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Sukkot - Feast of Tabernacles Print E-mail
Written by Victoria Radin   


The Final Harvest and the End of the Age

“Of all the sacred seasons... the festival of Tabernacles has the strongest implications for the nations of the world. Even today, vast numbers of Gentiles identify with the holiday of Sukkot, and converge on Jerusalem just to be in the holy city at this time of year. It is as if their heartstrings are pulled by some invisible magnet, the source of which they know not.” (Rabbi Chaim Richman)

G-d’s calendar of sacred seasons, as outlined in Leviticus 23, reveals His Divine plan for the redemption, not only of the Jewish people, but also for the entire world. The annual cycle of the Feasts of the L-rd enables us to plug into a vast network of heavenly knowledge concerning prophetic events. G-d ordained this knowledge through His biblical commands and the traditions associated with them in the “oral laws” passed down from one Israelite generation to the next. The original observance of each Feast has the same theme as its fulfillment in Yeshua’s (Jesus’) first advent. The Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot, is no exception.

Sukkot (or Tabernacles) is referred to as “the time of our joy”. It commemorates a specific time in the history of the Israelites during which G-d tabernacled with them in the wilderness, supplying all their needs. The huts (sukkot) in which they lived symbolized His presence. It’s believed they were actually G-d’s Clouds of Glory that He spread over Israel for Divine protection and Grace, Therefore, the central theme is “the pure joy of having a relationship with the Creator”.

Although the last major Festival in the Jewish calendar, Sukkot has always marked a new phase in the history of the nation of Israel. Additionally, it has a unique connection to the Gentiles. Solomon instituted the tradition of sacrificing 70 bullocks to make atonement for the 70 nations of the world. Each year, prayers are said for the nations of the world to acknowledge and worship the One true G-d, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and for the walls of division between Jew and Gentile to come down.

The presence of G-d in the wilderness Tabernacle and then later in Solomon’s Temple celebrated the “Enthronement of Yahweh”, foreshadowing Yeshua’s future enthronement as the King of Israel who will sit on David’s throne forever in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. First He tabernacled with them on earth with “nowhere to lay His head” as was symbolized in the wilderness wanderings, and then He promised to tabernacle permanently in the hearts of every man who would receive Him as L-rd through His Holy Spirit.

Sukkot was considered the most important feast in ancient times. It is a seven-day celebration having several designations: Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot, Feast of Ingathering, Festival of Joy or Wedding Feast.

As a time of new beginnings, when G-d tabernacled in the wilderness with the Israelites, many believe that it pointed to Jesus’ birth on the Feast of Tabernacles when G-d came to ‘dwell’ or tabernacle in the flesh among men (John 1:14). (This belief is based upon specific dates and times given in the New Testament combined with the prevailing traditions of the Old Testament).

To set the date of Jesus’ birth at Tishri 15, or the full moon of Tishri would bring further significance to the “Enthronement of Yahweh” on this day because Matthew records that Jesus was born the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2). Being born on the 15th of Tishri, the Feast of Tabernacles, means that He would have been circumcised on Tishri 22, the eighth day after His birth. Circumcision was the blood covenant made between G-d and Abraham wherein G-d promised to make him a father of many nations and to give Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:2-11).

Significantly, the 22nd of Tishri is a special Sabbath, a celebration called Simkhat Torah, or rejoicing in the Torah [Word of G-d]. It marks both the end of the old and the beginning of a new Torah cycle. Because Jesus is The Word of G-d, this adds significant weight to the evidence of his birth on Sukkot. His birth (as a king) marked a new beginning for mankind in G-d’s plan of redemption.

As the Feast of Ingathering, Sukkot foreshadows the gathering of G-d’s people after the harvest, when ‘the harvest of the earth’ is brought into ‘G-d’s barn’ (Matthew 13:30).

As the Festival of Joy or Wedding Feast, the ancient Jewish wedding lasted seven days just as Sukkot lasts seven days. In Jewish belief, marriage symbolizes the entrance into Paradise. The khuppah or marriage canopy is decorated to remind us of the beauty of Paradise, and also therefore, of the beauty of marriage. The khuppah and sukkah symbolize similarly, G-d’s presence, His safety, His protection, and the intimacy of marriage. The beauty of the khuppah symbolizes what married life can be under the shadow of G-d’s Glory.

The Scriptures from Zechariah 14 teach that during the time when the L-rd will reign on the earth, all gentiles will make a pilgrimage to the city of Jerusalem to worship the L-rd on Sukkot or Feast of Tabernacles. From this it can be ascertained that G-d has mandated Sukkot to be a holiday for all mankind, both Jew and Gentile. Jewish teaching of Zechariah’s prophecies points to the connection between Sukkot and the end of days, making this Festival, not only the last Festival in the annual cycle; but the final chapter in Israel’s history as seen through the ‘eyes’ of the Festivals.

Zechariah outlines the events leading up to G-d’s enthronement:

G-d will gather all nations to do battle against Jerusalem...

G-d will go forth and fight against those nations...

On that day, His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives...

On that day, there will be neither bright light, nor thick darkness, but it will be one continuous day known as G-d’s...

G-d will be King over all the earth; on that day, G-d will be One and His name One.

Barukh HaShem (Blessed is the name of the L-rd)

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