- The Feast of Tabernacles
Feast of Tabernacles Temporary
Booths are constructed to remind Israel of the Wilderness wandering for
forty years. A Lulav of Palm Branches are waved ushering the Kingdom--Leviticus
Sukkot is observed seven days from the fifteenth day of Tishri to the
twenty-first day. This places the annual festival in the months of September or
October, which comes just five days after Yom Kippur--the Day of Atonement.
Unlike the Days of Awe with its mood of repentance and judgment between Rosh Ha-Shanah
and Yom Kippur, Sukkot is a time of festivity and celebration.
Sukkot was the third pilgrimage feast in which all men were to appear
before the Lord at the Temple (Passover and Pentecost being the other two). As
conditions permitted, pilgrims would travel from all over Israel to Jerusalem to
celebrate colorful and elaborate Temple rites, which included a large number of
sacrifices each day (Numbers
To appreciate the past and future meaning of Sukkot, Jewry was commanded by
God to build a hut (sukkah; plural sukkot) and to dwell in these
temporary structures. "On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, hold a sacred
assembly and do no regular work. Celebrate a festival to the Lord for seven
days . . . on the eighth day hold an assembly and do no regular work,"
35. "Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are
to live in booths so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live
in booths [for forty years] when I brought them out of Egypt,"
Rabbinical laws govern Judaism concerning the booth to be
built during the celebration of Tabernacles
- The sukkah must be temporary, not a permanent one. This is to remind them
that for forty years Israel wandered about, until they reached Canaan.
- Jews must treat the sukkah as their home, bringing in personal
belongings--furnishings, in order to eat and to recline in leisure and study.
- The roof is the key element of the sukkah--it must be grown and detached
from the ground. Branches, lathing and bamboo poles are most often used.
Enough for shade, but not too much to prevent them for seeing the heavens.
- The holiday of Sukkot is associated with beauty, therefore Jews are told
to put creative effort into decorating the hut.
The sukkah is a temporary and humble dwelling that Jewish families
create to which they move from an otherwise solid, permanent home. In a home
one surrounds himself with mementos and acquisitions of trinkets and sometimes
elaborate collections of worldly success. Through windows he peers out into a
troublesome world, but locked panes and secure locks keep him from most
dangers. The home is his refuge from the chaotic events outside that are beyond
Nonetheless, the Feast of Tabernacles (Temporary Tents/Huts) helps one
realize that the best shelter is still only momentary. Over the centuries,
winds, waves and terrible storms have stripped away millions of homes in only
seconds, bringing to reality how vulnerable life truly is. Wood, walls and
roofs are not where lasting security is found; rather, in the shelter of the
Everlasting Arms. The lesson to be learned from Sukkot is that earthly homes
are but temporary dwellings--mere tabernacles in the wilderness. One must not
be rooted or attached to this world, to the things that will soon pass away.
As Paul said, the Abraham "lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob . . . for
he was looking forward to the city with foundations [New Jerusalem], whose
architect and builder is God." The saints of God are "aliens and strangers on
earth . . . they [are] longing for a better country--a heavenly one . . . for He
has prepared a [new] city for them,"
Sukkot is also the festival of the future reign of Messiah in the new
earth. All the nations will gather to the New Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast
of Tabernacles each year (Zechariah
14:16). In a symbolic manner, Sukkot concludes the story of the
Israelites journey which began with the Exodus from Egypt at Passover and the
giving of the Law of God at Mount Sinai on Shavuot fifty days later. Sukkot is
connected closely to the other fall feasts of Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur
which just precede it. However, Sukkot is even more a part of the yearly cycle
of the major pilgrimage feasts which include Passover and Pentecost.
Like the other pilgrimage feasts, Sukkot has an agricultural element. The
feast marks the time of harvest--of the final ingathering of produce before the
oncoming winter. Hence, the day is called "hag-ha-asif"--the festival of
23:16). The three pilgrimages foreshadow the choosing, maturing and
ingathering of the 144,000 "firstfruits" to God (Revelation
14:4). First the choosing of the grain at Passover and Day of
Firstfruits, then the pouring out of the spring rain that brings the grain to
maturity at Pentecost, and finally, the ingathering beginning at the
Feast of Tabernacles.
