The Book of First Maccabees

For years I thought that the “silent” 400 years between the Old and New Testaments meant that during this time God did not act in any way for His people.  After reading First Maccabees, I realized that although God did not send prophets to speak His words to the Hebrews, He was acting in mighty ways to preserve and protect His people.  The “silent years” were not all that silent as I see it.

Here is a brief summation of the history of the Hebrews from the end of the Old Testament to the time of the Maccabees:  The exiled Hebrews, having been given permission by the Persians to return to and rebuild their land of Israel (Ezra 1), for the most part were those who were godly and wanted to worship YHWH.  They established synagogues and trained their children to fear the Lord as required in Deuteronomy 6. The Persians allowed Israel to pretty much be autonomous regarding their religion.  In 332 B.C.,
Alexander the Great, the most successful missionary (of Hellenism) in the world, conquered Judea-Samaria and according to Josephus, was shown the prophecies of Daniel in Jerusalem that he would conquer the world (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, XI, 337 [viii, 5]).  Alexander was apparently pleased with this and pretty much left the Jews alone as he went on to conquer the rest of the world as Daniel predicted.

When Alexander died in 323 B.C., his kingdom was divided between four of his generals. The Ptolomies, based in Egypt, initially ruled over Judea and although ardent Hellenists like Alexander, they, also, were tolerant of the Hebrew religion. They
thought they could in subtle ways seduce the Jews into the glories of Hellenism by the arts, literature, and the gymnasium.
Then the Seleucids, at about 198 B.C., based in Syria, defeated the Ptolemies at Banias and took over the Judean-Samarian region.  The Seleucids were not tolerant of any “pagans” that did not accept the world’s greatest religion and philosophy—Hellenism—and
began to systematically destroy the people who worshiped the true God, YHWH.  In about 167 B.C., Antiochus Epiphany outlawed the Torah and Hebrew covenant rituals such as circumcision.  Syrian/Greek troops would go from town to town, and if they found a circumcised child, they would murder the whole family.  Having the Torah was punished by death.  All towns were required to sacrifice pigs to the emperor and to Greek gods.  The altar in the Temple in Jerusalem was desecrated with pig blood, entrails, and false idols. Thus begins the Book of First Maccabees.

Maccabees was written by a pious and patriotic Jew between 135 and 63 B.C. This is understood because the book mentions the rise of John Hyrcanus in 135 B.C. and spoke favorably about the Romans, including positive correspondence to the Romans in chapters 8 and 12 of the text. In 63 B.C., of course, Pompey
conquered Jerusalem and Judea and the Jews thereafter saw the Romans in a less favorable light.  First Maccabees was originally written in Hebrew, and then translated into Aramaic & Greek
afterward, according to the Jewish  The style of the writing closely resembles the writings of the Old Testament, especially Kings, Ezra, and Nehemiah.  When I first read this book, I thought I was reading a lost book of the Old Testament.

The book is generally considered historically accurate and was used by ancient writers and historians like Josephus.  Many early church fathers like Origen and Jerome were familiar with the Aramaic version of this book, according to Eusebius.  Its main criticism is that the writer was positive and perhaps biased toward the Jews. But doesn’t this fit the presentation of the whole Old Testament?
God is biased toward His people as were the writers of the Old
Testament.  Neil J. McEleney lists other complaints about the author of Maccabees not being familiar with other lands and cultures and in placing the death of Antiochus IV after the dedication of the Temple.

Consider that the historical events related to us by First Maccabees, which resulted in the re-dedication of the temple, established the Festival of Hanukkah that Jesus himself attended in Jerusalem.  Jesus did not question this festival, but honored it.

The original text was said to be written in Hebrew. The Jewish Encyclopedia provides proof of this assertion: “It is clear from the
Semitic idioms which occur throughout the work that it was composed in a Semitic language (see, for example, ii. 40, iv. 2), and certain passages indicate with great clearness that the original language was Hebrew (see ii. 39, iii. 19). To this fact Origen and Jerome also bear testimony, though it is possible that the version or paraphrase known to them was Aramaic” (

First Maccabees was never canonized by the Jews, which seems a bit of a mystery as it was originally written in Hebrew. Daniel
J. Harrington speculates on “” that there was a Jewish reaction against the Maccabees and therefore it was deliberately pushed out of the sacred traditions of Judaism, perhaps due to “messianic” claims made about Judas Maccabees or one of his descendants. Some have suggested that this was due to political considerations; perhaps the Romans would not see this
canonization as politically correct, as it showed victory after victory of the Jews over a foreign invader.

Catholics, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox have First Maccabees in their canons. But Protestants have not accepted it into their canon, although it was part of the Protestant Bible until the 16th century and Luther included it in his Bible.

During the first century, Maccabees must have been popular among the Zealots and those who wanted freedom from Roman domination.  Ray Vander Laan suggests that certain people
of the crowds that threw palm branches before Jesus during His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem did so because palm branches were a symbol of the Hasmonian Dynasty.  Some thought that Jesus might be another Judas Maccabee who would fight the Romans with his “magical” powers.

A theological analysis would place Maccabees in a similar place as Esther. God is not mentioned by name but is referred to frequently as “Heaven” or by the pronoun “He.”  The events in Maccabees point to divine intervention and miraculous deliverance from vastly superior forces over and over, especially under Judas Maccabee.
Judas prayed before each battle and would read from the “Book of the Law.”  He and his men fasted and put on sackcloth, humbling themselves before the Lord. When faced with incredible forces and outnumbered, Judas would remind his men of the Torah:

But Judas said to the men who were with him, “Do not fear their numbers or be afraid when they charge. Remember how our fathers were saved at the Red Sea, when Pharaoh with his forces pursued them. And now let us cry to Heaven, to see whether he will favor us and remember his covenant with our fathers and crush this army before us today. Then all the Gentiles will know that there is one who redeems and saves Israel” (1 Maccabees 4:8-11).

This quote very much reflects the words David said just before defeating Goliath. “Then the whole world will know that there
is a God in Israel” (1 Samuel 17:46).

In 4:56, in the face of overwhelming enemies, Judas dismisses troops who are building houses or were about to be married or who were planting vineyards or were faint-hearted, according to Old Testament Law.

In 1 Maccabees 2:49-61, Mattathias’ speech to his sons before he died is very inspiring and makes many references to the Old Testament:

Now the days drew near for Mattathias to die, and he said to his sons: “Arrogance and reproach have now become strong; it is a time of ruin and furious anger. Now, my children, show zeal for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of our fathers. Remember the deeds of the fathers, which they did in their generations; and receive great honor and an everlasting name. Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness? Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment, and became lord of Egypt. Phinehas our father, because he was deeply zealous, received the covenant of everlasting
priesthood. Joshua, because he fulfilled the command, became a
judge in Israel. Caleb, because he testified in the assembly,
received an inheritance in the land. David, because he was
merciful, inherited the throne of the kingdom forever. Elijah
because of great zeal for the law was taken up into heaven. Hannaniah, Azariah, and Mishael believed and were saved from the flame. Daniel because of his innocence was delivered from the mouth of the lions. And so observe, from generation to generation, that none who put their trust in him will lack strength.

You can see from these verses that First Maccabees actually has more Old Testament references than Esther.  Maccabees shares with Esther the theology of providence.  It shows that God is with
His people to preserve and protect. Even when there are no prophets to speak for Him, God speaks through His might and miraculous acts.

Here is a brief summary of First Maccabees: The Syrian Greek troops were going from town to town in Israel to kill followers of
YHWH and to force everyone to sacrifice pigs to the emperor.  When they got to the town of Modein, an old priest named Mattathias of the Hasmonian family absolutely refused to sacrifice
a pig, even though he was offered riches and power if he did so.  The Hellenist authorities pulled him aside to be whipped to death later and a younger priest gave in and was about to sacrifice the pig when Mattathias wrestled lose from his captors and killed the
younger priest.  Mattathias called his five sons to him and called all who were faithful to God to run from the town into the mountains so that they could fight the Hellenists.  That started the great struggle for the faithful Jews to deliver the land from the Greek- Syrian forces.  The rag-tag rebels went from town to town
forcibly circumcising all the males and fought guerrilla warfare against the Hellenists. Mattathias died soon after but his five sons took over the fight.  Judas became known as “the hammer” because he hammered the superior Hellenistic forces to pieces time after time.  The Greeks sent all kinds of forces against Judas, including local tribes and mercenaries. In fact, they emptied their treasury to pay for all the armies they sent against Judas. Antiochus had to go on a “worldwide” tax-collecting tour to make up for it. The Greeks even sent 32 imported armored elephants surrounded by 1,000
men apiece, and the Maccabees still wiped them out.  There are heroic stories of how the Maccabees would bury themselves in the ground so that they could pop up underneath the elephants and drive a spear into the belly of the “tank.” The first three chapters are full of incredible battles of Old Testament proportions.  Finally, in chapter four, Judas recaptures the Temple, cleanses it, and rededicates it. He and his men lit the Menorah that only had one day’s supply of oil, but in a miracle, the Menorah stayed lit for
eight days; this was the origin of the Festival of Lights or Hanukkah

The Jews weren’t out of the woods yet, and many battles occurred until the emperor seemed to give in and allowed the Jews to worship as they wanted.  Unfortunately, this was only “politics,” and many enemies came against Judas, who was eventually
killed in battle.  His brother Jonathon took over at that point, and after a while he was killed by betrayal and his brother Simon took over. The later parts of First Maccabees are a bit hard to follow as
various kings, followed by their sons, and then their sons’ sons struggled for power and control over the Promised Land. Even the Egyptian Ptolemies get into the act, trying to win back the land taken from them by the Selucids. It’s “politics as usual” as many kings and armies befriend, ally, and then betray each other.  Out of all of the intrigue, however, God preserved the Jews and their land.  Simon eventually wrestled control of the area and the Hasmonian Dynasty was established with John Hyrcanus in 134 B.C. The Jews had a period of self-rule from that time until Jerusalem was conquered by the Romans under Pompey in 63 B.C.  The 16 chapters of First Maccabees are well worth reading to see how God protected and preserved His people during the “silent years” as the times became fulfilled for the appearance of the Messiah.


