Teaching in the Temple

Please read John 7:37 – 8:12

Now on the last day of the festival, Hoshana Rabbah, Yeshua stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to Me and drink!   Whoever puts his trust in Me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being!” 
(Now He said this about the Spirit, whom those who trusted in Him were to receive later — the Spirit had not yet been given, because Yeshua had not yet been glorified.)
John 7:37-39 CJB

The seventh (and last) day of the festival of Sukkot is called Hoshana Rabbah, and is considered the final day of the divine judgment in which the fate of the new year is determined. In Jewish tradition it is the day when the verdict that was issued on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is finalised. Some of the sages taught that G‑d told Abraham: “If atonement is not granted to your children on Rosh Hashanah, I will grant it on Yom Kippur; if they do not attain atonement on Yom Kippur, it will be given on Hoshana Rabbah.” This day’s name means “the great hoshanah.” A hoshanah is a series of seven liturgical poems calling upon God to rescue and redeem the Jewish people, primarily by sending rain.

Hoshanah Rabbah was viewed by many rabbis of the time as a mini-Yom Kippur, a day on which the entire Jewish community was judged by God to be worthy or unworthy of the seasonal rains. So it is significant that Yeshua chose this day, when the people were focused on their need of water from heaven, to cry out in the temple: “If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to Me and drink! Whoever puts his trust in Me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being!

Yeshua, teaching in the temple that had been built by the despotic Herod for his own glory, the temple that was defiled by a corrupt priesthood, used this powerful allusion to God’s pure, lifegiving temple described in Ezekiel 47:1-12. The temple that God gave Ezekiel vision of was not a physical structure built of rocks, but a spiritual structure built of lives connected to the chief cornerstone, Messiah Himself – it was the kingdom of God.

Then the man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar.
Next he brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and there I saw the water trickling out from the south side.
As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and led me through ankle-deep water.
Then he measured off a thousand cubits and led me through knee-deep water.
Again he measured a thousand cubits and led me through waist-deep water.
Once again he measured off a thousand cubits, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough for swimming—a river that could not be crossed on foot.
“Son of man, do you see this?” he asked.

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived, I saw a great number of trees along both banks of the river. 
And he said to me, “This water flows out to the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah. When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. Wherever the river flows, there will be swarms of living creatures and a great number of fish, because it flows there and makes the waters fresh; so wherever the river flows, everything will flourish. Fishermen will stand by the shore; from En-gedi to En-eglaim they will spread their nets to catch fish of many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of all kinds will grow. Their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. Each month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will be used for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47:1-12 BSB

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22 NASB

Another thing to note in John 7:37-39 is that Yeshua took the blessings of God out of the realm of works – that which was earnt through human effort to produce goodness – and into the realm of grace and faith. His message was not ‘work hard and earn’ but ‘come to Me and receive’. It was a message that addressed human need but gave no place to human pride.

Dispute over whether Yeshua was the Messiah

On hearing His words, some people in the crowd said, “Surely this Man is ‘the prophet’”;  others said, “This is the Messiah.”

But others said, “How can the Messiah come from the Galil (Galilee)? Doesn’t the Tanakh (Hebrew scriptures) say that the Messiah is from the seed of David[2 Samuel 7:12] and comes from Beit-Lechem (Bethlehem),[Micah 5:1(2)] the village where David lived?” 

So the people were divided because of Him.   Some wanted to arrest Him, but no one laid a hand on Him. John 7:40-44 CJB

Some recognised in Yeshua’s words that He is “the prophet” Moses had foretold:

Adonai will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among yourselves, from your own kinsmen. You are to pay attention to Him… …  “I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their kinsmen. I will put My words in His mouth, and He will tell them everything I order Him.   Whoever doesn’t listen to My words, which He will speak in My name, will have to account for himself to Me.” ” Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19 CJB

Some recognised in Yeshua’s words that He is the Messiah they had been waiting for:

 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. Jeremiah 23:5

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2

And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. Daniel 9:26

Some, who considered themselves to be learned, looked only to what they knew, and as far as they knew Yeshua came from Galilee, not Bethlehem, so instead of seeking to learn more they closed their minds to what He was saying.

The guards came back to the head cohanim (chief priest) and the P’rushim (Pharisees), who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” 
The guards replied, “No one ever spoke the way this man speaks!” 
“You mean you’ve been taken in as well?” the P’rushim retorted. “Has any of the authorities trusted him? Or any of the P’rushim? No! True, these ‘am-ha’aretz do, but they know nothing about the Torah, they are under a curse!”
John 7:45-49 CJB

Am-ha’aretz: The literal meaning of the phrase is “people (am) of the earth (aretz).” Originally it could mean “the People of Israel.” However, its usual meaning by the time of Yeshua came from the notion of “people who work the land,” i.e., “peasant.” Am ha’aretz were looked down on by the religious establishment in Jerusalem as being “ignoramus, uneducated and boorish”. To these Pharisees, an am ha’aretz, by virtue of his ignorance of their superior ways, was deemed likely to be lax in his observance of the commandments. One common implication of this was that one couldn’t count on an am ha’aretz separating tithes from his produce in the way that the Pharisees deemed appropriate.

