Let's see how the logic went for them, and see if this is the same logic for us today. To be in a right relationship with God, each individual Israelite knew that they had no real merit on their own to stand before a holy God. After all, these Israelites who were alive when God first presented these feasts to them, saw God on Mt. Sinai. They saw the smoke and fire and felt the violent earthquake of the mountain that tried to accommodate God's presence - and they were terrified (Ex 19:16). No one present that day had the slightest inkling that they were able to stand before this holy God. So, here comes the seventh month in which is the Day of Atonement. Will God accept them? By what means could they be sinless before him? They had no chance. But wait, before the Day of Atonement was the Feast of Trumpets! Yes, that is there only hope: they would ask God to remember his covenant with them and to keep his promise of love and protection. If God remembered his covenant before he proclaims his judgment, then they stood a chance. Then at the Day of Atonement, a blood sacrifice was made on their behalf and was accepted by God. They were then at peace with God for another year. They could then truly celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles because God had accepted them. Although the Feast of Trumpets and Day of Atonement were solemn occasions, the Feast of Tabernacles was truly a joyous occasion. They had been accept by God! They had good reason to celebrate. As we saw earlier, they looked forward to the one that would come to be the ultimate sacrifice for their sin - the one to whom the blood of atonement pointed. This they accepted by faith. It was their faith, not the actual ritual, which saved them. The ritual pointed to the one to come and their part in the ritual pointed to the sincerity of their heart. That is what God was looking for in each and every individual.
Does that not sound similar to what we experience today? We have to realize that we cannot stand before God in our present condition. We have no hope in our present state and cannot earn God's favor no matter how good we think we are or try to be. It is just not possible. Why? Because God is perfection and anything that does not meet this minimum standard is unacceptable. Well that is a high bar isn't it? Yes, it is very high because God is the ultimate and expects no less. So what is our only hope? Our only hope is to put our faith in God's new covenant which Jesus Christ has established through his death on the cross for us. By faith, we accept the price Jesus Christ paid on the cross for our sins, and trust in that, and that alone, for our salvation. That is the only price God can accept, and does accept, to allow anyone into his presence. Again, it our faith, and not any ritual, that saves us. That is what God is still looking for in each and every individual.
Doesn't that point to a God who is consistent and does not change (Ml 3:6)? Many think the Old and New Testaments are not that connected but they are so connected and flow quite well together. Would we expect any less from a God who does not change? Salvation has always been and will always be consistent: faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I will save the next piece for next time. We saw that the Feast of Tabernacles was a very joyous feast and why. That is very consistent with the prophetic nature of this feast - the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. Who could deny that it will be a most joyous time? However, there is something that comes after the Millennium and there is a connection to what God originally instituted with the Israelites. It is this that we will discover at our next time together. Until then, God bless!
Fall Jewish Holidays - Part 3: Sukkot
Biblical Paradox: Salvation
Gentiles – World View