In the Jewish World Sukkot “Booths” also The birth of Yeshua?
October 13th – 20th, Tishrei 15th 5772
Leviticus 23: 33-44 tells us the story of the Israelites and their journey out of Egypt and the following 40 years of wondering. We can find the name Sukkoth in Gen. 33:17 “And Jacob journeyed to Succoth; and built for himself a house, and made booths for the livestock, therefore the place is named Sukkoth.” The Hebrew word Sukkoth means “hut”
The Biblical name for Sukkoth is “The Feast of Tabernacles”. There are three times the Lord commanded the Jews to assemble in the Temple in Jerusalem. On these three Holidays they were to present offerings to the Lord. Those three are Passover, Shavu’ot, (Pentecost) and Sukkoth. Sukkoth is the third and last of the three.
But in the month of Tishri, there are three major Holidays of the Feast of the Tabernacle of the Lord, which is God’s perfect timetable. The month of Tishri falls in September or October on the Christian Calendar. They are Rosh HaShannah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkoth. These three are often called the Second Advent. The First Advent we have the Feast of Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits. Yeshua died on Passover, He was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and He rose on First Fruits, 50 days later he sent the Holy Spirit on the Following Feast of Shavuoth (Pentecost). So we see here that God is setting up a pattern for us to look for. So we need to look at the remainder of the three Feasts to see the rest of the story, (sounds like Paul Harvey) something as important as the Birth of the Messiah would surely fit into this pattern.
You can purchase books everywhere that tell you about how to celebrate this Holiday so I will stay on subject, and only touch on a couple of things you may not find in some of your books. In general there is a two-fold meaning to this celebration in Israel and throughout the world. The first being the Fall Harvest Lev. 23: that teaches it is a time of bringing in the fall harvest and thanksgiving. Many believe as I do, that the Puritan Colonists who landed in America who were great students of the Hebrew Scriptures based the first American Thanksgiving on Sukkoth.
The second is found in the command to dwell in Booths as a memory to Israel’s 40 years of wondering in the wilderness. Another translation of the world Sukkoth is “habitation” as we camp in booths today we need to remember that the same God is watching over us today. That He inhabits our lives with a care beyond our imagination. Sukkoth is known also as “Zman Simkhatenu” (The Time of Rejoicing) the knowledge that God provided His habitation and lives with us, is certainly a time for rejoicing.
There are blessings said over the “Lulav” (palm branch), “Etrog” (citron, a fruit from Israel that looks like a large lemon) also the “Hadas” (Myrtle) and “Arava” (the youngest branch of the willow before it opens) These are called the four spices. The only reason I am spending some time on this is there is something very special here in Biblical teaching. First the Etrog, which taste sweet and has a delightful aroma, represents a person with knowledge or Torah and good deeds. The Lulav which comes from a Date Palm, a fruit that taste sweet but has no fragrance, meaning that some people have knowledge but no good deeds. The Hadas is just opposite, having a nice fragrance yet no taste (good deeds without true knowledge) Arava has neither taste nor smell and speaks of the persons without knowledge or good deeds. James 2:17 sums this up by saying “Faith without works is dead.”
Now lets move on to the birth of the Messiah. With the celebration of Sukkoth having so many wonderful teaching in it for the Church today. You would think that the New Testament would have reference in it of Sukkoth. We read in John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It says, the Word not only was with God, but the Word was the very manifestation of God Himself.
Then we read in John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, and glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth”. What the Word of God says is, “The Word became a human being and lived with us, and we saw His Sh’kinah, The Sh’kinah glory of the Father’ only Son full of grace and Glory. But did you notice the word John used to described this event. He said “dwelt” among His people. This word dwelt come from a Greek word “skene” and the Greeks translated that from the Hebrew word “Tabernacle”. What I am trying to get you to see is, John was describing the Holy Day of Sukkoth, the Holy Day that celebrates the indwelling of God Himself. So the Word says: And the Word was made flesh and Tabernacled among us,”
The celebration of December 25th as the birth of the Messiah is pagan, and comes from the Roman Empire. The early Church often “christianized” pagan days of celebration to accommodate the new converts. And December shows this very clearly. This date was an ancient feast that celebrated the return of the sun after the winter solatice. It has absolutely nothing to do with the birth of Yeshua. Believers began to say there was no real proof of the Messiah’s birth date so this would do. What they didn’t consider was John’s description using the term “Tabernacle” or Booths or Sukkoth. It is right there before us and so clear I can’t understand how it has been so missed by so many who calls themselves Biblical scholars.
If the first Advent showed Yeshua’s death on the cross on Unleavened Bread, buried on Passover, and resurrection of First Fruits, and the pouring out of His Holy Spirit on Shavout (Pentacost). Do you think that God would let such an important event as the birth of His only begotten Son go unheralded?
Sukkoth shows that God would dwell “Tabernacle” in the midst of His people, through the presence of the Messiah, Yeshua. There is much more evidence as well, since we know that Yeshua died on Passover and we also know His ministry lasted 3 ½ years we can backtrack and that puts us right at Sukkoth as well. Nearly every serious Bible Theologian calculates that His birth was in the fall, that also is Sukkoth.
One of the ceremonies of Sukkoth is the pouring of water, and a time of prayer for water and rain in Israel. During the second Temple period a Priest would take a water pitcher down to the pool of shiloach (today called Siloam in the city of David) he would bring it back to the Temple. Crowds of people would follow him dancing and singing the Hellel, (Psalms 113-118) The highlight of this ceremony was when the Priest would pour this water at the altar of the Temple. It became known as “Simcha Bet-Ha-sho-evah” (The rejoicing of the House of Drawing Water)
The question is, why would there be so much rejoicing at this pouring of water? It has to be more than rejoicing of the future rain on Israel, as important as that might be. Because we read in Isaiah 12:3 “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation”. (Salvation in Hebrew is Yeshua, the name of the Messiah) GLORY TO GOD.
It was much more than the pouring out of water at the Temple, or even for the rain. The Simcha Bet Ha-sho-evah pointed directly to the coming of the Messiah and the days of redemption when the water of the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon all Israel.
Now we can appreciate the Scripture that was recorded on one day in the Messiah’s life and that day was on a Sukkoth. John 7:37-39 “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Yeshua stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given: because Yeshua was not yet glorified.) Think for a moment of the time and place of these words being proclaimed by Yeshua. It was Sukkoth and it was the time of the pouring of the water. The crowds were filled with those who had expectation of the Messiah and the Holy Spirit He would bring. At the moment of the time of the pouring of the water the Messiah stood and made this bold proclamation. He was saying. I am the Messiah, do you truly want the living water of the spirit of God? If you truly want the Bet Ha-sho-evah, believe in me. I am the Messiah who will pour out the Holy Spirit on Israel.
After eight days of Sukkoth we will end this celebration, and on the 8th day our Messiah was circumcised. And from here volumes can be written over that event.
Shalom, Jerry Golden
Visit Jerry’s site at http://www.thegoldenreport.com