Sukkot (Feast of Booths or Tabernacles), Chag HaAsif (חג האסיף), is one of the three biblically based pilgrimage holidays, out of the seven Mo’edim, or holy appointed days. All three together (Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot) are known collectively as the shalosh regalim. Sukkot itself is an agricultural festival which was originally considered a thanksgiving for the fruit harvest. Sukkot are hut-like structures that the Jews lived in during the 40 years of travel through the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt. As a temporary dwelling, the sukkah (singular for sukkot) also represents the fact that all existence is fragile, and therefore Sukkot is a time to appreciate the shelter of our homes and our bodies. Just as the sukkah is a temporary dwelling, so are our bodies a temporary dwelling for us on this earth.(https://toriavey.com/what-is-sukkot/#brAPJ5LZXm6XMmlO.99)
Th Sukkot festival begins this year on Sunday, October 13th and continues through to the 20th. As you see here, this is actually 8 days, although it is called a 7-day feast. The last day is actually considered a “bonus” day, which is spent in solemn rest.
Sukkot is a divinely ordained festival and the instructions given by Adonai to the Israelites can be found in Leviticus. On the first day you are to take choice fruit of trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and rejoice before Adonai your God for seven days. You are to celebrate it as a festival to Adonai for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations—you are to celebrate it in the seventh month. You are to live in sukkot for seven days. All the native-born in Israel are to live in sukkot, so that your generations may know that I had Bnei-Yisrael to dwell in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am Adonai your God.”
Leviticus 23:40-43 TLV
Day one and day 8 are holy convocations and a time for solemn rest before Adonai. The other days are to be spent rejoicing, So you will rejoice in your feast—you, your son and daughter, slave and maid, Levite and outsider, orphan and widow within your gates. Seven days you will feast to Adonai your God in the place He chooses, because Adonai your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hand, and you will be completely filled with joy.
Deuteronomy 16:14-15 TLV.
The 8th day, as mentioned earlier, is considered a “bonus day”, or the last great day. It holds prophetic significance and I will speak on it further in the prophetic section.
Now that we understand what this holiday represents and why Adonai commanded it, let’s get into the celebration!!
After going through fasting, atonement and finally breaking the fast following Yom Kippur, Jews all over the world are preparing for a week long fall festival. Here we go!
In strict orthodoxy, all meals would be taken within the family sukkah each day, but for my Messianic Jewish family, we are choosing one night to do so, as a special gathering with family and friends in celebration and to feast together. This is an individual preference and what is put upon your own heart.
This tent is usually beautifully decorated with fruits and ambient lighting (if one so chooses) as well.
The Arba Minim (Four Species)
“And you shall take for yourselves beautiful fruits, date palms, branches of myrtle and willows of the brook” (Leviticus 23:40)
Lulav – A closed frond of a date palm tree. Ideally, the tiyomet – the twin middle leaf – should not be split at all
Etrog – The Citron Fruit
Hadassim – Myrtle Branches
Aravot – Willow branches
The collection of leaves are held together, along with the etrog (citron fruit) and, after reciting a blessing, they are waved in six directions: forward, backward, left, right, up and down. This symbolizes God’s dominion and sovereignty over all creation (all nations).
Guests in the Sukkah of David
““In that day I will raise up the tabernacle [sukkah] of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this.” Amos 9:11-12
The seven days of Sukkot are believed to correspond to the seven key figures in Biblical history – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and David. Each day one of these “guests” are invited into the sukkah. As believers in Messiah, the 8th added day points to his return and we are to invite him into our lives for all days. His significance in all of this will become evident in the prophesy section.
The Lord Tabernacles with His People
The first time Sukkot is mentioned is actually in Genesis, But Jacob journeyed to Succoth and built a house for himself, and for his livestock he made booths. That is the reason that place is called Sukkot.
Genesis 33:17 TLV. The significance of the number seven is pointed out shortly before this in Genesis 33:3 But he himself passed on ahead of them, and bowed to the ground seven times until he came near to his brother.
The first place the Israelites stopped after fleeing Egypt, was Succoth “Then Bnei-Yisrael journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about 600,000 men on foot, as well as children.”
