Tonight, at sundown, begins Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) for the majority worldwide. Since the Lord has told me that all of man’s calendar calculations are off, I choose to join the most widely held dates for all the Biblical Feasts of the Lord, as part of the One New Man in the Messiah. Remember that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Himself says: “These are My feasts” (Leviticus 23:2).
The bridal quality of joy is so ever present in the Feast of Tabernacles that it is one of its names – the Feast of Joy, some say the Season of Our Joy. Refer to https://sapphirethroneministries.wordpress.com/2019/10/14/the-season-of-our-joy/.
In the past, when God’s people have lost their way and sought to rebuild their ancient ruins, the Feast of Tabernacles figured prominently. For example, when Israel assembled with King Solomon at this Feast with the purpose of bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Solomon’s Temple, the Cloud of God’s Glory overwhelmingly saturated the House of the Lord so much that the priests could not continue to minister (1 Kings 8). Another prominent example is found in Nehemiah Chapter 8 where we find a contingent of Israelites who had returned from their time of Babylonian captivity. Please note that the Persians are featured due to conquering the Babylonians.
When King Cyrus arose to rule the Persian Kingdom, he decreed that the Jewish People be allowed to return to their land to rebuild their Temple. He even provided supplies for the huge project. The first ecstatic group of Hebrew returnees were determined to rebuild God’s Temple in Jerusalem and restore it to its former glory. They were 42,360 strong (Ezra 2:64). To the accompaniment of the Levite orchestra and cries of joy from the devout onlookers, the foundation of the Temple was immediately laid (Ezra 3:10-13). Their exhilaration was short-lived. The other inhabitants of the Promise Land felt threatened by the sudden mass migration, and they bribed officials to delay the construction of the Temple until the reign of Cyrus had ended.
This stalled state remained unchanged until Darius took over as the next Persian King. Two of God’s Prophets – Haggai and Zechariah – received instructions to command the Hebrews – the ones who have crossed over – to resume construction of the Temple in the second year of Darius’ reign. Zerubbabel (i.e., Nehemiah) and Yeshua ben Yehozadak headed up the rebuilding effort (Ezra 5:1).
When news reached Babylon that the Temple’s construction had been completed, King Artaxerxes commissioned Ezra to lead a mass migration to Israel and to enforce God’s commandments there. Ezra tried to muster his brethren’s return to Eretz Yisrael, but his words went mostly unheeded with the majority remaining in Babylon. Undeterred, Ezra gathered 1500 faithful freedom fighters and set out for Israel with much gold and silver for the Temple’s construction as well as ample provisions of wheat, wine, oil, and salt from the Persian King (Ezra 7:9).
Once Ezra arrived in Jerusalem, he was grieved over the poor spiritual state of the remnant in Israel. They had lost their way. Devastated, Ezra tore his clothes and sat the entire day in mourning. After the evening sacrifice was brought, Ezra got up and began to pray loudly to the Most High God. He wept asking for forgiveness for the sins of his people (Ezra 9). A crowd slowly gathered to watch his heartfelt pleas. Ezra’s genuine tears moved them to cry along with him lamenting over their sins (Ezra 10:1). Then Shechaniah ben Jehiel stepped forward to ask Ezra to lead them in returning to God and his service (Ezra 10:2-4). Immediately, Ezra set up a group of officers for this purpose.
Afterwards, Ezra sent out a proclamation throughout the land to summon all the Hebrews who had ascended to Israel from Babylon to gather in Jerusalem in three days (Ezra 10:5-8). On the appointed day, the people huddled in smaller groups, as they were pelted by a powerful rainstorm. They were washed by the water of the Word of God when Ezra spoke. He encouraged them to the better ways of the Lord after Ezra spoke of their misdeeds.
One of the immediate results was to keep the joyous Feast of Tabernacles with such a fervor that had not been seen since the successor of Moses – Joshua ben Nun: “Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel. … And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. … and the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law; and the people stood in their place. So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading. And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.’ For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, ‘Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.’ And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them. Now on the second day the heads of the fathers’ houses of all the people, with the priests and Levites, were gathered to Ezra the scribe, in order to understand the words of the Law. And they found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month, and that they should announce and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Go out to the mountain, and bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written.’ Then the people went out and brought them and made themselves booths, each one on the roof of his house, or in their courtyards or the courts of the house of God, and in the open square of the Water Gate and in the open square of the Gate of Ephraim. So the whole assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and sat under the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day the children of Israel had not done so. And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day there was a sacred assembly, according to the prescribed manner” (Nehemiah 8:1, 5-18 NKJV).
We would do well to remember in our day how Ezra encouraged God’s remnant with the reading the Word publicly to reacquaint them with the One who loves them and wants the best for them, and now you know the context of the famous line “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10) is God’s remnant keeping the Feast of Tabernacles after being convicted and cleansed of their sins. Therefore, let us all hear, understand, and party at the Lord’s Sukkot Table. Let all of His Dwelling Places – you and I – celebrate the King of Kings! Let’s all do what Jesus did, as prescribed in His Word.
Give em heaven!!!
Written September 20, 2021 – Sapphire Throne Ministries – Robin Main. Copyrighted – If you are going to copy this, please copy it right by giving attributions to this source. Blessings!
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