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The Pastor's Blog

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Light always defeats darkness. To test this hypothesis, strike a match in a pitch-black room. Even a tiny light can chase away the darkest darkness.


But imagine four huge torches standing high on a hill, overlooking the ancient city of Jerusalem. That’s what happened during each evening of the seven-day Festival of Tabernacles.


This Festival was the last of the seven annual celebrations and the third of the Pilgrim Feast. On Mount Sinai, God spoke to Moses. “Celebrate a festival in my honor three times a year. Observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread (observed in conjunction with Passover)… Also observe the Festival of Harvest (also called the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost) with the firstfruits of your produce from what you sow in the field, and observe the Festival of Ingathering (also called the Feast of Tabernacles) at the end of the year, when you gather your produce from the field. Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Lord God” (Exodus 23:14–17). During these three holy celebrations, Jerusalem was teeming with multitudes of celebrants.


During the third annual celebration, the faithful Hebrews gathered in Jerusalem to remember and reenact their ancestor’s sojourn in the Sinai wilderness. In and around Jerusalem, the multitudes camped in tents, a.k.a. tabernacles.


Each evening of this most joyous celebration, the priests would light great lamps which stood in the courtyard outside of Solomon’s temple. According to tradition, these lamps stood sixty or seventy feet tall and were clad with gold. Each of the four great lamps had four individual lamps and were equipped with reservoirs for an ample supply of pure olive oil. When lit, sixteen torches lit up the night sky, visible from far beyond the city walls.


In the courtyard, by the light of the illuminating candles, the worshippers danced and sang long into the night hours. As they celebrated, they remembered the blazing glory of God that filled the temple at its dedication ceremony (1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chronicles 7:1-3).


John records the day that Jesus visited Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles. It was the seventh and final day (John 7:1, 10, 37) and it’s likely that Jesus was standing near the magnificent candelabras. “Jesus spoke to them again: ‘I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life’ ” (John 8:12). Later, Jesus also said, I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me would not remain in darkness” (John 12:46).


Jesus, the Light of the World, defeats the darkest darkness!



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