There was disagreement among the Pharisees over how to recognise an am ha’aretz. Some of their theories were that an am ha’aretz was:
* one who doesn’t say the Shema with its blessings morning and night;
* one who doesn’t put on tzitzit or tefilin. Tzitzit = eight threads with five knots attached to each corner of a four-cornered garment. A large four-cornered garment is called a Tallit Gadol. A small garment is called a Tallit Katan.  The numerical value of Tzitzit is 600 add on 5 knots and 8 threads, makes a total of 613 to serve as a reminder of the covenant between the Jewish people and God and symbolize one’s commitment to obeying all 613 mitzvot that the Jewish sages had derived from God’s commandments. Tefilin (phylacteries) = two black boxes connected to leather straps that are wrapped around the head and arm during morning prayers. These boxes contain 4 passages, referring to the unity of God, God’s capacity to perform miracles and God’s omnipotence in both the physical and spiritual worlds;
* one who has children but doesn’t care to give them a Jewish education.
* even one who learnt Torah and Mishnah, but didn’t frequent Torah scholars, could be considered an am ha’aretz; judging that their knowledge would likely be unreliable if they didn’t spend their time learning face-to-face from a living sage (Talmud Berachot 47b, Sotah 22a).

Sukkot was the festival that most focused on the unity of the Jewish people. That is the whole focus of the “four species”, “the lulav and etrog” that the Jewish people wave in all six directions (north, south, east, west, up and down – symbolizing the fact that HaShem (God) is everywhere around us) sing the Hallel (psalms of praise) and during the Hoshanot (hymns recited every day of Sukkot as they danced in procession), and while singing the refrain  hoshanah, “save us.” 

Etrog -Shaped like a heart it symbolizes the driving force behind all of our actions.
Lulav – The Lulav comes from a date palm, the fruit has a good taste, but no smell. It symbolizes someone with knowledge of the Torah but no good deeds.
Hadas – The myrtle has a wonderful smell, this symbolizes the good deeds, but not knowledge of the Torah.
Aravah – The willow branch has neither good taste or smell. This symbolizes someone who has neither good deeds or knowledge of the Torah.

Holding these four in a tight bond represents the unity that is HaShem’s goal for the Jewish People (Hashem is a Hebrew term for God, it literally means “the name”). The bond represents the conversion of a set of separate individuals into a People, which is far greater than any individual in both Torah and Good Deeds, and is far more deserving than any individual of the blessings of HaShem.

This message of the intrinsic unity of the Jewish people that was a focus of this festival seems to have been lost on these Pharisees who disparagingly described those who believed in Yeshua as am-ha’aretz who know nothing about the Torah and are under a curse.

Nakdimon, the man who had gone to Yeshua before and was one of them, said to them,  “Our Torah doesn’t condemn a man — does it? — until after hearing from him and finding out what he’s doing.”  
They replied, “You aren’t from the Galil too, are you? Study the Tanakh, and see for yourself that no prophet comes from the Galil!” 
John 7:50-52 CJB

Not all of the Pharisees had hardened hearts. Nicodemus appealed to the Torah in his defence of Yeshua. He was shouted down by those who thought they knew what they were talking about. They looked down on the more rural people of Galilee and didn’t realise what they didn’t know – that Yeshua was born in Bethlehem.

After the Festival of Sukkot

Then they all left, each one to his own home. But Yeshua went to the Mount of Olives. John 7:53 – 8:1 CJB

Sukkot finished. Everyone left the temple and, instead of going to their “sukkah”, each returned to their own home, to a solid structure. Many of the pilgrims who had come to Jerusalem for the festival began the long journey back to their homes in the surrounding regions. Yeshua had not finished His Father’s business in Jerusalem, there was still more that needed to be taught to the religious leaders in His nation’s capitol. So he retired to the Mount of Olives for the night. This was the place in which He probably often passed the night when attending the feasts in Jerusalem. The Garden of Gethsemane was on the western side of that mountain, and Bethany, the abode of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, was on its east side.

At daybreak, He appeared again in the Temple Court, where all the people gathered around Him, and He sat down to teach them.  

The Woman Caught in Adultery…
The Men Caught Adulterating the Law of God…

Yeshua’s teaching was interrupted. The attention of the crowd suddenly shifted from Him to an unholy commotion as ‘experts’ in the Law pushed through the crowd with their challenge to His authority, confident that now they had what was needed to trap Yeshua in His own words.

The Torah-teachers and the P’rushim brought in a woman who had been caught committing adultery and made her stand in the centre of the group.  Then they said to him, “Rabbi, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.  Now in our Torah, Moshe commanded that such a woman be stoned to death. What do you say about it?”  

Tannaitic sources describe the Great Sanhedrin of Yeshua’s time as a religious assembly of 71 sages who were the ultimate Jewish court and met in the Chamber of Hewn Stones in the Jerusalem Temple. It was led by a president called the nasi (lit. “prince”) and a vice president called the av bet din (lit. “father of the court”). The other 69 Jewish religious leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees) sat in a semicircle facing the leaders. 

The Great Sanhedrin dealt with both religious and criminal matters, including trials of adulterous wives (interestingly, contrary to Torah, no mention is made of trials of the men involved in this adultery). They met daily during the daytime, but did not meet on the Sabbath, festivals or festival eves. So it was that on this, the first day after the festival of Sukkot, that they brought this accused woman to the Temple to be judged and sentenced.

They said this to trap Him, so that they might have ground for bringing charges against Him;

The Great Sanhedrin was the final authority on Jewish law and any teacher who went against a decision of the Great Sanhedrin was put to death as a zaken mamre (rebellious elder). 

In about 30 C.E., not long before the time of this incident, the Great Sanhedrin lost its authority to inflict capital punishment. This loss, by Roman decree, of the right to execute the death penalty when required by Torah was a matter of great consternation for many on the Sanhedrin. Now they would try to use it to their advantage in getting rid of this unwanted Messiah.

Torah stresses that the judges in ancient Israel were to pursue justice and only justice: “Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 16:20) Those who brought this shamed woman to Yeshua were pursuing something other than justice. They were trying to twist and distort the Torah to suit their own purposes in condemning the Son of God.

