Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles)-Eschatological view

There is no festival in the Bible that speaks more of the salvation of the Gentiles than this one. It is an eight-day festival and it is a tremendous picture of coming events. The focal point of this festival is the Court of the Women and it ends the High Holy Day season and the fall festivals. The shaking of the “lulav” (a bundle of branches from required tree’s) was done towards the four corners of the earth while reciting Zech 13.1 and 14.16. On the Feast of Sukkot, all people will be going to a banquet, but not the same banquet. Luke 12.35-37 says that the Messiah is coming out of his wedding chamber (Joel 2.15-16) and to a banquet. Rev 19.7-9 says that the time has come because the wedding has happened on Rosh Ha Shana and the supper follows the wedding. Isa 4.2-3 says that this will take place on earth with the survivors who have escaped a period of cleansing and purging. However, there is another banquet at this time and it is called the Feast of Leviathan (Rev19.17-1; Luke 17.33-37; Matt 24.27). This is reserved for the unbelievers who have survived. Job 41 talks about Leviathan and it is an eschatological name for the False Messiah. In v 5 it asks whether the traders will make a banquet of him, to eat him or celebrate his capture. Remember, the False Messiah has been captured and killed 5 days prior to this festival beginning after Yeshua returns. Leviathan is the twisted, fleeing serpent of Isa 27.1 and Isa 51.9 says that it was the “arm of the Lord” (idiom for Messiah) who pierced this dragon. Leviathan was seen as the eschatological ruler of Egypt (Europe=Egypt) and this was the False Messiah. He will be empowered by the “serpent.” He is the “monster” that lives in the river of Egypt (Europe), has “heads” (7=Rev 13) in Psa 74.13-14) and he rules the sea (unconverted humanity) in Psa 104.26. He is also pictured as “L’Azazel” goat on Yom Kippur  (For more information, see the article on the False Messiah on this site). The point is, everyone is going to a banquet. At the wedding feast believers eat, at the Feast of Leviathan, the followers of the False Messiah will be eaten (Rev 19.17-21). For believers, Sukkot is a joyous festival  and it is a picture of the Messianic Kingdom (Day of the Lord; Lord’s Day; Sabbath of God) and the time in the wilderness (Isa 4.1-6). Yeshua’s three and a half  year ministry coincided with the festivals, its terminology and idioms, its Scripture readings and rituals. A failure to understand these things will result in a lack of understanding and leads to confusion (Babylon). Let’s look at an example of this lack of understanding. Let’s go to John 7.2 where we find out it is the Feast of Sukkot. Yeshua enters the Temple in the middle of the feast and teaches (John 7.14). In the Mishnah tractate “Sukkot” it says that the people were taught Ezekiel 38-39 about the Gog and Magog, eschatologically known as the Russian invasion of Israel. It was taught at Sukkot because Assyria attacked Israel and was defeated around this time, causing the people to rejoice (Isa 9.1-7). Eschatologically, Russia will attack Israel during the High Holy Days (they did it before through the Arabs-1973) and will be defeated. Sukkotwill soon follow this victory over Russia and the people of Israel have believed in Yeshua resulting in salvation (Ezek 39.22; Isa 9.6). At Sukkot, the people were required to build a sukkah, a temporary shelter, like they did in the wilderness.  So, you can see there is a relationship between the time in the wilderness and this feast. This feast was known as the “Feast of Lights” and the “Feast of Dedication” because that is when Solomon dedicated the First Temple. It also called the Feast of Nations; Feast of Leviathan; the Feast of the Wedding Supper; the Feast of Contentment; Beit ha Shoevah (house of the water-pouring) and some other names. Sukkot’s ceremonies take place in the “outer courts” because it was reaching “outward” to the Gentiles (Isa 9.1). To help you visualize what is going on, try to obtain a floor-plan of the Second Temple to see what is happening. Four posts were set up with four vats of oil on each post, for a total of 16 vats, in the Court of the Women. This speaks of the great light called “the Kivod” (the glory) that would shine in the darkness (2 Chr 7.1-3). Tradition says that the pillar of fire and the cloud by day first appeared on the first day of Sukkot (Tishri 15).  Each post had a ladder and four “wicks” made from the swaddling clothes(undergarments) of the priests. Once these were lit, they could be seen all over Jerusalem and the mountains could be seen. It is not the purpose of this article, but there is ample evidence to suggest that Yeshua was born at the Feast of Sukkot. Now, there was a ceremony done every morning in the Temple called the “Beit Ha Shoevah” which means “the House of the Water-pouring” and this has a picture of salvation that few pictures have. Let’s go back and experience this just a little bit. All communities would gather in the center of their town to go up to this feast. It was required fore the males to go, and every seven years for everyone to go. A leader would say “Arise and let us go up to Zion, to the House of the Lord.” All towns had people coming and the delegations would be led by a guilded bullock, with gold and myrtle around the horns. They would be carrying lambs and first- fruit offerings. The one who led this procession was a flutist called “the pierced one.” They would sing  Psalms 120-134 called the Psalms of Ascent (going “up” to Jerusalem) as they went. At first, little streams of people  would gather together as they went. It is said that you could hear the people singing these Psalms from 15 miles away from Jerusalem. This is a picture of what is going to happen when Yeshua returns, and during the Messianic Kingdom. And yes, this feast will be celebrated in the Messianic Kingdom (Ezek 45. 25; Zech 14.16-19). Millions will be coming to see the King, from all over the world. You’ll see Abraham, David and the Prophets (Matt 8.11). As they approached and Jerusalem came into view they would sing “As the mountains are around Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people from this time forth and forever” (Psa 125.2). As they came into the gates of Jerusalem they sang Psa 122. 