“O that you will strengthen yourself and persevere very much in order to observe, to do, according to all of the Torah that Moshe My servant has commanded you. Do not deviate from him to the right or to the left, that you may succeed wherever you may go.” Joshua 1:7
Baruch HaShem, do not be afraid, stand still and see the salvation of HaShem! My goodness, it has been a very eventful and disastrous time since I posted my last Op, both internationally and personally. No doubt we are at the cusp of the beginning of the prophesied Birth Pains! We are facing growing disasters on all fronts now, both collectively and individually, more so than I think any of us thought we would have to face!
Global war, global famine, global economic collapses, the unprecedented corruption, wickedness, violence and lawlessness coupled with the effects they are having on our physical bodies! No doubt it must be soon!
How is this uplifting you ask? Because nothing is too difficult for HaShem, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Elohim of Yisrael! This said, I very much feel compelled to put this Op together to remind all of us, myself included, we are NOT alone, HaShem, Master of Legions, is with us and is helping us and He will continue to do so until THE day arrives!
As I said in my previous Op, HaShem willing, I plan on doing more Op’s focusing on the Temple of HaShem and how it operated. This Op will continue that theme as we focus on a very specific event which occurred in the Temple every Sukkot and you will see how it applies to each of us today and the hope and confidence He makes available to each of us. But as always, before we jump into this, always remember the following eternal characteristics of HaShem:
- HaShem never changes per Num 23:19/Mal 3:6/Hebrews 13:8/James 1:17
- His Word is firmly established per Psalm 119:89
- He reveals the end out of the beginning per Is 46:10
- He does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets per Amos 3:7
- He says there is nothing new under the sun per Ecclesiastes 1:9
- He says His Torah is the ONLY truth there is per Psalms 119:142
- He says His Torah is a tree of life and eternal per Proverbs 3:18-19 and Psalm 119:160
- He says His Torah is perfect and restores the soul per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah makes the simple one wise per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah Is freedom and liberty per Psalm 119:45 and James 1:25
- He says His Torah is the only good doctrine there is Proverbs 4:2
- He says His Torah will add length of days and years of life and peace per Proverbs 3:2
- He says all of the ways of His Torah are ways of pleasantness and peace per Proverbs 3:17
- He says His Torah is for our good and well-being per Deuteronomy 6:24
- He says His Torah is health for our lives per Proverbs 3:8
- He says His Torah is life to our soul and a graceful ornament for our neck per Prov 3:22
- He says His Torah is better than pearls and all desires cannot compare to it per Prov 8:11
- He says those who walk with His Torah are praiseworthy per Psalms 119:1
- He says observing His Torah is how we purify our path per Psalms 119:9
- He says His Torah is better than thousands in gold and silver per Psalms 119:72
- He says His Torah brings abundant peace to those who love Him and His Torah per Psalms 119:165
- He says there is one Torah for all per Exodus 12:49/Leviticus 24:22
- He says those who hate His Torah love death per Proverbs 8:36
- He says His Torah is the way of faith per Psalms 119:29-30
- He says His Torah makes us wiser than our enemies per Psalms 119:98
- He says His Torah is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path per Psalms 119:105
- He says one who finds His Torah has found life per Proverbs 8:35
- He says one who finds His Torah has found favor from HaShem per Proverbs 8:35
- He says Messiah Yeshua is the GOAL of His Torah, meaning without His Torah, Messiah cannot be known per Romans 10:4
- He says if we had believed Moshe/Torah, we would have believed Messiah per John 5:46
- He says His Torah makes us wiser than our enemies per Psalms 119:98
- He says His salvation is far from the wicked for they sought not His Torah per Psalms 119:155
- He says to hold fast to and guard His Torah, for it is our life per Proverbs 4:13
In the Temple of HaShem in Jerusalem, there is an amazing event which takes place on the Feast of Sukkot (Erroneously referred to as Tabernacles). This Feast of HaShem is the third of the required Three Pilgrimage Feasts in which all of Israel is to come before HaShem in His Temple in Jerusalem. The First Pilgrimage Feast is Pesach (Passover), the Second Pilgrimage Feast is Shavuos (Erroneously called Pentecost) and then Sukkot.
