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Gilad Shalit and Sukkot 2009

Poster of Gilad Schalit


Was surprised on Friday when The Jerusalem Post announced that Israel had received a video tape showing an alive-and-well Gilad Shalit– in exchange for the release of 20 Palestinian women. (Shalit is an Israeli soldier captured in a cross-border raid by Palestinians almost three years ago.

The fact that a much more powerful Israeli government had to release 20 prisoners in exchange for a video, is an indication of the unfulfilled hopes and dreams of the Jewish people as they enter their week long Sukkot/Tabernacles holiday.

One of the holiday’s many features is a decorated “booth” or “hut”— many of which are being displayed this week on Jerusalem roofs, balcony’s, and court yards.These “sukkot” (Hebrew plural for the singular sukkah), are reminders of the days in which Israel lived in temporary shelters, in dependence on the supernatural, daily provisions of the LORD, during her 40 years of living in a barren wilderness.

One provocative theme of the Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot is that it doesn’t just look back to the days following the Exodus, but also forward to Israel’s anticipated entrance into their promised land.

Now once again in Sukkot 2009, after almost 2000 years of exile, and while living on the most contested piece of real estate in the world, observant Jewish people, together with wary Arab counterparts know that many in Israel and around the world are still waiting for what Jewish prophets predicted would happen at the end of the age.

According to Zechariah, a surviving remnant of Israel will have a national change of heart, when, as the LORD of Israel declares, “They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.” (Zech 12:10).

Following this, in another amazingly specific prediction, Zechariah goes on to say that the LORD, himself, will go to battle against all of the nations who have come against Jerusalem to destroy her (Zechariah 14:16). The Long awaited King will stand on the Mountain of Olives, and defend his repentant people.

After finally restoring peace to Jerusalem , Zechariah goes on to say, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zech 14:16).

Here though is an important point. What Zechariah describes is similar to what happened when the LORD delivered Israel from Egypt, and what he subsequently did in giving them the Promised Land. These events happened with a supernatural show of miracles that showed clearly that judgment belongs to the LORD– rather than to individual nations who are acting on our own fears and strategies of self-protection.

Anything that the nation of Israel does in violation of its own historic laws, in a self-made effort to protect itself will ultimately fail. In a similar manner the strategies of an international community to harm or destroy the Jewish people in an effort to annul God’s ultimate plan will also ultimately fail. Only when people of all sides are humbled by the King who, in Zechariah’s words, had been suffered at the hands of those who rejected him, will any individual or nation experience real peace and security.

In this respect, in the last days, Israel will be the LORD’s object lesson to the whole world. In Israel, as in all the nations of the world, anyone who attempts to live by their own strength while rejecting the Messiah of God will miss the “eternal harvest festival” that the holiday of Sukkot/Tabernacles anticipates.

In that day Jerusalem will not be burdened by “prisoner symbols of an ongoing conflict.” Going forward there will only be a repentant remnant of Israel that, together with a repentant remnant of the nations, will celebrate in their annual Feast of Tabernacles, the Savior-King and faithful Provider of all who trust him as their only hope of forgiveness, peace, and immortality.

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23 Responses to “Gilad Shalit and Sukkot 2009”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    How well I know that we are not to try and put dates on the rapture of the Church. Forgive me though, every year at this time my anticipation of the rapture is hightened.

    So many Biblical truths are evident concerning these last days and the political events surrounding Israel. Sometimes the modern political picture obscures the Biblical prophesy concerning the people God has used to set His time table around.

    Since I also read the Israel news, daily I was aware of the events Mart has mentioned in the opening topic. How contrasting it is to see one side of the issue place such a value on the life of one person, while the other seems to have little or no value placed on human life (as long as it isn’t theirs).

    The Orthodox Jew in Israel see’s any action from it’s own government or the interference from other “friendly” governments to alter the borders of Israel as given by God, to be in direct conflict with God. It is these zealous people who are praying daily in Jerusalem for the Christ to come. The Christ they believe has not yet appeared.

    I am not sure, but believe the rapture of the Christian Church will hearld in the awakening that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the Messiah they have been seeking. That at that time the Holy Spirit will open the eyes of Israel. That at that time the political events will have deteriorated into a much more serious level worldwide..

    Then as Israel see’s itself alone against the world with impending doom at the door, as a nation as a whole people the Jew will cry out for Jesus Christ to come and save them…..And He will. because He said He would.

  2. wretch-like-me says:

    What speaks most loudly to me is the iconic illustration of temporary shelters. Isnt it true that each of us ‘lives’ in a temporary shelter or tent?

