Book review: Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts

by Dr. Richard Booker


It’s impossible to recognize all the nuances of the New Testament writings without understanding the Jewish feasts. Consider especially the Gospel of John: It goes from one Biblical feast to the next with barely a let-up. This is one of John’s primary literary devices, where the festival celebrations provide a meaningful backdrop for Jesus’ lessons. Let me give you an example from Booker’s book, in his coverage of the Feast of Tabernacles:

As part of the ritual proceeding, a certain priest would draw water from the Pool of Siloam with a golden pitcher. He would then come to the altar at the temple where the High Priest would take the pitcher and pour the water into a basin at the foot of the altar. … About the time the water was being poured … [all the people] sought the Lord from Isaiah 44:3, which reads, “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring.”

Now we come to the words of Jesus in John 7:37. Picture him there in the temple as the ceremony concludes. On the last day of the feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stood and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

I have at least a half-dozen books about the feasts of Israel; it’s a basic necessity for anyone studying to publish a book about the Gospel of John. With perhaps the exception of an over-sized picture book (come on, who can resist that?) this one is my favorite. Booker will guide you through the entire year of festivals, from Passover to Hanukkah, adroitly explaining the significance of each traditional and ritual and how the events relate to the story of Jesus.

(Dr. Richard Booker is considered a pioneer and spiritual father in teaching on Israel, Jewish-Christian relations, and the biblical Hebraic roots of Christianity.)

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