Shabbat Shalom Brethren,
Why do we keep Sukkot?
Throughout the bible we are shown that the relationship between Yehovah and Israel is one of a man betrothed to a woman. The whole bible is speaking of this relationship. Yehovah is jealous because Israel has gone after other gods, others she is idolizing.
So once Israel has repented and been rescued from the curse of captivity which ends at Atonement she has 5 days to get ready for the wedding at Sukkot. Or 5 years in the Sabbatical cycles. That is from 2033 to 2038 at which time the wedding takes place and is celebrated for 7 years up to 2044.
Yehovah’s plan for mankind involves restoration. The Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes the restoration process and the marriage Supper and the week of celebration.
In his first inspired sermon after receiving the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the apostle Peter summed up Yehovah’s instruction for mankind: “Act 3:19 “Repent therefore and turn back, for the blotting out of your sins, in order that times of refreshing might come from the presence of the Master, 20 and that He sends Yeshua Messiah, pre-appointed for you, 21 whom heaven needs to receive until the times of restoration of all matters, of which Elohim spoke through the mouth of all His set-apart prophets since of old.
But what are these “times of refreshing” and “times of restoration” of which Peter spoke?
Yehovah’s plan for mankind involves restoration. The Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes the restoration process, which will start with the return of Yehshua, pictured by the Feast of Trumpets, and the banishment of Satan, depicted by the Day of Atonement. Once these events have taken place, as represented by the previous Holy Days, the foundation is in place for the restoration of the creation to peace and harmony with Yehovah.
The seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, which begins with an annual Holy Day
Lev 23:34 “Speak to the children of Yisra’el, saying, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Booths for seven days to Yehovah. 35 ‘On the first day is a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work.
This pictures the 1,000-year reign of Yehshua over the earth after His second coming (Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones – and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them – and the lives of those who had been beheaded because of the witness they bore to Yehovah? and because of the Word of Elohim, and who did not worship the beast, nor his image, and did not receive his mark upon their foreheads or upon their hands. And they lived and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years 5 (and the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended) – this is the first resurrection.). This period is often called the Millennium, which simply means “1,000 years.”
That age to come, a wonderful “rest” following the hardships of the present age, is symbolized every seven days by the weekly Sabbath.
Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering into His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the Good News was brought to us as well as to them, but the word which they heard did not profit them, not having been mixed with belief in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter into that rest, as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, if they shall enter into My rest…” And yet His works have come into being from the foundation of the world. 4 For somewhere He has said thus about the seventh day, “And Elohim rested on the seventh day from all His works,” 5 and in this again, “If they shall enter into My rest…” 6 Since then it remains for some to enter into it, and those who formerly received the Good News did not enter in because of disobedience.
He again defines a certain day,
7 “Today,” saying through Dawid so much later, as it has been said, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Yehoshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath-keeping for the people of Elohim. 10 For the one, having entered into His rest, has himself also rested from his works, as Elohim rested from His own. 11 Let us therefore do our utmost to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:7-11
And every year by the Feast of Tabernacles. Also called the Feast of Ingathering (Exo 23:16 and the Festival of the Harvest, the first-fruits of your labours which you have sown in the field; and the Festival of the Ingathering at the outgoing of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labours from the field. ), it celebrates the great harvest of humanity when all people who are alive on earth will learn Yehovah’s ways. Humanity will at last be restored to a right relationship with Yehovah.
Isaiah 11:9 They do no evil nor destroy in all My set-apart mountain, for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of Yehovah as the waters cover the sea. 10 And in that day there shall be a Root of Yishai, standing as a banner to the people. Unto Him the gentiles1 shall seek, and His rest shall be esteem.
In the beginning, Yehovah created mankind to cooperate with Him in a beautiful relationship characterized by love, peace and obedience to His laws. At the completion of His creation:
Genesis 1:31 And Elohim saw all that He had made, and see, it was very good. And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the sixth day.
