Posts Tagged ‘sukkot’

Revelation Chapter 22 – The Promise of Messiah

“Next the angel showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

“A river went out of ‘Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided into four streams. The name of the first is Pishon; it winds throughout the land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. The name of the second river is Gichon; it winds throughout the land of Kush. The name of the third river is Tigris; it is the one that flows toward the east of Ashur. The fourth river is the Euphrates” (Genesis 2:10-14).

The revelation to Yochanan continues with the ‘river of life,’ flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the beginning at the creation, there was a river that went out of Gan ‘Eden and watered the garden. It divided into four streams or water sources: Pishon, Gichon, Tigris and Euphrates.

The name Pishon in Hebrew means ‘press on, break forth and spring forward.’ Some scholars believe this river originated from a spring and created a type of delta. The Pishon flowed through Havilah where there was gold, pure gold. Havilah means ‘to whirl in a circular motion’ in Hebrew. It also means ‘sand.’

The Gichon in Hebrew means ‘bursting forth.’ It is also the name of a spring near Jerusalem, the Gichon spring from where the priests gather water for the festival of Tabernacles. The land of Kush today is considered Ethiopia.

The Tigris in Hebrew is hiddekel and means ‘rapid.’ This river flowed east toward Assyria or northern Mesopotamia. This river rises in the mountains of Armenia and flows southeast.

The Euphrates in perat and means ‘fruitful.’ This is the longest river of western Asia and also comes out of the Armenian mountains and flows into the Persian Gulf.

“On that day, fresh water will flow out from Yerushalayim, half toward the eastern sea and half toward the western sea, both summer and winter. Then Adonai will be king over the whole world. On that day Adonai will be the only one, and his name will be the only name” (Zechariah 14:8-9).

In some capacity these rivers and springs continue to exist today, if not in name only. The prophet Zechariah then prophesies about the Millennial Kingdom and a river of fresh water flowing out of Jerusalem. According to Ezekiel (chapter 47), the river will bring life to the Dead Sea. At that time, Yeshua will be King over the whole world and his name the only name.

Recently, I read a question from someone about the location of the ‘beast government’ or something similar. The response was that there will be an earthquake when Yeshua returns, an earthquake that will change the geography of the whole earth so what we see and know now will change drastically. So, even though the geographical names may remain the same, the actual geography may not be the same. This concept also covers what the earth was like before the flood and what it was like after.

When there is the ‘new heaven and new earth,’ the River of Life will flow again. It will flow from the life-giving throne of Yeshua. His throne will be in the New Jerusalem where kings of the earth will bring their splendor. The river flowing from Jerusalem in the Millennial Kingdom will be the beginning of the restoration of Paradise that follows in the New Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven.

“Between the main street and the river was the Tree of Life producing twelve kinds of fruit, a different kind every month; and the leaves of the tree were for healing the nations — no longer will there be any curses.”

Between the main street of pure transparent gold and the River of Life is the Tree of Life or the Etz Chayim. Because Adam and Chava ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, mankind has only had a ‘taste’ of the fruit from the Etz Chayim. But, now the Tree of Life will be the food source for the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem.

According to Judaism, the Etz Chayim is the Torah. This concept comes from Proverbs 3 in which King Solomon reminds his son that the commandments of Adonai impart life, peace, grace, truth and ultimately wisdom. It is the wisdom learned from Torah that is the Etz Chayim.

“She [wisdom] is a tree of life to those who grasp her; whoever holds fast to her will be made happy” (Proverbs 3:18).

With the Etz Chayim in the middle of the city, there is no longer a need for Torah. This is why Yeshua says that Torah will not be removed until glorified men and women can eternally eat the fruit from the Tree of Life.

The Etz Chayim produces 12 kinds of fruit, a different kind every month. These fruits will be edible and I speculate that the fruits will include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – the fruits of the Spirit. I also believe they will fruits that direct the way of living an eternal holy life. It could be considered a “New Jerusalem” halacha.

In the beginning, Adam and Chava were told to be ‘fruitful and multiply.’ Perhaps bearing monthly ‘fruit’ will include child bearing in the way it was meant to be before sin and death entered the world. Whatever the specifics of the fruit, it will sustain eternal life.

The leaves of the fruit on the Etz Chayil will heal the nations. The prophet Ezekiel talks about the leaves on the trees that will also have ‘healing’ properties.’ The Hebrew the word for ‘healing’ in Ezekiel is teruphah meaning ‘medicine.’ The Hebrew word for ‘heal’ in Revelation is marpha and means ‘healer’ in the sense of ‘faith healing’ or ‘alternative medicine.’

“On both riverbanks will grow all kinds of trees for food; their leaves will not dry up, nor will their fruit fail. There will be a different kind of fruit each month, because the water flows from the sanctuary, so that this fruit will be edible, and the leaves will have healing properties” (Ezekiel 47:12).

In the days before ‘western medicine,’ leaves from herbs and trees were used for healing purposes. In Biblical times, olive leaves were used to heal the skin and reduce fevers. Willow leaves and bark reduce pain. Comfrey leaves are used for muscle sprains, bruises and inflammation. Essential oils have become very popular and many of these oils are made from the leaves of plants. Dr. David Steward wrote a fascinating book entitled, Healing Oils of the Bible which describes the healing properties of the many oils mentioned in the Bible.

Yet, why do the nations need ‘healing’ in eternity where there is no pain or sorrow? The Greek word for ‘healing’ in this verse is therapeia and means ‘attention, medical service.’ A deeper look into the word gives the unique purpose of glorifying Adonai in a healing capacity. The ‘healing’ leaves may have a two-fold purpose: to heal the kings of the nations that remain mortal and to ensure not just eternal life, but also eternal health.

Using both the Greek and Hebrew words, the leaves will be used as a type of ‘faith healing’ by the El Rapha or the God of Healing, Yeshua, in order to glorify Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Etz Chayil or אץ חיל

Aleph is the picture of an ‘ox’ and means ‘first, strong.’

Tzade is a picture of a ‘fishhook’ and means ‘to draw toward.’

Chet is a picture of a ‘fence’ and means ‘to protect’ and ‘inner room.’

Yod is a picture of a ‘closed hand’ and means ‘finished work.’

Lamed is a picture of a ‘shepherd’s staff’ and means ‘one who leads.’

The Etz Chayil or Tree of Life: ‘the first strength to draw toward the inner room, the finished work of the one who leads.’

“The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.”

The servants will worship the El Elyon, the El Shaddai. They will see His face in the ‘face of the Yeshua.’ In the Hebrew, the Alef Tav is placed between ‘see’ and ‘face’ bringing Yeshua into the vision. His name, the yod hey vav hey, will be on their foreheads which is part of the reward given to the congregation in Philadelphia.

“Night will no longer exist, so they will need neither the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because Adonai, God, will shine upon them. And they will reign as kings forever and ever.”

In the New Jerusalem, there will be no day or night. There will be no lamp or the light of the sun. Yahweh Elohim will shine ‘His face’ upon those in the New Jerusalem just as He put His Name upon them in the priestly blessing.

“Speak to Aharon and his sons, and tell them that this is how you are to bless the people of Isra’el: you are to say to them, ‘Y’varekh’kha Adonai v’yishmerekha. [May Adonai bless you and keep you.] Ya’er Adonai panav eleikha vichunekka. [May Adonai make his face shine on you and show you his favor.] Yissa Adonai panav eleikha v’yasem l’kha shalom. [May Adonai lift up his face toward you and give you peace.]’ “In this way they are to put my name on the people of Isra’el, so that I will bless them” (Numbers 6:22-26).

Those who are glorified and live in the New Jerusalem will reign as kings forever and ever. This adds more perspective on the kings who will bring their splendor into the New Jerusalem. It also gives more insight as to why the ‘nations’ will need healing from the leaves of the Etz Chayil from their eternal kings.

“Don’t you know that God’s people are going to judge the universe? … Don’t you know that we will judge angels, not to mention affairs of everyday life?” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).

“Then he said to me, “These words are true and trustworthy: Adonai, God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must happen soon. Look! I am coming very soon. Blessed is the person who obeys the words of the prophecy written in this book!”

Yeshua is returning soon with each passing day. Every word in this prophecy can be trusted because they are emet – true. It was through the spirit of prophecy that a messenger was sent to Yochanan in order to reveal events surrounding the days of Yeshua that ‘must happen soon.’

The messenger of Yeshua also states that those who ‘obey the words of the prophecy written in this book will be blessed.’ In Hebrew the word for ‘obey’ is shamar or ‘guardian’ and means to ‘watch, keep, and preserve.’ Those who keep watch, guard over, and preserve the words in this prophetic book will be blessed. Reflecting back to chapter 1 verse 3, Yeshua begins his revelation to Yochanan by stating that those who ‘read and hear the words’ of the prophecy and ‘guard over, watch, and preserve the words, will be blessed.

Accordingly, at the very end of this chapter, Yeshua issues a serious warning about adding to or taking away anything from this word of prophecy. In other words, if the prophecy isn’t guarded and protected, the consequence of such action will be a loss to a share in the Etz Chayil and eternal life in the New Jerusalem.

I warn everyone hearing the words of the prophecy in this book that if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues written in this book .And if anyone takes anything away from the words in the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the Tree of Life and the holy city, as described in this book.”

Hearing the words of the messenger, Yochanan falls down to worship at the feet of the angel. Recently in a discussion someone asked how to discern whether a holy presence is the ‘Angel of the LORD, Yeshua’ or just an angel because both will bring on ‘fear.’ The answer given was that an angel will tell you to stand up and not to worship them; Yeshua will receive your worship.

The angel compares himself to Yochanan as a servant of Elohim along with the other disciples, the prophets and those who guard the words in this prophecy. He then says, “Kneel, bow before Elohim”.

“Then I, Yochanan, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am only a fellow-servant with you and your brothers, the prophets and the people who obey the words in this book. Worship God!”

The messenger of Yeshua tells Yochanan that ‘guarding’ the words of the prophecy does not mean ‘sealing’ it up so no one can read them. It is not only important that the words be ‘guarded,’ but also read. Both receive a blessing.

“Whoever keeps acting wickedly, let him go on acting wickedly; whoever is filthy, let him go on being made filthy. Also, whoever is righteous, let him go on doing what is righteous; and whoever is holy, let him go on being made holy.”

In the interim until the prophecies of judgment and restoration in the book come to pass, those who act wickedly will continue to act wickedly. In Greek the word for ‘wicked’ means ‘to act against the law/Torah“. There will be those who are lawless, anti-Torah, have the spirit of anti-christ and will continue on the direction that path leads. The Greek word for ‘filthy’ means ‘to be defiled with iniquity.’ ‘Iniquity’ in Hebrew is avon and means ‘to be guilty and in need of punishment for breaking the law.’ The iniquity in one’s heart comes out in one’s actions. There are those who will sin through immoral acts and will continue to sin immorally.

The Greek word for ‘righteous’ means to ‘adhere to divine law’ and ‘keeping the commands of God.’ Those who are righteous will gain wisdom from the Torah, the symbolic Tree of Life. They will keep the commands of Elohim from Genesis through Revelation with wisdom and understanding. The Greek phrase for ‘keep doing what is righteous’ is they will practice righteousness which means they will practice keeping the commands of Adonai as their lifestyle. They will be ‘innocent, faultless, without guilt and approved by Elohim. Those who are righteous, keeping the commands of Adonai will continue to do so.

The Greek word for ‘holy’ means to ‘be in likeness and nature of the Yeshua, different from the world.’ The Greek word is similar to the Hebrew word kadosh and suggests being ‘set apart from the world’ for Elohim. Those who have chosen to be ‘holy as He is holy’ will continue to walk in holiness, separate from the world for the purposes of Elohim.

“Pay attention!” [says Yeshua,] “I am coming soon, and my rewards are with me to give to each person according to what he has done.”

When Yeshua begins speaking again, he says, ‘Behold’ or “Pay attention!” In Hebrew the word is hineni. This word is first used in Genesis when Elohim points out all of the plants that He was giving Adam for food saying. “Look here, I’m pointing this out to you!”

The uses of hineni also means, “Here I am, send me!” It implies a complete readiness to do the will of Adonai. Joseph used ‘hineni’ when Ya’akov called him to go look for his brothers and ultimately that event began the move of Isra’el and his family to Egypt. Moshe said ‘hineni’ when Elohim called to him from the burning bush which began the deliverance of Isra’el from Egypt.

Yeshua is returning soon. When he comes he will be complete the will of his Father and bring the rewards he promised to those in the congregations in Ephesus, Pergamum, Sardis, Thyatira, Smyrna, Philadelphia and Laodicea who had ears to hear what the Ruach haKodesh said to each of them.

The prophet Isaiah wrote about rewards from Adonai:

“Here comes Adonai Elohim with power, and his arm [Yeshua] will rule for him. Look! His reward is with him, and his recompense is before him” (Isaiah 40:10).

“Adonai has proclaimed to the end of the earth, “Say to the daughter of Tziyon, ‘Here, your Salvation is coming! Here, his reward is with him, and his recompense is before him'” (Isaiah 62:11).

Daniel is promised a reward at the resurrection at the end of days:

But you, go your way until the end comes. Then you will rest and rise for your reward, at the end of days” (Daniel 12:13).

Sha’ul teaches the believers in Corinth about rewards which are based on how each person builds on the foundation. Ephesians 2 describes the foundation as the teachings of the apostles and prophets (Moshe included) and Yeshua as the Cornerstone. How each person builds and grows through the teachings of the prophets and the apostles determines their eternal reward. Some will receive a reward; others will suffer loss only to escape the fire of refinement with only their free gift of eternal life.

“Each [person] will be rewarded according to his work. For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. Using the grace God gave me, I [Sha’ul] laid a foundation, like a skilled master-builder; and another man is building on it. But let each one be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Yeshua the Messiah. Some will use gold, silver or precious stones in building on this foundation; while others will use wood, grass or straw. But each one’s work will be shown for what it is; the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire — the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If the work someone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward; if it is burned up, he will have to bear the loss: he will still escape with his life, but it will be like escaping through a fire” (1 Corinthians 3:8-15).

There is similar reward to what Yeshua teaches in Matthew 5:18-19 regarding how the Torah is taught.

“Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened. So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Genesis 15:1 promises a great reward for Avraham:

“Some time later the word of Adonai came to Avram in a vision: “Don’t be afraid, Avram. I am your protector; your reward will be very great” (Genesis 15:1).

Following are the rewards for the congregations according to the messages sent by Yeshua. Rewards have great importance in the coming Kingdom because it is important in this world to build on the foundation, grow in faith and trust, teach others the commands of Torah, and strive for the upward high calling in Messiah Yeshua and win the victory!

“Those who have ears [in Ephesus], let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities. To him winning the victory I will give the right to eat from the Tree of Life which is in God’s Gan-‘Eden” (Revelation 2:7).

“Those who have ears [in Smyrna], let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities. He who wins the victory will not be hurt at all by the second death'” (Revelation 2:11).

“Those [in Pergamum] who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities. To him winning the victory I will give some of the hidden man. I will also give him a white stone, on which is written a new name that nobody knows except the one receiving it”” (Revelation 2:17).

“But to the rest of you [in Thyatira], to those who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some people call the ‘deep things’ of the Adversary, I say this: I am not loading you up with another burden; only hold fast to what you have until I come. To him who wins the victory and does what I want until the goal is reached, I will give him authority over the nations; he will rule them with a staff of iron and dash them to pieces like pottery, just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities”” (Revelation 2:24-28).

“He who wins the victory [in Sardis] will, like them, be dressed in white clothing; and I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life; in fact, I will acknowledge him individually before my Father and before his angels. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities”‘ (Revelation 3:5-6).

