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The Holidays of God: The Fall Feasts

What Is the Joyous Celebration of Sukkot? Why Do We Celebrate


This Festival?

"On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to
Yahweh. On the first day is a solemn assembly; you shall do no laborious work of any kind."
. . . "You shall dwell in tabernacles for seven days." (Leviticus 23:34-42)
Sukkot References in the Tanakh (First Covenant):
Leviticus 23:33-36 - Feast lasts seven days, eighth day assembly.
Leviticus 23:39-43 - Rejoice with four species of foliage, dwell in shelters
Numbers 29:12-34 - Sacrifices and offerings for each day
Deuteronomy 16:13-15 - Rejoice in this festival!
I Kings 8 - Solomon dedicates the Temple during Sukkot
If observant Jewish people are right, the ancient festival cycle of Israel is a timeless source
of spiritual renewal. If those who call themselves Messianic Believers are right, the seven
holidays of God are more than mere Jewish tradition. Those who believe that the Messiah
has already made an appearance believe He fulfilled the spiritual meaning of the first four
feasts, leaving the three final feasts for fulfillment in the last days.
One of the more interesting & joyful of the Holy Days that we are commanded to observe as
"a statute forever in all your generations" is the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles). Sukkot is
the Seventh (and final) feast given to Israel. It is observed in the fall, from Tishrei 15th
22
nd
. During this time many Messianic Believers construct a Sukkah, a small built hut in
which meals are eaten throughout the festival.
It is observed as a memorial of the times when the Israelites basically "camped out" in the
wilderness for forty years. Therefore, booths (sukkahs) are constructed with roofs of green,
leafy branches that allow the light to go through.
You can observe the mitzvah of dwelling in a sukkah by merely sitting in one and partaking
of bread and wine (or grape juice if you prefer). There are some hardy souls who
actually sleep in their sukkahs. It is a worthwhile option to build a sukkah or perhaps
have a congregational sukkah. It's rich in spiritual symbolism. At Adat Ha Tikvah Messianic
Synagogue we build a community Sukkah.
Regretfully, many in the Christian churches tend to dismiss this celebration as "just another
Jewish holiday." This day is a day in which there were sacrifice offerings in the
Temple for each of the Gentile nations. According to the Rabbis, there were 70 Gentile
nations in ancient times. Beginning in Numbers 29:13, you can read about the sacrifices
that were offered on each of the days of Sukkot. On the first day, 13 bullocks were offered
as a burnt offering. On the second day, 12 bullocks, on the third day, 11 bullocks, until
finally on the seventh day, only 7 bullocks were offered, making a total of 70
bullocks-one for each of the Gentile nations.

We learn that in the Messianic Kingdom Age (the Millennium) it will be a biblical
commandment for Gentiles to observe Sukkot.




Where is Yeshua in Sukkot?

For those who want to be just like Yeshua, it should be noted that He observed all the
Biblical Holidays, including even Chanukah, which is a Jewish tradition, not a Biblical
commandment. It was the Festival of Sukkot that Yeshuas own unbelieving brothers
mocked him, urging Him to make himself known publically. Did they hope to see their
brother arrested?

Yeshua did finally go to the Feast, at his own timing. He taught, saying, My teaching is not
mine, but His who sent me. Yeshua was always in submission to the Father. It was on the
last day of the Feast (the 7
th
day called Hashanah Raba) during the water pouring
ceremony, that Yeshua said, If any is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who
believes in Me, as the Scripture said, from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living
water.

It was on the Mount of Transfiguration that Yeshuas appearance transfigured before his
talmidim (disciples). At that time, Elijah and Moshe appeared with Him Moshe
representing Torah, and Elijah representing the Neviim (Prophets), which both were
witnesses of Yeshuas coming. At this time Shimon Kefa (Simon Peter) said something many
people do not understand: Rabbi, it is good that we should be here. Let us make three
tabernacles (sukkahs), one for You, one for Moshe, one for Elijah.

You know ol Peter! Open Mouth, insert foot! But in this case, Peter has a good reason to
say what he said, because this event occurred during Sukkot.
References in the New Testament:
John 7:2, 37-38 - During Sukkot, Yeshua explains that believers in Him will
experience "living water."
John 5:19,30; 8:28; 14:28
Matthew 17:1-5 - Looks forward to the future reign of Yeshua/Jesus in power.
2 Corinthians 5:1-5
Messiah Yeshua celebrated this Feast in: Yochanan (John) 7, applying its meaning to
Himself.
Hag Sukkot booths are decorated with fruits, giving a sweet fragrance. This speaks of the
Lord giving Shelter and Refreshment, to our forefathers and, today, to us!