Bickerman, Elias. From Ezra to the Last of the Maccabees.
Schocken Books: New York, 1947.

Whiston, William, trans. Josephus’ Complete Work. Kregel
Publications: Grand Rapids, MI, 1960.

“First Maccabees.”

“First Maccabees.”

New Revised Standard Version of the Bible with Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books. Oxford
University Press: New York, Oxford. 1962.

Vander Laan, Ray.  “The Land, the Culture, and the Book.” Tape
of lecture series given at Ridge Point Community Church in Holland, MI.

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Yom Kippur: The Day Of Atonement

In this paper I will examine in a necessarily abbreviated manner (because the material is worthy of volumes), the Old Testament feast of Yom Kippur, the related Jewish traditions, and then the fulfillment of this feast by Jesus the Mashiach (Messiah). I will provide references for further study so the interested may dive deeper into the bottomless treasures of YHWH’s feasts, established as a lasting ordinance for all His peoples throughout time. The word Kippur or Kapher, means “to cover,” in Hebrew. Yom = “day,” thus the “Day of Covering” or “Day of Atonement.”
Yom Kippur is the sixth Feast of Israel commanded by God to Moses in Leviticus 23:26-32:
26 The LORD said to Moses, 27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves,[d] and present a food offering to the LORD. 28 Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. 29 Those who do not deny themselves on that day must be cut off from their people. 30 I will destroy from among their people anyone who does any work on that day. 31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. 32 It is a day of Sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your Sabbath.”
In Leviticus 8 we learn of the ordination of Aaron & his sons to the priesthood and in chapter 9 they begin their ministry to offer sacrifices at the tent of meeting before the Lord. The very presence of God was dwelling in a tent, so God would tabernacle with his covenant people! This is YHWH, the Holy creator of the universe. Some did not get it. Aaron’s sons Nadab & Abihu did not show the proper respect to the awesome true God and were consumed by fire.
Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke of when he said:
‘Among those who approach me
I will be proved holy;
in the sight of all the people
I will be honored.’”
Aaron remained silent (Lev. 10:3).
It was right after this that God gave instructions to the awestruck Aaron through Moses as to how to approach the Lord God on Yom Kippur, in Leviticus 16. The Holy of Holies could only be entered one day in the whole year: Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It was on this day that the High Priest would make atonement for the entire nation of Israel. Please read Leviticus 16 to get the full picture of what the sacrificial Day of Atonement entailed. It involved the sacrifice of a young bull, a ram, seven male lambs, two male goats, and a ram. Of the two goats, one would be sacrificed to YHWH and the other was to be the “scapegoat” (Azazel), released into the wilderness with the sins of Israel placed upon its head. (One interpretation is that Azazel was the name of a desert satyr demon. Some say it was another name of Satan. However, it is also similar to azel, which means “escape.” Some, like Alfred Edersheim suggest it means to “let go.” Compare this to Pontius Pilot offering to release either Barabbas or Jesus to freedom, or to the ritual in Leviticus 14:1-7, where one bird is killed and the other set free.) On the scapegoat, a scarlet cloth was tied to its horn, and it is said that this cloth would turn white if the sins of Israel were indeed forgiven. The priests also tied a crimson strip to the door of the Temple, which according to tradition would turn white if God had forgiven the sins of Israel.
Alfred Edersheim, in his classic book, The Temple, Its Ministry and Services (pp. 240-263) provides a vivid picture of the elaborate rituals involved on Yom Kippur. On this day, the High Priest would take off his richly adorned, golden, gem-covered priestly garments and dress in simple, pure white linen (like grave clothes worn by our Savior when He made atonement for the world). The priest made 43 trips between the courtyard and the Holy of Holies and sacrificed the aforementioned animals. He took 5 baths. The only time the holy name of God YHWH could be pronounced was during this day, and it was spoken 10 times, and each time the hearers would fall to the ground in worship. The resource A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays (pp. 322-324) has a list of 40 steps the priest had to accomplish on that day. It was an Olympian undertaking.
The High Priest would then, on the Day of Atonement, go into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood of the sacrificial bull and goat upon and before the Ark of the Covenant, in a series of rituals, described in fascinating detail in The Feasts of the Lord by Howard & Rosenthal (pp. 121-125). If you go to John 20:11-12, you will see an incredible fulfillment of this sacrifice in Jesus, the Christ: “Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.” She was seeing a picture of the atonement cover, the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant, and the blood between the angels came from the body of Jesus Christ Himself! He made atonement for us all, and fulfilled the feast of Yom Kippur!
Regarding Yom Kippur in the Old Testament, in Leviticus 16, you find instructions to the priests. In Leviticus 23:26-33, you find instructions to the people; and in Numbers 29:7-11, you find instructions on the sacrifices. As always, God’s truths go all the way back to the beginning. The first Day of covering and the first atonement through blood sacrifice occurred in Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve sinned. After the curses in 3:14-19, God made the first animal sacrifice to “cover” the nakedness of Adam and Eve, before they were banished from the garden (3:21).
God’s people Israel could fulfill the requirements of the feast of Yom Kippur while God was with them in the tabernacle and later in the Temple built by Solomon. But there was a 70-year interruption of sacrifices because of the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C. by the Babylonians. The sacrifices then continued from about 517 B.C. to A.D. 70 when the Temple was destroyed by the Romans. It is fascinating to note that, according to the Talmud (Mas Yoma 39b), the scarlet cloth tied to the horns of the scapegoat no longer turned white after A.D. 30, 40 years before the destruction of the Temple. We know that this is because the true Lamb of God took the sins of the world upon Himself and made atonement for us all forever through His death and resurrection! When Jesus came and died for the entire world, He became the blood sacrifice that fulfilled the lasting ordinance of Yom Kippur.