“I will make him [in Philadelphia] who wins the victory a pillar in the Temple of my God, and he will never leave it. Also I will write on him the name of my God and the name of my God’s city, the new Yerushalayim coming down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities”‘ (Revelation 3:11-13).

“I will let him [in Laodicea] who wins the victory sit with me on my throne, just as I myself also won the victory and sat down with my Father on his throne. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities”‘” (Revelation 3:20-22).

“I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’ the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

In Revelation 1:8 and 21:6 as in this verse, Yeshua doesn’t call himself the ‘A and the Z,’ the first and last letters of the Latin alphabet because he didn’t speak Latin or Old English; he also didn’t call himself the ‘Alpha and Omega’ because he didn’t speak Greek. He calls himself the ‘Alef and the Tav’ the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Though the idea of being the ‘first and the last’ letters of any alphabet may not seem important regarding language, it does when put in its Hebrew context.

Found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures are the two letters alef and tav – את – without any particular ‘meaning’ or ‘purpose.’ Some consider it a type of modifier, but its appearance within verses has no specific purpose. It is at the beginning and end of Revelation that Yeshua clarifies the purpose and meaning of those two letters – HE is the Alef and Tav, the beginning and the end. He was with Elohim in the beginning as the spoken Word; he is at the end sitting on the throne as the King of all Creation.

Hebrew Letter Pictures

These two letters also have significance in the Hebrew Letter Pictures giving more insight into who Yeshua is claiming to be.

א Alef is a letter picture of an ‘ox’ and means ‘strong or first.’

ת Tav is a letter picture of ‘crossed sticks’ and means ‘sign’ or ‘covenant.’

The word picture for alef tav is: first, strong sign of the covenant.

Yeshua is the first and strongest sign of the covenant found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. He is in the beginning, in the middle, in the end. To remove those letters, to change those letters is to change his essence, his appearance, and his identity within the Hebrew Scriptures.

How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city!”

Another blessing is given to those who wash their robes. This is an action that individuals do – wash their robes. Sardis was rebuked for having soiled clothes. These soiled clothes could result in their name being blotted out of the Book of Life. Without one’s name written in the Book of Life, they cannot enter the gates of the New Jerusalem and eat from the Tree of Life.

Soiled clothes begins with being contaminated by the ways of the world. This requires effort on the part of the virgins to understand what it means to remain pure and holy in the world with oil in their lamps. It is gaining the understanding of what it means to live in the world, but not to take part in its lawless, pagan ways. It means to have discernment about mixing the holy and the profane, the holy and the ‘unclean.’

Sha’ul wrote to the Corinthians that he desired to present them as a pure and holy Bride, but worried some may be led astray by deceiving doctrines. It’s not an easy task to keep one’s robe unspotted from false and deceiving teachings, but one cannot begin to keep from being contaminated if they adhere to many of the doctrines taught in the modern-day church that completely contradict the Word of God. The deception began in the Garden with the serpent asking, “Did God really say?” And, it continues today with the same question, but with an answer that believes Adonai has changed his mind about His commandments, His Etz Chayil in the life of one who claims to follow His Son. Those willing to acknowledge they have soiled robes will wash their robes and remove the defilement of pagan traditions and the spots of twisted Truths. They will be considered victorious and receive the blessing of entering the New Jerusalem through its gates named after a Tribe of Isra’el. They will receive the blessing of eating the fruit from the Tree of Life.

“If it seems bad to you to serve Adonai, then choose today whom you are going to serve! Will it be the gods your ancestors [church fathers] served beyond the River? or the gods of the Emori [councils of Nicea or Laodicea], in whose land you are living? As for me and my household, we will serve Adonai [the yod hey vav hey!]” (Joshua 24:15).

Outside are the homosexuals, those involved with the occult and with drugs, the sexually immoral, murderers, idol-worshippers, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”

For those who choose to remain spotted, not cleaning their own robe, they will find themselves outside the city gates. Outside the New Jerusalem are those who lived contrary to the teachings and instructions of Elohim, who rebelled when He spoke His Word to their heart. Perhaps the argument could be made that these people are those who have ‘eternal life,’ refused to repent and change their way of worshipping Elohim. They lose all reward and are just ‘saved’ out of the lake of burning fire and sulfur.

Those who are sexually immoral as well as homosexual may not enter the city. Those who are involved in ‘sorcery’ also must remain outside the city of eternal perfection. The Greek word for ‘sorcery’ is pharmakeia and means ‘the use of medicine, drugs or spells.’ More specifically, pharmakeia means ‘to poison’ and includes hallucinations from drugs. The noun Pharmakeus is known as pharmacist and means ‘poisoner.’ Pharmaceuticals are nothing more than ‘drugs’ given by pharmacists to ‘poison’ the human body. The vaccine given for the Kung Flu is causing hallucinations in some people along with other physical conditions. ‘Sorcery’ is always used in connection with ‘idolatry’ or placing someone or something higher than the God of Isra’el and His Word of Truth.

“I, Yeshua, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the Messianic communities. I am the Root and Offspring of David, the bright Morning Star.”

Yeshua calls himself the ‘root’ and ‘offspring’ of David. The ‘root’ of David is the Tribe of Judah. The ‘offspring’ of David means that Yeshua came from the lineage of David’s father, Jesse, and whose grandfather was Obed, the son of Boaz and Ruth. He was ‘in the beginning’ as the ‘root’ and he is ‘at the end’ as the ‘offspring.’

“But a branch will emerge from the trunk of Yishai, a shoot will grow from his roots … On that day the root of Yishai, which stands as a banner for the peoples — the Goyim will seek him out, and the place where he rests will be glorious” (Isaiah 11:1, 10).

Yeshua calls himself the ‘bright Morning Star.’ In keeping with astronomical signs throughout Revelation, the bright morning star is the planet Venus as seen just before dawn. This planet/star is a reference to the prophetic word that lights our hearts until the Day of Messiah arrives. It is the continual hope of his coming. Those in Thyatira who are victorious over the false prophetess of Jezebel and her lawless, occultic practices will be given authority over the nations and the Morning Star, Yeshua himself, as their reward (Revelation 2:27-28).

“Yes, we have the prophetic Word made very certain. You will do well to pay attention to it as to a light shining in a dark, murky place, until the Day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:2).

“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’ Let anyone who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let anyone who is thirsty come — let anyone who wishes, take the water of life free of charge.”

Isaiah 55:1 says, “All you who are thirsty, come to the water!” Yeshua quoted Isaiah when he attended the water pouring ceremony during Feast of Tabernacles. However, he directed the attention to himself and the Spirit that would be poured out after he was resurrected and glorified. Not only does the Ruach haKodesh offer living water, but also the Bride of Messiah who also has been glorified and filled with rivers of living water flowing from her inmost being to the nations outside the New Jerusalem.

“Now on the last day of the festival, Hoshana Rabbah, Yeshua stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drinking! Whoever puts his trust in me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being!” (Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who trusted in him were to receive later — the Spirit had not yet been given, because Yeshua had not yet been glorified.)” (John 7:37-39).

 “The one who is testifying to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’”

In order to establish any matter, all things must have a witness of two. Yochanan is one witness, another is the angel sent by Yeshua, and the last and most important witness is Yeshua himself. He repeats that he is coming soon to establish his return as Truth, a fact in which we can put our hope.

Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua!

Omein! The Hebrew word is alef mem nun and means ‘so be it!’ The first time aman appears in Scripture is Numbers 5:22. In Hebrew it literally means ‘to support or confirm, to be reliable or established, or to believe someone or something.’ From its root comes emunah or ‘faithfulness.’ Thus, the return is confirmed, reliable, established and to be believed because it was spoken by Yeshua himself.

In spite of this meaning, there is nowhere in Scripture that any prophet, apostles or Yeshua taught to end prayers with ‘omein.’ According to a footnote for Matthew 6:13, Yeshua didn’t end the Disciples’ Prayer with omein. There are some who claim that the original manuscript of Revelation also did not use ‘omein.’ This is a Greek addition to these specific Scriptures.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Alef is a picture of an ‘ox’ and means ‘first, strong.’

