Chag HaSukkot

The Pilgrimage Feast of Tabernacles

Living in the Presence of Elohim

By David M Rogers

www.BibleTruth.cc

1st Edition: October 2009

Table of Contents

Shemot 13:17-22 - Camping in the Presence of Elohim

Vayiqra 23:33-44 - Instructions for the Feast of Tabernacles

Devarim 16:13-17 - Chag HaSukkot: the Time of Our Joy

Devarim 14:22-27 - Eating and Drinking During Chag HaSukkot

Nehemiah 8:13-18 - Tabernacles Celebration Restored by Ezra and Nehemiah

Luke 2:1-16 - Elohim Tabernacling in Human Flesh (The Birth of Yahusha)

Yochanan 7:1-43 - Messiah Yahusha Teaching on Chag HaSukkot

Zecharyah 14:16-19 - Chag HaSukkot Celebrated During The Messianic Reign

Revelation 21:1-5 - The Dwelling of Elohim is With Men

Summary


Chag HaSukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, is perhaps the most joyous of the pilgrimage festivals of Yahuwah.  It is the last of the biblical festivals and is marked by a time of great celebration of the goodness of Elohim.  All over the world, the Yehudim observe this festive time by erecting tent-like structures decorated with branches of fruit trees and palm fronds.  In Israel and especially in the Old City in Yerushalayim, these sukkahs can be seen all over the city.

Sukkot is a time of remembering when Elohim led his people through the wilderness on the way to the promised land by a fire by day and by a cloud by night.  It is essentially a recollection and reliving of dwelling in the very presence of Yahuwah.  And it foreshadows the Messianic Age when the Moshiach (Messiah) will rule and reign over his people from the holy place in Yerushalayim.

In this article, we will explore the source of Chag HaSukkot, its themes, its instructions, how it was celebrated at various stages of Israel's history, its prophetic picture of the Messianic Age, and its direct connection to Messiah.  We will do this in a sequential fashion, beginning with the history which precipitated its celebration, and working forward to its observance during the Messianic Age.

Shemot 13:17-22 - Camping in the Presence of Elohim

We begin our study by examining the historical events which led to the celebration of Sukkot.  The nation of Israel was subject to a Pharaoh who did not know of the accomplishments and contributions of Yoseph to the survival and prosperity of Egypt.  Pharaoh had enslaved the sons of Yisrael while they lived in Mitzrayim (Egypt) with hard labor and harsh taskmasters.  When his people cried out to Elohim, he sent Mosheh to be his prophet to bring the message to Pharaoh to "let my people go."  But Pharaoh refused to let them go.

So Yahuwah brought judgment plagues upon all the land of Mitzrayim to coerce Pharaoh into submission in order to free his people Yisrael.  Because of Pharaoh's hardness of heart, it required a total of ten plagues, which devastated the land of Mitzrayim, its crops, its animals, and its people, before the king of Mitzrayim caved in to Yahuwah's orders.  Pharaoh had finally given his approval to let the family of Yisrael leave Mitzrayim to follow Elohim out into the desert to serve and worship Him.

The great Exodus from Egypt, also know as the Egyptian Redemption, is the backbone of the history and identity of the nation of Yisrael, and the remnant Jewish people of modern times.  Because of Elohim's love for his people, and on account of his promises made to Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov, Yahuwah exercised his mighty power and his outstretched arm to deliver his people out of the cruel bondage of the king of Mitzrayim.

Elohim's deliverance of his people out of Egyptian bondage is the reason cited over and over again for the call to obedience to Elohim's covenant commandments.  Elohim's powerful display is the demonstration that he is truly the one and only Elohim, deserving of the worship and loyalty of all who take refuge in him.

So when Pharaoh gave the order to let all Yisrael leave the land of Mitzrayim, the sons of Yisrael plundered the Egyptians, gathered their things, and marched out into the desert.

During the night Pharaoh summoned Mosheh and Aharon and said, "Up! Leave my people, you and the sons of Yisrael! Go, worship Yahuwah as you have requested.  Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me."  The Mitzrites urged the people to hurry and leave the country. "For otherwise," they said, "we will all die!"  So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing.  The sons of Yisrael did as Mosheh instructed and asked the Mitzrites for articles of silver and gold and for clothing.  Yahuwah had made the Mitzrites favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Mitzrites.  The sons of Yisrael journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. (Shemot 12:31-37)

As they were leaving their homes in the land of Mitzrayim, the sons of Yisrael journeyed out toward the desert and first stopped off in a place called Sukkot.  Here, they set up their tents to sleep for the first time since their departure from Egypt.  This is why the place was called Sukkot!

The Hebrew word sukkot is the plural form of the word sukkah, (Hebrew, hK'su ) which means a thicket, a booth made of inter-woven boughs.  This booth could be a shelter in the field for cattle, a shelter for workers in the field at harvest time, or for men in battle, or a shelter from the sun.  This was a temporary shelter which the sons of Yisrael lived in during their journey to the land of Kena'an.  This is why the place where they stopped for the night was called Sukkot - they pitched their tents and erected their temporary shelters there to sleep.

