Feast of Tabernacles

Feast of Tabernacles

(Lev. 23:34-43; Deut. 16:13-15; Num. 29:12-40)

The Feast of Tabernacles (Booths), or Succot (Sukkot), begins at sunset.  It is the third major feast in which the men of Israel were required to go up to Jerusalem.


Succot, is an eight-day festival recalling the wilderness wanderings in which Israel dwelt in temporary tents (Tabernacles, Booths). Today, Jews erect a “sukkah” (booth) and the family lives in it, or eats their meals in it under the stars. It is the last major harvest in Israel and is a time for thanksgiving in which the Hallel (Psalms 113-118) is recited.

Lulav & Etrog

It is also a time of the waving of citron fruit (etrog), and branches of palm, myrtle and willow called the “lulav” before God (Lev. 23).  The lulav is waved in four directions representing God’s mastery, or kingship over all the earth.  It is a time of worship, prayers, thanksgiving and reading of Scripture.

Water Libation

One of the traditions during Succot was that of pouring water onto the altar (Libation waters) on the last day of the feast.  Jesus stood and cried out and said on that last day, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-39).

Lighting Lamps

Also, during the last day there was a profound and glorious ceremony of lighting the lamps in the Court of Women (there were three courts in the inner area of the Temple.  The one to the east was the Court of Women the Temple treasury was located, and where people donated their money, Mark 12:41-44). 

The lighting of the lamps was probably the context for the Lord’s words, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk n darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Jerusalem Ascent

One day (during the Messianic Kingdom) all the nations will ascend to Jerusalem to observe this feast (Zech. 14:16).  The rabbis said that 70 bulls were offered during the week of Succot for the sins of the nations – it is quite appropriate for the nations to ascend during the Kingdom to worship King Messiah Jesus.

Succot reminds the believer of such things as:

1.       We are sojourners – just temporarily passing through.  The apostle Peter reminds us of this truth, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Pet. 2:11).

As Israel wandered through the land, so are we, therefore, we must hold on to things loosely.  Seek first the kingdom of God and all your needs will be met (Luke 12:31).

2.       Life is very fragile and precious“We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Isa. 64:6).

Though we are fragile, our lives are precious to God.  Jeremiah reminds us, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him” (Lam. 3:22-24).

Paul (Rabbi Shaul) stated, “For we know that if the tent (tabernacle, booth) that is our early home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling” (2 Cor. 5:1,2).

3.       God’s Tabernacle is steadfast and secure – The Apostle John gives us a profound presage, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21:3).

The Tabernacle in the Wilderness was fragile, temporary, and quite ugly – nothing to be impressed about.  Yet, the Jews could open their tent door and behold the glory of the cloud and fire of God’s presence hovering over the Holy of Holies.  The Tabernacle, then Temple had come and gone.  Churches, come and go, people come and go, movements come and go, denominations come and go.  However, God remains, and one day, we will dwell in his presence and He with us. 

“And the Word (Jesus, God) became flesh and dwelt (Greek word for "dwelt" means Tabernacled) among us” (John 1:14).

Messiah Yeshua, Jesus the Christ is our hope, home, living water and light.   We are complete in Him (Col. 2:10).

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Dr. Jeff