WHAT IS SUKKOT
WHAT IS SUKKOT
Sukkot is the Feast of Tabernacles. It commemorates the provision of God for the Israelites in the wilderness. They stayed in shelters, or booths. We remember this and build a booth, or sukkah, in our yards to live in (eat and sleep) for one week.
This Feast marks the end of the long, hot summer and ushers in the last harvest of the season. We cannot help but think of the end-time harvest of God, when He will gather His elect from the four corners of the earth at the last trumpet! How wonderful that He desires that none should perish, but all should come to eternal life!
We celebrate this harvest holiday with many special fruits eaten in our sukkah with friends and family. A special bundle of palm fronds, willow branches, and myrtle, called a lulav, is waved in the sukkah and blessings are pronounced. We decorate the sukkah with lights and paper chains and pictures made by the children. Usually only the Orthodox sleep in their booths, which are sometimes quite fancy and well-equipped. But most people eat in their sukkah. And it is traditional to invite guests to dine with you.
What makes a sukkah kosher (acceptable)? According to the rabbis, a kosher sukkah will be: open on one side; sturdy enough to dwell in, but still a temporary dwelling that would be blown over in a storm; be covered with branches of the palm variety as well as another leafy branch, but with the ability to still be able to see the stars.
There are many prophetic pictures in the Feast of Sukkot. John 1: 14 says, "The Word became flesh and dwelt [literally, tabernacled] among us." Calculating the time of Gabriel's visit to Zachariah in the Temple when he announced the birth of John the Baptist based on when Zachariah's turn would be to serve, and adding six months to that for the time when Gabriel visited Mary, and then another nine months for Yeshua to be born, brings us to this time of year. Was this when the Savior was born, or was it at Passover when the shepherds may have been with the sheep who were lambing and the Passover Lamb was born to take away the sins of the world?
The sukkah is a picture of the wedding chupah, or canopy. We know that history will culminate in a wedding feast for the Lord with His Bride.
A prophesy speaks of the Tabernacle, or sukkah, of David being raised up again -- a place of continual worship to God. (Amos 9:11)
The millennial reign of Messiah will involve all the nations coming up to His throne in Jerusalem and paying Him homage. They are celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. Any nation who does not come up will not be blessed with rain for their crops. (Zechariah 14:16-19)
Yeshua speaks of the "end of the age" as a time of ingathering of the harvest. (Matthew 13:36-43)
After the seven-day holiday of Sukkot is an eighth day, another Sabbath. It is a holy convocation and ushers in a new beginning. Leading up to this day, the priests would carry jugs of water from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple area. On the eighth day they would pour out the water while the people burst forth in singing the "Hallel Psalms" (Ps 113-118). As the water poured, they were reminded of how God miraculously provided water in the wilderness out of the Rock, and will also one day pour water from heaven on their thirsty souls through the Messiah. Paul said, "The Rock that followed them was Messiah." (1 Corinthians 10:4) It was on this day that Yeshua stood and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water!" (John 7:37-38)
The rabbinic celebration of Simchat Torah (the Joy of the Law) is celebrated on the day after the eighth day. Every year the Torah scroll is read through once, week by week, in synagogues all over the world. On Simchat Torah, the end of the scroll is reached and it is rolled back to the beginning to start again with Genesis 1:1 in the new year. We sing and dance and praise God for His Word. Psalm 19 says, "The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold...sweeter also than honey...."