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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's ReadingToday is the second day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
Today, we will be studying the Meaning in the Manger. Didyou know that the Hebrew word for a stable is a Sukkot? An example of the word “stable” being translated from the word “sukkot” is found in Genesis 33:17.
Yahshua was born in a Sukkot. Why? Because He was born during the first Sabbath of Tabernacles. In other words, this is right day to celebrate His Birth!
Let's look at this story in Luke 2:1-16:
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger (sukkot) because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of Yahweh came upon them, and the glory of Yahweh shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ Adonai.
Besides the fact that the Hebrew word for stable is sukkot, is there any other proof that Yahshua was indeed born on the first Sabbath of Tabernacles?
The Bible does not specifically say the date of Yahshua’s birth. It definitely wasn’t during the winter, because the sheep left their pastures after Sukkot ended. And according to Luke 2:8, there were sheep in the pastures at the time when the angel announced His birth.
I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time on it, but I must point out that from ancient times, December 25th was the birth day of the sun god’s son. Even the word Nativity, which we have come to associate with Yahshua’s birth actually heralds the birth of the sun god’s child. Nativity comes from the Latin Natali-invicti-solas which means the birth of the invincible sun.
To give you a brief history exposing the paganism that has been tangled up with Yahshua’s advent, let me take a moment to explain how December 25th came to be celebrated by Christians.
The Roman emperor and proto-pope Constantine, in the earth 4th century A.D., desired to combine all religions into a new one. His new religion was called Catholicism which is Latin for universalism. Constantine took a little Scripture, mixed it with some sun worship, added in druidic and occult practices and passed it all through a great, spiritual "meat grinder".
One of the by-products of this universal religion Constantine created was the mixing of the sacred holidays with the pagan days.
In ancient Babylon, there was an unholy trinity. Nimrod, as the Bible says (Genesis 10:8), was a mighty hunter. He was also a very evil man who commanded the people to worship him as "god".
Babylonian and Egyptian legend states that Nimrod (although he has different names depending on the culture) was killed by Shem, the son of Noah. This was a judgment for Nimrod's wickedness in causing people to worship him. Apparently, Shem cut Nimrod's body into twelve parts as a mute testimony to the lie of Nimrod's claim and worked to re-establish the worship of Yahweh throughout the land.
Saternalia originated as the birth of Tammuz, the bastard son of Semiramis, the widow of Nimrod. After Shem killed Nimrod, Babylonian legend insists that he ascended into the heavens and became the sun god.
The rays of the sun caused his widow to conceive - and presto - the son of the sun god was miraculously born. Semiramis claimed that the proof of her child's divine paternity was a pine tree which had grown up overnight and was cut down and placed in her palace courtyard. The tree was decked with gold and silver offerings to the son of the sun god. It is this pagan tradition that we keep when we celebrate Christmas.
Tammuz, whom ancient pagans claimed was God's promised Seed of Genesis 3:15, was born on December 25. But he, like his father, was evil and met a violent death. Tammuz was killed in a hunting accident, when he was gored to death by a wild boar. He died at 40 years old. Those who worshipped the son of the "sun god" then set aside 40 days of weeping for Tammuz (see Ezekiel 8) which was one day for every year of Tammuz's life.
His lifeless body was carried throughout the land on a cross (the symbol of the sun god) in a passion display, during which time his mother and many other women wept for Tammuz. One of the names for Semiramis is Easter. And as Easter wept for her son, she bore his body on a cross throughout the land. But on Easter Sunday morning, at sunrise, the sun god's rays brought him to life again. It is this pagan tradition we keep when we celebrate Lent and Easter.
To this day Mithras or Tammuz’s Phrygian cap is still worn in celebration of his birthday.
If you would like more information on this, ask for our DVD called “Unwrapping Christmas.”
Clearly, Yahshua wasn't born on December 25. But how can we date His Birth to the first Sabbath of Tabernacles?
The word "manger" only appears in Luke 2. Yahshua being born at Tabernacles, the landscape would have been dotted with sukkahs. The Hebrew shepherds would each have built one. Some teach that the feeding trough, "manger" was likely built under such a shelter.
A study of the time of John the Baptist’s conception helps us determine Yahshua’s birth. This is because Luke 1:26-33 tells us that Yahshua was conceived 6 months after John.
Then, at the close of the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. Gabriel told Mary about Elizabeth, saying, "She who was called barren is six months pregnant." This would be the last of the ninth Hebrew month, Kislev, or Hanukkah.
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months, which was until the birth of John. There are exactly 14 weeks from Hanukah to Passover (Nisan 14-22). Therefore, we may be sure that John the Baptist was born at Passover. He was circumcised on the eighth day, which would be the last day of Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread.
During the Feast of Tabernacles, sukkahs were erected by families. They had some bare comforts and food in them for the eight days. Food was placed in a stall, or a crib, for storage in the "tabernacle." The King James Bible calls this food crib a manger. Yahshua was not born in a barn, but rather in a temporary tabernacle which had been built for the celebration. He was placed in a "manger," demonstrating, in type, that He was the Bread of Life from heaven.
It is interesting also, that when the angel announced Yahshua’s birth to the shepherds, he used terms that were related to the Feast of Tabernacles.
He said he brought good tidings of great joy. The feast of Tabernacles is the feast of great joy and rejoicing.
Why? Because the Feast of Tabernacles has always been about God dwelling with man.
In Matthew 1:23, it is also interesting to see what the angel said to Joseph.