Mem is a picture of ‘water’ and means ‘mighty’ or ‘chaos.’

Nun is a picture of a ‘fish’ and means ‘life.’

Omein means: first, mighty life.

Come Lord Yeshua. This is the hope of everyone who puts their faith and trust in the Messiah of Isra’el. In Hebrew this phrase is Bo Mashiach. So, yes, Come Yeshua. May it be so in our day, in our lifetime.

Yeshua said to his brothers and sisters in Jerusalem that they would not see him again until they welcomed him back. So, “Baruch haba b’shem Adonai.” Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.

“May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all!

©2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

In the Days of Nehemiah

“It was the first day of the seventh month” (Nehemiah 8:2).

After our family began celebrating the ‘appointed times’ found in the Leviticus 23, days, times and seasonal cycles stood out on the pages of the Scriptures.   This specific verse in Nehemiah is no different.  It sets the time for the events to follow as the ‘first day of the seventh month’ or Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets.  This ‘appointed time’ of God begins His season of the fall feasts which are about repentance, atonement and a vision of the coming Millennial Kingdom.

The events in Nehemiah 8 are not some random occurrences in the history of Israel.  They are a testimony to the restoration of the Feasts of Elohim to a people who had lived in exile for over 160 years.  Though there was a first wave of Jewish return to Jerusalem 70 years after being taken captive, Ezra and Nehemiah were in the second wave 90 years later.  It was during this time that the priests gathered the people together on the ‘first day of the seventh month’.

Yom Teruah 445 B.C.E.

A wooden platform was made on which Ezra, the priest,  stood and could be seen and heard by all of the men and women who came to listen to the reading of the Torah.  As he opened the Torah scroll, everyone stood.  Then Ezra blessed Yahweh, the great God.  As the people answered with “Amen”,  they lifted up their hands, bowed their heads and fell prostrate before Elohim with their faces to the ground. 

“Amen” has a very interesting root history.  It comes from the Hebrew word aman meaning ‘to nourish, support, make sure and strong’.   The word emunah or faithfulness also has its root in aman.   The Jewish sages say that amen is an acronym for el melek ne’eman or “God is a faithful King’.  According to Revelation 3:14, Yeshua is the “the amen, the faithful and true witness … he is the faithful King.”   What the people said  as they were about to hear the Torah was “God is a faithful King!”

Days of Awe and Repentance

The Levites had the responsibility to explain Torah to the people.  After being in a foreign country for several generations, they needed to translate the Hebrew so that the ‘Persian’ Jews would  understand the words being read.  When they heard the  instructions that God gave them through Moshe, the people began to weep. 

Repentance or ‘turning back to God’ or teshuvah  is central to the fall ‘appointed times.’   After hearing the words of Torah for the first time standing in Jerusalem, the people wept.  They grieved.  They understood they had lost the very essence of their national heritage from the LORD and had not lived accordingly.

Ezra, along with the rest of the Levites, told them not to weep, not to be sad for this day was ‘set apart to Elohim their God.’  It was an ‘appointed time’ of the LORD.  They were told to go out, eat rich food, drink sweet drinks and give portions to those who couldn’t provide for themselves.  Even today sweet foods are eaten on Feast of Trumpets with apples and honey being the traditional foods.

How sweet to my tongue is your promise, truly sweeter than honey in my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103).

Mouth of God

Yeshua said in Matthew 4:4 “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.”  What does the mouth or ‘voice of God’ sound like?

Ram's Horn Shofar

When John was exiled on the island of Patmos, he has a revelation of Messiah.  He says,  “I came to be, in the Spirit, on the Day of the LORD; and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a shofar ….”   The voice of the LORD sounded like the blowing of a shofar.  A shofar, or the horn from a ram, is blown on the Feast of Trumpets.  Obviously, it is only when breath goes through the shofar that it is able to create a sound.  Being vessels of Elohim’s Spirit, it is taught that the ‘breath of God’ or Ruach HaKodesh blows through a shofar when it sounds.  

(Note: John heard the voice that sounded like a shofar on the Day of the LORD.  This is in reference to the events surrounding the coming Millennial Kingdom and a time of judgment, not the first day of the week.  The events for the Day of the LORD will begin on ‘the first day of the seventh month’ or Yom Teruah.)

Pool of Siloam

The Spring of Living Water


The original city of Jerusalem had very different boundaries than modern-day Jerusalem.  In fact, remnants of the city are found in what is known as the City of David.  Within the ‘older’ city of Jerusalem, the Water Gate led down to the Gihon Spring which was located in the Kidron Valley.  This spring was the main source of water for the Pool of Siloam.   The priests would go to the Pool of Siloam to collect the water for each day’s water libation ceremony.  During this event, they would pour water over the altar in the Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles.   On the last and greatest day of this feast, Yeshua stood and cried out:

“If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drinking! Whoever puts his trust in me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being!” (John 7:37-39).

As the people gathered at the Water Gate, it is symbolic of the pathway to the living water of the Word of God.  With the reading of the Torah by Ezra, the Jewish people had been ‘washed in the water of the Word’ and began preparing themselves as a pure and holy bride (Ephesians 5:25-26).   

Building Sukkot

On the second day,  the heads of the clans of the people joined the Levites and Ezra to study the words of the Torah again.  They found that Elohim had ordered through Moshe that the people of Isra’el were to live in booths or sukkot during the ‘appointed time’ in the seventh month known as the Feast of Tabernacles.  They were to announce the festival of Sukkot in all of their cities and in Jerusalem.  

“Go out to the mountains, and collect branches of olives, wild olives, myrtles, palms, and other leafy trees to make sukkot, as prescribed” (Nehemiah 8:15).

Olive Tree

In Jeremiah 11:16, God calls Isra’el an olive tree. In Romans 11,  Sha’ul speaks about branches of olives and wild olives that make up the Olive Tree of Isra’el.    The natural branches represent the 12 Tribes of Israel  and the wild branches the nations that join with them.  Both receive the same living water of the Word through the same spiritual root.   Though both branches will continue to produce either natural olives or wild olives, they both produce olives.

“A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). 

Middle Eastern Myrtle

Myrtle trees are considered an evergreen and are very hardy.   They produce a purplish-black berry called the mursins.  This fruit can be dried then ground and used as a flavoring.  It is one of the four leafy trees bound together for Sukkot that over time have been given the symbolism of ‘good smell, but no taste,’ like a person who has ‘good deeds, but does not study the Torah.’

The prophet Zechariah lived during the time between the first and second returning remnants.  He has a vision of God, angels and horsemen standing in the midst of a myrtle tree.  This vision was given to reinforce God’s promise that the exiles who returned to Jerusalem would be prosperous.  For the Jewish people of Zechariah’s time to prosper, they would need to repent and serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, rebuild the Temple and learn Torah.  In the time of Nehemiah 8 and Yom Teruah, the repentance had begun. 

“Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the LORD  Almighty” (Zechariah 1:16).

Palm Tree

Palms, or lulav in Hebrew,  were also part of the branches collected to make a sukkah.  It is known for its uprightness, fruit and its beauty.  The Jewish sages say that the palm tree, which has taste but no smell, can be compared to a person who studies Torah, but has no fruit of good works. 

The first mention of palm trees in Scripture is when the Israelites camp at the oasis of Elim during their trek in the wilderness.  It is during the Feast  of Tabernacles that palm branches are waved signifying the coming Messianic kingdom. This is why palm branches were waved when Yeshua entered Jerusalem during the Passover season.  The people believed that the kingdom of God hadarrived; however, it was the wrong ‘appointed time’ and season.    In Revelation 7:9, multitudes from every tribe and nation will be waving palm branches and giving glory to the King of Kings.  Today, the lulav is a special binding of three species of branches along with an etrog (a type of citrus fruit).  It is used to worship the LORD during Sukkot and reminds everyone that one day the nations of the world will gather in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16). 