So what have observant Jews done since that time without the proper sacrifice (Kaparah-“propitiation”)? In The Feasts of the Lord, Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal (p.126) report that “As Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai was coming forth from Jerusalem, Rabbi Joshua followed after him and beheld the Temple in ruins. ‘Woe unto us!’ Rabbi Joshua cried, ‘That this, the place where the iniquities of Israel were atoned for is laid in waste!’ ‘My son,’ Rabbi Yohanan said to him, ‘be not grieved; we have another atonement as effective as this. And what is it? It is acts of loving-kindness, as it is said, “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice” [Hos. 6:6] (Avot de Rabbi Nathan 4:18].”
Since the days of the Temple, Jews now celebrate Yom Kippur with the substitutes of Tefilah (prayer), Teshuvah (repentance), and Tzedakah (charity). A rare few will sacrifice a chicken (kaparot) and give the chicken to the poor.
Yom Kippur is considered the most holy and important Feast of Israel. (It’s like Christmas or Easter for the Christian, where folks who haven’t set foot in a church for a year suddenly show up for their important connection with the Lord.) This is why, for example, the Yom Kippur War of 1973 was initially so devastating for Israel: The whole country had shut down to worship the Lord in observance of the Day of Atonement.
Yom Kippur is known as the Sabbath of Sabbaths. It is the only biblically required fast in the Scriptures. Most fast without even water for 25 hours. No washing or bathing is allowed. Perfumes, deodorant, cosmetics, and marital relations are prohibited. You cannot wear leather shoes. The point is to “deny yourselves,” as it is written in Leviticus 23:26-28.
Here we must digress to examine the structure of the Feasts. There are seven feasts ordained by God in Leviticus 23. Three occur as a unit, grouped in God’s favorite numbers (3 in 1) in the spring: Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits, which Jesus fulfilled in His earthy ministry. (Covered in my last paper). Then 50 days later, in early summer, comes Pentecost, which stands between the sets of 3 in 1 and was fulfilled by the coming down of the Torah in Exodus, which established the covenant with Israel as a nation and then the coming down of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, which established God’s church.
Then we have the last three feasts in the fall: Rosh Hashanah (Trumpets), Yom Kippur, and Succoth (Feast of Tabernacles). The last three Feasts are a unit; they are connected in celebration and theology to the now near future of the Church and Israel. God set it up so those with “eyes to see” could fathom; spring = early in time, summer = middle of time, and fall = toward the end of time, aka, the last days. In God’s Prophetic Calendar (p.95), the author states, “The last three feasts in God’s prophetic calendar, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles all look into the future from our present position in the church age.” Jesus fulfilled the first four of the seven feasts. The last three await His coming.
The Jews also celebrate the last three feasts as a unit. In the seventh month of Tishri, on the first day is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This feast begins what is known as the Yamim Noraim, the “Days of Awe,” or Repentance. According to “Judaism 101” ( and (, good on-line sources for all things Jewish, Rosh Hashanah begins the time when God writes your name in the book of life or book of death. During the 10 days of Awe, your actions can alter God’s decree. Those actions include “teshuva, tefilah, and tzedakah,” that is, repentance, prayer, and good works. During this time you seek to reconcile yourself to people you have wronged and prepare yourself for the Day of Atonement, which is your reconciliation to God. (On a side note, if you can get a copy of the Israeli DVD, “Ushpizin,” although it is really focused on the last Feast of Succoth, it explores reconciling yourself to those you have wronged in a rather adorable and entertaining manner).
Just before the beginning of Yom Kippur, a festive meal is eaten and candles are lit. It is customary to wear white clothes during this time (as Jesus’ grave cloths were white). The holiday is spent in synagogue and in prayer. The Yom Kippur services begin at sundown, called the “Kol Nidre.” A ram’s horn (shofar) is blown to assemble the people for worship. Some Orthodox Jews spend the whole night in synagogue reciting the entire book of Psalms. Five services are held at the synagogue during Yom Kippur, with varying liturgies but all focusing on the confession of sins. In the fourth service, the book of Jonah is read to emphasize repentance of sins, which has an interesting connection to Jesus, as He said that no sign would be given to those asking for a sign, but the sign of Jonah (Matt. 12:38-40, Luke 11:29-32). (And Jesus is the Lamb of God, slain for the atonement of the world!) In the last service is the ritual of the closing of the gates, “Ne’ilah,” which represents the closing of the books and the sealing of God’s judgment.
Jesus uses that very imagery in the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25. The 10 foolish virgins ran out of oil and left to get more . . . “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
For Christians, the series of three fall feasts represent future manifestations of Jesus as expounded upon in Old and New Testament prophecies. There are many Messianic Christian resources that see the Feast of Trumpets as a picture of the Rapture.
1 Thessalonians 16: ”For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
I personally don’t have a clear understanding of these things from the Spirit, but what I do understand is that these three feasts are connected to Christ’s second coming. The Feast of Succoth represents the kingdom of God on earth, where we all live together in tabernacles. That’s all I can say in this short summary, but I hope it will point you to further study. Many see the Day of Atonement as the day the Lord will set foot on the Mount of Olives. In Isaiah 52 it states:
13 See, my servant will act wisely]; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him[c]—
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond human likeness—
15 so he will sprinkle many nations,[d]
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.
When you see a reference to sprinkling, you see the Day of Atonement when the blood was sprinkled onto the Ark of the Covenant. All will see the Lord of glory because He will appear to all the earth where he was taken up into heaven 2,000 years ago (Acts 1:11). Matthew 24:30 states: “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
There’s that trumpet call again. Yom Kippur also permeates the prophecies of Zechariah: “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity” (13:1). The fountain that sprinkles and cleanses all is our Lord Jesus.
There is so much more to explore regarding the Feast of Yom Kippur. I have just scratched the surface. The more you look, the more you discover. This is how it is with God’s Word. I hope I have given you enough to point you toward the bottomless treasure of the Feasts of Israel.

