Rabbi Schneider - Does Being Thankful Matter?
We began by looking at Rosh Hashanah, or the Feast of Trumpets. It announces when that shofar blows on Rosh Hashanah, it announces that we need to wake up. We need to wake up that we're gonna be judged. You see Rosh Hashanah prepares us for the next of the fall holy days called Yom Kippur. And in Jewish tradition it's on Yom Kippur that the Lord makes a decision about every individual concerning what's gonna happen in their life for the next year based upon where they're at in their walk with Him.
So when that shofar blows on Rosh Hashanah, also known as Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets, which takes place on the first of the seventh month in the Hebrew calendar known as Tishrei. When that trumpet blows on the first of the month of Tishrei Jewish people all over the world recognize that in 10 days Yom Kippur will arrive and they go through a season of deep repentance to prepare themselves for Yom Kippur, so that when the Lord makes a judgment concerning their life on Yom Kippur it will be favorable. Now of course as believers in Yeshua we know that our faith is already sealed through the blood of Messiah Jesus. But yet we do need to wake up and recognize that Jesus is coming back and He's gonna give to every man according to what he's done.
So this is a time of year as us as believers in Yeshua, when we hear that trumpet blow, even if you don't hear a physical shofar, just to understand that you're in the season of this appointed day of the Lord. When you hear even in your heart, the fact that the shofar's gonna blow from heaven again when Jesus returns, in the book of Thessalonians and you want to be ready, because He's gonna reward each man according to what he's done. You want to kind of take a stock of your life and examine yourself and see if there's anything you need to deal with.
Are there any areas that you need to correct your behavior or correct your attitude? Are you cynical? Do you criticize? Do you have an angry spirit? It could be so many things, but this season of the year beloved, is a season of teshuvah or repentance. We want to take a look at our self, because the scripture says that if we'll examine ourselves we won't have to be disciplined by the Lord. And so once again, the shofar blows on Rosh Hashanah. It announces that Yom Kippur is coming, we need to examine ourselves.
And then we looked at Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, last week. And we talked about how all the animal sacrifices, the blood of those animals that were sacrificed in the Hebrew scriptures, was a shadow, the blood was a shadow of these animals for Messiah Yeshua who died on the cross once and for all. And because He is the embodiment of perfection, that He is God Himself clothed in humanity, God's Spirit clothed in human form; When He offered His blood on the cross, when they took that spear and thrust it in His side and the blood ran out, the blood that came from Yeshua's side beloved, is unlimitedly perfect. His blood covers your sin for all time, past, present and future. This is why the book of Hebrew tells us there's no longer a need for animal sacrifice.
So we never have to have the blood of an animal sacrificed for us again. We talked about Yom Kippur last week. Today I want to move forward into the final of the fall holy days in Leviticus 23. We're gonna look at the Feast of Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles. Now let me put these three feasts in connection, because we need to look at them as a family. Once again, we blow the shofar on Yom Teruah, or Rosh Hashanah. It tells us to wake up and prepare ourselves, judgment is coming. And then we come to Yom Kippur and on Yom Kippur we have a very serious time. I mean Yom Kippur when I went to synagogue every year growing up in the services, it was so, I mean it was the attitude was hush, silence, serious. Yom Kippur recognizes that man has a problem with sin and we need to humbly approach our Creator. But on Yom Kippur we also recognize that because of God's loving kindness and mercy, He's provided a remedy for our sin, the blood.
Of course the blood of innocent animals, once again in the Hebrew scriptures, was simply a shadow of Jesus' perfect blood. And so now after we realize on Yom Kippur that our sin has been forgiven because of the blood sacrifice, we can approach this next and final feast Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, with thanksgiving. Let me repeat it again just to put it very succinctly and simply. Rosh Hashanah the trumpet blows, we recognize we need to repent. We come to the synagogue on Yom Kippur. On Yom Kippur, of course now I'm talking about my life growing up in the Jewish world, we came to the synagogue on Yom Kippur very serious, because we realized that we have issue with sin and we need forgiveness.
So we come to the synagogue with a contrite heart and a contrite spirit. Following Yom Kippur now we can begin to look forward to tabernacles, the feast of rejoicing, because we've been through the process of repentance. We know now on Yom Kippur our sins are forgiven. Again, Yom Kippur fulfilled ultimately in Jesus and now that we know beloved ones, that our sins are forgiven through the blood of Messiah Yeshua, we rejoice on the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles is the feast of thanksgiving and rejoicing. In Hebrew once again, we cal it Sukkot.
Let me read about it for you in the book of Leviticus chapter number 23, beginning there in verse number 39. Leviticus, or called in Hebrew Vayikra, 23 beginning in verse 39. "On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month," it's interesting that once again seven is a very holy number and during this seventh month on the Hebrew calendar there are three sacred holy days that we're focusing on now. So both of these numbers are holy. Seven of course is holy and three is holy.
We find for example in the book of Revelation there are seven spirits before the throne of the Lord, seven days in a week. Seven represents completeness. And we know the number three is holy, right? Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the temple there was the outer court, there was a holy place and then there was a holy of holies. Three, very sacred number; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. So it's interesting that this feast, Tabernacles, takes place in the seventh month. Seven is a holy number. And that within this holy calendar there are three special days in this seventh month.