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The people went out from the city, collected branches from specific trees and made sukkot for themselves on the roofs of their homes, in their courtyards, in the Temple courts and in the open spaces by the Water Gate and the Efrayim Gate. The entire community of those who had returned from the exile made sukkot and lived in them for the commanded time of eight days.   They had not done this since the days of Joshua and they celebrated Sukkot with great joy.  They also read the Torah every day from the first day until the last day of the ‘appointed time.’

In Our Day

The Feast of  Trumpets begins on the first day of the seventh month and Sukkot begins on the fourteenth day. On our Gregorian calendar, these fall festivals occur in our months of September/October.   They are a vision of the coming Kingdom of God when Isra’el, the natural branches of the Olive Tree will gather in Jerusalem along with the nations, the wild branches of the Olive Tree, to worship the King of Kings.  Everyone will wave olive, palm and myrtle branches for they will not just study Torah, they will bear the righteous fruit of the etrog.

The Jews in the days of Nehemiah prepared for this coming Kingdom by repenting and returning to the Torah of God and celebrated the ‘appointed times’ on their commanded days.  As wild olives, we can also embrace the vision of the coming Kingdom millennia later in the say way: repenting and turning back to God, learning Torah,  and proclaiming the ‘appointed times’ to those who stand by the Water Gate desiring spiritual nourishment from the spring of living water.  Amen. “Yeshua is the faithful King.”  

©2016 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

The Feast of Tabernacles – Sukkot

“The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD’s Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days.  The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work.  For seven days present food offerings to the LORD, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present a food offering to the LORD. It is the closing special assembly; do no regular work” (Leviticus 23:33-36). 

The Feast of Tabernacles is the last of the seven ‘’appointed time’s’ given to God’s people.  In Hebrew, the Feast of Tabernacles is sukkot meaning ‘shelters or booths.’ Sukkot is the eight-day fall festival of ingathering that follows the solemn days of awe and the Day of Atonement.  It is known as the ‘season of our joy’ when everyone dances with lulavs and builds temporary shelters with roofs made from branches of trees.  Like the other fall festivals, the Feast of Tabernacles has yet to be fulfilled by Messiah.  Its shadow contains the vision of the coming Millennial Kingdom when Yeshua will once again tabernacle with Israel and the nations in Jerusalem.   The culmination of the Feast of Tabernacles will occur in eternity when there is a new heavens, new earth and the New Jerusalem where Yahweh will sit on His throne and dwell with His people.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Booth or Sukkah, the singular of sukkot – סכה

Samech ס – A Prop means ‘to support and protect’

Kaf כ – An Open Palm means ‘to allow, to open’

Hey ה – A Window means ‘to reveal’

The Hebrew word picture for sukkah: A protection allowing revelation.

Abraham’s Faith

Abraham’s Tent

“By faith he [Abraham] made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country;  he lived in tents as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with permanent foundations, of which the architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:9-10).

Abraham was called a friend of God because he believed God and had faith in God’s promises to make him a great nation through a promised seed.  Though he had to live in a tent in this world, he had the hope of an eternal city built by God, the New Jerusalem.

Jacob’s Sukkah

Jacob at Succot

“Jacob went on to Sukkoth, where he built himself a house and put up shelters for his animals.  This is why the place is called Sukkoth (shelters)” (Genesis 33:17).

When the Israelites left Egypt, their first stop on their way to Mount Sinai was Takut, the Egyptian name for Sukkoth.   Hundreds of years earlier, Jacob, whose name had been changed to Israel,  stopped at this exact place after he reunited with his brother Esau.  He built ‘temporary dwellings’ for his family and livestock and called it Sukkoth.

Sukkot

“You are to live in sukkot for seven days … so that generation after generation of you will know that I made the children of Israel live in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 23:42).

In the LORD’s command for the Feast of Tabernacles, the Israelites  were to live in sukkot as a reminder of the 40 years they traveled in the wilderness and lived in temporary shelters. Throughout their generations, the nation of Israel (specifically the Jewish people) have built  sukkot no matter where they have lived.

Sukkah

A sukkah can be built in a yard or on a porch or balcony.  It generally has three walls with all or part of its roof open to the sky.  Any roof covering is usually branches from trees.  Lights may be hung in the    sukkah along with interior decorations such as pictures, flowers, leaves or fruit.Some families line the interior walls with white in order to remember the ‘clouds of Glory’ that appeared over like a sukkah them as they traveled  in the desert.  For seven days the sukkah, the personal or family dwelling place,is used for eating, sleeping and inviting special guests for the season of joy. 

The Lulav

“On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year” (Leviticus 23:40-42). 

Rejoicing with the Lulav

On the first day of Sukkot, branches from palms, willows and myrtles along with a large fragrant citrus fruit called the etrog are bound together in what is called the lulav or the Four Species representing the nations of the world.   On each day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the lulav is waved facing north, south, east and west while proclaiming the coming Kingdom of God to the nations.

Several other symbolic meanings developed from the four species creating the lulav. Some believe the four species represent the memorial name of God: Yod Hey Vav Hey which is why they species are bound together as one.   Others believe the fruit and the aroma of the trees relate to different people and how they respond to God’s Torah very similar to the Parable of the Sower and how different people’s hearts respond to the Word of God.  Still others believe that the branches and the fruit represent the parts of our bodies, our temporary dwellings, that we are to offer to God as “instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:12-13).   

The Tabernacle

“On the first day of the first month of the second year, the tabernacle was set up” (Exodus 40:17). 

The Hebrew word for ‘tabernacle’ is mishkan and this is what the Tabernacle or ‘tent of meeting’ was called in the wilderness.    

Hebrew Word Pictures

Tabernacle or Mishkan – משכן

Mem מ – Water means ‘to come down from, immense’

Shin ש – A Tooth means ‘consumed’ or Shekinah, ‘the Divine Presence of God’

Kaf  כ – A Palm or Wing means ‘to cover or allow’

Nun נ – A Fish means ‘ action and life’

The Hebrew word picture for mishkan: The immense consuming [divine presence of God] cover life.

After the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt, they ended up at Mount Sinai where Moses received God’s instructions for constructing His portable ‘dwelling place’, the mishkan. It took a long time for all of its posts, curtains, and holy articles to be made.  Gold, silver and bronze objects that were taken from Egypt had to be melted down or beaten and formed into shapes.  Acacia wood had to be gathered, cut and built into boxes.  Animals had to be slaughtered for their skins.   Fabric had to be spun from flax and wool.

Tabernacle in the Wilderness

Eventually the articles became a the Altar of Sacrifice, a hammered golden Menorah, an Altar of Incense, a Table of Presence and the Ark of the Testimony.  Mirrors were collected from the women to cover the large basin for priestly washing and purification.  Tabernacle coverings were stitched together and mounted on the posts.   Curtains from finely twisted linen with blue, purple and scarlet yarn were hung in the Holy Place.  By the time of their two-year anniversary of leaving Egypt, the Mishkan was set up and the glory of the LORD filled it with a cloud.  Yahweh had His ‘temporary dwelling’ that could be transported when He moved His people. 

“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  Moses was unable to enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud remained on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  Whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel continued with all their travels.  But if the cloud was not taken up, they did not travel onward until the day with it was taken up.  For the cloud of the LORD was above the tabernacle during the day, and the fire was (in the cloud) at night, so that all the house of Israel could see it throughout all their travels” (Exodus 40:34-38).

The Living Tabernacle

Sukkah for Yeshua’s Birth

Yeshua is the living tabernacle of God’s divine presence on earth.   According to the details given in the first two chapters of Luke, it can be determined that Yeshua was born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles.  In a ‘temporary dwelling’ outside the town of Bethlehem, the Word became flesh and was placed in a sukkah.  His heavenly Father, the angels in heaven, the shepherds watching their flocks, his mother Miriam and his earthly father celebrated in the birth of the Son of God.  While all Israel commemorated the festival of ingathering, Yeshua became the reason for the season of great joy!