Bible quotations from New International Version (2010),
Carlson, Jeff. “Yom Kippur: Meeting Jesus in the Feasts of Israel.” CD of teaching presentation at Oakhill Church, Grand Rapids, MI. (02-07-2010)
“Days of Awe.” Judaism 101.

Edersheim, Alfred. The Temple: It’s Ministry and Services (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994).
Howard, Kevin / Rosenthal, Marvin. The Feasts of the Lord (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc. 1997).
Kasdan, Barney. God’s Appointed Times. (Baltimore, Maryland: Lederer Publications, 1993.)
Lehman, Strauss. God’s Prophetic Calendar (Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, Inc. 1987).
Robin Scarlara & Linda Pierce. A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays (Madison, Tennessee, Family Christian Press, 1997).
“Yom Kippur.” Jewish Virtual Library.

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How Jesus Fulfilled the Feasts of Israel during Holy Week

Download a PDF chart about how Jesus fulfilled the feasts of Israel during Holy Week here: Holy Week         

When I was a boy, my family went to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Holy Week there was a moving festival, starting with Palm Sunday when we were all given palms to wave, and then followed a few days later by the Maundy Thursday service. I still remember vividly the sad and somber Good Friday service where we sang moving hymns such as “Go to Dark Gethsemane” and “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood.” The music was incredible as it emanated from one of the city’s largest organ, which was situated over almost the entire backside of the balcony of the 150-year-old sanctuary. On Sunday, we celebrated a joyous sunrise service during which the church thundered with praise and adoration: “HE IS RISEN!”

             It was many years later that I began to study the Bible in earnest and through learned teachers of the gospel began to understand the Jewish roots of our Christian faith. It was quite an eye-opener to realize that the disciples, as well as Jesus Himself, were Jewish and acted in a Jewish culture with Jewish traditions and history. I had been brought up with a basically “Western” Gentile or Greek way of thinking about the Scriptures. That was why some Scriptures didn’t make much sense to me. One example is found in Matthew 12:38-40:    

The Sign of Jonah

 38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”

 39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

             I had been taught that Jesus died on Friday and was buried toward the evening and then rose on Sunday morning. But this was only 1-1/2 days or about 36 hours, nowhere near 3 days and 3 nights or 72 hours. So I decided to check Jonah. Perhaps Jesus was using a Jewish method of keeping time in which any part of a day meant a day and a night. (This is an argument I have heard from well meaning-scholars far more learned than me.) In Jonah 1:17, I read, “Now the LORD provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”

            That sounded pretty clear, time wise. As I pondered that, I came across Matthew16:1-4:

The Demand for a Sign

1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’
3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.

             So this “sign of Jonah” seemed to be important, as it was the only sign that would be given to those asking to see a miracle. Was this a time when the Creator of the universe would be imprecise and conform to an (alleged) obscure way of Jewish thinking about days and nights?  By extension, I thought, maybe the Scriptures were imprecise about everything: the moral laws, the injunctions against sin. Perhaps we need to be more liberal in how we look at all Scripture. I thought not. Jesus Himself had said that Jonah was in the whale for “three days and three nights.”

What became obvious is that there was a difference in thinking: Greek thought versus Eastern, Jewish thought. I was thinking like a Greek, when I needed to be thinking like a Jew, as the Gospel writers did. 

 So how did God measure time? I learned from Genesis 1:5 that a day for the Lord is measured from sundown to sundown, so that during a “day” light always comes out of darkness, and order out of chaos, just as God created the universe. Jews to this day begin their new day or “dawn” at sundown. The people of Israel were also on a lunar calendar, not a solar calendar, which was how Romans at the time of Christ measured time. That meant that the 360-day lunar year (which frequently required a 13th month), “floated” in comparison with the 364-day solar year. You might have noticed on your calendar that Passover or Hanukkah dates change every year in relation to our Easter & Christmas times. As the church shifted its center from Jerusalem to Rome, the Western concept of time and seasons was adopted, and this included how we interpret Scripture.

