Just as all of us have a culture that we live in and understand, so does the Bible. The culture of the Newer Testament is that of first-century Israel, or what many scholars refer to as the Second Temple Period. The writers, with the possible exception of Luke, were all Jewish. The result is that the Newer Testament is a first-century Jewish document written in a kind of shorthand. Concepts which were readily understood by the readers of that day are not explained. For example, the biblical feasts—first described in Leviticus 23—are often mentioned in the Newer Testament, but never explained. It is assumed that the readers were already familiar with this information. Additionally, Hebraic idioms made their way from the original Hebrew speakers into the Greek text in a word-by-word fashion, which often only makes sense once they are translated back into Hebrew. First-century individuals, groups, and institutions are mentioned without elaboration: for example, Pharisees, Sadducees, Romans, Herod, the Temple, the Pool of Bethesda, etc.
The effect on the modern-day reader—who doesn’t speak either Hebrew or Greek, who lives thousands of miles from the Middle East and hasn’t studied Jewish culture, history, or religion—is that many of the nuances are lost. At Bridges for Peace, one of our goals is to reconnect Christians to the Hebraic roots of their faith. Our monthly Israel Teaching Letter is part of that effort. Now a new learning experience is available.
Land of the Bible Experience—Phase 1 Opens
When in Israel, be sure to come to the Land of the Bible Experience located at the Bridges for Peace International Headquarters in the center of Jerusalem. Our Teaching Room, created in first-century style, awaits you. Situated in a beautiful garden with many biblical plants and trees, the teaching center provides the perfect opportunity to learn more about our Jewish roots. Step back in time, as on-site teachers shed new light on passages previously taught from a Greek perspective rather than a Hebraic one. You will gain a broader and deeper understanding of the full context of Scripture and the culture of the Bible. You can experience the biblical feasts, learn about ancient biblical customs, and even wear first-century-style garments.
Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles
Thousands of Christians come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. The Bible tells of a day to come when “everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16).
Few, however, actually have the opportunity to decorate a sukkah (booth) or to hear an explanation of the feast as it is celebrated in Israel today. There are so many lessons that can be learned from the Feast of Tabernacles. Now, you can experience Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) at the Land of the Bible Experience. Your group can decorate a sukkah with fresh fall fruits and colorful decorations and sit under its palm-branch roof in our beautiful garden. See a real lulav and etrog (the species waved before the Lord, Leviticus 23:40), and learn how it is used to praise God. No matter if you have celebrated the feast somewhere else, it is nothing compared to celebrating it in Israel!
A Year-Round Celebration
The Land of the Bible Experience is open year-round on a reservation basis so other feasts and holiday experiences can be enjoyed. Call today to make reservations for your group. There is no entrance fee or charge for the teachings, although light catered meals, at a reasonable cost, can be arranged. The opportunity to bless Israel through the ongoing work of Bridges for Peace in the Land, through both our educational programs and our practical assistance programs, will be presented. Gifts and educational resources are available in the on-site shop. For those with a tight schedule, our teachers can adjust to your time frame.For booking information, contact your National Office.
Understanding Our Bibles Better
Do you want to understand the Bible as the early readers did? Do you have a desire to understand its hidden nuances? Let’s remove the cultural eyeglasses through which we view the world and read the Scriptures. Cheryl Hauer, our US Deputy National Director, says, “Let’s begin to develop a truly biblical or Hebraic worldview. In order to do so, we must be willing to explore the mind-set of the writers of the Scriptures. We must step into their world and understand their culture.” Bridges for Peace extends an open invitation for you to do that through our new Land of the Bible Experience.
By Rebecca J. Brimmer,
International President and CEO
To book a reservation: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. 972-2-624-5004, FAX 972-2-624-6622
Photo Credit: Photo by Will King
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