This came about because a choir member saw my CJB, and asked if I were "going Jewish". This led to a discussion about the lack of Old Testament teaching/studying, and how she was OK with that....:sigh:
Choir member who started this discussion,
I couldn't sleep last night because of your comments on the OT.....I have this overwhelming urge to tell you *why* the OT is SO VITAL....and, of course, I'm at work - so this might be a bit disjointed. I just hope it's readable!
First off, God is a God of Patterns and Order. NOTHING is kept secret from us - it's all spelled out in the Bible, if we'd just *read* it. Not just part of it - ALL of it. You need to know this before you dig deeper - it makes it a lot easier to accept. I didn't make ANY of this up - it's all there, no matter what version you use (well...some of them have watered it down pretty much, but the KJV keeps it clear.) That said.....
We are living in prophetic times. We are seeing Ezekiel 37 being fulfilled Right Now (the valley with the dry bones - fulfilled in 1948. An Israeli invented a way to mass produce weapons during the "Great War" (that would be Ezekiel 37: 7-14), and more and more Jews are making Aliyah (immigrating to Israel) - last month was a banner month - in *1* day, *4* planeloads of immigrants landed in Jeruselem (Ezekiel 37: 15-22)! We have seen Daniel's Dream come to fruition (Daniel 7:19-25) in the formation of the EU (aka the Revived Roman Empire (the "beast that was, then was not, but will be again"). (By the way, Daniel predicted the arrival of the Messiah the first time TO THE DAY. Whoa! You'd think the Jews would have been paying attention....)
Leviticus is one of THE most important books in the Bible. Why? Because in it, God has laid out the schedule of events leading up to the End Times. (We call it the "Tribulation".) (Lev. 23) There are 7 Feasts laid out in the Bible: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Judgement Day, and Tabernacles (I've used the English names here...I'll use the Hebrew names in a minute). What's the big deal? Simple: Jesus Fulfilled the first 4 Feasts with his life - to the DAY.
Pesach (Passover): I'm sure you know the story; the Hebrews were in Egypt, there were 3 sets of 3 plagues, each one getting worse and worse. The 9th one was the deal-breaker - God sent the angel of Death to kill the Firstborn, UNLESS the house had painted the doorposts of the house with the blood of a Lamb (Jesus = Lamb of God.) WE are dead because of sin, unless we paint the doorposts of our hearts with the blood of Jesus. (PLUS, Jesus was crucified ON PASSOVER (Matt. 26, for starters).
Matzah (Unleavened Bread): Leaven (yeast) is used in the Bible to represent sin. Leavened bread rots quickly...unleavened does not. Jesus was in the tomb 3 days, but his body did NOT decompose - he was sinless. (This feast is a 7-day feast, and begins the day after Passover)
Firstfruits: the day after Matzah begins (the *3rd* day - I LOVE how God put it all together!). You are to bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of the harvest to the priests for a sacrifice to God. Jesus was "the firstfruits of those who have died" (1 Cor 15:20).
Shavout (Pentecost) 50 days after Firstfruits is Pentecost, an "ingathering" of the Jewish. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit ON Pentecost to indwell the believers.
There is a break in the Feasts here - summer. The first 4 are all in the Spring, and occur pretty close together. Passover occurs on the 14th day of Nisan (I think - my Hebrew is very scanty) - the first month of the Hebrew calendar. It falls around April. We are currently near the end of the "Summer of Gentiles" - because the Jews refused to believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah, Paul was told to go to the Gentile nations and teach them. (Thus fulfilling the covenant God made with Abraham (that he would be a blessing to ALL nations); it's restated in Romans 11:13-27) How do I know we're near the end? Because Jesus told us that before the End Times came, there would be "birthing pains"..and there are. And they are getting closer and closer together. Katrina? Earthquakes? Wars? Rumors of War? Yeah....and it's only going to get worse as time marches on. Revelation is *real*, baby - and we may see it happen in OUR lifetimes!
