We have dedicated ourselves to taking a critical look at what we think we know about the Bible. We take a fresh approach to Scripture by going in-depth to unlock what God has been trying to tell us since, literally, time began. We don't take anything for granted. We examine what we've been told the Bible says and we put it to the test. We look at the original languages. We investigate the cultural background. We strip away what religion tells us we must believe and then we present an honest, thought-out, unfiltered view of Truth.
Feast of Tabernacles, Part 2
Symbols of Jewish fall festival of Sukkot, lulav - etrog, palm branch, myrtle and willow
Feast of Tabernacles, Part 2
Scripture, like all other, so-called, religious documents is heavily criticized. The skeptics...and there are plenty of skeptics, claim that what we consider sacred is, in fact, silly. Of course, most of the more reputable and scholarly types wouldn't put it like that (I only did for the alliterative value :) ). Sure, you will encounter such caustic commentary from the occasional anonymous Internet troll but they really don't matter. The critics that I believe are the most dangerous are the ones that have all those little letters at the end of their signature line, e.g. PhD, ThD, PsyD. We are conditioned to believe that if there is a "D" associated with someone's educational credentials then that person is to be listened to unquestionably. Occasionally someone with different letters may nudge their way in. We may have trouble with M.Phil or even the tricky sideways ThM. Many (not all, of course) of these very impressive sounding acronym-defined experts claim that the Bible shouldn't be taken too seriously; after all it's "only religious". Yes, I'm beating that drum again but I'm only doing so because their drums keep getting louder and louder. The critics are increasingly attacking not only the Bible but anyone foolish enough to follow it. Those of us that ignore the experts and do take the Bible seriously are not only being marginalized but, of late, vilified. It seems if you think the Bible is worth adhering to then you are to be considered a bigoted, womanizing, colonizing, murderous, multi-phobe. We've even stopped debating or even considering that the Bible may be accurate. It just isn't discussed anymore as if it has already been "officially" deemed a fable. Now, lest you think I'm merely talking about the pagans and atheists of the world, let me tell you, some of the most vociferous and vicious opponents of a literal interpretation of the Bible answer to "Pastor", "Reverend", or "Minister". Now, I could really go on and on with this attack on the attackers but I don't want to drift too far from my point.
The key to believing the Bible is believing in Jesus. No, I'm not saying just believe that there once was a person named Jesus but believe in the Jesus that Jesus said Jesus was. If we can come to the conclusion that Jesus was actually everything that He said He was then all else in the Bible falls into place. Once you can accept that Jesus was, for example, the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6) then you would not have a problem believing that Moses struck a rock with his staff and water flowed out of it (Numbers 20:11). You see, both of those passages are there to tell a story about Christ. Not knowing...or believing that that water flowing from the struck rock was a picture of Christ makes it seem like nonsense. Once you know...or believe "why", the "how" is immaterial. Knowing...and/or, again, believing that Christ is thread that runs throughout the Word of God gives Life and Meaning to it. If you can believe that Jesus was sent of His Father as He said He was (John 20:21 and many others) and that the entire Bible talks about that then Scripture becomes a cohesive narrative like none other...ever. That miracle effectively makes all other reported miracles not only believable, but certain.
The Seven Feasts of Israel exemplify the above Truth in grand and glorious style. In this episode we wrap up our discussion of the Feast of Tabernacles. This is another one of those lessons that will either thrill your soul or cause you to question my integrity. It will either intrigue you or repel you. It is our argument in this episode that a close and objective view of the Biblical...and, surprisingly, traditional details of this festival will lead to the Truth that Jesus is the
Feast of Tabernacles, Part 1
"View Of Jerusalem with the Temple of Solomon"by Philippe de Champaigne, 17th CenturyImage in the Public Domain
Feast of Tabernacles, Part 1
Throughout Scripture, time and again God is seen stretching a Helping Hand to His people. His entire Book is a record of His love and care for them. God not only chronicled the many times He provided for the nation Israel but He insisted that they celebrate what He has done for them. You see, it's not only important to God that His children praise Him for His constant provision but it's also important for His children to remember the many ways He's supported and cared for them. It is a lesson for all of us because when we remember the Lord's tender love and help, we call to mind His abilities and willingness to lift us above whatever is pressing against us.
That is precisely God's purpose in giving the Feast of Tabernacles. In today's episode we discuss not only the Scriptural but the traditional details of the Feast the Jewish people call Sukkot (or Succoth). God intended this Feast to be a reminder of the time He provided for the nation of Israel when they were fleeing the Egyptians following the Exodus. It is a celebration of God's Faithfulness and mankind's total but joyous dependence on Him. (Of course, there is another reason for this celebration but you'll have to wait for Part 2 to hear about that. Can you guess? I'm sure you can.)
In this podcast we have decided to go into some depth describing the ancient Talmudic traditions that have grown up around God's original Feast. We learn that Sukkot is greatly loved by the Jewish people and has been for millennia. In this first part we concentrate on the ancient festivities and see that even tradition can be used to shed Scriptural light on Truth.
I want to remind you that we are discussing matters of eternal importance. You may think that these sorts of things are for the Jew only but everything in God's Word can be applied to everyone; Jew, Christian...even non-believer. It is all so vital and that is why we urge you each time to take a moment to pray before you begin the study. There is so much to learn and so much to meditate on that we must be certain that God is with us, guiding us and showing us what His Word has to say. So, I strongly suggest that you go to the Father in prayer and ask Him to assist you as you hear His Word taught so that you may glean from it every precious gem that will lead you closer to Him.
Yom Kippur 2019
Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur by Maurycy Gottlieb, 1878Note the solemnity of the moment.Image in the Public Domain
Yom Kippur 2019
There are many things that separate man from the beasts: intelligence, communication skills, sophisticated social order; the list goes on but the one I want to point out here is not so flattering. The animal kingdom is much better at facing reality than humans are. When an animal sees something good to eat, it eats. When an animal finds a safe place to rest, it rests. When an animal senses danger, it does something about it. It either fights or flees. This is where humans fail. Too often when we sense danger, we ignore it. You want proof? How about cigarette smoking, alcoholism and obesity. But there is a far greater danger that countless millions ignore every day:
(Heb 10:30) For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.(Heb 10:31) It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
"Oh, but we don't like to concentrate on that in our ministry. We'd rather talk about the love of God." How very human of you. You see danger, you ignore it.
The cynic will accuse God of being dark and vengeful and repressive because He says things like, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9) or "all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God" (Romans 3:23) . We wonder why God is being so mean. Why doesn't He just ignore it like we do? Suppose you've been driving all night through the Mojave desert. It's dark. You've been on the road for hours and you decide to pull over just to get a little sleep. A few hours later, you are rudely awakened by a sheriff's deputy banging on your window and shouting at you. You think, "Now, can't he see that I'm tired and need some rest?" Next thing you know you hear a freight train speeding toward you. In the darkness and due to your unfamiliarity with your surroundings you parked your car on active train tracks. In a flash, that cop goes from obnoxious blowhard to live saver.
God is pointing out your desperate, sinful condition because it is placing you in danger. The Bible makes it clear: We are helpless, hopeless sinners. As much as God loves us all...and He does love us all, He will not ignore sin. Now, this is not the place to discuss "why". In fact, if you accept that He will not ignore sin than the "why" question doesn't matter because once you come to the conclusion that God is holy and you're not you will be driven to the REAL question, "What can I do about it?" Well, your mood isn't going to improve because the answer to the question, "What can I do about my sin separating me from God" is...nothing. But, ironically...and with God there is SOOO much irony...ironically, though God is ALWAYS the offended party, He is also the only one who can make things right and the ENTIRE Bible is a record of His remedy. By the way, the only way you can make sense of the Bible, the only way the Bible will bring you joy is if you look at it as a picture of "The Atonement". The Bible isn't a history book, although there is history in it. The Bible isn't a morality guide, although there is morality in it. The Bible is not a world peace plan, although there is peace in it. God's Book is a prescription for removing sin and reuniting His people and the Seven Feasts of Israel are all of that in miniature.
