From ancient Persia to Hitler’s Germany to modern Iran, Purim reminds us of God’s love for & protection of the Jewish people from those who seek to “annihilate” them.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Israel and the Jewish people face many threats these days — from a nuclear Iran, from terrorist rocket fire out of Gaza, from Syrian chemical weapons, and from rising anti-Semitism and a global movement to isolate and delegitimize Israel, especially pernicious in Europe, to name just a few.  

Sometimes Jews wonder, “Why are we the Chosen People? How has that worked out well for us? The Pharoah chose us. Hitler chose us. Stalin chose us. The ayatollahs chose us. Choose someone else, Lord, please!” It’s a sad but understandable sentiment.

As we see current threats — and as we remember the horrors of the Holocaust and the Nazi regime’s determination to annihilate all the Jews of Europe — we need to remember that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has never forgotten or forsaken the people He sovereignly chosen. We have, all too often, forgotten Him. But He has never forgotten us.

Indeed, that is why His Word commanded us…

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Resurrection Day – the Feast of Firstfruits!


The cross is empty! The tomb is empty! And Yeshua is alive forevermore!

Yeshua (Jesus’ name in Hebrew, meaning salvation) fulfils all the Scriptures and prophecies. He died on the cross as the Passover lamb (1Corinthians 5:7) and so became the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). He was buried in the tomb of a rich man (Isaiah 53:9). Yeshua Himself said he would be in the “heart of the earth” for three days and three nights, the “sign of Jonah”, Matthew 12:39-40. And on the third day He rose from the dead (Matthew 16:21, 28:5-6), the greatest day in all of human history!

Notice in John 20:17, when Mary had gone to the tomb very early on the Sunday morning, she saw the tomb was already empty. She was distraught, not knowing what to think. The resurrected Jesus appeared to her there at the tomb, and when she realised who he was, he told her not to cling to him for he had not yet ascended to his Father. Yet later, he told Thomas in particular to touch him and see that he was real, not a ghost (John 20:27).

Why the difference? Because, when Jesus appeared to Mary on the Sunday, he had “not yet ascended to his Father”. That Sunday, the first day of the week, was the Feast of Firstfruits. During every Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread season, the first day of the week following the Sabbath was the Feast of Firstfruits, traditionally the day when the priest would take the first portion of the early harvest and wave it before the LORD so that it would be accepted on behalf of the people (Leviticus 23:11).

Jesus is the fulfilment of Firstfruits! He is the “firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”, (1Corinthians 15:20). As such, after he appeared to Mary at the tomb, he ascended to his Father in heaven and presented himself as the firstfruits offering, in fulfilment of the Feast of Firstfruits in Scripture. That’s why Mary couldn’t touch him yet, because he hadn’t presented himself to the Father as the Firstfruits offering.

Yeshua is the Resurrection and the Life, (John 11:25). And the implication of “first fruits” is that there will be “other fruits” to be resurrected also, later, when He returns (1Cor.15:23)! His resurrection is the guarantee of our resurrection, that is if we belong to Him!

So, happy Resurrection Day! Celebrate Jesus, risen from the dead, the fulfilment of the Feast of Firstfruits!

Don’t call it Easter – get Biblical!

Jesus death, burial and resurrection all took place at God’s appointed times, the set times. Jesus died in fulfillment of the Passover Lamb, was buried at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and rose again on First Fruits. These are Biblical feasts, instituted by the LORD Himself as shadows, pictures if you like, of the reality which was to come. ALL THE BIBLICAL FEASTS ARE FULFILLED IN JESUS.

Today is the 14th Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, the day the Israelites in Egypt had to slay a lamb and apply the blood to the doorposts of their homes, so that they wouldn’t die when the destroying angel “passed over”. This actual historical event from Israel’s history is a picture of Jesus, the Lamb of God, whose blood was shed on the cross at the Passover feast. He died as our substitute, so that if we will apply His blood, so to speak, on the doorposts of our own lives, that is, if we will repent and trust Him for our salvation (Jesus name in Hebrew, Yeshua, means Salvation), we too will be saved.

Did you know Easter was actually a pagan fertility festival that was given a so-called Christian makeover by the Romans to make it acceptable to those who wanted to keep their already-existing pagan celebrations? The easter bunnies, eggs and rabbits are entirely pagan symbols and have nothing to do with Yeshua’s death and resurrection. (See these articles here and here for more details into all this.)

So, knowing all the above, why would we want to use pagan festivals to celebrate the central events of our faith? Tradition? What we’ve always done? Maybe. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We’re not ignorant of these things anymore and so there is a responsibility to make changes. So, celebrate the Lord’s death and resurrection, just don’t call it Easter. Call it what God calls it – Passover and First Fruits! Get Biblical!

