Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)

An Introduction to Sukkot Audio – Josh speaks @ Epiclesis church about Sukkot. Click here to listen.

The festival of tabernacles (Sukkot) is a wonderful worship experience for every believer. Its an epicurean worship experience where you are encouraged to worship by building, decorating, cooking, partying, and remembering. This is a whole sensory package that my family loves. Here at the Well, we have written some inspiration to help you uncover this seemingly lost festival and experience the joy that comes from this holistic thanksgiving. We answer questions like:
What is Sukkot?
How do you build a Sukkah?
Why do we celebrate "Jewish" holidays?
As well as Events for 2010 Sukkot
Read Josh's Blog (9-15-2010) about Sukkot

Just a recap: the great holiday known as the Feast of tabernacles is mentioned in the times of Moses, Ezra, Jesus and the end times. In comparison, Christmas is not celebrated in the scriptures as a holiday. Although Christmas may have great theological value, we don't see is prescribed or described like we do tabernacles. Christians cannot ignore the worship experience designed by God and given as a festival throughout of our generations.

What is Sukkot?
Sukot (Feast of Tabernacles) is a one week festival where we actively remember that God had the sons of Israel dwell in tents.” For one week we build a tent (Sukkah) in our own yard and we gather in it to rejoice in God’s faithfulness to us and to recount the stories of God’s faithfulness to Israel. We culminate the weeklong festival with a gigantic feast on Friday night where we lavish our hearts in the faithfulness of God as we feast on extravagant food and good company.

The word "Sukkot" means "booths," and refers to the temporary dwellings that the Israelites lived in during the years following the exodus from Egypt. The Hebrew pronunciation of Sukkot is "Sue COAT”. The name of the holiday is frequently translated "Feast of Tabernacles," which, like many translations of Jewish terms, isn't very useful. This translation is particularly misleading, because the word "tabernacle" in the Bible refers to the portable Sanctuary in the desert, a precursor to the Temple, called in Hebrew "mishkan." The Hebrew word "sukkah" (plural: "sukkot") refers to the temporary booths that people lived in, not to the Tabernacle. It could be translated, "Motel Week", or "The-time-we-used-to-live-with-your-parents memorial" because this is a remembrance of the temporary dwelling that God put Israel in before He led them to the promise land.

In biblical times, Sukkot was considered to be the most important festival. It was actually referred to as “the festival” in 1 Kings 12:32.

Read Leviticus 23:33-44Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "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.  'On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind.  'For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work.These are the appointed times of the LORD which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, to present offerings by fire to the LORD– burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each day's matter on its own day– besides those of the sabbaths of the LORD, and besides your gifts and besides all your votive and freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD. 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 days.  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 from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.'"  So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the LORD.

This is a festival of remembering. Remembering what God did with Israel and remembering what God has down with you and looking forward to what is doing for the whole world. But instead of remembering with just words, we encourage you to remember with your hands. Decorate your sukkah with images that remind you of God's faithfulness (more on this in the next section).

Basically, you build a temporary structure and you dwell in it for a week while you actively remember the Exodus of Israel. The we culminate the festival with a great feast on the last day.

One of the best ways to learn about Sukkot is to google it. Here are a few links I have enjoyed.

Next: Learn How to Build a Sukkah

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