View the latest posts in an easy-to-read list format, with filtering options.
In pouring out the seven bowls of wine from 2000-2006, we took note from historical sources that a pitcher of water was also poured out at the same time during the seven days of the feast of Tabernacles. Even though there is no direct command in the law to pour out a drink offering of water, Jesus Himself acknowledged its importance in John 7:37-39,
37 Now on the last great day of the feast [of Tabernacles], Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
The priests poured out water for seven days, but none on the eighth day of Tabernacles. The priests marched in procession around the altar seven times each day. The seventh day was known as the Day of the Great Hosannah. On the last day, as the priests marched around the altar seven times, the people shook off the leaves of the willow boughs and the palm branches were beaten in pieces by the side of the altar. So this great day was also known as the Day of Beating the Branches.
Now whether “the last great day of the feast” refers to the seventh day or the eighth day is disputed among scholars. The great Jewish-Christian scholar, Alfred Edersheim, puts it on the seventh day of the feast; Dr. Bullinger puts it on the eighth day, because this was a “holy convocation” commanded in Leviticus 23:36. The reader may decide which view is correct, but the truths presented by the ceremonies are set forth equally in both views.
I tend to agree with Dr. Bullinger, because on the last great day of the feast, Jesus appealed to the people to come to Him for the water, according to the prophecy in Isaiah 12:3,
3 Therefore, you will draw water from the springs of salvation [Yeshua].
In other words, Jesus claimed to be the true Source of the water of the Holy Spirit. I believe that this prophesied of the latter-day outpouring of the Spirit and the presentation of the sons of God on the eighth day of Tabernacles. A full and complete seven days had to pass before first-born sons were presented to God and also for lepers to be cleansed.
It seems to me that the Rabbis may have focused too much on the seventh day to see the importance of the eighth day. Hence, they may not have understood the full significance of the eighth day and its sonship prophecies. If this is the case, then perhaps both Edersheim and Bullinger were correct. It may be that “the great day of the feast” referred to the seventh day, but that the term ought to have been applied to the eighth day.
Regardless, we followed this symbolic practice for those seven years, pointing the people to Yeshua and calling all to ask for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ day the outpouring at Pentecost was the result of the first work of Christ; in our time, the outpouring at Tabernacles will be the result of the second work of Christ.
The Witness of Alfred Edersheim
Alfred Edersheim wrote about this practice in the nineteenth century in his book, The Temple, Its Ministry and Services as they were in the time of Christ. He wrote:
“As he [the priest carrying the water from Siloam] entered by the ‘Water-gate,’ which obtained its name from this ceremony, he was received by a threefold blast from the priests’ trumpets. The priest then went up the rise of the altar and turned to the left, where there were two silver basins with narrow holes… In these the wine of the drink-offering was poured, and at the same time the water from Siloam, the people shouting to the priest, ‘Raise thy hand,’ to show that he really poured the water into the basin which led to the base of the altar” (p. 278).
Again, he wrote,
“As soon as the wine and the water were being poured out, the Temple music began, and the ‘Hallel’ was sung in the manner previously prescribed…” (p. 279).
Edersheim then explained its prophetic significance, saying,
“For though that ceremony was considered by the Rabbis as bearing a subordinate reference to the dispensation of the rain, the annual fall of which they imagined was determined by God at that feast, its main and real application was to the future outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as predicted—probably in allusion to this very rite—by Isaiah the prophet. Thus the Talmud says distinctly, ‘Why is the name of it called, The drawing out of water? Because of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, according to what is said: ‘With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.’ Hence, also, the feast and the peculiar joyousness of it are alike designated as those of ‘the drawing out of water;’ for, according to the same Rabbinical authorities, the Holy Spirit dwell in man only through joy” (pp. 279-280).
It was common knowledge in Jesus’ day that pouring out the water symbolized the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ outcry in John 7:37, 38 supported that belief while showing them the path by which the people might receive the Spirit. Those who receive the Spirit themselves become sources of living water to quench the spiritual thirst of the multitudes.
