Good day or evening, wherever you are, in the name of the Lord. I’m Ty Alexander Huynh, Elder Minister and Teacher of Mashiach Yeshua – Christ Jesus. Welcome to this Sukkot/Tabernacles service, the third of a series focusing on the High Holidays or High Holy Days, which in Hebrew is called “The Days of Awe.” If you don’t understand why I’m conducting services around what only seems important to Jews, then please watch the service for Yom Teruah, and learn why Christians need to have a knowledge of Old Testament holidays. There is a link on the page for this service.
Last week’s service was for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. I hope it was of great benefit for you in learning about and getting healing, deliverance, and atonement. Today, we will start Sukkot or what is translated as the Feast of Tabernacles, Booths, or Ingathering. It is an eight-day remembrance, with seven days of feasting mandated in the Old Testament (Leviticus 23:33-43; Numbers 29:12-38; Deuteronomy 16:13-15; Exodus 23:16, 34:22). However, I plan for eight feast days, because the eighth day has a holy gathering and special meaning.
There is a holy gathering for today, the first feast day as well. The first and last days are meant to be sabbath days as well, so may you not conduct your regular work today nor on the eighth and last day of Sukkot.
Sukkot is traditionally a harvest festival that celebrates the “ingathering” or harvesting of crops at the end of the growing season. This ingathering is why Sukkot is sometimes called the Feast of Ingathering. Sukkot is also related to another harvest festival that happens at the beginning of the growing season, called Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks or First Fruits. The church is more familiar with the timing of Shavuot because it is the holiday of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit first came in power to the church after the Lord’s resurrection.
Shavuot or Pentecost is meant to celebrate the first fruits of the growing season. The first growth of crops were offered to the Lord and celebrated, which is why Shavuot is also called the Feast of First Fruits. Sukkot or Tabernacles, though, celebrates the final harvest at the end of the season.
Both holidays are of similar importance to the Lord, because the Jews were explicitly ordered to attend and make offerings for these holidays in what might be considered three national holidays of greater importance, the third holiday being Passover (Exodus 23:14-17, 34:23-24; Deuteronomy 16:16-17; 2 Chronicles 8:13).
“Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me. You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread [or Passover]; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed. Also, you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the land, [which is Shavuot or Pentecost]; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field, [which is Sukkot or Tabernacles]. Three times a year, all your males shall appear before the Lord Yahovah, the God of Israel” (Exodus 23:14-17, 34:23; 2 Chronicles 8:13).
Sukkot is also of greater importance because of how it is mandated after the Lord’s return, especially so that He is worshipped by those who fought against Him and Jerusalem. If they do not celebrate Sukkot and worship the Lord every year, then they are cursed with drought - “It will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahovah of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahovah of hosts, there will be no rain on them… it will be the plague with which the Lord smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16-17).
On Yom Teruah, the Day of Trumpets or Shouting, I noted the use of blowing trumpets or shofars to acknowledge and anoint kings, and aligning with this and the mandate for nations to worship the Lord on Sukkot, it appears horns could be blown again on our holiday, today, to acknowledge Christ as King after His return. This blowing of the horns at the beginning of a new month and in the middle, when the full moon occurs, is noted in Psalm 81.
It would coincide with Yom Teruah, which is on a new moon and Sukkot on the following full moon - “Sing for joy to God our strength; Shout joyfully to the God of Jacob. Raise a song, strike the timbrel, and the sweet sounding lyre with the harp. Blow the trumpet at the new moon, and the full moon, on our feast day” (Psalm 81:1-3).
Something else that is done for Sukkot is that on the first festival day, we are supposed to take choice fruit from trees, palm fronds, and leafy branches from trees like poplars or willows, to celebrate with the Lord during the week of Sukkot (Leviticus 23:40). So after service, you may want to go out and find some choice branches, fruit, and other attractive foliage to make one or more centerpieces or bouquets for your feast table.