    These fleshly shells we inhabit are nothing more than temporary quarters that we try out best to decorate and customize to our own liking. We live such a short time in them and many of us invest so much effort to keep them ‘looking young’. One gets the idea that these are permanent rather than temporary.

    They are ,afterall, only ‘cheap imitations’ of the eternal structures that we will occupy at the resurrection. Perhaps we should be looking back and forward with regards to them just as the sukkot.

    I look back and realize I am housed in a decaying hut; that God has met our needs ‘miraculously’ dating back centuries to the beginning of time. For generations of ancestors, He has faithfully worked to restore our collective ‘birthright’.

    I should be focused on looking forward to that day of ‘reunion’ and ‘restoration’; to a day when My Savior returns and we gather in the clouds. In that focus I find JOY! That joy should lift and empower me to live the life I have received through Christ with the courage to be vulnerable, gentle, meek and forgiving.

    My life should reflect the Master Who lives in me.


  3. phpatato says:

    Steve – I find myself feeling and agreeing with your thoughts of “anticipation” of Christ’s return. Some days I am so sick and tired with the evil and depraved world in which we live. I have read over several posts that you have written and see that you “just can’t wait” !!! me toooooo Rev 22:20 “Surely I come quickly”. AMEN. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

    Frank – What a unique way of looking at those shelters. You spoke it well. Thanks. I will look at myself in the mirror a little differently now and realize that the hut staring back will someday soon go through a wonderful renovation !! Yeaaaa :-)

  4. foreverblessed says:

    “the Savior-King and faithful Provider of all who trust him as their only hope of forgiveness, peace, and immortality.”
    Read today, in church, this verse:
    Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:13.
    Faith, hope and love.
    We sometimes forget about hope.

  5. foreverblessed says:

    This self control we can especially train when it comes to politics, or other things we have different views on.

  6. kaliko88 says:

    foreverblessed, I have to smile at God’s timing once again. You brought up your points, and just this morning at church our pastor started the next topic in the series he’s been doing on the fruits of the spirit. He’s been spending one month on each one. This month’s? Self control. I love it when I get glimpses of His presence like that.

  7. BobbiLee says:

    I too, every fall think that Christ’s first return, when we meet him in the air, could be then. Since Christ fulfilled the first four feasts in person, at the exact time they were due, it is only natural that he fulfill the final three. It is an exciting time for sure. We remember though, that these are Jewish feasts. Our rapture time might be a little different. Could be that signing of the peace treaty with Israel…

  8. SFDBWV says:

    St Sgt Shalit is being held by Hamas and they are fully aware that the Israel Army knows where he is being held. So in usuall fasion the Hamas have tons of explosive aet in a large radius all around the area where he is being held. This way they know the IDF won’t try to free Shalit by force, because the Hamas will kill hundreds of their own Palestinian innocents if Israel were to try.

    Hamas has sugested they may release Shalit in the next few weeks if the dealing goes well. I find it interesting that the deal is being mediated by German go betweens.

    I just thought some may be concerned about this young mans situation and where things are for now.

    All this effort for one mans life.

    Sounds kinda familiar doesn’t it. Thinking that if I were the only sinner in the whole of the world, still Jesus would have went to the cross for me.


  9. refump says:

    I have just finished reading David Jeremiah’s book, “The Handwriting on the Wall”, which is a book about Daniel & his prophecies. I was reminded of how much God is in control & His exact plan of how things will unfold. It won’t matter what the seeming odds are against them (and they will be great), God will preserve the nation of Israel as He has in the past in one final demonstration to all the world that He is the almighty Creator God. Every knee shall bow & every tongue shall confess that He is Lord. What an incredible day that will be.

  10. cherielyn says:

    wlm – Frank: Regarding your comment, “These fleshly shells we inhabit are nothing more than temporary quarters that we try out best to decorate and customize to our own liking. We live such a short time in them and many of us invest so much effort to keep them ‘looking young’.”

    Your comment brought up a memory of something a family member said years ago (and I don’t know if they were quoting someone else, or if it was their own thought). He said, “People who worship youth declare their own obsolesence.”

    Oh yes, how temporary this shell is. Yes, we are to take care of it, as it has been given to us by God, but not to the excess that some do with plastic surgeries, etc., all in an effort to preserve something that, in the end, goes to dust anyway.

  11. poohpity says:

    You know God has been trying since the beginning of time to tell us He would be our sole/soul provider. He tried time after time to show Israel that He was capable in the most miraculous ways to give them the promised land. All He asked was for them to look to Him.

