Archive for the ‘Feast of Tabernacles – Sukkot’ Category

In the days of Nehemiah …

“It was the first day of the seventh month” (Nehemiah 8:2).

After our family began celebrating the ‘appointed times’ found in the Leviticus 23, days, times and seasonal cycles stood out on the pages of the Scriptures.   This specific verse in Nehemiah is no different.  It sets the time for the events to follow as the ‘first day of the seventh month’ or Yom Teruah – the Feast of Trumpets.  This ‘appointed time’ of God begins His season of the fall feasts which are about repentance, atonement and a vision of the coming Millennial Kingdom.

The events in Nehemiah 8 are not some random occurrences in the history of Israel.  They are a testimony to the restoration of the Feasts of Elohim to a people who had lived in exile for over 160 years.  Though there was a first wave of Jewish return to Jerusalem 70 years after being taken captive, Ezra and Nehemiah were in the second wave 90 years later.  It was during this time that the priests gathered the people together on the ‘first day of the seventh month’.

Yom Teruah 445 B.C.E.

A wooden platform was made on which Ezra, the priest,  stood and could be seen and heard by all of the men and women who came to listen to the reading of the Torah.  As he opened the Torah scroll, everyone stood.  Then Ezra blessed Yahweh, the great God.  As the people answered with “Amen”,  they lifted up their hands, bowed their heads and fell prostrate before Elohim with their faces to the ground. 

“Amen” has a very interesting root history.  It comes from the Hebrew word aman meaning ‘to nourish, support, make sure and strong’.   The word emunah or faithfulness also has its root in aman.   The Jewish sages say that amen is an acronym for el melek ne’eman or “God is a faithful King’.  According to Revelation 3:14, Yeshua is the “the amen, the faithful and true witness …; he is the faithful King.”   Thus the people were saying as they were about to hear the Torah read, “God is a faithful King.”

Days of Awe and Repentance

The Levites, whose responsibility it was,  explained the Torah to the people.  After being in a foreign country for several generations, they needed to translate the Hebrew so that the returning ‘Persian’ Jews would  understand what was being read.  When they heard the teachings and instructions that God gave them through Moshe, the people began to weep. 

Repentance or ‘turning back to God’  is central to the fall ‘appointed times.’   With the hearing of the Torah for the first time standing in Jerusalem, the people wept.  They grieved.  They understood they had lost the very essence of their national heritage from the LORD and had not lived accordingly.

Ezra, along with the rest of the Levites told them not to weep, not to be sad for this day was ‘set apart to Elohim their God.’  It was an ‘appointed time’ of Yahweh.  They were told to go out, eat rich food, drink sweet drinks and give portions to those who couldn’t provide for themselves.  Even today sweet foods are eaten on Feast of Trumpets with apples and honey being the traditional foods evolving from Psalm 119:103 How sweet to my tongue is your promise, truly sweeter than honey in my mouth!”

Mouth of God

Yeshua said in Matthew 4:4 “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.”  What does the mouth or ‘voice of God’ sound like?

Ram's Horn ShofarWhen John was exiled on the island of Patmos, he has a revelation of Messiah.  He says,  “I came to be, in the Spirit, on the Day of the LORD; and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a shofar ….”   The voice of the LORD sounded like the blowing of a shofar.   A shofar, or the horn from a ram, is blown on the Feast of Trumpets.  Obviously, it is only when breath goes through the shofar that it can make a sound.  Being vessels of Elohim’s Spirit, it is taught that the ‘breath of God’ or ruach ha kodesh blows through a shofar when it sounds.  

(Note: John heard the voice that sounded like a shofar on the Day of the LORD.  This is in reference to the events surrounding the coming Millennial Kingdom and a time of judgment, not the first day of the week.  The events for the Day of the LORD will begin on ‘the first day of the seventh month’ or Yom Teruah.)

The Spring of Living Water
Pool of SiloamThe original city of Jerusalem had very different boundaries than modern-day Jerusalem.  In fact, remnants of the city are found in what is known today as the City of David.  Within the ‘older’ city of Jerusalem, the Water Gate led down to the Gihon Spring which was located in the Kidron Valley.  This spring was the main source of water for the Pool of Siloam.   The priests would go to the Pool of Siloam collect the water for each day’s water libation ceremony.  During this event, they would pour water over the altar in the Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles.   On the last and greatest day of this feast, Yeshua stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drinking! Whoever puts his trust in me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being!” (John 7:37-39).

As the people gathered at the Water Gate, it is symbolic of the pathway to the living water of the Word of God.  With the reading of the Torah by Ezra, the Jewish people had been ‘washed in the water of the Word’ and began preparing themselves as a pure and holy bride (Ephesians 5:25-26).   

Building Sukkot

On the second day,  the heads of the clans of the people joined the Levites and Ezra to study the words of the Torah again.  They found that Elohim had ordered through Moshe that the people of Isra’el were to live in booths or sukkot during the ‘appointed time’ in the seventh month known as the Feast of Tabernacles.  They were to announce the festival of Sukkot in all of their cities and in Jerusalem.  

“Go out to the mountains, and collect branches of olives, wild olives, myrtles, palms, and other leafy trees to make sukkot, as prescribed” (Nehemiah 8:15).

