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Watch 2022 online sermons » Jonathan Bernis » Jonathan Bernis - Sukkot, Celebrate The Lord

Jonathan Bernis - Sukkot, Celebrate The Lord

Jonathan Bernis - Sukkot, Celebrate The Lord
TOPICS: Sukkot

Jonathan Bernis: Shalom and welcome to Jewish Voice, where we help you to understand the Jewish roots of your Christian faith, Bible prophecy, and why you should stand with Israel. I'm rabbi Jonathan Bernis, and today my co-host, Ezra Benjamin, is joining me once again as we celebrate the festival of Sukkot. This week we're observing one of the appointed times of the Lord, and you'll learn today why it's also called the feast of tabernacles, and God's purpose behind this important celebration. Ezra, this is the final wrap up, isn't it? The final event in God's prophetic history, Sukkot. It was the final harvest of the year, but it also has implications for every follower of Jesus, the Messiah.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, so important for you at home to understand. Jonathan, let me back up for a minute. This idea of appointed times, or moedim in Hebrew, why are these so important for Christians? If these are Jewish holidays, what's the significance for non-Jewish believers in Jesus?

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, and I'm sure you're watching and asking that very question. This is not just the Jewish feasts. I was raised with an understanding that we had our own holidays.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Our Jewish holidays, and Christians had theirs, and the two were completely separated. In reality, there are divinely appointed times. We call them moedim. They're appointed times of the Lord that are part of the divine calendar, a biblical calendar that transcends this earth. They're heavenly. These are moments - history, historical events, but more than historical events. They have a direct fulfillment, but they also have a prophetic or continuing fulfillment, because they are supernatural, they're divine. Ezra, they are God's timetable. They're God's calendar. This is God's day-timer, if you will.

Ezra Benjamin: Wow!

Jonathan Bernis: And every appointed time has not only a direct fulfillment, either through an event that was historical or through a harvest, but points to Jesus. I want to go back and read something that I read, or show it. In Colossians 2:16, we're told that the sabbath, the new moons, the festivals, it wasn't the thing themselves, were not judged for the thing itself, but they all pointed to Christ. They all point to the Messiah, be it his first coming or his return, because they're a part of God's redemptive plan. They're markers. They're book-markers in God's prophetic calendar for the world, not just for the Jewish people, and they're important to everyone.

Ezra Benjamin: Definitely. So, the reason these are important to our audience at home is because these aren't just things that the rabbis made up. These aren't just Jewish traditions, these are actually biblical appointed times that have a significance on earth and in heaven.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, and they weren't just given to the Jewish people. They're not just given to Israel, because they have further significance in Messiah. Let me give you an example. This week we're celebrating tabernacles. We're celebrating, we call it Sukkot in Hebrew, but it's the feast of tabernacles, or booths. They remember the Exodus out of Egypt and the call to move when the cloud moves, so we just had simple dwelling places. And so, for a week we set up a temporary booth in our backyard, on our porch, wherever, and we eat our meals there. And you see them all over Israel, you see them, of course, in Jewish communities. But, here's it says in Zechariah 14. Listen to this.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: In Zechariah 14, which the context of chapter 14 is the last days. It's talking about the day of the Lord coming and there being great turmoil in Jerusalem, and in fact, the world. And look what it says here in chapter 14, verse 16. "Then the survivors from all the nations," that's all the nations of the world, "That have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the king, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the feast of tabernacles". Verse 17, "If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the king, they will have no rain". When? On the feast of tabernacles. That just turns it into a universal feast, a universal day of remembrance or celebration that involves all the nations of the world, unfortunately that survive the last days.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, so not just a command for the Jewish people, but we see in Zechariah clearly that this is actually a command for all the nations of the earth to keep this Jewish feast.

Jonathan Bernis: With a consequence. You don't celebrate the feast of tabernacles, you don't get rain.

Ezra Benjamin: Wow. Serious.

Jonathan Bernis: So, it makes it a universal day of observance, and this is an illustration of all of the appointed times that are not old testament Jewish things that have passed away, but remain eternal. We talk about passover, the watershed event in Jewish history, but it's not just Jewish history. It's not just the Exodus out of Egypt, it points to the greater revelation, the greater redemption in the Messiah, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Last week, Ezra, we talked about Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, and the idea that during that moment, that day, the high priest would lay hands on two goats. One of them would be sent off into the wilderness, bearing the sins of the people.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Who is that? The greater fulfillment is Jesus, Yeshua. He is taken to a desolate place in the crucifixion and he dies outside the city in this desolate place, and just like the scapegoat, he is the scapegoat who bears our sins in his body.