HaShem commands Sukkot in Devarim (Deuteronomy) 16:13-16 where He says “Make for yourself a Succot festival for SEVEN DAYS when you gather in the produce from your threshing floor and your wine vat. And you are to REJOICE on your festival, you with your son and your daughter, your slave and your maidservant, the Levite, the convert, the orphan, and the widow within your gates. For SEVEN DAYS you are to CELEBRATE to HaShem, your Elohim in the place that HaShem will choose (The Temple in Jerusalem), for HaShem your Elohim will bless you in all your crops and in all your under takings, and you shall be nothing but joyous.”
So, we can see HaShem is focusing Sukkot on rejoicing and celebrating, but what are we to celebrate? Sukkot comes five days after the most solemn Feast and day of HaShem i.e. Yom Kippur in which HaShem decides and judges each of us to determine who lives and who dies for that year. Then five days later we celebrate for seven days for the Feast of Sukkot. Prophetically, at the end of the seven year Birth Pains, Yeshua will march into Jerusalem on that Yom Kippur and defeat the False Messiah then five days later on that Sukkot there will be the greatest celebration in human history as we celebrate HaShem rescuing His people and defeating His enemies once and for all! Baruch HaShem!!
You may be asking how this applies to the Temple and each of us? Please, be patient and hang on…:)
During Sukkot there is an amazing Temple service which takes place on the last day of the Feast. This service is called the ‘Celebration of the Place of the Drawing of the Water.’ Inside the Court of the Women in the Temple of HaShem, there would be massive celebrations taking place. Per Tractate Sukkah 51b from the Talmud Bavli it says “The pious and the men of action would dance before the people who attended the celebration with flaming torches that they would juggle in their hands, and they would say before them passages of song and praise to HaShem. And the Levites would play on lyres, harps, cymbals and trumpets, and countless other musical instruments.” In fact, in Tractate Sukkah 51a from the Talmud Bavli it describes this celebration “One who did not see the Celebration of the Place of the Drawing of the Water, never saw celebration in his days.”
I won’t go into describing how this celebration was performed, but instead want to focus on where in the Temple the Kohanim and Levites performed this ceremony and celebration!
In the Court of the Women, walking Westward, towards the Sanctuary itself, there is a giant gate, called ‘The Nikanor Gate’ which separated the Court of the Women from the Court of Israel and the Azarah i.e. the Courtyard where the Mizbeach (Altar) was located. In front of this gate were FIFTEEN STEPS GOING UP FROM THE COURT OF THE WOMEN…Now this is key you hold onto this as we proceed.
Tractate Middot 2.5 from the Kehati Mishnah which says “And fifteen steps that led up from within it to Ezrat Yisrael (Court of Israel), corresponding to the fifteen steps that are in Psalms, for on them the Levites would recite the song. They were not straight, but curved, like half a round threshing floor.”
These fifteen steps were unlike the other sets of stairs in the Temple in that they were rounded steps. On the last day of Sukkot, the Levites would stand on these fifteen steps, during the Celebration of the Place of the Drawing of the Water, and they would sing a song. This song is called ‘The Song of Ascents’ which correspond to the Psalms of Ascent we read in our bibles! These Psalms are specifically Psalms 120-134, and is why when we read in our English translations these specific Psalms start off with ‘A Psalm of Ascent’ because it is part of the Song of Ascent! Now, remember, when approaching HaShem in His Temple, one is ALWAYS going up and closer one draws to HaShem, the higher level of kedusha (Holiness) is required! It is these Psalms of Ascent I want to focus on in this Op and will include below. When you read the Psalms of Ascent, remember, the Levites are singing these Psalms during a time of great rejoicing and you will see how they apply to each of us today in this world at war.
What is amazing is we see Yeshua Himself participating in this celebration!! Yochanan (John) 7:37 says “And on the LAST GREAT DAY OF THE FESTIVAL (Sukkot), Yeshua stood (In the Court of the Women in the Temple in Jerusalem) and cried out saying ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me, and let him who believes in Me drink!'” Remember this celebration is called the ‘Celebration of the Place of the Drawing of the Water’ and Yeshua is calling people to drink from HaShem!!! Not a coincidence He chose to shout this during this ceremony!!
THE PSALMS OF ASCENT
Now remember, each Psalm corresponds to a step going up towards HaShem’s Throne!
