- Jewish Holidays
- Is it okay for Christians to celebrate the seven Feasts of Israel?
- What does the “Days of Awe” mean?
- What is the 9th day of Av?
- How is the year of Jubilee, which occurs every 50 years, significant for Christians and Israel’s 50th year back in its ancient homeland?
- Explain the dating of Pentecost?
- What is the shofar?
- Christian Holidays
- Why doesn’t the church celebrate the Sabbath? Why does the church worship on Sunday instead of Saturday?
- What is the date of Christ’s crucifixion?
- Was Jesus crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? How are the three days calculated?
- How does Zola explain the three days and three nights?
- Did Jesus celebrate the Passover and die on Passover day, or was it on the evening before?
- The Jewish People
- How can I effectively witness to the Jewish people?
- What do the Jews think about the Messiah?
- What is the Jewish view of Isaiah 53?
- What is the general response of Jews toward Jesus?
- How come the Jewish people generally reject the deity of Christ?
- Are the Jews serious about rebuilding the Temple?
- When is the Temple going to be rebuilt?
- Is it true that the only people that should be called “Jews” are those from the tribe of Judah?
- Can the Nazi holocaust murderers be forgiven?
- Has God Forgiven the Nazis for the Holocaust?
- Christianity and Related Religious Groups
- Do you have any information on the Jewish roots of the Christian faith?
- Are groups such as the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses truly cults?
- What do you think about the “Laughing Revival” going on in places like Toronto, Canada and Pensacola, Florida?
- Have you heard of the religious group called “The House of Yahweh?”
- Why does there seem to be so little regard for Israel and Bible prophecy in the Church today?
- The Bible
- Where is the Ark of the Covenant?
- Are Bible codes a legitimate way to decipher hidden meanings in the Bible?
- What do you think about the book The Bible Code by Michael Drosnin?
- Why do Easter and Passover fall on different days?
- Is tithing for the Christian today?
- Did Jesus change water into grape juice, or was it fermented wine?
- Who are “the sons of God” in Genesis 6:2? Are they demons or humans?
- What is the importance of King David?
- Was Luke a Gentile?
- To whom does Jerusalem belong?
- What language were the Gospels written in? What language did Jesus speak?
- Is the correct name of the Holy Land Palestine or Israel?
- The feeding of the 4,000 — Were they Gentiles?
- Has Joseph’s tomb been found in Egypt?
- What is the history of the modern state of Israel?
- Bible Prophecy
- What is Replacement Theology
- What is the Rapture of the Church?
- What do you think about the Pre-wrath Rapture?
- 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 seems to teach that the Church will go through the Tribulation period known as “The Day of the Lord.” Is this so?
- Will the Antichrist be a Jew?
- When is the Temple going to be rebuilt?
Following the completion of His creative work, the Lord instituted the Sabbath rest (Gen. 2:1–3). The importance of this rest is reiterated many centuries later, when God stressed to Moses, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8). The cessation of labors on the seventh day, the Sabbath, is an important institution in the Old Testament. This fact has prompted the questions: Why doesn’t the church celebrate the Sabbath? After all, isn’t it a biblical imperative? Why does the church worship on Sunday instead of Saturday? It is a good question. Here now is the answer.
Believers in Messiah assemble together in honor of the day when the Lord rose from the dead. Our worship isn’t according to the pattern given to the Jewish nation at Mount Sinai; rather, we are partakers of the New Covenant, not the Old Covenant given to the children of Israel (Jer. 31:31–34). Ours is a covenant of grace and worshipping on a prescribed day is not part of the package. Nine out of ten of the original Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament, but only the one about the Sabbath is omitted.
We feel that there is strong scriptural ground against the selection of an elevated Sabbath day since we are saved under a covenant that has no such day! Rather than prescribe one day as superior to another, (Col. 2:16), we celebrate the Lord every day. We are to pray without ceasing, to walk with the Lord on a daily basis…
True believers worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:23). When we gather together corporately to worship the Lord really isn’t essential to our faith. There are some who make much out of what day we shall worship. Some stress worship on Saturday. We shouldn’t get into disputes with them, but with Christian kindness, we must pursue the things that we all have in common. (Rom. 14:1–5)
If some wish to worship on Saturday, fine! If other on Sunday, that’s fine, too! There really isn’t a New Testament biblical mandate one way or the other. As a word of caution to those who insist upon a certain day as better: there are words of rebuke in the New Testament against those who would trouble the Church by seeking to bring believers under bondage to the religious practices of the Old Covenant (Gal. 2:4,6). The Church is not under the Old Testament legal system. It’s as simple as that. The Apostle John says it best, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:17).
