Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Sukkot and an Angel of the LORD

Sukkot and an Angel of the LORD

On the first day of Sukkot this year (5771/2010) I read the first half of Luke chapter 2 to my daughter and told her that Sukkot is when Yeshua was really born, not December 25 as many Christians purpose when something jumped out at me. As many of you know, Rome ruled and occupied Israel and it was known to the Roman government that Israel had three pilgrimage Festivals when everyone either journeyed to their home town or if at all possible, went to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple. So to kill two birds with one stone Caesar Augustus, being a shrewd ruler that he was decided it would be convenient time to collect taxes and take a census seeing everyone was either in their hometown or Jerusalem anyway. It was with this back drop that we see Yosef (Joseph) and Miriam (Mary) traveling to Galilee to Yosef’s hometown of Beit-Lechem (Bethlehem) for these reasons. Miriam and Yosef were engaged and thus she was already considered apart of Yosef’s family and so she went with Yosef to Beit-Lechem. At this time Miriam was at full term with her Divine Pregnancy and was close to delivering.

Being a Torah Observant Jew, being required to fulfill the command to erect a sukkah and seeing he would be coming home for Sukkot, I am sure Yosef had already arranged for the materials to build his, Miriam and the child’s sukkah when they arrived on his father’s property in Beit-Lechem. But was we know they never made it to his father’s homestead because Miriam went into labor and they needed a place to stay to deliver the baby FAST! Due to all of the pilgrims traveling home and to Jerusalem for Sukkot all the Inns and Lodging Houses were full and the best place they could find was a sukkah erected for the farm hands at an Inn on the outskirts of town where the animals gathered to eat and rest. Back then, Inn’s had gardens and farms in order to provide food for their guests who lodged there. You just couldn’t run to the local supermarket or convenient store if you ran out of milk. 

During the intermediary days of Sukkot when it is permissible to work communal sukkah’s would be erected at work sites so people could fulfill the commandment of dwelling in a sukkah and celebrate Sukkot even at work. People would take rest and meal breaks under the sukkah. So we find a sukkah build for the workers on the property of this Inn Keeper where Miriam and Yosef had to stay because the Baby wouldn’t wait for them to find a nice clean hotel room.

Have you ever noticed how most nativity scenes look like a sukkah; three walls with a roof of straw or branches. It was most likely the Eve of Sukkot when we find Miriam and Yosef at the Inn. Now for Yosef to fulfill the command of building and dwelling in a Sukkah, according to Rabbinic Law it was acceptable for the Inn Keeper to give the sukkah to Yosef as a gift with the condition it be returned after the Festival, and for it to truly be Yosef’s and for him to fulfill the command of building a sukkah all that was required of Yosef is that he put a few branches on top the roof. I believe he did this while being quite the MacGyver and turning a feeding trough into a crib in a mad rush to prepare the sukkah for Miriam to deliver the Baby. Miriam likely delivered the Child on her own.

Exd 1:19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women [are] not as the Egyptian women; for they [are] lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.

But what really grabbed my attention this year is Luke 2:9

(NASB) And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

The verse jumped out at me and my mind screamed, “Wait a minute! I thought the Angel of the LORD was Yeshua in, for lack of a better term, pre-incarnate form!? How then can Yeshua in angelic form be announcing His own birth to the shepherds!?” Then I looked into the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic and discovered that though the KJV says, “the” angel of the LORD, most other translations match better with the context and grammar of the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic and says, “an” or “a” angel of the LORD. You see all angels have names, in the Biblical and Apocryphal texts you read about Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel and even Hellel (Lucifer) which was satan before he rebelled. And so when we read through out the Scripture, “The Angel of the LORD” we discover through the context of the Scriptural narrative that this is Biblical code for the LORD emanating Himself in an angelic form so as to be seen by mortals without destroying them for no man can see God and live (Exd. 33:20). So GOD being like a proud Papa, He had to personally deliver this message to the common and despised man (shepherds), no other angel would do for the job.

Luke 2:8-12 (NIV) And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

The shepherds themselves acknowledged this particular Angel being an emanation of ADONAI Himself, for they said in Luke 2:15b, “…Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. (KJV)”

Implying that they called this Angel; Lord, Adonai!

Kris Shoemaker - Yehudah ben Shomeyr