Tabernacles is held from 15th-22nd of Tishri corresponding to September/October. The Feast recalls God’s command in Leviticus to live in shelters for 7 days. The origin of the Festival can be traced way back, being the sequel to Passover and the Exodus where the Israelites lived in temporary dwellings for their 40 year sojourn in the wilderness.
Christians are increasingly seeing the relevance of Tabernacles to their own Harvest celebrations. God gave the biblical festivals to teach the Jewish people about His character and so understand His plan of salvation. All Christians have been grafted in to the Olive Tree (Romans 11:17) and so share that same rich heritage.
Tabernacles — Sukkot1 — Leviticus 23:34; signals the journey through the Wilderness and the expectation of their ultimate arrival in the Promised Land; giving thanks for the productivity of Canaan, and the creation of a focal point for worship, the Tabernacle, and ultimately the Temple.
Chag Ha Asif, or the Festival of Ingathering also points to an end-time harvest when the nations are all gathered to worship the Lord picturing the Millennial Reign of Yeshua Ha Mashiach.
Tabernacles and the Desert
Israel Camped around the Presence
The word Shekinah does not ...
... appear in the Bible, but the concept does. Jewish rabbis coined the expression, a Hebrew word literally meaning He caused to dwell, signifying that it was a divine visitation — the Presence or Dwelling of Yahweh — God on Earth.
God’s Shekinah Glory was first seen when the Israelites set out from Succoth in their escape from Egypt.
Tabernacles and the Temple
The Lulav is formed by plaiting together branches of Willow, Myrtle and Palm Fronds.
- Lulav3—represents the backbone of a person,
- Myrtle—corresponds to the eyes for enlightenment,
- Willow—the lips used in prayer.
The Etrog4 symbolises the heart, the place of understanding and wisdom, being an acronym for faith, repentance, healing, and redemption. Also, the initials of the Hebrew words Let not the foot of pride overtake me (Psalm 36:11) — spell the word Etrog, suggesting the humble heart is beautiful in the eyes of Heaven.
Lulav and Etrog
The word Lulav comes from 2 words to him and heart. A person who loves the LORD with all his heart, will be given spiritual backbone, real conviction, a bold heart and strength.
The right hand holding the Lulav5 and the left holding the Etrog are brought together and waved in all four directions and up and down, to remind people that God’s presence is everywhere.
Tabernacles and Yeshua
The two great themes of Sukkot (סֻכָּה (see Leviticus 23:34 and John 7:2) during the Second Temple period were Water and Light. It’s likely that Yeshua referred to Himself as both Living Water (John 7:38) and Light of the World (John 8:12) during one of these water drawing ceremonies.
Yeshua spoke of the Living Water that He would give to those who asked Him. This water, He said, would truly satisfy the thirsty heart and provide everlasting nourishment for life (John 4:14). And as a reminder of the light which guided the Israelites through the desert, four giant lamps in the Court of the Women were lit. It was also a reminder of God’s Shekinah Glory which once filled the Temple and also reminded them of how the Pillar of Fire guided them in the wilderness.
Tabernacles and the Future
Sukkot is unique among the Jewish festivals as it speaks of God’s loving provision of forgiveness for the entire world. It also speaks of Israel's role to bless the nations. The Harvest Festival yet to come will be the result of the greatest outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit since Pentecost6. After Yeshua returns and sets up His Kingdom on Earth, it is written that only this one Festival will be celebrated by the nations: Sukkot (Zechariah 14:16)
The Keynote and accompanying Leader’s Edition booklet give all you need to host an evening that will include worship and food as well as be informative.
It's likely Yeshua was born during Sukkot being conceived during Hanukkah. The 1st day of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is celebrated on 25th Kislev, and Yeshua is called the Light of the World (John 8:12, 9:5, 12:46). The same verb that says He dwelt with us (skēnoō, in John 1:14) derives from the same root used in the Septuagint to refer to both the Mishkan7 and the individual tents of Sukkot. So … could it be that Sukkot will be a worldwide Birthday party for Yeshua? All the other festivals having been fulfilled — but the remembrance of His birth would remain as a celebration!