This time of peace and harmony abruptly ended because of Satan’s deception and man’s disobedience:
Genesis 3:1 And the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which Yehovah Elohim had made, and he said to the woman, “Is it true that Elohim has said, ‘Do not eat of every tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We are to eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, Elohim has said, ‘Do not eat of it, nor touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 And the serpent said to the woman, “You shall certainly not die. 5 “For Elohim knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be like Elohim, knowing good and evil.” 6 And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, and she took of its fruit and ate. And she also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Disobedience cut mankind off from Yehovah’s way:
Genesis 3:21 And Yehovah Elohim made coats of skin for the man and his wife and dressed them. 22 And Yehovah Elohim said, “See, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…” 23 so Yehovah Elohim sent him out of the garden of ?d?en to till the ground from which he was taken, 24 and He drove the man out. And He placed kerubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
The Bible describes the tragic result:
Genesis 6:5 And Yehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
This broken relationship between Yehovah and man has continued through history to our time. Paul reflected on this state:
Romans 5:12 For this reason, even as through one man sin did enter into the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned –
Paul knew that the breach created by man’s disobedience is healed through Yehshua:
1 Corinthians 15:21 For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a Man. 22 For as all die in Ad?am, so also all shall be made alive in Messiah .
Isaiah prophesied the restoration of the world. Yehovah used the prophet Isaiah to reveal parts of His magnificent plan for restoring the world.
Written at a time during which Israel faced punishment for continued disobedience, the book of Isaiah was inspired by Yehovah to give the nation encouragement through the promise of a better world to come.
Yehshua, after reading in the synagogue one of Isaiah’s prophecies, acknowledged the special understanding given to the prophet:
John 12:41 Yeshayahu said this when he saw His esteem and spoke of Him.
Isaiah prophesied not only of Yehshua’s earthly ministry, but also wrote of Yehshua’s return in power and glory:
Isaiah 66:15 “For look, Yehovah comes with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His displeasure with burning, and His rebuke with flames of fire. 16 “For by fire and by His sword Yehovah shall judge all flesh, and the slain of Yehovah shall be many – ).
The basis for the messianic rule of Yehshua will be Yehovah’s law. Again, as Isaiah foretold:
Isaiah 2:2 And it shall be in the latter days that the mountain of the House of Yehovah is established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills. And all nations shall flow to it. 3 And many peoples shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yehovah, to the House of the Elohim of Ya’aqob, and let Him teach1 us His ways1, and let us walk in His paths, for out of Tsiyon comes forth the Torah, and the Word of Yehovah from Yerushalayim.”
After Yehshua’s return, He will bring the creation in its entirety into harmony with Yehovah, and peace will no longer be the exception. King David said:
Psalms 119:165 Great peace have those loving Your Torah, And for them there is no stumbling-block.
Imagine what the world will be like when everyone knows Yehovah’s law and lives by it!
Of course, more than just knowledge is needed to bring about this amazing transformation. A spiritual change will take place among people. Yehovah, speaking through the prophet Ezekiel, describes how it will happen:
Ezekiel 36:26 “And I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. And I shall take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I shall give you a heart of flesh, 27 and put My Spirit within you. And I shall cause you to walk in My laws and guard My right-rulings and shall do them.
The Spirit of Yehovah will influence people to willingly and enthusiastically obey Yehovah from their hearts. People will begin to place the interests of others before their own. They will start thinking of others as “better than themselves”:
Philippians 2:3 doing none at all through selfishness or self-conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Instead of exclusive self-concern, their goal will be to help their fellow human beings. Theft will cease. Disregard for others’ property and feelings will be eliminated. Because the world will finally be at peace, countries will “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore”.
Isaiah 2:4 And He shall judge between the nations, and shall reprove many peoples. And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither teach battle any more. Mic 4:3 And He shall judge among many peoples, and reprove strong nations afar off. They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks – nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither teach battle any more.
During this 1,000-year period, Yehovah will change even the nature of wild animals, reflecting the peace that will descend upon society. Describing this idyllic time:
Isaiah 11:7 And cow and bear shall feed, their young ones lie down together, and a lion eat straw like an ox. 8 And the nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the adder’s den. 9 They do no evil nor destroy in all My set-apart mountain, for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of Yehovah as the waters cover the sea 1. Footnote: 1Hab. 2:14. Reversing the effects of sin
Yehovah will heal physical infirmities.