Olive TreeAccording to Jeremiah 11:16, God calls Israel an olive tree. In Romans 11,  Sha’ul speaks about branches of olives and wild olives that make up the Olive Tree of Israel.    The natural branches represent the 12 Tribes of Israel  and the wild branches of the nations that join with them.  Both receive the same living water of the Word through the same Spiritual root.   Though both branches will continue to produce either natural olives or wild olives, they both will continue to produce olives.

“A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). 

Middle Eastern MyrtleMyrtle trees are considered an evergreen and are very hardy.   They produce a purplish-black berry called the mursins.  This fruit can be dried then ground and used as a flavoring.  It is one of the four leafy trees bound together for sukkot that have over time has been given the symbolism of ‘good smell, but no taste’, like a person who has ‘good deeds, but does not study the Torah.’

The prophet Zechariah lived during the time between the first and second returning remnants.  He has a vision of God, angels and horsemen standing in the midst of a myrtle tree.  This vision was given to him to reinforce God’s promise that the exiles who would return to Jerusalem would be prosperous.  In order for the Jewish people of Zechariah’s time to prosper, they would need to repent and serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, rebuild the Temple, and learn Torah.  In the time of Nehemiah 8 and Yom Teruah, the repentance had begun. 

“Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 1:16).

Palm TreePalms, or lulav in Hebrew,  were also part of the branches collected to make a sukkah.  It is known for its uprightness, fruit and its beauty.  The Jewish sages say that the palm tree, which has taste but no smell, can be compared to a person who studies Torah, but has no fruit of good works. 

The first mention of palm trees in Scripture is when the Israelites are camped at the oasis of Elim during their trek in the wilderness.  It is during the Feast  of Tabernacles that palm branches are waved signifying the coming Messianic kingdom. This is why palm branches were waved when Yeshua entered Jerusalem during the Passover season.  The people believed that the kingdom of God had images-1arrived; however, it was the wrong ‘appointed time’ and season.    In Revelation 7:9, multitudes from every tribe and nation will be waving palm branches and giving glory to the King of Kings.  Today, the lulav is a special binding of three species of branches along with an etrog (a type of citrus fruit).  It is used to worship the LORD during Sukkot and to remind everyone that one day the nations of the world will gather in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16). 

The people went out from the city, collected branches from specific trees and made sukkot for themselves on the roofs of their homes, in their courtyards, in the Temple courts and in the open spaces by the Water Gate and the Efrayim Gate. The entire community of those who had returned from the exile made sukkot and lived in them for the commanded time of eight days.   They had not done this since the days of Joshua and they celebrated Sukkot with great joy.  They also read the Torah every day from the first day until the last day of the ‘appointed time.’

In Our Day

The Feast of  Trumpets begins on the first day of the seventh month and Sukkot begins on the fourteenth day.   In our Gregorian calendar these fall festivals occur in our months of September/October.   They are a vision of the coming Kingdom of God when Israel, the natural branches of the Olive Tree will gather in Jerusalem along with the nations, the wild branches of the Olive Tree, to worship the King of Kings.  Everyone will wave olive, palm and myrtle branches for they will not just study Torah, they will bear righteous fruit of the etrog in the Kingdom of the Most High God.

The Jews in the days of Nehemiah prepared for this coming Kingdom by repenting and returning to the Torah of God and celebrated the ‘appointed times’ on their commanded days.  As wild olives, we can also embrace the vision of the coming Kingdom millennia later through the same ways: repentance and turning back to God, learning Torah,  and proclaiming the ‘appointed times’ to those who stand by the Water Gate desiring spiritual nourishment from the spring of living water.  Amen. “Yah is the faithful King.”  

©2016 Tentstake Ministries Book Nosh

Feasts of the Lord: Shadows and Realities (Overview)

“What will you do on the day of your appointed festivals, on the feast days of the LORD?” (Isaiah 9:5).

“Here, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me” (Revelation 3:20).

There are many different calendars in the world today.  There is the Gregorian/Julian calendar which is internationally accepted as the civil calendar.  This calendar begins in January and ends in December and includes American holidays like New Year’s Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.

There is the liturgical calendar that was generated by the Roman catholic church with the holidays that have been universally embraced by the Christian church worldwide.  On this calendar is the weekly Sunday and yearly dates for Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter.

There is also the Biblical calendar established by God with Israel at Mount Sinai.  This calendar focuses on the weekly and annual festival days called The Feasts of the LORD.  These are the times that God has set to meet with His people in prophetic ways. 

The Mo’edim or Appointed Times

The Hebrew word for ‘feasts or festivals’ is mo’edim and means ‘set or appointed times.’  Within the meaning of mo’ed is the idea of  a ‘meeting of two or more at a certain place and time.’ “Mo’edim    is the word used in Genesis 1:14 for the word ‘seasons‘ when God created the sun, moon and stars.  The Feasts of the LORD are seasons  determined by the sun, moon and stars.   From that account, days are rendered sunset to sunset as ‘there was evening and morning,‘for each day.   Months are approximately 28 days based on the lunar cycle. Years are determined by the  constellations that move across the heavens.   Outlined in Leviticus 23 are the Mo’edim of the Yahweh or the ‘set meeting times’ of the LORD. 

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies” (Leviticus 23:1).

The ‘appointed times’ given by God were called sacred assemblies or holy convocations. In Hebrew, the word for ‘assembly’ or ‘convocation’ is mikrah. This word has its root in qara and means to ‘call out loudly’ or be ‘invited.’  Mikrah has the added nuance of ‘rehearsal’ associated the ‘appointed times’ of God with being invited to a rehearsal dinner

These ‘appointed times’ were not given just to the Tribes of Israel, but also Egyptians who had heeded Moses’ command to put lamb’s blood on their doorposts.  This mixed multitude of men, women and children left Egypt and became one community known as Israelites.

The ‘appointed times’ of the LORD had agricultural foundations with festivals for firstfruits and harvests giving each festival a spiritual significance to the complete redemptive plan of God.  Each festival was a shadow of the Messiah who was, is, and will be.   Yeshua became the reality of the spring ‘appointed times’; he will become the reality of the fall festivals at their ‘appointed times.’

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that are coming; the reality, however, is found in Messiah” (Colossians 2:16-17).

This verse in Colossians has been used for a proof-text that gentiles or non-Jewish believers don’t need to celebrate the Biblically appointed times because they have Jesus in their lives. Instead of understanding the Scripture in the context that judgment should not come from Jews when gentiles join together with them in celebrating their holy days, they rid themselves from what is found in the reality of Messiah. 

Shadows and realities go together.  Shadows imply that there is some substance causing it while something of substance causes a shadow.  If we are in Messiah and he in us, then we have the the light that brings the reality out of the shadows.  The shadows spoken of in these verses to the Colossians are in the progressive present tense, that are coming,  meaning that they are still in process in the present and have yet to all be fulfilled.

This inherited lie has kept the believing gentile separated from their full inheritance in the Messiah of Israel.      Instead of accepting the spiritual blessings that come from celebrating the Sabbath and the New Moon, they reject the very substance of Yeshua’s life in their own.

Weekly Appointed Time

Sabbath is the first appointed time given by the LORD.

“There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly.  You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the LORD” (Leviticus 23:3).

Present Shadow and Reality

The seventh day Sabbath is a memorial to Creation ‘in the beginning.’  It is so important that God put it in the 10 Commandments as well as listed it the first of the mo’edim.  Yeshua taught that God made the Sabbath for mankind and he is the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 8:12, Mark 2:27).   

First of Months and the Spring Feasts

These mo’edim of the LORD have been fulfilled by Yeshua on their appointed day and time.  The first three represent the past work of Yeshua justifying the individual before  God and bringing the hope of redemption to the world. 

Passover is the second appointed time given by the LORD.

“These are the LORD’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month” (Leviticus 23:4-5).

Shadow

The Passover festival is a memorial to the deliverance of the people of God from Egypt through the blood of the lamb.  They were taken from a life of slavery to a life of freedom.  They were taken from the darkness of a pagan world into the light of the God’s Kingdom.

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua is our Passover lamb.  Through his sacrificial death, we are taken from a life of slavery in sin to a life of freedom in righteousness.  We are taken from the darkness of the sinful world to the light of the Kingdom of God.

Feast of Unleavened Bread is the third appointed time given by the LORD.

Shadow:

This festival is in memorial to the haste in which the Israelites left Egypt.  They had no time to let their bread dough rise. 

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua was the sinless, unleavened bread of life.  He was hastily taken off the cross and buried before the Feast of Unleavened Bread would begin.  He was wrapped in cloths and put in a tomb.

The Feast of Firstfruits is the fourth appointed time given by the LORD.

Shadow:

This festival is a memorial to the firstfruits of the harvest.  It is celebrated on the first day of the week after the weekly Sabbath following Passover.

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua rose from the dead and ascended to his Father and offered himself as the first sheaf of grain from the harvest.

The Feast of Weeks is the fifth appointed time given by The LORD. This festival represents the present work of Yeshua sanctifying the individual through the Holy Spirit and preparing him for the world to come.

Shadow:

There are 50 days between the Feast of Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks called Counting the Omer.  For 40 of these days Yeshua walked on the earth, met and ate with his disciples.  Then, he ascended into heaven.

Fulfilled Reality:

The Spirit of God came mightily upon the Jewish believers in Messiah as part of the promised new covenant.  Tongues of fire reseted on them and filled them with power to speak in other languages and take the gospel to the nations. 

Fall Appointed Times

“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habbakuk 2:3).

These mo’edim of the LORD have not yet been fulfilled by Yeshua.  This is the future work of Yeshua restoring the glory of God to Israel and the nations.  These ‘appointed times’ are a vision of hope.

The Feast of Trumpets is the sixth appointed time given by the LORD.

Shadow

The Feast of Trumpets is a memorial to something that has not yet happened. 

Reality is yet to come

At the trumpet call of God, the dead will be raised and changed from mortal to immortality.

The Day of Atonement is the seventh appointed time given by the LORD.

Shadow

On this day, the high priest went into the Holy of Holies in the Temple and made atonement for himself and the nation of Israel.

Reality is yet to come

On this day, all Israel will be saved. 

The Feast of Tabernacles is the eighth appointed time given by the LORD.

Shadow

The Feast of Tabernacles is a memorial to the Tabernacle in the wilderness when the LORD lived among His people. 

Reality is yet to come

When Yeshua returns, he will Tabernacle with the nation of Israel and rule the nations from Jerusalem.

