Summary: A look at the Jewish holiday of the Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles
September 26, 2010
A During the first 19 days of Tishri, there are 3 major Jewish fall feasts: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), & Tabernacles/Booths/Sukkot.
1 Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,34 "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the Lord. Lev 23:33-34 (NASB)
a As with other feasts, its name lets us in on its purpose.
aa Rosh Hashanah (trumpets, bring before the Lord, awakening Israel from sin & slumber, New Year)
bb Day of Atonement (to cover Israel’s sin for a year)
b Feast of Booths (Sukkot) has a two-fold purpose:
aa A time for Israel to bring in the later harvest, last of the crops. Israel’s Thanksgiving (some believe it was this feast that the Pilgrims used to base their first Thanksgiving on-Hebrew scriptures)
bb A time to remember their wilderness experience...habitation (God dwelt with them during their 40-year camping trip, & He is still with them today). Israel was never as close/dependant than when they were in the wilderness.
c Feast of Ingathering
aa Stored harvest, fields were picked...waiting for “latter rain” to prepare for new crop.
bb Land! God’s land, God’s people-both are His!
cc The land was connected to history, & the land/history connected to the mission of Israel.
2 It’s Jewish tradition for families to build their own Sukkah.
a Rabbis got very particular about all the details...Scripture didn’t.
aa Height, width, spacing of branches...shady, but not too shady, open but not too open on 3 sides.
bb Today, Jewish families will build a Sukkah with at least 3 sides (lean-to)-flimsy.
b Made flimsy to remind them that this ol’ body is, in fact, flimsy too.
aa Not going to last forever
bb Scripture from Paul’s writings: For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Cor 5:1 (NASB)
B There are 3 great feasts: Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles.
1 Sacrifices, church, end-time gathering (Israel & church’s mission is complete).
a The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; a banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, and refined , aged wine.7 And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, even the veil which is stretched over all nations.8 He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 25:6-8 (NASB)
b ...and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." Rev 21:4 (NASB) End results are the same!
I For each of the 8 nights, worship focused around a teaching tool called the Lulav. 'Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.41 'You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month.42 'You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths,43 so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.' " Lev 23:40-43 (NASB)
A Consisted of a palm branch, citron/ethrog, willow branch, myrtle branch. It was meant to remind Jews of each phase of their journey into the wilderness.
1 “Foliage (or fruit) of beautiful trees”: Promised Land God had given them (sweet smell & sweet taste).
a “Palm branch”: recalling the valleys/plains they traveled over (fruit was sweet, no fragrance).
b “Boughs of leafy trees (myrtle)”: bushes on the mountain heights (sweet smell, no taste).
c “Willows of the brook”: by the waters God had led them in the wilderness (no smell, no taste).
2 Rabbis also taught each item represents 4 different kinds of people (taste=knowledge, smell=works).
a Fruit: sweet smell/sweet taste-knowledge & deeds
b Palm branch: fruit that tastes sweet, yet no fragrance-knowledge & no deeds
c Myrtle: smells good, no fruit-works, no knowledge
d Willow: no smell or taste-no works or knowledge
3 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead , being by itself. James 2:17 (NASB) If a kid was old enough to wave the Lulav-wave it! Bits of willow, myrtle, palm everywhere by the altar.