The next Feast to be fulfilled is coming up next week - it starts Wed. evening at sundown. Rosh Ha'shannah, the Feast of Trumpets, the "day no one knows" (is this ringing ANY bells with you? It should....it's Rapture time, when it happens! Praise the Lord!). It is the ONLY Feast that has a musical instrument associated with it, it's the ONLY Feast that occurs on the New Moon (it's dark, it's hard to know exactly *when* the New Moon appears...) AND it's spread out over 2 days. The Trumpet is actually a shofar...shofars were used to call up the Israelites to war.
After that are the "10 days of Awe" - the period that leads up to:
Yom Kippur (Judgement Day): Pretty self-explanatory; Revelations 20 pretty well spells the future fulfillement of this one out.
5 days after Yom Kippur, begins the 7 day Feast of:
Sukkot (Tabernacles) - to remind the people of their time in the Wilderness, living in Booths (tents). It's when New Jeruselem will come down from Heaven. It's also when (I believe) Jesus was actually born - John says as much in Ch. 1 of his Gospel (And the word came and "tabernacled" with us). The timing is right - John was born ON Passover (he was "Elijah reborn"....the Temple records show that Zachariah (his father) was on rotation at the right time for his conception to lead to that birthdate, and the Jews today look for Elijah to return ON Passover)....plus, that would put Mary's visit by the Holy Spirit right around Hannakuah (the "Feast of Lights"....that would fit, that the "Light of the World" would be conceived during the Feast of Lights). Sukkot is the traditional date that YHWH first came and covered the Wilderness Tabernacle. (Is that cool or what? :grin:)
We've gotten SO screwed up, thanks to the catholic church. ALL of this was common knowledge, up until the 3rd century (or so), when Constantine "converted". Actually, what he did was set us on the path of idolatry and paganism - he brought with his "conversion" all the pagan practises he was familiar with. He removed the Jewishness of the Bible, and introduced Mithras (the sun god) into the mix. Ever wonder why we worship on SUNday instead of honoring the Sabbath (Saturday)? Constantine. (Yes, we worship on the day the pagans worshiped the sun god. No, I don't like it....we CAN worship God any day of the week (and SHOULD), but..to abolish the Sabbath completely (which God set up in *Genesis* (Ch. 2: 1-3)..so, yeah - the Sabbath is VERY important to God) is totally against God's own will (Remember the 10 Commandants? #4 - Honor the SABBATH and keep it Holy. Only God can declare something holy, NOT man). Oh, and.....the commandments as we say them? Are wrong. What we call #1 and #2 is actually just #2. The actual #1 says "I am YHWH your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery. He GAVE us his NAME.....and yet our translators have changed it to "the Lord" or "the Lord your God"..... how sad is it, that we have our God's personal name, but we never use it??) He's the reason we've removed all Jewishness from our religion - after all, the JEWS killed Jesus! (Nope - the ROMANS killed Jesus, the Jews just allowed it because they didn't want to believe that the promised Messiah was a man of peace, not a mighty warlord. They'll get their warlord when he returns!)
Christmess? Pagan thru and thru. (Constantine, again - Dec. 25 was the date the pagans celebrated the sun god's birth. According to the Gospel accounts, Christ was born in late Sept/early Oct, because the sheep were still in the fields - no snow!) Easter? Ditto - did ya ever wonder why it moves around? Why it's the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox (or whatever it is.....:sigh:) It's because of the pagan fertility goddess Ishtar (pronounced....."easter". Go figure!), whose festival got "christianized". Lent? Not Biblical at all - it's again pagan, the time Ishtar mourned the death of her "immaculatly conceived" son (a pig killed him...which is why ham is the traditional Easter meal. Let's ignore the fact that pigs are unclean animals and not to be eaten.....)
I have known for years about the pagan dates....but I had NO idea how deep the pagan influences actually went, until this year. Ironically, I have J. to thank for that - he was so screwed up in his beliefs that I went digging to prove him wrong (or, me wrong, since I was - and am - willing to admit my ignorance.) I found the most awesome study site: Torah Class , which is a college-level course on the Torah. The teacher puts the Jewishness back into it, and explains the customs and attitudes of the times it was written in. I also found Anna - she's a very well educated stay-at-home mom. I *highly* recommend you at least hit her site, and start reading her side bar menu. It's illuminating, to say the least. (And a little less intimidating than Torah Class. :grin: She's a down-to-Earth, REAL person. A bit rough around the edges, but she *knows* her Bible.)
