Rabbi Schneider - How the Feast of Tabernacles Affects You
The Lord of Israel Yahweh has commanded us, the Jewish people, to build every single year one of these temporary structures on our property called a sukkah. It's to remind us that when the Israelites, when we as people were in the wilderness for 40 years, during the time that the Lord delivered us from Egypt, what was still bringing us into the promised land. That 40 year journey we were living in the wilderness with nothing but God living in these temporary structures. And I simply made the application last time that every year when we build ourselves a sukkah and we sit in it, like we're doing today. We're reminded as we look through the roof and we can see the stars at night, that all we really have in the world is God. Even as Israel had nothing in the world during those 40 years in the wilderness, but Hashem, but God, He was enough. He provided for them manna every day, six days a week for 40 years. He caused water to supernaturally come out of a rock. He sent the quail to feed them later every day. God took care of them.
And the application that I made on last time's broadcast was this, and it's very powerful. Don't let it go over your head. If you lost everything, you would still be okay because you would still have God. And He would cover you and take care of all your needs. Just like He did Israel in the wilderness for 40 years. It's an important truth that can really bring freedom into your life. Sometimes we think it all depends on us. We think if we don't keep it going, it's all going to fall apart. But the truth is beloved, even if everything around us fell apart, we would still have God and having Him would be enough. We'd be okay. And so I covered that last time. I want to move on now to new ground.
As we're in the book of Leviticus, we call in Hebrew Vayikra, chapter 23. I want to read verse number 40 for you once again. It says, now on the first day, this was the first day of Sukkot. Now on the first day, you shall take for yourselves, the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches, and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook. And you shall rejoice before the Lord, your God for seven days.
So the children of Israel were commanded to take the species of different agricultural products from the land that represented the beauty and the bounty of the Lord. And this is called the lulav, the willow, the palm, the etrog. And we wave it before the Lord like this in all directions. Up and down, up and down, thanking God, representing that everything that we have comes from Him. Every good gift that we have. The loved ones in our life. The food on our table. The roof over our head. Whatever health we have. Every provision that we have in life has come to us as a gift from God. And so during the Feast of Tabernacles, during the Feast of Sukkot, we waved the lulav once again, representing the beauty and the bounty of the Lord that comes into our life. We wave it in recognition and in honor of the fact that every good gift that we've enjoyed in our life has been a gift from Hashem. I mean, think about it Jennifer, even the breath that you are going to take right now. Isn't every breath that we take really a gift from God.
[b]Rabbi Schneider: I mean, really, we didn't do anything to create ourselves, right? I mean, the beauty that we experienced, just being with each other, looking at these beautiful people today, that I'm surrounded with. The love that we enjoy, the friendship that we've established. Where does friendship come from? Where does love come from? It's all a gift from God. And so the Lord said that during this particular time of year, we should remember that and not take it for granted.
So many people today, they're willing to enjoy, for example, the beautiful nature that even we're surrounded in now, but they don't give God credit for creating it. Just like aren't those mountains beautiful. Oh, I don't believe in God, but I love those mountains. Oh, I don't believe in God, but aren't those birds beautiful. It's like, that's the spiritual mindset that's seeping over the earth right now, but we're called out people. Amen. We say, God, thank You for the beauty. You created it. Thank You for my loved ones. Thank You for whatever's good in my life. So this is a time to rejoice.
And actually, Ryan, I love what this verse says here. We sometimes don't realize it, it says in verse 40, you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. And do you know at another place in the Torah, the Lord actually brought a curse, a penalty, upon His people because they didn't rejoice before Him when He was doing good things. And He said, because you didn't rejoice and weren't grateful to Me when I blessed you. Now I'm going to send a curse upon you to teach you gratitude. So it's important to consider. I mean, I don't know about you, but for myself sometimes, just being flesh and being corrupt, I have to sometimes snap myself out of it. Like my wife, Cynthia, has to tell me a lot of times, "You are a blessed man". And I have to say, "Yes, you are right". Because God could take all this away any second. And it's so easy to think about the glass being half empty. Well, anything anyone would like to add today?
Ryan/b]: It's reassuring that He wants us to be happy and He wants us to rejoice and be thankful for Him and reminds us about.
[b]Rabbi Schneider: That's a really good point. That's a really powerful point. You know when you're saying that, Ryan, it makes me think about the war that we're in. I mean, what you're saying, just knowing that God wants us to be happy. He wants us to rejoice and recognizing we're up against darkness that doesn't want us to be happy and doesn't want, and we have to make that choice to get in agreement. It's a good point.
