The Feast of Tabernacles is called Sukkot in the Hebrew language which simply means “A thicket, covert, booth (rude or temporary shelter)”. This type of tabernacle was generally a small temporary dwelling place made of various branches from trees.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a Biblical holiday which falls on the 15th day of seventh month, Tishri, on the Jewish calendar and continues for a total of seven days. On the Gregorian calendar this date corresponds to late September or early October.
The fulfillment of this feast will be the long awaited time called the Kingdom age. Both Jewish and Christian doctrine recognizes this to be the time of world peace when the Messiah (Hebrew) Christ (Greek) will reign over the Earth in Jerusalem.
This feast, along with the other feasts listed in Leviticus 23, has been impossible to keep according to the written word of God. Each feast has required a blood sacrifice which has not been made for the last 2,000 years. This feast of Tabernacles alone required 201 animal sacrifices as seen from the verses in Numbers 29:12-40. The feast was also required to be kept in the city of Jerusalem. Even though this feast cannot possible be kept properly it is still an excellent Bible study to understand what the will of God is and to wait for the time when He will allow the feast to be kept properly.
The Hebrew Torah portion in the photograph below is Leviticus 23 where the Feast of Tabernacles is ordered. The lengthy verses spill over to the next column as seen in the photograph. The Scroll was well used and suffered damage over the years.
The chart below shows the origin of each feast and the way each feast either was fulfilled as in the first three or the way the feast will be fulfilled under the New Covenant.
Following the Hebrew calendar wheel around from the first month Nisan you can see the three feasts which are to take place in the seventh month Tishri.
דבר אל בני ישׂראל לאמר בחמשׁה עשׂר יום לחדשׁ השׁביעי הזה חג הסכות שׁבעת ימים ליהוה
Feast of Tabernacles חג הסכות
This is the last feast and represents the time the world has looked for since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. The “Time of the Gentiles” ended with the Messiah’s return to Earth and He now sets up His eternal kingdom with His throne in Jerusalem. This part of His kingdom is represented with small palm branch booths and is the temporary, 1,000 year, part of the kingdom. At the end of the Feast of Tabernacles an even greater rejoicing will take place as the New Jerusalem comes to Earth and replaces the sukkot temporary tabernacles.
Transliterating the Hebrew word twko into English for the Feast of Tabernacles offers variant spellings and interpretations. It means a booth, tabernacle, a walled structure covered with plant material, and in English can be spelled Sukkot, Succot, Sukkos, Sukkah; Sukkot is plural for Sukkah.
This is one of the three feasts the Lord commanded the Children of Israel to go to Jerusalem. To keep this feast according to God’s Word it has been impossible for almost 2,000 years, until 1948 when the Diaspora was finished. Even now there are many things that make it impossible to have a Biblical feast without the Temple sacrifices. During the 2.000 years many of the Jewish people put together a small lulav to remember the four species required for Sukkot.
Examination of each article needed for the feast has been very important.
The Fruit – Etrog, (citron)
The etrog is not commonly seen in America. If you have participated in the Sukkot service you probably have never seen the inside of an etrog or the tree they grow on. The etrog is a citrus fruit with a color, taste and smell of a lemon but is much larger than the lemon. It is more difficult to eat than a lemon because it has a very thick rind with a very small pulp and is impossible to peel. Once the pulp is cut out it will produce about one or two tablespoons of very sour juice.
The Palm Branch
The Sukkah is made of very large open palm branches with myrtle and willow for support. In addition to the sukkah everyone has a small palm branch to hold in their hand. This one is to be closed and the best they can find.
Willows of the Brook
These long flexible branches were used to tie everything together in the sukkah.
There are many sizes and shapes of the Sukkah. In this photo at top left the picture was taken in Jerusalem in 1910. The photo at the bottom right is the Orthodox section of Jerusalem showing many Sukkot in the apartment complex. The drawing at the bottom left is from the Middle Ages.
The following photograph of a sukka was taken near Bethlehem around 1890 in a grape vineyard. On top of the watchtower the guard of the vineyard built a sukka for a place to sleep. A common sukka is built out of any kind of branches and leaves on hand, not necessarily palm branches.
