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God's Festivals in Scripture & History #1 / Bacchiocchi, Samuele

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The Christian faith is rooted in the belief that God has acted in human history by creating, redeeming, and ultimately restoring His creatures. These redemptive acts of God are commemorated in the Bible weekly through the Sabbath and annually through the Spring and Fall Festivals. The Spring Festivals of Passover and Pentecost commemorate the redemptive accomplishments of Christ's first Advent, namely, Christ's atoning death. His resurrection, ascension, inauguration of His heavenly ministry, and sending of the Holy Spirit. The Fall Festivals of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles point to the consummation of redemption, namely, the judgment, the final disposition of sin, the second Advent, and the restoration of this world.

Most evangelical churches no longer observe the annual Biblical Festivals today, partly as a result of the radical anti-feasts attitude of the Puritans, who swept away all religious holy days except the Lord's Day. The Puritans viewed the church calendar, which was filled with saint's days and Marian feasts instituted by the Roman Catholic Church, as indicative of the apostasy into which the church had fallen. To rid the church of all the pagan superstitions which had become part of the popular piety, the Puritans in Colonial America did away with all the annual holy days. In doing so, however, they left Christians without a religious calendar to commemorate the great saving acts of God.

In God's Festivals in Scripture and History, Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi challenges Christians to bring about worship renewal by developing a church calendar patterned after the religious calendar God gave to Israel. Such a calendar would focus during the course of the year on the redemptive accomplishments of Christ's first and second Advents. We cannot preach the whole Bible in one sermon. We cannot celebrate the whole story of redemption in one Sabbath. A church calendar patterned after the calendar of Israel can help to do justice to all the great saving acts of God.

A church calendar is more than an annual cycle of recurring festivals. It provides an opportunity to experience afresh what God has done in the past, is doing in the present, and will do in the future. It enables us to take the time which God has created and offer it back to God through Jesus Christ who has redeemed it.

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