Brondon/b]: It's interesting how He ties rejoicing with reminding what He's done in our lives for what He wants to do going forward. And so connecting with the fact that our rejoicing reminds us of all the victories that He's brought us through, preparing us for whatever we have to go through beyond that point.
[b]Rabbi Schneider: Good point, because this feast is a celebration of the fall harvest. It was the last great harvest in Israel for the year before winter came. This is the fall feast and the last one. But part of the celebration of this feast takes place on the last day of it. It's actually written about in the gospel of John chapter seven. It was called the great day of the feast. And there's a special ceremony that took place in this day called Hoshana Rabbah, which was a water pouring ceremony. And what happened was that everyone would gather together at the temple, and there'd be a big processional of the priest, and they'd be singing and dancing. They would walk from the temple down to the pool of Siloam. And then when they got to the pool of Siloam, the priest would take a pitcher. He would dip it into the waters of Siloam. And then they would begin to walk back to the temple and everybody would be singing and praising and dancing.
We have all types of historical records of this. In fact, the ecstasy of the celebration and the rejoicing was so intense, that we have writings of rabbis doing cartwheels, and praising God while they were standing on their head. And the question is, well, why? What was going on? And the reason is, on this last day of Sukkot, when they took that water from Siloam to the temple. Then when they got to the temple at the height of the rejoicing and the praise, the priest would then pour the water on the altar at the temple. And that's when the praise would reach its crescendo. And the reason is that, that water that was being poured out on the altar at the temple, it represented the rain that Israel was expecting God to bless them with in the coming winter months. So that, that would in turn, give them a great new harvest in the spring.
So it was rejoicing for what the Lord had already done, but it was also a confidence in what Hashem was going to do for them in the future. There was an expectation of future blessing. And by the way, it also represented the confidence they had, that the Lord was going to be sending Messiah. And that when Messiah came water would be poured out, spiritual water on the people. Of course we know that Yeshua was right there in the midst. In fact, Yeshua cried out in John seven, if any man is thirsty. As the water is being poured out, he says, if any, man's thirsty, come to me and drink. And rivers of living water will spring forth from the innermost being.
So it's important. I mean, it's good to just talk about this together because we're in a battle. I mean, with everything that people are facing in the world right now, and the ugliness in society that we're seeing right now. Just a lot of divisiveness that we've experienced and so on and so forth. We need to remind ourselves that God's a good God. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to rejoice. And so I want to thank You Lord, that these feasts that we celebrate every year, they bring us back into spiritual alignment. You see these feasts, these holy days of the Lord, these seven holy days, plus the Sabbath. It's like an opportunity for spiritual tune-up. It's like your car, eventually it starts, the timing starts getting off. So it needs to be re-adjusted. So celebrating these Holy days is an opportunity for us to say, "Yes, thank You, Lord, for my salvation on Yom Kippur that my sins are forgiven".
Rabbi Schneider: Well, listen, before we run out of time, beloved ones, let's get into some specific applications from the Feast of Tabernacles for your life and my life, for our life today. Number one, the Feast of Tabernacles teaches us to walk in an attitude of dependency. Because when you think about it, Jennifer, every single day, six days a week, the children of Israel had to rely on the Lord for new manna. What happened if they tried to hang on to yesterday's manna?
Noey/b]: It rotted.
[b]Rabbi Schneider: It rotted. It became foul. The manna only lasted for a day. So every day they were dependent. Now every single day it had to be a new thing. And so I think about this concept of clinging to God. How important it is to cling to God, of being dependent, of trusting Him. And without that attitude of dependency, there's not an open door in our soul for Him to move through. I think about Moses and how Moses, when the Lord said, I want you to deliver my people from Egypt. And Moses said, "If You don't go with me, I'm not going". Now that's how I feel in my life. It's like, "Lord, if You're not going to be with me today, kill me now". Because I know that without You, I'm just a victim. I'm just out here, a target for the enemy.
So we live in this concept of dependency on the Lord every day, for our provision, for our health, for our safety, for our protection. Now this guy right here, he's really dependent right now because he's got another little one coming into his home in a few days here. So he's walking in fear and trembling and dependency with all the extra juggling of the blessing that the little one's going to bring. But we all are walking in dependency. Amen. All right, let's go to the next one. I love this concept that one of the things that Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles teaches us, is that we need to cultivate a mindset where the unseen realm becomes more real to us than the seen realm. Because the children of Israel, they were relying on an unseen God. Everything that they were receiving was coming from this unseen God. And yet He was more real to them than everything else.