First Step: Psalm 120 says “A Song of Ascents. To HaShem, in my distress I cried and He answered me. HaShem, rescue my soul from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue. What can He give you, and what can He add to you, O deceitful tongue? You are like the sharp arrows of the mighty; with coals of rotem wood. Woe unto me, for my drawn out sojourn; I dwelt with those who inhabit the tents of Kedar. Long has my soul dwelt with those who hate peace. I am peace, but when I speak, they are for war.”
Second Step: Psalm 121 says “A Song of Ascents. I raise my eyes upon the mountains; whence will come my help? My help is from HaShem, Maker of Heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to falter; your Guardian will not slumber. Behold, He neither slumber nor sleeps, the Guardian of Israel. HaShem is your Guardian; HaShem is your Shade at your right hand. By day the sun will not harm you, nor the moon by night. HaShem will protect you from every evil; He will guard your soul. HaShem will guard your departure and your arrival, from this time and forever.”
Here is a music video filmed in Ein Gedi, Israel, a very prophetically significant location concerning Messiah and the defeat of our enemies:
Third Step: Psalm 122 says “A Song of Ascents. By David. I rejoiced when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the House of HaShem (Temple in Jerusalem).’ Immobile stood our feet, within your gates, O Jerusalem. The built up Jerusalem is like a city that is united together. For there the tribes ascended, the tribes of HaShem, a testimony for Israel, to give thanks to the Name of HaShem. For there sat thrones of judgment, thrones for the House of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; those who love you will be serene. May there be peace within your wall, serenity within your palaces. For the sake of my brethren and my comrades, I shall speak of peace in your midst. For the sake of the House of HaShem, our Elohim, I will request good for you.”
Posted here is a music video from Joshua Aaron, a singer who lives in Israel singing Psalm 122:
Fourth Step: Psalm 123 says “A Song of Ascents. To You I raised my eyes, O You Who dwell in the heavens. Behold! Like the eyes of servants unto their masters hand, like the eyes of a maid unto her mistress hand, so are our eyes unto HaShem, our Elohim, until He will favor us. Favor us, HaShem, favor us, for we are fully sated with contempt. Our soul is fully sated with mockery of the complacent ones, with the contempt of the arrogant.”
Fifth Step: Psalm 124 says “A Song of Ascents. By David. Had not HaShem been with us, let Israel declare it now! Had not HaShem been with us when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their anger was kindled against us. Then the waters would have inundated us; the current would have surged across our soul. Then they would have surged across our soul, the treacherous waters. Blessed is HaShem, Who did not present us as prey for their teeth. Our soul escaped like a bird from the hunters snare; the snare broke and we escaped. Our help is through the Name of HaShem, Maker of heaven and earth.”
Sixth Step: Psalm 125 says “A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in HaShem are like Mount Zion that falters not, but abides forever. Jerusalem, mountains enwrap it, and HaShem enwraps His nation, from this time and forever. For the rod of wickedness shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous, so that the righteous shall not stretch their hands into iniquity. Do good, HaShem, to good people, and to the upright in their hearts. But those who turn to their perverseness, HaShem will lead them with the workers of iniquity, peace upon Israel.”
Seventh Step: Psalm 126 says “A Song of Ascents. When HaShem will return the captivity of Zion, we will be like dreamers. Then our mouth will be filled with laughter and our tongue with glad song. Then will they declare among the nations, ‘HaShem has done greatly with these’. HaShem has done greatly with us, we were gladdened. O HaShem, return our captivity like springs in the desert. Those who tearfully sow will reap in glad song. He who bears the measure of seeds walks along weeping, but will return in exultation, a bearer of his sheaves.”
Eighth Step: Psalm 127 says “A Song of Ascents for Solomon. If HaShem will not build the house, in vain do its builders labor on it; if HaShem will not guard the city, in vain is the watchman vigilant. It is vain for you who rise early, who sit up late, who eat the bread of sorrows, for indeed, He gives His beloved ones restful sleep. Behold! The heritage of HaShem is children; a reward is the fruit of the womb. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of youth. Praiseworthy is the man who fills his quiver with them; they shall not be shamed, when they speak with enemies in the gate.”
Ninth Step: Psalm 128 says “A Song of Ascents. Praiseworthy is each person who fears HaShem, who walks in His paths. When you eat the labor of your hands, you are praiseworthy, and it is well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the inner chambers of your home; your children shall be like olive shoots surrounding your table. Behold! For so is blessed the man who fears HaShem. May HaShem bless you from Zion, and may you gaze upon the goodness of Jerusalem, all the days of your life. And may you see children born to your children, peace upon Israel.”
