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.”   What the people said  as they were about to hear the Torah was “God is a faithful King!”

Days of Awe and Repentance

The Levites had the responsibility to explain Torah to the people.  After being in a foreign country for several generations, they needed to translate the Hebrew so that the ‘Persian’ Jews would  understand the words being read.  When they heard the  instructions that God gave them through Moshe, the people began to weep. 

Repentance or ‘turning back to God’ or teshuvah  is central to the fall ‘appointed times.’   After hearing the words of 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 the LORD.  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.

How sweet to my tongue is your promise, truly sweeter than honey in my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103).

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 is able to create a sound.  Being vessels of Elohim’s Spirit, it is taught that the ‘breath of God’ or Ruach HaKodesh 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 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 to 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 TreeIn Jeremiah 11:16, God calls Isra’el an olive tree. In Romans 11,  Sha’ul speaks about branches of olives and wild olives that make up the Olive Tree of Isra’el.    The natural branches represent the 12 Tribes of Israel  and the wild branches 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 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 over time have 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 reinforce God’s promise that the exiles who returned to Jerusalem would be prosperous.  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 camp 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 hadarrived; 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 reminds everyone that one day the nations of the world will gather in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16). 

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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. On our Gregorian calendar, these fall festivals occur in our months of September/October.   They are a vision of the coming Kingdom of God when Isra’el, 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 the righteous fruit of the etrog.

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 in the say way: repenting 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. “Yeshua is the faithful King.”  

©2016 Tentstake Ministries

Feasts of the Lord: Shadows and Realities

“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 ‘appointed 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 ‘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, found in Leviticus 23 are prophetic seasons, meeting times of the LORD, determined by the sun, moon and stars.   From the Creation 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 of new moon, full moon, and crescent moons.  Years are determined by the  constellations that move across the heavens.

“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  meaning ‘rehearsal’ and associates 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 to those 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 at Mt. Sinai. 

The ‘appointed times’ of the LORD had agricultural foundations with festivals for firstfruits and harvests allowing for each festival to have a prophetic vision to the complete redemptive plan of God.  Each festival held 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 as 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.

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, the Festivals and the New Moon, they reject the very substance of Yeshua’s prophetic life in their own.

Shadows and realities go together.  Shadows imply that there is some substance causing it because something of substance causes a shadow.  If we are in Messiah and he in us, then we have 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.

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 included it in the 10 Commandments as well as listed it as 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 time’s: The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month” (Leviticus 23:4-5).

Shadow:

The Passover mo’ed 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 to 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.

Unleavened Bread is the third ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come” (Exodus 12:17).

Shadow:

This festival is a 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 began.  He was wrapped in cloths and put in a tomb.

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

“‘On the day of firstfruits, when you present to the Lord an offering of new grain during the Festival of Weeks, hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work” (Numbers 28:26).

Shadow:

This festival is a memorial to the firstfruits of the wheat 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.

“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:15-16).

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 as part of the promised new covenant.  Tongues of fire rested on them and filled them with power to speak in other languages enabling those who heard the message to take the gospel to the nations.   This festival represents the present work of Yeshua sanctifying the individual through the Holy Spirit and preparing him for the world to come.

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” (Habakkuk 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.

“On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts” (Leviticus 23:23).

Shadow:

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

Reality: 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.

“The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves,[d] and present a food offering to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:26).

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: To Come

On this day, our High Priest, Yeshua will enter the Holy of Holies in the restored Temple and all Israel will be saved. 

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

“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord’s Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days” (Leviticus 23:34).

Shadow:

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

Reality: To Come

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

The Eternal Sabbath

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God”

(Revelation 21:3).

Shadow:

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

Reality: To Come

The restoration of the Kingdom of God and the New Jerusalem comes down out of Heaven.  God will dwell with mankind. 