How then are we, believers in Messiah, to understand the Sabbath? We have a Sabbath rest and the author of the book of Hebrews has much to say about it. What is that rest? The New Testament describes that rest as a state of being at rest with the Lord, saying “For we who have believed do enter into rest…” (Heb. 4:3)
Jesus was crucified on Friday because they had to take the body down before the Sabbath. The Sabbath always falls on Friday evening at sunset — no exceptions. John 19:31
Jewish time measurement of the first century measured days differently than we in the West that have traditionally a strict 24-hour period. Jews reckoned half a day as a full day. This Hebraic concept was called the “Onah.” And Jewish days were measured from sunset to sunset. That said, Thursday sunset to Friday sunset would be one day. Friday sunset to Saturday sunset would be the second day. Saturday sunset to Sunday morning, though half a day, would be the considered a full day — the third day.
If Jesus was crucified on Wednesday or Thursday, as some propose, that would obviously be too many days. With the idea of the Onah, a period of 27 hours (Friday sundown to Sunday morning) in the Jewish mind could be considered three days.
The question constantly arises: If the Lord was really crucified on Friday and rose again on Sunday, how could that have encompassed three days and three nights? The Gospel accounts indicate that the Lord was crucified on Friday at 9:00 a.m. and taken off the cross at 3:00 p.m. His body was prepared for burial and interred at sundown the same day, which was the beginning of the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The Lord then arose on Sunday morning after sunup. According to the modern way of counting, this spans barely two days. Yet that time period seems to disagree with Jesus’ earlier prediction: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40).
The prophecy can be understood when we examine the Jewish way of counting days and nights. We must recall that the Jewish day always starts at sunset, so that Friday really begins on Thursday evening (a fact that is reflected in the language of Genesis – “the evening and the morning” are the first day). The second day then begins at sundown on Friday and continues through the daytime on Saturday. Finally, Sunday begins at sundown on Saturday and stretches through Saturday night and the daylight hours of Sunday, making the third day. And since the Jews counted any portion of daylight as a full day, then Friday morning through Sunday morning would have been seen as three complete days.
People have sometimes struggled to move Passover (the “Last Supper”) back one day in order to get three days and three nights the way we would count them in the Western world, but that would be inaccurate. Even in the Western world we begin each day on the night before at midnight, so the concept is not strange to us. And supporting this understanding of the Lord’s crucifixion on a Friday (against those who claim it happened on a different day) is the centuries-long history of Christians celebrating Good Friday, not “Good Thursday” or “Good Wednesday.” So this is one more evidence that we can trust in the accuracy of the Biblical account, as well as further confirmation that knowledge of the Jewish roots of Christianity can open up a deeper understanding of God’s Word.
The difference between John’s Gospel and the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) concerning the Passover and the death of Jesus is due to the fact that there were two systems used at that time for reckoning Passover day. The Galileans used a different method of reckoning than the Judeans.
The Galileans and Pharisees measured it from sunrise to sunrise, whereas the Judeans and Sadducees used the sunset to sunset reckoning in John’s Gospel. Thus, from the Judean reasoning in John’s Gospel, Jesus did die on the eve of Passover when it began on Friday evening. But using the Galilean reckoning in the other three Gospels, the Passover meal began Thursday evening, with Passover day starting at sunrise Friday morning.
There is no contradiction because the Gospels reflect the two different chronological systems for determining the Passover.
The Jewish People
The term Jew and Israel are synonymous terms that refer to one and the same people. The terms Jew and Israelite became synonymous terms from about the time of the Captivity in Babylon (586 B.C.). It is one of the historical fallacies of Replacement Theology and its variant Anglo-Israelism to presuppose that the term “Jew” stands for the bodily descendant of “Judah.” In the Bible it stands for all those from among the sons of Jacob who acknowledged them, or were considered, subjects of the theocratic kingdom of Judah, which they expected to be established by the promised “Son of David.
”The claim “Jews are not Israelites” is false. In the New Testament the same people who are called “Jews” 174 times are also called “Israel” no fewer than 75 times (see such statements as given in Acts 21:39; 22:3; Romans 11:1–3 where Paul calls himself a Jew though he was from the Northern tribe of Benjamin, Romans 9:4–5; 2 Corinthians 11:22; Philippians 3:5).
From the time of the return of the first remnant after the Babylonian exile, sacred historians, prophets, apostles, and the Lord Himself, regarded the “Jews” whether in the land or in “Dispersion” as representatives of “all Israel,” and the only people in line of the covenants and the promises which God made with the fathers (see the following passages where the use of Judah and Israel are found interchangeably: Zechariah 1:19; 8:13; 10:6; Ezra 6:17; 8:35, etc.).
Please read Zola’s book Broken Branches: Zola on Replacement Theology.
Christianity and Related Religious Groups
The phenomenon of the “Laughing Revival” is faddish and is not a part of normal New Testament ministry or worship in the Church. The esoteric and bizarre manifestations of uncontrollable laughter are accompanied by roaring, growling, writhing on the floor, and other actions which resemble demonic activity rather than the work of the Holy Spirit.
I have personally heard and seen audio and videotapes of these chaotic practices. The laughing revival that is going on in Pensacola and the Toronto Airport Church is spreading across the country. People’s lives are being devastated by it. To put it bluntly, this movement is not from God and believers should not participate in it.
For a good Biblical and historical examination and critique, I would recommend the book Counterfeit Revival: Looking for God in All the Wrong Places by Hank Hanegraaff. The uncontrollable laughter is not given in Scripture as a sign of revival or a normative practice of Biblical Christianity. Rather, such strange practices are more characteristic of the devotees in the ashrams of the Hindu cults and other forms of pagan spirituality.
There are several reasons for this. One is that many churches are infected with God-dishonoring and Bible-unbelieving liberalism. They are also ignorant or adverse to the prophetic importance of Israel. Many pastors and ministries today have been sadly reduced to nothing more than glorified psychologists who try to make people feel good and meet their emotional needs instead of proclaiming the Word of God with power, conviction, and passion.
Unlike ten or twenty years ago, the teaching of Bible prophecy has fallen by the wayside because many church circles have deemed that it has little, if any, practical value for today. But Bible prophecy does have practical value. It builds our faith in the sovereignty of God, who holds the future in His hands. The return of Christ challenges us to live in holy expectation of His coming (John 3:1–3).
Certainly, prophecy also is a tool of witnessing. The Bible is the only book that accurately forecasts the future, and this can be shown by informed teachers and testifiers. The striking prophetic fulfillment of the Jews returning to the land of Israel in our century, is one such faith-inspiring prophecy fulfillment. The generally bad condition of the world and the relationships between nations—the famine, pestilence, earthquakes, and so many other prophetic issues can cogently be understood through a knowledge of Biblical prophecy. The unbeliever made familiar with what Scripture predicted for these times may be convicted by the very relevance of the Bible texts on prophecy.
There are several theories regarding the whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant. Some say it was hidden under the Temple Mount in 586 B.C. and is still there waiting to be discovered. Others say it was hidden in the caves somewhere in the Judean desert. Still others claim that Jeremiah the prophet took it with him when he was forced to go to Egypt and that it was later rediscovered in Ethiopia, where it has supposedly been guarded by monks to this day.
For an in-depth discussion, see this article by Tom McCall from the Levitt Letter.
Michael Drosnin is an admitted secularist. The premise of his book The Bible Code is nothing new. He claims that hidden prophecies of the present time can be deciphered by the parallel arrangements of the Hebrew letters in the Jewish Bible combined with the mathematical value of these letters. He calls this “equidistant lettering.
”He proposes that these secret codes could have been placed there by extra-terrestrials. Some unbelieving Jews and Muslims use the same Bible code method of interpretation to claim that the Bible proves that Jesus was not the Messiah and that He is not divine. God has made His message clear in Scripture. We do not need to crack some secret code to interpret what the Scriptures mean. Instead, we have the Holy Spirit and the proven science of Biblical hermeneutics to help us understand the Bible.