Now I think about application, and we've all heard, because I know all you here are taught in the word. How many times have we been taught that our fight is not against flesh and blood, but it's against the unseen, invisible forces of spiritual wickedness, right? We're taught that, that our fight is not against flesh and blood. It's not against the realm of the material world. It's against an unseen force of wickedness. But if I look at my own life, I have to consider myself a big failure many times because I look at situations and I think my problem is the circumstance. And I'm dealing with flesh and blood in my thinking rather than recognizing my problem is not the circumstance. It's not in what I see. My problem is in the unseen realm of my thought, which comes from the realm of the spirit.
So to be able to make that shift, to recognize that our real battle and what's real in life is not what's visible. What's really going on is what's invisible. And it's not going to be long. I'm 62 years old. I'm going to be off this planet. I mean, it's going to be like, "What happened to that guy? He's gone. He's here today, gone tomorrow". It's like all this that we thought was real. I mean, now there's so many people. The older we get, the people are here today like a vapor on the wind. They're gone. All these people have come and gone. It's not what's visible that's real. It's what's invisible that's real. And that's what we need to be living for. Any thoughts on that before we move on to our next point today?
Brondon/b]: Yeah. I was thinking the struggle oftentimes I'm reminded of that even we have in our flesh. We're not wrestling against flesh and blood. We're not even wrestling against us when we fail or when we sin. Oftentimes we think it's just us, but we're being fought by forces and powers that we can't see. And so that verse of scripture often I'm reminded I'm not wrestling against me. I'm wrestling against forces of darkness, so.
[b]Rabbi Schneider: And I'm thinking Brondon, as you're saying that, even the consequences of sin and how we sometimes deal with those consequences. And once again, it gets back to the unseen realm and the fact that we process things wrong. Because the truth is, we know that the Bible says, if we sin. I'm not talking about people that lead a lifestyle of willfully sinning and are not caring about God. I'm talking about people that love God and are striving, but still they fall and fail at times in their quest for perfection, in their journey to perfection. We still fall and fail and stumble at times. And sometimes what happens is rather than believing that Jesus still loves us, that we're forgiven. Instead we get all this self accusation, this shame, this self condemnation, and we think it's coming from our own mind and it's really, it's just a plot of the enemy.
So yeah, so Sukkot teaches us that we need to be recognizing that the real battle is in the unseen realm. You know what's another great principle about Sukkot, that I think you guys will love, is that it really equals and levels the playing field for humanity. In the wilderness, you didn't have some Israelites living in mansions and other Israelites living in flimsy tents with holes through their roof. They all lived in the same structures. Everybody was equal. They all ate the same food. They all had the same manna. They all had the same quail. And it really shows us that before the Lord, we're all just human beings and we're all the same and we need to respect all humanity. And Sukkot really teaches us this. It equals the playing field.
In fact, one of the keys of Judaism is to never hate a fellow Jew. It is built into Jewish identity. Even though we know that still there's a lot of arguing amongst the Jewish people there always has been. But the teaching is that the actual temple was destroyed because there was senseless hatred, Jew versus Jew. This is what part of rabbinic teaching. And so during Sukkot, Jewish people really strive to cultivate this attitude of love for each other, love for the Jewish people, love for fellow Jews. And even to entertain strangers that you, it's a custom during Sukkot, to invite a stranger into your sukkah and have a meal with them.
And so I love that concept. Just brotherhood and humanity and loving each other and respecting people regardless of their position in life. And lastly, today, as I close, I'd like to bring up one more principle here. And that is, is that the Feast of Tabernacles cultivates an end times mindset. Because as I was indicating on the last day of the Feast of Sukkot, the priest would take water from the pool of Siloam and pour it on the altar at the temple. And everybody would just go ecstatic in their praise to the Lord.
And one of the reasons for that is because the water being poured on the altar symbolized the water that would be poured out upon the earth by the spirit when Messiah came. And so today we recognize that the Feast of Tabernacles carries with it, a mindset of Messiah's coming. And in fact, in the book of Zechariah, the Bible tells us that during the millennial kingdom, Jew and Gentile alike will worship the God of Israel and the Father of Yeshua together during the Feast of Tabernacles. This is Rabbi Schneider, along with my friends to you today saying, Chag Sameach, happy holidays. And I love you.