Tenth Step: Psalm 129 says “A Song of Ascents. Much have they distressed me since my youth, let Israel declare now. Much have they distressed me since my youth, but they never conquered me. On my back the plowers plowed, they lengthened their furrow. HaShem is righteous, He cut the ropes of the wicked. Ashamed and turned back will be all who hate Zion. They shall be like the grass on rooftops, that, even before it is plucked, withers, with which the reaper cannot fill his hand, nor the binder of sheaves his arm; and of which passersby have never said, ‘HaShem’s blessing to you; we bless you in the Name of HaShem.'”
Eleventh Step: Psalm 130 says “A Song of Ascents. From the depths I called You, HaShem, My Master, hear my voice, may Your ears be attentive to the sound of my pleas. If You preserve iniquities, O Elohim, my Master, who could survive? For with You is forgiveness, that You may be feared. I put confidence in HaShem, my soul put confidence, and I hoped for His word. I yearn for my Master, among those longing for the dawn, those longing for the dawn. Let Israel hope for HaShem, for with HaShem is kindness, and with Him is abundant redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all its iniquities.”
Here is a very good video to go with Psalm 130, the Eleventh Step. This video was recorded in Israel…just look at that land!
Twelfth Step: Psalm 131 says “A Song of Ascent. By David. HaShem, my heart was not proud, and my eyes were not haughty, nor did I pursue matters too great and too wonderous for me. I swear that I stilled and silenced my soul, like a suckling child at his mother’s side, like the suckling child is my soul. Let Israel hope to HaShem, from this time and forever.”
Thirteenth Step: Psalm 132 says “A Song of Ascent. O HaShem, remember unto David all his suffering. How he swore to HaShem, and vowed to the Strong One of Jacob. If I enter the tent of my home; if I go upon the bed that is spread for me; if I allow sleep to my eyes, slumber to my eyelids; before I find a place for HaShem, resting places for the Strong One of Jacob. Behold! We heard of it in Ephras, we found it in the forested field. We will arrive at His Tabernacles, we will prostrate ourselves at His footstool. Arise, HaShem, to Your resting place, You and the Ark of Your strength. Let Your priests be clothed in righteousness, and Your devout ones will sing joyously. For the sake of David, Your servant, turn not away the face of Your anointed. HaShem has sworn to David, a truth from which He will never retreat: ‘From the fruit of your issue I will place upon your throne. If your sons keep My covenant, and this, My testament, that I shall teach them, then their sons too, forever and ever, shall sit upon your throne.’ For HaShem has chosen Zion, He has desired it for His habitation. This is My resting place forever and ever, here I will dwell, for I have desired it. Her sustenance I will bless abundantly; her needy I will satisfy with food. I will clothe her priests with salvation; her devout ones will always sing joyously. There I shall cause pride to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for My anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon him, his crown will shine.”
Here is another video filmed in Israel which corresponds to the above Thirteenth Step i.e. Psalm 132:
Fourteenth Step: Psalm 133 says “A Psalm of Ascent. By David. Behold, how good and how pleasant is the dwelling of brothers, moreover, in unity. Like the precious oil upon the head running down upon the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down over his garments. Like the dew of Hermon descending upon the mountains of Zion, for there HaShem has commanded the blessing. May there be life forever!”
Fifteenth and Final Step: Psalm 134 says “A Song of Ascents. Behold, bless HaShem, all you servants of HaShem, who stand in the House of HaShem in the nights. Lift your hands in the Sanctuary and bless HaShem. May HaShem bless you from Zion, Maker of heaven and earth.”
I hope you all can see the theme of these fifteen steps! HaShem is our only place of refuge, safety, security, provision, healing, rest, and hope!! What better reminder for all of us, myself included, in the wicked, violent, war torn world we currently live in!!
One final video for you to watch…filmed in Jerusalem, running to greet Messiah:
May it be so very, very soon in our days!!
- The Scriptures by Institute for Scripture Research
- The Illustrated Tehillim (Psalms) by Artscroll
- Kehati Mishnah
- Tractate Sukkah from the Steinsaltz Talmud Bavli