Applying 7 themes of Sukkot to my daily life! Day 7: Be Hopeful! The feast of Sukkot holds a number of traditions which powerfully demonstrate that God is faithful to keep His promises (Josh 23:14), that His timing is perfect (Ps 18:30), and that His plans for us are good, to give us a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11)!
There are three Sukkot traditions in particular during which I believe God communicated that Yeshua was the Messiah, and that He is the ultimate fulfillment of all of the Biblical Feasts.
The first Temple tradition was every day they would cut huge willow leaves from the trees, and spread the long branches all along the foundation of the altar. Then the priests would march one time around the altar, waving the four species in a circle saying Ps. 118:25 – “We beseech You, O Lord, please SAVE us!” On the 7th day of the festival, they would surround the altar seven times saying “We beseech You, O Lord, please SAVE us!” Today in synagogues, the 7th day is known as “Hoshana Raba” which means “great salvation,” and the congregation marches seven times around the bimah (where the Torah is read), chanting Ps 118:25 – “Ana Adonai Hoshiana” (Save us Lord!).
Psalm 118:25-26 is the exact same song that was chanted when Yeshua made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem as the crowds cut branches from the trees and spread them all along the road (Matt 21:8-9 – commonly known as “Palm Sunday”). Yeshua in the Hebrew means “salvation.” Coincidence or God’s perfect plan and timing?
The second Temple tradition was known as the “Water Libations.” Very early each morning, the priests, followed by all the congregation at the Temple, would descend down to the Pool of Siloam and fill a golden flask with pure water. They ascended back up to the Temple with much joy, dancing and song, met by trumpet blasts in fulfillment of Is. 12:3 – “With joy you shall draw water out of the wells of salvation (yeshua).” The water was then carried up the altar ramp and poured onto the altar, accompanied by great rejoicing and celebration. In fact, it has been said “Whoever has never seen the celebrations of the Festival of the Water Libation – has never experienced true joy in his life.” The people experienced such joy because the water poured out upon the altar was prophetically symbolic to them of a future messianic redemption when God’s “Millennial” kingdom is established over the whole earth under Messiah’s rulership (Zech 14: 4-9,16-19), and the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.(Is 11:9). It was also believed that prophetic inspiration was received during this time of great joy!
This was the exact time and setting at the Temple when God chose to declare through Yeshua, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink! He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, from within him will flow rivers of living water. But he said this about the Spirit, which those believing in him were to receive.” (John 7:37-39) Coincidence or God’s perfect plan and timing?
The third Temple tradition was the “Illumination of the Water Libation.” Although the water libation took place very early in the morning, it was preceded by celebrations which would take place all through the night. Huge lamps were erected in the Women’s Court to illuminate the festival, consisting of four containers of oil mounted on a huge pole. The lamps were so bright that it was said “there was not a single courtyard in all of Jerusalem that was not illuminated by the light of the Festival of the Water Libation.”
It was while these lamps were still burning, early the next morning, when Yeshua said, “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) Coincidence or God’s perfect plan and timing?
In closing, the Feast of Sukkot gives us so many reasons to Be Hopeful! We have hope because God’s timing is always perfect, He always keeps His promises, His prophecies are always fulfilled — therefore we have the hope of His coming Millennial kingdom on earth (when we will continue to celebrate Sukkot!), and throughout time we see that God communicated very special messages to the world about the Messiah – who He was, what He would do, and what He is yet to do – during this appointed time of Sukkot. I love the appointed times because God meets with us and communicates to us in very special ways during these times. He also desires to dwell with us and speak to us in very personal ways every day of our lives. He is not an impersonal “new age” energy force, or a distant, disapproving, angry father, His heart’s desires is to dwell with you and to communicate with you intimately, 24/7 of each day. Ask God to speak to your heart in a very personal, intimate way about who He is and how He sees you. It will bring true healing to your heart this Sukkot.
Josh 23:14 – you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed.