SUKKOT: Yeshua and the Festival of Lights
James Scott Trimm
I am the light of the world.
He who follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will find for himself the light of life.
(John 8:12 HRV)
The occasion was Sukkot (see Jn. 7:1). Sukkot was known as the “Festival of Light”. The entire city of Jerusalem was filled with light from giant 75 feet (50 cubit) tall menorahs. (m.Sukkah 5:2–4; b.Sukkah 52b).
AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE FIRST FESTIVAL DAY OF TABERNACLES THEY DESCENDED TO THE COURT OF THE WOMEN WHERE THEY HAD MADE A GREAT ENACTMENT. THERE WERE THERE GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS WITH FOUR GOLDEN BOWLS ON THE TOP OF EACH OF THEM AND FOUR LADDERS TO EACH, AND FOUR YOUTHS DRAWN FROM THE PRIESTLY STOCK IN WHOSE HANDS WERE HELD JARS OF OIL CONTAINING ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY LOG WHICH THEY POURED INTO THE BOWLS. FROM THE WORN-OUT DRAWERS AND GIRDLES OF THE PRIESTS THEY MADE WICKS AND WITH THEM THEY KINDLED THE LAMPS; AND THERE WAS NOT A COURTYARD IN JERUSALEM THAT WAS NOT ILLUMINED BY THE LIGHT OF THE PLACE OF THE WATER-DRAWING.
FOUR LADDERS etc. A Tanna taught, the height of a candlestick was fifty cubits.
It was for this reason that Sukkot was the original festival of lights. Channukah became a festival of lights partly because the first Channukah was a belated Sukkot celebration.
With this backdrop Yeshua makes this beautiful proclamation.
Yeshua’s statement here may be aimed as Essenes because it draws from the language of certain of the Dead Sea Scrolls which read:
…Thus will grow and understand and be glad
in the light of the world; you will not be a disowned vessel…
(The Words of Levi 4Q541; Frag. 24 line 7)
For only through the spirit pervading God’s true society
can there be atonement for a man’s ways, all of his iniquities;
thus only can he gaze upon the light of life and be joined
to His truth by His holy spirit, purified through all iniquity. …
He created humankind to rule over the world,
appointing for them two spirits in which to walk
until the time ordained for His visitation.
these are the spirits of truth and falsehood.
Upright character and fate originate with the
Habitation of Light; perverse, with the Fountain of Darkness.
The authority of the Prince of Light
extends to the governance of all righteous people;
therefore, they walk in paths of light.
Correspondingly the authority of the Angel of Darkness
embraces the governance of all wicked people,
so they walk in the paths of darkness.
(Manual of Discipline 1QS col. 3, 6-7; 17-21)
This is a reference to Isaiah 8:20-9:2:
To the Torah and to the testimony;
if they speak not according to this word,
it is because there is no light in them…
…the people who walked in darkness have
seen a great light…
For a deeper understanding of this passage in relation to Yeshua see comments to Matthew 4:14-16. For more comments on “light” see comments to Jn. 1:4
There is a spiritual battle taking place between light and darkness. Paul writes:
...what communion has light with darkness?
And what concord has Messiah with Belial...
Throughout the New Testament there are extended metaphores revolving around light and darkness. Believers are called "sons of light" (Lk. 16:8; Jn. 12:36; Eph. 5:8; 1Thes. 5:5 see comments to Jn. 12:36). The full armor of Elohim is also called the "armor of light" (Rom. 13:12). The New Testament speaks of those "who walk in darkness" (Jn. 8:12; 12:35; 1Jn. 1:6; 2:11).
But what does this idiomatic use of the terms light and darkness mean? For the answer let us turn to the Tanak:
For the commandment is a lamp;
and the Torah is light...
Your word is a lamp to my feet,
and a light to my path.
To the Torah and to the testimony;
if they speak not according to this word,
it is because there is no light in them.
...for a Torah shall proceed from me,
and I will make my judgment to rest
for a light of the people.
So according to the Tanak the Torah is a light for our paths. Those that walk in the Torah walk in the light. This is why the New Testament speaks of those who walk in darkness (Jn. 8:12; 12:35; 1Jn. 1:6; 2:11). These are those who do not walk by the light of Torah. Of these John writes:
And if we say that we have fellowship with him,
and walk in darkness,
we are liars and we do not walk in truth.
Notice that John equates "walking in truth" with walking in the light. As we noted previously "the Torah is truth" (Ps. 119:142) thus if "walking in the light" means "walking in truth" then both phrases refer to walking in the Torah. This takes us back to our passages from the Tanak given above. John also confirms this by writing the parallel statements:
...walking in truth.
...walk according to his commandments.
(2Jn. 1:4, 6)
As we have noted Paul also calls the armor of Elohim the "armor of light" (Rom. 13:12). According to Paul we are involved in a spiritual battle with "the rulers of the darkness of this world." (Eph. 6:12) and thus he instructs us to put on this "armor of light" (see comments to Eph. 6:13 & Rom. 13:12)
I am asking you all to step up as the Sons of Light and chip in to help support the work that we are doing here at WNAE.
As many of you know, my wife has been in the hospital for over 50 days, much of it in ICU and PCU. It has been a trial for us. We have been under attack by the Enemy for years, but never like this. I absolutely do not exaggerate when I say she was fighting for her life! But Baruch Hashem YHWH, we are being told that she should be ready to go home early this coming week!
She will still be attached to a “wound vac” machine, require specialized wound care three times a week, and need a walker to get around, but she will finally be home.
Early on many of you stepped up to support us in this crisis financially. We honestly could not have made it through these 50+ days without you. However, as the days passed by, our situation got “old” and those funds slowed down. As we are now gearing up to leave here, and go home, we are broke. We are broke, and going home to face bills and rent that are due soon (not to mention anticipated medical bills not covered by my wife’s Insurance).
I am asking all of you who have supported this cause, to step up again and help us with our “Going home fund.”
We are going to need time to regroup.
During these 50+ days I have had a lot of time to pray and think about what we can and should to revive this ministry. This is very important, because just this last week we lost a source of income that helping us get by, I don’t believe I can replace that income in the secular world any time soon (if ever). Additionally my wife, who is already disabled with a chronic neurological condition, is coming home with additional disabilities that will last month. I could not leave her home alone for long periods before, and now that will be even more the case.
So as I have had a lot of time to think about what we need to do to revive this ministry.
To begin with, we need to get back to the basics, with faith building defense of the truths that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah of Judaism and that the Torah is for all generations forever. We also need to focus on helping people understand the teachings of Yeshua, and his Talmidim from the original Hebrew and Aramaic in light of Second Temple Judaism.
We also need to expand the media thru which we outreach.
We will be working to improve NazareneSpace. People are getting sick of Facebook jail and are ready to start coming back to our own social network.
We are going back on the radio with all new episodes of Truth Talk! I have a spare bedroom which I am going to convert into a studio as soon as we get home. We already have most of the equipment we need, like a professional microphone, but we will need a mixer. We already have at least one station lined up, and have leads on others.
We are also going to start up a YouTube series (10 to 15 minute episodes).
Let us know what other ideas you may have to help us.
The main thing is that we need you all to step up and support this work like never before. Now is not the time to become complacent.
This is not a time that I need to be worried about ministry funds. While we were here we got news that $1,ooo we anticipated receiving while we were here, and for which we were tightly budgeted, would not be coming in.
****If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work, now is the time!****
Is this work worthy of your support? What other ministry provides this kind of teaching?
What other ministry is reaching the Jewish people with Messiah and the world with Torah like this ministry is?
Now is time to step up to the plate!
You can donate by going to the pay-pal counter at http://www.nazarenespace.com or donations can be sent by paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053