There are indeed two interpretations for “the sons of God” in Genesis 6:2. One school of interpretation says they are fallen angels who had sexual relations with women and produced an offspring of giants. “Sons of God” does refer to angels in some other places in the Bible. Job 1:6; 2:1 is an example of this.The second school of interpretation says that it can’t be angels since angels are unable to marry (Matthew 22:30), and thus angels are not able to procreate. So this interpretation says that the “sons of God” are the godly line of Seth that mixed with the ungodly line of Cain. The consequence was a loss of spiritual sensitivity and responsiveness. This led to the universal corruption of society and necessitated the flood to morally cleanse the earth.
Both views have their strong and weak points, but I believe the latter view.
For a full treatment on Replacement Theology, we suggest Zola’s book Broken Branches: Zola on Replacement Theology. It is inexpensive and a contains appropriate Scripture references.In brief, replacement theology states that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s dealings with man, and Scripture should be read this way. One has to shut his eyes to the prophetic fulfillment of the Jews returning to the land, and a thousand verses of Scripture having to do with the end times and God continuing to deal with the Jews. The doctrine seems to serve anti-Semitic preferences making the Jews and Israel (and finally the Scriptures) virtually irrelevant.
For an in-depth discussion, see this article by Tom McCall from the Levitt Letter.
For an in-depth discussion about Progressive Dispensationalism, a related doctrine, see this article by Todd Baker from the Levitt Letter.
For a full treatment on the Rapture, we suggest Zola’s book Raptured. It is inexpensive and contains appropriate Scripture references.The Rapture of the Church is the coming of the Lord for his own, as explained in John 14:2–3, “In my father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also,” and in 1 Thes. 4:16–17, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This should not be confused with the Second Coming, when the Lord and the Church together will return to the earth to rule in the Thousand-Year Kingdom.
If they, or by extension believers at large, were to undergo part of the Tribulation (as the Mid-Trib position states) or most of it (as the Post-Trib position states), Paul would not have bothered to correct them about the erroneous idea that Christians would go through the Great Tribulation. In point of fact, Paul says quite clearly in 1 Thes. That the Church will not go through that period in which God will pour out His eschatological wrath on an unbelieving world (see 1 Thes. 1:10; 4:13–18; 5:4–11). This prompted Paul to conclude in 2 Thes. 2 that the Day of the Lord will not come prior to the Rapture.
The Bible does not say explicitly that the Antichrist will be Jewish. Passages used in Genesis, Daniel, and Revelation may, at best, vaguely imply so. For example, Daniel 11:37 says in the King James Version, “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” But the word for God in the Hebrew is not “Elohim,” but “elohai,” meaning “gods,” or idols. The passage simply says that the Antichrist will not worship the idols his fathers worshiped, and this is likely since he makes a pretense of being the true God, the God of Israel. The Bible is clear, however, that the Antichrist will be a Gentile of Roman origin. Bible typology shows that the Antichrist will be Gentile. For instance, the book of Daniel portrays the Syrian Gentile Antiochus Epiphanes as a type of the Antichrist (see Daniel 8:9–14; 11:1–35). As a matter of consistency, persecutors of the Jews throughout their history have been Gentiles — Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Titus, the Moslems, the Crusaders, the Inquisitors, and the modern Arabs. Since the Antichrist comes with a covenant for Israel to sign, it would appear that he is an outsider, since Israel wouldn’t have to sign a covenant with one of its own.
Another argument for the Antichrist being Gentile comes from Biblical imagery. Whenever the word “sea” is symbolically used is Scripture, especially in the book of Revelation, it is a symbol of the Gentile nations. Since the “Beast” of Revelation 13:1–10 arises out of the sea, this points to the Antichrist being a Gentile.
Daniel 9:26–27 makes it certain that the Antichrist will be of Roman origin. The “he” in verse 27 of Daniel 9 refers to the same person who is “the prince that shall come” in verse 26. The Antichrist is of the same nationality as the people who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, which the Romans did in 70 A.D. The Antichrist will therefore be of Roman Gentile origin, not Jewish.