Now, it's interesting, once again as we get ready to read, that Jesus, listen now, Jesus both celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles and He fulfilled the Feast of Tabernacles. Finally let me say before I read the text, that all of God's people during the millennial reign, we read in the book of Zechariah, will celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. In fact the Feast of Tabernacles is the only feast mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures that will take place during the millennial reign, during the thousand year period on earth where God's Spirit's gonna reign and there's gonna be peace on earth.
So we have tabernacles in it's initial historical context with the children of Israel. We're gonna read about that right now. We find that Jesus celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles in John 7, that He went into the temple, He celebrated it there. And then He talked about during the Feast of Tabernacles that he that receives Him, there will be rivers of living water that will flow from his inner most being. He's the fulfillment of it in John 7. And then we read there's a future fulfillment to the Feast of Tabernacles in the book of Zechariah; Where Zechariah tells us through the Spirit of Elohim, through the Spirit of God, that at the time where again, Yeshua will reign on earth as King, all God's people around the world that know their Creator will come to Israel, will come to Jerusalem to worship the King during the Feast of Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles.
With that introduction I'm gonna pick up now as I indicated, on the 39th verse. "On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the field, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD for seven days. With the rest on the first day, and rest on the eighth day. 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".
Verse number 40 describes what we call the lulav. The lulav is a, we take the bounty that we just read about in the fortieth verse; the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches, boughs of leafy trees and willows along with a citron, or etrog and we put these species together, these four species and we wave it before the Lord. It's called the lulav and this is symbolic of the beauty and the provision of God. And we wave the lulav up and down and in all four directions. And what we're doing when we wave the lulav beloved one, is we're indicating that all the goodness in our life, all the beauty and the bounty has come to us as a gift from our Creator. We're saying, "Thank You God. I recognize that every good thing in my life, every beautiful thing in my life has come from You".
Again, this is the feast of thanksgiving. In fact the Lord specifically told us here that we're to celebrate during this feast time. He said it in the 39th verse, you shall celebrate the feast of the Lord and then He said it later on in the text here. In fact we find in the Torah that God actually brought a judgment on Israel for not being thankful and rejoicing before Him. Did you ever think about the fact to not be thankful to the Lord for all the good things that He's brought into your life is a very serious sin? And if we're not thankful and if we don't have gratitude and if we don't show the Lord appreciation for all His goodness, for all the good gifts that He's brought us into our life; If we don't do that He may not only take those good things away from us, but He may even bring situations upon us that cause tremendous pain to teach us how to depend on Him and be thankful. If you get nothing but that out of this message beloved, that's a mouthful.
Listen again, the 39th verse, the Lord said here, "On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the field," listen now, "you shall celebrate". And then in the next verse, verse 40, the Lord tells us to gather the beautiful foliage and the beautiful trees and the etrog, the beautiful citron. It's like a citrus fruit. It looks like a lemon. And wave it before the Lord symbolically thanking God for all His beauty and goodness in your life. Again the Lord is telling us, "Celebrate before Me. Be thankful to Me". And the Lord says it again later in the text here, "Celebrate before Me".
And as I indicated, Israel was actually judged for not being thankful. What about your health right now? Are you relatively healthy? Open your mouth and give God thanks, because the moment your health would be removed you'd be in tremendous pain and you would realize what a gift your health is. Maybe you're struggling right now physically. I know that people go through seasons of illnesses and so forth, but other things in your life that you're thankful for, maybe your children, your grandchildren, your husband, your wife, that you've got a roof over your head, that God loves you, that you're alive.
You know many times people say to me, "How are you doing"? And sometimes I'll answer them beloved church, "Better than I deserve". Isn't that true about all of us? Aren't we all doing better than we deserve? You see the truth is we don't even deserve to be alive. Our very life is a gift to us. Our life is a gift. God didn't have to will us into existence. We didn't will ourselves into existence. We're here, because God brought us into existence, it's a gift. Even if you're going through pain right now, even if you're suffering right now, there's still an opportunity for you every day to choose God, to choose to have faith, to choose to overcome, to choose to put Him first. And even if you're struggling right now know this, that sorrow may come for a day, but joy comes in the morning.
Think about the apostles, one was boiled in oil, another was hanged upside down, they were martyred, they were put to death. Their life wasn't easy, but they kept their faith in God. They gave thanks and they were rewarded with exceeding greatness. I want to encourage you today, regardless of what you're going through God loves you, be thankful. The Lord continues here in the 42nd verse, "You shall live in booths for seven days. The native born in Israel shall live in booths". These booths are called in plural Sukkot, an individual booth is called a sukkah. They're made of like leafy branches and outdoor materials, natural materials.
And the purpose is that the children of Israel live in these temporary structures outside during the Feast of Sukkot and it reminds them that when they were in the wilderness they had nothing but God. They didn't have any fixed structures. They didn't have homes made with bricks. They didn't have insurance policies. They didn't have jobs for 40 hours a week. They had nothing, but God. And yet God provided for them for 40 years. And so the children of Israel are commanded to go back and live in these structures every year to be reminded of the fact that all we really need is God.
Beloved, if you put God first in your life, everything else will be added to you. That is a liberating concept, to realize that even if we lost everything we'd still have enough, we'd still be okay, because God is with us. He's all we need and He will supply all our needs according to His riches in Glory through Yeshua Hamashiach the Messiah. The Feast of Tabernacles beloved, is a feast of rejoicing. It's a feast of thanksgiving and it's a feast to remember that all we really need in this world is God and He'll always be enough. Jesus said, "I am with you always, even until the end of the age".