Biblical Holiday of Sukkot! Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with us. A Joyous Biblical celebration for both Jews and Christians!

Today is the first day of the weeklong festival of Sukkot also known as the Feast of Tabernacles.
“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord’s Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. For seven days present offerings made to the Lord by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the Lord by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work.” (Leviticus 23:34–36)
In Israel and around the world, the Jewish People are spending time in the sukkot (plural of sukkah) that they built when Yom Kippur ended just days ago.
“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)
This holiday is a pilgrimage festival linked to the harvest, so it is also known as Chag HaAsif (Festival of Ingathering). In ancient times, every Israelite went up to Jerusalem to celebrate Sukkot at the Temple.
Sukkot is also a commemoration of the 40 years that Israel wandered in the wilderness and lived in temporary dwellings following the exodus from Egypt.
“Live in booths [sukkot] 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 when I brought them out of Egypt.'” (Leviticus 23:42–43)
This holiday is a very joyous one, so much so that it is also called Z’man Simchateinu, the Season of Rejoicing!
“On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.” (Leviticus 23:40, see also Nehemiah 8:15)
While one of the main observances of this holiday is spending time in the sukkah, the lulav (a bundle of date palm fond, myrtle, and willow) and an etrog (a deliciously fragrant lemon-like citrus) are also waved before the Lord.
When the Temple stood, this waving ceremony was performed on all seven days of Sukkot at the Holy Temple.
Sukkot, which follows right after Rosh HaShanah (Day of Judgment) and Yom Kippur (the day the judgment is sealed), represents renewed fellowship with God.
We all look forward to the future fulfillment of this Day of Ingathering when the Jewish People are gathered and Messiah will reign on the earth (Isaiah 27:12–13; Jeremiah 23:7–8).
At that time, the Bible says, the nations will come before the Lord during the Feast of Sukkot to worship Him in Jerusalem.
“Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.” (Zechariah 14:16)
Last night at sunset began the Biblical Holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles / Booths), which completes the cycle of the Fall Feasts.
This wonderful Biblical holiday lasts for a full seven days!
It is one of three pilgrimage festivals called Shelosh Regalim (Three Pilgrimages), holidays during which the Jewish People were required to go up together as a nation to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
The other two of the Shelosh Regalim are Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) (Deuteronomy 16; Exodus 23:14–17).
One of the names of Sukkot is the Festival of the Nations. And today we certainly see signs of the nations embracing this holiday. People from all over the world gather in Jerusalem for it.
According to the prophet Zechariah, this holiday also has a prophetic dimension that is yet to be fulfilled.
When Messiah returns and establishes His Kingdom, all the nations will be required to keep this holiday by coming up to Jerusalem to celebrate Sukkot. (Zechariah 14:16–17)
On that day, Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) will become Israel’s sukkah (tabernacle). His presence will shelter Israel and she will no longer be oppressed by the nations.
Some Jewish people also pray on Sukkot at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem with the Four Species: citron, palm, myrtle, and willow.
 
Sukkot: Remembering God’s Faithfulness
The first day of Sukkot is a Sabbath and most forms of work are prohibited.
The other days of the holiday are called Chol HaMoed (weekdays of the festival or intermediate period). During these days the workload is reduced; and in Israel, many people take the week off as vacation.
After the somber, introspective time of Yom Teruah (Rosh HaShanah / Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Sukkot is a joyous celebration of a renewed relationship with God following atonement for sin.
During this festive season, we recall how God’s faithfulness provided for our ancestors as they wandered the Sinai Desert wilderness for 40 years before entering the Promised Land of Israel.
“You shall dwell in Sukkot for seven days … that your future generations shall know that I had the children of Israel live in Sukkot when I brought them out of Egypt.” (Leviticus 23:42–43)
At Sukkot, we remember God’s kindness and mercy in leading and guiding Israel by day with a pillar of cloud and protecting them by night with a pillar of fire, and for providing them with daily manna.
Just as Israel dwelt in temporary shelters called sukkot (sukkah is singular), so are we to dwell in sukkot for this entire week.
Most people in Israel and Jewish people around the world build a temporary hut or shelter with a covering of branches or palm leaves.
For seven days and nights, we eat in the sukkah and consider it our dwelling; some live in the sukkah entirely for the duration of the festival, even sleeping in it through all kinds of weather.
 
Arba Minim: The Four Species
“You shall take for yourselves on the first day [of the festival] the splendid fruit of a tree [etrog], palms of dates [lulav], the branch of the thickly leafed tree [hadas], and willows [aravot] of the brook.” (Leviticus 23:40)
Another observance carried out each day of Sukkot except Shabbat is the Four Species (Arbah Minim): an etrog (citron), a lulav (palm frond), three hadassim (myrtle twigs) and two aravot (willow twigs). They are bound together in such a way that they can be held together easily.
The lulav, hadassim and aravot are first taken up with the right hand and then the etrog is taken with the left hand. A blessing is recited over the Four Species:
“Blessed are You, God … who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to take the lulav.”
Facing east where the Temple in Jerusalem once stood, the Four Species are then shaken in all six directions: right, left, forward, up, down and backward.
Rabbinic tradition explains that the Four Species represent the various personalities that make up the community of Israel. They are held together and a blessing is recited over them to bless the unity of all people, which is emphasized on Sukkot.
 