Was Yeshuas Birth on Sukkot?
Anyone who knows me knows my love of Biblical Facts, especially when it
concerns the numbers! Here is something to chew on!
Think about this Messiahs birth, about 3750 - 3756 BCE (10 - 4 CE), was expectantly
awaited (Matthew 2:1-18) because within about 40 years Daniels prophecy concerning
Him must be fulfilled.
The prophet Micah wrote that He was destined to be born in Beth-Lechem (Bethlehem)
the House of Bread (Micah 5:2). (God called Him the Bread from Heaven (John
6:32-36), though men say Manna (Exodus 16:31) It was because of this prophecy that King
Herod had the children of Bethlehem killed, to protect his throne against the coming
promised king.
The rabbis who translated the Septuagint taught from the prophet Isaiah that He would be
born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) and would be called Immanuel God with Us.
In the expected time and place, on the Festival of Sukkot, in a succah (tabernacle,
temporary dwelling) where Passover lambs were raised in the city of the shepherd David, a
Son was born to a virgin descended from that Messiah David (Matthew 1, Luke 3:23-38).
At an angels command (Matthew 1:21), He was named Yeshua, meaning "Salvation." God
would dwell with us in a sukkah of humanity that would be bruised by the serpent, then
crush that old serpent!
The apostle Yochanan (John) tells us that the Word (of God) became flesh and "dwelt in a
sukkah" (tabernacled) among us (John 1:14).
When Zechariah was ministering in the temple, he received an announcement from God of a
coming son. When Zechariah was ministering, was a week in the middle of Sivan. If
Zechariahs promised son Yochanan (John the baptizer) were conceived soon thereafter,
then Yeshuas conception, which was six months later, would be late Kislev to early Tevet,
near Chanukah (the Feast of Dedication); His birth would thence be at mid Tishri, the Feast
of Sukkot (Tabernacles).
The month of Tishri (in the fall) also fits with the season of shepherds being out with their
flocks by night, as they were when Yeshua was born; during winter the lambs are kept
indoors. If you know anything about sheep (and many people do not) they are creatures
which are kept fairly warm in winter, especially when lambing is occurring.
Later in His life, if he was indeed born during Sukkot, Yeshua may have celebrated His
birthday on a mountain with three of His disciples (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:1-10). In
contrast to birthday parties, such as Herods (Matthew 14:6-12), where people were killed
for entertainment, His was a celebration of life. On the Festival of Sukkot, Moses and
Elijah, from centuries past, representatives of the Torah and the Prophets, appeared and
talked with Yeshua. One disciple, Kefa (Peter), suggested building three sukkot for Yeshua,
Moses, and Elijah, because it was required for the festival, but he did not understand (Mark
9:6) that these three were fulfilling that which the festival symbolized: they were dwelling in
their sukkot (temporary tabernacles) of flesh, awaiting their eternal resurrection temples.
"This World is not my home"
Recently, while studying, the Lord showed me a new revelation. It was new to me anyway!
The Feast of Sukkot has another great symbolism. Have you ever gone camping? I mean
really camping not in an air-conditioned cabin or trailer with all the comforts of home.
Have you ever gone camping in a rough-hewn cabin or tent? It can be great fun, getting
close to nature, even communing with some of the wildlife! However after about a week,
you are happy to get back home, enjoy a nice warm bath, and sleep in a comfortable bed.
"Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outward man perish, yet the inward
man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for
us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things
which are seen, but at the things which are unseen. For the things which are seen are
temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2Cr 4:16-18)
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle (sukkah) is torn down, we have
a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in
this sukkah we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as
we, having put it on, shall not be found naked. For indeed, while we are in this sukkah,
we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed in
order that what is mortal may put on immortality. For He who prepared us for this very
purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, we are always
confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.
For we walk by faith, and not by sight. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be
absent from the body and present with the Lord." (2Cr 5:1-8)
There you have it, folks, as Rav Shaul tells us! This body that we are "clothed" with is just a
sukkah for our "soul." We are just "camping out" in this sukkah, but someday we will be
going home. In the words of an old hymn I heard in the past - This world is not my home,
I'm just passing through."
If you are a believer in Messiah Yeshua, and living for Him, you have a heavenly citizenship.
You might be the citizen of the United States or some other country. You may love your
country, and call it home. However, you have another citizenship in Heaven. The writer of
Hebrews says of the great men and women of faith, "But now they desire a better country,
that is, a heavenly one, wherefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has
prepared for them a city." In Judaism, this is known as the Olam Haba, the World to Come.
According to Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 4:21-22,
"This world is like a lobby before the Olam Haba. Prepare yourself in the lobby, so that
you may enter the banquet hall. Better is one hour of spiritual bliss in the Olam Haba
than the entire life of This World."
We also believe in the Messianic Kingdom taking place on this planet for at least a thousand
years. Ezekiel's vision of the Dry Bones tells us that all Israel will be resurrected and
brought back to the Land of Israel, which will be considerably larger than it is today,
despite the best efforts of recent Israeli Prime Ministers to dissect and give away
the Land.
What are the Four Species: citron, palm, myrtle and willow?
Although the booths are meant to eat meal in remembrance of how God provided for the
Israelites in the desert, the Torah directs us to use four species of plants to celebrate the
holiday.
The Hebrew name for these four plants is arbah minim (four species). The specific plants
are: the lulav (palm branch), the etrog (lemon-like citron), myrtle, and willow. The etrog is
handled separately; the other three species are bound together and are collectively referred
to as the lulav (thus the four are often called "lulav and egrog").
Have a safe & Enlightening Sukkot! - Judy Clark