Torah and New Testament Foundations-Part 23

We left off in Part 22 talking about what Yeshua was teaching at Sukkot. The “Jews” in 7.15 is referring to the rulers, and they were wondering how Yeshua had so much knowledge of the Scriptures without going to any of their schools. Yeshua begins to explain that his teaching was not his, but the Father’s, and he ask’s the rulers “Why do you seek to kill me?” In John 7.20, the multitude says, “You have a demon! Who seeks to kill you?” This “multitude” was from the nations and were there because of the festival. They heard what Yeshua was telling the Jewish rulers there and they were unaware of any plot to kill Yeshua. He then answers in John 7.21-24, and he directs his answer to the Pharisee’s from Beit Shammai who were there, who thought that a person shouldn’t heal on the Sabbath, but Beit Hillel allowed it, so we can tell who he is talking to by what he tells them. The Sanhedrin at the time (the Jews/rulers) was made up of Sadducees and Pharisees from the School of Shammai and Hillel. Not all Pharisee’s were against Yeshua. He begins to criticize the Pharisee’s from the School of Shammai and points out their hypocrisy. He says you circumcise a man on the Sabbath, yet you criticize me for making an entire man whole on the Sabbath? Then there is a discussion about Yeshua, and they realize that this is the man the rulers are seeking to kill. They ask, “The rulers (the Jews of v 15) do not really know that this is the Messiah, do they?” They go on to say that they knew where the Messiah was to come from, but they didn’t know where Yeshua was from. There was a first century belief that the Messiah would be divine, from God and pre-existent and so his origins would be shrouded in mystery. This belief was based on Mal 3.1, Dan 9.25. But, this was not a universal view, but it was there (Talmud, Sanhedrin 97a).

From John 7.25-39, we know that the setting was the festival of Sukkot. In the morning service every day of the festival, there is a ceremony called the “Beit Ha Shoevah”, meaning “House of the Water-pouring.” At night there was another ceremony called the “Simchat Beit Ha Shoevah” meaning “Rejoicing in the House of the Water-pouring.” These ceremonies are done for seven days. The seventh day is called the “Last Day” (v 37) or “Hoshannah Rabbah” meaning “The Great Salvation.” The ceremony of Beit Ha Shoevah is involved here in v 37-39. Water was taken from the Pool of Shiloach (meaning “sent”), along with wine, and poured out on the Altar. Willows have been cut down from the Valley of Motza (meaning “sent”) and they are brought into the Temple, with the priests waving them up and down as they walked, making a “wooshing” sound like wind (the Ruach Ha Kodesh coming into the Temple, the Spirit). Notice, the water and the willows are both taken from a place called “sent.” Yeshua says in John 7.28 that he has been “sent.” Both groups make their way back into the Temple, and on day one through six, make one circuit around the Altar with the willows. But, on Hoshannah Rabbah, they make seven circuits. The willows are stacked against the Altar, making a sukkah. It is at this point in the ceremony that Yeshua stands and cries out “If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. And he who believes in me as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'” The people were expecting the Ruach Ha Kodesh when the Messiah came.

That night, we have the Simchat Beit Ha Shoevah ceremony in the Court of the Women. In the morning, the people have ascended into the inner courts. At this ceremony, the priests, Levites and the choir and musicians have descended into the Court of the Women. This alludes to Jacob’s Ladder in Gen 28.12. Four posts 80 feet high are set up in the Court of the Women and each post had four vats filled with oil. The oil vats had discarded priest clothing as wicks, called “swaddling clothes” and these were lit. These lights were called the “Light of the World.” It lit up the whole area around the Temple. It was said that every courtyard in Jerusalem was lit up. The people in the Court of the Women danced and rejoiced all night. At sunrise, there was another ceremony. The people would face west, with their backs to the rising sun, and pray this prayer, “Our fathers, who stood in this place, stood with their backs toward the Temple of the Lord and their faces towards the east, and they worshipped the sun toward the east. But, as for us, our eyes are turned toward the Lord.”

In John 7.38, we have “the living water” which is “mayim chaim” in Hebrew. Isa 12.3 is a Sukkot passage thatwas sung during the festival and it says, “Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.” The word “salvation” is the word “yeshua” in Hebrew. That means they have been singing a song during this festival about living water from Yeshua, and Yeshua stands and basically quotes this verse to them, and also compares himself to the “river” of Ezek 47. He clearly talks about the water being a type of the “Spirit” but the Spirit had not yet been given because Yeshua had not yet been glorified (resurrected-John 7.38-39). We know that Yeshua dies and is resurrected. He will appear to the Talmidim (disciples), and each gospel will tell the story with a little bit of different information in each one. In John 20.22, Yeshua appears to them and it says he “breathed” in them and said “receive the Holy Spirit.” But there is a contradiction, or is there. In Acts 1.7-8 he tells them to wait for the Spirit to come upon them. Why does he say this to the same people he just breathed on in John 20 to receive the Holy Spirit? Because the word for “Spirit” is “pneuma” in Greek. There is a Hebrew concept called the “Return of the Shekinah.” The Shekinah is the indwelling presence of God. The Ruach Ha Kodesh is the Holy Spirit, and it is the power of God. The Kivod is the glory of God. Now, when they took the concepts of the Shekinah and the Ruach and translated them into Greek, they used the word “pneuma” for both concepts. But they are two different manifestations. What was received in John 20.22 was the Shekinah, the presence of God “within” them. What was received in Acts 2 is the Ruach Ha Kodesh “upon” them in power. Like Adam in Gen 2.27, John 20 is the “new creation” when Yeshua “breathed” the breath of life into the Talmudim. In Acts 2 they receive the power of God. These manifestations of the Shekinah and the Ruach Ha Kodesh could not happen until Yeshua was resurrected.

Adam was the first creation, and he was “clothed” with the Kivod, the glory of God’ The Shekinah, the presence of God and the Ruach Ha Kodesh, the power of God. When he sinned, he lost all these and Yeshua, the second Adam, came to restore these back to man. But this process will not begin until after the resurrection.

In Part 24, we will pick up here.

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

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