I had a dream Saturday night.
Jesus took my hand and placed it on my neck, just under my jaw, where the Carotid artery carries the blood from the heart to the brain. “If the body is like a year, then the heart is My Love. The arterial system is the vehicle to carry that love all over the body.
The Feasts of the Lord are the pulse points. At regular intervals thru the year I want to remind my people that I AM. That I love them. I have left them these heart beats, these pictures, to remind them of my redemptive story, of my whole redemptive plan”.
When I woke up and pondered this amazing dream, I wondered just how many pulse points there were on the human body Google quickly revealed the answer: in addition to the human heart that there were 7 other major pulse points! The same number as the Feasts! Temporal, Carotid, Brachial, Femoral, Popliteal, Pedal(dorsalis pedis) and Radial. The precision of the Lord never ever ceases to amaze me! Heartbeats of His Love! Amazing and Profound.
There is Power in the Blood! The Feasts are the pulse points during the year where we check for life, where we check for fruit. Are we alive? Have we let the plaque of bad teaching or subtle prejudice against the validity or need of Old Testament teaching clog and harden the arteries of our understanding? Are we, His children, remembering those important pictures, love letters and Themes from His Power Point Presentation that He specifically emphasized for us? The Feasts are the outline, if you will, that the entire body of the scripture Old Testament and New, is formulated around. If we can “get” the Feasts then we pretty much have the entire overview of God’s Plan.
While it is tricky to deliver this deep teaching in bite-sized digestible bits suitable for a blog, I hope that you will bear with me for the equivalent of the Reader’s Digest Condensed version of the Feast of Tabernacles( Alternately called in scripture: Sukkot, Feast of Ingathering and Feast of the Nations) As with so many things in Scripture, there are multiple depths and layers of meaning to all the Feasts. Tabernacles probably has more layers than the other six.
There is an historical Hebrew aspect of remembering what God did for them as he brought them out of Egypt. This testimony speaks to us all. If God can part the Red Sea and provide Manna for his loved ones back then…then is He any less capable now of bringing me and mine out of whatever “Egypt” we find ourselves in? Of course not. In addition to remembering personal national history, each Feast is also a flashing neon sign with every nuance pointing to the arrival of the Messiah: first as the sinless Lamb and second as the King of Kings. The Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.(Revelation 19:10) The Tabernacle is Jesus, The Feasts are Jesus, Jesus is God, Jesus is the Holy Spirit. It is all about Jesus and His name is Salvation.
The last Feast of the Lord then is the Feast of Tabernacles.(Lev 23:39) The overwhelming topical word for this Feast is REJOICING. In Deut. 16:14 The Lord tells Moses that the people should start off with a Sabbath day (no work), Rejoice like crazy for the next 6 days and then on the 8th day have another ,no-work-day Sabbath. 8 is the number for new beginnings. The 8th day is called Simchat Torah where they were specifically Rejoicing in the Word of God.(John 1:-5) The folks are instructed to build temporary booths or Sukkahs, with willow branches and fruits, to remember their time in the wilderness where they lived in tents as God provided for them. (Just this aspect of the booths is a detailed study and with apologies, I am hydroplaning right over the top!) They are to be joyful and celebrate!(Ex. 35:20) Remember, Moses had come down the 2nd time from the mountain on Yom Kippur having atoned for their corporate sin of worshipping the golden calf. They were enormously relieved! He came with God- given law as well as the detailed instructions to build the Tabernacle. They began building the Tabernacle on the first Feast of Tabernacles the 15th day of the 7th month, Tishri.
Joy was central while looking back at their escape from bondage. Joy that God was now Tabernacle-ing closely in their midst. They had just seen and heard the tangible evidence of His presence on the mountain with the Godly blast of the Shofar emanating from the midst of the dark clouds and lightning. God was real and He was leading them.
