The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) the third “appointed time” (festival) for the Jews begins tonight (10/12/2011). The Bible describes the Feast of Tabernacles as the third of the three annual feasts which the people of Israel are commanded to celebrate in Jerusalem. During this Feast they remember the 40 years in the wilderness, as well as celebrate and rejoice over the ingathering of the harvest. The Jewish people traditionally identify the Feast of Tabernacles with the coming of the Messiah.
From a Jewish website: (www.chabad.org) we can find a description of Sukkot: “For forty years, as our ancestors traversed the Sinai Desert prior to their entry into the Holy Land, miraculous "clouds of glory" surrounded and hovered over them, shielding them from the dangers and discomforts of the desert. Ever since, we remember G_d's (The Jews believe that the name of God is so holy that it cannot be written out entirely, so they eliminate the “o”) kindness and reaffirm our trust in His providence by dwelling in a sukkah – a hut of temporary construction with a roof-covering of branches – for the duration of the autumn Sukkot festival. For seven days and nights, we eat all our meals in the sukkah – reciting a special blessing – and otherwise regard it as our home.”
The Scriptures related to Sukkot can be found in Leviticus 23:39-44: “’On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the Lord for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day. 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 says. 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. You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.’ So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the LORD.”
Sukkot is also called “The Feast of Booths” or “The Time of Our Joy” with a joyous, festival atmosphere. The first few days of this festival (in Israel only the first day) are a major holiday, when most forms of work are prohibited. On the preceding nights, women and girls light candles, reciting special blessings. The week is celebrated with daily festive meals.
The Feast of Tabernacles was a thanksgiving for the fruit harvest. They thanked God for the bounty of nature in the past year. This ingathering of the harvest points to the future when families of the earth will one day come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Booths mentioned in Zechariah 14:16-19 after the second coming of Christ.
Jesus celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles and we can read about His celebration in John 7. Jesus stood up in the temple and said: “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.’” For Christians, the Feast is a celebration of joy, but also a time of deepening their relationship and walk with Christ.
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) brings thousands of participants to Jerusalem annually to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. Malcolm Hedding, Director of the ICEJ, explains the significance of the Feast of the Tabernacles in this video excerpt taken from a Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) October 6th 2009 report.
To watch a video of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem 2011 Live Streaming of the Feast of Tabernacles live in Israel, click below: http://int.icej.org/live
If you would like to visit a local Sukkot Observance, check out www.BenDavidMJC.org (in the city of Orange).
Please continue to pray that Israel experiences peace during these seven days of celebration. As you pray for them, reflect on your own life about the living water that Jesus gives. Are you being satisfied with His living water daily? For additional study, read up on the wilderness wandering and how God brought the Israelites out form the land of Egypt. Reflect in your own life about times of spiritual wandering and wilderness experiences. If you are wandering from God right now, talk with Him about that and draw near to Him and you will once again experience the living water yourself.