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Daniel 10-12

09.10.2010

The book of Daniel finishes with one long vision, and an impressive one it is.  News has reached Persia of the trouble that the Jews are having kicking off their rebuilding process.  Daniel is troubled, and in his distress he receives a vision.  It is essentially a detailed pre-account of the history of the Near East/Mediterranean for the next 400 years or so.

Part of this account covers what would be the Maccabean revolt against Seleucid authority roughly 400 years in the future.  Since this is presumably the closest we will get to the Hanukkah narrative in the Bible, it’s a good time to raise my perennial question: 

Why doesn’t the church celebrate Jewish holidays, particularly those that originated before the birth of Christ?  I think one of the strengths of the faith is that it claims not to be a religion begun in Palestine 2000 years ago but the culmination/fulfillment of a relationship with God that’s been observed through Jewish tradition since the beginning of recorded time.  Remember, Paul and Peter and John, etc., did not conisder themselves to be ‘Christians’ in a manner distinct from their former beliefs.  They still identified as Jews; they didn’t, I imagine, think of themselves as having changed their beliefs but rather deepened them through direct communion with God incarnate.

I understand that the holidays we have in the church celebrate events which helped us to better understand the meaning behind the Jewish holidays, but I don’t see why Passover and Yom Kippur, say, are not celebrated by Christians as well.  I mean, I figure there are historical reasons like the Western church adapting to the pagan cultures of Europe instead of trying to import the culture of Judaism.  But is there a theological reason why these holidays couldn’t be observed by the church in a way consistent with (small-o) orthodox doctrine?

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