Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Deu 16:13
"Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you
have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress" (Deu
"We shall probably find the meaning of this in the
contemplation of this feast of ingathering as the type of the final harvest of
life eternal, of which Christ is the individual, and his people the collective
first-fruits. To this harvest all the work of God has been working forward from
the beginning. That it should be foreshadowed by the last of all the feasts of
the year is fitting: and that this feast should be held on the seventh month is
in the same line of harmony, also that it should commence on the first day and
last nearly the whole month, is striking. That it should begin with a joyful
trumpet blast is suggestive of the great joy with which the arrival of the day
of God will be hailed" (Robert Roberts, "Law of Moses" 208).
Reading 2 - Ecc 8:8
"No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has
power over the day of his death. As no one is discharged in time of war..." (Ecc
No one has power over the date of his own death, or even the
death of his brother (Psa 49:7-19; Gen 3:19; Ecc 9:5) -- a good example of this
being Hezekiah in 2Ki 20:1-3.
The KJV has: "Neither hath he power in the day of death: and
there is no discharge in THAT war" (ie, the battle with death).
"Death is an enemy that we must all enter the lists with,
sooner or later: There is no discharge in that war, no dismissal from it, either
of the men of business or of the faint-hearted, as there was among the Jews (Deu
20:5,8). While we live we are struggling with death, and we shall never put off
the harness till we put off the body, never obtain a discharge till death has
obtained the mastery; the youngest is not released as a fresh-water soldier, nor
the oldest as a soldier whose merits have entitled him to a discharge. Death is
a battle that must be fought, There is no 'sending' to that war (so some read
it), no substituting another to muster for us, no champion admitted to fight for
us; we must ourselves engage, and are concerned to provide accordingly, as for a
battle" (Matthew Henry).
Reading 3 - Acts 7:56
" 'Look,' he said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God' " (Acts 7:56).
Why does Jesus stand here, when elsewhere he is always
sitting? The answer may be found in Paul's last words: "At my first defense, no
one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against
them. But the Lord STOOD at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the
message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was
delivered from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack
and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom" (2Ti 4:16-18).
Christ was so involved with the life of his servant Stephen
that he was moved to stand beside him. He tore, as it were, the thin veil
separating us from his sight, rose from his seat, and revealed himself to
Stephen, encouraging him as he himself had been encouraged by an angel at
Jesus is acting as the "Comforter" or "Advocate" -- the Greek
being "Paraklete", which is a legal term for one who is called to stand
alongside, that is, a defense attorney (John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7; 1Jo 2:1).
The defense attorney, then as now, stood alongside the accused in the courtroom
and took his part with the Judge.