Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jesus and the Feast of Tabernacles

I had to post this e-mail newsletter I got from the Chosen People Ministries - if for nothing else because I want to remember where to find it.:) I LOVE this kind of stuff and this serves as a reminder that God does not waste anything! The picture is from the replica of what the temple/Jerusalem would  have looked like at the time of Jesus. The water the author is talking about actually ran down the temple stairs and down the streets. The Pool of Siloam would have been to the bottom left so they had to bring the water uphill. Enjoy!


We have just finished celebrating Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), which is also called Hoshannah Rabbah – the Great Day of Salvation. I wrote a chapter on this incredible Jewish festival in the book my wife Zhava and I wrote for Moody Press many years ago, entitled The Fall Feasts of Israel. I would be happy to send you a copy at cost with free shipping if you'd like to read it! You can order it by replying to this e-mail, and we will bill you so you do not need to send any money ahead of time.
The week was a busy one in the religious Jewish community in Brooklyn, where I live. Sukkah booths dotted the landscape and Orthodox Jews took the week off from work – many were living in the booths or at least eating their meals in these structures. You can check out a few pictures in our "Sukkot in Brooklyn" photo gallery to get a sense of the neighborhood!

According to Jewish tradition and also gleaned from Leviticus 23, the purpose of living in booths is to remind the Jewish people of the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites and to remember the ways in which God provided for the Jewish people. Additionally, the Jewish people are reminded of the frailty of life – just as the booths let in the wind and the rain and are built without nails, so we in our humanity are frail creatures and can only have joy in life if we fully depend upon God and His provision.
This is one of the reasons I love this holiday! It is also a great time to witness to Jewish people, as the somber and serious season of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are now over and my people are now reflecting on the joy of knowing God's care.

I especially love the last day of the seven-day festival of Sukkot, as in John chapter 7 we see Jesus celebrating this day with the multitudes of Jewish worshippers gathered at the Temple:
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Jesus spoke these words at the conclusion of a ritual that was referred to as "The Ceremony of the Water Drawing" in the Talmud. Alfred Edersheim describes this ceremony as follows:
Thus the Talmud says distinctly: 'Why is the name of it called, the drawing out of water? Because of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, according to what is said: "With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."' Hence, also, the feast and the peculiar joyousness of it are alike designated as those of 'the drawing out of water'; for, according to the same Rabbinical authorities, the Holy Spirit dwells in many only through joy.

This is the culmination of the week-long festival, during which the Jewish people were daily asking God to provide rain so that the new season of crops in Israel would be able to grow. Each day the priests would bring water in large urns from the pools of Siloam to pour out over on the altar while raising their hands and asking God to send rain. This tradition developed over the years, and the request for rain expanded to include the sending of the rain of His Spirit in the end of days – a clear signal of Messianic expectation. "Send the rain... send the Messiah" was the mentality, as expressed in the reading of Psalm 118.
On the final day of Sukkot, the priests and the Levitical orchestra would march down to the pool of Siloam, fill the large urns and carry them back to the altar with great ceremony. They walked around the altar seven times, crying out "Save us, save us, save us, Lord," based upon Psalm 118:25, O Lord, do save, we beseech You; O Lord, we beseech You, do send prosperity!

In the midst of these heartfelt cries to God by the Jewish people for the promised salvation, Jesus stood up and with a loud voice announced that what was hoped for was now fulfilled! Their Messianic hopes and prayers that the Spirit would be given to provide sustenance, life and joy would now be fulfilled in Him!

What a magnificent event! What a moment for Yeshua to announce His Messiahship!
I know that you have a busy and challenging ministry, as do I, but I hope you are encouraged by knowing that we can fully depend upon Him who provides the Spirit and the joy to keep us smiling.

May the joy of the Lord fill your soul today!

Your brother in the Messiah,



...Megan... said...

Thanks for sharing Tiina! I love learning about the ways in which Jesus has fulfilled the old covenant. And it's awesome to see our brothers and sisters in Christ using these things to witness to the Jewish people.