Jesus and Hanukkah

Almost everyone knows what Hanukkah is.  Every year we see it right alongside of Christmas.  But few Christians know anything about Hanukkah, and even fewer know the connections between Hanukkah and the Messiah, Jesus.  As I have studied the subject over the course of the last year, I have come to the realization that Hanukkah is far more important than we (Christians) give it credit for.  Saturday was Shabbat Hanukkah and I visited Baruch HaShem Messianic Synagogue.  I learned many new things from Rabbi Marty about Hanukkah, one of which I would like to share with you here, after a brief version of the Hanukkah story to set it up.

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Grafted In: Echoes of Sukkot

Since it is still Sukkot, the seventh and final feast of the Lord found in Leviticus 23, I have decided to share more about the feast.  This particular morsel of revelation was shared with me on Shabbat Sukkot (Saturday, Oct. 3) at Baruch HaShem Messianic Synagogue by Rabbi Marty.

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A Glimpse of the Throne from Sukkot

Friday at sunset begins the Festival of Sukkot (pronounced: sue-COAT, also known as Tabernacles or Booths), the last and most joyful of all the Lord’s holidays.  It is a time of intense celebration and joy because God has given us the Promised Land.  And so, during this time of joy, we remember what it was like to live in the desert so we can appreciate the land we have now.  But Sukkot has always held special significance not only for Jews, but also for the Gentiles.  Indeed, the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and even the New Testament uses Sukkot as a picture of the future Messianic times.  By studying Sukkot, we can get a glimpse of what Heaven will be like!

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Synagogue Trip on Rosh HaShanah

I am taking a group to the Messianic Synagogue, Baruch HaShem, on Shabbat September 19th, 2009, which happens to be Rosh HaShanah.  I took a large group there in June for Shavuot (Pentecost) and they loved it so much that they wanted to go back on the next of the Lord’s Feasts.  I have contacted the synagogue to let them know that a large group of us are coming again on Rosh HaShanah, and they wanted me to make sure that I knew this will be on one of the High Holy Days, and as such, there will be a very large crowd.  It’s like what Easter is to most Christian denominations – people who don’t come very often show up for this service as well as a whole lot of a visitors.  So we need to get there early.  Here’s all the details:

Date:  Shabbat (Saturday) September 19th, 2009.

Time: Service starts at 10:40, but be there at 10:15 to make sure we get seats together.

Where: Baruch HaShem Messianic Synagogue (Dallas, on Belt Line Rd between Preston Rd. and Hillcrest Rd)

Additional Info: Wear what you would wear to church.  Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be standing alot (you can sit down if necessary, many people do).  Also, eat a good breakfast, because it goes usually until 1:00 and on a High Holy Day it might go longer.

If you come to this, you will be blessed.

Peace,

James

Easter or Firstfruits?

I hope everyone had a good Resurrection Weekend!  I know I did.  I was asked to teach a Bible class lesson on the Passover and I think those Christians were delighted to learn more about their Jewish roots.  I maintain that it’s impossible to truly understand the Lord’s Supper without first understanding the feast from which it was instituted, which is Passover.  Anyway, yesterday 2 billion Christians all celebrated the resurrection of Jesus.  It’s such a central concept to my faith that I really forgot how ridiculous it sounds until I was explaining it to my Friendspeak partner (Friendspeak is where we use the Bible to teach foreigners (mostly Chinese) who want to learn conversational English. Some are interested in Christianity, some are just in it for the language experience) It was an interesting experience trying to explain that, yes, I really do believe Jesus came back to life after being totally and completely dead.  And even more than that, I believe he’s coming back and that when he does I too will be made new with a new body just like Jesus, whether it’s while I’m still alive or after I’m dead.  Just like Jesus came back to life, so will I.  He was the first, and he’s promised the rest will follow, which brings me to the subject of this post.

The following is an article I wrote that was printed in several church bulletins over the weekend.  It was suggested to me that I repost it here. Enjoy.

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