Sabbatarian Bible Teacher Speaks at Weekend Seminar

by Veronica Smith, Tyler, Texas


A gathering of people from nearly all the major WCG splinter groups attended a weekend seminar taught by Sabbatarian Bible Teacher, Joseph Good, on February 21 and 22 at the Hawkins Community Center in Hawkins, Texas. The seminar called The Feasts of God, covered an overview of the Festival celebrations during Temple times.

Six 90-minute Bible study sessions were held on both the Sabbath and Sunday, with a 90-minute potluck lunch each day. Each session began with a long, loud blast of a ramís horn, reminiscent of the blowing of the shofar that ushered in festivals at the Temple in Jerusalem.

Approximately 125 people attended over the weekend. Some came only on the Sabbath, others came only on Sunday, but most attended the entire event. Attendees included persons from all of the major local WCG/CGI splinter groups, except PCG. Other attendees included persons from the Baruch Ha Shem Messianic Synagogue in Dallas, a local in-home Messianic Jewish Bible study group, and a local Bible study group made up of former WCG members.

Music was performed during some of the session breaks: As the Deer Pants, a popular Messianic Jewish song sung by Gary, Veronica, Chrystal, and Leona Smith; El Shaddai, a saxophone solo performed by Jason Kelley of Hawkins; The Holy City, sung by Jacob Southerland of Gladewater; and The Lordís Prayer, a piano solo played by Chryssi Smith of Lindale.

The overall reaction to the seminar was positive. Rob Feith of Big Sandy, said, "The presentation was excellent. The guy has so much information. He certainly spurred me on to do more in-depth study regarding various issues."

"His enthusiasm is very inspiring and encourages you to search the scriptures yourself. He has a lot of biblical insight and shows you parallel themes that extend throughout the entire Bible," said Angie Kelley of Hawkins.

The seminar was so successful that planners are already scheduling another weekend seminar in May. The topic will be Prophecy in the End Time. It will be the first session in a three-part series with two more sessions to follow later this year, depending on Goodís availability. For more information on this seminar, contact Mitchell Smith (903)882-7446.

One man, who wishes to remain anonymous, "discovered" Good on a Christian cable channel program several years ago and requested Bible study tapes that Good offered on the program. The man found the information to be so helpful in understanding the Bible that he made copies of the tapes and passed them around to several friends. Soon, the interest in Joe Good Bible study tapes grew and spread across organizational lines around the nation. Listeners continued to request more tapes from the man that discovered him. Finally, many listeners expressed an interest in having Good speak in east Texas. As a result, the man that first discovered Good made arrangements for the teaching weekend at the Hawkins Community Center.

Goodís teaching emphasis is on the "Hebrewness" of the scriptures. He stresses that the Bible was written in a Hebrew culture and language of centuries past that was commonly understood by the Hebrew people of that time. He also teaches that much of the Bible is misunderstood by people of the modern, 20th Century western culture. Good also has a working knowledge of the Hebrew language, so during his classes, he uses key Hebrew words to help learners understand the cultural context in which the scriptures were written.

One example that Good uses to teach students about the cultural/historical differences between the past and the present is how the New Testament term "crow" (KJV) was used by Christ in the statement "...before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice." For people of that time, instead of meaning a literal "rooster," the term actually meant the temple watchman who sounded the "all clear" at the beginning of his Temple watch. Good explains that as a precautionary measure, chickens were not allowed within the city limits of Jerusalem during Temple times because they could enter and desecrate the Temple with their waste. This would have caused a serious disruption of Temple rites and the priests would have had to perform a complete purification of the Temple.

Good founded Hatikva Ministries approximately thirteen years ago. "Hatikva" means "hope" in Hebrew. It is based in Nederland, Texas and is strictly a teaching and research ministry. It is not operating for the purpose of starting congregations or a centralized church. According to a key staff member, Goodís "best teaching medium is the Bible study format with an active, live audience." He is kept busy teaching Bible studies and seminars at churches of various denominations around the nation.

The Hatikva staff consists of only six employees, including Good. Staff members spend most of their time doing Biblical research, keeping up with important news from Israel, reproducing Goodís Bible study tapes, and preparing a Hatikva Ministries newsletter.

Good has an informative television series called In The Footsteps of the Messiah that was shown on the Trinity Broadcasting Network for about 4 years (though Good is not a Trinitarian). Now, the program airs on a new network, Prime Time Christian Television, originating from KLML in Midland/Odessa. It reaches most of west Texas and southeast New Mexico, but will soon expand to cover all of Texas. More expansion is planned. The broadcast series is currently covering Isaiah—discussing proofs of the Messiah from both the Old and New Testaments.

Good has also written several books. His most popular book is Rosh Hoshanah and the Messianic Kingdom to Come. Others are Prophesies From the Book of Esther and The Non-Jewís Guide to Jewish Sources.

In conjunction with his Bible study ministry, Good also conducts two tours a year to Israel, which he has done since 1990. His tour visits only "A" sites where biblical events actually occurred, and offers an optional excursion to Jordan.

As a result of his visits to Israel, Good keeps in touch with members of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem that are trying to reestablish a Temple there. He has also befriended many soldiers in the Israeli Army Tank Brigades and has occasionally purchased supplies for them.

For information on over 50 cassette tape studies on a variety of Biblical and historical subjects (and tours of Israel), contact Hatikva Ministries, 409-724-7601. The address is PO Box E, Nederland, Texas, 77627. &