The Eternal Sabbath

Shadow

We are living in the shadow of the eternal Sabbath with the vision of a remaining Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:8).

Reality is yet to come

The restoration of the Kingdom of God and the New Jerusalem.

The weekly and annual cycle of The Feasts of the LORD give us the complete picture of God’s plan of salvation.   Yeshua was, is and will be the reality in each and every mo’edim.

“Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the people who know the joyful sound (who understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the feasts); they walk, O Lord, in the light and favor of Your countenance” (Psalm 89:15 The Amplified Bible).

©2010 Tent Stake Ministries (Chapter from Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive that includes more about the Feasts of the LORD and how to celebrate in your home or with others.)

Eight-days of Tabernacles (Study Guide)

“He raised up a testimony in Jacob and established a Torah in Israel. He commanded our ancestors to make this known to their children, so that the next generation would know it, the children not yet born, who would themselves arise and tell their own children, who could then put their confidence in God, not forgetting God’s deeds, but obeying his commandments” (Psalm 78:1-7).

The Feast of Tabernacles is ‘our season of joy’.  It is the time of Yeshua’s birth, the time to remember the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the time for celebrating the ingathering (of Israel) and a time to look forward to the coming eternal Kingdom of God.

When my children were young, we had no place of fellowship so we made our sukkah that place.  Everyday we would run outside to read our Bibles and do an activity in the sukkah that helped all of us learn the deeper meaning to our ‘temporary dwelling.’

This list of activities is for those who are wanting to learn more about the Feast of Tabernacles.  As with all study guides, use them them as a springboard for your own personal study or teaching your own children.   There are no right or wrong answers as all Scripture is divinely inspired for our training in righteousness.  Some of the  activities will take the entire week while others are just a single day activity.  Depending on how you use it, it could even be eight years of teachings for your family.   Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God and give your children wonderful memories of ‘our season of joy’ that focuses on Yeshua, the living Tabernacle of God.

Preparation Day

The Day before the Feast of Tabernacles begins.

“You are to live in sukkot for seven days … so that generation after generation of you will know that I made the children of Israel live in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 23:42).   

Build a sukkah inside or outside.  Make sure it is a ‘temporary structure’.  You can use anything from sheets to wood, but its roof should be covered with branches or left open.  Decorate it with pictures, fruit, and lights.  Put pillows, chairs and tables inside if it is big enough.   Make it a welcoming place for Bible study, eating snacks or meals, and inviting friends.  Learn the Hebrew words sukkah and sukkot.

Read about Abraham living in a tent in a tent in Hebrews 11:9-10.  Have your children draw a picture of his tent and hang them in your sukkah.

First day of Tabernacles

“On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days” (Leviticus 23:40).

Make some lulavs with branches and fruit.  Gather some palm branches or buy some silk/plastic ones along with some lemons.

In Luke 8:4-15, Yeshua taught about the four heart conditions of men in the Parable of the Sower.  Compare and contrast the spiritual lulav found in the Feast of Tabernacles chapter with the Parable.

Yeshua the Living Tabernacle

“The Word became flesh and tabernacled with us, we saw his glory, the glory of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Read about Yeshua’s birth in Luke chapters 1 and 2.  Yeshua means ‘salvation’ in Hebrew.  Look up Scriptures that have the word ‘salvation.’  Write them out on 3×5 cards replacing the word ‘salvation’ with ‘Yeshua’.  Put them in a basket in your sukkah and read several each day.

Play some praise and worship music and dance with your lulavs to celebrate the birth of Yeshua.

Second Day of Tabernacles

“…‘Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field” (Exodus 23:16).

Using yellow, red, orange and brown construction paper, cut out autumn leaf shapes.  On each leaf write a Scripture about the harvest or ingathering.  Hang your leaves in your sukkah.  Some examples can be found in Isaiah 11:12, 55:10, Matthew 13, Mark 4, John 4, Jeremiah 16:14-15, and Ezekiel 23:13.

Learn about aliyah and the modern-day ingathering of Jewish people from around the world.  Seek out a ministry in Israel that encourages aliyah or helps new immigrants to adjust to life in the land of promise. 

Third Day of Tabernacles

“I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body … (2 Peter 1:13).

Search for Scriptures about our bodies being ‘tents’ and ‘temples’.    Have children draw a self portrait and hang it in your sukkah. 

Learn about the Holy Spirit or the Ruach haKodesh in Hebrew.  Look up Scriptures that tell what he Holy Spirit does in a believer’s life.  What does it mean to be convicted of sin or comforted?  What is the difference between the fruits of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit?

Fourth Day of Tabernacles

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

What does it mean that we are clay jars that hold a treasure?  Using some clay, make a jar that represents you.  Paint your name on the outside.  Write your favorite Scriptures on pieces of paper and put them inside the jar.

Learn about the Dead Sea Scrolls.  They were found in 1948 by a bedouin shepherd in some caves near Qumran.  The scrolls had been hidden in clay jars since the time of the revolt about 70 A.D.  The scroll of Isaiah was found completely in tact.  How would you consider the Dead Sea Scrolls as ‘treasures in clay jars’.

Fifth Day of Tabernacles

“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34).

Do a little study on the glory of the LORD.  In Hebrew the word is kavod.  What is significant about kavod?