    Sometimes I get upset with them because they refuse to depend on Him until I consider how much trouble I get in with my self sufficiency. When I try so hard to make sure everything is going good I still get the rug pulled out from under me because my plans are not His plans.

    Isaiah tells of the problems that Jerusalem will face because of their refusal to go to God. All of the festivals, rituals and remembrances they perform yet they still forget what God has done for them. Israel trusts in their weaponry, military might, other countries and wealth. The Lord seems to do things in His own way beyond human imaginations.

    Even the fruit (not fruits) of the Spirit is a product of the Lords presence in one’s life. Nothing that we can do other than living in vital union with God. It seems so simple yet we have such a sense of I can do it my self. I shake my head in amazement not at Israel but just in my own life alone how I do not learn that God is all I need to have to make it.

    Duh!! So along with Israel I will keep remembering how the Lord does things and still look to my own strength. lol!!!

  12. refump says:

    Ezekiel 38:22-23 (The Message)

    17-22 “‘A Message of God, the Master: Years ago when I spoke through my servants, the prophets of Israel, wasn’t it you I was talking about? Year after year they prophesied that I would bring you against them. And when the day comes, Gog, you will attack that land of Israel. Decree of God, the Master. My raging anger will erupt. Fueled by blazing jealousy, I tell you that then there will be an earthquake that rocks the land of Israel. Fish and birds and wild animals—even ants and beetles!—and every human being will tremble and shake before me. Mountains will disintegrate, terraces will crumble. I’ll order all-out war against you, Gog—Decree of God, the Master—Gog killing Gog on all the mountains of Israel. I’ll deluge Gog with judgment: disease and massacre, torrential rain and hail, volcanic lava pouring down on you and your mobs of troops and people.

    23 “‘I’ll show you how great I am, how holy I am. I’ll make myself known all over the world. Then you’ll realize that I am God.'”

  13. foreverblessed says:

    Refump, the point you want to make is this: that God will show how great He is.
    But the setting is what I thought after the 1000 years, you can read that in v8 to 14, they will invade a country (Israel) that is in peace and unwalled. In the day that my people Israel are living in safety. v 14
    That corresponds with Revelation 20 :7-10 where it is said that after the 1000 years Satan will be released again, and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog,… they will march ..against the camp of Gods people, the city He loves.
    Isn’t that something that even after Christ has returned this terrible war will happen. It is not over yet on earth when he comes.

  14. daisymarygoldr says:

    “Repentant remnant” is a very hard-to-digest truth and in this Sukkoth ‘09 topic you have handled that truth very well i.e. with grace and love!:) …because of the nature of previous conversations in which your tone was emphatically bordering on the need to simply confess, I had to actually read this post several times in order to believe what I am reading. And though am still not fully convinced as to how much you really believe in what you have written, I am extremely happy and do thank God for enabling you to boldly speak the whole truth!

    The truth in accordance with the divine order is: it is in Yom Kippur’s sorrowful repentance from our sinful ways to make a U-turn back to God’s way that actually occasions the return of Christ and the joyous celebrations of Sukkoth… for both Israel and the nations. And in that day the Jerusalem from above—the mother of us all, will not be burdened by “prisoner symbols of an ongoing conflict.”

    Whether it pertains to Israel (Isa 10:22, Joel 2:32) or the Church (Rev 2, 3 & 14), it is only a remnant (Rom 9: 27) which believe to remain faithful till the end are the ones that will ultimately get to celebrate in the feast of the “eternal harvest festival” (reminds me of Ruth and Boaz) that will culminate with the greatest of all joys—God’s permanent dwelling with us!

    Meanwhile, as long as we live in these temporary sukkahs and wander in our wilderness earthly journey as strangers and pilgrims, we will continue to depend not on our own strategies for self-protection and false peace/security but on God’s faithful provision of His Word—the Book of the Law (Neh 8) to always mourn and grieve for our sins in order to produce fruits of repentance (2 Cor 7: 11) because God dwells in the contrite heart that is broken not ‘by’… but ‘for’ sins.

    “For thus says the high and lofty One–He Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, but with him also who is of a thoroughly penitent and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the thoroughly penitent [bruised with sorrow for sin].” Isa 57:15

    And for all those who reject God, refuse to repent…to let go of our false gods/idols/sins and continue in unbelief “The harvest is past, the summer has ended and the gathering of fruit is over, yet we are not saved! For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I [Jeremiah] hurt; I go around mourning; dismay has taken hold on me. Jer 8:20-21

    The first fruits (Patriarchs and Apostles) have already been harvested. However, events with a supernatural show of miracles that will clearly show that judgment belongs to the Lord, will lead to eternal celebrations that will mark the ingathering of the rest/remnant of us chosen by grace in Christ—the First Fruit… Christ—our only hope of forgiveness, peace, and immortality… and that will be the real Sukkot which will indeed be a time of great rejoicing for ‘all’… of Israel (Rom 11: 26) and nations (Rev 21:24) of this world!

