As I started the study of Matthew chapter 21, I saw something beautiful. I had been seeing glimpses of a beautiful ribbon of love that is woven through the scriptures. As Jesus rode in on a donkey's colt, before He was crucified, the people started celebrating. This kind of celebrating started with the Feast of Booths.
The Lord gives the command, for this feast to be celebrated by all the people, to Moses in Lev. 23:39-44. If you read these verses in Leviticus, you will see that the Lord meant this to be what we would call a vacation. He calls them to remember Him first and foremost but, He plans a rest for them. Camping if you will. He calls them to celebrate, eat and rest. He tells them to gather beautiful branches from the trees and construct "tents" to live in for 7 days. Sadly, we only have record of the children of Israel celebrating this feast one time before the captivity. (Neh. 8:17).
Once the children of Israel were back in the land after the captivity, Ezra and Nehemiah reinstated the feast of Tabernacles, or Booths.
It was a time of great celebration. Ungers Bible dictionary gives a very good description of this festival. They would literally construct temporary living structures that had to be at least 3 sides. They would have thatched roofs on them but they had to be able to still see the sky. The Lord wanted them to be able to see the stars through the roof. They would decorate their own booths as well as the whole city, and then they would celebrate, eating and sleeping in these temporary shelters for 7 days. All native born Jews were required to participate. Jews would travel from wherever they were living to join in this feast. It was called their "days of Joy". There was something wonderful happening every day. There were priests by the hundreds involved with keeping the candles lit, preparing the sacrifices, blowing the silver trumpets that heralded the next phase of the celebration, and carrying out the processions involved in gathering the needed supplies for the temple ceremonies. One of the most important of these ceremonies involved the pouring of the water and the wine.
Everyday the priests would lead a procession of the people to an ancient pool call Shiloach. They would fill a golden flask with a half a liter of water and return to the temple. The priests would do this over and over again until the water basin on the side of the altar at the top of the stairs was was full. They drew this water because of the verse in Isaiah which said "with joy you shall draw water from the wells of salvation" (Isa. 12:3) As they would re-enter the temple gates the people would cheer and wave their palm branches in celebration. The water would be taken up the steps of the great altar and poured in to a golden basin on one side of the altar. There was a corresponding basin on the other side of the altar which held wine. Once a day the wine and the water would be released from a spout on the bottom of the basins Then the water and the wine would run down the great steps of the altar and pool together in a large basin at the bottom of the steps. As the water started to pour down, the great crowds that had gathered in the temple, would start to chant and sing the great Hallel which would be lead by the designated priests.
It is into this scene that we enter when we read of Jesus standing up in the temple, in the book of John. He says "If any man is thirsty let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me as the Scripture said From his innermost being shall flow rivers living water" (John 7:37-38) . We are told in the proceeding verse in John, that it was the last and greatest day of the feast.
Jesus probably waited until the great Hallel was finished but it was during the incredible sight of seeing the wine and the water mingle that Jesus stood to gather all men to Himself. He knew that He, Himself was the well of salvation that they needed to draw the water from.
Ok, so back to the ribbon. Now consider the last week of Jesus's earthly life . We start this week with Jesus's triumphal entry into Jerusalem where the crowd spontaneously starts to celebrate as if it were the Feast of Tabernacles. We are told in the book of Matthew that they were waving palm branches, spreading there garment on the road and shouting verses from the great Hallel. They were shouting "Hosanna to the Son of David".
Jesus prepares and eats a meal with His disciples. He takes wine and says, "this is My blood of the new covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins"
After the last supper, the crucifixion was fast approaching. He uses the wine at the last supper to say that it is His blood that will be poured out . He stands in the Temple and says that He is the answer for a thirsty world as the water of salvation pours down the steps of the altar and as He is crucified and dies, the veil of the temple, which kept the Holy of Holies sacred, is torn in two from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). He is then pierced in the side from which flows water and blood, mingling together upon the earth from the temple of His earthly body. Flowing from His heart of love. The great water and wine of salvation.
You might think that this is the end of the ribbon but it is not! Turn with me to the end of the book of Zachariah. In chapter 14, (we are reading about the future now) Zachariah is describing for us what will happen during the time of the great Millennium when Jesus will rule and reign upon the earth for a thousand years. He will rule from a restored and glorified Jerusalem. In 14:16 it speaks of the people of the earth going to Jerusalem to worship the King Jesus and to celebrate the Feast of the Tabernacles. In Verse 14:17-19, we are told that there will be plagues and punishments for those who do not travel (during the Millennium) to celebrate the Feast with Jesus the King
We will celebrate this feast with Him. We will see the water (representing the living water) and the wine (representing His blood being poured out) running down the steps of the altar. The bible says it will be a celebration, probably with the cheering, laughing and singing and probably with the silver trumpets! You can read about the Millennial temple in Ezekiel 40-47. it is wonderful reading which makes the Millennial period seem more like the old testament than the new. This is incredible to me, that we will see the scriptures come to life. To actually walk with Jesus upon this earth, to see Him, worship Him, and celebrate Him as the almighty King is beyond imagination and yet that is what the bible says will happen during the millennium.
He loves us! He even has our vacations planned. (even though I don't like camping) ** Be overwhelmed with His love for you today.