Yeshua Explored is a blog that appears every Monday and Thursday, with a growing archive of over 250 articles on various aspects of the Jewishness of Jesus, the early Church and Hebraic expressions of our Christian faith. These articles are written by Steve Maltz, who also leads the team from Saffron Planet who are featured on these weekly broadcasts. Saffron Planet are a mixture of Christians, taken from all walks of life, from a plumber who knows his Bible well to esteemed Bible teachers who couldn't fix a tap to save their lives!
Saffron Planet was voted 'People's Choice' - the UK's favourite Christian website - in the 2008 Christian Blog and Web awards.
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Here is the article that provides the background to the Christmas show:
The Heart of Christmas
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
Many Bible scholars have looked at this passage and realised that the Greek words translated as “made his dwelling” also take the meaning “tabernacled”. So Jesus was born on this Earth and tabernacled with us. They investigated further and began gathering Biblical evidence, particularly from the account of Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, ministering in the Temple (Luke 1:5). It says that he belonged to the priestly division of Abijah and research indicates that this would have been during the period from Sivan 12th to 18th. Knowing that John the Baptist was conceived at that time and adding on nine months, we arrive at John’s birth around Passover time. Knowing that Jesus was conceived six months after John’s conception, we get the birth of Jesus, six months after Passover … around the Feast of Tabernacles! Suddenly John 1:14 makes sense and the Christmas industry start gunning for Hebrew scholars!
Sacred cows sacrificed at the altar of truth! Who said Jesus was born on December 25th anyway? It was a date of convenience, manufactured by the early Roman Church to cause minimum disruption to the pagan society that had suddenly become a “Christian” one! Of course any proposal to change this date to a more meaningful one is not going to be met with meekness, but here's a thought ...
The Jewish festivals, the Biblical festivals, are so instructional, so rich in meaning, so bursting in Jesus, that it can do us nothing but good to be aware of them, at the very least. It is totally up to you. Personally Christmas has gone full circle. It started off as a Roman pagan festival, marked by debauchery, overindulgence and revelry and that’s how it has ended up. I say leave it at that, by all means meet with family and friends and give presents, but don’t bring Jesus into it. Yes, I’ve said it! I’ve spoken what is unspeakable in many circles. If you feel a need to celebrate the Nativity then perhaps sing your carols at the Feast of Tabernacles, but it really isn’t any concern of Jesus’ so perhaps it shouldn’t be ours either.
Having said that, the last impression you would want to give to those family and friends who are not quite on the same path as yours, is of one of those kill-joy, humourless religious nuts who seeks to drain life out of everything that surrounds them. Whatever you decide it would be worth heeding the principle behind these words of Paul.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)
Be real, be sensitive to others, be joyful.
by Steve Maltz