Today we talk about one of the most well-known of all the Seven Feasts: Yom Kippur; in the English, The Day of Atonement. God gave this Feast to His children to demonstrate all of what we've said thus far: He will not tolerate sin; it must be paid for; and we will NEED a substitute...a PERFECT substitute as payment. In the Old Testament,
The Blowing of the Shofar
Perhaps no single event in all of history has had more impact on Judaism than the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. (we don't use C.E. around here). Prior to 70 A.D. all the way back to shortly after the return from Babylonian exile and then before that 70 years all the way back to Solomon, all the worship activities were conducted at and within the Temple. After Titus swept through Jerusalem, less than 40 years after the death of Jesus, the devastation was unspeakable and the Temple lay in ruin and remains in ruin to this very day. Without the Temple, Jewish worship was drastically and tragically altered. No Temple, no altars. No altars, no sacrifices. No sacrifices and nothing would be the same. Even the revered celebrations of the magnificent Seven Feasts of Israel radically changed from the original intent to the point that the rich Biblical meaning and symbolism are, now, largely hidden from the typical Jewish worshiper and Christian seeker-after-truth. That's why it is vital for every child of God to return to Scripture to try and rediscover why God instituted these wonder filled celebrations.
In this episode we renew our series on the Seven Feasts that God gave Israel. This time we begin by talking about the "Fall" festivals, starting with Rosh Hashanah, otherwise known as the Feast of Trumpets. Now, that doesn't mean the Hebrew phrase "Rosh Hashanah" has anything to do with trumpets. The literal translation is "head of the year" or the more useful and commonly used looser translation, "new year". Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the Jewish (civil) New Year. "Then why is it also called 'Feast of Trumpets'"? Well, here is one of those radical changes to the Jewish system of worship we spoke of a moment ago. To hear the details, join us for this week's podcast.
But before you press "play" make sure you're spirit is prepared and your heart is open and your mind is clear. The best way to do all of that...and, frankly, ANYTHING, is to ask for God's help. Go to God and pray that He will assist you in understanding these crucial, vital, unmatched in the human realm celebrations that He gave His people. Ask for God's Spirit of Truth to guide you as you strive to grasp what He has presented in His Word. Ask Him to permit you to see all that He is saying so that you can fully honor Him and His Son and come to a saving knowledge of all that He has done to bring you closer to Him.
Psalm 22 Part 2
Jesus on the Road to Emmaus by Gebhard FugelThis image is in the Public Domain
Psalm 22 Part 2
Bible scholars don't always get it right. Just because they went to a top notch seminary or Bible College or Christian university doesn't mean they're infallible. No one is infallible. No one. Case in point, Bible scholars have unofficially titled Psalm 22 as "The Psalm of the Cross". Well, as I argued in the last episode and I'll demonstrate in this one, that moniker sells this beauty short. I mean, if all we had was the Cross, we'd be no better off than we were before Jesus came to the earth and, frankly, neither would God. Let's just say it. If all Jesus had to look forward to was the Cross then I don't believe he would have ever shed His Heavenly Glory and "took upon Him the form of a servant" and "the likeness of men".
(Heb 12:2) ...Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus endured the cross; part 1, because joy lay ahead; part 2. If you were with us for our first installment in this series then I have no doubt that you were astounded by the accuracy of Psalm 22 in its prediction of the thoughts of the Man dying on the Cross. It is that startling exactness that, no doubt, motivated the scholars to label this the "Psalm of the Cross". However, as incredible as the description of the cross is in this Hebrew Hymn so is the prediction of the aftermath of the cross. The JOY that motivated Jesus to endure His grisly Death is also found in Psalm 22. Hebrews 12:2, as quoted above, shows us that the joy that was set before Him included Jesus sitting down (the more modern way to put it) at the right hand of the throne of God. Well, how did Jesus get from the Cross to the right hand of the throne of God? Resurrection! Jesus rose and Psalm 22 is so wonderful, it tells us about that experience too!