Hanukkah: Miracles past and present from December 2011 – Ruth King


I love Hanukkah, particularly in New York City. The days are short and by late afternoon the city glows with Christmas lights, menorahs, and enticing shop windows with extravagant displays. I love crispy potato fritters (latkes) with apple sauce and exchange of presents with my kids and grandchildren. It is a happy holiday with a serious side.

Happy Hanukkah

You’re probably saying, what is Hanukkah? Well, traditionally it’s a beautiful  Jewish celebration of the victories of the Maccabees over the atrocities of the rule of Antiochus Epiphanes. The feast gets its name from the rededication of the Temple following these victories. Hanukkah is the Hebrew word meaning dedication.

More importantly for those of us who are Christians, there are two other reasons for celebrating this feast. Firstly, Jesus celebrated it Himself. In John 10:22-23 it says Jesus was in the Temple at the Feast of Dedication.

Secondly, Hanukkah was most likely the time when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, announcing she was about to conceive the Saviour, by the Holy Spirit, in the virgin birth. How do we know this? In Luke 1:26-38 we are told Mary conceived six months after Elizabeth had become pregnant with John the Baptist.

Additionally, we can work out from Chronicles the time of Zechariah’s Temple service – some time in June of that year. We can presume Elizabeth fell pregnant straight after Zechariah’s time of Temple service. Six months on from June is December, the time of Hanukkah. Also, we know that all the major events of salvation take place at the Feasts of the Lord (for instance, Jesus’ crucifixion at Passover). And the dedication of Jesus’ physical body, which He later referred to as the Temple at the actual Feast which celebrated the dedication of the physical Temple, fits perfectly.

So, happy Hanukkah everyone!

God’s Appointments!

When God brought His people out of Egypt, one of the things He gave His fledgling Hebrew nation of Israel was His feasts, appointed times to gather together and celebrate. He clearly calls them His own feasts in Leviticus 23:2:

“Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, “The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.”

God is Sovereign, and nothing He does, or allows to happen, is by chance or without His oversight. In giving Israel His feasts, He was not only giving His people national celebrations, national holidays, He was doing something far deeper. Not only did the feasts of the LORD give structure and pattern to the nation’s yearly cycle, they gave them something to look back on to celebrate (God’s specific and clearly miraculous deliverance from oppression in Egypt). They also gave the nation something to look forward to, as well.

One of the Hebrew words translated “feast” in English is “miqra”, which, as well as meaning convocation also means rehearsal. So when Israel celebrated God’s feasts they were rehearsing His plans for the future as well.

In fact, God has set His whole plan of salvation in His feasts. Therefore we as Christians, in returning to Biblical Christianity, need to understand the feasts of the LORD and what they mean.

Not only did the feasts give Israel’s calendar year structure and pattern, but they also give us, as believers, a structure and pattern of God’s plan of salvation. There are seven feasts listed in Leviticus 23, excluding the weekly Sabbath: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First-Fruits, the Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost), the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. The fulfilments of each of these feasts provide the structure and pattern of God’s entire plan of salvation of the ages.

How can we say that? How can we know that? Well, by looking into the Scriptures and learning. First of all, the feasts are divided into two groups, the one’s that fall in the spring-time, and the one’s that fall in the autumn. As we look into the Scriptures, we see that the Lord Jesus, Yeshua in Hebrew (meaning salvation), fulfilled all the spring-time feasts. He died on the cross as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” John 1:29, fulfilling Passover. His sacrificial death was “without sin”, (Luke 23:41, Hebrews 4:15), fulfilling Unleavened Bread. He rose from the dead on the Feast of First-Fruits, the “first to rise from the dead”, (Acts 26:23, 1 Cor. 15:20). And it was Yeshua who sent the Holy Spirit at the fulfilment of the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost, Luke 24:49, John 16:7.

So, we can draw several specific and clear conclusions from these facts. First and foremost, they are all about the Lord Jesus! He Himself is the fulfilment of God’s feasts! He fulfilled each one of the spring-time feasts in person. Secondly, He fulfilled each feast at the actual time of the actual calendar feast, and in the sequence of the calendar feasts.

And so, just as Jesus fulfilled each of the spring feasts in His first coming, we can justifiably expect Him to fulfil each of the autumnal feasts in His second coming, at exactly the right time! This is why the feasts are so important! At each one, we are either celebrating what God the Father in the Lord Jesus has already done or what He will do in His future second coming. This is why we need to properly understand the feasts, because they teach us so much of God Himself, and of His entire plan of salvation. As Paul said in Romans 11:33:

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”