Sukkot Feast of Tabernacles ~ Hebrew for Christians


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But I'm A Christian ... ~ Rogue Angel


But I'm A Christian ...

By Angel on September 28, 2009 8:33 AM | No Comments | No TrackBacks
I have talked before about how our pews are filled with people who are going to hell and they don't think they will.

There are a lot of people who used to go to church, but don't anymore and they are going to go to hell. They don't think they will either.

They have been socialized as a Christian but they do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

They have not repented of their sin. They think they are free to do as they wish as long as they tell God they are sorry when the day is done. They are not followers of Christ. They profess belief with their mouths but their actions say otherwise. Christ is not their Lord.

I used to be one of those people.

Are you?



Wake up, Church! You can't have one foot in the church and another in the world. Don't deceive yourself.

My Husband is Leaving Me, Again! ~ Tamar Yonah

My Husband is Leaving Me, Again!

by
Tishrei 12, 5770, 9/30/2009


-And he's taking the kids.  No amount of begging helped.  I am alone in the house, and the quiet is...  well, actually, it's not THAT quiet.  I hear giggling and my husband's low voice telling stories to my kids. You see, my husband left me - for the sukkah.  I usually stick to sleeping in the house.  I am too old for the 'outdoor adventure'. I've turned into an old fuddy-duddy, and hey, I earned it!   Anyway, I peer down from my upstairs bedroom window which is right next to, and above, the sukkah that we built for the Sukkot holiday. If I look out my bedroom window, through the schach and palm branch roof of the sukkah, I can see slits of light from inside there shining through.  I try to peer and see the kids inside, lying in sleeping bags near each other and having a blast with their dad!
[]
Our sukkah (2007) . Notice the green grass and our back yard's rock wall with a small water fall in the back.  Old torn couches were brought in against the temporary wooden wall of the sukkah. My kids placed their mattresses on the grass inside our sukkah, and the table and plastic chairs will be pushed towards the other wall to make room for a few more sleeping bags.

I wonder what G-d thinks as he looks from above and sees His nation, His people, sleeping in sukkot all over the Land of Israel.  It must be a very beautiful site. 
This is the time of year that Jews go out to the sukkah to 'dwell'.  Many men and children sleep there as well, and sometimes us mothers do too.  My kids were ecstatic when I slept out there with them last year.  I decided to stop being a fuddy-duddy wimp and brave the mosquitos, but this year, there aren't so many of those pesty bloodsuckers in our area, so yippee!  However, I confess, my back likes my mattress and I appreciate having a nearby bathroom. And anyway, even ONE mosquito zzzzz-ing near my ear can drive me nuts.  I've become soft in my old age (sigh).
Nevertheless, on Sukkot our sukkah at night turns into a 'wall to wall' sleep hall, with mattresses and old torn couches we use outside, on the grass.  The kids think of it as an adventure.  My husband is just a little less enthusiastic than the kids.  He feels more spiritual sleeping under the stars.  G-d bless that man!

One of the customs we do on the Sukkot holiday is to participate in a 'sukkah hop'.  What is a sukkah hop you say?  It is where all the neighbors get together and hop from sukkah to sukkah.  Of course we don't really 'hop'.  What we do is make a list of whose sukkah we are going to go to, and at what time, and then stroll from one sukkah to the next, oo-ing and ah-ing and admiring the different way children have decorated their family's sukkah.  Everyone who hosts serves refreshments; coffee, tea or cold drinks, cakes, etc. and people can sit and say a bracha (a blessing) over these refreshments in the sukkah.  Then, as guests are sitting and eating, the host of the sukkah gives a 'dvar Torah' or a talk on the Torah. Usually guests stay for about 15-20 minutes and then together move on to the next neighbor's sukkah and the next 'dvar Torah'. It is a lovely time and we all get to see the different sukkot and the different decorations the children made, etc. 
So, in the spirit of the 'Festival of Booths', I thought I would host YOUR sukkah photos.  Send me one photo of your sukkah and, blog room permitting, I will post them up here.  I wish you all a happy and healthy new year, and a wonderful and warm Sukkot holiday! by Tamar Yonah
Tishrei 12, 5770, 9/30/2009


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New World Evangelism Strategy


Lausanne III to Form New World Evangelism Strategy


One of the most respected and significant world mission conferences in history recently announced that it will hold its third international gathering in 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE) announced plans for the Third International Congress on World Evangelization to be held Oct. 16-25, 2010, according to an announcement Friday. “Lausanne III: Cape Town 2010” will convene mission and church leaders worldwide to discuss challenges and opportunities for the church in terms of world evangelism.

“There is no doubt we have entered a new era in global Christianity,” said the Rev. S. Douglas Birdsall, LCWE executive chairman, in a statement. “We need to strategize about how we can advance the spread of the Gospel around the world.

“This is especially important as our world continues to shrink through new technologies, and as the evangelical population has shifted to the Southern hemisphere,” he added.