Yeshua recognises this performance as a trap, not an attempt at justice. The Torah-teachers and P’rushim were using this woman they had caught in adultery to try to put Yeshua in an impossible situation where He would be condemned by Roman law that had recently prohibited Jews from carrying out capital punishment if He declared the Torah’s punishment for adultery, and He would be condemned by His own people for rejecting the Law of Moses if He did not declare the judgment of death on the woman. This was not about the woman. It was not about the evil of adultery. It was about trying to trap Yeshua.

We need to remember that often other’s attacks against us are not about us at all. Ultimately, everything is about Yeshua. Keep our eyes on Him and see what He will do in the situation.

but Yeshua bent down and began writing in the dust with His finger. 

Yeshua’s response was unexpected. He did not dignify their actions with a reply. Instead, He silently stooped down and wrote in the dust on the ground. Dust from which He had created man who now sort to have Him condemned. This was a prophetic act that His detractors, who had memorised and were forever quoting the scriptures, would have recognised all too well. This was a pronouncement of God’s judgment on those who sort to bring charges against Him: Hope of Isra’el, Adonai! All who abandon you will be ashamed, those who leave you will be inscribed in the dust, because they have abandoned Adonai, the source of living water.” (Jeremiah 17:13 CJB) It was in this very place, on the previous day – Hoshana Rabbah – that Yeshua had described Himself as the “fountain of living water” (John 7:38). Thus, by His writing in the dust, Yeshua was drawing the attention of His audience to the message of Jeremiah. He was declaring that the message of the prophet and His own message were the same: rejection of and disobedience to the Word of Adonai (the Lord) will bring about their demise.  Yeshua’s stooping and writing in the dust was declaring that this action of theirs in trying to trap Him was abandoning the hope of Israel, Adonai, and so would result in them being blown away as dust with nothing to hold it in place.

When they kept questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “The one of you who is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 

These Torah-teachers and the P’rushim (Pharisees), men who should have known better, only brought the woman to Yeshua. Men who set themselves up as the ones to teach the people the proper application of the Torah (Law) and to execute judgment according to Torah were flagrantly flouting it. Not only that, but they had established systems within their institutions that twisted and distorted the Law. This is what Torah, that they were claiming to be asking Yeshua to uphold, commands concerning adultery:

The man who commits adultery with another’s wife, even his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
And the man who lies carnally with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of the guilty ones shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon their own heads.
And if a man lies carnally with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have wrought confusion, perversion, and defilement; their blood shall be upon their own heads.
If a man lies with a male as if he were a woman, both men have committed an offense (something perverse, unnatural, abhorrent, and detestable); they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
And if a man takes a wife and her mother, it is wickedness and an outrageous offense; all three shall be burned with fire, both he and they [after being stoned to death], that there be no wickedness among you.
. Leviticus 20:10-14 (AMPC)

If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die—the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel.
If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbour’s wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you.
But if a man finds a betrothed young woman in the countryside, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die.  But you shall do nothing to the young woman; there is in the young woman no sin deserving of death, for just as when a man rises against his neighbour and kills him, even so is this matter.  For he found her in the countryside, and the betrothed young woman cried out, but there was no one to save her
. Deuteronomy 22:22-27.

Torah focuses first on the man who committed adultery, and declares both adulterer and adulteress must be brought to judgment and put to death. It takes two people to commit an act of adultery, and if the woman was caught in the act the other party to this act must have been there as well. Where was he now? The text does not say, but the very fact that only the woman is charged shows that these religious leaders were not concerned with ensuring obedience to Torah. This all too convenient catching of a woman in the very act of adultery on the first day that Yeshua was teaching in the Temple after Sukkot suggests a set-up. Had they orchestrated the whole thing to try to trap Yeshua? Were they genuine witnesses to her crime, or complicit orchestrators of it?

They persisted in asking Him, still convinced that they had Him trapped. So Yeshua straightened up and stood tall and strong as He pronounced His judgment: “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her”. Then He returned to His humble position stooped down writing in the dust.

Torah required a minimum of two witnesses to convict a suspect. The accusing witnesses would state the offense in the presence of the accused and the accused could call witnesses on their own behalf. Now that the Sanhedrin was the body entrusted by Jewish society to judge all serious legal matters, they would question the accused, the accusers and the defence witnesses before announcing their judgment. Yet, by this time the Sanhedrin had dropped all reference to the men who committed adultery and judged only the adulterous married woman. Their whole court system had lost focus on obedience to the fullness of Torah.

Like other great rabbis of His day, Yeshua often quoted a part of a verse, intending His audience to know the rest by heart and bring the entire verse to bear on the subject under discussion. Here, the phrase “be the first to” hearkens back to Moses’ rules for determining guilt. There were to be at least two witnesses to establish fact (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15). According to the same code, it is these individuals who are to “be the first…to put him to death” (Deuteronomy 17:7).  In alluding to this component of the judicial code, Yeshua is requiring that the Law of Moses be fully followed: the witnesses upon whose testimony the woman had been accused of a capital crime must come forward and identify themselves. Such witnesses are not merely subject to cross-examination. They also become subject to all laws pertaining to false witnesses, and the one most applicable at this point in the proceedings comes from the same section of the Law of Moses as the previous passages. “And the judges shall investigate thoroughly; and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you” (Deuteronomy 19:18-19).

His eyes had pierced them as Yeshua stood looking straight through each one and declaring: “The one of you who is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” This was not just a general ‘whoever has never sinned in his life’, for such would preclude any court from ever being able to pass judgment on any wrongdoer, but a specific, ‘the one of you who claims to have witnessed this woman committing adultery and not sinned in providing false or incomplete witness’, ‘the one whose witness is pure and not intended to pervert justice’.

