The seventh and final feast given to us on God’s calendar is called Sukkot (sue-coat) or the “Feast of Tabernacles.” Sukkot is observed in the fall, from the 15th to the 22nd of the Hebrew calendar month of Tishri. During this time we construct a sukkah, a small hastily built hut in which we celebrate throughout the festival. The sukkah is built in order to remember the huts (plural: sukkot) Israel lived in during their 40 year sojourn in the desert after their exodus from Egypt.
Later, after Israel entered the land of promise, Sukkot was associated with the fall harvest and came to be known as the “Festival of Ingathering”. Certain customs were further incorporated into the observance of Sukkot, including decorating the sukkah, performing special “wave” ceremonies of the “Four Species”, water libations, wine libations and special praise services featuring joyful singing, dancing and blessings.
Since it immediately follows the Days of Awe and Repentance, Sukkot represents the time of ultimate, fully restored fellowship with God. In fact, the Hebrew name for the Tabernacle means ”Sukkot of God”, and was a physical representation of God’s Presence living among His redeemed people (Exod. 29:44-45). The holiday of Sukkot celebrates renewed fellowship with God, remembering His sheltering provision and care for us as we travel through the desert of this life, surrounded by the Clouds of Glory. The sukkah itself symbolizes our dependence upon God’s care and sustenance. In light of the work of Jesus as the high priest of the New Covenant, we now have access to the Heavenly Temple of God (Heb. 4:16). We are now members of the greater Tabernacle of His body; we are now part of His great Sukkah!
Sukkot in the Scriptures
In Biblical times, Sukkot was considered the most important of all the holidays, referred to simply as “the Feast” (1 Kings 12:32). It was a time of many sacrifices (Num. 29:12-40) and a time when, on Sabbatical years, the Torah would be read aloud to the people (Deut. 31:10-13). It is one of the three required festivals of the LORD (Exod. 23:14; Deut. 16:16).
The Bible explicitly commands three things regarding the festival of Sukkot:
To gather the “four species” (Lev. 23:40)
To rejoice before the LORD (Deut. 16:13-14; Lev. 23:40)
To celebrate in a sukkah (Lev. 23:42)
The festival of Sukkot has a prophetic dimension awaiting fulfillment. As the “Day of Ingathering” of the harvest, Sukkot prefigures the gathering together of the people of God in the days of the Messiah’s reign on earth, the final harvest of His people (Isa. 27:12-13; Jer. 23:7-8). Indeed, the Bible tells us that all of the nations of the earth will come together to worship the LORD in Jerusalem during the Feast of Sukkot (Zech. 14:16-17). Sukkot, therefore is a vision of The Kingdom of God finally and completely established throughout the whole Earth.
We can celebrate this holiday because Jesus came to “sukkah” or “tabernacle” with us (see John 1:14) in order to purge away our sins and to redeem us to Himself. He will also come again to establish His Kingdom and tabernacle with us here, in complete peace and justice, for a thousand years. So as we celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles we want to remember God’s great mercies toward us, and also eagerly look forward to His return to establish His Kingdom and therefore to “tabernacle with us” again. At that time Jesus will set up His everlasting Sukkah with us — so that that we may know Him, love Him, and abide with Him forever! The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come”! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
The Feast of Tabernacles starts October 14, 2011 and runs through October 22. Have a blessed Sukkot!