What does the Bible say about Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, and how should we observe this Feast today?
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by Lex Meyer
Many Christians have been told that we no longer need to keep the Biblical Feasts, but is that really true? Did you know there is a prophecy in the Bible that tells us that during the Messianic kingdom all of the nations of the World will be required to go to Jerusalem to worship the King (Yeshua) during the Feast of Tabernacles?
"And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles."
- Zechariah 14:16-19
So, what is the Feast of Tabernacles and why should we be keeping it? In Hebrew it is called Sukkot, which is translated booths or tabernacles, and it's a memorial of the time when Israel wandered in the wilderness living in tents. We are commanded to celebrate Sukkot by dwelling in tents for seven days and rejoicing with fruit and by waving tree branches.
"'Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the Lord for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest. And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.' "
- Leviticus 23:39-43
Not only is it a remembrance of the time when Israel lived in tents in the wilderness, but it's also prophetic about a future time when Yahweh will cause His people to dwell in tents once again.
"But I am the Lord your God, Ever since the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, As in the days of the appointed feast."
- Hosea 12:9
Sukkot also reminds us that we are looking forward to the day when Yahweh will once again tabernacle with His people on earth.
"And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God."
- Revelation 21:3
The Feast of Tabernacles also reminds us of the way in which Yeshua came to earth to tabernacle with us.
"And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
- John 1:14
Sukkot is a fall harvest celebration and is also referred to as the Feast of Ingathering because of its connection to the harvest. In fact, it could be thought of as the Biblical Thanksgiving because we are commanded to rejoice and be thankful for the produce and provisions the Lord has given us.
"You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice."
- Deuteronomy 16:13-15
The Feast of Tabernacles points prophetically to the end of the age when the harvest will take place. Yeshua spoke about this in the parable of the wheat and the tares.
"Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
- Matthew 13:36-43
We don't want to be the lawless tares, we want to be the good seed that is gathered in at the harvest.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a joyful time of celebrating Yah's provision for our lives. We are commanded to rejoice and to dwell in tents for seven days, and many believers (including myself) celebrate by going camping. Camping is a great way to get away from the chaos of life and find a place of solitude where we can be alone with the Father. It's also a very practical application of the commandment to live in tents for seven days.
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