Ezra Benjamin: The fulfillment of that day of covering, that day of atonement, is Yeshua, Jesus himself, our scapegoat.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, so now we have Sukkot, which has huge prophetic significance for all the nations of the world.

Ezra Benjamin: We've covered, Jonathan, what Jesus has to do with Yom Kippur, with the day of atonement, but what does he have to do with the feast of tabernacles?

Jonathan Bernis: Well, I'm glad you asked. So, Sukkot, in the calendar of the year, in the cycle of the year, Leviticus 23 is the final harvest. It's the final in-gathering of the crops. It's an agricultural feast, but it's also the final in-gathering spiritually, so watch this now. We see this a couple of times in the new testament. One of them is Matthew 24, beginning in verse 31. Listen to this now. This is talking about the time of the end, the son of man. I'll actually go back to verse 30. "They will see the son of man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other". That's Sukkot language, he will gather his elect. So, the final end gathering, the final harvest, but watch the imagery. It's not a trumpet that's being sounded, it's a shofar, this. It's a ram's horn. So, imagine this. The call goes out.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah.

Jonathan Bernis: Jesus is now returning, and in this process... Now, this connects the fall feasts. You have the feast of trumpets, which is the warning, the gathering call. The Messiah returns. They look upon him whom they have pierced and they mourn for him. The salvation of Israel is they recognize Jesus as their Messiah. And then the final gathering, that's Sukkot. That's the feast of tabernacles. He's sending his angels to gather the elect together and we enter into the Messianic age, or the millennial reign of the Messiah.

Ezra Benjamin: So, not just the agricultural meaning of Sukkot, the ingathering of the final harvest, but actually a much more significant spiritual meaning - the ingathering of God's chosen people.

Jonathan Bernis: Much more, and it involves not just Israel, it involves the nations and in particular, believers in the Messiah. So, this feast is for you! This is an appointed time for you. You need to learn about Sukkot, the feast of tabernacles. Well, we have to take a quick break, but we'll be right back to discuss what the exciting prophetic significance of the last feasts of the year means for you, so don't go away.

Jonathan Bernis: I just want to take a moment to express my appreciation on behalf of our ministry for your prayers and ongoing financial support. You're making all the difference in enabling us to reach Jewish people and their neighbors with free medical, dental, eye care, and most importantly, the Gospel, and it's making all the difference. It really is. Well, Ezra and I are talking about Sukkot, the feast of booths, or the feast of tabernacles, and this is an ingathering. Ezra, I believe right now, as people watch, that they can claim, you can claim this blessing of ingathering. It's a harvest. Maybe your children have strayed from the Lord. Maybe your grandchildren have strayed from the Lord. Maybe your spouse has strayed from your family, not just the Lord. This is the time to call them back. This week is the ingathering. It's the harvest. The angels of God are being dispatched right now to draw your loved ones back, back to him, back to you. He wants to restore families right now. This is the opportunity. This is a divine appointment with God as we observe the feast of tabernacles this week.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, so important, so critically important for you at home to understand. Jonathan, we know that the feast of tabernacles relates back to our people dwelling in booths or Sukkot. A booth is a sukkah in Hebrew.

Jonathan Bernis: Right.

Ezra Benjamin: After the Exodus from Egypt, but talk to us a little bit more about this idea of dwelling with the Lord, this idea that in the future, God's going to dwell with men like we dwelt in booths.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, well, of course, the promise of the Messianic age, before the idea of the millennium came along, which is from revelation 20:1-6, a thousand year reign, the hope of Israel, the hope of the Jewish people was the coming of the Messiah and a Messianic age.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: And that will happen. Whether it's a literal thousand years or not, I'm not gonna say emphatically, but I will say emphatically that Jesus, Yeshua, is going to return in physical form to Jerusalem - not heavenly Jerusalem, physical Jerusalem, and establish his earthly reign in physical form. He's going to rule and reign out of Jerusalem.

Ezra Benjamin: Wow.

Jonathan Bernis: That's fundamental to our faith. It needs to be fundamental to your faith. There's another thing I want to talk about, Ezra, also, and that is the idea of dwelling in booths, which are very simple. This idea of just a very simple dwelling is the idea that we're not here permanently. We're sojourners in this land. Our citizenship is not in America, or England, or any other nation, it's in heaven. And so, we need to live life in this transient state, in booths or tabernacles. Why? Because when the cloud moves, we move. When the pillar moves, a fire moves, we move, and this is a great week to remember that, that we're on assignment.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: And we need to be ready to move. We don't want to get anchored to this world, we want to be anchored as citizens of heaven. That's a great message and I talk about it quite a bit in my teachings on Sukkot.