“The Word became flesh and tabernacled with us, we saw his glory, the glory of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth … for it pleased God to have his full being live in His Son…” (John 1:14, Colossians 1:19).

Yeshua celebrates Feast of Tabernacles in John chapter 7, though he didn’t go to Jerusalem until the festival was half over.   When he arrived and began to teach in the Temple, the people were astonished and wondered how he knew so much.  He gave credit to his Father who had sent him to find the lost sheep of Israel and told them to search the Scriptures to know if his teachings were from God or himself.

“So Yeshua gave them an answer: ‘My teaching is not my own, it comes from the one who sent me.  If anyone wants to do his will, he will know whether my teaching is from God or I speak on my own.  A person who speaks on his own is trying to win praise for himself; but a person who tries to win praise for the one who sent him is honest, there is nothing false about him” (John 7:16-18). 

Streams of Living Water

Pool of Siloam

The Levitical priesthood officiated the sacrifices in the Temple during the Feasts and led other traditions rooted in celebrating  the ‘’appointed time’s.’   The highlight each day of the Feast of Tabernacles was the Water Pouring Ceremony.  A white-robed priest would lead a joyful procession carrying a golden pitcher.   The people would follow him through the Water Gate to the Pool of Siloam where he filled the pitcher with water.  He  would return to the Temple with the filled pitcher with the worshippers following him singing, waving their lulavs and dancing in the streets.  When the priest arrived at the Altar, he would pour out the water.  As he poured the water from the golden pitcher, he would cry out in a loud voice words from the prophet Isaiah, “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3).

The multitude of people who gathered in Jerusalem for this festival  would respond with:

“LORD, save us!  LORD, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.  From the house of the LORD we bless you” (Psalm 118).

The last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles was called Hoshana Rabbah and means ‘The Great Salvation.‘It was the culmination of the week-long celebration of the Feast and was a vision of the restoration of God’s eternal Kingdom when He would Tabernacle with mankind forever.

Living Water

It was on this day of the Great Salvation that Yeshua responds to his nation’s cry for salvation.  As the Great Salvation, he delivered a message not of judgment, but of freedom and fullness of life in the Spirit.  If they would come to him and put their faith in him, the Spirit of God would be poured out into their hearts and their spiritual thirst would be quenched.  Living waters would flow from within them and they would receive their Great Salvation.

“Now on the last day and greatest day of the festival, Hoshana Rabbah, Yeshua stood and cried out, ‘If a man is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drink!  Whoever puts his trust in me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being.’”  (Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who trusted in him were to receive later.  The Spirit had not yet been given, because Yeshua had not yet been glorified”) (John 7:37-39).

Our Earthly Sukkah

“I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Messiah Yeshua has made clear to me” (2 Peter 1:13).

While we live on the earth, we have an earth suit.   Peter and Paul called it our earthly tent.   Our earthly tent is mortal, decaying and dying.  It is only a temporary physical dwelling for our spirits and will one day be destroyed through death.  We will return to the dust of the ground from where we came.   While we live in our mortal sukkot, we know that we are naked and unclothed in the eyes of God.   We cry out in our temporary sufferings and affliction while we wait for the redemption of our bodies and receive our immortal clothes. 

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 5:1-5).

Once we are born again into God’s Kingdom, our earth tents become the dwelling place for God’s Spirit.  He seals us with His Spirit as a guarantee  that we will be released from our mortal tents and given heavenly bodies.   When we receive our glorified bodies, they will never decay or die because they are eternal.  Until that day arrives, we live in our bodies by faith just as our father Abraham who looked forward to what is to come.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 16:19-20).

Feast of Ingathering

“Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field” (Exodus 23:16).

The Feast of Tabernacles is also called the Feast of Ingathering.  It is celebrated after the harvest of grain and grapes while the olive harvest is still in process. 

This ‘’appointed time’’ foreshadows when the House of Judah and the House of Israel are gathered from the nations back to the Promised Land.   This ingathering of God’s chosen people will be so divinely inspired that it will be celebrated as a ‘greater exodus’ than when the Israelites left Egypt.   The Ingathering has only just begun with a modern-day movement of Jewish people returning to Israel from all the nations of the world.  It is called aliyah and means ‘going up.’   

“‘Therefore,’ says The LORD, ‘the day will come when people will not longer swear, “As The LORD lives, who brought the nation of Israel out of the land of Egypt,” but, ‘As The LORD lives, who brought the people of Israel out of the land to the north and all the countries where he drove them,’ for I will bring them back to their own land which I gave their ancestors’” (Jeremiah 16:14-15).

“They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month  and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: “Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and shade trees, to make temporary shelters”—as it is written” (Nehemiah 8:14-15).

When Israel returned from captivity in the days of Nehemiah, they found the book of Torah that commanded collecting branches to make their sukkot.  In addition to branches from palms, willows, and myrtles, they also collected branches from olive and wild olive trees (Nehemiah 8:14-15).  Because the Feast of Ingathering is a shadow of the coming Kingdom of God, the  olive and wild olive tree branches are significant to its fulfillment.

The first mention of the olive tree is in Genesis after the flood when Noah sends out a dove and it brings back a leaf, a symbol of new life.   In Exodus Moses is given pure olive oil as one of the ingredients for the anointing oil, a symbol of the Spirit.   In Deuteronomy, the land flowing with milk and honey also flowed with olive oil indicating the abundance of provision in the Promised Land.  The doors of Solomon’s Temple were made from olive wood on which were carved the cherubim that guarded the entrance to the Garden of Eden (1 Kings 6:32). In the Psalms, children are like olive shoots around a blessed man’s table. Jeremiah and Hosea call Israel ‘a thriving olive tree with great splendor.’

When Paul discusses the olive tree in Romans 11,  he sees natural olive branches and wild olive branches attached to the same tree.   He tells the gentiles, those of the nations, that they are the wild olive branches which have been grafted into the olive tree along with the natural branches of Israel.

When a branch is grafted into a tree, it gets its nourishment from the roots and sap of the tree.  It will still bear fruit, wild olives, but only through its dependence on the natural tree.   If the grafting doesn’t take and the branch doesn’t get its nourishment,  it will die and fall off the tree.

Paul reminds the gentiles that as wild olive branches they can be cut off the olive tree if they become arrogant over the natural branches.    They are to remember that the living water of the Spirit that comes from Messiah, the root of David,  and the nourishing sap of the  Hebrew Scriptures supports them both by faith.    Though some of the natural branches may have been broken off due to a lack of faith, they are easily grafted back into their own olive tree  (Romans 11:13-24).    

The addition of olive and wild olive branches to the sukkah in Nehemiah’s time suggests that the Ingathering will not only include the natural olive branches of Israel,  but also the wild olive branches  of nations who have joined the covenant that God made with Israel.  When both branches of olives live by faith in Yeshua trusting in him as the root of the tree, living water will bring nourishing sap to both branches.  They will finally thrive with splendor as God intended for  the Olive Tree of Israel.

The Millennial Kingdom

“In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. …Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken” (Micah 4:1, 3).

Ezekiel’s Millennial Temple

Yeshua’s teachings centered around the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven.  Though it was near, it had not yet fully arrived and will not arrive until he had been glorified and crowned King.  During a one thousand year ‘season of our joy,’  the nations of the world will come to the mountain of the LORD in Jerusalem.  Yeshua will sit on his throne in the Temple and rule the nations from Israel.  His reign will join the present world and mortal men with immortal men in a unique time in history.  With an iron scepter, he will rule the earth and prepare its people for his Father’s eternal kingdom.

“After six days Yeshua took Peter, James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain privately.  As they watched, he began to change form – his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became as white as light.  Then they looked and saw Moses and Elijah speaking with him.   Peter said to Yeshua, ‘It’s good that we’re here, Lord.  I’ll put up three sukkot [temporary dwellings]  if you want – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’  While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them; and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him’! (Matthew 17:1-5).

