Feast of Tabernacles: The Last Great Festival

Excerpt from: J.K. McKee’s Moedim published 2013 by TNN Press. This resource is available for purchase here.

Tabernacles/Sukkot

The final of the major appointed times occurs five days after Yom Kippur:

“Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, “On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD. On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind. For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work”’” (Leviticus 23:33-36).

Following Yom Kippur is Sukkot or the Feast of Booths, also called the Feast of Tabernacles. Leviticus 23:42- 43 instructed how during Sukkot, “You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” This was to be in remembrance of the time when the Lord led the Ancient Israelites out of Egypt and when they would build sukkahs (pl. sukkot) or temporary dwelling places, described by Hertz as being “a hastily-constructed and unsubstantial edifice.”[1]

Sukkot, along with the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Shavuot, is one of the three pilgrimage festivals (Deuteronomy 16:16). Today, there are varying ways that Messianic Believers observe Sukkot. A few make the sincere effort to go to Israel and to Jerusalem during the feast and assemble with other Believers from all over the world. For those who are unable to go because of financial constraints, which is most, many celebrations take place at local assemblies where a congregational sukkah is built, usually from a wooden frame covered in palm branches or other “leafy” branches in remembrance of the temporary dwellings of the Israelites in the wilderness. Many choose to erect a sukkah in their backyards as they celebrate Sukkot with their families.

There is, of course, even more significance represented by Sukkot, especially for us as Believers and its relation to prophecy and to Yeshua. In Exodus 25:8 the Lord declares, “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.” This verse establishes the foundational principle of Sukkot: God dwelling in the midst of human beings. We know that this element of our faith is realized fully in Messiah Yeshua, who “became flesh, and did tabernacle among us” (John 1:14, YLT), as God’s presence was manifest via a human body, beyond Him just filling the Temple. But at the same time, we eagerly cry out “Come quickly Lord Yeshua!” so that we might see the Messiah manifested in all His glory here on Earth in His Kingdom.

In a similar manner as the Tabernacle and the booths were to be “temporary” dwelling places in the wilderness, so will the Messiah’s manifestation on Earth in His Kingdom after the Tribulation period be “temporary,” so to speak. We emphasize “temporary” here because the Seventieth Week of Israel spiritually represents our trek from Egypt or this world to eternity. Yeshua’s Millennial Kingdom is but an “intermediate time” before we see the New Heavens and the New Earth and the New Jerusalem—the New Creation God is preparing for us in eternity. We know this to be the case because in Jeremiah 31:38 when God restores Israel’s Kingdom, that “the city will be rebuilt for   the LORD from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate,” which occurs during the Millennium, versus the New Jerusalem which comes down from the sky (Revelation 21:2, 10).

Sukkot is a time when we are to concentrate on our Heavenly Father and His earnest desire to live among us. When Yeshua physically returns to the Earth, all people   will be seriously mandated to observe the Feast of Tabernacles. Zechariah 14:16-17 describes how those who, during the Millennium, do not go to Jerusalem to honor the Feast of Tabernacles, will not receive any rain from the Lord: “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.” So for some reason or another, some will not understand the concept of communing with the Lord.

The festival of Sukkot will likewise experience prophetic fulfillment at the end of the Millennium, as the Apostle John attests, “I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away’” (Revelation 21:3-4).

Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles is a wonderful holiday that the Lord is restoring to His people. Sukkot is a time when Messianic Believers are being drawn to the Lord and His desire to have our fellowship tabernacling with Him. They get to experience such a fellowship in a very tangible way, communing with Him and with others in their congregational or home sukkahs.[2]

 

Endnotes:

[1] Ibid., 525.

[2] For resources on how to keep the Fall festivals with your family, consult the Messianic Fall Holiday Helper by TNN Press.

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