Put a menorah in your sukkah.   If you don’t have a menorah, draw one or make a simple one with clay and seven birthday candles.  If you are really creative glue seven spools on a piece of wood and paint it with gold paint.

“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2).

Burn some incense in your sukkah.  Frankincense and myrrh can be bought where most incense is sold.

Sixth Day of Tabernacles

“These are a shadow of things that are coming, but the body is of the Messiah” (Colossians 9:17).

Shine a light on your child and make a silhouette of them.  Then take a photograph of them.  Discuss the difference between a shadow and a reality.  How does Yeshua become realities in shadows?

Read about the Tabernacle in Hebrews and Revelation.  Find similarities and differences between the shadow of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the Tabernacle in heaven.

Build a small Ark of the Covenant using a box.  Spray paint it gold and put some dowels on the sides.  From some poster board, make two cherubim and paint them gold.  Attach them to the top of the Ark.  Find two rocks and put them in the Ark for the stone tablets.  Find a stick with leaves and put it in as Aaron’s rod that budded.  In a small container, put some oatmeal as manna.  Put your Ark of the Covenant inside your sukkah. 

What are the shadows of the Ark, the stone tablets, Aaron’s rod, and manna fulfilled in Messiah Yeshua? the new covenant? the royal priesthood? the bread of life?

Seventh Day of Tabernacles

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring and my blessing on your descendants” (Isaiah 44:2-4).

On this day, Yeshua attended the Feast of Tabernacles.  Read about the events of that day in John chapter 7.

Fill a pitcher of water and pour it out as you read and discuss living water  (Jeremiah 2:13, Jeremiah 17:13, Zechariah 14:8, John Chapter 4, Revelation 7:17).

Exodus 17:1-7 describes the account of the water coming from the rock.  1 Corinthians 10:3-4 explains the rock.   How is this ‘water from the rock’  visible to the people on the last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles?

Eighth Day of Tabernacles

“Blessed is the man  who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners  or sit in the seat of mockers.  But his delight is in the Torah of the Lord, and on his Torah he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3).

This day is known as Simchat Torah or ‘Rejoicing in the Torah’.

Learn what the Hebrew word torah actually means and how it can be used with both the testaments of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16).

Read Psalm 19 aloud. Notice that each section begins with a Hebrew letter.  Learn the Hebrew Aleph-Bet along with their word pictures.

Make flags from dowels and small pieces of felt for celebrating Simchat Torah.  Our little flags say, “Yeshua”, “I Love God’s Torah”, “Rejoice in the Bible” and “Be Joyful”.  Wave the flags, play music and dance praising God for giving us this ‘appointed time‘ to learn about His Tabernacle, His Son, and our earthly temples.

On the eighth day of Tabernacles, Yeshua was circumcised and given his name of ‘salvation’.  Learn about circumcision and discuss Romans 2:28-29.

It is traditional to begin a yearly cycle of reading Torah on Simchat Torah.   Begin a Torah cycle for the next year so the Scriptures are planted in your heart, mind and soul.

Have children write a short poem, story, or paragraph about something that made their ‘Season of Rejoicing’ special.

Take pictures of your sukkah and begin a family scrapbook of the Feast of Tabernacles.

©2005 Tent Stake Ministries (from Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.)

The Feast of Tabernacles – Sukkot

“The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD’s Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days.  The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work.  For seven days present food offerings to the LORD, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present a food offering to the LORD. It is the closing special assembly; do no regular work” (Leviticus 23:33-36). 

The Feast of Tabernacles is the last of the seven ‘appointed times’ given to Israel.  In Hebrew the Feast of Tabernacles is sukkot meaning ‘shelters or booths’. Sukkot is the eight-day fall festival of ingathering that follows the solemn days of awe and the Day of Atonement.  It is known as the ‘season of our joy’ when everyone dances with lulavs and builds temporary shelters with roofs made from branches of trees.  Like the other fall festivals, the Feast of Tabernacles has yet to be fulfilled by Messiah.  Its shadow contains the vision of the coming Millennial Kingdom when Yeshua will once again tabernacle with His people Israel.   The final culmination of the Feast of Tabernacles will occur in eternity when there is a new heavens, new earth and the New Jerusalem where Yahweh will sit on His throne

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place (the Mishkan) is now among the people, and he will dwell (tabernacle) with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3 NIV and Orthodox Jewish Bible).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Booth – Sukkah, the singular of sukkot סכה

Samech – A Prop means ‘to support and protect’

Kaf – An Open Palm means ‘to allow, to open’

Hey – A Window means ‘to reveal’

The Hebrew word picture for sukkah: “A protection opening revelation.”

Abraham’s Faith

Abraham's Tent

Abraham’s Tent

“By faith he [Abraham] made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country;  he lived in tents as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with permanent foundations, of which the architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:9-10).

Abraham was called a friend of God because he believed God.   He had faith in God’s promises to make him a great nation through a promised seed.  Though he had to live in a tent in this world, he had the hope of an eternal city built by God, the the New Jerusalem.

Jacob’s Sukkah

Jacob at Succoth

Jacob at Succoth

“Jacob went on to Sukkoth, where he built himself a house and put up shelters for his animals.  This is why the place is called Sukkoth (shelters)” (Genesis 33:17).

