"The Feast of Tabernacles" - Hag HaSukkot

Both Jewish and Christian scholars agree that Jesus (Yeshua) was an observant Jew who celebrated the Festivals of Israel.

Lecturer: Rev. Edward Daniel Brotsky, D.D.


II. "Feast of Tabernacles," Jerusalem A.D. 29 (by some scholars)

(1) The "Water Pouring" Ritual

King David had organised the Levitical choirs into singers and musicians. The full choir consisted of 4,000, including 288 Levites who were skilful players on wind, string, and percussion instruments. (I Chronicles 23:5-6; 25:1-7)

They were divided into 24 Orders. They took their turns in the musical ministry of the Temple. Their songs were the Psalms - "T'hillim" .

During the seven days' Festival, each morning a procession of pilgrims and citizens followed a white-robed Levitical priest, who was carrying a golden pitcher. He led the people through the "Water-Gate" to the Pool of Siloam where he filled the pitcher.

The procession then followed him back to the Temple all the way singing, waving their palm branches, and dancing in the streets.

A most impressive ritual - the "Water-Pouring" ceremony! It was the highlight of the Festival. The water symbolized the rain. Now was the time to thank God, and to pray for the "latter rain" for the next Spring harvest.

Earlier that morning of the seventh and last day, the sacrifices had already been laid upon the "bronze grating" of the great altar. (Exodus 38:30)

The blood of the sacrifices had also been poured out at the base of the altar, to fulfill the law of atonement: "It is the blood that makes atonement for the soul." (Leviticus 17:11)

Now the white robed priest bearing the golden pitcher with water from the Pool of Siloam, approached the altar.

Another priest met him, bearing a golden pitcher of wine for the "drink offering," also prescribed in the Torah. (Leviticus 23:13)

Together they mounted the ramp to the altar of burnt offering. Simultaneously, they poured the water and the wine down the silver funnels, emptying at the base of the altar.

(2) Witness of the Holy Scriptures (Old Testament)

The Levitical choirs burst into song - the messianic and prophetic words of Isaiah:

Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For GOD the LORD is my strength and song;
And He is become my salvation.
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water
out of the wells of salvation.
(Isaiah 12:2-3 JPSA)
And God's invitation announced by Isaiah:
Ho! everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat ... without money and without price. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Hear and your soul shall live. (Isaiah 55:1-3)
Thus said the LORD:
I will pour water upon the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground. I will pour out My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring. (Isaiah 44:3; 58:11 JPSA)
And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make strong thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring whose waters never fail.
The Prophet Joel had foretold:
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions ...
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered (or, saved); for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance (or, salvation), as the LORD has said, and among the remnant whom the LORD calls. (Joel 2:28-32)

The Hebrew prophets had foretold a day when the thirsting soul would be satisfied; when sinful human nature would be "reborn" or "regenerated." This would be the work of the Holy Spirit.

And so the Holy Spirit is pictured in the language of the Hebrew Scriptures as being "poured out" into the human vessel.

God would "take away the stony heart" and give sinners a "new heart and a new spirit." (Ezekiel 11:19; 18:31-32; 36:25-28). God would become a reality to believers. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

But, before the "regeneration" of sinful human nature, Messiah must come to perform His redemptive work. (Isaiah chapter 53; John 3:1-7; Titus 3:4-7; 2 Corinthians 5:17)

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