Suddenly the stakes were much higher. By strict adherence to the Law of Moses, Yeshua had placed the responsibility squarely on the accusers to put forward their witnesses or release the accused.  As for the witnesses themselves, they knew that if upon cross-examination they were found to be false, they stood to incur the same penalty the accused would have suffered: death by stoning! How many of them know of her guilt because they too had committed adultery with her? Did they dare declare the details of what they had seen and how they knew to look in that place at that time? Did they dare to whitewash their tale to keep the identity of the adulterous man hidden? Would any of them speak up to declare “I witnessed this woman commit adultery“?

They had brought this woman to Yeshua in front of the crowd in hopes that they could incite the crowd to turn against Him in religious fervour, now they began fearing that religious fervour could be turned against them if their plans were exposed.

Yeshua’s word has power. It cuts right to the heart, even of these hard-hearted men. They could not stand against it. One by one, beginning with the eldest and most esteemed, their hearts condemned them and they left until none of this woman’s accusers remained. These men were dressed in the appearance of righteousness, with their large tzitzit and tefilin prominently displayed for all to see. But their outward appearance was not the condition of their heart and Yeshua’s words exposed this. For all their rigorous religious observance they could not stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Then He bent down and wrote in the dust again. 

On hearing this, they began to leave, one by one, the older ones first, until He was left alone, with the woman still there. 

It was not an overriding of the Law that saved this woman, but a true application of it. Yeshua came to fulfil the Law, not to do away with it. His problem with the religious leaders was not that they focused on keeping the Law, but that they did not keep it in the manner that He, as the author of the Law, had intended it to be kept. They had twisted and perverted Torah and failed to recognise how far they had drifted from its original intent.

Standing up, Yeshua said to her, “Where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 

She said, “No one, sir.”

Yeshua said, “Neither do I condemn you. Now go, and don’t sin any more.” John 8:2-11 CJB

The woman was left with none to condemn her. With no witnesses remaining to declare her crime, Yeshua would not go against the Law of Moses to condemn her. Yet He knew her heart. He saw her guilt. She had been saved from the death penalty because her accusers had been faulty in the way they presented their accusations, but her guilt remained. Her sin still carried with it the wages of death. She needed to leave that sin behind. So much was carried in that simple statement “now go, and don’t sin any more“.  The form of the command implied a ceasing to commit an action already started: ‘Stop your sinful habit’. And the ‘no more’ pointed to the thought of no return. It was a call to repentance, and in that call was the empowerment to leave her sinful ways behind.

Light of the World

Now Yeshua resumed His teaching

Yeshua spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life.” John 8:12 CJB

I am the Light of the world” is the second of seven “I AM” declarations of Yeshua, recorded only in John’s gospel, that point to His unique divine identity and purpose. In all seven, Yeshua combines I AM with tremendous metaphors which express His saving relationship toward the world. They are: 

  1. I AM the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51); 
  2. I AM the Light of the World (John 8:12); 
  3. I AM the Door of the Sheep (John 10:7, 9); 
  4. I AM the Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14); 
  5. I AM the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25); 
  6. I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6); and 
  7. I AM the True Vine (John 15:1, 5).

Light was an important symbol in the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). One ceremony associated with Sukkot was known as The Illumination of the Temple which involved the ritual lighting of four golden oil-fed lamps in the Court of Women. These lamps were huge menorahs/candelabras (seventy-five feet high) lighted in the Temple at night to remind the people of the pillar of fire that had guided Israel in their wilderness journey. All night long the lights shone their brilliance, illuminating the entire city. In celebration and anticipation, the holiest of Israel’s men danced and sang psalms of joy and praise, before the Lord. This festival was a reminder that God had promised to send a light, the Light, to a sin-darkened world. God promised to send the Messiah to renew Israel’s glory, release them from bondage, and restore their joy.

Now, Yeshua took this important symbol and applied it to Himself but He did not just say “I am the light of Jerusalem“, nor even “I am the light of Israel” but applied His statement equally to all peoples in all nations: “I am the light of the world.”

The Hebrew Scriptures spoke of God’s Word as light: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105); “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130); and: “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23). Since Yeshua is the Word (John 1:1) it makes perfect sense that He is also the light. In declaring Himself to be the Light of the world, Yeshua was claiming that He is the exclusive source of spiritual light. No other source of spiritual truth is available to mankind, we can only come to the Father through Christ.

Reference List

1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/.
2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998.
3. Sinclair, Rabbi Julian. Am ha’aretz. The Jewish Chronicle. [Online] October 28th, 2008. https://www.thejc.com/judaism/jewish-words/am-ha-aretz-1.5776.
4. Minim, Arba. The Four Species of Sukkot. Akhlah. [Online] [Cited: May 8th, 2021.] https://www.akhlah.com/jewish-holidays/sukkot/sukkot-four-species/ .
5. Judaica, Shalom House Fine. Talit, Tzitzit, Tefillin – The Winding Path from Mitzvah to Maaseh (deeds). Shalom House. [Online] April 8th, 2019. https://www.shalomhouse.com/blog/talit-tzitzit-tefillin.htm.
6. Dubov, Nissan Dovid. Sefer Torah, Tefillin, Mezuzah, Tzitzit. Chabad. [Online] [Cited: May 22nd, 2021.] https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2313780/jewish/Sefer-Torah-Tefillin-Mezuzah-Tzitzit.htm.
7. Barnes’, Albert. Notes on the Whole Bible. Bible Commentaries. [Online] Truth According to Scripture. [Cited: May 22nd, 2021.] https://www.truthaccordingtoscripture.com/commentaries/bnb/john-8.php#.YKhxv3nis2w.
8. Nunnally, Wave. Jesus and the Law of Moses: The woman Caught in Adultery. Assemblies of God. [Online] April 28th, 2017. https://news.ag.org/features/jesus-and-the-law-of-moses-the-woman-caught-in-adultery. https://www.holylandsstudies.org/post/jesus-and-the-law-of-moses-the-woman-caught-in-adultery.
9. Dave Miller, Ph.D. The Adulterous Woman. Apologetics Press. [Online] [Cited: May 22nd, 2021.] https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1277.
10. Schoenberg, Shira. Ancient Jewish History: The Sanhedrin. Jewish Virtual Library. [Online] AICE. [Cited: May 23rd, 2021.] https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-sanhedrin.

