Right after Yom Kippur, the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar, comes a Holy Day that brings much hope as it commemorates God’s provision for and protection of the children of Israel during the 40 years of the wilderness wanderings. The feast of Sukkot, or Tabernacles or Booths, is a joyous celebration all over the Diaspora, wherever there is a Jewish community.
Jewish people get together and build the yearly booth or sukkah, which will stay erect for a week, during which, weather permitting, they will eat meals, invite friends, and sometimes even sleep in it. The Feast of Tabernacles is indeed a meaningful way to end the High Holy Days season on the Jewish calendar. Yet, there is so much more to the feast of Sukkot than meets the eye! As a reminder, the Fall Feasts will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Yeshua the Messiah and the order is very important. Remember that calendar events repeat each year in the same order, Rosh Hashanah always occurs ten days before Yom Kippur, which happens a few days before Sukkot.
• Rosh Hashanah: Leviticus 23:23-25 – The Regathering of the Saints (Isaiah 27:12-13 – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians. 15:15-58)
• Yom Kippur: Leviticus 23:26-32 – The Great Tribulation (Ezekiel 36:24-25; Zechariah 13:8-9, 12:10, 2 Corinthians 5:10)
• Sukkot: Leviticus 23:33-44 – The Ingathering of the Messiah and the Believers (John 7:38-39, 8:12; Zechariah 14:16-19; Matthew 17:4)
Biblically speaking, the Feast of Booths memorialized the wilderness wanderings. It was one of the three Jerusalem “pilgrimage” festivals required for every healthy Jewish male to make. It is mentioned in all three sections of the Tanach. In four books of the Law or Torah (Leviticus 23:33-36, 39-43; Exodus 23:14:17; Numbers 29:12-38; Deuteronomy 16:13-16, 31:9-13), in the Prophets or Nevi’im (1 Kings 8:1-66, 12:25-33; Zechariah 14:16-19), and the Writings or Ketuvim (II Chronicles 7:8-10; Ezra 3:4; Nehemiah 8:13-18.)
Besides the many regulations about the Feast in the Tanach and the Talmud, Sukkot was important to first-century believers. Knowing their Scriptures, they understood the importance of the Feast. At Yeshua’s transfiguration, Peter, James and John saw their Messiah, accompanied by Moses and Elijah, in a way that made them believe that He was inaugurating the Messianic (Millennial) Kingdom during which we will celebrate Sukkot and build booths (Zechariah 14:16-19), so Peter asked Yeshua,“Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Matthew 17:4.) But, it wasn’t the time for Yeshua to inaugurate His messianic kingdom.
Nevertheless, He made two very profound statements in the context of the Feast of Sukkot. In John 7:37-38, we read, “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Yeshua stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” During Tabernacles, every day for seven days, the priest would go downhill from the Temple compound to the city of David, where the pool of Siloam was located. They would fill jugs with water and return to the Temple through the Water Gate to arrive at the Temple’s outer court. (b. Middoth II.6.; Sukkah 48a-b.) To enter the inner court, the priests had to climb 15 steps. At each step, they sang a Psalm from 120-134. In the Hebrew text, these are known as The Psalms of Ascent. Upon entering the inner court, they poured out the water at the altar’s base and rejoiced greatly. The rabbis believed that the Water Ceremony symbolized the outpouring of the Spirit of God on Israel in the last days. The Jewish prophets also mention the outpouring of the Spirit of God.
Additionally, At the end of the first day of tabernacles, the priests descended to the women’s court, which was illuminated by four tall golden lampstands, and the priests would fill the lampstands’ bowls with oil. This process gave a lot of light and was visible from a distance all over Jerusalem. Rabbis of old believed this symbolized the Shekinah glory of the Lord. They also saw a connection between the kindling and the Messiah, which was probably derived from Zechariah 14:16-19. It is at that moment that Yeshua also added in John 8:12, “I am the Light of the world; the one who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
At each ceremony, Yeshua was proclaiming His messianic office to His brethren according to the flesh, and they pretty much ignored Him, as they were too busy going through all the motions that symbolized the hope they had about the future coming of their Messiah. How ironic!
The Millennial Kingdom, also known as the Messianic Kingdom will fulfill the Feast of Sukkot when we will tabernacle with God in the flesh (Isaiah 9:6-7) for 1,000 years on earth. This will be a time of fellowship like we never had before, as we will anticipate our entrance into the eternal order. So, w who exactly will be in the millennial kingdom? Will it be open to all people of goodwill, or only to a certain group, and if yes, how does that group qualify to get in?
At the end of the seven-year Tribulation, surviving Jewish people will call Baruch Haba Bashem Adonai, and Yeshua will return down to earth from heaven with all the saints that he had caught up in the air at the Rapture, seven years prior. We will then enter the 1,000-year kingdom of Messiah on earth when He will reign in Jerusalem from the throne of David. Messiah will regather Israel physically and revive her spiritually (Ezekiel 36:24-38,) as well as defeat the Antichrist (Revelation 19:19-21.) Soon after, we will enter the kingdom. Incidentally, the concept of the kingdom is all over the Jewish Scriptures (Isaiah2:1-5, 11:1-16, 32:1-20,35:1-10, 60:1-22; Jeremiah 31:1-10, 33:1-26; Ezekiel 37:14:28; Amos 9:11-15, Zechariah 14:6-21.)
Those who have placed their trust in the death and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah will enter the kingdom with Him after the Second Coming. Along with them, will be the Old Testament believers who will be resurrected at the end of the Tribulation (Daniel 12:1-2.)
Some people wait until the last minute to make a decision, but the most important decision of a lifetime cannot wait, especially if death occurs prior to that decision being made. The time to follow Yeshua the Messiah is today, since nobody knows what tomorrow is made of.
Let us all endure together until the Rapture, as we share boldly with those who have not yet accepted Yeshua as the Messiah. Then, after the Rapture and seven years in God’s presence and protection from His wrath, we return to earth with Yeshua in our glorified, eternal bodies, and we will celebrate sukkot with Him on earth for 1,000 years. At that time, all the Jewish festivals of Leviticus 23 will have been fulfilled in Messiah. God truly is the master architect of human history, and the thread that keeps it all together is Yeshua the Messiah. Maranatha!