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 Tentstake Ministries, chapter from Journey with Jeremiah on amazon.com

Journey With Jeremiah

Journey with Jeremiah

(Purchase on Amazon, Book or Kindle)

Have you ever felt like you’ve ‘inherited lies’ in your faith? That something was missing and you needed more to grow in the grace as well as the knowledge of the Lord?  Well, we did and this is our family’s journey of how we ‘tore down’ those lies,  ‘replanted’ and built up a re-newed covenant walk of faith in the Messiah of Israel using scriptures in Jeremiah as our vision.  This book is written with reasoned and documented Biblical responses to questions we have been asked and challenged with over the past 30 years.  This book is a unique tool for those just learning about their Biblical heritage or needing a reference that explains to friends and family how you have not ‘fallen from grace’, but want to walk as Yeshua/Jesus taught and as the chosen, redeemed, holy nation of people of God should.

We are not theologians, scholars or even affiliates with any ‘brand name’ ministry or teachers. We are  believers in Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, who desired to know Him and our Father more deeply.  The Spirit of God was faithful to teach us.

 

“I just finished your book.  I loved it!  It had some amazing and profound insights.  Great job!” D. Carlson

“”This book is so good I can’t put it down.  Everyone should have a copy!  My Bible study group could learn so much from this book.” A. David

“I am going to buy a copy of this book for everyone in my family.”  K. Pilger

“I am so excited that all of your writings are now in one book that I can read and reread.” P. Nelson

“Thanks so much for writing this book.  I look forward to joining you on your Jeremiah Journey!”  D. Griffith

“I have been learning so much from reading your book!”  S. Campos

“This book changed my walk of faith in such a profound way.” R. Woods

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing

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 time’s’ given to God’s people.  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 Israel and the nations in Jerusalem.   The 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 dwell with His people.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Booth or Sukkah, the singular of sukkotסכה

Samech ס – A Prop means ‘to support and protect’

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

Hey ה – A Window means ‘to reveal’

The Hebrew word picture for sukkah: A protection allowing revelation.

Abraham’s Faith

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 and 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 New Jerusalem.

Jacob’s Sukkah

Jacob at Succot

“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) have built  sukkot no matter where they have lived.

Sukkah

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 appeared over like a sukkah 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). 

Rejoicing with the Lulav

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.

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 Tabernacle or ‘tent of meeting’ was called in the wilderness.    

Hebrew Word Pictures

Tabernacle or Mishkan – משכן

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

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

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

Nun נ – A Fish means ‘ action and life’

The Hebrew word picture for mishkan: The immense consuming [divine presence of God] cover 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’, the 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

Eventually the articles became a the Altar of Sacrifice, a hammered golden Menorah, an Altar of Incense, a Table of Presence 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

Sukkah for Yeshua’s Birth

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 the town 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 great joy!

“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 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

The Levitical priesthood officiated the sacrifices in the Temple during the Feasts and led other traditions rooted in celebrating  the ‘’appointed time’s.’   The highlight each day of the Feast of Tabernacles was the Water Pouring Ceremony.  A white-robed priest would lead a joyful procession 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 with the worshippers following him singing, waving their lulavs and dancing in the streets.  When the priest arrived at the Altar, he would pour out the water.  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).

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 restoration of God’s eternal Kingdom when He would Tabernacle with mankind forever.

Living Water

It was on this day of the Great Salvation that Yeshua responds to his 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 into God’s Kingdom, 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 tents and given heavenly bodies.   When we receive our glorified bodies, they will never decay or die because they are eternal.  Until that day arrives, we live in our bodies by faith just as our father Abraham who looked 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 of grain and grapes while the olive harvest is still in process. 

This ‘’appointed time’’ 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).

When Israel returned from captivity in the days of Nehemiah, they found the book of Torah that commanded collecting branches to make their sukkot.  In addition to branches from palms, willows, and myrtles, they also collected 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 are significant 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, those of the nations, that they are the wild olive branches which have been grafted into the olive tree along 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 fruit, wild olives, 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  Hebrew 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 nations 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

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 will not arrive 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).

Just days before, Yeshua 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 as often taught,  they knew the prophecies.  Peter responded with his great faith in Yeshua’s words about the Kingdom of God when he offered to build these three glorified men, Moses, Elijah and Yeshua shelters or sukkot.

The Eternal Tabernacle

“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).

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 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 Tentstake Ministries, chapter from Journey with Jeremiah on amazon.com

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