everyone else believes. If the masses want to celebrate chrismess in December, well - hey! Let's say it's when Jesus was actually born, and assimilate the pagan holiday. Let's Totally IGNORE that G-d originally set up a calendar for His people, and it revolves around feast days He appointed to 'shadow' what He had in mind for this world in the future. It was His system... but that apparently wasn't good enough for us. We forsook the whole thing. Why? Because that's not what the pagans were doing, and humans are notorious for playing follow-the-leader - never mind if the leader is G-d or not!
But we don't do Old Testament stuff anymore! you whine. Yeah. I noticed. And according to the New Testament, that's wrong. Jesus said He didn't come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it... and He did - some of it. Some of it is still to come. But we treat the OT law it like He destroyed it, don't we? We celebrate "Easter" based on the cycles of the moon, like the Pagans did in their day. Paul warned not to adopt the pagan calendar in Galatians 4:10, but did the church listen? Heck no. Every NT verse talking about the feasts of the OT uphold them. But do we? No. In fact, in Matthew 5:18, Jesus himself said that the law was valid "until heaven and earth passed away." Did we listen to Him? No.
In fact, did you know that in A.D. 186 Pope Victor excommunicated the entire church in Asia Minor for observing the Passover on Nisan 14 (as G-d commanded in Leviticus 23), rather on the pagan festival day of Ishtar/Easter? No kidding. How totally twisted things got because the church conformed to this world.
G-d's calendar doesn't have 365 days... G-d's calendar doesn't start in January, it starts in Nisan (the fall, near September). G-d's calendar doesn't change from year to year like ours does - Christmas on a different day every year, Easter on a different day every year. He made the days set for a purpose... because they fit His purpose for our future. There is no future in 'our' calendar.
Because of our conforming to the world, we screwed up G-d's calendar. His days are overlooked at best. They flip-flop around the pagan calendar, making them easy to ignore or give up on trying to follow.
It's not the first time humans have done this - the Israelites did it when Moses was on Mt. Sinai the first time. Every time they entered a new area of the Promised Land, they ignored G-d's command to NOT associate with the pagans - they intermarried, and adopted the pagan rituals. It SAYS so, over and over in the Bible. We're still doing it today!
Why do I let it bother me? Simple. We are living in Revelation times. Don't believe me? Check out the news reports - not the local shit that's *called* news - check out what's going on in Europe right now. How about Isreal - she is currently surrounded by enemies - and the traditional day of Breaking (Tisha B'Av) will occur on July 4th this year.....will anything happen? I haven't a clue - I'm not a prophet, and I won't try to claim that I "know" something that I don't. But it seems pretty coincidental to me that the EU is set to have a new president, Isreal is surrounded, and Venus and Saturn are aligning all around the same time. Prophetic? I haven't a clue. But I AM watching - as we were told to do over and over in the Bible.
As for me and my family, we are keeping the 7th day Sabbath. We will be keeping the 7 G-d ordained Feasts (and hannukah - cause the kids like the presents :grin:). I'd rather be wrong and follow my G-d's commands then sit back and think I'm above the law......
So, what am I going to do about church? Don't know yet. I haven't been "told" to change, I haven't been "told" to say anything to pastor - I tried today, but he was always surrounded. At potluck, he sat with guests - I'm not going to cause a scene in front of non-members unless I am led to...and I wasn't today. :sigh: Guess I'll just stay frustrated.