Sukkah: 1723 engraving by Bernard Picart
Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the feast of Sukkot for seven days to Adonai. On the first day there is to be a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work. For seven days you are to bring an offering made by fire to Adonai; on the eighth day you are to have a holy convocation and bring an offering made by fire to Adonai; it is a day of public assembly; do not do any kind of ordinary work.’~ Leviticus 23:33-36, CJB
Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles (also Feast of Booths, Festival of Ingathering, or the Feast) comes five days after Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), which is an annual Fall Feast that Jewish people accept as their holiest day of the year—the day on which they are “in unity” with Adonai. In other words, they are now the closest they can be to Adonai and to the most perfect or typical example of their own souls. For sure, it is on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) that Adonai decides both to accept His chosen people’s repentance and to forgive their sins. Indeed, in the Scriptures, Moses expresses this truth about Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) to the Israelites. Moses writes that it is “…on this day, atonement will be made for you to purify you; you will be clean before Adonai from all your sins” (Leviticus 16:30, CJB).
The point here is that like Yom Kippur, Sukkot, which follows Yom Kippur, also is an annual Adonai commanded Fall Feast; however, unlike Yom Kippur, Sukkot is a seven-day festival (eight in the Diaspora). Furthermore, the reason why, from antiquity until today, Adonai’s Jewish people have looked forward to Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Booths, Festival of Ingathering, or the Feast) with great anticipation is because on the Day of Atonement they not only have received Adonai’s forgiveness and cleansing of all of their preceding year’s sins, but also He has judged them worthy to receive life, health, and happiness for the new year. Therefore, the 15th of Tishri festival, which begins at sunset on September 30, 2012, is marked for its time of extraordinary joy—the joy that comes from having the closest possible relationship with Adonai. This amazing joy also is the reason why Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles is considered to be the most special time of the year, and why even today Jewish people refer to this Fall festival as The Time of Our Joy.
In ancient times, for this Fall festival, the single and married Jewish men would travel (make the third of three commanded “pilgrimages”) from wherever they were living back to the Temple in Jerusalem. To celebrate Sukkot, they would set up their temporary dwellings (sukkahs; booths; tents) in the Temple’s courtyard and live in their temporary dwellings throughout the duration of Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles.
Today, Jewish people might build and decorate their own sukkahs, or gather in the sukkahs at their temples or synagogues, or go to various beautiful places around the world where Adonai also has chosen to “put His name” (cf. Deuteronomy 12:5). What is most important is that in the 21st century, during the Feast, Jewish brethren leave behind their daily routines and come together not only to fellowship and rejoice before Adonai in complete peace, harmony and unity (cf. Leviticus 23:40), but also to eat and live in their temporary dwellings during Sukkot.
What also is very important about Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles is that from antiquity to today this festival looks back at the forty-year period of time when the Israelites wandered in the desert after Sinai. At that time, the Israelites could see the Presence of Adonai, who was dwelling among them. Also they had all of their needs taken care of, as neither their shoes nor their clothes wore out. Lastly, the Israelites also had righteous leaders in the persons of Moses, Joshua, and the judges.
Then too, from antiquity to today the Sukkot festival also looks forward to the 1,000 year Messianic Kingdom, when Yeshua will “tabernacle” among His people and rule from Jerusalem. The Lord’s millennial reign will be a time when all of the nations in this world would learn about the great blessings that Adonai bestows upon the people who follow the ways of the God of Israel. Moreover, everyone in the entire world will experience shalom (peace), because shalom will spread out from Jerusalem and encompass the entire world.
Finally, for Christians and Messianic Jews, the three Fall Feasts are the last biblical feasts that Yeshua has yet to fulfill. The next big event on the prophetic timetable is the “Rapture,” the time when Yeshua calls His Bride/Body of Believers and then snatches them (the dead and the alive in Christ) out of this world by first gathering them together in the air in the clouds.
Thus, the “Rapture” event very well could be fulfilled during the very next Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets or “Jewish Civil New Year”). Once again, the “Rapture” is the time when the transformation/glorification of the resurrected righteous dead and the caught up righteous living takes place (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).
Then, on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), Yeshua’s Bride stands before His judgment seat (2 Corinthians 5:10) and is judged according to the works She did for Her Lord. Next, after He judges Her worthy, She not only will become “at-one” with Yeshua but also will receive Her fine linen robe and crown of righteousness (cf. Isaiah 61:10; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 19:7-8).
Lastly, on Sukkot, Yeshua consummates the marriage, and then for the next seven years He and His Wife hide away in their Bridal Chambers (the mansions the Lord went away to prepare for Her so that He can come back and receive Her unto Himself). There She and her Husband will “tabernacle” together until it is time to return with Yeshua to destroy His enemies at the Battle of Armageddon (cf. Isaiah 26:20; John 14:2b-3; Revelation 19:11-17). Afterwards, there will be the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (cf. Matthew 22:2; Luke 14:15; Luke 22:15-18; Revelation 19:9). Hallelujah!