SUKKOT or THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES, IN A NUTSHELL
REF: LEVITICUS 23:34, DEUT 16:13
The Feast of Tabernacles or “Sukkot” as it is also referred to is the third of the High Holy Days which is part of the “Days of Awe.” These are the days of soul-searching, reflection, and asking ourselves these questions; “Where Am I in my relationship with the LORD?” Where Am I in my relationship with others?”
Yom Teruah is the first of the “Moedim” (set aside days to meet with God) and it anticipates the “Coming of the king” We need to get right with the LORD and start confessing our sins, repentance, “Teshuva” as it is called in Hebrew, then, “Yom Kippur” is the “Day of Repentance” We REALLY need to get right with God. Then, five days later (five is the number of grace) is the Feast of Tabernacles, or “Sukkot.”
This is a time of joy, of happiness, of Thanksgiving. We need to thank God for the blessings He has given us throughout this year. We need to thank Him for our lives, our health, our food, our jobs, our families, and above all, our “salvation” through “Yeshua” who IS our SALVATION. We need to thank Him for allowing us to see through this period of the “Days to Awe” to be able to get right with Him, and not die with unconfessed sins in our hearts.
Repentance leads to getting right with the LORD, and getting right with the LORD leads to joy and happiness, which is what Sukkot is all about. This period lasts for 7 days, and an extra day to be “extra happy” one could say. It is called the “8th day” the number “8” is the number of “a new beginning”
It is believed that the pilgrims celebrated this very festival when they came to the New World in 1620. The first winter was horrible, with much starvation and death, but God used the native Americans known as the “Wampanoags” and through two English-speaking men, Squanto and Samoset, the Pilgrims were taught to plant and harvest corn and other produce. During the harvest of 1621, they celebrated this time of “Thanksgiving”, which in the USA is celebrated the third Thursday in November.
Sukkot is a time to celebrate the good fruits of the harvest that the earth brings forth to feed us all, to celebrate the rains that are needed to bring all this about. It is also the time to celebrate the presence of God with His people. He came to dwell with Israel in a simple tent known as the “Mishkan” or the “Tabernacle” in the form of a cloud covering during the day and fire by night. Inside the Tabernacle, His presence was in the form of the “Shekinah” the “Glory of the LORD”
He came in person, in flesh and blood as Yeshua Ben David, Yeshua Ben Yosef, Yeshua Ben Elohim, but in just plain English, Jesus Christ our LORD. If we do the math, it is believed he came around this time, born in Bethlehem or “Beit-Lechem” (The House of Bread). It is fitting that the “Bread of Life” be born in the “House of Bread. You might ask how can we figure this out? Everyone celebrates December 25th and does the “Christmas thing” But this date was actually the pagan Roman holiday “Saturnalia” which celebrated the birth time of the gods of Rome.
King David divided the priesthood into 24 periods of service in the temple. The service times were in two-week periods, starting from the first month of Nissan, which comes out to be between March and April. Zachariah, who was a priest, and father of John the Baptist, had the 8th service time, as his family was of Abiah. That means he did his service for two weeks between June and July. If we count 6 months from July we end up in December, as John was 6 months older than Yeshua.
Then, it is believed Mary became pregnant during the time of Hanukkah, being towards the end of December, so, we could count 9 full months from January through September-October. That means that Yeshua was born between the end of September through mid-October. Since the Jewish calendar is lunar, the festive days change on the Gregorian calendar. This year, the Feast of Tabernacles started on the 21st of September and will end on the 27th of September. In past years, it came in October. So, this time fits the time of the birth of our LORD and Savior, and Messiah.
This is a time of gift-giving. Many give cash and/or gifts of food. Many families join together and celebrate fellowship together in homes and in synagogues. Many will build temporary “sukkot” or “shelters” made of tree limbs or bamboo, with palm coverings. Yet the Israelites dwelt in tents made of animal skins and cloth fabric supported by wooden poles. Some people opt to do the same, and camp out in large tents.
So, during this week of Sukkot, let us think on what Adonai did for us so long ago. He sent His only begotten Son to this earth to teach Torah, to heal diseases, and to die for our sins, to be that perfect mediator between sinful mankind and a Perfect Sinless God. Let us be joyful and glad that we have a renewed relationship with our creator through Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Christ, our Messiah, and LORD.
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