Ezra Benjamin: Definitely. And Jonathan, actually our people, if you look at the materials that we're commanded to build the Sukkot with once a year, they're materials that can't last long. In essence God's saying I want you to build something that can't last forever.

Jonathan Bernis: Exactly.

Ezra Benjamin: Just like our bodies, and you know, the earth that we dwell in, it can't last forever, but we're supposed to remember that there's a greater reality, an eternal reality, that God tabernacles with us.

Jonathan Bernis: Absolutely. And again, it's temporary. Who knows when God will... We gain the whole world and we lose our own soul. Who knows the moment that our life will be taken? Who knows? Paul says to be absent in the body, for a believer, is to be present with the Lord. Now, that's the assurance that we have, but if we don't have that, then what do we have? We gain the whole world, we gain nothing.

Ezra Benjamin: Right, and what a good time for us as Jewish people and for you at home to remember that these bodies that we're tabernacling in can't last forever.

Jonathan Bernis: They can't. You know, understand that. People get sick because we live in a fallen world. People hurt one another because we live in a fallen world. But, we have the mercies of God and they're new every morning. I want you to receive this, because some of you are going through real trials this week. The good news is, is that we're celebrating a greater reality this week as we observe the feast of tabernacles. Not only is life transient, but we're next to the pillar of fire. We're in the presence of God through this. So, we may go through the storm, we may go through the fire and we may go into the furnace, but guess who's with us? The son of man is right alongside of us, and he's right alongside of you today.

Ezra Benjamin: Oh, what an eternal reality, Jonathan. I can feel the spirit of God just ministering to our audience right now. Things that are temporary, things that won't last forever, but the promises of God which do last forever, which are eternal.

Jonathan Bernis: Look, the promise is for you. This is not a Jewish thing, this is a God thing, a God moment for you, okay? This is a God moment for you, and some of you are going through some real unrest in your life because he wants you to move out of the situation you're in now. The cloud, the pillar of fire is moving, and he wants you to move with him into the next chapter of your life. Folks, you may be going through turmoil, but it's a good thing because it's time to move with the Lord, and he's gonna bring you into a whole new chapter. I love this week!

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, me, too.

Jonathan Bernis: I love this week and I love what it reminds me of.

Ezra Benjamin: So much. It's awesome how the fall feasts, the spring feast, the appointed times of God point us to heavenly eternal realities, for our people and for you at home. Jonathan, if one of our viewers is sitting at home right now and saying, you know, yes, something's stirring within me. I want to take hold of the promises of God surrounding these feasts, feast of tabernacles and all the Jewish appointed times, but I don't know how to do it. Point them in the right direction.

Jonathan Bernis: So, here's a simple one, Ezra. Build a tabernacle. Build a booth in your backyard and have all the family eat dinner together there for a week. Here's the beauty of that. Just like sabbath, that sabbath table is an anchor. Hey, we're living in a time now when everybody's running to and fro, when kids are texting each other across the table. That's a problem when it comes to family, the sanctity of family - being together, fellowshipping together. Build a sukkah and make it an exciting event, and say every night this week, we're gonna eat under this booth. That's cool! And, it draws the family together. It's different scenery. You smell the fresh branches and it's just fun!

Ezra Benjamin: Setting the stage for an ingathering.

Jonathan Bernis: You know, my kids have a little sukkah, ‘cause you know, it gets really hot in Phoenix and we have some snakes out back. And so, we set it up in the house and they sleep in the sukkah at night, the two girls, and it's a blast for them! It's exciting for them. It's a different scene. Let me go back to where I started this, Zechariah 14, which talks about this not being a Jewish issue or a celebration of Israel, but for the nations. It says that "The nations of the world," in Zechariah 14, will go up to Jerusalem to worship the king, the Lord Almighty, on tabernacles, on Sukkot, and if they don't go, have no rain. Well, guess what? The opposite is true. If they do, there will be rain. There's a blessing in this for you. There's a blessing in this for your family. Something as simple as having a booth and eating a meal there, the blessing of God is gonna be poured out on you. Also, this ingathering and the idea that you can call back that which is gone, that which has been lost. You can call it back. You can call family members. You can call your spouse back. This is the week to do that, and we're agreeing with you in prayer, by faith, in the name of Yeshua. Well, we have to take a short break, but we'll be right back with our "Ask the rabbi" segment and pray over you and your household, so stay with us.
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