In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…

*What is the significance of Jesus’ words: “If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to Me and drink!  Whoever puts his trust in Me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being!” 
* When some people in the crowd said: “Surely this Man is ‘the prophet’“, what were they talking about?
* Some people misjudged Jesus because they assumed He came from Galilee and didn’t know that He was born in Bethlehem. What are some assumptions that people in your area make about Jesus or the church that keep them from coming to know Him?
* The Pharisees called those who believed in Jesus “am ha’aretz” in order to dismiss them as being incapable of knowing truth. What derogatory terms have you heard used to discredit those who believe in Christ and seek to obey His word?
* Part of the Sukkot celebrations involved holding arts of four different types of tree together in tight bond – what did that represent and what application does it have for us?
* What examples of distorted judgment have you seen and how do you think Jesus would address these if they had been brought to Him as the woman caught in adultery was?
* What is the significance of Jesus’ words: “I am the light of the world whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life“?

Sukkot

Please read Matthew 15:39, Mark 8:9b-10 & John 7:1-36

After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan. Matthew 15:39 NIV
 After He had sent them away,  He got into the boat with His disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha. Mark 8:9b-10 NIV

Having fed the 4,000 men, plus women and children, in the Gentile dominated region of the Decapolis on the eastern side of Lake Gennesaret (the Sea of Galilee) Yeshua and His talmidim got into a boat and crossed the Sea again. Whereas the original readers of these Gospels would have known where Magadan and the region of Dalmanutha were, their locations have been lost to us over the passage of time. Most scholars believe them to be referring to the same area back in Galilee on the western side of Lake Gennesaret and some think it might be around the region of Magdala.

After this [after His dispute with the Pharisees and Scribes from Jerusalem in the Capernaum synagogue (John 6)], Yeshua travelled around in the Galil (Galilee), intentionally avoiding Y’hudah (Judea) because the Judeans were out to kill him.  

But the festival of Sukkot in Y’hudah was near. John 7:1-2 CJB

Each year to prepare for the fall festivals, and the prophetic foreshadowing of the coming of the King, all of Israel would begin repenting from the beginning of the sixth month in the Jewish calendar, Elul, for 30 days up to Yom Hateruah/Rosh Hashanah, and then 10 final days leading up to Yom Kippur.  This tradition comes from the 40 days Moses pleaded with God at the top of Mount Sinai to forgive the Jewish people for worshipping the Golden Calf. That 40 day period began on the first day of Elul and culminated on Yom Kippur, when Moses came down with the second set of tablets, signifying that God had forgiven the Jewish people and was entering into covenant with them. It was during these 40 days of teshuvah (repentance) that Yeshua had preached His Sermon on the Mount to prepare the people for Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) the year before.

The last three holy convocations or “festivals” that the Lord commanded the Jewish people to observe are Yom Hateruah (the Feast of Trumpets), Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) and the festival of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). Each occurred in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, Tishrei. Of these three, only Sukkot was a pilgrimage festival where the Torah required all the men to travel to Jerusalem for the celebration. While significant things happened in the temple on Yom Hateruah and Yom Kippur, the rest of the population was not required to be there to witness them but rather to Shabbat at home and repair relationships within their own family and community during this time of teshuvah (repentance – turning back to God).

Yom Hateruah has become known as Rosh Hashanah, which literally means “head of the year” and is colloquially referred to as the Jewish New Year. Traditionally, Rosh Hashanah is a celebration of creation, specifically the day God created Adam and Eve. As such, God the Creator is hailed and crowned as “our King” on that day even as the Jew’s covenant with creator God is remembered and they work on turning from everything they have done in breach of this covenant. In the synagogue on Rosh Hashanah Psalm 47 is read seven times before the blowing of the shofar. Verse five of Psalm 47 reads as follows: God goes up to shouts of acclaim, Adonai to a blast on the shofar.  The arrival and splendour of Almighty God are marked by the blowing of the shofar in the Scriptures. A festive meal at the start of the holy day includes eating apples dipped in honey for a sweet new year, in hope that God will be merciful towards His people and favourable toward them in judgment; dates—that their enemies would be consumed; pomegranate seeds—that they would bear much fruit; eating round hallah, symbolizing the circle of life and the crown of God’s Kingship; and eating a fish or ram’s head, symbolic of being the head and not the tail in the year to come. The common expression on Rosh HaShanah is L’shannah tovah tikatev v’tachatem – meaning May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year! 

