By Richard Sison | 2010
Feast of Sukkot >
This Feast is also known as the Feast of Booth (Hebrew for Sukkah) or Feast of Tabernacle or Feast of Ingathering and is the last Biblical feast for the year. This Feast was described in Lev 23:39-42 “Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths“.
The Jewish people including the Messianic believers started to celebrate this feast on the sunset of Monday, October 13 and ended on the sunset of October 22, 2008. We were invited by a Jewish believer to join them in their celebration at their home. He built a booth or a Sukkah at his backyard. The booth has a cloth covering on the three sides and open on the front. The roof was made of leaves and branches that cover most of the sunlight in the daytime but enough to see the stars at night. He decorated it with fruits and vegetables all around it as God commanded the children of Israel. There at the booth, we prayed and thank God for all His blessings and we joyfully shared the meal and the word of God. It was a joyous occasion and I am looking forward to celebrate it once again.
The next day, we attended the Sukkot service at the Shul (literally means place of learning or also known as synagogue) and worship the Lord together. The Messianic Rabbi explained the significance of Sukkot especially for the believers of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ).
Significance of Sukkot
1. Sukkot is one of the three festival feasts that the men of Israel should appear before the Lord God (Exo 23:14-17)
2. It is a commemoration to remember the children of Israel who lived in booths in the desert when God took them out of Egypt. (Lev 23:42-43)
3. The first Temple was dedicated to God by Solomon on Sukkot (1 King 8:1-5)
4. Ezra and Nehemiah read the Law to the children of Israel for the first time after coming back from exile in Babylon (Ezra 3:1-5; Neh 7:73-8:3, 13-18).
Some significant commemoration of Sukkot
1. The theme of Sukkot is “God tabernacles or dwells among us”
2. It is celebrated by building booths
3. It is a time of thanksgiving
4. People would march around carrying palm leaves while praising God.
Sukkot – Probable birth of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ)
Although nobody knows when exactly was the birth of Christ but there is a lot of indications or clues that it may have been during the feast of Sukkot for the following reasons:
1. There were shepherds out in the field (Luk 2:8), thus the birth of Christ was not December for it is wintertime and shepherds cannot tend their sheeps that time.
2. There was a census and everyone should register in his own city where his family belonged (Luk 2:1-5). The only way to accurately implement the census without resistance will be during the 3 appointed Feasts when the men of Israel were obliged to present themselves to God in Israel and Sukkot is one of them.
3. Yeshua (Jesus) was called Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Matt 1:23). This is the theme of Sukkot.
4. He was born in a manger (Hebrew is fatne – a container usually in a barn or stable from which cattle or horses feed). The housing of the stable was normally a temporary shelter, which resembles like a booth or Sukkah.
"If ever we want to celebrate the birth of Christ, isn’t it better to celebrate Sukkot instead of Christmas? Sukkot is God’s appointed time while Christmas is not and will never be."
Sukkot will be celebrated in the future
1. All nations and all families of the earth will celebrate Feast of Booths on the millennial kingdom of Christ (Zech 14:16-19)
2. A great multitude in white robes holding palm branches will celebrate Feast of Tabernacle (Sukkot) in Heaven. (Rev 7:9-17)
Some Christians may argue that these feasts are no longer valid because these are Jewish traditions and are but traditions of men. In Lev 23:1-44, we can see that these were the commandments of God and in verse 44 it referred to these feasts as “God’s appointed times”.
Some Christians may argue that we are now under new covenant thus we no longer have to celebrate the Feasts. In Lev 23:31, 41, God said that Yom Kippur and Sukkot are both perpetual statute throughout your generations. If they are perpetual then it means they are continuous or forever. In Psa 89:34, God said “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.“ In this verse it is very clear that God will not alter His covenant. In Numbers 23:19, it was written that “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?“ Time and time again, God made Himself clear that He never changes and it was all written in the Bible:
1Sa 15:29 “And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent for He is not a man, that He should repent.”
Mal 3:6 “For am the LORD, I change not.“
Heb 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever“
Yeshua (Jesus) said in Mat 5:17-18 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled“. I believe that He fulfilled some of the Feasts and He will fulfill the rest when He comes back in God’s Appointed Times.
If Christians don’t want to celebrate the Biblical feasts, then why are we celebrating worldly festivities such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, All Saints day, All Souls day, Easter (instead of Passover?), Mother’s day and many others? Why are we trying to Christianize worldly feasts? Will it not be better if we commemorate God’s appointed times instead? God placed these feasts for a purpose and it will bring us more blessing and joy if we come to understand and practice them.