The year 2010 was chosen for the event to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the historic World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1910, which is regarded as the starting point of the modern ecumenical movement.

In addition, Cape Town was chosen in honor of William Carey, considered the father of modern missions, who first proposed an international missionary conference to be held there in 1810.

“We believe the 200th anniversary of William Carey’s vision and the centennial of its fulfillment is an appropriate time to, once again, encourage international leaders to come together to chart the course for the work of world evangelization in the 21st century,” Birdsall said.

Host city Cape Town is said to have “opened its arm” to the Lausanne III Congress, according to LCWE. Christians throughout the region are offering their homes to host as many as one thousand of the 4,000 church and mission leaders from 200 countries expected to attend.

“We have been overwhelmed by the welcome we have received from Cape Town,” said Robyn Claydon, LCWE Deputy Chair. “We look forward with great excitement to what God is going to accomplish through this event and the city of Cape Town.”

The first International Congress on World Evangelization (Lausanne I) was held in 1974 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The gathering of more than 2,700 evangelical leaders from 150 countries led by the Rev. Billy Graham resulted in The Lausanne Covenant – a document defining the theological ground works for collaborative world evangelization. It also provided a framework for unity and serves as the statement of faith for hundreds of Christian organizations worldwide.

Over a decade later, Lausanne II took place in Manila, Philippines, which produced the Manila Manifesto which reaffirmed and expanded upon The Lausanne Covenant and the call to “Proclaim Christ Until He Comes.” The 1989 gathering attracted 3,600 leaders from 190 nations.

“The pressing issues before us today, such as engaging worldviews increasingly hostile to Christianity, the threat of terrorism, and HIV/AIDS, coupled with new opportunities and new technologies, are very different from those issues faced in 1974,” Birdsall explained. “New global challenges require thoughtful and prayerful global responses.”

Lausanne III will be directed by leaders from a wide-range of countries and denominations. Anglican Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda will serve as chairman of the Africa Host Committee. The Lausanne III Advisory Council is chaired by Dr. Samuel Escobar from Latin America, while Bishop Hwa Yung, of the Methodist Church in Malaysia, is chairman of the Participant Selection Committee.
“We pray that Lausanne III: Cape Town 2010 will serve to unite and energize the Church with a new vision and a new commitment to partnership for the work of world evangelization for a new time,” said Birdsall.

Giving Granny the Bottle -A Duty to Die? ~ Chuck Colson

Giving Granny the Bottle

A Duty to Die?


Regular Christian Post visitors have heard me speak about the impact of declining birth rates around the world. One consequence is that older people comprise an increasing percentage of the population in places like Japan and Western Europe.

this increases economic pressures on these countries since an aging population requires more services while having fewer young workers to pay for them.

One doctor has come up with a way to address the imbalance between pensioners and workers-that is, fewer pensioners.

What Dr. Philip Nitschke has in mind isn’t raising the retirement age-his goal is fewer pensioners.
Nitschke is the founder of Exit International, a self-described “world-leading Voluntary Euthanasia” organization. As part of his mission, Nitschke, who is from Australia, travels to different countries teaching people “how to end their lives safely.”

One of his methods is a dose of the barbiturate Nembutal. While in Britain, he told Reuters that “almost every 75-year-old I meet now sees merit in having their own bottle of Nembutal in the cupboard as an insurance policy, in case things get bad.”

Every 75-year-old? Clearly the Kevorkian from Down Under runs with an atypical crowd. As Reuters put it, “Nitschke’s is an extreme view.” Extreme, but unfortunately not unthinkable, especially given the trajectory of our culture.

At the same time Nitschke was speaking to Reuters, Britain was awaiting new guidelines for cases involving people who help family members commit suicide. The guidelines are the result of litigation involving a woman with multiple sclerosis who plans to go to Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal. She wanted assurances that her husband wouldn’t be prosecuted for helping her kill herself. Britain’s law lords ruled that she was entitled to such assurances.

While assisted-suicide is still illegal within Britain, attitudes are changing. For example, the Royal College of Nurses has gone from being opposed to assisted-suicide to a position of neutrality. You don’t have to be an alarmist or even a pessimist to guess what the next change will be
.
These changes coincide with the graying of the British population. Currently, 20 percent of Britons are over 65, and that is projected to rise to 30 percent by 2020. Pro-euthanasia advocates scoff at the idea that the elderly will be pressured to die by society, but British officials acknowledge the possibility. One told the BBC that he wouldn’t want to live in a society that pressured its elderly to kill themselves to make life easier for their families.

The government’s way of preventing that is laws that “strike a balance,” he said, between “sympathetic” cases and protecting the elderly. But you and I know where the road paved with good intentions leads. Without a bright line around the sanctity of human life, the extreme inexorably becomes the mainstream.

The so-called “right to die” can become, as one American politician suggested, a “duty to die,” especially as the costs associated with an aging population crowd out other priorities.

