By Patricia Anders, Editorial Director
As I write this, we are currently in the time (September–October) of Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles. It’s something that many Christians may not be aware of (I had never heard of it until I visited Israel in the month of October many years ago). I happen to live near a synagogue, and on my way to church a few weeks ago, I noticed my Jewish neighbors constructing a structure of wooden beams, canvas tarps, and straw. Inside, they placed a large table laden with all kinds of good things to eat. After all, it is a festival—and a joyous one at that, especially as it follows right after the solemn observance of Yom-Kippur (the high holy time of repentance and atonement). The main point of Sukkot is to remind the Jewish people that God dwells with them and that he will always provide for them. How can his people keep from rejoicing! And what a beautiful reminder that God promises this to all his children, to all who call him Lord. He really is with us.
Over the past year or so, I had the honor of helping edit and produce The Complete Jewish Study Bible, which means I spent a lot of time immersed in this interesting and fresh Jewish perspective of the Bible. In my work on the project, I was constantly amazed at how many times Jesus (or Yeshua, as he is called in this Bible) clearly fulfilled the ancient prophecies concerning the Messiah. I was also amazed at the richness of the Hebrew Scriptures and how much I learned from Jewish rabbinic teaching over the centuries.
“The Word Became a Human Being and Lived with Us”
In the book of Matthew (or Mattityahu) of the CJSB, there is an interesting article titled “The Tabernacle and the Incarnation: Immanu El, God with Us.” This article is based on Matthew 1:23, which is an echo of Isaiah 7:14,
“The virgin will conceive and bear a son,
And they will call him ‘Immanu El.’”
On page 1383 (Matthew 1:23) in the CJSB, we read regarding Yeshua:
Today, in seeking to refute Matthew 1:23, Jewish theologians have sought to discredit the concept of a divine Messiah. However, evidence exists that this was not an uncommon messianic expectation. This is affirmed by modern scholarship…and among ancient Jewish sources such as Midrashei Geula (Midrashim of Redemption), which states, “In the future, the Holy One, blessed be he, will seat Messiah in the supernal Yeshiva [House of Study], and they will call him ‘Lord,’ just as they call the Creator.”
It is for this purpose that John 1:14 says of Yeshua, “The Word became a human being and lived with us.” The word dwelled from the Greek skene derives from the Hebrew Mishkan [Tabernacle], showing that in his incarnation Yeshua made his Tabernacle with his people. Thus through Yeshua, God did dwell with his people.
As we move from the time of Sukkot—the Feast of Tabernacles—into Advent and finally Christmas, let us remember the beauty and joy of what it means to await the Messiah and to find him in Yeshua, who lives and reigns now and always. In Yeshua, God really is with us.
For more posts like this one, join our CJSB book club and get a free book of the Bible: Matthew (Mattityahu)! For four weeks blog posts will be put up, highlighting ideas from the reading that stood out to us here at Hendrickson or that we learned from! Sign up to receive the completely free ebook of Mattityahu here!
If you’d like more information about The Complete Jewish Study Bible, watch this video explaining “What is The Complete Jewish Study Bible?”, read this post where the cover designer explains her inspiration, or this blog series on three major Jewish holidays (Yom Kippur, Rosh-HaShanah, and Sukkot)! We also have two reviews of the Bible that will give insight as to its content: Daniel Greegor’s video review and John Kight’s review!