sukkoth/tabernacles – some adapted from Eddie Chumney

Eddie’s book excerpt

The Hebrew word for tabernacle is sukkah. It means “a booth, a hut, a covering, a pavilion or tent.” The Greek word for tabernacle is sk’en’e, which also means “a tent, hut, or habitation.” The entire seven day festival commemorates how the Israelites lived in temporary dwellings when they were brought out of SLAVERY IN Egypt TO FREEDOM by the hand of the Lord. The Lord provided for the Israelites with Manna {Hebrew for what- is- it} for 40 years and provided them with water when they were in dire need and protected them from their enemies and EVEN DISCIPLINED THEM through the ups and downs of their journey in the empty wilderness places.

You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.”

Leviticus (Vayikra) 23:42-43

Tabernacles is the last of the three pilgrimage feasts. The three are Passover, Pentecost, and tabernacles.

One of the most beautiful things about this festival, is that God did not just designate this festival for the children of Israel ALONE. In fact people of many many nations celebrated this festival with the Israelites. We know this because a great mix multitude came out of Egypt and celebrated with them to commemorate the great deliverance that the God of Israel had wrought against a very wicked power that was persecuting them.

To commemorate this great event every year the people of God leave their comfortable houses to dwell in temporary dwellings for seven days as a commemoration that God provides even in the most difficult situation. This is traditionally been done by many church denominations when they do their Camp Meetings. In fact the free Methodist and the United Methodist Church used to literally parallel their camp meetings with the feast of tabernacles. This was evident from a early history book that I read from the denomination. Many other denominations do this as well. This also commemorates the great event of the return of the Lord to the earth and dwells with us during the thousand year reign of Christ, also KNOWN AS THE millennial reign, or as the Jews call it, THE ATHID LAVO.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, 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.

Revelation 21:3

With this in mind, let’s look at the context by which the word tabernacle is used in the New Covenant (Brit Hadashah).

  • The Season of Our Joy
  • The Festival of Ingathering
  • The Feast of the Nation
  • Yeshua tabernacled (sukkot) among us (John [Yochanan] 1:14). “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. We looked upon His glory, the glory of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • Peter (Kefa) spoke about his body being a tabernacle (2 Peter [Kefa] 1:13-14). Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
  • The apostle Paul told us that our earthly bodies were earthly houses or tabernacles (2 Corinthians 5:1-5). “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.”
  • The tabernacle of Moses (Moshe) was a tent of habitation (Acts 7:44; Hebrews 9:2-8). “Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.”

Abraham (Avraham), Isaac (Yitzchak), and Jacob (Ya’akov) lived in tabernacles (tents) (Hebrews 11:8-9).

 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

Hebrews 11:8-9

The tabernacle of David was a tent or dwelling place (Acts 15:16; Amos 9:11). This tabernacle was the temple of Solomon (1 Kings 5:2-5; 8:1-21).

Yeshua entered the temple on the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) (John [Yochanan] 7:2,27-29).

The Bible speaks of a heavenly tabernacle (Hebrews 8:1-2; Revelation 13:6; 15:5). This heavenly tabernacle will come to earth (Revelation 21:1-3).

Yeshua was the true tabernacle of G-d (Hebrews 9:11). – “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation)”

So, the booth or sukkah was a temporary dwelling place. Historically, it was to remind the people of their exodus from Egypt (Mitzrayim) as described in Leviticus (Vayikra) 23:42-43.

Another name for the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) is the Feast of the Nations. Sukkot (Tabernacles) will be celebrated by all the nations on earth during the Messianic age, the Millennium (Zechariah 14:16-18). The future observance of Sukkot by the nations of the world rests upon Israel’s election and mission. The universal concern of G-d’s plan for the Jewish people reaches back to the covenant with Abraham (Avraham). In that agreement, G-d promised in Genesis (Bereishit) 12:3, as it is written, “…all families of the earth [shall] be blessed [through his seed].” From Abraham (Avraham), G-d would raise up a people, Israel, to be a blessing to the nations. That promise was fulfilled through Yeshua, the Messiah, as stated in Galatians 3:8,14,16,29. In fact, the greatest evangelism in the history of the world will be by 144,000 anointed members from the tribes of Israel proclaiming the gospel (basar) of the Kingdom of Heaven through Yeshua HaMashiach (Revelation 14:1-7).

Prophetically, the sukkah points toward the future to the Messianic age, the Millennium. Spiritually, a sukkah is supposed to remind us that we are but strangers and pilgrims on the earth, this being a temporary dwelling place. So the believer in Messiah is but a stranger and pilgrim on this earth (Hebrews 11:8-10,13-16; Genesis [Bereishit] 23:3-4; 47:9; 1 Chronicles [Divery Hayamim] 29:10,15; Psalm (Tehillim) 39:12; 119:19; 1 Peter [Kefa] 1:17; 2:11).

