The Feast of Tabernacles

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.

Psalm 118:1-29

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.”

Stuck in a Moment

8:00 AM – A wave of red lights swept down the 4 lanes of rush hour traffic as thousands of cars came to a stand still. I was in one of them, an old diesel Audi and like most everyone else, I was on my way to work. I looked across to the next lane where a pretty girl in a Corolla was fixing her hair in the rear view mirror. Our eyes met and I think she smiled. And then traffic in her lane started to move and she pulled away.

This was an important day for me. We were to meet with a venture capital firm at 10:00 and the fate of a subdivision rested on it. We had spent months researching manufacturing methods that would allow us to build houses more cheaply… without it seeming so. A revolution was occurring in home construction and we, Filliminister and Sons, were going to be on the cutting edge. We had plans to purchase a large warehouse and begin fabricating wall and floor sections for our new homes. Filiminister and Sons were going to take the division of labor to a whole new level. Framers, plumbers and electricians in the new housing industry would go the way of the cobbler, weaver and blacksmith. It was kind of sad, but hey, this was the world we lived in and who can hold back the tide? Better to go with the flow.

Traffic slowed again and then came to a stop. We sat for what seemed like ages but I think it was really just a few minutes… a few minutes that i could not afford to waste! My Blackberry was lit up like a Christmas tree with incoming messages. I answered some of them but the rest would have to wait. I rested my head on the steering wheel and wished that, for a moment, I lived a hundred years ago, when this road was little more than two furrows in the prairie sod and a traffic jam was two prairie schooners trying to get past each other.

8:10 AM – A wind out of the north west cut through my heavy wool jacket. It was cold! Abbigaul had to work a little harder than usual to push through the fresh snow that had fallen the night before. Her ears rotated, some times listening to me and other times, both ears forward and alert. Now one ear was rotated back, only half listening while I spoke mindlessly, “Common … let’s go…” I reached forward and scratched her head. She was young, but willing – of Canadian stock, her lively gait betrayed some Arabian blood.

My thoughts turned to what needed to be done today. I was headed to the post office first thing to mail a couple letters. I hoped that I would find a couple waiting for me. It had been 3 weeks now; about the time it takes for mail to reach the Fort from Boston. After I was done at the post office, I planned to buy a newspaper and breakfast at May’s diner. Afterward, I needed to go to the hardware store to order supplies and then I was headed to Jack Filliminster’s place where I was looking after the construction of his new house. It was a sprawling ranch house, with oak floors and two large stone fireplaces. All the cabinets and trim were done in the Mission style. It was going to be a beautiful place when it was finished. I hoped that when I was done I’d have enough money to purchase the CPR quarter adjacent to the one I was homesteading on. I pulled a notepad out of my jacket pocket and scribbled a few things I needed to pick up at Goldman’s hardware store. Abigaul knew the trail well enough and needed no guidance from me.

The fresh snowfall made the world seem particularly quiet and still. The only sound to be heard was the moan of the wind through the spruce boughs and the quiet rustling of the long frozen willow branches that grew in groves along the frozen creek at the bottom of the coulee. Above us, a giant poplar stood out like a gnarled old skeleton against the dark winter sky that threatened more snow. A Great Owl sat perched on one of its branches looking intently for its next meal but flew away as we approached. It was quiet alright, almost too quiet.

As we came to the crest of a hill, Abigual’s ears pricked forward and flattened. She let out a wild terrified snort that sent a cloud of frozen mist into the air, momentarily obscuring the trail in front of us. And then I saw it too. On a rocky outcrop just slightly ahead and not more the 20 feet off the trail crouched a wild cat. Its muscles were tensed like a coiled spring. Mine were just as tense but in a different sort of way – tense in the way that a man with a gun pointed to his head is tense. It was like an old style western face off and I am not sure who moved first. The cat let out a scream that could have turned milk into cream and with one bound it was on us. Abigaul pawed the air and fell back on her haunches. I reached for my Winchester rifle in its scabbard and managed to chamber a bullet before losing my mount, still clutching at my rifle…


8:20 A.M. – Distant objects came into my field of vision first. I saw clouds floating over head and giant, perfectly formed snow flakes, each one a little different falling out of the sky into my blinking eyes. And I saw people. They were crowded around me. Some might have been concerned but most, I think, were just curious. I heard the voice of a girl speaking. She was the one I had seen earlier driving the Corolla. “I don’t know officer, he just hammered the accelerator, veered across the lane and slammed right into the back of me.”

The police officer looked down at me. “Are you ok, son?”

“Yes, I think so but where is Abigaul?” I asked. “Is she ok?”

“Abigaul, who is Abigaul? You were alone when we found you.” The police officer looked around, “Did anyone see a women with this man?”

“No! No!” I cried, “Not a women!

Abi! Abi!

The officer chuckled, “Ohhhh, you mean your Audi?” “Well, it is a wreck.”