When the Israelites left Egypt, their first stop on their way to Mount Sinai was Takut, the Egyptian name for Sukkoth.   Hundreds of years earlier, Jacob, whose name had been changed to Israel,  stopped at this exact place after he reunited with his brother Esau.  He built ‘temporary dwellings’ for his family and livestock and called it Sukkoth.

Sukkot

“You are to live in sukkot for seven days … so that generation after generation of you will know that I made the children of Israel live in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 23:42).

In the LORD’s command for the Feast of Tabernacles, the Israelites  were to live in sukkot as a reminder of the 40 years they traveled in the wilderness and lived in temporary shelters. Throughout their generations, the nation of Israel (specifically the Jewish people) has built  sukkot no matter where they have lived.

Our Sukkah 2011

Our Sukkah 2011

A sukkah can be built in a yard or on a porch or balcony.  It generally has three walls with all or part of its roof open to the sky.  Any roof covering is usually branches from trees.  Lights may be hung in the    sukkah along with interior decorations such as pictures, flowers, leaves or fruit. Some families line the interior walls with white in order to remember the ‘clouds of Glory’ that surrounded them as they traveled  in the desert.  For seven days the sukkah, the personal or family dwelling place, is used for eating, sleeping and inviting special guests for the season of joy.   

The Lulav

“On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year” (Leviticus 23:40-42). 

On the first day of Sukkot, branches from palms, willows and myrtles along with a large fragrant citrus fruit called the etrog are bound together in what is called the lulav or the Four Species representing the nations of the world.   On each day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the lulav is waved facing north, south, east and west while proclaiming the coming Kingdom of God to the nations. 

Rejoicing with the Lulav

Rejoicing with the Lulavs.

Several other symbolic meanings developed from the four species creating the lulav. Some believe the four species represent the memorial name of God: Yod Hey Vav Hey which is why they species are bound together as one.   Others believe the fruit and the aroma of the trees relate to different people and how they respond to God’s Torah very similar to the Parable of the Sower and how different people’s hearts respond to the Word of God.  Still others believe that the branches and the fruit represent the parts of our bodies, our temporary dwellings, that we are to offer to God as “instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:12-13).   

The Tabernacle

“On the first day of the first month of the second year, the tabernacle was set up” (Exodus 40:17).  The Hebrew word for tabernacle is mishkan and this is what the the Tabernacle or ‘tent of meeting’ was called in the wilderness.    

Hebrew Word Pictures

Tabernacle – Mishkan משכן

Mem – Water means ‘to come down from, immense’

Shin – A Tooth means ‘consumed’ or Shekinah, ‘the Divine Presence of God’

Kaf – A Palm or Wing means ‘to cover or allow’

Nun – A Fish means ‘ action and life’

The Hebrew word picture for mishkan: “The immense consuming [divine presence of God] cover of  life.”

After the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt, they ended up at Mount Sinai where Moses received God’s instructions for constructing His portable ‘dwelling place’, His mishkan.   It took a long time for all of its posts, curtains, and holy articles to be made.  Gold, silver and bronze objects that were taken from Egypt had to be melted down or beaten and formed into shapes.  Acacia wood had to be gathered, cut and built into boxes.  Animals had to be slaughtered for their skins.   Fabric had to be spun from flax and wool.

Tabernacle in the Wilderness

YHVH’s Dwelling in the Wilderness – Mishkan

Eventually the articles became a the Altar of Sacrifice, a hammered golden Menorah, an Altar of Incense, a Table of pPresence and the Ark of the Testimony.  Mirrors were collected from the women to cover the large basin for priestly washing and purification.  Tabernacle coverings were stitched together and mounted on the posts.   Curtains from finely twisted linen with blue, purple and scarlet yarn were hung in the Holy Place.  By the time of their two-year anniversary of leaving Egypt, the Mishkan was set up and the glory of the LORD filled it with a cloud.  Yahweh had His ‘temporary dwelling’ that could be transported when He moved His people. 

“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  Moses was unable to enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud remained on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  Whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel continued with all their travels.  But if the cloud was not taken up, they did not travel onward until the day with it was taken up.  For the cloud of the LORD was above the tabernacle during the day, and the fire was (in the cloud) at night, so that all the house of Israel could see it throughout all their travels” (Exodus 40:34-38).

The Living Tabernacle

Yeshua is the living tabernacle of God’s divine presence on earth.   According to the details given in the first two chapters of Luke, it can be determined that Yeshua was born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles.  In a ‘temporary dwelling’ outside of Bethlehem, the Word became flesh and was placed in a sukkah.  His heavenly Father, the angels in heaven, the shepherds watching their flocks, his mother Miriam and his earthly father celebrated in the birth of the Son of God.  While all Israel commemorated the festival of ingathering, Yeshua became the reason for the season of our joy. 

Sukkah for Yeshua's Birth

Sukkah for Yeshua’s Birth

“The Word became flesh and tabernacled with us, we saw his glory, the glory of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth … for it pleased God to have his full being live in His Son…” (John 1:14, Colossians 1:19).

Yeshua celebrates Feast of Tabernacles in John chapter 7, though he didn’t go to Jerusalem until the festival was half over.   When he arrived and began to teach in the Temple, the people were astonished and and wondered how he knew so much.  He gave credit to his Father who had sent him to find the lost sheep of Israel and told them to search the Scriptures to know if his teachings were from God or himself.