To the believer in Yeshua, our earthly physical body is only a temporary tabernacle. At the coming of Messiah, we will receive a new and heavenly house, a glorified body (1 Corinthians 15:39-44,51-57; 2 Corinthians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18).

A fascinating and mysterious pattern emerges from the seemingly endless list of sacrifices found in Numbers (Bamidbar) 29:12-35. During the week of Sukkot (Tabernacles), 70 bullocks were offered on the altar. The connection of the 70 bulls to the 70 nations is taken from Deuteronomy (Devarim) 32:8; Genesis (Bereishit) 46:27; and Exodus (Shemot) 1:1-5. Once again, the association of the nations of the world to Sukkot (Tabernacles) is found in Zechariah 14:16-19.

The Birth of Yeshua During Sukkot

The Scriptures seem to indicate to us that Yeshua was born during the festival season of Sukkot (Tabernacles). In fact, I believe that He was born on the Feast of Sukkot (which is Tishrei 15 on the biblical calendar, and is analogous to our September/October). With this in mind, let’s look for some evidence of this in the Bible.

In Luke 1:5, Zachariah (Z’karyah) is a priest (Cohen) of the division of Abijah (Avijah). What does this mean? Israel was divided into 24 districts at the time of Yeshua. Each of these districts sent two representatives to officiate at the temple during the weeks of the year. In First Chronicles (Divery Hayamim) 24, the first division of the priests would serve in the first week of the year, which would be both in the month of Nisan and the month of Tishrei since both months begin the new year. As we saw earlier in this book, Nisan is the first month in the religious calendar set up by G-d in Exodus (Shemot) 12:2 and Tishrei is the first month of the year according to the civil calendar.

During the third week in the month of Nisan, the priests from all 24 districts would come to the temple to help during the week of Passover (Pesach). This would also be the case for the festival of Pentecost (Shavuot) and for the festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles) when all males were required to go to Jerusalem (Yerushalayim) as specified by G-d in Deuteronomy (Devarim) 16:16. In First Chronicles 24:10, we see that abijah was the eighth division or course of priests. The course of abijah would minister during the tenth week of the year. Remember, the weeks of Passover and Shavuot would not be counted because all the priests were required to go to Jerusalem then. In Luke 1:9-10, we see that Zacharias is burning incense. This is done in the room of the temple known as the Holy Place. As the incense (which represents the prayers of G-d’s people [Psalm (Tehillim) 141:2; Revelation 8:3-4]) is being burned by the priests in the temple, 18 special prayers are prayed. These 18 prayers would be prayed every day in the temple. One of these prayers is that Elijah (Eliyahu) would come. This is important because it was understood by the people, as G-d established, that Elijah (Eliyahu) would precede the coming of the Messiah as stated in Malachi 4:5.

These 18 special prayers would be prayed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. In Luke 1:11-13, the angel appeared on the right side of the altar and told Zacharias that his prayer was heard and John (Yochanan) the Immerser (Baptist) would be born. John (Yochanan) the Immerser (Baptist) was not literally Elijah (Eliyahu), but was of the spirit of power of Elijah (Luke 1:17).

Allowing two weeks for the laws of separation that G-d commanded in Leviticus (Vayikra) 12:5; 15:19,24-25 after going back to the house (Luke 1:23) and then going forward nine months (Sivan [tenth week] + 2 weeks + 9 months) puts the birth of John (Yochanan) during the festival of Passover (Pesach). This is an extremely important point because during the service for Passover, which is called the Passover Seder, the people are instructed by G-d to go to the door during one part of the service and look for Elijah (Eliyahu) while the Passover meal is eaten. The cup is called the cup of Elijah. The understanding of Elijah preceding the coming of the Messiah was the basis for the question in Matthew (Mattityahu) 17:10-13.

In Luke 1:26 during the sixth month of Elisabeth’s (Elisheva) pregnancy, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary (Miryam). This should have been around the twenty-fifth of Kislev, otherwise known as Chanukah. During the time of the first century, Chanukah was known as the second Sukkot. During the time of Chanukah, all of the Sukkot prayers are prayed once again. Mary’s (Miryam) dialogue with the angel Gabriel is found in the Sukkot liturgy today. If you calculate from the twenty-fifth of Kislev and add eight days for the festival of Chanukah plus nine months for Mary’s (Miryam) pregnancy, this will bring you around the time of the festival of Sukkot, or Tishrei 15. On Tishrei 22, known as Shemini Atzeret or the eighth day, Yeshua was circumcised (Luke 2:22-23; Leviticus [Vayikra] 12:1-3).

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