There is only one insurance policy against this nightmare-an unqualified commitment to the sanctity of life.

Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles ~ Jews for Jesus

Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles

Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles aims to enrich the church's understanding of the gospel by going back to the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. We explain how the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) is a vibrant part of Jewish life today, as well as how the holiday offers a wealth of meaning for Christians who value their Old Testament heritage.
Woman holding etrog and lulav This sermonic demonstration uses a variety of visual aids to show the rich history of the feast and its attendant traditions. The Jews for Jesus speaker sets up an actual sukkah or ceremonial booth and invites congregants to help adorn the booth with harvest fruits and foliage as part of the demonstration. The speaker transports you to Jerusalem in Jesus' day and sets the stage for His claims to be the Light of the World and the one who provides the Living Water of the Spirit.

Jesus not only celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, He used it as the occasion to reveal His nature and His mission. Christians who want to better understand the Jewish life that Jesus lived on this earth will feel they know Him even more intimately as they learn about the rituals He and His disciples observed.


While one purpose of "Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles" is to provide a rich experience for Christians, the presentation also addresses questions that seekers may have about the Jewishness of Jesus and its implications for them. Like many of the Jewish holidays, the Feast of Tabernacles shows how consistent the God of Israel is in His desire to have a real and personal relationship with those who are looking for Him.

"Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles" includes a clear and sensitive presentation of the gospel and it is most appropriate to invite seekers to this program. This would be a great opportunity for you to invite not only Jewish friends, but also unbelievers from any and all backgrounds, to come to your church.


The presentation is designed to fit the time frame of a worship service. It typically lasts for about forty-five minutes, however can be abbreviated for convenience. The missionary will need a small isolated area where the Sukkah booth can be set up.

The Feast of Tabernacles ~ Biblical Holidays




The Feast of Tabernacles

Overview

The Feast of Tabernacles is a week-long autumn harvest festival. Tabernacles is also known as the Feast of the Ingathering, Feast of the Booths, Sukkoth, Succoth, or Sukkot (variations in spellings occur because these words are transliterations of the Hebrew word pronounced “Sue-coat”). The two days following the festival are separate holidays, Shemini Atzeret and Simkhat Torah, but are commonly thought of as part of the Feast of Tabernacles.
The Feast of Tabernacles was the final and most important holiday of the year. The importance of this festival is indicated by the statement, “This is to be a lasting ordinance.” The divine pronouncement, “I am the Lord your God,” concludes this section on the holidays of the seventh month. The Feast of Tabernacles begins five days after Yom Kippur on the fifteenth of Tishri (September or October). It is a drastic change from one of the most solemn holidays in our year to one of the most joyous. The word Sukkoth means “booths,” and refers to the temporary dwellings that Jews are commanded to live in during this holiday, just as the Jews did in the wilderness. The Feast of Tabernacles lasts for seven days and ends on the twenty-first day (3x7) of the Hebrew month of Tishri, which is Israel’s seventh month.
This holiday has a dual significance: historical and agricultural (just as Passover and Pentecost). Historically, it was to be kept in remembrance of the dwelling in tents in the wilderness for the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert.
It is expounded in Leviticus 23:43 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 the LORD your God.

What were they to remember?

Matthew Henry’s commentary explains,
1.) The meanness of their beginning, and the low and desolate state out of which God advanced that people. Note: Those that are comfortably fixed ought often to call to mind their former unsettled state, when they were but little in their own eyes. 2.) The mercy of God to them, that, when they dwelt in tabernacles, God not only set up a tabernacle for Himself among them, but, with the utmost care and tenderness imaginable, hung a canopy over them, even the cloud that sheltered them from the heat of the sun. God’s former mercies to us and our fathers ought to be kept in everlasting remembrance. The eighth day was the great day of this holiday, because then they returned to their own houses again, and remembered how, after they had long dwelt in tents in the wilderness, at length they came to a happy settlement in the land of promise, where they dwelt in goodly houses. And they would the more sensibly value and be thankful for the comforts and conveniences of their houses when they had been seven days dwelling in booths. It is good for those that have ease and plenty sometimes to learn what it is to endure hardness.
They were to keep this holiday in thankfulness to God for all the increase of the year; however, the emphasis is that Israel’s life rested upon redemption which in its ultimate meaning is the forgiveness of sin. This fact separates this holiday from the harvest festivals of the neighboring nations whose roots lay in the mythological activity of the gods.

Was the first Thanksgiving a Feast of Tabernacles Celebration?


Many Americans, upon seeing a decorated sukkah for the first time, remark on how much the sukkah (and the holiday generally) reminds them of Thanksgiving. The American pilgrims, who originated the Thanksgiving holiday, were deeply religious people. As they were trying to find a way to express their thanks for their survival and for the harvest, it is quite possible that they looked to the Bible (Leviticus 23:39) for an appropriate way of celebrating and based their holiday in part on the Feast of Tabernacles.
Note: celebrating Thanksgiving on the third Thursday of November was established by the American government and may not necessarily coincide with the pilgrim’s first observance.