The Season of Our Joy
“You shall rejoice before the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 23:40)
One of the names for Sukkot is Z’man Simchateinu (The Season of Our Joy). In Scripture, in fact, the word joy appears several times in connection with Sukkot.
“Be joyful at your Feast — you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns… 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)
Since Sukkot is also a harvest festival, we can well imagine that there is a great reason for joy. Indeed, one of the other names for the holiday is the 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 joy of this holiday is so singular and complete that many rabbinic texts just refer to it as HaChag (The Festival).
During ancient times, every day of The Festival, except Shabbat, was characterized by music, song, and dancing.
Even today, Jewish people gather near the Western (Wailing) Wall to dance, sing, and rejoice before the Lord. People fill the synagogues and streets while singing and dancing with tremendous joy until the wee hours of the morning.
This is in partial fulfillment of prophecy. The Prophets tell us that a day will come when the exiles of Israel return to Zion. Her streets will be filled with the sounds of joyful melodies, and sorrow will disappear.
“The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” (Isaiah 51:11)
 
The Water Libation Ceremony
“With joy, you shall draw water out of the wells of salvation.” (Isaiah 12:3)
In Temple times, a special Water Libation (offering) ceremony took place daily during Sukkot.
Every day, the priests, along with a procession, would go down to the Pool of Shiloach (Siloam), which was fed by the Gihon Spring, the original source of Jerusalem’s water. At the pool of natural running water, they would fill a golden flask.
The water was then brought back to the altar in the Temple to accompany the morning sacrifice. This pouring of the water on the altar is called Nishuch haMayim (Water Libation Ceremony / literally, Pouring of the Water).
This water offering not only celebrates the hope of winter rains in Israel but also symbolizes the future Messianic Redemption when the Spirit of God (symbolized by the water) is poured out upon the nation of Israel.
 
Yeshua on the Final Day of Sukkot: Hoshanah Rabbah
“I wash my hands in purity and circle around Your altar, O Lord.” (Psalm 26:6)
The seventh and final day of Sukkot is called Hoshanah Rabbah. Hoshana comes from two words hoshah nah, meaning “Bring us salvation, please,” and rabbah, meaning great. This prayer to “bring salvation” was actually made by the priests every day of Sukkot.
During the first six days of the feast, the priests would “place willow branches alongside the altar with the heads of the willow branches bent over the altar” to add joy to the holiday (Chabad).
The priests would then sound the shofar, circle the altar once, and say, “Anah Hashem hoshiah nah. Anah Hashem hatzlichah nah (Please, God, bring us salvation. (Please, God, bring us success).”
On Hoshanah Rabbah, “The Great Hoshanah,” the priests circled the altar seven times.
On this final day of Sukkot, probably during the water ceremony, Yeshua (Jesus) stood up and proclaimed Himself to be the source of Living Water—the Salvation they joyfully prayed for. He invited all who were thirsty to come and drink, the water representing the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh).
“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Yeshua stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this, He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive.” (John 7:37–39)
 
God’s Timeline
“The Kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
While the spring feasts were fulfilled by the death and resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus), the fall feasts will be fulfilled with His second coming.
Some believe that when Yeshua returns as Messiah-King, He will be hailed by the blast of the shofar (ram’s horn) on the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah / Rosh HaShanah).
His people will recognize Him as their Messiah and mourn nationally, perhaps ten days later on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).
“I will pour on the house of David, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they will look to Me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and will grieve bitterly for Him, as one grieves for his firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10)
On Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), God will finally “tabernacle” with His people. He will dwell among us, establishing His Messianic Kingdom of righteousness.
“Look! God’s dwelling place 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)
This holiday reminds us that God will never forget the People of Israel.
The end-time prophecy Zechariah 14:12–19 seems to suggest that this holiday is the perfect time for the nations to also remember God’s people and stand with them.
Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday) and Happy Sukkot! from the entire House of the Nazarene staff We wish you happiness and joy during this Season of Our Rejoicing!
A Jewish man faces east toward Jerusalem and prays while waving the lulav and the etrog in his sukkah
A Jewish man faces east toward Jerusalem and prays while waving the lulav and the etrog in his sukkah. The etrog (in the left hand) and lulav (in the right hand) are held together in the traditional fashion and waved or shook toward the east, south, west and north. Since the etrog (citron) is used in a religious ceremony, it must be absolutely perfect. Great care and delight is taken in finding one that is perfectly formed, beautiful, and without blemish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Replies to “Biblical Holiday of Sukkot! Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with us. A Joyous Biblical celebration for both Jews and Christians!”

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