The Liberation of Water
In Biblical times during the week of the Feast of Tabernacles, there
was a ritual performed daily connected with the sacrificial ceremony which was
called nisukh ha-mayim--the liberation of water. The celebration itself
was called simhat beit ha-sho'eivah--"the rejoicing at the place of the
In ancient times King David organized the Levitical choirs into singers and
musicians. The full choir consisted of 4,000, including 288 Levites who were
skilful players on wind, string, and percussion instruments. (
1 Chronicles 23:5-6;
25:1-7). They were divided into 24 Orders. They took their turns in
the musical ministry of the Temple. Their songs were the Psalms - "T'hillim".
During the seven day Festival, each morning a procession of pilgrims and
citizens followed a white-robed Levitical priest, who was carrying a golden
pitcher. He led the people through the "Water-Gate" to the Pool of Siloam where
he filled the pitcher. The procession then followed him back to the Temple all
the way singing, waving their palm branches, and dancing in the streets.
A most impressive ritual - the "Water-Pouring" ceremony! It was the
highlight of the Festival. The water symbolized the rain. Now was the time to
thank God, and to pray for the "latter rain" for the next Spring harvest.
Earlier that morning of the seventh and last day, the sacrifices had already
been laid upon the "bronze grating" of the great altar (Exodus
38:30). The blood of the sacrifices had also been poured out at the
base of the altar, to fulfill the law of atonement: "It is the blood that
makes atonement for the soul," (Leviticus
Now the white robed priest bearing the golden pitcher with water from the
Pool of Siloam, approached the altar. Another priest met him, bearing a golden
pitcher of wine for the "drink offering," also prescribed in the Torah (Leviticus
23:13). Together they mounted the ramp to the altar of burnt
offering. Simultaneously, they poured the water and the wine down the silver
funnels, emptying at the base of the altar.
The Levitical choirs burst into song - the messianic and prophetic words of
Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For GOD the LORD is my strength and song;
And He is become my salvation.
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water
out of the wells of salvation.
And God's invitation announced by Isaiah:
Ho! everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no
money, come, buy and eat ... without money and without price. Why do you spend
money for that which is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight
itself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Hear and your soul shall
Thus said the LORD:
I will pour water upon the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground.
I will pour out My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring.
And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought,
and make strong thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a
spring whose waters never fail.
The Prophet Joel had foretold:
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon
all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall
dream dreams, your young men shall see visions ...
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the
LORD shall be delivered for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be
deliverance (or, salvation), as the LORD has said, and among the remnant whom
the LORD calls. (Joel
The Hebrew prophets had foretold a day when the thirsting soul would be
satisfied; when sinful human nature would be "reborn" or "regenerated." This
would be the work of the Holy Spirit. And so the Holy Spirit is pictured in the
language of the Hebrew Scriptures as being "poured out" into the human vessel.
God would "take away the stony heart" and give sinners a "new heart and a new
36:25-28). God would become a reality to believers (Jeremiah
But, before the "regeneration" of sinful human nature, Messiah must come to
perform His redemptive work (Isaiah
2 Corinthians 5:17).
John wrote, "the Word became flesh and lived ["tabernacled--sukkot"] ...
John 1:14. Jesus may have been baptized on the Feast of Tabernacles
and then immediately went into the wilderness for forty days, lacking food and
water, and there was tempted of the Devil. The watery immersion at Sukkot gave
birth to Christ's earthly ministry which would eventually lead to Calvary
exactly three and one-half years later at Passover.
Yeshua often used the feast days to reveal His Messianic role and to teach
spiritual lessons during His ministry. He is the eternal Ben-Elohim, Son of God
- HaDavar - the Logos; the Living Word that became flesh, Who spoke the Torah at
Mount Sinai for the observance of the Festival. Now, He stands in person to view
His own ordained Feast of Tabernacles!