The Feast of Tabernacles

The Feast of Tabernacles in Bible Times

Speak to the children of Israel, saying, "On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the festival of Sukkos, a seven-day period for HaShem. The first day shall be a sacred holiday when you may not do any work. ...The eighth day is a sacred holiday to you... it is an atzeres, you may not do any work. ...
On the first day you must take for yourself a fruit of the citron tree, an unopened palm frond, myrtle branches, and brook willows, and you shall rejoice before HaShem for seven days. ...
You shall dwell in sukkos for seven days.... So that your future generations shall know that I had the children of Israel live in sukkos when I brought them out of Egypt..
(Leviticus) 23:34-43
As The Feast of Tabernacles approached, the entire Jewish nation started making preparations. Work crews were sent to repair roads and bridges for the thousands of pilgrims coming to Jerusalem. During the festival many Jews eat (and sleep, as well) in the booths or huts, which are built in the five days between Yom Kippur and this festival.
The Feast of Tabernacles is by far the most festive and joyous of occasions. History records that four huge candelabra were constructed, lighted, and attended by young men ascending ladders periodically with pitchers of oil to keep them burning. The light from these lamps illuminated the whole city, and around them danced distinguished men with torches in their hands, singing hymns and songs of praise. The dancing as well as the music continued until daybreak. It was an extravaganza (Somerville 1995).
The holiday was celebrated following the outline in Leviticus:
  • They lived in booths made of boughs of trees and branches of palm trees for the seven days of the feast (Lev. 23:42).
  • They rested from all regular work on the first and eighth days.
  • The Priest offered sacrifices on the seven days, beginning with thirteen bullocks and other animals on the first day and diminishing by one bullock each day until, on the seventh, seven bullocks were offered.
  • On the eighth day there was a solemn assembly when one bullock, one ram, and seven lambs were offered (Num. 29:36). The sacrifices offered during this time amounted to 189 animals.
  • Men carried the cluster of branches to the synagogue to wave as they rejoiced before the Lord, as commanded by the Lord (Lev. 23:40).
Water was also an important part of the Feast of Tabernacles. Before the festival, the Rabbis taught on every passage in Scripture dealing with water. In Old Testament Biblical times, gold pitchers of water were brought from the pool of Siloam to the temple. The Priest would pour out the water over the altar to signify Israel’s gratitude for the rain that had produced the harvest, and would pray for rain in the next year. 

The priest would recite Isaiah 12:1-3. And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. 

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. This special libation was performed only during the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles. This was done not only to remind God of the need for abundant rain during the winter season, but also to remind the people of the coming Messiah who had promised to pour out His Holy Spirit on the people. 

This ceremony lasted seven days. The last day was called Hosha’na Rabba, meaning the Day of the Great Hosanna. As the celebration continued, the priests blew the trumpets and waved the branches and the people sang the Great Hallel
(Psalms 113 through 118)  

Jewish Customs of Tabernacles

The services in the synagogue today are modeled after the ancient services in the Temple (see Feast of Tabernacles in Bible Times). Sacrifices are no longer performed since the time of the destruction of the Temple. 

It is usual practice to build and decorate the booth (sukkah). In the United States, Jews usually hang dried squash and corn in the sukkah to decorate it because these vegetables are readily available in the fall.

Lulav

Jewish tradition calls for a lulav (Four Species) made of a palm, myrtle, willow and fruit from the citron to be waved. The rabbis insist this is the only accepted lulav; however Scripture says, “And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook…” (Lev. 23:40).

When Ezra reinstated the feasts, Nehemiah 8:15, he used olive branches. And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.
 

The Hebrew word for “goodly” in the verse in Leviticus above is hadar {haw-dawr’} [01926 ] meaning “ornament,” “splendor,” or “honor.” The Hebrew word for “palm” in this verse is tamar {taw-mawr’} [8558] meaning “palm tree” or “date palm.” The Hebrew word for “bough” in this verse is `anaph {aw-nawf’} [06057] meaning “bough” or “branch.” The Hebrew word for “willows” in this verse is `arab {aw-rawb’} [06155] meaning “poplar, willow or a tree characterized by dark wood.”
There is thought to be spiritual significance based on the characteristics of the lulav and citron:

  • The palm bears fruit (deeds) but is not fragrant (spiritual blessing). This is like a person who lives by the letter of the law but does not have compassion or love for others.
  • The myrtle only has fragrance, but can’t bear fruit. This is like a person who is “so heavenly minded he is no earthly good.” He (or she) may recite scripture, but he doesn’t produce fruit.
  • The willow can neither produce fruit nor fragrance. This is like a person who is intrigued by different doctrines but never produces fruit.
  • The citron creates both fruit and fragrance. This is like a faithful believer who lives a balanced life in wisdom before God and man. Believers should strive to be like the citron.
The Tradition of Waving the Lulav
1. While standing, the person picks up the lulav with its attached willows and myrtle in his right hand, holding the lulav so that its spine is toward them.