We have done ourselves a total disservice by tossing out the OT in favor of the NT. Jesus Himself said "Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a jot or a stroke will pass from the Torah - not until everything that must happen has happened" (Matt. 5: 17-18). Whenever your Bible says "Scriptures" or "Law", it means the Torah - that WAS the only Scripture that Jesus had. (OK, it means the OT, but Jesus mostly quoted the Torah. My Bible takes the quotes directly OUT OF the OT, whenever they appear, and footnotes them so you can go back and see the context of the original. It's cool! - and I had *NO* idea how much of the NT was actually nothing more than quotes from the OT!)
The thing is, a lot of people think they're doing the right thing...and they're not. (Matt. 7:21-23) Jesus said Himself to "Go in thru the narrow gate; for the gate that leads to destruction is wide and the road broad, and many travel it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matt. 7:13-14) - MOST churches are teaching the "broad way"...I don't know about you, but I'd rather read the OT and find the narrow way, myself. God hasn't changed - he can't - but our views of Him *have* changed, thanks to all the pagan influences we've let creep in. Most of us are living lives that don't look any different from those of the world......*that's* not the narrow way.
My kids and I are keeping the Sabbath. We have agreed to no more christmess or easter - we'll celebrate Passover and Succot and the other Feasts instead (my kids aren't stupid - "Yeah, we'll do Hannakuah, IF we do it right!" "Right? What'd'ya mean, right?" "Yeah - *8* days of presents!!" - gotta love the little mercenary brats! :grin:). I do a Bible reading at our Sabbath dinner Friday nights - I tried to do the traditional weekly readings, but the kids got bogged down (some nights, I was reading 6 chapters - that's a lot to listen to when you want to go play!), so right now we're working thru Proverbs. I'm gearing up for Rosh Ha'shannah next week, then Yom Kippur and Sukkot. I've got some books on the history of the Feasts, how the Jews have kept them and how they are keeping them today, and how believers in Jesus can keep them. (I donated one to the church library - it's a bit dryer reading than the 2 I have at home, but it's still pretty interesting reading).
One more thing, and I'll quit :grin: Daniel's prophecy mentioned "He (a prince yet to come) will make a strong covenant with leaders for one week (of years)" - on Jan. 1, 2007, a *7* year peace treaty went into effect. It was drawn up by the de-facto leader of the EU (that would be Javiar Solana - you just went "Who?" - yeah. That's why he needs to be watched - TONS of power, and NO ONE knows who he is - he shut down NATO and got the EU started), and Israel was one of the first to sign. (Incidentally, just 'cause I think it's worth mentioning, Solana got his current position via Recommendation 666 in 2004. (Rev. 13:18) No shit!, pardon my french. Do I think he's the AntiChrist? I dunno, but he bears watching!)
Do you see *why* I am spending so much time in the Word? I *know* what's coming - and I don't want to be here when it hits the fan. I want to be at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb - not here on Earth going thru the Seal, Trumpet, or Bowl Judgements. Is it going to happen soon? I don't know - but Jesus told us to be prepared (remember the parable of the 10 virgins?) and to watch (the Gospel lesson a few weeks ago - we can interpret the weather, but not the current times?) - so I am prepared, and I *am* watching. This is why I am so frustrated with pastor's sermons - I've told him this, I've given him the websites, and he says *nothing*. Instead of bringing up the current events and how they fit in with Jesus's message, we got......a discussion of an abstract painting. ?????? It's his JOB to inform his flock of what is going on, and how it fits in with Biblical prophecy....and....he's not doing it. I shouldn't complain - there are VERY few pastors that are doing it. :sigh: I *do* think we're close - within 10 years. There's just too many signs (Gen. 1:14-15) in the sky...and they're getting more and more interesting. (Anna's site has a good breakdown of them - she's also got some *really* good commentary on Daniel and Revelations. PLEASE go check her site out!)
Sorry to natter on - but I *had* to tell you this. I got no peace last night until I said "OK, Lord - I'll email her what I have when I get to work in the morning. Promise!"...so, here it is. (And yes, I did finally get to sleep around 10:30 - with no dreams, for once! :grin:)