  15. poohpity says:


  16. BobbiLee says:

    dmg – not sure what you are trying to say, but this statement struck me: “it is in Yom Kippur’s sorrowful repentance from our sinful ways to make a U-turn back to God’s way that actually occasions the return of Christ and the joyous celebrations of Sukkoth… for both Israel and the nations.”

    As far as I can see in all the prophecies recounted in the Bible,it is neither Yom Kippur, repentance, nor turning back to God that occasions the return of Christ. In fact, it is the opposite. There will be “the” great falling away that will herald Christ’s return. And even that won’t be the actual event, but the signing of the Peace Treaty with the Man of Sin and his cohorts. That would be Christ’s return in the air for his own, our Resurrection Day. During the following seven years when the world and Israel gets into serious trouble and totally rejects God will be signs to Israel that Messiah’s return is soon.

    Christ will return with us and His feet will stand physically on the mountains of Israel where he will actually fight for Israel alone after Jerusalem is destroyed. There is much more to this as well.

    Christ is indeed the first fruit as He is the only one resurrected so far. Then various resurrections follow after he returns, as Paul says, “In the proper order”. The chronological order of events in the resurrection program: 1) the resurrection of Christ at beginning of program (1 Cor.15.23); 2) resurrection of the church age saints at the rapture (1 Thess.4.16); 3) resurrection of tribulation period saints (Rev.20.3-5), together with 4) the resurrection of Old Testament saints (Dan. 12.2; Isa. 26.19) at the second advent of Christ to the earth; and finally 5) the final resurrection of the unsaved dead (Rev. 20.5, 11-14) at the end of the millennial age.

    The first four are of course the Resurrection to life, or the First Resurrection. The final resurrection is the one to judgment or the second resurrection.

    As Mart says above, the final feast, that of Tabernacles will occur when Christ sets up his kingdom. Wow! What wonderful things we have to look forward to!

  17. daisymarygoldr says:

    Hey BobbiLee, thanks for sharing about the chronological order of events in the resurrection program of Christ’s return! Sorry, if my comment did not make sense… it is an extension of past conversations exchanged here, like:

    “The Bible reveals that along with the rest of the world, Israel herself will be deceived into this temporary peace-like situation. It is inevitable for Israel to experience the birth pains (Matt 24:8) and the terrible days of ‘Jacob’s trouble’. God will eventually see her through this whole ‘fiery trial’ process to bring forth the remnant who have faithfully waited for their Messiah (Zech 13:8-9)”.

    My comment is not about resurrection program and the chronological order of Christ’s return but is made in the context of “Jewish Holidays” which has been discussed here before…hence my reference to Yom Kippur.
    “…sorrowful repentance from our sinful ways to make a U-turn back to God’s way that actually occasions the return of Christ…” is to affirm with the above statement “According to Zechariah, a surviving remnant of Israel will have a national change of heart…Following this, …the LORD, himself, will go to battle against all of the nations”. So, no… my comment is not refuting with anything that is mentioned in the main post.

    Also, “the order” refers to first fruits of the spring grain harvest which is small compared to the great fall harvest. Agree, The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)–the last of God’s seven annual festivals is the Millennial reign of Christ. For further reference please refer to the following Discovery Series booklets titled:

    The Holidays of God: Spring Feasts

    The Holidays of God: Fall Feasts

    Hope this makes sense…even otherwise its OK:)

  18. foreverblessed says:

    We must not forget that all this is in the future, we look into things that yet have to happen, not everything is very clear yet.
    I always thought that the remnant of Israel and Judah would return, weeping, why, because they were the only ones left. (Zecheriah 13:8-9 a third). The rest is perished in the apocalyptic events. Then they will see that Christ will be return to Jerusalem, and will make this a land and a city for them. And as Zecheriah sais:(12:10) in some miraculous way He will show to the whole world that He is the one that was pierced. But He did some things before that described in 12:1-9. the besiege of Jerusalem by all the nations. I thought that the remnant weill repent because they see the miraculous battle God will fight for them? Isn’t that the same with our repentance, because God delivered us from our sins miraculausly? Does He do that because we repent? It might seem it is our work, we could say, because I repented He saved me.
    But He rescued me, and that is why I am saved.