God instructed Israel on Yom Hateruah (the Feast of Trumpets) thus:

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’ ” Leviticus 23:23-25 NKJV

The first if these holy convocations is called, in Hebrew, Yom Hateruah in Leviticus 23:24 – the day of the blowing of trumpets or ram’s horn (shofar) , “a memorial of blowing trumpets”. The only other reference to this festival in the Torah is Numbers 29:1 “On the first day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a day for you to blow the trumpets, (ESV). The blowing of the trumpet (or shofar) carries with it significant meaning in the Bible being used both to gather the people and send them to war and to herald the appointed time of their feasts (Num. 10:1-10) and new moons. The blowing of trumpets was a reminder of God’s presence with the people during war and during days of joy. It was also used to signify judgment and the coming of the LORD (Joel 2:1).

The word “memorial” indicates that the event to be remembered had taken place prior to this ordinance. There was a spiritual event involving trumpet (sopher) blasts that was of such great importance that God commanded the people to remember it every year. God invited the children of Israel into covenant amidst the sound of a trumpet that caused the people to tremble. 

When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain. So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. Exodus 19:13b, 16-19

This resounding event was to be stamped indelibly upon the memory of the people of Israel. Every year, at Yom Hateruah (the Feast of Trumpets), those same-sounding trumpet blasts heralded the arrival of the Jewish seventh month with a reminder that they were a people under covenant; a nation who had accepted the responsibilities of being God’s people. Such a covenant with God requires ongoing repentance, a continual turning to God and away from our sins in order to receive His atonement. The piercing blast of the shofar reminds the hearer to repent of their sins and make things right with their brothers and sisters, and with God. The rabbis say that reconciliation with God and man will confound the enemy.

Yom Hateruah (the Feast of Trumpets) thus begins what is known as aseret yemei teshuvah (Ten Days of Awe) between the Yom Hateruah and Yom Kippur, wherein the penitent humble themselves in preparation for Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

On the afternoon of the first day it is customary for the Jewish people to perform a rite known as Tashlik.  To do this, they usually walk to a river, spring or body of water and recite special penitential prayers and Psalms, while at the same time emptying their pockets and the hems of their garments, or casting bread crumbs onto the water.  All this is symbolic of casting away their sins into the deep (Mic.7:18-20) as they begin these intense days of repentance and forgiveness leading up to Yom Kippur when they believe the final judgment is made as to that person’s life for the coming year.

The Torah gave instructions for the people concerning Yom Kippur in Numbers 29:7 and Leviticus  23:26-32 that they were to do no work, have it as a a day of sabbath rest, and deny themselves (generally interpreted as fasting). Yom Kippur is dedicated to introspection, prayer and asking God for forgiveness.

Full instructions for what was to take place in the Temple to make atonement for all the sins of the Israelites that year were provided in Leviticus 16. It was the only day of the year in which the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies (Most Holy Place), and it was the day on which all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites – all their sins – were placed on the scapegoat’s head to carry on itself all their sins away to a remote place. So it was, this year, that the Father had led Yeshua away from Galilee to remote places, symbolising that all the sins of Israel were to be placed on Him to be removed from the nation.

The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the Lord.  The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.

“This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place: He must first bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.  He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on.  

“From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.

“Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. 

“Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat. Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord and sacrifice it for a sin offering.  But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.

“Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering.  He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain.   He is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die.  He is to take some of the bull’s blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.

“He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it.  In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the tent of meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness.  No one is to be in the tent of meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel.

“Then he shall come out to the altar that is before the Lord and make atonement for it. He shall take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on all the horns of the altar. He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.

“When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.

“Then Aaron is to go into the tent of meeting and take off the linen garments he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there.  He shall bathe himself with water in the sanctuary area and put on his regular garments. Then he shall come out and sacrifice the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people, to make atonement for himself and for the people.  He shall also burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar.

“The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp.  

“The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and intestines are to be burned up. The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp.

“This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you— because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins.  It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.  The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments  and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the tent of meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the members of the community.


“This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.”

And it was done, as the Lord commanded Moses.

In the Torah, the root kpr has two levels of meaning. On the one hand, it denotes the “price of life” as reflected in the term kofer – a ransom. A second meaning of kpr is “to wipe off or to cleanse”. The timeless message of the scapegoat ritual was that to truly achieve kapparah (atonement), there must be both aspects – the payment of a price and a cleansing of our sins. That is why there are two goats in the scapegoat ritual – one that is sacrificed to God as a sin-offering paying the price as a kopher (a ransom or substitute), and one that is sent to the wilderness bearing the sins of the people as a reminder that sin must be fully confessed and removed so that it is no longer part of our being or our space.

Now Yeshua had returned to Galilee even as the pilgrimage festival of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) was soon to begin in Jerusalem. Sukkot begins on Tishri  15, the fifth day after Yom Kippur. It was quite a drastic transition, from one of the most solemn holidays in the year to one of the most joyous. Sukkot is so unreservedly joyful that it is commonly referred to in Jewish prayer and literature as Z’man Simchateinu – the Season of our Rejoicing. It is in mid-autumn, when the weather is cooling down but the ground can be dry and dusty awaiting the onset of the winter rains.

the festival of Sukkot in Y’hudah (Jerusalem) was near; so His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Y’hudah, so that Your talmidim can see the miracles You do; for no one who wants to become known acts in secret. If You’re doing these things, show Yourself to the world!” 

(His brothers spoke this way because they had not put their trust in Him.) 

When we, like Yeshua’s brothers, try to tell Messiah what to do and how to do it we demonstrate that we likewise have not yet put our trust in Him.

Yeshua said to them, “My time has not yet come; but for you, any time is right. The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me, because I keep telling it how wicked its ways are. You, go on up to the festival; as for me, I am not going up to this festival now, because the right time for me has not yet come.” 