His voice burst forth in a compassionate cry: "If a man is thirsty, let him
come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams
of living water will flow from within him. By this He meant the Spirit, whom
those who believed in Him were later to receive,"
Jesus also compared the tribulations that His followers would face in the
future to that of drink and watery baptism in
Matthew 20:22-23 (K.J.V.). "Are ye able to drink of the cup
[persecution] that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism [death
and burial] that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he
saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the
baptism that I am baptized with." His disciples would give their lives for the
cause of Christ in the years that followed.
After Christ's baptism at Sukkot, He entered the wilderness where He fasted
without food or water for forty days, being tempted of the Devil. In contrast,
the 144,000 elect will also experience the baptism of tribulation that Jesus
endured. As a woman in great travail with child ready to be delivered, the
elect will enter the time of Jacob's trouble that will also last forty days (The
Kingdom Calendar Pt.19).
Watery Birth of a Nation
Jeremiah 30:4-7 speaks of Israel's coming forth in the imagery of
pregnant men with hands on their stomachs experiencing severe pains, ready to
give birth. "How awful that Day [of the Lord] will be! None will be like it. It
will be a time of trouble for Jacob [or, time of Jacob's trouble], but he [the
nation] will be saved out of it. On the Mount of Olives Jesus offered detailed
signs about the end of the age as recorded in Matthew 24. When we see a
staggering increase in demonic phenomenon, wars and natural disasters around the
globe we are told that "all these things are the beginning of birth pains,"
Matthew 24:8. What birth do we await?
Isaiah adds insight into the imagery of childbirth: "Hear that uproar from
the city [Jerusalem], hear that noise from the [rebuilt] Temple! It is the
sound of the Lord [who has come down] repaying His enemies all they deserve [for
allowing Antichrist and his abomination to be set up in the Temple]. Before she
[Jerusalem] goes into labor [of great tribulation], she gives birth [to a Son];
before the pains come upon her [time of Jacob's trouble], she delivers a Son
[Messiah]. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things?
Can a country [nation of twelve tribes] be brought forth in a moment? Yet no
sooner is Zion [Jerusalem] in labor than she gives [watery] birth to her
children [at the Feast of Tabernacles]. Do I bring to the moment of birth and
not [break the water and] give delivery [to the 144,000]? says the Lord. Do I
close up the womb when I bring to deliver? says your God. Rejoice with Jerusalem
and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her [delivery of
a nation], all you who mourn over her [Jerusalem's destruction],"
The Feast of Tabernacles marked the birth of the Christ child when He was
delivered from Mary's water-filled womb. Sukkot also featured
the moment of His watery baptism. Likewise, Sukkot will mark the moment at the
end of the age when the righteous nation of Israel will be brought forth from
Jerusalem's womb. Paul noted this moment in time when he wrote, "Israel has
experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come
in. And so all Israel [of all twelve tribes] will be saved, as it is written:
The Deliverer [One who delivers the children at birth] will come from Zion
[after He has cleansed His Temple of the abomination]; He will turn godlessness
away from Jacob [the 144,000 during the 40 days that follow--the time of Jacob's
trouble]. And this is the covenant with them when I take away their sins,"
Revelation 12:1-6 identifies a pregnant woman [Israel/Jerusalem]
which gives birth to the Messiah. Afterwards, she "fled into the desert [a safe
haven] to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of
[protected by the two witnesses] for 1,260 days." Unable to reach the woman,
"the Dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest
of her offspring--those who obey God's [Ten] Commandments and hold to [grasp
tightly, never giving up] the testimony of Jesus [as revealed in the
The holy days, instituted by the design of Almighty God over 3,000 years ago,
would connect Israel's conception, her maturing, and her ultimate birth as a
righteous nation. Israel/Jerusalem, the pregnant woman of Revelation 12 clothed
with the "sun, with the moon under her feet"--the solar and lunar cycles of time
by which the Maker established His feast days--will be brought full term at
Sukkot in the imagery of watery childbirth. Out of the excruciating pains of
the great tribulation, the children (144,000, sealed for protection--Revelation
6:3-8) will be pushed through the channel of trouble to be delivered
healthy, pure and white into the arms of the Living God.
Kingdom Calendar Pt. 20 for the Sukkot connection to the Time of Jacob's Trouble
and the end-times.
More About Sukkot on Wikipedia.
Times Expert: This Sukkot is Transition Period Before Messianic Era