Isaiah 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf be opened. 6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing, because waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.
Of even greater importance will be the spiritual healing that will take place. Isaiah prophesied that Yehshua will complete the healing He began during His ministry on earth:
Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Master Yehovah is upon Me, because Yehovah has anointed Me to bring good news to the meek. He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, 2 to proclaim the acceptable year of Yehovah, and the day of vengeance of our Elohim, to comfort all who mourn, 3 to appoint unto those who mourn in Tsiyon: to give them embellishment for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. And they shall be called trees of righteousness, a planting of Yehovah, to be adorned.
The accumulated results of generations of people following Satan’s sinful ways will begin to be reversed.
As already mentioned, the Feast of Tabernacles is also called the Feast of Ingathering. This name signified the completion of Israel’s annual harvest. In this setting, Yehovah said,
Deuteronomy 12:12 “And you shall rejoice before Yehovah your Elohim, you and your sons and your daughters, and your male servants and your female servants, and the Lewite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you.
So this feast is a time of celebration for the abundance Yehovah has given.
The same bountiful harvest theme continues in the future fulfillment of the festival. Through Isaiah, Yehovah spoke of the desert becoming productive land:
Isaiah 35:6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing, because waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. 7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water – in the home for jackals, where each lay, grass with reeds and rushes.
At that time the earth will produce abundant harvests.
Amo 9:13 “Look, the days are coming,” declares Yehovah, “that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed. And the mountains shall drip new wine, and all the hills melt.
The significance of tabernacles:
The name of the Feast of Tabernacles derives from Yehovah’s command to ancient Israel to build temporary “tabernacles,” sometimes called “booths,” to live in during the festival. The Israelites left their houses and built temporary dwelling places (Hebrew succah, meaning “hut of woven boughs”) to live in while rejoicing before Yehovah. These reminded them of their release from slavery and their dwelling in booths when Yehovah brought them out of Egypt:
Lev 23:34 “Speak to the children of Yisra’el, saying, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Booths for seven days to Yehovah.
In stark contrast to the hardship of slavery, this festival emphasizes rest, peace and prosperity as it meets the needs of all people, including strangers, widows and the poor.
In the book of Revelation this spiritual marriage union is described in terms of a “marriage supper”
Revelations 19:7 “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him praise, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife prepared herself.”
Similar terminology is used in Matthew 25:1:
“Then the reign of the heavens shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 “And five of them were wise, and five foolish. 3 “Those who were foolish, having taken their lamps, took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their containers with their lamps. 5 “Now while the bridegroom took time, they all slumbered and slept. 6 “And at midnight a cry was heard, ‘See, the bridegroom is coming, go out to meet him!’ 7 “Then all those maidens rose up and trimmed their lamps. 8 “And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’ 9 “But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, indeed, there would not be enough for us and you. Instead, go to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut. 11 “And later the other maidens also came, saying, ‘Master, Master, open up for us!’ 12 “But he answering, said, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 “Watch therefore, because you do not know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Ad?am is coming,
Yehshua likens Himself to the bridegroom and explains that only those spiritually prepared will go into the marriage banquet (compare Mat 9:15 And Yeshua said to them, “Are the friends of the bridegroom able to mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days shall come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they shall fast.
The apostle Paul ideally pictures those in the faith as being a chaste virgin betrothed to Yehshua:
2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with a jealousy according to Elohim. For I gave you in marriage to one husband, to present you as an innocent maiden to Messiah.
This spiritual imagery began in the Old Testament Scriptures. In Isaiah 54:5:
“For your Maker is your husband, Yehovah of hosts is His Name, and the Set-apart One of Yisra’el is your Redeemer.
He is called the Elohim of all the earth.
The prophet writes to the Israelites: “For your Maker is Your Husband.” Yet when ancient Israel consistently went astray after other gods, committing spiritual adultery, Yehovah metaphorically divorced the nation:
Isaiah 50:1 Thus says Yehovah, “Where is the certificate of your mother’s divorce, whom I have put away? Or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Look, you were sold for your crookednesses, and your mother was put away for your transgressions.