In 2023, Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles) follows the Feast of Atonement on September 29-October 6. When the Israelites came out of Egypt, they spent 40 years in the wilderness. God visited them and took care of them, providing food, water, clothing, even helping them defeat their enemies. Though they lived in tents, their needs were always met.
The Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated every year because they wanted to remember and celebrate how God not only took care of them, but how His presence came down and lived with them. Every year, each family set up a little tabernacle in a tent, and for seven days the family lived in the tent, celebrating the presence of God with them during those hard times, celebrating that He brought them into the promised land.
As the seventh feast, symbolizing the day of rest, God called them to rest and to enjoy His presence. Seven is also the number of completion. All the other feasts were very busy, but the seventh one was a big celebration full of rest and enjoyment.
This feast emphasized the presence of God with us—no matter where we are, His tabernacle is with us, in our hearts. Where we are, He wants to be. This is seen in the original building of the Tabernacle, in the Garden with Adam and Eve, and in the greatest presence of all, when He comes down and lives in our hearts.
This is a blueprint of Jesus. Through the Feast of Tabernacles, we see God’s plan for us, the sending of His Son so we could have His constant presence, not just once a year, but every day! Tabernacles also represent that one day, Jesus will come back and establish the ultimate tabernacle, His Kingdom.
This year, Yom Kippur (the Feast of Atonement) is September 24-25. In Leviticus 23:26-32, the Feast of Atonement was special, and required a 24-hour feast of repentance. This feast isn’t for the church, but for the Israelites—God’s old covenant people. For 24 hours they reflected on the previous year and repented of their sins.
On that day, no one was to work, only spending time focusing on how they had sinned, seeking repentance, and asking God to have mercy on them. This feast was all about cleansing Israel with an offering of a lamb (blood sacrifice), covering their sins in full. God gave us a future picture with this feast because Jesus, the Lamb of God, came to take away the sin of the world, for both the Jew and the Gentile. Jesus’s blood atoned for (covered) our sin so we could walk in freedom.
Zechariah 12:10 tells us there’s coming a day when Israel will look on Jesus, the Lamb of God, who they pierced and know in an instant that He is their Messiah. A nation will be saved on that day. They will see Him and know Him as the wounded one, the Bread of Life. They will feast on the Bread of Life. This feast has everything to do with you because the Old Covenant is your foundation, and we’ll be blessed when we pray for Israel.
The Feast of Trumpets (also known as Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year) starts on September 15 this year. In the Old Testament (Leviticus 23:25), it was in preparation for the Feast of Atonement and announced the voice of God and His might in warfare, gatherings, and coronations. When the feast was eaten, the people knew that were eating victory, that nothing was impossible with God, and that they could be free from anything.
During this time in history, the ram’s horn was very important, serving as a representation of Jesus’s victory in our lives. Every feast began with the blowing of the shofar (a trumpet made from the ram’s horn), then the people would feast on who God was, giving them a revelation of their true Messiah. The first time we see the horn of a ram mentioned in Scripture was when Abraham was about to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord, but God provided a ram instead, sparing Isaac’s life (see Genesis 22:13).
Several hundred years later, the Israelites blew the trumpets as they conquered Jericho. They marched once around the city for seven days, then on the seventh day they marched seven times—each time they marched around, the priests blew their trumpets. This blowing of the trumpets gave the people confidence that they were going to win because God would make them victorious.
Seen throughout the Bible close to 20 times, the blowing of the trumpets had several different meanings and announcements to the people:
Trumpets were blown before going into battle, claiming victory (Numbers 10:9).
In the year of Jubilee, the trumpets were blown to kick off the celebration (Leviticus 25).
The trumpets were blown for a calling to repentance, and repentance led to victory (Leviticus 23).
Trumpets were blown when someone became king (2 Samuel 15:10; 2 Kings 9:13; 11:14, 2 Chronicles 23:13).
Isaiah 27:12-13 reveals the prophecy of the coming of Jesus through the blowing of trumpets. This meant that Jesus would raise the believers from the dead and take them to heaven to be with Him eternally.
The harvest resurrection will start with the sound of a trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
The greatest Feast of Trumpets will be when Jesus comes back, and we are all caught up to be with Him in heaven. Just as the trumpets were blown for the coronation of a king, the trumpets will again sound when the King of Kings comes to reign victoriously forever!
This month’s verse is Psalm 118:24. To give context for this verse, a study of the entire Psalm is excerpted below from my book, Experiencing God’s Heart: The Book of Psalms for Today. I pray you are blessed today and throughout the month of September as we discuss the theme of hope and joy; and celebrate the Jewish Feast of Atonement (Yom Kippur).
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
2 Let Israel now say, “His mercy endures forever.” 3 Let the house of Aaron now say, “His mercy endures forever.” 4 Let those who fear the Lord now say, “His mercy endures forever.”
5 I called on the Lord in distress; The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place. 6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7 The Lord is for me among those who help me; Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me. 8 It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in man. 9 It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in princes.
10 All nations surrounded me, But in the name of the Lord I will destroy them. 11 They surrounded me, Yes, they surrounded me; But in the name of the Lord I will destroy them. 12 They surrounded me like bees; They were quenched like a fire of thorns; For in the name of the Lord I will a]”>[a]destroy them. 13 You pushed me violently, that I might fall, But the Lord helped me. 14 The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.
15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation Is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. 16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. 17 I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the Lord. 18 The Lord has chastenedb]”>[b] me severely, But He has not given me over to death.
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, And I will praise the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord, Through which the righteous shall enter.
21 I will praise You, For You have answered me, And have become my salvation.
22 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We have blessed you from the house of the Lord. 27 God is the Lord, And He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You.
29 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Author of Psalm 118: Anonymous
Background: Psalm 118 is the last of the Great Hallel psalms and was sung following the Passover meal. Nearly a century after the return of the Jewish people to Palestine, Nehemiah engineered the reconstruction of the walls around Jerusalem in 52 days! We believe this psalm, which was sung by our Lord and His apostles (see below), was written commemorating this joyous occasion.
Theme: The eternal merciful nature of God inspires thanksgiving and trust. To those who confidently call upon Him in times of distress, He will valiantly deliver.
Psalm 118 Quoted in the New Testament: Verse 6 is quoted in Hebrews 13:6 by the author of Hebrews in his instructions to the Jewish people regarding godly living. Verse 22 is quoted by Jesus (Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10-11; and Luke 20:17) and by Peter (Acts 4:11 and 1 Peter 2:7) referring to the rejection of Jesus by Jewish leaders. Verse 26 is quoted in Matthew 21:9; 23:39; Mark 11:9; Luke 13:35; 19:38; and John 12:13 referring to Jesus as the Messiah.
Personal Application: Christians experience varying levels of trials while walking with Jesus and are frequently challenged to exercise faith. Whatever situation you are experiencing right now, have faith that God is able to deliver you. Read Psalm 118 many times and think about the great trial Jesus faced as He prepared to die on the cross. Be courageous and joyful knowing full well that the same God who resurrected Jesus is also working on your behalf!
In light of our blog posts on Jesus being “the way, the truth, and the life,” I want you to have confidence that you can lead someone to salvation and baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is a very simple, scriptural approach to these life-changing decisions.
How to Lead a Person to Christ
Open a Bible to Romans 10. Have the person you’re speaking with read aloud verses 9-10.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10 NIV)
Explain to them that because these Scriptures say that “it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved,” you are going to lead them in a short prayer, and they should repeat after you as you pray.
Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer so that the candidate will be sure to:
Acknowledge that they are a sinner.
Ask the Father to cleanse him by the blood of Jesus for every sin they have committed—from the day they were born to this very moment.
Invite Jesus to come into their heart and be master and Lord of their life.
Thank God for saving their soul.
Ask them to read Romans 10:13 out loud: “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Now, ask them to read it again, but this time them substitute their own name for “whoever” in this verse (some versions might say “everyone” or “whosoever”). Through doing this, they will realize that they have fulfilled the simple requirements of being saved according to God’s Word—whether or not they feel differently!
How to Pray with Someone to Receive the Holy Spirit Baptism
The candidate for Holy Spirit baptism is someone who is a born-again child of God. The work of the Holy Spirit is essential for Christian growth. Through this baptism, God empowers the believer to develop and express their new life in Jesus Christ.
Many people desire to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, but they don’t know how to do so. Frequently, I open the conversation by saying, “I would love to pray with you to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit.” Then proceed to:
Open a Bible to Luke 11:10-13 and ask the candidate to read this passage out loud.
“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (NIV)
These verses establish the way to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. We simply ask in faith because we know that our loving heavenly Father would never give us a “counterfeit.”
Ask them candidate to read Acts 2:4 out loud: “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Assure them that just as Jesus’s disciples spoke in tongues when the Holy Spirit came on them, they will also speak in tongues when they are baptized by the Holy Spirit.
Ask the candidate to read Romans 8:26-28 out loud. This will confirm the purpose and benefits of praying in tongues.
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Lead the candidate in a short prayer, during which they ask the Father to baptize them with the Holy Spirit. Now, tell the candidate that, by faith, you are going to pray in the Spirit together. Encourage them to speak freely as the Holy Spirit directs regardless of how it may sound to the natural ear.
You should begin to pray out loud in tongues. After you have prayed awhile, you may want to sing in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:15).
Although the baptism with the Holy Spirit is a one-time event, the infilling of the Spirit goes on and on and never stops. Encourage them to pray in the Spirit every day and expect a new richness in their Christian experience.
Isabell is the daughter of Sarah Bowling and the granddaughter of Marilyn Hickey. She graduated from Oral Roberts University with her bachelors in Historical and Philosophical Theology and received the award for Theology Student of the Year upon graduation.
She is excited for what this next season brings and is looking forward to learning and growing under the tutelage of her mother and grandmother. In the future, she also hopes to continue her educational journey by seeking a graduate degree in Europe.
We are excited for Isabell to be our first guest blogger on Mondays with Marilyn. God put this message on her heart in light of John 14:6. We pray it blesses you today!
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). This verse is from a portion of Scripture where Jesus is preparing His disciples for His death. In chapter 13, He washes their feet and here He is leaving His final words with them. He tells his friends that He is going before them to prepare a place for them. The apostle Thomas asks, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). Jesus responds to his worries by saying “I am the way!”
Family, how many times do we overthink the blessings of God? Jesus is telling his friends that there is a place for them, that He is preparing a blessing for them in the future! This is a good thing, a gift from Him. But Thomas is confused. He doesn’t know what Jesus means and He is uncomfortable with not knowing. He doesn’t want to miss out on any of the blessings that God has for him, so he asks Jesus for some clarification.
I imagine that Thomas wanted Jesus to tell him one of two things. Either to describe the details of the place Jesus was preparing for him, or a step-by-step list on how to get there. Instead, Jesus says “I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Thomas wanted an easy answer. He wanted Jesus to tell him what to do, when to do it, and what was on the other side. Instead, Jesus refocused him. “It’s all about me!” He said, “I am the way, you don’t need to do anything else except know me!”
How many times have you wanted Jesus to give you answers to your questions. “Jesus, what should I do for my next job? Jesus when will I get healed of this-or-that? Jesus, will my friends ever turn back to you?” These are questions that have answers, and it would be easy for Jesus to give us a simple answer. However, more often than not, He reminds us of who He is. Jesus is the answer. He knows it all, sees it all, and can do anything. So, when He responds to our questions and says, “Just be with me,” that is the most comforting thing He could say. How relieving is it to know that Jesus is the way? I think about all the different ways that I’ve failed, and I am filled with comfort knowing that it’s not by my own strength.
The next time you feel overwhelmed with your situations and all the “Jesus, why?” questions start to crowd your mind, remember, He is the answer. Take rest in Him. Know that He is the way, and He will get you through.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
This is the sixth “I Am” statement Jesus makes in the Gospel of John and it’s our theme verse for the month of August. There are a few things I want to point out:
Jesus is the only way to the Father.
Jesus is the truth which reveals the Father.
Jesus if the life that brings regeneration (rebirth) to man.
As the way, the truth, and the life, Jesus was the embodiment of three basic Jewish concepts:
The Jews knew about the way.
In Deuteronomy 31:29, Moses warned the Israelites about straying from the way after his death:
“For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.”
David asked to learn the way in Psalm 27:11:
Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path.
Isaiah spoke about God leading us in the way:
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:21)
A few chapters later, Isaiah prophesied a return to the way:
A highway shall be there, and a road,
And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean shall not pass over it,
But it shall be for others.
Whoever walks the road, although a fool,
Shall not go astray. (Isaiah 35:8)
Jesus didn’t explain the way, He said, “I am the way.” Jesus didn’t give directions, He said, “I am the direction.” Jesus didn’t point His people there, He said “I will take you there.”
The Old Covenant taught the truth.
David professed to having walked in truth:
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth. (Psalm 26:3)
David vowed to walk in God’s truth:
Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth. (Psalm 86:11)
The author of Psalm 119 chose truth:
I have chosen the way of truth. (v. 30)
A man can teach truth, but not walk in it. Jesus said, “I am the truth.” All moral perfection is found in Jesus, the truth.
The Scriptures emphasized life.
Moses commanded Israel to choose life in Deuteronomy 30:19:
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”
David trusted God to show him the road to life:
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)
Solomon said correction and instruction give life:
For the commandment is a lamp,
And the law a light;
Reproofs of instruction are the way of life. (Proverbs 6:23)
Jesus isn’t just a path to life, He said, “I am the life.” Remember that Jesus demonstrated the sixth “I Am” statement in the healing of the nobleman’s son in John 4:46-53. The nobleman believed the truth in Christ, went on his way, and his son received life (vv. 50-51).
Jesus will do the same for us. He’ll be the truth and all we need. He’ll be the way and make a way for us. He’ll give us the life we need to please Him.