The Water Ceremony in the Feast of Tabernacles

The Feast of Tabernacles is also known as the Feast of Booths and the Feast of Ingathering. In our last study on the Feast of Tabernacles, the last feast of the Hebrew religious calendar, we learned that there are two symbolic elements used in that feast which pointed forward to the New Jerusalem, the Holy City of God: water and light.

The painting above depicts the famous water ceremony of the Feast of Tabernacles. The priest would take a flagon and fill it with water from the Kedron River. Then he would take the flagon up to the altar where there were two silver basins. The priest would pour the water into one basin and wine into the other. The contents of the two basins then mingled as they flowed into a pipe that poured into the river and ultimately into the Dead Sea. The water was to remind Israel of how the Lord had brought water out of a rock to quench their thirst when they were crossing the desert.

This water ceremony pointed forward to the River of Life that flows under the throne of God in the New Jerusalem. “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1).

The painting below shows how the temple courtyard would be ablaze with light all night long during this yearly feast. This gave the city a very festive atmosphere. These intense lights pointed forward to the glory of God the Father and of the Lamb in the New Jerusalem. It will put to shame and sun and the moon because their glory will outshine them.

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem,  descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal” (Revelation 21: 10-11). “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the gloryof God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light” (Revelation 21:23).

 

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