Study Guide
by David Chadwell

Lesson 1  |  Lesson 2  |  Lesson 3  |  Lesson 4  |  Lesson 5  |  Lesson 6
Lesson 7  |  Lesson 8  |  Lesson 9  |  Lesson 10  |  Lesson 11

Lesson Seven

Principal text: Deuteronomy 16:1-17

This lesson will contrast the national religious assemblies (holy days or religious festivals) in Old Testament Judaism with the practices of Christianity in the New Testament. All men in Israel were commanded to assemble together for religious purposes three times a year [Exodus 23:14-17; Exodus 34:21-23; Deuteronomy 16:16,17]. Those occasion were the Passover with the feast of unleaven bread; the feast of weeks (or Pentecost); and the feast of booths (or the feast of tabernacles or the feast of ingatherings). Women and children were permitted to attend, but it was not mandatory that they attend.

Obviously this commandment anticipates that all Israel will live in a single country small enough to allow all the men to make a pilgrimage on these occasions. That situation was radically altered by the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. From the end of the Babylonian captivity until this day, more Jews live in nations other than Palestine than live in Palestine. From that time many Israelites had neither the finances or the time to travel to Jerusalem three times a year.

  1. Basic information: Israel lived by a lunar (moon) calendar, not a solar (sun) calendar as do we.

    1. A lunar year is eleven days shorter than a solar year.

    2. It seems that periodically Israel added a month to their year so that the first of their year continually occurred in the spring.

    3. A lunar month began at the first sighting of the crescent new moon.

    4. A lunar month lasted 29 or 30 days.

  2. Passover and the week of unleaven bread:

    1. It began annually on the 14 day of the first Jewish month (Nisan) which would occur sometime between mid-March and mid-April [Exodus 12:3,6,17-20].

    2. It occurred in the spring, and no work was to occur during this time of religious festival.

    3. What was the purpose of the Passover meal?

    4. What was the purpose in eating no yeast bread for a week?

  3. The feast of weeks or Pentecost:

    1. This feast was held on the sixth day of the third month (Sivan), which would occur from mid-May to mid-June on our calendar.

    2. It occurred fifty days after the Passover (from which the name Pentecost came).

    3. This occurred at the time of beginning of the harvest when the first fruits of the harvest were presented to God.

    4. What was the purpose of the feast of weeks?

  4. The feast of booth or tabernacles or ingathering:

    1. This feast occurred from the fifteenth to the twenty-first of the seventh month (Tishri), which occurred on our calendar from mid-September to mid-October.

    2. This feast occurred at the end of harvest, and everyone lived in a lean-to made of branches as a reminder of the wilderness wanderings.

    3. This was a happy festival, a time of rejoicing.

    4. What was the purpose of the feast of booths or tabernacles?

  5. The contrast with Christian assembly practices in the New Testament.

    1. Was a world wide assembly of all male Christians commanded? On what occasion?

    2. Was a national assembly of all male Christians commanded? On what occasion?

    3. Does the New Testament provide a detailed account of any correct Christian assembly?

    4. Israel's required religious assemblies of the men were national occasions. Are Christian assemblies ever commanded to be national occasions? Consider Galatians 3:26-29.

    5. The national assemblies of Israel had both a joyful element and a solemn element. Why? What about Christian assemblies?

Please take note of the fact that there is again a distinct contrast between Old Testament Judaism and New Testament Christianity. These national religious assemblies in Israel have no parallel in Christianity. Again, note the simplicity of Christianity.

David Chadwell

God's Contrasting Approaches Study Guide (lesson 7)
Wednesday evening Bible class, Spring Quarter 1999
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Copyright © 1999
Permission is granted to freely copy and distribute with text unchanged, including author's name.
next lesson

Lesson 1  |  Lesson 2  |  Lesson 3  |  Lesson 4  |  Lesson 5  |  Lesson 6
Lesson 7  |  Lesson 8  |  Lesson 9  |  Lesson 10  |  Lesson 11

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell