Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, October 2, 2020

(Early) Chag Sameach and (Early) Shabbat Shalom,

Today is day 200 in our F-260 readings.  For those of you who are new to F-260, we are reading through the Bible in a year according to a plan established by Robby Gallaty (replicate.org).  Five days a week for 52 weeks is 260 days of reading.  Today we have reached the milestone of 200 days, leaving 60 over the next 3 months to complete the year.  

And today we begin reading what Paul wrote to the Thessalonians.  But tonight (Friday night, in case you’re reading this soon after it was published on Thursday night) we begin the Feast of Sukkot.   I believe that one of several reasons we celebrate Sukkot is that it is Yeshua’s real birthdate.

In fact, I’ve never met anyone who believes December 25th is really the date of His birth.  Here are some of my thoughts on the subject:

In Judaism, we make a bigger memorial out of the date of a person’s death than of their birth.  (That’s the reverse of most cultures.)  The anniversary of a death is called a Yahrzeit.  That is from Yiddish.  We all know Yeshua’s Yahrzeit.  It’s the day before Passover.  But now, let me give you some of the reasons I think Yeshua was born on the first day of Sukkot.

  1. “Away in a manger…” What if it were a Sukkah?  The innkeeper says, “We’re out of regular rooms for the holiday.  All I have is my Sukkah.  You’re welcome to stay there.”  Look at any Creche.  Looks kind of like a Sukkah doesn’t it? 
  2. Yeshua was probably baptized on His 30th birthday… Numbers 4:3 everyone from 30 years of age to 50, all who come to serve doing the work in the Tent of Meeting.  All priests began their service at age 30.  Yeshua had a 3 1/2 year ministry before His crucifixion.  Back up 3 1/2 years and it is the first day of Sukkot, exactly to the day.  
  3. Flocks in the fields?  Certainly not in the winter (like December 25th).  They would freeze, and so would the shepherd watching them.  
  4. Suddenly, a mysterious 8th day holiday.  Leviticus 23:39 “So on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruits of the land, you are to keep the Feast of Adonai for seven days. The first day is to be a Shabbat rest, and the eighth day will also be a Shabbat rest.  A 7 day Feast of Tabernacles plus one day.  Must be a necessary celebration of Yeshua’s circumcision.
  5. This leads us to the most complicated of reasons I believe Yeshua was born on Sukkot.  And I’m not going to examine it closely today.  I just want to say it involves John the Baptist’s birth and his conception and his father, Zachariah serving in the “course of Abijah” in the priesthood.  It leads us to conclude that Yeshua was born on the first day of Sukkot.  Don’t trust me.  Read about it here on the internet.  It must be true.  https://opentheword.org/2018/12/19/what-is-the-division-of-abijah-and-what-does-it-have-to-do-with-christs-birth/. 
  6. FFOZ summarizes these findings here.  (I found this after I wrote 1-5). https://ffoz.org/discover/sukkot/birth-of-jesus-at-sukkot.html 

Week 40
Memory Verse: Acts 17:11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, because they received the message with goodwill, searching the Scriptures each day to see whether these things were true.

196   9/28      Monday:       Acts 15-16 

197   9/29      Tuesday:      Galatians 1-3 

198   9/30      Wednesday: Galatians 4-6

199   10/1      Thursday:     Acts 17-18:17 

* 200 10/2      Friday:       1 Thessalonians 1-2

Question of the Day:  How is Yeshua described at the end of 1 Thessalonians 1?

Answer:  1 Thessalonians 1:10b Yeshua, the One delivering us from the coming wrath.  Oh no, say the universalists, there is no such thing as the “coming wrath.”  Well (says I) the Bible seems to indicate there is a coming wrath, one worth escaping.

Universalists believe there is no such thing as hell.  They believe that everyone will be saved and none will suffer condemnation.  While that may be a nice thought, we have to believe the Bible.  God provided us with His Word, and in His Word He specifically warns us repeatedly to avoid the coming condemnation.  

Hear the words of Yeshua, speaking to John the Revelator, after His ascension… Revelation 21:8 “But for the cowardly and faithless and detestable and murderers and sexually immoral and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars—their lot is in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”  Seems rather specific.  So what will a universalist say when he realizes he was wrong?  “Now I know I was wrong, because this is hot for eternity and I was expecting cold.  The Bible must have been right.  I wish I had believed.”

May we all come to know Him as He knows us.  There is not only  deliverance from the coming wrath, but His promise of eternal joy in His presence.  Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life. Abundance of joys are in Your presence, eternal pleasures at Your right hand.