Join us for this, the second part of our Psalm 22 series. We purposely split it up because there are two distinct themes: the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. This section of God's Word is a very big challenge to Bible critics and those that deny that Jesus is the Messiah. If you find it more comfortable to doubt that God exists or that Jesus is His Son or that the Bible is a true and reliable book then I suggest you skip this episode because all it's going to do is make you uncomfortable by throwing a very serious challenge at your doubt. On the other hand, if you are truly interested in knowing whether or not what God says in Scripture is something you can hang your eternal soul on then I encourage you to listen in. But before you do I want to suggest you take a few minutes and go to God in prayer and ask Him to open your heart to Truth. Ask Him to help you put away old prejudices and the strong delusion of the world so that you can see clearly what is real and right. If your spirit longs for answers ask God to take you by the hand and lead you to His Wisdom.
Psalm 22 Part 1 with Communion
Manuscript Leaf With The CrucifixionFrom a Missal_ca 1270–80Image in the Public Domain
Psalm 22 Part 1 with Communion
The thing I hear most often from my friends and acquaintances who do not fully agree with my views is that we shouldn't take the Bible too seriously. I've never really heard anyone "denounce" the Bible or call for the end of the use of the Bible in society; at least not anyone most of us would take seriously. With only a few exceptions, perhaps, some lonely, attention-starved Internet trolls, most people are polite in their rejection of what the church still considers (for the time being) its most important document. Most people I encounter...especially those who know what I do with my life are civil, albeit a bit condescending. I often hear things like, "Well, it's just a bunch of stories" or "It's not perfect because it's just a book written by men" or "Society has evolved since it was written. It's no longer relevant." The interesting thing about those who make these and similarly dismissive comments is that it is unlikely that any of them have spent more than 5 hours of their lives studying that which they criticize. It's actually quite unique in the human social experience, I believe. In most other subject areas it would be considered rude to comment on the value or validity of something before having, at least, some knowledge of it. Although, I do admit, with the rise of social media more and more seem to willingly and actively participate in discussions on just about any topic regardless of their fitness to do so.
Despite the fact there is a fairly sizable proportion of Biblical critics who refuse to change their position on the truth of Scripture, I believe there are still quite a few who just need to take a closer look. Today (and next time) we are talking about Psalm 22. This is where staying "on the fence" gets really tough. You see, besides just being one of the finest of the Hebrew worship songs, Psalm 22 is a remarkably accurate prophecy. Perhaps you didn't know that the Psalms aren't just a collection of Jewish hymns but that they're also rich in prophetic imagery especially as it relates to the coming Messiah. In fact, Jesus Himself once said:
(Luk 24:44) ...all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Jesus said the psalms, along with other Old Testament Scripture, spoke of Him. Join us for this episode as we begin to unpack the remarkably prophetic Psalm 22. I especially encourage those of you who are still not sure if the Bible is sent from God Himself to have a listen. BUT if you are one of those who are not yet convinced that Scripture is "inspired" I'm going to ask you to withhold judgment until you have fully examined this startling example of God's Holy Spirit working through the pens of men. It may take more than just our little two part series to get you all the information you need on this topic. Like every subject we teach on, I encourage all of you to do your own research. I never want you to solely rely on our teaching as you pursue a better understanding of God through His Word but I believe this is a good place to start. We do our best to strip away the tradition and religion and get to the heart of what the Bible is really saying. Psalm 22 was written for YOU. Psalm 22 was written with a purpose in mind. God is reaching His Hand out to you, grab it and let Him draw you closer through what He has said in Scripture.
In this episode we also celebrate a Communion. If you've never done that with us before I would encourage you to pay as close attention as you can to the first 20 minutes or so of the program. It is in that segment where we cover some of the more important aspects of "Going to the Table of the Lord".
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