Living in a sukkah or temporary shelter, like a tent or pop-up canopy, is also an order for Sukkot (Leviticus 23:42-43). Modern Jews often erect a sukkah canopy to eat their Sukkot meals under and sometimes to sleep under during this holiday. I do not build or use a sukkah, but simply remember the days when God’s People lived nomadic lives in the desert with temporary shelters.
I also remember God made His People wander the desert for 40 years this way, because they rebelled and didn’t want to take over the Promised Land –
Yahovah spoke to Moses saying, “Send out for yourself men, leaders from each tribe of Israel, so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel.” Moses sent them to spy out the land, to see what it was like, and whether the people who lived in it are strong or weak, and few or many.
When they returned from spying out the land after forty days, they reported to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of Israel and said, “We went into the land, and it certainly does flow with milk and honey. But the people who live there are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large, and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there, men of great size. We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us. We became small, like grasshoppers, in our own sight, and so we were small in their sight.”
Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and said, “It’d be better that we die in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord Yahovah bringing us into this land to fall by the sword? Ours wives and little ones will become plunder. Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” Then they wanted to appoint a leader and return to Egypt.
Only two of the scouts sent to spy the land, Joshua, the son of Nun, and Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, did not rebel and urged the people to not fear. But all the congregation wanted to stone them. Then the glory of the Lord Yahovah appeared in the tent of meeting to all the sons of Israel, and God wanted to smite and dispossess them for their rebellion, saying, “How long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?”
But Moses prayed and begged the Lord to pardon the people and He relented, saying, “I have pardoned them according to your word, but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of Yahovah. Surely all the men who saw My glory and signs, which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet they put Me to the test and have not listened to My voice, they shall by no means see the land, which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it.”
And so the Lord determined to send the people back into the wilderness and desert for forty years, a year for each day spent spying the land.
Because of this, during the first seven meals of Sukkot, I have unleavened bread, “the bread of affliction” (Deuteronomy 16:3), with feast meals, and I think about why the people were made to live in tents and wander the wilderness for decades.
But also, I recall the Lord’s mercy and grace despite the people’s rebellion. After forty years, He told them, “You shall remember all the way which Yahovah, your God, has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord Yahovah. Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your feet swell these forty years. Thus, you are to know in your heart that the Lord Yahovah, your God, was chastising you, just as a man disciplines his son” (Deuteronomy 8:2-5).
Despite being made to live in the wilderness, going hungry, and without ample supply, the people still had hope and a good future to look forward to, because the Lord’s promises are always sure. And like our guilt in many sins, the Lord remains faithful and still promises us a future, especially in the afterlife, with the promise of salvation in Christ.
This is how Sukkot aligns with the life and ministry of Christ. It connects with Christ by showing how God is still gracious and merciful despite our sins. Like the Israelites, just outside the lands of promise, we have rebelled at times to do as God wishes, and sometimes have suffered for it. Even if we did not participate in willful rebellion, like Joshua and Caleb, we sometimes have to endure God’s judgments, as they also had to live forty more years in the wilderness, but still the Lord is faithful to guide and keep us towards that Promised Land, with His rod and staff to comfort us, and His unfailing promises to hold us secure for the day of renewal and resurrection.
Our last service in this series will speak of this day, on the eighth day, because the number eight symbolizes renewal and resurrection, and so we will see next week why the last and eighth day of Sukkot is also called Shemini Atzeret or the Last Great Day.
Thank you all for taking part today. We will end this service with worship, so please stand and sing. Before you sign off, may you remember to support our work for God’s kingdom and help the needy with a donation at 3rdCompass.org/donate
There is a link on the page for this service. Anything you can provide will be much appreciated with gratitude and blessings in the name of the Father Yahovah, the Son, Mashiach Yeshua – Christ Jesus, and the Ruach Kodesh – Holy Spirit. Amen. See you next time.
[Amazing Grace Requiem]