Just days before, Yeshua told the disciples that some of them would not die until they saw the Son of Man coming in his kingdom (Matthew 16:28).  They were waiting for this kingdom to arrive with great expectation.  Six days later Yeshua took Peter, James and John up a mountain.

The three disciples watched as Yeshua changed into glory in front of them. They saw him speaking with Moses and Elijah establishing a witness of three to the transfiguration.  They didn’t realize that were receiving only a glimpse at the coming Kingdom, but believed that Yeshua was establishing his Kingdom rule on earth at that ‘’appointed time’.‘   They believed that Yeshua was going to take up his throne in Jerusalem and reign as King of Kings.  They weren’t being stupid as often taught,  they knew the prophecies.  Peter responded with his great faith in Yeshua’s words about the Kingdom of God when he offered to build these three glorified men, Moses, Elijah and Yeshua shelters or sukkot.

The Eternal Tabernacle

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place (the Mishkan) is now among the people, and he will dwell (tabernacle) with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3 NIV and Orthodox Jewish Bible).

The New Jerusalem Descends

At the end of Yeshua’s Millennial reign, a new heaven and a new earth will appear.  Everything from the old heaven and earth will pass away.  The New Jerusalem will come down out of the restored heavens and descend to the renewed earth.  There won’t be a Temple in the New Jerusalem because God will be the Temple.  There will be no sun or moon to shine on it because the glory of God gives it its light.  It’s lamp will be Yeshua.

The river of the water of life will flow from the throne of God producing fruit for each month and healing leaves for the nations.  The servants of God will worship Him as His throne will be in the city.   The eternally redeemed will see His face and His name will be written on their foreheads.  They will reign as kings forever and ever.  When the New Jerusalem descends from heaven, Yahweh, the Father, the Creator,  the great I AM will eternally Tabernacle with His people.

“All of these people kept on trusting until they died, without receiving what had been promised.  They had only seen it and welcomed it from a distance, while acknowledging that they were aliens and temporary residents on the earth.  …As it is, they aspire to a better homeland, a heavenly one.  This is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city”  (Hebrews 11:13-15).

Our father Abraham lived in a tent. As Abraham’s children by faith and heirs to the same promises, we also live in earth tents like he did.  Until the day of our redemption, we will live as strangers and foreigners on this earth.  We can celebrate Sukkot with the hope of our future glory by building a sukkah.  As we feast in our ‘temporary dwelling’, we can identify with the children of Israel who lived in tents with the Mishkan of Yahweh in their midst.

Yeshua took on the tent of a human body to live with us. As the Messiah of Israel, he will soon return to Jerusalem as King to prepare the nations for the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.  When we  keep our eyes on the promises of God and the New Jerusalem we will truly understand the ‘season of our joy’ and the Feast of Tabernacles.

“Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress.  Be joyful at your festival—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete” (Deuteronomy 16:13-15).

©2011 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.  To learn more about the Feasts of the LORD, purchase Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts study guide and/or leader’s guide for group learning.

When was Jesus born?

“For to us a child is born,  to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace  there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty  will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Sukkah

Most Christians acknowledge that Jesus (Yeshua) was not born on December 25 in the middle of winter.  Yet few realize that Yeshua’s birth is outlined in the Bible if they could unravel some of the clues given to them in the gospels and refer back to the Hebrew Scriptures.   The account of our ‘reason for the season’ begins in the book of Luke chapter one when Zechariah was in the Temple at Jerusalem burning incense to God.   The time of  his Temple service is the key to understanding  when of the birth of his son, John took place, as well as the birth of Yeshua. 

1.  Zechariah was a Levite priest in of the lineage of Abijah, a descendant of Aaron (Luke 1:5, Numbers 3:2).

“In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron” (Luke 1:5).

2. All Levitical priests, including Zechariah, were required by God to serve in the Temple during Passover, Pentecost (Shavuot), and Tabernacles as well as two weeks extra per year according to their family lineage (Deuteronomy 16:16).

“Three times a year all your men must appear before YHVH your God at the place he will  choose:  at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot/Pentecost) and the Feast of Tabernacles” (Deuteronomy 16:16).

3.  Abjiah was eighth in line for Temple duties. This means that as a descendant of Abijah,  Zechariah was eighth in line for his Temple duties (1 Chronicles 24:10).

“With the help of Zadok … David separated them [the descendants of Aaron] into divisions for their appointed order of ministering. … The first lot fell to Jehoiarib … the eighth to Abijah ….  This was their appointed order of ministering when they entered the Temple of  the LORD according to the regulations prescribed for them …” (Numbers 1:1-19).

4. Zechariah would have served during the week of Passover and Unleavened Bread  in the Temple as part of his required Temple service.

The Biblical calendar is not the same as the Julian/Gregorian calendar we use today.  Passover is our March/April, Pentecost (Shavuot) near June, Tabernacles or Sukkot September/October. The Scriptures utilize a Biblical calendar with the first month being in spring at the time of Passover (Exodus 12:2).

Zechariah would have served in the spring for Passover/Unleavened Bread.  After Passover, he would have returned home until his lineage service began, eight weeks or about 50 days later.   

5.  Zechariah would have returned to the Temple for his two week duties as part of the lineage of Abijah.  This would have fallen in mid-June during the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot (Pentecost). 

Altar of Incense

6.   An angel of the LORD appeared to Zechariah during his time in the Temple at the Altar of Incense.

As a descendant of Aaron, he would have ministered in the Most Holy Place.  It is at the Altar of Incense that intercessory prayer is made by the priesthood. The angel of the LORD met Zechariah at this specific place and time.  He told him he was going to have a son who he was to name John.  Because of his unbelief, Zechariah is made mute by the angel until the time of his son’s birth. 

“… your prayers have been heard.  Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John”  (Luke 1:13).

7.   Zechariah returns home after his Temple service. He and Elizabeth conceive a child.  Elizabeth remains in seclusion for five months.

“When his time of service was completed, he returned home.  After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion” (Luke 1:23-24).

8.  One month later, “when Elizabeth was in her sixth month,” the angel Gabriel visited Mary (Luke 1:26).

Angel Visits Mary

Some people question whether this was the sixth month of the year or the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy.  With the wording of Elizabeth being in seclusion for five months and then  “in the sixth month,” it would seem that the months are contiguous and based on Elizabeth’s pregnancy.  Also, the angel tells Mary “Even Elizabeth your relative  … is in her fifth month” giving a witness to the timing of the angel’s visit  (Luke 1:36).

9.  Mary conceives a child by the Holy Spirit and immediately goes to visit Elizabeth.

“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth” (Luke 1:39).

Elizabeth’s baby leaps in her womb

When Mary greets her cousin, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaps.  According to the time period given for Elizabeth’s seclusion,  this most likely would have been the first contact she had with another woman and maybe even the first time she felt the movement of her child.  It is apparent that her unborn son knew the blessing of the Spirit of God on Mary.  The meeting of these two pregnant women had such profound significance that Luke recorded it with details.   Elizabeth’s baby leaps for joy in the womb recognizing the newly conceived Messiah of Israel.

“As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy”  (Luke 1:44).

Six months after Zechariah’s Temple service in mid-June would be about mid-to-late December.   The Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah occurs at this time as a memorial to the rededication of the Temple after it was defiled by the Greeks. It is also known as the Festival of Lights because the Temple Menorah was once again lit after its desecration.  It was during Hanukkah, the time of dedication, that the Spirit of God came upon Mary and she conceived Immanuel, God with us, the Light of the World.

Mary’s song in Luke 1:46-55 not only has prophetic significance about her baby, but is quite the declaration of humble ‘dedication‘ regarding the ‘light of the world.’

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name” (Verses 46-49).

10. Mary stays with Elizabeth for about three months.

“Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son” (Luke 1:56-57).

Mary returns to Nazareth very close to the time Elizabeth would deliver her baby.  The timing for the birth of Elizabeth’s baby would be mid-March/April or near Passover.    