    1 Peter 4:7-8 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. And above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.
    With love cover a multitude of sins.

    Now, the rest is of topic:
    Just different angles on the things brought up
    1-As for the rapture, you could also say, that the event in 1 Thess 4 is the same as the one in Revelation 14, and 20.
    So there might be just 2 resurrections, the one at Christ return, with all the saints. Of which Christ is the Firstfruit, who is the only one gone to heaven in a ressurected body so far. Rev 20:5 “this is the first resurrection”. So if John says this is the first ressurection, why would we make 4 out of them?
    And then the following resurrection of all who ever lived, v 11-15. And I want to say the following about that:

    2-What I thought (just my thoughts) is this: the start of the reign on earth of Christ, is not the same as the final judgment.
    The Feast of Tabernacles to me pictures also (besides us living in mortal tents now) the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth.
    But in Revelation there are more events described after that.
    There is another Feast, that is called the Last Great Day. The eigth day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Leviticus 23:34-36
    And you know what? Jesus, when He was on earth, on that day He did something very profound:
    He cried in a loud voice:
    “If a man is thirsty let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the schripture has said, streams of living water will flow from him”
    Why is that so meaningful: it was the timing of Jesus that He said this, on the last day, and John said even the greatest day of the feast
    The greatest day.
    And I picture this: that Jesus was referring to the events after the 1000 year reign, when all the dead will be raised. This is what He will say to them: Come to Me.
    So all who say: it is over when Christ returned, if you do not know Him then, you will die in your sins. I say, maybe it is different. Maybe you are not aware that God is so merciful, beyond measure and time. He has a Last Great Day. And that Day is forgotten by many christians, they do not even know of its existence.
    And I hope that this Day will be very long and last. To redeem all the souls that ever lived and who will repent.

    But, as I said, that is all in the future, and so not totally known, so it is not good to say, it will happen like this and this, because maybe we have overlooked some things. As it was very difficult for the saints to know how things would evolve the first time Jesus was on earth. Only just before the crucifiction, or rather after He had risen were all the scriptures that referred to Him clear.

    The mean time we must stay sober and clear minded, pray, and love each other deeply:
    1 Peter 4:7-8 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. And above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.
    With love cover a multitude of sins.
    Nothing wrong with confessing sins.

  19. foreverblessed says:

    But maybe Mart is right, I just thought of what Jesus said in Matthew 23:39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

  20. daisymarygoldr says:

    “Christ is …the only one resurrected so far.”- BobbieLee

    In Lev 23: 10-11 before the first fruit is harvested a “sheaf of the first grain” is brought to the priest and he is to wave the sheaf before the Lord. This Levitical ceremony was literally fulfilled on the day Jesus the first fruit was raised and so were several “sheaf of the first grain” saints:

    “…when Jesus… gave up His spirit… the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” Matt 27: 50-53

    foreverblessed, due to prior experience with my reply to your comment on “abiblical topics”, even though I do not agree with your view of Zech 13, I guess am forced to make no comments in response to either defend my stance or answer your Qs about “repentance”. Hope and pray for the Holy Spirit to help you with a better understanding of these things…

  21. poohpity says:

    Gee, I never understood that anyone except Jesus went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

  22. Douglas F. Didyoung says:

    I appreciate all the thought put in to the many comments, both heartfelt and theological. The truth is we are mere mortals and cannot influence or change the plans that God has already set in motion, we will never know the time nor the day, yet we must be prepared at all times. As far as evengelizing, a Christian should do so with actions out of love, not words forced onto someone in persuasion. Didn’t St. Francis say, preach the Gospel always, and use words when necessary? Good advice to those who want to force personal ideology on others, all created in God’s image.

  23. foreverblessed says:

    Just giving some more information,
    The resurrection of Christ is a great power to us who believe.

    Christ is really the first One to be resurrected, in the meaning that He only was resurrected with His body changed to a heavenly body, (He could go through walls.)
    The others that appeared in Jesusalem, just died again, their bodies put back into the earth.
    There were many resurrections before Christ died, the sick girl, Lazarus, in the OT:the Shunamite’s son by Elisha (2 Kings4:8), and the person which was put into the grave of Elisha.
    2 Kings 13:21
    But they all died, and their bodies went into the earth.

    How do I know? because of 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

    To say something more about Christ’s resurrection, this was done by the Power of God, the same power that is able to give us life:
    Ephesians 1:18-20
    and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,
    So that is of great encouragement to us!

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