The name means “rejoicing in the Law”.
“and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days”
ושׂמחתם לפני יהוה אלהיכם שׁבעת ימים
The photograph in the center below is of a small group of Jewish Believers in Fort Worth, Texas at their Simchat Torah in 2010. At that time we loaned them all sixteen Scrolls that make up the Hebrew Scriptures. They had a procession of rejoicing as they carried them around their Synagogue. It was said “This is probably the first time the entire Tanakh (Hebrew Scrolls making up the Old Testament) has ever participated in a Simchat Torah celebration.” In 2010 this was the only complete set of Scrolls on display in the world.
In the Diaspora two extra days were added to this feast, one is called Simchat Torah or rejoicing in the Torah. It is of Post-Biblical origin and started in the ninth century.
The name “Simḥat Torah” came into use after the introduction of the one-year cycle for the reading of the Law, and was due to the fact that the reading was finished on this day. Two Torahs are then taken out for the Torah reading. From the first one we read Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12, the final portion of the Torah; from the second we read the first section of Genesis 1:1–2:3. In many synagogues all the Torah Scrolls are removed from the Ark and the men hold them high while everyone sings and dances.
In the photograph below students at Baptist Bible College in Scranton, Pennsylvania were rejoicing to see an authentic Hebrew Scrolls we brought to their Hebrew class. They are pointing to Isaiah chapter 53 in the Scroll of Isaiah.
The Feast of Tabernacles celebrates the conclusion of the Reign of the Adversary over the Earth. The reign of evil has lasted almost 6,000 years so far, but will soon come to an end.
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. Genesis 3:24
ויגרשׁ את האדם וישׁכן מקדם לגן עדן את הכרבים ואת להט החרב המתהפכת לשׁמר את דרך עץ החיים׃
It was common teaching among the Jewish people that The Messiah will usher in His kingdom at Sukkot. Today it is taught that the Messiah will build the third Temple as He ushers in the Kingdom.
For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him. Mark 9:31-32
After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. John 6:1-15
Jesus hewsy presents Himself in Jerusalem.
אודך כי עניתני ותהי לי לישׁועה׃
I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD. Psalm 118:21-26
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
The following verses from Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, John 12 have been combined to get four views of the Jesus The Messiah as He entered Jerusalem.
When they drew near to Jerusalem, and came to Bethsphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village that is opposite you, and immediately as you enter into it, you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them, and bring them to me. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and immediately he will send them.” (And) the disciples went, and did just as Jesus commanded them, And they found things just as he had told them. As they were untying the donkey and colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the donkey and colt?” (And) they said, “The Lord needs it.” So they let them go.
All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying, “Don’t be afraid Tell the daughter of Zion, behold, your King comes to you, humble, and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'” A great multitude had come to the feast. When they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet him, (And) a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road. Others cut branches from the trees, and spread them on the road.
And then, as he was now getting near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples who went before him, and who followed began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works which they had seen, The multitudes were shouting, “Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
Great expectations are better than you hoped for.
Among the Jewish people, the greatest expectation concerning the work of the Messiah is that He would restore Israel to its’ glory.
From the first day when Jesus’ ministry started He was called a lamb: John 1:29 … John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Jesus clearly told over and over again that He must die and be resurrected, but His disciples refused to believe it.
From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. Matthew 16:21 21
The Disciples followed Jesus for three and a half years and personally saw Him raise the dead and hundreds of other miracles that could come only from God. They still had only one thing on their mind; for Christ to set up His Kingdom. I suppose we all do the same. We all wait for that blessed hope: Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
This is our hope as we are told to pray for the following: Luke 11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
The Scripture says the only way to enter that Kingdom is to be “Born Again” and that God has a plan and He follows His schedule, not ours.
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Acts 1:6-11
John the Baptist
And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: Matthew 11:7-11
What went wrong?
Was John also looking for the Kingdom and wondering what went wrong when he found himself in prison?
Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. Matthew 11:2-6
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: Matthew 16:27-17:15