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If my people, who are called by my Name, humble themselves and pray (Part One)

The text, for those who have trouble with a rather individual cursive, reads as follows: Scandal after Scandal. No institution safe....

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Succoth, Hoshana Rabba in the New Testament

It will come as a surprise to many Christians, let alone Jews, that Succoth and, especially, Hoshana Rabba are in the New Testament.

It's clear that, if Jesus was born at the beginning of Tabernacles, he must have been circumcised on the eighth day. However, the gospels do not record this event. It was a standard family event that would pass without comment. There had been enough fuss with the shepherds and an angelic choir.

The Magi had not yet turned up and would not arrive for some time. When Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple they offered the sacrifice of the very poor. Clearly, they had not received any gold at that stage.

Rivers of living water at High Force in Teesdale UK

A firedance
A fire dancer with fire trails creating beautiful effect Stock Photo - 966462
It is much later in the life of Jesus that we find Hoshana Rabba and Succoth . Chapters seven and eight of the Gospel of John take place in the Temple during the feast of Tabernacles. From 7:37 to the end of chapter eight it is Hoshana Rabba. 

It is this background that gives the real drama and significance to what Jesus will say. This ceremony was preceded by spectacular fire dances performed by the Levites. When water is brought from the pool of Siloam and it is being pored into the votive basin by the altar, and as the people are praying for the blessing of the Autumnal (Latter) rains as well as the Spring Former) rains, Jesus answers their prayers with the promise of rivers of living water (the Holy Spirit), if only they will believe in Him.

  Unsurprisingly, this sparks of a storm of controversy. Jesus is, variously, the prophet (like Moses); the Messiah; a man of whom the Temple Guard said, 'no-one ever spoke like this'; a Samaritan and having a demon. 

If He was not the Christ, then he was 'mad, bad and dangerous to know', not unlike the deeply disturbed Lord Byron; but, unlike Byron, Jesus was not disturbed, mad or bad. However, it cannot be denied that He could, and can, be dangerous to know.

The reaction of the establishment was a master-class in how to be wrong. 

No authorities or Pharisees believed in Jesus - just Nicodemus, head of the rabbinical college - and later Joseph of Arimethea. He wasn't born in Bethlehem of the Tribe of David  - the Temple records would show differently. No prophet comes from Galilee - just Jonah, possibly Elijah, Hosea and Nahum.

Jesus taught in the Temple, called Himself, 'The Light of the World', as well as the giver of the Spirit and no-one could arrest Him. They could not lay hands upon Him until He was ready to let them.

It must have been frustrating for them.

In the end, the majority of the Jewish Establishment (the Jews -  just as we say 'the Brits' or 'the Yanks' meaning the authorities) decided that Jesus was, indeed, 'mad, bad and dangerous to know'.

One out of three isn't good enough.

If you read through John, you will find that Chanukah is mentioned in 10:22 and finally the last Passover in Chapter 12.

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