At sundown on the sixteenth of October, we lit the candles to usher in Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, and I was blessed to give the message at our community celebration. It was a great evening of feasting, dancing, and worshiping as we drew deeper into the meaning and blessings of God’s Appointed Times.
As I asked The Lord what He wanted His children to know in this season, His answer became clear in Jesus’ last celebration of Sukkot on Earth.
It is written that a person has not seen rejoicing such as the Feast of Tabernacles in the Temple of Solomon. Solomon’s temple was dedicated during Sukkot, and we know from 1 Kings 8 and 2 Chronicles 5 & 7 that The Shekinah Glory filled the temple at that occasion, just as with the Tabernacle of Moses. The celebration in subsequent years became focused on that same end, that The Most High would return to establish His Kingdom on Earth as promised in Ezekiel 43:4-5.
“And the glory of the Lord came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple.”
Travel with me back in time some two-thousand years to very special Sukkot.
At sundown the trumpets sound the beginning of this great time of rejoicing. The spectacular temple fills with onlookers as the priests begin lighting the four huge menorahs, each with four branches of lamps requiring very tall ladders to reach them. As the full moon rises, the temple begins to glow with a pale imitation of God’s glory, and the elders of the Sanhedrin begin to perform torch dances to the music and voices of the Levites. Women and children pack the balconies over the Israelite’s Courtyard, and the men fill every inch of the floor looking on in wonder. All night they sing and dance before The Lord, singing the 15 Psalms of Ascent (Psalm 120-134), normally sung while ascending the Temple Mount to worship.
On this occasion, however, with each Psalm, the priests descend one of the 15 steps from the Israelite’s Courtyard to the Women’s Courtyard, as if trying to draw down the Shekinah Glory.
They know the Shekinah Glory will herald the arrival of their Messiah.
What they don’t realize on this particular occasion is that Their Messiah is already here, walking among them.
At sunrise, the trumpets sound again, and the priests and onlookers make their way to the Pool of Siloam to draw water for the water offering. The people wave their palm branches as they go, rejoicing that The Lord has provided the former and latter rains and given them a good harvest, and praising Him for doing the same in the new year to come.
As the priests pass through the Watergate, the trumpets sound three blasts, and the priests recite Isaiah 12,
“Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”
Back at the temple, the priests pour out the water offering next to the altar and the Levite choir sings the Hallel, Psalm 113-118. The people wave their palm branches and join in singing Psalm 118:25,
“Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity!”
Sound familiar? This ceremony would come to be known as the Great Hosanna.
The ceremonies repeat every day, reaching a fever pitched climax on the seventh day of Sukkot, when the expectation of the people is at its highest.
As the priests pass through the Watergate on the seventh day, the trumpets sound three sets of seven blasts. (Note: we have just entered the year 5777) This day, the priests march around the altar seven times, recalling The Lord’s faithfulness at Jericho, before pouring out the water offering.
Can you picture it? Instruments playing, voices singing, palm branches waving…surely God can’t resist such an offering!
Then a lone voice cries out,
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! He who believes in Me as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being will flow continually rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38
Isn’t that that trouble-making Galilean? Who does He think He is? He’s going to ruin everything! Why does He always have to make everything about Him? God’s never going to show up, now!
The eighth day ushers in the Shabbat rest and high spirits begin to wane. It was a great celebration, but God didn’t show up. Again. We were sure He would come this year! We could feel it! It’s all that crazy Galilean’s fault!
With the memory of the glorious Temple Lighting Ceremony fresh in their minds, they hear,
“I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12
Oh, my gosh! Isn’t it enough that He spoiled our chances of being in God’s presence? This guy never quits!
Then this Galilean says something that confounds them all.
“Then Jesus said to them again, ‘I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.’” John 8:21
Why? Why would anyone seeking God die in their sin?
Because they weren’t seeking God. They were seeking what they thought God should be. They were seeking what they wanted God to be. They were so focused on their knowledge and the past, they couldn’t see God standing right in front of them.
This is the word of The Lord in this season.
“Do not remember the former things,
Or ponder the things of the past.
“Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?” Isaiah 43:18, 19
Two years ago, The Lord spoke a word to me, which I posted as “Something New!” And this is the same message He gave me to share this Sukkot. It is imperative that the Disciples of Christ, the Ekklesia, put off all we formerly believed about our Lord and how He operates, and seek Him anew. We must press in and tabernacle with Him face to face if we are to be led fully by The Spirit and not the flesh.
This is not a time for business as usual. God is going to move in this season like we have never seen before, and if we are not fully aligned with Him, if we are expecting Him to move as He has in the past, or as we interpret His Word, we will miss Him entirely.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].” Hebrews 12:1, 2 (AMP)
God’s grace and peace be yours,