From: Messianic Bible
Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2011 12:38 AM
Subject: Shabbat Shalom Bjoern, an exciting Special Torah Teaching for Sukkot!
Shabbat Shalom Bjoern!
During the weeklong festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles), the regular parsha
(Torah portion) for Shabbat is suspended, and a special parsha pertaining to
the holiday is read in synagogues around the world.
In addition to the designated Torah and Haftorah (prophetic) readings, the
entire Sefer Kohelet (Book of Ecclesiastes) is also read aloud in the
synagogue on this day in Ashkenazi tradition.
Sukkot at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem
Sukkot Shabbat Chol Hamoed
Exodus 33:12-34:26; Ezekiel 38:18-39:16; Book of Ecclesiastes; Revelation 7:1-10
“And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all your people I will do
marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and
all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord: for it is
an awesome thing that I will do with you.” (Exodus 34:10)
In this parsha, Moses asks that God’s presence would go with Israel, and
Encouraged by this positive response, Moses asks to see God’s glory. Once
again, God graciously complies with his request and invites Moses to come up
Mount Sinai with two newly hewn stone tablets so that God can re-carve
the Ten Commandments.
On the mountain, God reveals His glory to Moses in such a fearsome
spectacle of power that God must protect Moses from being destroyed by it:
“Behold, there is a place with Me, and you shall stand on the rock. And it
shall be that when My glory passes by, I will place you into the cleft of the
rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will
remove My hand, and you will see My back but My face shall not be seen.”
Having experienced the power of the presence of God, Moses must have
understood that the presence of God was more than sufficient against
any threat Israel might encounter inside or outside of the Promised Land.
Tourists hiking down after experiencing a sunrise
on top of Mount Sinai.
Gog and Magog
“And it shall come to pass in that day; when Gog shall come against the land
of Israel, says the Lord God, that My fury shall arise up in My nostrils.”
In the haftorah (prophetic portion) for Sukkot Shabbat Chol Hamoed, the
Hebrew prophet Ezekiel describes an End Time scenario when formidable
armies from the North, under the leadership of Gog, will challenge the
restoration of Israel.
This invasion of Israel, however, will end in the utter destruction of the forces
of Gog, whose identity is somewhat obscure.
The forces that come against Israel will be so large in that day that Gog’s
weaponry will provide fuel for Israel for seven years.
“…they shall carry no wood from the fields nor cut down any from the forests,
for they shall make fires from the weapons. Thus will they spoil those who
spoiled them and plunder those who plundered them, says the Lord God.”
Moreover, so many soldiers from Gog and Magog will die in this battle, that
it will take seven months for Israel to bury them all and cleanse their land.
Why is this portion of Scripture read during Sukkot? According to
Rabbinic tradition, this war will be waged during the month of Tishrei, the
month that the holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) falls within.
Furthermore, the war that is described in Ezekiel is similar to the war
described in the 14th chapter of Zechariah, which is the haftorah read on
the first day of Sukkot. Andin Zechariah we learn that the Gentiles,
who survive the war against Israel, will be required to keep Sukkot
annually by coming up to the Holy City of Jerusalem to worship
“Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go
up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate
Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles). If any of the peoples of the earth do not
go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have
no rain.” (Zechariah 14: 16-17)
In Psalm 27, we see a clear connection to Sukkot and God’s protection
“For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret
place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.” (Psalm 27:5)
The word translated as tabernacle is the Hebrew word sukkah (סכה). When
evil threatens God’s people, He will hide them in His sukkah, inaccessible
from the enemy on the rock of His presence.
Sukkah on small balcony in Herziliya, Israel
“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his
prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters
of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number
of whom is as the sand of the sea.” (Revelation 20:7-8)
Gog and Magog are also mentioned in the Brit Chadashah (New
Testament) in connection with Armageddon.
The word Armageddon is possibly derived from the city Meggido
mentioned many times in the Tanakh. Tel Meggido is an elevation
where ancient fortresses were built to guard Via Maris, the highway
connecting ancient Egypt with Mesopotamia.
A more symbolic translation of the term means hill of sorrows.
Ruins atop Tel Meggido
Armageddon is mentioned only once in the Brit Chadashah (New
Testament) in the Book of Revelation.
“They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to
the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day
of God Almighty. . . Then they gathered the kings together to the place
that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” (Revelation 16:14, 16)
“They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew
is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.” (Revelation 9:11)
(The words Abaddon and Apollyon mean Destroyer.)
In this end-time scenario, we once again see Israel’s enemies mounting a war
against Jerusalem. This time, however, we see the spiritual forces behind
the rebellion against God.
And this time, God pours out on all rebels the full extent of His judgment,
including everlasting torment for Satan, the beast and the false prophet.
“They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp
of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and
devoured them. And Satan, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake
of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.
They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:9-10)
This Jewish man is kissing the Western (Wailing)
Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, an act of love for
the God of Israel. The Western Wall is at the foot
of the western side of the Temple Mount, the
holiest site in Judaism.
With an Outstretched Arm
In this haftorah portion, we see that God is furious at those who come
against the Land of Israel and hurls His fury against Gog with pestilence
and with blood, floods, giant hailstones, fire and brimstone (Ezekiel 38:22).
We may note several parallels between God’s deliverance of Israel from
Egypt long ago, and His future deliverance of Israel from Gog in the end times.
In both we see that God saves and rescues Israel with a mighty hand and with
an outstretched arm.
This phrase, “With a strong hand and an outstretched arm (בְּיָ֣ד חֲ֭זָקָה וּבִזְר֣וֹעַ נְטוּיָ֑ה)”
is a phrase that has special meaning in Jewish tradition. It represents God using
His power on behalf of His people.
“You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by
a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror.” (Jeremiah 32:21)
The ‘arm of the Lord’ also represents the salvation (Yeshua) of the Lord.
Massive sukkah in Safra Square, Jerusalem
In Sukkot we see that God’s sheltering presence over Israel has not
ended, but will continue past the end of this age.
We also see that God’s plan to reach out to the nations through Israel did
not end with the death and resurrection of Messiah, but continues to this
day and the world to come.
“For if their rejection of Messiah Yeshua by the Jewish people brought
reconciliation to the Gentiles (nations), what will the Jewish people’s
acceptance of Yeshua (Jesus) be, but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15)
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach (Happy Holidays) from all of our
ministry staff here in the Holy Land!
“I will bless those who bless you.” (Genesis 12:3)
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