            Through the teachings of Ray Vander Laan and my pastor, Jeff Carlson, I began to see the importance of the Jewish roots of Christianity. Their teaching opened up a whole new world of understanding and awesome fascination with how God inspired and put together the Scriptures. The whole Bible began to make sense as a guide pointing to Jesus Christ. In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” 

            Jesus fulfilled these words in wonderful ways. For example, the tabernacle and all the items within were all about Jesus. These items were made to strictly conform to the pattern that God gave Moses in Exodus 25:8-9, and they pointed to the life and work of Jesus: “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.”

Hebrews 8:5 explains this further: “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’”

            This pattern pointed to Jesus and the day when He would actually come and dwell among us. Hebrews 9 goes into great detail about this, describing the tabernacle, its furnishings, and the duties of the High Priest, and then in verse 8 says: 

8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.  11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! 15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant

In the same way, the seven Levitical festivals were also given as “lasting ordinances” to be kept by Israel and were a picture of the life and work of our Savior.

             In Romans 15:4, Paul said, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”

When we attempt to look at this with Jewish eyes, we see how Jesus fulfilled the first three feasts of the Lord during Passion Week: Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Firstfruits, all found in Leviticus 23:4-14. (Note: Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were interchangeable terms for the Gospel writers—and still are to this day.)

            (Please refer to the Passion Week chart to help clarify the following texts.)

            Passion Week actually begins 4 days before Passover, on Lamb Selection Day, found in Exodus 12:1-6. Christians refer to this day as Palm Sunday, as Jesus was selected to be King on that day.

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.

                As you can see, this was the first important step in the Passover Feast. The lamb had to be perfect and without blemish. The lamb was selected and then carefully examined for 4 days to make sure it was perfect, a fitting sacrifice to the Lord. Alfred Edersheim tells us on page 170 of The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, that “There is also a significant tradition that some were wont to select their sacrificial lamb four days before the Passover, and keep it tied in a prominent place within view, so as constantly to remind them of the coming service.” Jesus fulfilled this Lamb Selection Day on Nisan 10, which was actually on Saturday, a Sabbath. He came into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:1-10) riding a donkey, fulfilling Zechariah 9:9:

9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
   Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
   righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
   on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

This was the first and only time Jesus allowed Himself to be recognized by the community as king. The people didn’t realize it, but they were not only selecting a king but also a perfect sacrificial lamb, in fulfillment of the Scriptures, on Nisan 10. Jesus was confirmed as the “Lamb of God” who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36; Rev. 5:6; 7:10).

Isaiah 53 paints this picture of the Lamb of God:

 7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
   yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
   and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
   so he did not open his mouth.

            Jesus also entered Jerusalem on the Sabbath and then rose on the Sabbath because He was the “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matt. 12:5-8). 

            One of the first things Jesus did during this week was to go to the Temple and throw out the money changers and merchants (Matt. 21:12-13; Mark 11:12-16). By doing this, Jesus was really fulfilling the law in Exodus 12:17-20 to remove the leaven (sin) from His Father’s house.

17 “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”

            So why did Jesus cleanse His Father’s house after coming into Jerusalem? To get rid of the leaven! This custom of searching through the house to find and destroy the leaven is still practiced today by Jewish families. In a book on Passover by Michael Strassfeld, The Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary, he devotes seven pages to the traditions regarding leaven.

            Our church celebrates the Passover meal as well. The “Passover Seder Haggadah” (the Seder liturgy) opens with the “Bedikath Chametz—searching for leaven: “(Search the house for leaven, gather it, wrap it securely and burn it.) … Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctified us by His commandments and commanded us to remove the leaven. Any leaven that may still be in my house, which I have not seen or have not removed, may it be as if it does not exist, and as the dust of the earth.” So you see that this sometimes-difficult verse of Jesus driving out the money changers in the Temple makes more sense when seen as a fulfillment of God’s law given in Exodus 12.

During the next 3 days following the 10th of Nisan, the Lamb of God was examined as never before by the religious and civil authorities. It was during this “Lamb Examination Period” that Jesus was given the most difficult questions and tests of His ministry. The Pharisees questioned Jesus’ authority (Matt. 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8). They asked, “Who is the Christ?” (Matt. 22:41-46; Mark 12:35; Luke 20:41-44). They tried to trap Jesus with a question about paying taxes (Matt. 21:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26). They asked a “difficult” question about the resurrection (Matt.22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-40). They asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” (Matt. 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34). Then, as Jesus’ last test just before His death, He was examined by Pilate, who found Him innocent (Matt. 22:46; Mark 12:34; Luke 20:26, 40; Matt. 26:59-60). 

             The texts indicates that Jesus clearly passed all the tests during the “Lamb Examination Period” and in so doing amazed His inquisitors. For example, we read, “And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him anymore questions” (Matt. 22:46).  Also, “And after that no one dared to ask Him any more questions” (Mark 12:34). And in Luke 20:26, “And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch Him in what He said, but marveling at His answer they became silent.” Jesus passed all the tests of the “Lamb Examination Period” in fulfillment of the Scriptures. Amazing!