1-3.  Sukkah’s were all over the city and surrounding hills, and the air smelled like fresh tree’s. On the first day of the feast, after the regular daily offerings, a special ceremony would start. Thousands would line up from the courts of the Temple to the Pool of Siloam (sent), south of the Temple. An important priest would walk with hundreds of other priests and go out the Water Gate. People with lulavs (palm branches, willows and myrtle trees in a bundle) would wave them as he walked to the pool. At the same time, a second group of priests went out the East Gate through the Kidron Valley to the Valley of Motzah (Sent) to cut willow branches. Thousands would line up there with lulavs also. After the priests cut down their willow branches, they waved them, beating the ground and causing a sound of “wind” (ruach). A third group has taken a lamb from Bethlehem (where sacrificial lambs were raised and one of the reasons why Yeshua was born there) and has slain it in the Temple. Now, both of the other groups are making their way back to the Temple. The first group comes through the Water Gate and two silver trumpets are blown (Num 10) with a three-fold blast. At that point, they priests and people would sing “With joy shall you draw water out of the wells of “salvation” (“yeshua” in Hebrew) quoting Isa 12.3. In Hebrew it says “Ushavtem mayim besoson, mima anay ha yeshua.” As they come into the inner court, the priests would ascend the Altar, in the Court of the Priests. The priests with the willows would lay them over the Altar, making a sukkah. The third group that offered the lamb would place its pieces after “rightly dividing” it, on the Altar. The first group with the water (called “mayim chaim”=living water) has an assistant with wine and they pour the water and the wine into two bowls with tubes on the Altar (remember the blood (wine) and water that poured from Yeshua’s side on the cross/altar- John 19.34). This is done at the same time as the pieces of the lamb were placed on the Altar. Now, there are 15 steps leading up to the Nicanor Gate, corresponding to the 15 Psalms of Ascent. The Levitical Choir is there and they sing the first verse of Psalms 113-118 called the Hallel. The people respond with the second verse, the Levites the third and so on. When they get to the Psalm 118.21, a flutist begins to play and the people begin to dance. Then, a priest blows a trumpet three times and the people mill around the court and all the scholars and famous Rabbi’s come out and teach the people about the feast, prophecy or whatever. This goes on till it’s time for special Sukkot sacrifices (Num 29). Following this, the priests would circle the Altar with willows and lulavs seven times while the Hallel is sung. That night, there is a ceremony called the “Simchat Ha Shoevah” and the priests would “descend” to the Court of the Women. The Rabbi’s would come with baton torches and would dance. Everyone would dance, weep, cry and rejoice before the Lord. It was said that you have never seen rejoicing till you saw this. As we have said before, in the Court of the Women, there were four posts set up, one in each corner basically. Each post had four vats of oil and the wicks (undergarments/swaddling clothes) were lit. These were seen for miles and this is why this feast was  called the Feast of Lights. Now, let’s go back to John 7 and we know Yeshua is teaching and has participated in these ceremonies. In John 7.37 it says it was the last day, or seventh, of the feast. The priests have left out the Water Gate, slaughtered the lamb, the lulavs are waving and the trumpets blasting. The people are singing “with joy shall you draw water from the wells of Salvation (yeshua) and Yeshua stands and cries out ” If any man thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scriptures said ‘from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water’.” He is drawing a correlation between the ceremonies at this feast with his work of salvation! Now you won’t fail to understand John 7.37 and have a lack of understanding about it because you have a proper back-round. But wait, there’s more. This was the seventh day of the feast called “Hoshana Rabbah” or the “great salvation.” The nest day is called the “eighth” day and is a festival (Lev 23.36). All night they have been rejoicing and danced. Yeshua left and he comes back. Some men who did not listen to him the day before try to trap him. So, they bring him a woman caught in adultery and they wanted to know what to do with her. They didn’t really care for what Yeshua had said the day before and they didn’t care for the Torah or the women, they wanted to trap him. So he reaches down and writes something on the ground. What did he write? Well, one of the verses they would have known and associated with Sukkot was Jer 17.12-13 where it says “A glorious throne on high from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. O Lord, the hope (mikveh=immersion bath) of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from me will be written down in the earth, because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the Lord.” He wrote down their names in fulfillment of this Sukkot passage, and they knew what he was doing. Eschatologically speaking, when Yeshua returns on Yom Kippur, the people who have survived the Tribulation will be gathered from all over the world to Jerusalem and he will judge them during the 5 days between Yom Kippur and Sukkot from the Mount of Olives in what is known as the Judgment of the sheep and goats (Matt 13.30; 13.41,48-50; Matt 25.31-46). From there, on his right is the Temple Mount and on his left the Valley of Hinnom, known as Tophet (Jer 7.30-31; 19.1-15). Those that have believed during the Tribulation will be on his right and go into the Messianic Kingdom and participate in the Wedding Supper. Those that are on his left are unbelievers and will be killed and fed to the birds and beasts of the field in what is known as the Feast of Leviathan ( Isa 66.23-24; Rev 19.17-21).

Posted in Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

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