11.  On the eighth day after the baby’s birth, he is circumcised and named.

Continuing with the Biblical timeline, Zechariah’s son would have been born right before Passover.   This means that Zechariah would have gone to the Temple for his regular service at Passover and while there, he names his son, John, in the presence of astonished people.    This is the first time he has spoken since the angel visited him months before at the Altar of Incense on Shavuot.

“At that moment, his power of speech returned, and his first words were a b’rakhah [blessing] to God” (Luke 1:64).

12. From the information given about the conceptions and pregnancies of Mary and Elizabeth, it can be calculated that John and Jesus (Yeshua) were born six months apart.

Six months after Passover in the spring (March/April) would be the fall (September/October), the time of ‘ingathering’ or the Feast of Tabernacles.  The Feast of Tabernacles also falls approximately nine months after Hanukkah in December.

Because of the Roman census being taken by Caesar Augustus, Bethlehem was bustling with Jews from everywhere in Israel.  All native born Israelites, specifically men, were required to live in booths or sukkot for the week of Tabernacles. Women and children who were with their husbands filled all of the inns to capacity. 

“Live in booths (sukkot) for seven days:  All native-born Israelites are to live in booths so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt” (Leviticus 23:42).

Under these crowded conditions, Joseph and Mary are given a temporary dwelling, called a stable in most Bible translations, and Mary gives birth to her son.  The baby was placed in a cattle feeding trough (Luke 2:4-7).

“And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger (sukkah) …” (Luke 2:6).

Yeshua in a Sukkah

According to the command in Leviticus 23, the Israelites were to live in a sukkah for seven days.  Consistent with the rabbinical definition of a temporary dwelling or sukkah, a stable would have been  an acceptable substitute.  Because of the timing of Yeshua’s birth during the Feast of Tabernacles, many people believe that it was not a literal stable, but a sukkah.   The Greek word for ‘manger’ in Luke 2:7 is phatne and can mean ‘cattle stall’ or sukkoth just like what Jacob built for his livestock (Genesis 33:17).  The equivalent Hebrew word for ‘manger’ is the singular sukkah. 

Using this information along with the established timeline, Yeshua would have been born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles and would have lived with his parents in the sukkah for the first seven days of his life until he was circumcised and named on the eighth day.   Whatever the specific accommodations,  Joseph fulfilled God’s requirement to live in a temporary dwelling during Sukkot as did Yeshua who was the firstborn son of God.

13.   The angels rejoiced because ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…’ (John 1:14, Luke 2).

The Greek word for ‘dwelling’ in this verse is skenoo and means  ‘spread his tent’ among us.  As a booth or sukkah is a temporary dwelling like a tent, this verse could read, “The Word became flesh and spread his tent (tabernacle) among us” making a direct allusion to Yeshua being born at the Feast of Tabernacles. 

14.  On the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the priests in the Temple would wave large branches of several different trees  in the Temple.

Palm, Willow, Erog, Myrtle

These branches were called lulavs and represented the different nations of the world.  Hundreds of priests waving large branches from the willow, the palm and the myrtle, would have created an enormous sound like a ‘rushing wind’ as they walked toward the Temple.  In Hebrew,  the word for God’s Spirit is ruach and means ‘wind.’  As the priests were waving these tree branches, they were unaware of the birth of Yeshua.  They had no idea that the salvation of Israel, through the ‘wind’ of God and a humble woman, had come to live in a little baby. 

“So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month… celebrate a festival to the LORD for seven days …. On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the LORD  your God for seven days” (Leviticus 23:39-41).

15. There were shepherds in the hills outside of Jerusalem  (Luke 2:8-15).

“As for you, O watchtower of the flock, O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem” (Micah 4:8).

Tower of the Flock

The shepherds in the hills near Bethlehem, a short distance from Jerusalem,  were special shepherds.  They camped at the Migdal Eder and raised the sacrificial sheep for the Temple offerings.  According to the prophecy in Micah, the Jewish people believed that the Messiah would be revealed at the Migdal Eder, “the tower of the flock.”

At the time of Yeshua’s birth, there  was an actual military watchtower above the hills that was used to protect Bethlehem.  This tower also was used by the shepherd to guard the Temple sheep from robbers.  It was from these sheep that the Passover lambs were chosen.  When the angels came announcing the ‘good news’ to all the world, these shepherds would have completely understood the meaning because they were at the exact location for the prophesy of Messiah’s birth to be fulfilled. 

16.  Eight days later, it was time for the baby’s circumcision and naming (Luke 2:21).

Eight days after a sons’ birth, the father would take the child to be circumcised and named because the mother would still be in her time of purification and could not enter the Temple area.  When Yeshua is eight days old, Joseph takes his infant son to Jerusalem to the Temple and names him Yeshua as he was commanded by the angel.  Yeshua means ‘salvation.’

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home with you as your wife; for what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means ‘the LORD saves,’] because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21-22).

Rejoicing in the Torah – Simchat Torah

The Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated for seven days.  The following day, the eighth day, there is a special celebration called Simchat Torah  which means ‘Rejoicing in the Torah.’   As Yeshua was being named by his father, crowds were in the Temple courts dancing, singing, and rejoicing in the Torah.   In their midst, without their knowledge, the living Torah had just been named Salvation.

“On the eighth day, when it came time to circumcise him, he was named Yeshua, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived” (Luke 2:21).

17.   Mary’s purification completed.

“When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest a year-old lamb … and a young pigeon or dove…. He shall offer them before YHVH … and she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood.  …If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves …” (Leviticus 12:6-8).

Redemption of the Firstborn

Forty days after Yeshua’s birth, Mary’s time of purification was completed. She and Joseph took Yeshua to the Temple for the Redemption of the Firstborn according to the Torah command in Leviticus 12:8.   It was at this time, they offered the sacrifice of the doves. 

“When the time of her purification according to the Torah of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written) …” (Luke 2:22).

There were two prophets in the Temple who knew and expected the Word to become flesh, salvation of Israel to be revealed.  Simeon and Anna, two witnesses to Messiah’s birth, spoke prophecies over Yeshua in the presence of his parents.

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. …There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher” (Luke 2:25,39).

18. At this time, a sign appeared in the heavens (Matthew 2:1-2).

Every kingdom in the known world had astronomers who studied and understood the signs in the heavens.   Each culture, but more specifically the Jewish culture, looked to the heavens for the fulfillment of  Biblical prophecy.   Constellations, planets and stars moved to tell God’s story as well as to set His ‘appointed time’s.  Other middle eastern cultures studied the Hebrew concepts and understood their connection to the people of Israel.

Astronomers from the east (probably from what is modern day Iraq/Iran) saw this “sign” in the heavens and began their journey toward Jerusalem to bow down and worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.   The word ‘star’ in this verse is the Hebrew is kokhav and is referred to in Numbers 24:17 along with the scepter from Jacob, all terminology for  stars and planets that are ‘signs in the heavens.’

19.  The magi or wise men arrived in Bethlehem.

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him” (Matthew 2:9).

The journey of ‘the wise men,’ (number unknown and probably a lot more than three) took a long time to get to Israel as they were on foot and traveled a great distance of nearly 500 miles.  When they finally arrived in Jerusalem, Yeshua was no longer a baby nor living in a sukkah.  The Scripture calls Yeshua a child and the wise men came to his home with their gifts.  They returned back to Iran/Iraq by a different route because Herod was angry that there was another ‘king’ and sent out an edit for the murder of all baby boys under the age of two in and around Bethlehem (Matthew 2:13-18).

This is how the conception, birth, and life began for Yeshua.  According to the information written in the Torah, Prophets, and Gospels, Yeshua was born in the ‘season of our rejoicing’, on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles in a sukkah. The shepherds knew from the angelic hosts that ‘peace on earth and good will toward men’ had come as the ‘lamb of God’ in the town of the Migdal Eder, Bethlehem.  While all Israel rejoiced in the Torah given by God, the living Torah, the begotten Son of God was circumcised and named Salvation.

©1997 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.