“So Yeshua gave them an answer: ‘My teaching is not my own, it comes from the one who sent me.  If anyone wants to do his will, he will know whether my teaching is from God or I speak on my own.  A person who speaks on his own is trying to win praise for himself; but a person who tries to win praise for the one who sent him is honest, there is nothing false about him” (John 7:16-18). 

Streams of Living Water

Pool of Siloam

Pool of Siloam

The Levitical priesthood officiated the sacrifices in the Temple during the Feasts as well as led other traditions rooted in celebrating  the ‘appointed times.’   The highlight each day of the Feast of Tabernacles was the Water Pouring Ceremony.  A white-robed priest would lead a procession through the city of Jerusalem carrying a golden pitcher.   The people would follow him through the Water Gate to the Pool of Siloam where he filled the pitcher with water.  He  would return to the Temple with the filled pitcher while the people would follow him singing, waving their lulavs and dancing in the streets.  When the priest arrived at the Temple, he would pour the water on the Altar.  As he poured the water from the golden pitcher, he would cry out in a loud voice words from the prophet Isaiah, “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3).

The multitude of people who gathered in Jerusalem for this festival  would respond with “LORD, save us!  LORD, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.  From the house of the LORD we bless you” (Psalm 118).

Living Water

Living Water

The last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles was called Hoshana Rabbah and means ‘The Great Salvation.‘ It was the culmination of the week-long celebration of the Feast and was a vision of the final judgments to come before the restoration of God’s eternal Kingdom when He would tabernacle with mankind again.

It was on this day of the Great Salvation that Yeshua responds to the nation’s cry for salvation.  As the Great Salvation, he delivered a message not of judgment, but of freedom and fullness of life in the Spirit.  If they would come to him and put their faith in him, the Spirit of God would be poured out into their hearts and their spiritual thirst would be quenched.  Living waters would flow from within them and they would receive their Great Salvation.

“Now on the last day and greatest day of the festival, Hoshana Rabbah, Yeshua stood and cried out, ‘If a man is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drink!  Whoever puts his trust in me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being.’”  (Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who trusted in him were to receive later.  The Spirit had not yet been given, because Yeshua had not yet been glorified”) (John 7:37-39).

Our Earthly Sukkah

“I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Messiah Yeshua has made clear to me” (2 Peter 1:13).

While we live on the earth, we have an earth suit.   Peter and Paul called it our earthly tent.   Our earthly tent is mortal, decaying and dying.  It is only a temporary physical dwelling for our spirits and will one day be destroyed through death.  We will return to the dust of the ground from where we came.   While we live in our mortal sukkot, we know that we are naked and unclothed in the eyes of God.   We cry out in our temporary sufferings and affliction while we wait for the redemption of our bodies and receive our immortal clothes. 

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 5:1-5).

Once we are born again, our earth tents become the dwelling place for God’s Spirit.  He seals us with His Spirit as a guarantee  that we will be released from our mortal bodies and given heavenly tents.   When we receive our glorified bodies, they will never decay or die because they are eternal.  Until that day arrives, we live in our earthly tents by faith as our father Abraham looking forward to what is to come.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 16:19-20).

Feast of Ingathering

“… Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field” (Exodus 23:16).

The Feast of Tabernacles is also called the Feast of Ingathering.  It is celebrated after the harvest grain and grapes, however,   the olive harvest is still in process.   It foreshadows when the House of Judah and the House of Israel are gathered from the nations back to the Promised Land.   This ingathering of God’s chosen people will be so divinely inspired that it will be celebrated as a ‘greater exodus’ than when the Israelites left Egypt.   The Ingathering has only just begun with a modern-day movement of Jewish people returning to Israel from all the nations of the world.  It is called aliyah and means ‘going up’.   

“‘Therefore,’ says The LORD, ‘the day will come when people will not longer swear, “As The LORD lives, who brought the nation of Israel out of the land of Egypt,” but, ‘As The LORD lives, who brought the people of Israel out of the land to the north and all the countries where he drove them,’ for I will bring them back to their own land which I gave their ancestors’” (Jeremiah 16:14-15).

“They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month  and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: “Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and shade trees, to make temporary shelters”—as it is written” (Nehemiah 8:14-15).

The Olive trees that stand in silence …

Olive Tree of Israel

When Israel returned from captivity, they found the book of the Torah that commanded collecting branches from palms, willows and myrtles to make their sukkot.   However, in the days of Nehemiah, they also brought back branches from olive and wild olive trees (Nehemiah 8:14-15).  Because the Feast of Ingathering is a shadow of the coming Kingdom of God, the  olive and wild olive tree branches hold significance to its fulfillment.

The first mention of the olive tree is in Genesis after the flood when Noah sends out a dove and it brings back a leaf, a symbol of new life.   In Exodus Moses is given pure olive oil as one of the ingredients for the anointing oil, a symbol of the Spirit.   In Deuteronomy, the land flowing with milk and honey also flowed with olive oil indicating the abundance of provision in the Promised Land.  The doors of Solomon’s Temple were made from olive wood on which were carved the cherubim that guarded the entrance to the Garden of Eden (1 Kings 6:32). In the Psalms, children are like olive shoots around a blessed man’s table. Jeremiah and Hosea call Israel  a thriving olive tree with great splendor.

