“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38
“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which come against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” Zechariah 14:16
Dear Intercessors for Israel:
Greetings from Jerusalem! Marylois and I have returned once more to the House of Peace. This is our 21st season serving the body of Christ and ministering to the believers. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how we love thee.
This month brings in Succot, or the Feast of Tabernacles. The city is full of pilgrims from the nations. Various ministries are hosting events, celebrating the Feast. Many friends are here, and we also look to participate in these joyous festivities. We have constructed a succah or “booth”, a simple dwelling place covered in palm fronds on our deck, a great place to eat our meals and celebrate God’s goodness to Israel, His people and to us.
The Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles was/is a week-long harvest festival. It marked the end of the busy harvest period and the end of the Jewish year. For the festival, people made temporary shelters (booths) from branches, and they picnicked underneath these shelters in the mild autumn weather. As well as being a harvest festival, the Feast of Tabernacles commemorated God’s protection of, and provision for, the Israelites during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. The booths reminded the Jews of the temporary shelters their ancestors had used during that time in the desert. The Feast of Tabernacles was a happy celebration and holiday. The festivities included a daily procession of pilgrim worshippers to the temple in Jerusalem with daily temple services.
The Water Drawing Ceremony
“Each day during the Feast of Tabernacles, water in a gold vessel was ceremonially carried in procession from the Pool of Siloam to the temple. This water was then poured out in front of the altar of burnt offerings, and Isaiah 13:3 was recited: “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Trumpets would be sounded, special Psalms were sung, and the people gave thanks for the rain. It reminded people of the rain God had sent in the time of Moses (Ex. 17:1-6). It also looked forward to the days when abundant, living water would flow from the temple in the messianic kingdom
The priest had two golden pitchers. One was for wine. He filled the other with water from the pool. As the flutes played, a choir of Israelites chanted Psalm 118. The whole procession then returned to the Temple through the Water Gate. A trumpet then sounded as the priest entered the Temple area. He approached the altar where there were two silver basins. The priest then poured wine into one of the basins as a drink offering to the Lord and water from the pool of Siloam into the other. The whole ceremony, with the parade and the flutes and the singing, was such a joyful occasion that one of the ancient rabbis wrote: “Anyone who has not seen this water ceremony has never seen rejoicing in his life.”
The ceremony was to thank God for His bounty and to ask Him to provide rain for the crops in the coming year. Today, many people take water for granted. Water was often scarce in Biblical times. The people were very much aware of their dependence on God for the rains that were so vital for the preservation of life. The prophets came to see rain as a symbol of salvation and the work of God’s Holy Spirit: Ezekiel prophesies: I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean…” (Ezk. 36:25)
No wonder then that Jesus stood in the Temple on this great day of the feast and cried out: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (Jn. 7:38-39). The Apostle John commented on this speech, “But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (Jn. 7:39)
As the rain falls to nourish the crops, so the Ruach ha Kodesh, the Holy Spirit, falls upon those who have identified with Jesus in His death and resurrection. It is that Spirit that refreshes us, and causes us to grow in grace and in faith. It is that Spirit that allows us to experience Immanuel, God with us. That Spirit is available to us today and every day” (quote from www.CBN.com).
All the Nations
Many believe that the Feast of Tabernacles foreshadows the Millennial reign of Christ and the Wedding Banquet of Christ and His “Bride” (His followers). In fact, the sukkah (booth) resembles the huppah in a Jewish wedding. Zechariah speaks of the final in-gathering of the nations, the final harvest where those sheep nations will come under Messiah’s rule and reign. As a part of this “in-gathering” since the late seventies, nations and peoples have been coming up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
Please pray for peace over Israel during this Feast of Tabernacles. May the true joy of the Lord during this time, the LORD of the Harvest, be seen and celebrated.
Last week, a Russian IL-20 patrol plane with a crew of 15 was shot down by Syrian missile fire directed at Israeli warplanes. Russia in the aftermath has accused Israel of using this patrol plane as a radar cover for its attacking fighters. During this period, Israel had launched a successful surprise night attack on missile storage facilities near the northern Syria city of Latakia, destroying what was termed a “critical threat.”
Russia has in turn condemned this “hostile provocative attack” and has in turn closed off all of the Eastern Mediterranean airspace and sea lanes, an area that affects Northern Cyprus, Lebanon and Syria. This action effectively shuts down Israel’s and the United States’ capacity to strike targets in Syria. Russia now claims it is holding “military exercises.” The United States aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman is due in this area soon. Israel in an effort to calm tensions down has sent its IAF chief to Moscow for “talks.” Prime Minister Netanyahu also has spoken with Russia’s President Putin.
Israel though has again reiterated to all parties that it has the right to protect itself, and will do so in light of Iran’s continued deliveries of advanced missiles. This week, Israeli news sources revealed that the State is beginning a program of “hardening” its nuclear facilities so as to withstand Iranian missile attacks.
Pray for peace for this region and for Israel. Many here believe that a future regional war is soon coming and have begun preparation and training for it. The IDF is regularly conducting “exercises” in order to be prepared to counter missile attacks from Iran and Hezbollah.
Next week I will be traveling and ministering in the Philippines along with ETH Pete Snyder and others. Please keep us in prayer for safe-keeping and for a great harvest. We will be speaking and ministering in churches, in public institutions and wheresoever the Spirit of God leads. We will be opening and dedicating a Bible training center as well. I want to thank you also for your outpouring of love offerings so as to enable us to minister to these wonderful people.
Gene and Marylois / House of Peace