            During this time, Jesus also gave the Olivet Discourse and prepared His followers for future events.  So, even at this difficult time, Jesus the Sacrificial Lamb took time to shepherd His flock (the disciples) as the Good Shepherd. Now on the 13th of Nisan, Tuesday, Jesus began His Passover celebration with the disciples. This carried on into the 14th of Nisan, Wednesday, because, as I stated earlier, the new day dawned at sundown. In this way, Jesus not only celebrated Passover with His disciples, but also became the Passover Lamb to take away the sins of the world, all in the same day! It is incredible to realize that God had this all timed out perfectly for 2,000 years, from Abraham and throughout the Old Testament.

            On Wednesday, the 14th of Nisan, Jesus celebrated His last supper—the Passover meal.  He then went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, singing the Hallel, which comprised Psalm 113 -118 and was always sung at Passover celebrations (Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, pp.175-79).

It’s inspiring to think that Jesus sang the verses of Psalm 118:22-29 with His disciples on that night.

22 The stone the builders rejected
   has become the cornerstone
23 the LORD has done this,
   and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The LORD has done it this very day;
   let us rejoice today and be glad.

 25 LORD, save us!
   LORD, grant us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
   From the house of the LORD we bless you.
27 The LORD is God,
   and he has made his light shine on us.
   With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
   up to the horns of the altar.

 28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
   you are my God, and I will exalt you.

 29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
   his love endures forever.

            So Jesus sang and prayed with His disciples and was then betrayed by Judas and tried before the high priest and Pilate—all on the night of the 14th of Nisan. All this had to be done quickly so that Jesus could fulfill the Passover Feast. He was nailed on the cross at the 3rd hour (9 a.m.—time was measured from 6 a.m., the first hour). Mark 15:25 confirms: “It was nine in the morning when they crucified him.” He died at exactly the 9th hour (3 a.m.) in fulfillment of the Scriptures (Exodus 12:6; Leviticus 23:5). Mark 15:34,37 tells us: “And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’  (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’) . . . With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.” To die so quickly was unusual in itself because people could hang on the cross in agony for days, but Jesus chose that exact time of His death: He died in 6 hours. He was fulfilling God’s timetable.

            When Jesus died at 3 o’clock, He had to be buried within three hours because the next day was a “special” or “high” Sabbath, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which occurred on Nissan 15. When we read Leviticus 23:6-8, we see that this was a day in which you could do no work; it was a special Sabbath: “On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. For seven days present a food offering to the LORD. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.”

 The 15th of Nisan was a “floating” Sabbath—just after Passover on the 14th—one of the seven special Sabbaths listed in Leviticus 23, and not to be confused with the weekly Sabbath (which is what happens when you see the Scriptures through Gentile eyes). That’s why we read that the 14th was a “preparation day”: “Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath” (John 19:31).

Weekly Sabbaths did not require a preparation day. But Jesus had to be taken down from the cross before the special Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Also, Deuteronomy 21:22-23 speaks of a man being hung on a tree: “If someone guilty of a capital offense is put to death and their body is exposed on a pole, you must not leave the body hanging on the pole overnight. Be sure to bury it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.”

            Jesus was under a curse for us. He took this curse upon Himself to save all who take Him as Lord and Savior.

            Now one of the amazing signs that occurred when Jesus died—besides the earthquake and  ripping of the veil in the Temple—was that holy people who had died were resurrected from the dead (Matt. 27:52-53). But then the Scriptures say something that, when you think about it, seems kind of strange. If it had happened to you, don’t you think you’d have run home and told everybody about it? Instead, those who had been resurrected remained hidden. They did not immediately present themselves in the holy city, Jerusalem; rather, they waited until Jesus rose from the dead. Why? In order that Jesus, the High Priest, could present them to the Father as a firstfruits offering after He had risen from the dead and in order to fulfill the Feast of Firstfruits on the 18th of Nisan, just after the weekly Sabbath (Lev. 23:9-14). More on that will follow.

            Jesus was buried just before sundown at the end of the day, Nisan 14th, just before the “dawning” of the new day, the special Sabbath of Unleavened Bread, Nisan 15. Since Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, He entered Jerusalem as King on a Sabbath and then would be raised from the dead in victory on the Sabbath, in 3 days (72 hours), just as He said He would. Jesus fulfilled the sign of Jonah! In 1 Corinthians 15:3, we read: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

             According to what Scriptures? The only Scripture they had at the time was the Old Testament! Jesus fulfilled Jonah 1:17, among other Scriptures.

            Jesus rose at the very end of the weekly Sabbath, Nisan 17, “just before dawn.” Are there any other proofs of the double Sabbaths? Yes, in Matthew 28, we read: “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.” However, the word for Sabbath in this passage in Greek is a plural noun! The Greek for the word “Sabbath” is Sabbaton, which is actually a neuter plural noun. Most translators, not familiar with the Jewish Feasts, and thinking of the traditional Friday death and Sunday morning resurrection, translate it as singular. But when we look in Zondervan’s Parallel New Testament in Greek and English or in the NASB Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, we see that it is a plural noun: Sabbaths.

