Came across some interesting details about the feast of Tabernacles today in Edersheim’s book “The Temple, its Minstry and Services as they were at the Time of Jesus Christ”
This feast was a celebration of the harvest and came on the heels of the Day of Atonement. The feast was on the 15th day of the 7th month which was Tishri. The 15th day being a full moon. As its name suggests, all except those who were sick or old slept in make shift shelters. Basically all of Israel went camping for a week.
There were two central features of the Feast:
1. The first was the pouring of the water taken from the Pool of Siloam through silver funnels that went to the base of the altar. The water was brought from the Pool of Siloam through the water gate… so that is how that gate got its name.
According to the Talmud, “Why is the name of it called, The drawing out of water? Because of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, according to what is said: ‘With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”
As the water was poured into a silver funnel that went down into the base of the altar, the music began. As the people sang they waved the boughs of myrtle, willow and palm trees.
Psalms 113-188 were sung. What was it like? How did they sing? What instruments were played? How would it compare to a worship service in our churches today?
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say: “His love endures forever.”
In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper….
I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Imagine, then, as the singing ended, the voice of Jesus echoing in the temple precincts,
“On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
Jesus spoke with such authority that the temple guards did not know what to do. They were later scolded by the religious authorities for not arresting Jesus. Nicodemus, who had spoken with Jesus earlier, reminded that religious authorities, “Does our law judge a man before it hear him, and know what he does?”
Nicodemus words remain applicable today. Do we reject Jesus before we have taken the time to hear from him or find out what he does?
“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone… and it is marvelous in our eyes.”