When Paul discusses the olive tree in Romans 11,  he sees natural olive branches and wild olive branches attached to the same tree.   He tells the gentiles that they are the wild olive branches which have been grafted into the olive tree with the natural branches of Israel.

When a branch is grafted into a tree, it gets its nourishment from the roots and sap of the tree.  It will still bear its unique fruit, but only through its dependence on the natural tree.   If the grafting doesn’t take and the branch doesn’t get its nourishment,  it will die and fall off the tree.

Paul reminds the gentiles that as wild olive branches they can be cut off the olive tree if they become arrogant over the natural branches.    They are to remember that the living water of the Spirit that comes from Messiah, the root of David,  and the nourishing sap of the Scriptures supports them both by faith.    Though some of the natural branches may have been broken off due to a lack of faith, they are easily grafted back into their own olive tree  (Romans 11:13-24).    

The addition of olive and wild olive branches to the sukkah in Nehemiah’s time suggests that the Ingathering will not only include the natural olive branches of Israel,  but also the wild olive branches  of gentiles who have joined the covenant that God made with Israel.  When both branches of olives live by faith in Yeshua trusting in him as the root of the tree, living water will bring nourishing sap to both branches.  They will finally thrive with splendor as God intended for  the Olive Tree of Israel.

The Millennial Kingdom

“In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. …Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken” (Micah 4:1, 3).

Ezekiel's Millennial Temple

Ezekiel’s Millennial Temple

Yeshua’s teachings centered around the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven.  Though it was near, it had not yet fully arrived and would not until he had been glorified and crowned King.  During a one thousand year ‘season of our joy,’  the nations of the world will come to the mountain of the LORD in Jerusalem.  Yeshua will sit on his throne in the Temple and rule the nations from Israel.  His reign will join the present world and mortal men with immortal men in a unique time in history.  With an iron scepter, he will rule the earth and prepare its people for his Father’s eternal kingdom.

“After six days Yeshua took Peter, James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain privately.  As they watched, he began to change form – his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became as white as light.  Then they looked and saw Moses and Elijah speaking with him.   Peter said to Yeshua, ‘It’s good that we’re here, Lord.  I’ll put up three sukkot [temporary dwellings]  if you want – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’  While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them; and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him’! (Matthew 17:1-5).

Yeshua had just days before told the disciples that some of them would not die until they saw the Son of Man coming in his kingdom (Matthew 16:28).  They were waiting for this kingdom to arrive with great expectation.  Six days later Yeshua took Peter, James and John up a mountain.

The three disciples watched as Yeshua changed into glory in front of them. They saw him speaking with Moses and Elijah establishing a witness of three to the transfiguration.  They didn’t realize that were receiving only a glimpse at the coming kingdom, but believed that Yeshua was establishing his Kingdom rule on earth at that ‘appointed time.‘   They believed that Yeshua was going to take up his throne in Jerusalem and reign as King of Kings.  They weren’t being stupid;  they knew the prophecies.  Peter responded with his great faith in Yeshua’s words of the coming kingdom when he offered to build these three glorified men, Moses, Elijah and Yeshua shelters or sukkot.

The Eternal Tabernacle

“I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them …. They will be his people, and he himself, will be their God” (Revelation 21:3).

The New Jerusalem Descends

The New Jerusalem Descends

At the end of Yeshua’s Millennial reign, a new heaven and a new earth will appear.  Everything from the old heaven and earth will pass away.   The New Jerusalem will come down out of the restored heavens and descend to the renewed earth.  There won’t be a Temple in the New Jerusalem because God will be the Temple.  There will be no sun or moon to shine on it because the glory of God gives it its light.  It’s lamp will be Yeshua.

The river of the water of life will flow from the throne of God producing fruit for each month and healing leaves for the nations.  The servants of God will worship Him as His throne will be in the city.   The eternally redeemed will see His face and His name will be written on their foreheads.  They will reign as kings forever and ever.  When the New Jerusalem descends from heaven, Yahweh, the Father, the Creator,  the great I AM will eternally Tabernacle with His people.

“All of these people kept on trusting until they died, without receiving what had been promised.  They had only seen it and welcomed it from a distance, while acknowledging that they were aliens and temporary residents on the earth.  …As it is, they aspire to a better homeland, a heavenly one.  This is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city”  (Hebrews 11:13-15).

Our father Abraham lived in a tent. As Abraham’s children by faith and heirs to the same promises, we also live in earth tents like he did.  Until the day of our redemption, we will live as strangers and foreigners on this earth.  We can celebrate Sukkot with the hope of our future glory by building a sukkah.  As we feast in our ‘temporary dwelling’, we can identify with the children of Israel who lived in tents with the Mishkan of Yahweh in their midst.

Yeshua took on the tent of a human body to live with us. As the Messiah of Israel, he will soon return to Jerusalem as King to prepare the nations for the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.  When we  keep our eyes on the promises of God and the the New Jerusalem we will truly understand the ‘season of our joy’ and the Feast of Tabernacles.

“Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress.  Be joyful at your festival—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete” (Deuteronomy 16:13-15).

©2011 Tent Stake Ministries

(Purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive that includes this chapter along with more teachings on the Feasts of the LORD and how to celebrate them in your home or with others.)

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