Hebrew priest blowing the Shofar hornThe Feast of Sukkot or Tabernacles

The Autumnal Eight-Day Festival

“The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days unto YHVH. On the first day shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no servile work therein.” (Leviticus 23:34-35) Sukkoth is such an important appointment with YAH that He repeats His message to meet several times. He says our focus is to be on YAH’s Kingdom business rather than pursuing our own self-interests. “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no servile work. You shall keep a feast unto YHVH seven days.” (Numbers 29:12) YAH designates the first day of Sukkoth to be a Sabbath (a day of rest). When our weeklong festival ends, He also says that we are to gather again for another Sabbath, an eighth Feast Day. “In the fifteenth day of the seventh moon (month), when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a Feast unto YHVH seven days. On the first day shall be a Sabbath and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath.” (Leviticus 23:39)
Furthermore, YAH instructed Israel to offer certain burnt animal sacrifices on each day of Sukkoth. (Numbers 29:13-34) Scripture confirms that Solomon kept YAH’s commands after building a Temple for Elohim (YAH’s dwelling place). “Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto YHVH on the altar of YHVH, which he had built before the porch, even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses (Mosheh), on the Sabbaths, and on the New Moons, and on the Solemn Feasts, three times in the year, even in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, in the Feast of Weeks and in the Feast of Tabernacles.” (2 Chronicles 8:12-13)
Also according to Strong’s, the Greek word, “skene” (G4633), also means “a tent, or cloth hut, habitation, tabernacle.” Scripture records that Yahushuah observed this festival with His disciples. Now the Jews’ (Yahudim) Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said to Him, “Depart hence and go to Judea (Yahudah) that your disciples also may see the works that you do. For there is no man who does anything in secret and He Himself seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For neither did His brethren believe in Him. Then Yahushuah said to them, “My time is not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that the works thereof are evil. You go up to this Feast! I go not up yet to this Feast, for my time is not yet full come.” When He had said these words to them, He abode still in Galilee. “But when His brethren were gone up, then He also went up to the Feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.” (John 7:2-10)
By observing Sukkoth, we walk in the footsteps of Yahushuah and His disciples, and we follow the obedient example of others. “When the seventh moon was come and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. Then stood up, Yeshuah, the son of Yozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and built the altar of the Elohim of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon as it is written in the law of Moses the man of Elohim. They set the altar upon his bases for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries. They offered burnt offerings thereon to YAHUAH, even burnt offerings morning and evening. They kept the Feast of Tabernacles as it is written and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom as the duty of every day required.” (Ezra 3:1-4)
Some day in the future, everyone will know about Sukkoth and begin to observe this Festival. Does it not make sense to start respecting YAH’s wishes now? “It shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, YHVH of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, YHVH of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith YHVH will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” (Zechariah 14:16-19)
YAH’s commands never change. He instructs us to observe Sukkoth, now and forever. “In the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a Feast unto YHVH seven days. The first day shall be a Sabbath and the eighth day shall be a Sabbath. You shall take on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook. You shall rejoice before YHVH your Elohim seven days. You shall keep it a Feast unto YHVH seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month.” (Leviticus 23:39-41)
As we just read, YAH also instructs Israel to gather different types of plant clippings. These various types of tree branches served to construct the temporary housing used as shelters (i.e. tents, booths) during Sukkoth, the rainy season in Israel. The dwelling places were a physical reminder to the Israelites of the time spent living in tents (booths) during their 40-year wilderness journey to the Promised Land. “ You shall dwell in booths seven days. All who are born Israelites shall dwell in booths so that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am YHVH, your Elohim.” (Leviticus 23:42-43)
For this reason, some call this week a “Festival of Booths.” At BYA, we also collectively construct a booth on the land where we will be gathering. We do that as a physical reminder of a spiritual principle. Humans live in a temporary house (a body). After a lifetime of journeying through a wilderness (this world) that body will die. Our life’s purpose is to use our physical body to transport our spiritual body for its reconciliation with YAHUAH through Yahushuah (our promised heritage). “For every house is built by some man. But He that built all things is Elohim. Moses verily was faithful in his entire house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after, but Mashiach as a son over his own house; whose house we are, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.” (Hebrews 3:4-6)
Everyone (men, women and children) are invited to participate in a weeklong, joyous celebration every autumn. It is an opportunity to reflect upon when Yahushuah first came to dwell amongst us. Is it possible that scripture is speaking of a sukka in the story of His birth and temporary shelter in a manger of a barn? Were Miriam and Joseph travelling to Sukkoth? “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days after you have gathered in your corn and your wine. You shall rejoice in your feast; you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your gates. Seven days you shall keep a solemn feast unto YHVH your Elohim in the place, which YHVH shall choose because YHVH your Elohim shall bless you in all your increase and in all the works of your hands. Therefore, you shall surely rejoice.” (Deut. 16:13-15)
