Sukkot at western wall

Sukkot celebration at the Western Wall

Chag Same’ach Sukkot!  From now through sundown Oct. 23, our Israeli and Jewish brothers and sisters will celebrate the last of the 3 Fall Festivals: Sukkotalso known as the Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths). It’s a week-long festival commemorating the 40-yr. journey of the Israelites in the wilderness. Read about it in Ex. 23:16; 34:22; Lev. 23: 33-43; Num. 29:12-40; Deut. 16: 13-5; Ez. 3:4; Neh. 8:13-18.  It has a dual significance: 1) Agriculturally, Sukkot is Israel’s thanksgiving for a joyful harvest of the ingathering of grain and wine. 2) As an historical event, it is a remembrance of God’s protection, protection, and care during their 40 yrs. in the wilderness as they lived in booths (tents). 

During Sukkot, 2 important ceremonies took place: 1) the people carried torches around the Temple at night, illuminating candelabrum along the walls to demonstrate that the Maschiach would be a light to Gentiles; 2) the High Priest would lead a procession to the Pool of Siloam and fill a golden pitcher with water and take it back to the Temple and pour it out beside the altar.  Here he and the people would call upon the Lord to provide rain for their supply, and the people would wave palm leaves and sing out:  Save us, we pray, O LORD . . . O LORD, we pray, let us thrive!.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!  We bless you from the house of the LORD! (Ps. 118:25-26). 

sukkot celebration

The four species of Sukkot are an etrog (or citron), a palm branch (in Hebrew, lulav), two willow branches (aravot) and three myrtle branches.

On one occasion Yeshua attended the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem and spoke these amazing words that give this feast meaning for us Christians, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him (meaning the Holy Spirit, Jn. 7:37-38, NIV).  Because of Jesus giving us living water (life eternal), we never have to be spiritually thirsty anymore.  The next morning, while torches were still burning Yeshua said, I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me [we Christians] will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (Jn.8:12, NIV).     

Finally, Zechariah prophesied that it would be celebrated at the 2nd Coming of Yeshua ha Maschiach to commemorate the final, joyful regathering and restoration of Israel, as well as the ingathering of Gentiles.  I suggest that it is the final fulfillment of Gen. 12:3 where all families of the earth will be blessed through Yeshua, the seed of Abraham.  Rev. 21:3 declares that in the New Heavens and New Earth Yaweh Himself will tabernacle – live with us  and we will be His people who never again will know tears, mourning, crying, pain, or death!  Hallelujah, Sukkot is a week that gives us cause to rejoice!

succa or booth

The Succa or “booth” in Jerusalem

Concluding this great festival on Oct. 24 is Simchat Torah or Rejoicing in the Torah!  In Israel there will be dancing in the streets and synagogues with Torah Scrolls.  This is a great day for us to rejoice by reading and meditating on Yaweh’s forever settled Word in heaven and pray that it will always be a lamp unto our feet and light for our path and that we will hide it away in our hearts so that we might not sin against Yaweh.  I encourage you on Simchat Torah to read from Ps. 119 where David exalts the Torah.  It is Yaweh’s guidebook to living a life that pleases Him! 

(This blog was written by my good friend Dr. Dwaine Braddy, with the help of the following resource:  www.hebrew4christians.com)

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