When God commands us to have fun, we better take the party seriously. After the high holidays, we all need some fun, and Sukkot is made for that. But the sukkah, the unique structure associated with the holiday, has much more to communicate. There’s a message of hope here for all God’s children to receive.
Our job as disciples is to know Jesus as deeply as possible. What if there were additional elements of the Gospels that remained mysterious and misunderstood? We should want the key to understanding them better, right? That key is a Jewish perspective. Let’s look at one such example.
The culmination of the fall holidays at Sukkot mirrors the final redemption when the LORD will shelter us in his presence, and all nations will worship him in his Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
The themes of life and our interaction with material pleasure presented by Kohelet seem out of place for the joyous holiday of Sukkot. The opening segment of the book leads us to the conclusion that life is entirely pointless. How can we reconcile that with the commandment to celebrate with joy and gladness?
Hoshana Rabbah is the seventh day of the festival of Sukkot. It is written that “…on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus 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.”’”
Sukkot is a foretaste of the Messianic Kingdom, when there will be peace on earth, Israel’s enemies will be defeated, and Jew and Gentile will dwell together serving the one true God. Sukkot is a prophetic shadow of the coming kingdom of heaven.
It is interesting that in Jewish tradition Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret are related to the Messianic Era and the World to Come. How fitting would it be if Joseph, a type and shadow of our Master, revealed himself to his brothers during this time?
Looking at a Jewish calendar at this time of year can be overwhelming. There are so many festival days! Where do they all come from, and what do they mean? Here is a simple rundown of each of the significant days connected with Sukkot, sometimes called the “Feast of Tabernacles” or “Feast of Booths.”
According to Zechariah, there will come a time when people from all nations “will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.” But what is that? Learn about the biblical festival of Sukkot and its meaning for Jews and Christians.
We recite blessings toward he who has commanded us to dwell in booths and, as the weather is becoming chilly and the rains come, we are reminded of our temporary sojourn upon the earth and our complete and utter dependence upon the LORD.
For the earliest believers, both Jewish and Gentile, the rhythm of the biblical festivals complete with the celebration of Sukkot, was a natural part of their faith. In fact, when we get attuned to the symbolism of the holiday, we realize that so many passages in the New Testament simply assume that all followers of Messiah are observing Sukkot.
One of the most important aspects of Sukkot is inviting guests into one’s sukkah (booth). All throughout the week celebrants travel from sukkah to sukkah, enjoying hospitality and extending hospitality from their sukkot (booths). A peculiar custom that developed was not just inviting physical guests to one’s sukkah, but spiritual guests as well.
Just moments after HaShem has held us, forgiven us, and renewed us, he places us outside and subject to the elements, making the week of our joy also the week of our testing. We place ourselves outside of our own comfort, joining our brothers and sisters, exposed to our vulnerabilities and ourselves.
If John the Immerser was “the Elijah who is to come” (Matthew 11:14), is it not reasonable to assume that his birth took place at the “appointed time” of Passover? And if John the Immerser was born on Passover, then the Master should have been born six months later at the onset of the Festival of Sukkot.