2. The etrog is picked up in the left hand, next to the lulav, with its tip (pitom) pointing down.


3. The blessings are said: “Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and instructed us concerning the waving of the palm branch.” Then the shehekeyanu is said: “Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, for keeping us in life, for sustaining us, and for helping us reach this day.”

4. The etrog is then turned right side up and shaken with the lulav. 

Each day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the people in the Temple courtyard would hold their lulavs and make a circular procession around the altar. During the procession they would pray a prayer that came to be known as Hoshanos. It is a prayer for God’s blessing, ending each phrase of the prayer with the word hoshana (“Please save” or “save now!”). On the first six days they would march around the altar one time. On the seventh day they marched around it seven times. Traditionally, Psalm 27 is recited at the service of the Feast of Tabernacles.


Bible prophecy tells us that people from the nations of the world will come up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with the Jewish people in Jerusalem And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts… (Zech. 14:17).


Messiah in Tabernacles


Spiritual Lessons from the Feast of Tabernacles

God is Our Shelter
This holiday reminds us not to hold too tightly to material things. We live in a very materialistic age. When the Israelites were wanderers in the desert, they all lived in tents–rich and poor alike. Material possessions can control and manipulate us; they become gods, or idols, over us. We must remember that this life is only temporary. We are also on a pilgrimage to a Promised Land in eternity. We need to seek God’s kingdom, not earthly comfort. As we seek first the Kingdom of God (Luke 12:31), God is our shelter. For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall (Isa. 25:4).

Jesus is the Living Water
Our spiritual thirst cannot be quenched with anything less than Christ. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14).

Jesus Washes Away Our Sins
Jesus is the true living water cleansing us from sin through His blood. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Heb. 9:13-14).

Jesus is the Light of the World
The light from the Feast of Tabernacles lamps illuminated the whole city. Scholars suggest that Jesus referred to this custom when he spoke those well-known words, “I am the light of the world…” (John 8:12) Also see John 1:1-9 and John 9:5.

Jesus is Preparing Our Permanent Home
These physical bodies we now occupy are only temporary dwelling places. Our bodies are frail, and will eventually begin to deteriorate. Life is short. Our hope is not in what the world has to offer, but in what God has already provided for us for eternity. 

Our permanent home is being prepared for us in eternity. Jesus said in John 14:2-3, 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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

As the Israelites Left Bondage, We Leave the Bondage of Sin
God brought the Children of Israel out of the bondage of their Egyptian taskmasters into freedom. For Christians, we can celebrate that God redeemed us from a life of bondage to sin and brought us into His freedom in the Kingdom of God. 

Was the Birth of Christ during the Feast of Tabernacles?

Many scholars believe Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles.

Matthew Henry states:
It is supposed by many that our blessed Saviour was born much about the time of this holiday; then He left his mansions of light above to tabernacle among us (John 1:14), and he dwelt in booths. 


And the worship of God under the New Testament is prophesied of under the notion of keeping the feast of tabernacles, Zec.14:16. For, [1.] The gospel of Christ teaches us to dwell in tabernacles, to sit loose to this world, as those that have here no continuing city, but by faith, and hope and holy contempt of present things, to go out to Christ without the camp, Heb. 13:13, 14. [2.] It teaches us to rejoice before the Lord our God. Those are the circumcision, Israelites indeed, that always rejoice in Christ Jesus, Phil. 3:3. And the more we are taken off from this world the less liable we are to the interruption of our joys.

The Bible does not specifically say the date of Jesus’ birth. We know it was not during the winter months because the sheep were in the pasture (Luke 2:8). A study of the time of the conception of John the Baptist reveals he was conceived about Sivan 30, the eleventh week.



When Zechariah was ministering in the temple, he received an announcement from God of a coming son. The eighth course of Abia, when Zekharya was ministering, was the week of Sivan 12 to 18 (Killian n.d.). Adding forty weeks for a normal pregnancy reveals that John the Baptist was born on or about Passover (Nisan 14). We know six months after John’s conception, Mary conceived Jesus (Luke 1:26-33). Therefore, Jesus would have been conceived six months later in the month of Kislev. Kislev 25 is Hanukkah. Was the “light of the world” conceived on the festival of lights? 


Starting at Hanukkah, which begins on Kislev 25 and continues for eight days, and counting through the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy, one arrives at the approximate time of the birth of Jesus at the Festival of Tabernacles (the early fall of the year).


During the Feast of Tabernacles, God required all male Jews to come to Jerusalem. The many pilgrims coming to Jerusalem for the festivals would spill over to the surrounding towns (Bethlehem is about five miles from Jerusalem). Joseph and Mary were unable to find a room at the inn because of the influx of so many pilgrims. They may have been given shelter in a sukkah, which is built during a seven-day period each year accompanying the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. Due to the difficulties during travel, it was common for the officials to declare tax time during a temple Feast (Luke 2:1).