There is one way to guarantee being hated by the world – keep telling them how wicked their ways are. Those who conform to the ways and standards of the world are loved by the world but those who declare God’s righteous standards are both hated by the world and called “haters” by the world. Yeshua’s reference to “the world” here refers as much to the religious establishment as to the irreligious or the pagans, all were part of a system in rebellion against God, even during this time of great displays of repentance.

Having said this, He stayed on in the Galil. But after His brothers had gone up to the festival, He too went up, not publicly but in secret.  John 7:2-10 CJB

During the 7 days of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) the Jews commemorate the journey of the children of Israel towards the promised land, following God through the desert to the unknown, dependent entirely on Him for survival:

“You shall dwell in Sukkot for seven days… so that your future generations shall know that I had the children of Israel live in Sukkot when I brought them out of Egypt….” Leviticus 23:42-43

Sukkot is also a harvest holiday, celebrating the fullness of the harvest having been gathered in and thus the end of the agricultural year in Israel.

On the first day, you will take for yourselves a fruit of a beautiful tree, palm branches, twigs of a braided tree and brook willows, and you will rejoice before the LORD your G-d for seven days.  Leviticus 23:40

Another observance during Sukkot involves what are known as the Four Species. The four species in question are an etrog (a citrus fruit similar to a lemon native to Israel; in English it is called a citron), a lulav (palm branch), two aravot (willow branches) and three hadassim (myrtle branches). The six branches are bound together with dried palm leaves, the willow positioned on the left, the palm in the middle and the myrtle on the right. They are referred to collectively as the lulav, because the palm branch is by far the largest part. The etrog is held separately and collectively they are used to “rejoice before the Lord.”

The Hebrew word “sukkah” (plural=sukkot) is a temporary walled structure covered with s’chach (plant material such as overgrowth or palm leaves). This is the type of dwelling in which the farmers of ancient Israel would live during harvesting and that which the children of Israel used during their forty years in the desert, following the Exodus. Sukkot celebrates the gathering of the harvest and commemorates the miraculous protection God provided for the children of Israel when they left Egypt. There is a triple commandment in the Torah to rejoice during Sukkot: “…you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days” (Leviticus 23:40). “And you shall rejoice in your feast…” (Deuteronomy 16:14). “…the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice” (Deuteronomy 16:15).

Each Sukkot streams of Jewish families—farmers, vintners, shepherds, merchants, craftspeople, and scholars—flooded in from every part of Israel, Syria, Babylonia, Egypt, and other nearby lands, converged upon Jerusalem and celebrated joyously day and night, non-stop for eight days. At the close of the first day of Sukkot, Temple workers furiously began inserting sturdy poles into their brackets in the walls of the Temple courtyard. Over the poles they lay wooden boards, creating cascades of bleachers so that women could stand on the higher bleachers, with the men below. Torch-laden boys scrambled up ladders scaling massive candelabras 25-50m tall to light the thick wicks of the candelabras’ four enormous lanterns so that all of Jerusalem was filled with light like day. The kohanim (priests) sounded their trumpets, the levi’im (Levites) played their flutes, lyres, cymbals, and every sort of instrument in thunderous, heavenly music, while all the people joined in song and dance. Even distinguished elders, with their long white beards, sang at the top of their lungs, dancing wildly, performing acrobatic feats, and even juggling acts.

At dawn fresh water was drawn from a wellspring called Mayan Hashiloach, just outside Jerusalem. As the flasks of water were ushered in through the Water Gate of the Temple, trumpets sounded and fanfare ensued. On a regular morning, the offering in the Temple was the meat of one sheep accompanied by a flour-and-oil mix, both thrown into the fire of the altar, along with one flask of wine poured by a kohen (priest) at the altar’s corner. But on the days of Sukkot, there was another flask, filled with this water freshly drawn from the Mayan Shiloach, poured by the same kohen together with that flask of wine – and the joyous celebrations would begin again as the Jews believed that the Holy Spirit only rests upon a joyous heart.

There was a special regimen of sacrifices that were brought to the altar in the Temple. On the first day, no less than 13 bulls, two rams, and 14 lambs were to be sacrificed. Every day, the number of bulls was depleted by one. All in all, 70 bulls were brought, corresponding to the 70 nations of the world. Talmudic
writings attributed this to God’s concern for the Gentiles, and Israel’s role in world redemption. As the Feast of Ingathering, Sukkot looks forward to the ingathering of all nations to the God of Israel—a final harvest of souls for His Kingdom. The traditional Bible reading on the second day of Sukkot is taken from Zechariah 14 and highlights the role of the Gentile nations during Yeshua’s future earthly reign. All nations will be required to go up to Jerusalem to worship the King and to celebrate Sukkot: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16; see also verse 17).

After the morning offerings, the communal prayers, the priestly blessings, the additional offerings, and more prayers and priestly blessings, the people parted to the study halls to review their Torah knowledge and hear the talks of great scholars. It was at these times they expected Yeshua to make Himself known and start teaching the people, but for the first half of the festival He kept hidden.

At the festival, the Judeans were looking for Him. “Where is He?” they asked. And among the crowds there was much whispering about Him. Some said, “He’s a good man”; but others said, “No, He is deceiving the masses.” However, no one spoke about Him openly, for fear of the Judeans. John 7:11-13 CJB

After listening to the great scholars the people returned to their sukkah throughout Jerusalem to feast, sing and celebrate some more until returning to the Temple Mount for the afternoon offerings, followed by, once again, a night of music, dance, acrobatic spectacles, and celebration. One of the sages, Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, is said to dance with ecstasy juggling eight flaming torches with great skill at these celebrations.