Later there was Joy as Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not in December on Christmas Day but on the First day of the Fall Feast of Tabernacles. He came to Tabernacle among us. I believe that you can extrapolate facts from 1 Chron. 24:1-2 and Luke 1:10-11 and figure out when John the Baptist was born and then Jesus’ birthdate. Luke 2 describes Angelic messengers delivering the Tidings of Great Joy to the Shepherds. Great Joy at the Celebration of Great Joy! Luke 2:13 indicates simultaneous Angelic rejoicing with the Water Libation Ceremony being sung at the Temple of Psalm 118:25. It deals with the coming Messiah“…The Voice of Rejoicing…Salvation is in the Tabernacles of the Righteous.” Remember the Hebrew name of Jesus is Yeshua: Salvation! Immediately after it is sung the entire crowd of over 2 million people would have shouted: Hosanna or Save Now! Save Now! Save Now! (Mt 21:8-9, Luke 19:38, Rev. 7:9-10) There were no rooms at the inn because Caesar Augustus had mandated a census and tax collection immediately following the fall harvest to coincide with the mandated presence of every Jewish male over the age of 20. If it were a Shemitah or Jubilee year that would explain why Mary accompanied Joseph to Bethlehem, as every man, woman and child was told to come every 7th year. Deut. 31:10-12, Deut 16:16, Exodus 23:14
Looking forward to Future Joy: The Feast of Tabernacles in some future Jubilee year which pictures the date when Messiah is going to establish his Earthly Kingdom and “Tabernacle” with us in the New Jerusalem. ( Ezek. 43:1-6,Isaiah 2:1-5, Rev 21:3) Then every nation on earth will come up to Jerusalem to worship the King of Kings at the Feast of Tabernacles(Micah 4:1-2)
The Sukkah or temporary booth is a yearly reminder to us all ,now, that our bodies are the temporary dwelling place of the Spirit of the Living God.( 1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Every Night of Tabernacles was a huge party. It was all about Light and Joy. Under the Full Harvest Moon, the priests standing before the Nicanor Gate on the 15 steps would play horns and instruments and lead the people in the corresponding Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) The Sanhedrin juggled lit torches and men performed whirling dances all night long, as the women looked on from the balconies by the light of the enormous 75 foot tall oil lamps. Each Menorah had 4 gigantic golden bowls. These lamp wicks, by the way, were made of “swaddling” strips of old priestly garments. Their brilliant lights could be seen for miles away from the Temple Mount. Jerusalem, during this ceremony was known as ” The Light of the World”!
In temple days there were two amazingly symbolic ceremonies. All the courses of priests were split into 3 huge groups. Each day of the Feast, one third took care of the massive amounts of various types of sacrificial requirements which, sadly, I don’t have time to go into.
One third of the priests would go out each morning to perform the Water Libation Ceremony. The successful completion of these ceremonies was linked prayerfully to the Rain.( Ezk. 34:26,Psalms 72:6-8, Habb. 2:14, Hosea 6:3, Joes 2:3, Deut 32:2 ) The fruit harvest had just been completed and now the winter rains were necessary to prepare the ground for the spring barley and wheat fields. Exiting by way of the Water Gate, long rows of priests dressed in white linen would wind all the way down the steep hill to the pool of Siloam where the “living water” was. Hoards of people would be lining the paths to watch as the High Priest would dip a golden vessel full of water from the pool. He is accompanied by another priest bearing a silver pitcher full of wine. Then they would retrace their steps back to the Temple.
Meanwhile, the other third of the priests would go to a designated area and fetch long, 30 foot willow Branches for the Spirit Ceremony. The Hebrew word for wind or Spirit is Ruach) Rows upon Rows upon Rows of priests, spread out and would take one step in unison and wave their long branches, then take another step toward the Temple and then all stop and wave again.
Back at the temple both of these groups were met by a Flute playing priest called “The Pierced One” who invites both the Water and the Spirit to enter in to the Temple. At the Brazen altar all 3 groups converge. The priest with the small golden vessel transfers the water from the golden vessel into a silver one. The other fellow with the silver pitcher of red wine stands by. Both the Living Water and the Wine are simultaneously poured out on the sacrifice: Just as the Water and the Blood poured out of Jesus when his heart was pierced at his sacrificial death. The gold of the first vessel represents Royalty. Silver is symbolic of Redemption. The Living Water had to be transferred from the gold to the silver just as Jesus had to lay down his Deity: His Royal Identity, for us, in order to stand in our stead as the redemptive sacrifice. The priests would sing the Hallel (Psalms 113-118) and the congregation then waved their palm branches toward the altar and joined in singing “Save now, I pray, O Lord…send now prosperity ( Psm 118:25) as the Priest marched around the altar with their branches.
On the last day, the 8th day, The day of New Beginnings a Messianic passage was always sung Isaiah 12:2-3 was always sung at the Temple: Behold, God is my salvation(Yeshua): I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song. He also is become my salvation( Yeshua) Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation(Yeshua) It was at this moment in John 7:37 that Jesus jumps up at the cram- packed Temple and shouts, ” If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink! He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water!” Later, after another dramatic confrontation with the Pharisees, Jesus proclaimed another amazing “Tabernacles” statement of Messianic Identity. In John 8:12 He states“ I AM the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (Isa.49:6) Make no mistake, absolutely everyone in earshot in both these instances understood that he was proclaiming himself to be Messiah.
The Feast of Tabernacles is the 7th Pulse Point, the Compass pointing True right to Messiah setting up his Earthly Kingdom. He is The Light of the World, He is the only source of Living Water, He is the Joy, He is the Sabbath Rest. He is the One who wants to Tabernacle with us! He is Jesus.
Rich in easy to understand imagery, He gave us these pulse points, these divine appointments, Moeds, so we would never forget. He always keeps these appointments. Remember that Jesus fulfilled the Spring Feasts on the exact dates at the exact times. The Holy Spirit came with a mighty rushing wind just a few weeks later on the Feast of Weeks, Pentecost. Jesus will fulfill all the Fall Feasts on their exact dates at some point in the future. My oil lamp is full and I am waiting and watching for Him! (Matt 25)