We know our Messiah was made manifest into a temporary body when He came to earth. Is it possible He also was put into a temporary dwelling? The fields would have been dotted with sukkoths during this harvest time to temporary shelter animals. The Hebrew word “stable” is called a sukkoth (Gen. 33:17).


And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:7).


Joseph and Mary took the child and flew to Egypt and remained there until they were told by God that Herod was dead. Joseph and Mary brought the baby Jesus into Jerusalem forty days from His birth for Mary’s purification and the child’s dedication (according to Torah this had to be done within forty days of the birth of a male child–not doing so is considered a sin). 


This indicates that Herod died within the same forty days, because as long as Herod was alive, they could not appear at the Temple.

(According to Josephus’ calculations, Herod’s death occurred during the Autumn in the fourth year before the Common Era 4 b.c.e.)
.
Later in His life, Yeshua celebrated His birthday on a mountain with three of His disciples. In contrast to birthday parties, such as Herod’s, where people were killed for entertainment, His was a celebration of life. On the Festival of Succoth, Moshe and EliYahu (Elijah), from centuries past, representatives of the Torah and the Prophets, appeared and talked with Yeshua. 


One disciple, Kepha (Peter), suggested building three succoth for Yeshua, Moshe, and EliYahu, because it was required for the festival, but he did not understand that these three were fulfilling that which the festival symbolized: they were dwelling in their succoth (temporary tabernacles) of flesh, awaiting their eternal resurrection temples (Killian n.d.)

A number of Christians are celebrating Christ’s birth during the Feast of Tabernacles, complete with decorations and lights on the sukkah, a birthday cake, and music celebrating Jesus’ birth.
Jesus preached three sermons in which he declared himself the “light of the world,” and all three would be during the Festival of Lights (Hanukkah) in the winter of the year (December).

Prophetic Significance

These fall festivals speak of a future time when men will again tabernacle with God, when He will dwell with them and they with Him (Rev. 21:3). They speak of a day in which all nations will gather to Jerusalem (Zech. 8:22; 14:16). Curiously, even in the days to come, Bible prophecy tells us that people from the nations of the world will come up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with the Jewish people in Jerusalem (Zech. 14). The stage is being set and prophecy is being fulfilled. 

The “coming-up” (aliyah, in Hebrew) is taking place now in Israel with the massive influx of Jews from over a hundred nations. Christians, also, are already visiting the land in record numbers—the majority of pilgrims coming to Israel are Christians! We believe this is all in preparation and building for future scriptural events. Jerusalem continues to be the focus of God’s earthly pattern and plan, for ultimately it is to Jerusalem that Messiah is coming (Wagner 1996).

Jesus Christ is the tabernacle or dwelling place of God. In Him dwelled the fullness of God (John 1:14, Col. 2:9), and God dwells in our midst through Jesus Christ (Matt. 18:20). It may be that Jesus will ultimately fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles at His second coming. 

There will be a literal rest for planet earth and all its inhabitants. Until then we can find rest in our souls.

The Beginning of the Millennium

Most Bible scholars agree that Tabernacles represents the beginning of the Millennium. We should look forward expectantly to the Feast of Tabernacles, just as we look forward to the coming of the Messiah, to bring His government, His Kingdom, and His laws. But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 

And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Micah 4:1).

Tabernacles and Passover are the only holidays mentioned in the millennial worship (Ezek. 45:21-25; Zech. 14:16). Note that the number of days between Nisan and Tishri is always the same. Because of this, the time from the first major festival (Passover in Nisan) to the last major festival (The Feast of Tabernacles in Tishri) is always the same. 

Could this have any connection to Christ’s birth during Tabernacles and His death on Passover? Passover is in the first month in the religious calendar and Tabernacles is in the first month of the civil calendar. Hosea 6:3 explains Christ will come as the latter and former rain. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. The spring holidays are during the former rain and the fall holidays are during the latter rain.

Zechariah chapter 14 introduces the millennial age. The chapter tells of the liberation of Jerusalem and how the Messiah will be king over the whole earth. It ends with all nations keeping the laws of the Most High. The Feast of Tabernacles–that great feast which symbolizes the very presence of Yeshua the Messiah (He is the very “Tabernacle of God”), will be kept by all the nations of the world. The prophet tells us that fearsome punishments and plagues will be meted out on nations that refuse to send delegates to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles.



And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: ... And the Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord and his name one ... And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came up against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord 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, the Lord 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 the Lord 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 (Zech. 14:8-19).

Jesus Celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles
Jesus celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles. He taught in the Temple on the Feast of Tabernacles. Although His disciples had not expected Jesus to attend the feast, the vast majority of the pilgrims from afar who had heard of Him entertained the hope that they might see Him at Jerusalem. They were not disappointed, for on several occasions He taught in Solomon’s Porch and elsewhere in the temple courts. These teachings were really the official or formal announcement of the divinity of Jesus to the Jewish people and to the whole world. Jesus risked His life to go to the Feast of Tabernacles, but the audacious boldness of Jesus in publicly appearing in Jerusalem overawed his enemies; they were not prepared for such a daring challenge.


On the last day and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles (the day the Rabbis poured the water) Jesus stood (calling special attention to his message) and proclaimed Himself the very fountain of living water in John 7:37-38.

Was the Birth of Christ during the Feast of Tabernacles?

Many scholars believe Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles. Matthew Henry states: 
It is supposed by many that our blessed Saviour was born much about the time of this holiday; then He left his mansions of light above to tabernacle among us (John 1:14), and he dwelt in booths. And the worship of God under the New Testament is prophesied of under the notion of keeping the feast of tabernacles, Zec.14:16. For

[1.] The gospel of Christ teaches us to dwell in tabernacles, to sit loose to this world, as those that have here no continuing city, but by faith, and hope and holy contempt of present things, to go out to Christ without the camp, Heb. 13:13, 14.


[2.] It teaches us to rejoice before the Lord our God. Those are the circumcision, Israelites indeed, that always rejoice in Christ Jesus, Phil. 3:3. And the more we are taken off from this world the less liable we are to the interruption of our joys. 
The Bible does not specifically say the date of Jesus' birth. We know it was not during the winter months because the sheep were in the pasture (Luke 2:8). A study of the time of the conception of John the Baptist reveals he was conceived about Sivan 30, the eleventh week. 

When Zechariah was ministering in the temple, he received an announcement from God of a coming son. The eighth course of Abia, when Zekharya was ministering, was the week of Sivan 12 to 18 (Killian n.d.). Adding forty weeks for a normal pregnancy reveals that John the Baptist was born on or about Passover (Nisan 14). We know six months after John's conception, Mary conceived Jesus (Luke 1:26-33). Therefore, Jesus would have been conceived six months later in the month of Kislev. Kislev 25 is Hanukkah. Was the "light of the world" conceived on the festival of lights? 


Starting at Hanukkah, which begins on Kislev 25 and continues for eight days, and counting through the nine months of Mary's pregnancy, one arrives at the approximate time of the birth of Jesus at the Festival of Tabernacles (the early fall of the year). 


During the Feast of Tabernacles, God required all male Jews to come to Jerusalem. The many pilgrims coming to Jerusalem for the festivals would spill over to the surrounding towns (Bethlehem is about five miles from Jerusalem). Joseph and Mary were unable to find a room at the inn because of the influx of so many pilgrims. They may have been given shelter in a sukkah, which is built during a seven-day period each year accompanying the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. Due to the difficulties during travel, it was common for the officials to declare tax time during a temple Feast (Luke 2:1).


We know our Messiah was made manifest into a temporary body when He came to earth. Is it possible He also was put into a temporary dwelling? The fields would have been dotted with sukkoths during this harvest time to temporary shelter animals.  

The Hebrew word "stable" is called a sukkoth (Gen. 33:17).

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:7).


Joseph and Mary took the child and flew to Egypt and remained there until they were told by God that Herod was dead. Joseph and Mary brought the baby Jesus into Jerusalem forty days from His birth for Mary's purification and the child's dedication (according to Torah this had to be done within forty days of the birth of a male child-not doing so is considered a sin). This indicates that Herod died within the same forty days, because as long as Herod was alive, they could not appear at the Temple. (According to Josephus' calculations, Herod's death occurred during the Autumn in the fourth year before the Common Era 4 b.c.e.).


Later in His life, Yeshua celebrated His birthday on a mountain with three of His disciples. In contrast to birthday parties, such as Herod's, where people were killed for entertainment, His was a celebration of life. On the Festival of Succoth, Moshe and EliYahu (Elijah), from centuries past, representatives of the Torah and the Prophets, appeared and talked with Yeshua. 

One disciple, Kepha (Peter), suggested building three succoth for Yeshua, Moshe, and EliYahu, because it was required for the festival, but he did not understand that these three were fulfilling that which the festival symbolized: they were dwelling in their succoth (temporary tabernacles) of flesh, awaiting their eternal resurrection temples (Killian n.d.)

A number of Christians are celebrating Christ's birth during the Feast of Tabernacles, complete with decorations and lights on the sukkah,  and music celebrating Jesus' birth.


