Jesus in the feasts of Israel

Download this free Bible study in PDF format.

The feasts of Israel are religious celebrations remembering God’s great acts of salvation in the history of His people. The term “feasts” in Hebrew literally means “appointed times” and in Scripture the feasts often are called “holy convocations.” They are times God has appointed for holy purposes – times in which the Lord meets with men and women.

While there are many religious celebrations in Jewish history and custom, seven are most significant: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. God established the timing and sequence of these feasts to reveal to us a special story – most significantly, the work of the Messiah in the redemption of mankind and the establishment of His Kingdom on earth.
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What does it mean to be saved?

The Missouri Baptist Convention has released What Every Christian Should Know about Salvation: Twelve Bible Terms That Describe God’s Work of Redemption. This book is available in print form from the MBC, as well as in print and Kindle versions at Amazon. This excerpt is from the Introduction.

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Introduction

This resource is designed for personal or group study. It explores twelve Bible terms that describe God’s work of salvation as He rescues us from sin, returns us to a right relationship with Him, and ultimately restores us — and the fallen world in which we live — to perfection.

People use the words salvation and saved in a variety of settings, from sporting events to political campaigns to natural disasters. Even within Christian circles, there is disagreement as to what it means to be saved and how salvation is acquired. So, it’s critical for us to begin with a definition.

Stated simply, salvation is God’s remedy for the sin that has ruined everything and alienated everyone from Him. The Lord reveals this remedy as soon as Adam and Eve rebel against Him. He promises a future Redeemer who crushes the head of Satan (Gen. 3:15). Then, He provides additional promises throughout the Old Testament, granting us more than four hundred prophecies, appearances, or foreshadowings of the Messiah, a King who comes as a virgin-born child in Bethlehem.

This child, Jesus of Nazareth, bursts onto the scene at just the right time (Gal. 4:4). He lives a sinless life and dies on a Roman cross, taking upon Himself our sins and paying the penalty of death for them (2 Cor. 5:21). Then, He rises physically from the dead on the third day, conquering Satan, sin, and death, and freely offering forgiveness of sins and everlasting life by grace through faith in Him. Before ascending into heaven, He promises to return one day to fulfill all things — that is, to complete His work of salvation and to set everything right (Matt. 16:27; 25:31-46; John 14:1-3).
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What Islam and the LDS Church have in common

Satan is clever but not original.

He cannot create, procreate, raise the dead, or inspire Scripture. But he can take things God created for good and twist them for his deceitful purposes.

He is especially proficient in false religions, from Algard Wicca to Zoroastrianism. While the world’s wayward faiths are diverse, the evil one’s fingerprints are on all of them.

To illustrate, let’s look at similar patterns in two very different belief systems: Islam and Mormonism.

It would seem these religious organizations have little in common. Their doctrines and rituals are distinctly different. Yet their claims to truth bear remarkable similarities. Consider six such parallels.
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Who is the I AM?

This is the last in a series of columns addressing Jehovah’s Witnesses and their understanding of Jesus.

Previously, we looked at passages in the Watch Tower’s official New World Translation 2013 (NWT) that seem to affirm Christ’s deity, even though the Watch Tower blots out Jesus’ divine identity in other verses.

Specifically, we looked at both Jehovah and Jesus as Lord, as the Creator of all things, and as the first and the last. Now, let’s consider Jehovah and Jesus as the “I AM.”

In the second column in this series, we visited John 8:58. Let’s return briefly to this verse, which the NWT translates, “Jesus said to them: ‘Most truly I say to you, before Abraham came into existence, I have been’” (emphasis added). Curiously, the Watch Tower translators have rendered the Greek phrase ego eimi as “I have been.”

Other English translations render these words, “I AM,” connecting them with the divine name in the Old Testament, where Yahweh self-identifies as “I AM” (Ex. 3:14). However, if the correct translation of ego eimiis “I have been,” one would expect the NWT to render this phrase consistently. But it does not.
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Questioning evangelism

QuestionsHas anyone ever asked you:

“Why are all Christians homophobic?”

“Why should I worship a God who allows children to starve?”

“If Jesus is so great, why are so many of His followers jerks?”

Tough questions, to be sure. And making matters worse is the questioner’s tone, implying that he or she is not really looking for an answer.

So how should we reply?

Questioning evangelism

That’s a topic Randy Newman addresses in his book, Questioning Evangelism: Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did.

Newman, who has served in ministry on college campuses, at the Pentagon, in churches, and in various academic settings, writes that a diverse audience requires diverse approaches. “If Jesus teaches us anything about evangelism, it’s that He used a variety of methods with a variety of people,” he notes.

Newman says any evangelistic approach requires three skills: (1) declaring the gospel; (2) defending the gospel (Christian apologetics); and (3) dialoguing the gospel. That third skill is the focus of his book.

“Often neglected, difficult to master, but absolutely essential, this skill of giving and taking – asking questions and bouncing ideas back and forth – might be just what our postmodern audience needs,” he writes. “We need all three skills if we’re to be Christ’s ambassadors in the twenty-first century.”

Reading the Gospels, we see that Jesus often responds to questions with a question of His own. His goal is to get beneath the question to the heart of the matter – whether strict legalism, as in the case of the Jewish religious leaders who chide Jesus for healing on the Sabbath, or a faulty view of Christ’s divinity, as in the case of the rich young ruler.
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