Matthew 1:23 "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
Emmanuel means God with us. And Tabernacles is about God dwelling with man. In fact, Yahshua was the Tabernacle or dwelling place of Yahweh. In Him dwelled the fullness of God, as it says in John 1:14 and Colossians 2:9. And God dwelt in our midst through Yahshua Hameshiach (Matthew 18:20).
What a beautiful thought! Tabernacles is about man meeting with God face to Face and getting to know Him in a very deep and real way. No wonder this is the season for rejoicing!
It is also a season for soul-searching. Are we preparing to dwell with God? Very soon He will tabernacle with us again. And this time His breathtaking glory will not be veiled.
This is a day we must be preparing for now if we will rejoice in it.
Very few were prepared for Yahshua’s first Advent. But, among those that were, there were wise men from the East. In fact, these magi were from the same school as Daniel from 400 years earlier. This great prophet had foretold the day when Yahweh would tabernacle with man.
He had revealed Jacob’s sky prophecy. Daniel had also told them the three-fold purpose of Messiah’s sojourn here. Daniel told the wisemen how to prepare. Daily they were watching for the signs. The looked for the Saviour’s coming! This was the first preparation.
And when they saw the signs foretold, they came bearing the most well-thought out and perfect gifts. There was gold: a gift appropriate for a King. There was frankincense: an appropriate gift for God. And there was myrrh: the gift you give one who will die.
And what of you and I? How will we celebrate His birth today, in a way that helps us prepare for the next Tabernacle fulfillment? Are there gifts that we can give to Him that honor Him in these three ways?
I’d like to invite you to join me this morning in offering Him three appropriate Tabernacle gifts.
The first gift we can give honors Yahweh as our Heavenly King. And what gift can we give Him as our King that will show whole-hearted commitment? The gift of SERVICE.
As it says in 1 Samuel 12:24 “Only fear Yahweh, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider how great things He hath done for you.”
Serving Yahweh involves us consecrating our day to Him on a daily basis. It involves placing His work and ministry to those He wants us to meet above our own plans. We become, first and foremost His faithful servants. It is to be our highest joy to hear His words, “well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
I will not fill out the Commitment box for the area of service. This is something between you and Yahweh. Take a moment to pray to Him if you haven’t yet been certain of His calling in your life. And then, give Him the gift of serving Him in that way. As a sign of your commitment, write in the Service box, what serving gift you offer your Heavenly King.
Next, what gift should we offer Yahweh to honor Him as our one and only God? Some might say that the best gift is to worship Him. And worship is a vital gift. But, the best gift we can give to honor Him as our God is Obedience. Remember the story of Saul who disobeyed God by taking animals as war trophies when God had told him to take nothing from the conquered city? When Samuel confronted Saul with the sin. Saul protested stating that he had intended to worship God by sacrificing these animals to Him. What was Samuel’s response to this?
We find it in 1 Samuel 15:22 “And Samuel said, Hath Yahweh as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Yahweh? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
Dear ones, I invite you this morning to offer Yahweh the gift He really wants from you: full obedience. Is there an area of your life that is disobedient to His commandments and statutes? Perhaps you have been working on the Sabbath and justifying this disobedience by telling yourself that you would lose your job if you kept His holy day.
Yahweh is asking to be supreme in your life. If you put your job over obedience to Him. Simply put, He isn’t supreme. Doesn’t He promise to supply all your needs? What if Shadrach Meshach and Abednego had decided that they HAD to bow to the image in order to save their lives? Would God have been honored? Of course not! But, these faithful men offered God such perfect obedience that they were willing to DIE rather than disobey any of His commands.
I invite you now to pray quietly and ask God to reveal to you what area or areas of your life are disobedient to Him. And then I urge you to submit this to Him. As a promise between you and God on a paper that you’ll keep private between you and Him, write down in the Promise box what area(s) of disobedience you will surrender to Him. And do it just now. In His grace, make the change immediately. In so doing, you show that you mean it when you claim that there are no other gods before Him in your life.
Lastly, let’s give our Saviour an appropriate gift in response for His great sacrifice. Love begets love. And, as Yahshua said, in John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” But, our Saviour took it even farther.
As it says in Romans 5:7-8 “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In other words, Yahshua died in your place while you were His enemy!
The Love that Heaven has demonstrated toward you and I is off the chart unfathomable! We will spend all eternity growing in comprehension of it. And what appropriate gift does such love deserve? Small a gift though it be, Yahshua wants our love in return. As it says in Deuteronomy 6:5, “And thou shalt love Yahweh thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
This a no-holds-barred kind of love Yahweh is asking from us. It’s the kind of love that says my greatest joy is to please You! It’s the kind of love that says, my deepest sorrow is to hurt You. In light of what our Saviour has done for us on the Cross, even our most cherished sins become dung in our eyes. These are the vile things that put our Saviour on the Cross. There is no excusing them. And continuing to hang on to them wounds our Redeemer afresh. Will you offer Him the gift of your love today?
If so, surrender even your most excused and cherished sins. You know what He’s calling you to lay down at the foot of the Cross. Let it go as you choose to love Him with your whole heart. Then, as a sign of your covenant with Him write down those areas of sin that you’ve been hanging on to that you are now surrendering as you view them in light of the Cross.
Do you know that gifts you have given this morning have brought rejoicing in Heaven? I can’t even imagine it, but the Bible says that the Father Himself rejoices over us when we repent. HE SINGS!
It’s found in Zephaniah 3:17 “Yahweh thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy… He will joy over thee with singing.”
And when we really give these three gifts to our Sovereign and King, He sings. I wish we could hear it. What will it be like to hear it? We don’t have much longer to wait! And that is the reason Tabernacles is such a joyful time! Oh the awesome thought of a holy God dwelling with man.