Sukkot – Feast of Tabernacles

Sukkot (sue – COAT)
The Festival of Booths/Feast of Tabernacles

Exodus 12:37 tells us that:

When G-d’s people left Egypt with Moses, they camped and put their animals into a shelter called a “SUKKAH”, which means “booth”, “stable”, “hut”, “shelter”, or “tabernacle” in the Hebrew language . “SUKKOT” is the plural of the word. Moses called that place “Sukkot”.

Leviticus 23:
G-d gave the Children of Israel Seven Feasts. He called them “Holy Days” – “holy unto the Lord”, but we have changed the word to “holidays” and most Christians do not celebrate them. We have chosen to honor other days instead. Now many have once again begun to celebrate these Feasts or Festivals. They are not “Jewish” Feasts – the Bible calls them “the Feasts of the Lord”. Starting at sunset, (G-d’s day starts at sunset – Genesis says “the evening and the morning were the first day”) on the 15th day of the seventh month, which begins at sunset the night before, Jews all over the world and many Christians will celebrate this Special Holy Day.

SUKKOT – is given by G-d Himself, and lasts for eight days. God gave us a special calendar and it is not the same as the one we use, so we find SUKKOT comes on a different day every year on our Gregorian calendar. On the Jewish calendar, each month starts on the first day of the new moon. In 2004, Sukkot began on the evening of the full moon, September 29th (Tishrei 15). Next year it will be on another day on our calendar but still the 15th of Tishrei.

II Timothy 2: 15
You might be thinking, “OK, so G-d gave all this to the Jews – what does it have to do with me? Why should I care?” G-d loves all of His people, Jews and Gentiles alike. He chose Jews to write His Book and it was written to them. But every thing in His Book is for everyone who loves G-d and wants to read His Word. We ALL can learn something from EVERY THING in the Bible if we will only ask G-d to show us what He has in mind. He is trying to teach us. Let’s open our hearts to Him and learn all He has for us. “Study to be approved..”

Nehemiah 8
Notice that the sukkah (sue-kah) is only a temporary shelter – built to last only one week. It is not very sturdy. A strong wind could blow it all over. It is not built to last at all. Every year, the Jewish people build a sukkah wherever they live. It’s funny to look up at apartment buildings in Jerusalem and see sukkot on the balconies! In our State, it’s too cold and usually too wet to sleep out, so Jews and Messianic Believers here just eat in them. The Jews in Israel and warmer countries also sleep there.

Psalms 91:1-5
Sometimes it has a door – but there is no lock. People eat and sleep in this place for a whole week. This is the way they lived all the years of their wanderings through the desert. They had to rely on G-d alone for their needs. We can learn from this that it isn’t the lock that protects us – it is G-d! It is always G-d! We all really live in a house of sticks and the “big bad wolf” could blow it down if it wasn’t for G-d, our Mighty Protector. We should remember how G-d’s people lived all those years in tents and flimsy shelters. We can understand that He took care of them then and believe He will take care of us now! Our protection is from Him and Him alone! We must never forget to thank Him for His love and care.

Deuteronomy 16:13-15
It is to be built after the crops are gathered in. The people were to gather together and rejoice and be thankful. They were to share with others, especially the poor. Sound familiar? This was really the first Thanksgiving! When the Puritans came to America, they only continued what God started way back in the Brit Chadasha (Older Covenant or Testament). It is still a time to rejoice and be thankful. Why not write a `thank you’ note now to Someone Special in your life? We need to be thankful to people and to G-d.

Zachariah 14:16 -17
The sukkah is to be re-built every year – generation after generation for all time. We will celebrate this festival during the Millennium. Our family decided not to wait, we celebrate it now! We have some of our meals in it and sometimes we invite friends. We sing songs, listen to beautiful music and read the Scriptures. We try to think about the beautiful place that our G-d is preparing for us. Our bodies are like a sukkah – an earth-suit – a temporary dwelling until we get the real one.

Building a sukkah is one way He helps us remember. It is said we retain 10% of what we hear, 50% of what we see and 90% of what we “do” or act out. G-d knew this and I believe this is why He asked us to “do” these things. He wants to make sure we remember His teachings and apply them to our daily lives as well as show us what’s coming up ahead in the future.
Another interesting thing about a sukkah – remember that the word can also mean “stable”? It is written that Y’shua, the Hebrew name for Jesus, was born in a stable. Was this stable really a sukkah? After all, this is the Feast of Tabernacles and we know that Y’shua was sent to “tabernacle” with us. What better time for Him to appear? All Feasts of the Lord have a New Covenant (Testament) fulfillment. The actual date of His birth has been lost. In Biblical times birthdays were not celebrated by the Hebrews. We were to remember the death and resurrection of Y’shua, but never actually told to celebrate His birth.

I believe He was probably born on the first day of Sukkot – 15 Tishrei, 04 BC. If we note the time of Zachariah’s service in the Temple, we can pinpoint the time of the birth of his son, John the Baptist which was about the time of Passover in the Spring. His cousin, Y’shua, was born six months later. That would make it during Sukkot. If He was born the first day and circumcised the eighth day, that would take care of the whole eight day Festival time.

Whenever it was, we know He was born, He did die and die for you and me in our stead. We have only to accept His sacrificial death, give our hearts to Him and make Him Lord of our lives. Then this `sukkah’ or temporary earth suit – this body of clay – will be changed forever into an eternal one that we might live forever with Him…
Baruch HaShem! Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
In the meantime — get ready to rejoice and be glad!

Chag Sameach! – Happy Festival! © 1994

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka

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