Suggestions for Celebrating Tabernacles

Building A Sukkoth

The Bible says "Build a sukkah (or booth)." Rabbis have added all details about size, materials, location, etc. You might want to use any scrap lumber you have available, pitch your tent, or use old sheets to create an adventure for your children (attach tarps with bungee cords to your deck or swing set). One family had sick children and made a booth out of old sheets in their living room. Meals were eaten in it and they occasionally spent the night. The importance of this and each holiday is making a memory - not getting hung up on customs.
Building and decorating a sukkah is a fun family project. Jim Gerrish, with Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem, describes one plan for building a sukkah:
Actually it is not such a difficult job. You will need to start planning early though, in order to begin your construction as quickly as possible after Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. In Israel some devout Jews begin construction as soon as the sun is down on Yom Kippur, four days before the Feast of Tabernacles starts.
Since the sukkah is not to be an elaborate or permanent structure, the most inexpensive materials may be used. You will need 4 sturdy posts (2 x 4s in the U.S.) for the corners, 4 smaller poles (2 x 2s) for the roof. All of these boards should be approximately 7 or 8 feet (2.5 meters) in length. To cover the roof you will need several slats or small boards capable of holding up light tree branches. For the sides, old bedsheets seem to work well. Other materials like canvas, cane matting or even light plywood are also fine. You will need enough to enclose three sides, with a drape for the entrance. For the top you simply need to trim a few trees in the back yard. 
Now for the actual construction. The tabernacle can be almost any size so long as it is large enough to sit in. A seven foot cube (2.5 meters) is recommened, since this will allow plenty of room for guests (make a larger Sukkah if you are blessed with a big family). 
First, you will need to sink four holes in the ground for the four upright corner poles. In lieu of this, you may anchor the uprights in the holes of stacked concrete blocks, or design other sturdy legs for them. If you want to do it the easy way, you may use an existing building for one side of your sukkah. Once the uprights are firmly in place, then attach the horizontal rods at the top along the outside. With this finished, you can now place the slats or other small support boards on the roof. 
The next step is to drape the bed sheets or other coverings around three sides. In the front, a bed sheet attached on a wire track works well for a door. Finally, place the tree branches on top, but if you like to see the stars, don't make the roof too thick. The sukkah can now be outfitted to your own taste. A table and chairs are a must. You may wish to decorate the walls with pictures or Bible verses. Fruit may be hung from the ceiling; paper chains and other decorations may be hung on the walls. Use your imagination, and by all means, let the children participate.
It is customary to decorate the inside of the sukkah with pictures, hangings, and the agricultural produce for which Israel is famous: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, olives, dates, and pomegranates. 

All that is left now is the enjoyment. Invite your friends to see your masterpiece and rejoice with you. Try a meal out in the sukkah, or even spend the night there. It will be an unforgettable and blessed experience. 

What to do in a Sukkah

Praise God through prayer .  
Praise God by singing praise songs. 
Invite relatives, friends, and neighbors to celebrate with you.
Wave the Lulav (explained in the following pages).
Eat, drink, relax, nap.
Read the section titled "God is Our Shelter" and "Jesus is Preparing Our Permanent Home" from the "Messianic Significance of Tabernacles." 
Sing songs to celebrate the birth of Christ. Such as "Joy to the World," "Silent Night," "Away in a Manger," "The First Noel," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," etc.
The light from the Feast of Tabernacle lamps illuminated the whole city. Decorate the sukkah with strings of light. Read Bible verses about Jesus being our light (John 1:1-9; 8:12; 9:5). 
Set up a nativity scene. Read the story of Christ's birth in Luke or one of the gospels. 
Pour water on the ground and read Jesus' proclamation (John 7:37). 
Read aloud the verses explaining this feast (Lev. 23:34-43 Deut. 16:13-15, and Num. 29:12-40).
Read John 7:2-39 about Jesus celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles.
Many Bible prophecies tell of the Messiah's reign over all nations. Read some of them aloud to your family (Psalms 2, 47, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 110, and 126). 
Tell Bible stories. 
 
Get started, evaluate each year, and have fun.  

Plan to eat at least one meal in your sukkah, and use it for your time alone with God, perhaps. 

Younger children will want to "play house" which is alright since the Israelites were "housed" in them for forty years.

Sukkah Craft

The crafts, recipes, and activities for Tabernacles from A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays are too large for this site. Below is one example.

Build a Miniature Sukkah


Optional materials include:
  • Half of a small shoebox or similar size (or)
  • Small paper sack, shortened (or)
  • Craft sticks.
Use any of these to create your basic hut shape. Cut a doorway in the sack or leave a doorway if using sticks. The shoebox can be simply stood on the cut end. Use different shades of brown markers if you want a natural wood appearance. Use a collection of small twigs and leaves to make your roof. Glue on top, or leave loose if you want to store them separately later. Tiny metallic stars can be put on your top branches. If you want to hang “fruit” from the ceiling, use things like raisins, seeds, nuts, or beads on threads. Use your imagination for other small inside decorations. Stuff tiny cushions or use a wooden block for a table.


If you like, thread spools or clothespins (half or whole) can become little people. Tiny manufactured people and furniture also work. A birthday candle on a button can set off your table.

Many craft stores have doll house furniture available. We were able to find a tiny Bible, small fruit basket, and miniature fruit. This was our family’s favorite craft! If you enjoy doll houses you’ll love this one.





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