Edersheim concluded on page 281 of The Temple,
“It was Jesus who stood and cried, saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.’ Then by faith in Him, should each one truly become like the Pool of Siloam, and from his innermost being ‘rivers of living waters flow’.”
The Word and the Spirit
The water poured out at Tabernacles also represented the word of God. The Spirit always bears witness to the word. Together, they establish all truth, according to the law of the double witness. One witness speaks truth, but two witnesses establish truth in the earth.
So we find that the water was poured out for seven days at the feast of Tabernacles, and the people were expected to read and meditate upon the book of Deuteronomy as well. At the temple itself, certain psalms were read each day, as if to say that these are the words to which the Spirit bore witness:
1. Psalm 105
2. Psalm 29
3. Psalm 50:16-23
4. Psalm 94:16-18
5. Psalm 94:8-15
6. Psalm 81:6-16
7. Psalm 82:5-8
The seven bowls of water and wine depicted the seven days of Tabernacles and prophesied of the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17) bearing witness of Christ, the Logos (“Word”).
The Walls of Jericho
From a prophetic standpoint, chapter 16 of the book of Revelation depicts the feast of Tabernacles in terms of the seven bowls of wine being poured out. As I said earlier, the seven seals represent seven years in a Sabbath cycle. The seven trumpets represent seven months within the seventh year. The seven bowls are the seven days of Tabernacles in the seventh month. But John shows how these seven bowls bring judgment upon Mystery Babylon. In other words, Mystery Babylon is overthrown by the outpouring of the Spirit and by the word of truth.
The city of Jericho in the time of Joshua was a prophetic type of Mystery Babylon as well. So Alfred Edersheim tells us,
“On every one of the seven days [of Tabernacles] the priests formed in procession and made the circuit of the altar, singing: ‘O Then, now work salvation, Jehovah! O Jehovah, give prosperity!’ But on the seventh, ‘that great day of the feast,’ they made the circuit of the altar seven times, remembering how the walls of Jericho had fallen in similar circumstances, and anticipating how, by the direct interposition of God, the walls of heathenism would fall before Jehovah, and the land lie open for His people to go in and possess it.”
Because John was from a priestly family, he certainly knew the connection between the feast of Tabernacles and the fall of Jericho. Every time the priests marched in procession around the altar seven times during the seven days of Tabernacles, it drew everyone’s attention to the Jericho march in the days of Joshua. For us today, it also prophesied of the fall of Mystery Babylon.
Seven Days is Seven Years
The Hebrew word yom has a double meaning. It means “day, time, year.”
So we read in Exodus 13:10, regarding the Passover feast,
10 Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year [yom] to year [yom].
The Hebrew word yom is translated in the KJV as “days” 2008 times and “years” 14 times. This is the underlying reason for the principle of a year for a day in Numbers 14:34, and again in Ezekiel 4:6. In the book of Revelation, we read of a period of 1,260 “days,” which actually are years in long-term prophecy.
The year 1986-1987 was the 120th Jubilee from Adam. This launched a 7-year period to 1993-1994 that represented the seven seals. In the seventh seal (1993) we began another seven years representing the seven trumpets from 1993-2000. Our Jubilee Prayer Campaign took place from November 21-29, 1993, but it really lasted seven years to November 29, 2000.
At the end of that cycle, we began pouring out seven bowls of water and wine which represented the seven days of Tabernacles (2000-2006).
This was how the prophecy was fulfilled in our context, as led by the Spirit. It was not what we could have known ahead of time. I can only say that this is how we were led. Whereas the first two cycles of seven were fulfilled in years (1986-1993 and 1993-2000), the final seven days of Tabernacles took place over a period of seven years as well (2000-2006). Strangely enough, the bowls were poured out on just seven days, but the days were a year apart.
This is a good illustration of how our best understanding of the word falls short without the leading of the Holy Spirit. God prophesies many things ahead of time, but he is just vague enough to require us to depend on the Holy Spirit to complete the revelation. In this case, I would not have guessed that the seven bowls would have to be poured out one at a time for seven years. Yet it illustrated the connection between a day and a year that was built into the Hebrew word yom.
Apparently, God considered this to be a vital revelation.