That Sukkoth comes after the last harvest of fruits and vegetables and reflects a spiritual picture of the last souls being gathered into Yah’s Kingdom. At that time, King Yahushuah defeats His enemies (the Beast, False Prophet, Antichrist, Satan and all the opponents of YHVH). This last harvest of souls is why some call this festival a “Feast of Ingathering.” “I saw no temple therein: for Adonai El Shaddai and the Lamb are the temple of it. The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it. For, the glory of Elohim did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. The nations of them who are saved shall walk in the light of it. The kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. The gates of it shall not be shut at all by day. For, there shall be no night there. They shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. There shall in no wise enter into it anything that defiles, neither whatsoever works abomination, or makes a lie. But, they who are written in the Lamb's book of life.” (Revelation 21:22-27)
A festival that commemorates the return of our King to dwell amongst humans is wonderful indeed. Picture our Messiah’s 1000-year reign on earth (known as the Messianic Age, or Millennium). Imagine a literal, earthly paradise when He comes to dwell with us. Sukkoth is a special time to spend with Yah in joy and celebration. By whatever name you wish to call this festival, it is truly a time to be spent celebrating. Hallelu Yah! “I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from Elohim out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of Elohim is with men.’ He will dwell with them and they shall be His people. Elohim Himself shall be with them and be their Elohim. Elohim shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)
We are blessed to be able to study this concept of Yah’s dwelling amongst us through many scriptural examples. For example, “yashav” (H3732) appears over 1000 times in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures). The word means, “to dwell, remain, sit, abide”.  Use a Strong’s Concordance to research this word. Here is one to meditate. “You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers. You shall be my people, and I will be your Elohim.” (Ezekiel 36:28)
Another word, “shakan” (H7931), is used 129 times and similarly means “to settle down, abide, dwell, tabernacle, reside”. He said to me, “Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places.” (Ezk. 43:7) In the spring, the festival of Passover (Pesach) spiritually pictures what Yahushuah did when He first dwelled on earth. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
In the autumn, the festival of Sukkoth spiritually pictures what Yahushuah will do upon His return to dwell on earth. He who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write! For, these words are true and faithful.” And he said to me, “It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him who is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He who overcomes shall inherit all things. I will be his Elohim and he shall be my son.” (Revelation 21:5-7)
Yahushuah, like us, dwelt in a temporary place, a human body. Today, He dwells with His Father in heaven. Sukkoth foreshadows when He comes again to fulfill the promise of rest to earth’s inhabitants in His presence. “Depart from evil! Do good and dwell for evermore. For YHVH loves judgment and forsakes not his saints. They are preserved forever. But the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell therein forever.” (Psalm 37:27-29)
Sukkoth reminds us to release our hold on material items. Our society promotes possessions that can control, manipulate and become idols in our life. This life is temporary, but our Promised Rest is for eternity. Seek Yah’s kingdom, not earthly comfort. “Seek not what you shall eat, what you shall drink, or be of doubtful mind. All these things the nations of the world seek after. Your Father knows that you have need of these things. Rather, seek the Kingdom of Elohim and all these things shall be added to you. Fear not little flock. It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Sell what you have. Give alms. Provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that fail not, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:29-34).
Elohim is our ultimate dwelling place. “One thing have I desired of YAHUAH (“YHVH”), that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of YHVH all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of YHVH, and to enquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble, He shall hide me in his pavilion. In the secret of His tabernacle, He shall hide me. He shall set me up upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies round about me. Therefore, I will offer in His tabernacle sacrifices of joy. I will sing! Yea, I will sing praises unto YHVH.” (Psalm 27:4-6)
Sukkoth is a dress rehearsal for Yahshuah’s return. He calls us to gather, and to prepare our current dwelling place for Him. Seek to be in a spotless condition for His return. Did you RSVP “Yes”? If so, celebrate this Festival of thanksgiving, singing, rejoicing, and dancing, just like a good old-fashioned wedding. Come amongst the music and shofars, praise and worship. Experience the utter joy of knowing YHVH hosts this rehearsal for His Son’s wedding, and that we are invited participants in His wedding party. Like a wedding feast, He will provide drinks that quench our spiritual thirst. “Whosoever drinks of the water that I (Yahushuah) shall give him shall never thirst. The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)
Sukkoth reminds us that Yahushuah is preparing our permanent dwelling place. “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in Elohim. Also, believe in Me. In my Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know the Way” (John 14:1-4).
Our frail bodies eventually deteriorate. The dwelling place (booth, tent) that we live within is temporary. It covers our organs (heart, mind and soul), yet it is passing away. Now is the time to prepare this body for Yah to dwell within it. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering. Forbear one another and forgive one another. If any man have a quarrel against any: even as Messiah forgave you, so also do ye. Above all these things put on charity (agape, love), which is the bond of perfectness. Let the peace of Elohim rule in your hearts, to which also you are called in one body. You be thankful! Let the Word of Messiah dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to Adonai. Whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Adonai Yahshuah, giving thanks to Elohim and the Father by Him.” (Colossians 3:12-17)
Come join us in following a path to a new life and faith. Sukkoth awakens our conscience to separate from this world. “Deliver yourself, O Zion, who dwells with the daughter of Babylon.” (Zechariah 2:7)
Look beyond the bleakness of a sad world (hunger, wars, violence, natural disasters, child/spouse abuse, dishonesty, greed, injustice of all kinds, nuclear weapon stockpiles, etc.). Amongst this bad news, hear the good news of Yah’s Kingdom coming to dwell in our midst (in our heart, family, assembly, schools, at work, and in places where people of goodwill bring about peace and love). This is where Yah dwells. “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For lo, I come. I will dwell in the midst of you,” says YHVH. “Many nations shall be joined to YHVH in that day and shall be my people. I (Yahshuah) will dwell in the midst of you, and you shall know that YHVH of hosts has sent me to you.” (Zech. 2:10-11)
Our world’s destiny is to be a much different place. Thus says YHVH, “I am returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth and the mountain of YHVH of hosts (“tzaviout”) the holy mountain.” Thus says YHVH tzaviout, “There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.” Thus says YHVH of hosts, “If it be marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvelous in my eyes?” says YHVH of hosts. Thus says YAHUAH of hosts, “Behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country. I will bring them and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be my people and I will be their Elohim, in truth and in righteousness.” Thus says YHVH of hosts, “Let your hands be strong, you who hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, who were in the day that the foundation of the house of YHVH of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built.” (Zechariah 8:3-9)
Sukkoth is a picture of the restoring and reconciling of Yah’s people, reunited finally into one Kingdom, one new man in Yahushuah (Romans 11:13-24; Ezekiel 37:15-28; Ephesians 2:11-19). This occurs at His second coming when He dwells on earth. Although the times we live in often seem downright scary, fret no more. We know how Yah’s story ends. That ending is a reason to celebrate and to be joyous. “Trust in YHVH and do good! So you shall dwell in the land and verily you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in YHVH and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way unto YHVH. Trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in YHVH and wait patiently for Him.” (Psalm 37:3-6)
On each day of this seven-day Festival, please pray that Yah reveals His Truth about Sukkoth. Please pray that His Holy Spirit leads and guides BYA to obey and honor Yah through Tabernacles. Please pray that no matter what lies ahead, that we are all safe within Yahushuah.
This is a weeklong festival for seeking Elohim and spending celebratory time for finding Him. Let us recall the very dark days in Egypt, still the children of Israel had light in their land of Goshen. Let us pray that YAHUAH does the same for us. Amen and Amen. “YHVH is my light and my salvation! Whom shall I fear? YHVH is the strength of my life! Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.  Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war should rise against me, in this I will be confident.” (Psalm 27:1-3)  
Embrace Paul’s counsel to Timothy in preparing for Sukkoth. “But you, O man of Elohim, flee these things. Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called and have professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give you charge in the sight of Elohim, who quickens all things, and before Messiah Yahshuah, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; that you keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Adonai Messiah Yahshuah, who in His times He shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach to; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen. Charge them who are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living Elohim, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. O Timothy [BYA], keep that which is committed to your trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings and oppositions of science falsely so called, which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:11-21)
We have yet another reason to be joyful this coming Sukkoth. What Yah reveals to us about His Feast Days serve as a personal blessing that we can share with our family, friends and neighbors. He (Yahushuah) turned Himself to His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see. For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which you see and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear and have not heard them.” (Luke 10:23-24)
Looking for a way to celebrate Sukkoth? Consider this. “In that day you shall say, O YHVH, I will praise you. Although you were angry with me, your anger is turned away and you comforted me. Behold, Elohim is my salvation. I will trust and not be afraid. For YHVH is my strength and my song. He also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy you shall draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day you shall say, ‘Praise YHVH! (Hallelu Yah!) Call upon His name! Declare his doings among the people! Make mention that His name is exalted! Sing to YHVH, for He has done excellent things. This is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, you inhabitant of Zion. For great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of you.” (Isaiah 12:1-6)
Looking to spend time some quality time with Yah? Consider the way of King David. “YHVH, who shall abide in your tabernacle? Who shall dwell in your holy hill? He, who walks uprightly, works righteousness and speaks the truth in his heart. He, who backbites not with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned. But he honors them who fear YAHUAH. He, who swears to his own hurt and changes not, who puts not out his money to usury, nor takes reward against the innocent, He who does these things shall never be moved.” (Psalm 15:1-5)
Hallelu Yah! May our living Elohim dwell within with you during Sukkoth. May your time spent with YHVH and Yahushuah be joyous and celebratory, and may Yah’s face of mercy and grace be upon all of us. Shalom, Elder Curt