Exodus 12:37 TLV
Yeshua used this very significant holy day to reveal things about himself, as demonstrated midway through the festival with his teachings in the temple courts as seen in John 7:14
and on the last day of Sukkot,
he stands up and proclaims to be the living water in John 7:37-38.
He also heals the blind man immediately following the festival in John 9:1-7.
The proclamation in John 7:37-38 points to prophesy from Isaiah 55:1 “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water, and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost!”
The “living waters” being brought to attention on the last day, the great day, of the festival, commands our attention be brought to the New Jeruselum we read about in Zechariah 14:7-9 “It will be a day known only to Adonai , neither day nor night—even in the evening time there will be light. Moreover, in that day living waters will flow from Jerusalem, half toward the eastern sea and half toward the western sea, both in the summer and in the winter. Adonai will then be King over all the earth. In that day Adonai will be Echad and His Name Echad.”
This “living water” and the New Jerusalem are also mentioned in Revelation 22:1-2 Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life—bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the city’s street. On either side of the river was a tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
The New Jerusalem is said to arise only after the seven “days” of the earth (or seven thousand years) are finished, which points to the “8th day”, or as we go into the eight thousandth year (the Millennial Reign) shall we see the New Jerusalem. This 8th day of Sukkot is set aside to signify this time period, which is a time of rest, peace, and residing with the Lord.
According to Zechariah, during the Millennial Reign, all nations will be celebrating Sukkot. Then all the survivors from all the nations that attacked Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, Adonai -Tzva’ot , and to celebrate Sukkot .
Zechariah 14:16 TLV
Now, as for the blind man, Yeshua’s healing here shocked the people of that day, not only because the act itself was so amazing, but also because its timing. It is no coincidence that Jesus performed this miracle immediately after Sukkot, for we see him using this holy day to make some earth shattering statements about himself.
Read John 9:1-7 for yourself, then read on to see how this ties in to Yeshua’s declaration of living water one day earlier.
The water at the Pool of Siloam was considered “living water” because it came from a spring. “Living water” was used for ritual purposes. The priests would take the pitcher of “living water” from the Pool of Siloam and climb the hundreds of steps that went up to the beautiful Temple Mount. As they arrived at the court of the priests, they circled the altar once and then the priest poured the water out onto the altar of sacrifice. They did this each morning for the first six days. On the seventh day, called the “great day of the feast” the same ritual took place, except the priests circled the altar seven times instead of only once. (https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Fall_Holidays/Sukkot/sukkot.html)
Yeshua proved himself to be the Messiah in this instance, having used Old Testament prophesy in his earlier declaration and by tying it into this miracle, using the “living water” of Siloam just to further emphasize the point. He is our living water. The Pool at Siloam was not necessary, but was used as demonstration.
Revelation 21:3-5 ties this all together, letting us know that the Lord intends to permanently tabernacle, or reside, with us. What a beautiful picture that has been painted for us in His promises, if we will merely seek them out.
We, as believers, are commanded to keep this feast by living in Sukkot because this is what God’s children do when we recognize that He has kept His promises. He has set us free from bondage. We have been returned to the land of our fathers. Living in Sukkot on the Feast of Tabernacles is our way of spending seven days envisioning our tabernacle with the Lord, in the future. We may still be living in the temporal, our temporal bodies, while here on Earth, but for these seven days, we live as if Ephesians 1 has been fulfilled and The Earthly and the Heavenly are brought together. We can live by the faith spoken of through Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of realities not seen. (Rabbi Eric Tokajer)
This, my friends, is the epitome of Sukkot. All God’s children are invited in for this celebration. If you yet to experience it, I invite you to pray over it, and if you feel led, seek out a place to attend. Or, perhaps build your own Sukkah and celebrate with your family. This is a time of great joy!!
Sidenote: I have merely touched on the prophetic meanings displayed through Sukkot. For further teachings, you can follow 119ministries at: https://www.119ministries.com/ or on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/user/119Ministries
For a full read-up on all the customs and traditions that are seen in the celebration of Sukkot, please refer to: