Monday, February 22, 2010

Book Review: The Feasts of the Lord

book cover

The Feasts of the Lord
by Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal

Hardback: 224 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
First Released: 1997

Source: Bought from Books-A-Million.

Back Cover Description:
Israel's feasts are infinitely more important than just a series of cultural observances. These feasts are appointed by the Lord, and they are owned by the Lord. He calls them "my feasts." Together they form God's prophetic calendar, outlining the work of history's most important person...Jesus, the Messiah. As such, few themes are more timely or rewarding for God's people today.

The Feasts of the Lord covers all aspects of the biblical feasts--historical background, biblical observance, and prophetic significance. Yet, this book is not just another reference book on the feasts. It is written from the Hebrew Christian viewpoint, helping you to see the feasts through Jewish eyes.

The words of the Savior, His messianic claims, and Bible prophecy will all take on a rich, new relevance for you against the exciting backdrop of The Feasts of the Lord.

The Feasts of the Lord is an excellent and enlightening resource for Christians and Messianic Jews. It's written by a man who grew up in a conservative Jewish home and a minister who is deeply involved with the Jewish people. Both authors are Christians and show in this book how the Messiah has and will fulfill the seven Feasts of the Lord.

They explained the history of and Biblical commands given for each feast, what additional traditions were added to the feast and why, how the feast is celebrated in modern times, and how the Messiah has fulfilled or will fulfill the feast. (The information on the future fulfillment does, of course, require some speculation that might not turn out to be 100% correct, but it was interesting.)

The authors gave an overview of the Spring and Fall Feasts, then explained how the Jewish religious calendar works (including how they count days and months). Then they covered the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of First Fruits, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Temples, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. In the next section, they described other Jewish holidays: Tisha B'Av, Hanukkah (the Feast of Dedication), Purim, and the Jubilee Year.

The book had many lovely, full-color inserts that illustrated the feast being observed, the layout of the temple so the descriptions of how the feasts were carried out in temple times could be easily followed, calendar information about when the feasts are observed, and so on.

The book was very, very interesting, enlightening, and easy to understand. I'd highly recommend it to all Christians, especially those interested in the Jewish background of the Bible as a means of better understanding some events in the Bible.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Men the world over observe holidays. There is not a nation anywhere, even among the most primitive of peoples, that does not have its unique days of special celebration. Holidays are often in memory of significant political events; sometimes they commemorate the birth dates of national heroes; and frequently, holidays are simply designed to observe religious beliefs and superstitions. Worldwide, thousands of holidays are observed annually.

In marked contrast, the eternal God instituted only seven holidays. And while it is not inappropriate for men to establish days of special celebration, their significance cannot be compared with the importance of the seven holidays instituted by God. These seven holidays are discussed throughout the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments. However, only in one place, the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus, are all seven holidays listed in chronological sequence.

These seven holidays are called "the feasts of the Lord." That expression indicates that these holidays are God's holidays--they belong to Him--in contrast to man's holidays. There are, quite literally, "the feasts of the LORD" (Lev. 23:4). And only on His terms and at His invitation can men participate in them and enter into their benefits.

The Hebrew word translated "feasts" means appointed times. The idea is that the sequence and timing of each of these feasts have been carefully orchestrated by God himself. Each is part of a comprehensive whole. Collectively, they tell a story. These feasts are also called "holy convocations"; that is, they are intended to be times of meeting between God and man for "holy purposes." Since these seven feasts of the Lord are "appointed times" for "holy purposes," they carry with them great sacredness and solemnity.

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