In Young’s Literal Translation we read:
28:1 And on the eve of the sabbaths, at the dawn, toward the first of the sabbaths, came Mary the Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulcher.  



4521 sabbaton
of Hebrew origin (shabbath 7676); the Sabbath (i.e. Shabbath), or day of weekly repose from secular avocations (also the observance or institution itself); by extension, a se’nnight, i.e. the interval between two Sabbaths; likewise the plural in all the above applications:–sabbath (day), week.

            Since the translators only knew of one Sabbath, they translated it in the singular. Also, as we have discussed earlier, the “dawn” would have been sundown, going from the weekly Sabbath of Nisan 17 to the first day of the week, Sunday, Nisan 18. This shows how important it is to interpret Scripture in the context of the author’s background, intent, and understanding. The authors were Jewish and wrote the Gospels from that perspective. In the booklet entitled “The Sabbath Rest” by Michael Moshe, he states:

“Luke 16:1 says that ‘when the Sabbath was past’ they found the tomb empty. The word past, diaginomai, means to be spent. It is an awkward word to translate, but perhaps could be rendered ‘when the Sabbath was spent, or ending,’ the tomb was found empty.  Other passages use the Greek word Opse, and are incorrectly translated to read ‘after the Sabbath was over.’ Opse means late in the day, toward the end of the day, not after the day is over or completed! To interpret these Scriptures to mean that the resurrection was on Sunday is an incorrect translation. Since the grave was empty when they arrived on Sunday morning, it doesn’t necessarily mean that He was resurrected on Sunday morning. To find the tomb empty on Sunday means that He must have come out of it sometime before they got there . . . probably on Saturday between five and six p.m.” 

            Understanding the concept of Jewish “dawn” of a new day being sundown sheds light on the time of Jesus resurrection.  

When Mary saw Jesus, after mistaking Him for the gardener (John 20:15-17), she was not allowed to touch Him. Why was this? It was because Jesus had not yet fulfilled the Feast of Firstfruits by ascending to the Father to present Himself, and those who were the firstfruits of the resurrection, as an offering to the Father. Let’s look at Leviticus 23:9-14 regarding the firstfruits:

9 The LORD said to Moses, 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. 11 He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. 12 On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the LORD a lamb a year old without defect, 13 together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil—a food offering presented to the LORD, a pleasing aroma—and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine. 14 You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.

            Jesus was going to the Father to present Himself as the Firstfruits, perfect and undefiled. That’s why Mary could not be allowed to touch Him; He had to see the Father first and present the offering of the Firstfruits, in order to fulfill the Scriptures. First Corinthians 15, the “resurrection chapter,” describes Jesus as the Firstfruits:

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 

          Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection and the firstfruits of the redemption of the earth. These are awesome patterns that God established front he beginning of time. In Genesis 1, we read:

9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
    11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

Notice that the third day was a day of life, after the waters receded. And this was before the sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day! Did Moses mistakenly get the order wrong? No. God was establishing the third day as a day of life and resurrection from the beginning. You will also notice that the third day was the only day that had a double blessing. “And God saw it was good” is repeated twice. This is the only day of creation where that happens. (And to this day, Jews want to get married on Tuesday, the third day of the week because of this “double blessing.”) 

One other interesting fact that shows God’s incredible patterns pointing to Christ is in the Old Testament story of Noah in Genesis 8:4: “And on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.” The ark came to rest (Sabbath) on the 17th day, the same day as Jesus’ resurrection! Jesus is our ark, and in Him we have salvation.

 There are many more incredible connections and deeper & deeper levels of meaning in the Scriptures. God has fashioned the entire Old Testament and history itself to point to and glorify His Son. It is awesome and a real faith-builder to see how Jesus fulfilled the Feasts of Leviticus 23 during Holy Week. 




Bible quotations from New International Version (2010), “The Chronology of Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection.”  Century One Bookstore, Educational Reference series. 1996-2008.

Boyer, James L. “Chronology of the Crucifixion and the Last Week” chart (Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1975).

Carlson, Jeff.  “Holy Week-Sabbath Rest.” Cassette tape of teaching presentation at Oakhill Church, Grand Rapids, MI.  (03-01-02)

Edersheim, Alfred. The Temple: Its Ministry and Services (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994).

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G.  The Footsteps of the Messiah: The Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events (Tusten, CA, Ariel Press, 1982)

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G.  Israelology:  The Missing Link in Systematic Theology (Tusten, CA, Ariel Press, 1989).

Marshall, Alfred. The NASB Interlinear Greek-English New Testament  (Grand Rapids, MI Zondervaan, 1984).

Moshe, Michael. The Sabbath Rest  (Greeley, CO: Firstfruits of Zion, 1994).

Parallel New Testament in Greek and English (Grand Rapids, MI Zondervan ——)

Strassfeld, Michael. The Jewish Holidays: A Guide & Commentary (New York: Harper & Row, 1985).

Vander Laan, Ray. Video Tapes:  That the World May Know (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999).

Vander Laan, Ray. Walk as Jesus Walked—Making Disciples. DVD. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999). 

Vander Laan, Ray. Faith Lessons on the Early Church. DVD. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006).

Vander Laan, Ray. Faith Lessons: In the Dust of the Rabbi. DVD. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005).

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