Jerusalem was full of Israelite pilgrims from many regions. They expected Yeshua, as a Torah observant Jew, to be there with them – and indeed He was, even though at this time He was remaining hidden from them. God’s protection of His Son until the appointed time was on occasion through miraculous intervention and on occasion simply through direction to remain hidden from the masses so the authorities would be caught off-guard and not have time to execute a murderous plan. In place of the traditional Jewish open debate and testing of ideas the authorities had instilled fear of even speaking about Yeshua.

Not until the festival was half over did Yeshua go up to the Temple courts and begin to teach.   The Judeans were surprised: “How does this Man know so much without having studied?” they asked.  John 7:14-15 CJB

Yeshua had not studied under the schools of Hillel or Shammai, who dominated the teachings in the Temple. His teaching was not the wisdom of man but the revelation of God.

So Yeshua gave them an answer: “My teaching is not My own, it comes from the One who sent Me.  If anyone wants to do His will, he will know whether My teaching is from God or I speak on My own.  A person who speaks on his own is trying to win praise for himself; but a person who tries to win praise for the One who sent Him is honest, there is nothing false about Him.  Didn’t Moshe give you the Torah? Yet not one of you obeys the Torah! Why are you out to kill me?”  

“You have a demon!” the crowd answered. “Who’s out to kill you?” 

Yeshua answered them, “I did one thing; and because of this, all of you are amazed.  Moshe gave you b’rit-milah
(circumcision) – not that it came from Moshe but from the Patriarchs – and you do a boy’s b’rit-milah on Shabbat.  If a boy is circumcised on Shabbat so that the Torah of Moshe will not be broken, why are you angry with Me because I made a man’s whole body well on Shabbat? Stop judging by surface appearances, and judge the right way!” John 7:16-24 CJB

The “one thing” Yeshua was talking about here was the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda on Shabbat (John 5) during celebrations for the Feast of Weeks (Shavu‘ot) – Pentecost (Healing at the Pool of Bethesda – Renewal Blog). The response of the Jewish religious leaders had been that they: “sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” (John 5:18 NKJV) They were still harbouring such thoughts in their hearts, and thinking it was from God and in obedience to His word. Yeshua showed them the fallacy of their thinking but pride would not let them concede their error so their hatred of Him only grew.

Some of the Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) people said, “Isn’t this the Man they’re out to kill?  Yet here He is, speaking openly; and they don’t say anything to Him. It couldn’t be, could it, that the authorities have actually concluded He’s the Messiah? Surely not – we know where this Man comes from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where He comes from.” 

Whereupon Yeshua, continuing to teach in the Temple courts, cried out, “Indeed you do know Me! And you know where I’m from! And I have not come on my own! The One who sent Me is real. But Him you don’t know!  I do know Him, because I am with Him, and He sent Me!” John 7:25-29 CJB

These religious Jerusalem Jews claimed to be doing God’s will but most of them did not know Him. If they had truly known the Father they would have recognised His Son.

At this, they tried to arrest Him; but no one laid a hand on Him; because His time had not yet come. However, many in the crowd put their trust in Him and said, “When the Messiah comes, will he do more miracles than this Man has done?” John 7:30-31 CJB

God kept His son safe during the first half of the feast by instructing Him to stay hidden, and through the second half by thwarting all plans to lay hold of Him. The crowd gathered for these pilgrimage festivals came from throughout Israel and beyond. Different sections of the crowd had formed different opinions and responded to Messiah in different ways. So we see contradictory responses from the crowds to Yeshua. Those from regions further afield were not so heavily influenced by the Judean religious leaders in the temple as those living in Jerusalem.

The P’rushim (Pharisees) heard the crowd whispering these things about Yeshua; so the head cohanim (Priest) and the P’rushim sent some of the Temple guards to arrest him. 

Yeshua said, “I will be with you only a little while longer; then I will go away to the One who sent Me. You will look for Me and not find Me; indeed, where I am, you cannot come.” 


The Judeans said to themselves, “Where is this man about to go, that we won’t find him? Does He intend to go to the Greek Diaspora and teach the Greek-speaking Jews?  And when He says, ‘You will look for Me and not find Me; indeed, where I am, you cannot come’ — what does He mean?”
John 7:32-36 CJB

Yeshua responded to the threat of arrest with a riddle that left them questioning.

He still had a lot more to teach them during His last Sukkot with them.

Reference List

1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/.
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8. Friedman, Rachel. Shabbat Shuva: The scapegoat ritual of Yom Kippur. Jewish Standard. [Online] September 13th, 2018. https://jewishstandard.timesofisrael.com/shabbat-shuva-the-scapegoat-ritual-of-yom-kippur/.
9. Isaac, Rabbi. Understanding the 10 Days of Awe. Called Out Believers. [Online] September 19th, 2020. https://www.calledoutbelievers.org/understanding-the-10-days-of-awe/.
10. Freeman, Tzvi. The Joyous Water-Drawing Ceremony. Chabad. [Online] [Cited: May 6th, 2021.] https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1971019/jewish/The-Joyous-Water-Drawing-Ceremony.htm.

In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…

*What can we learn from the Jewish festival of Yom Hateruah (the Feast of Trumpets) ? 
* What can we learn from the Jewish ten Days of Awe?
* What can we learn from Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement)?
* Describe any festivals in your culture that focus on repentance and being reconciled to God.
* In what ways is the goat that is sacrificed representative of Jesus?
* In what ways is the scapegoat representative of Jesus? 
* What can we learn from the Jewish celebration of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)?
* Describe any festivals in your culture – how are they like the festivals that Jesus participated in and how are they different?
* What evils was Jesus identifying in “the world” of His time, and what would He identify in “the world” of your area? The purpose of identifying evil was to lead to repentance and forgiveness, atonement. How would things be different in your region if people truly repented?