This stop off in Sukkot was to be the first in a series of places where the sons of Yisrael would set up camp on their journey to the Promised Land:

When Pharaoh let the people go, Elohim did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For Elohim said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Mitzrayim."  So Elohim led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The sons of Yisrael went up out of Mitzrayim armed for battle.  Mosheh took the bones of Yoseph with him because Yoseph had made the sons of Yisrael swear an oath. He had said, "Elohim will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place."  After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert.  (Shemot 13:17-20)

Including Sukkot and Etham, the nation of Yisrael camped at 42 places before they entered Kena'an forty years after they left Mitzrayim.  In all these places, they setup their sukkot to sleep in.

Furthermore, Yahuwah Elohim led them the entire time:

By day Yahuwah went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.  Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. (Shemot 13:21-22)

Not only were the sons of Yisrael camping in these sukkot the entire journey to Kena'an, but Yahuwah was dwelling in their midst the entire time.  By day, Elohim appeared as a pillar of cloud, and by night he appeared as a pillar of fire, to light the way.

Throughout the journey, the signal to move on was that the pillar of cloud would begin to move on:

In all the travels of the sons of Yisrael, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out-- until the day it lifted.  So the cloud of Yahuwah was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Yisrael during all their travels. (Shemot 40:36-38)

Thus, Yahuwah Elohim accompanied the nation and "tabernacled" with them for the entire journey.  When the signal to move on was given, each family would "pick up their tent" and follow Yahuwah in the cloud to the next stop in the desert, where they would pitch their tent again.

This pattern of pitching the tent, then picking up the tent to follow Yahuwah was exactly was Messiah Yahusha was alluding to when he told his disciples to "take up your cross and follow me."  In the New Testament Greek manuscripts the word stauros (Gr. stauros) was used and it was rendered by English Bible translators as "cross."  But the word actually means stake or pole.  Because the translators did not understand what Yahusha was referencing, they mistakenly read back "cross" into the meaning of the word.  But Yahusha was calling his disciples to remember the pattern of following Yahuwah in the wilderness, and he exhorted his disciples to do the same with him.  Therefore, he said, "Take up you tent pole and follow me."

So this is the historical event which led to the Festival of Tabernacles.  When Elohim later gave the commandment to observe Chag HaSukkot, he gave this reason for it:

Live in booths (Heb. tKoïSu or "sukkot") for seven days: All native-born sons of Yisrael are to live in booths so your descendants will know that I had the sons of Yisrael live in booths when I brought them out of Mitzrayim. I am Yahuwah your Elohim.'" (Vayiqra 23:42-43)

Because during the Egyptian Redemption Yahuwah delivered Yisrael out of Mitzrayim and brought them out into the desert and had them live in booths, the Festival is to remember that Elohim did this for his people.

Vayiqra 23:33-44 - Instructions for the Feast of Tabernacles

Instructions for Chag HaSukkot are given, along with the rest of the appointed days of Yahuwah, in Vayiqra 23:

Yahuwah said to Mosheh, "Say to the sons of Yisrael: 'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month Yahuwah's Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days.  The first day is a set apart proclamation; do no regular work.  For seven days present offerings made to Yahuwah by fire, and on the eighth day hold a set apart proclamation and present an offering made to Yahuwah by fire. It is the closing proclamation; do no regular work.  ("'These are Yahuwah's appointments, which you are to proclaim as set apart proclamations for bringing offerings made to Yahuwah by fire-- the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day.  These offerings are in addition to those for Yahuwah's Sabbaths and in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to Yahuwah.) (Vayiqra 23:33-38)

The Feast of Tabernacles is the last of the three annual pilgrim feasts of Yahuwah and consists of the last two of the seven annual set apart days.  It occurs in the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, which is based on the sighting of the new moon in the springtime when the barley in the fields is aviv or "ripe."  Some Messianic congregations are fond of referring to the "Seven Festivals of Messiah."  This is a misnomer based on a misunderstanding of the Hebrew term chag.  Actually, as anyone can see by reading through Vayiqra 23 and its parallel in Devarim 16, there are only three annual chags (pilgrim feasts) while there are seven annual set apart appointment days of worship.

Chag HaSukkot lasts for seven days.  But an additional day following the feast is another set-apart day.  This last day is an tr<c,ä[] , pronounced atzeret, which is usually translated as assembly.  But this word comes from the root word rc[; which means to restrain, to detain, to retain.  While this day does include an assembly for the purpose of miqra (proclamation), the word atzeret is referring to the need to be detained for yet one more day of worshipping Elohim.  It is like a bookend, marking the end of the festival season.

The offerings which are required essentially picture the ongoing need to judge transgression and sinfulness in the daily experience of mankind.  Also, many of the offerings are given as thanksgiving to Yahuwah for his abundant kindness, and are shared by the Lewites, the aliens, the widows , the orphans and the pilgrims at the feast.  I will deal in much greater detail about the sacrifices and offerings in an upcoming article to be published at a later date.

Now, here are some more instructions for the Feast:

"'So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the pilgrim feast of Yahuwah for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest.  On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before Yahuwah your Elohim for seven days.  Celebrate this as a pilgrim festival to Yahuwah for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month.  Live in booths for seven days: All native-born sons of Yisrael are to live in booths so your descendants will know that I had the sons of Yisrael live in booths when I brought them out of Mitzrayim. I am Yahuwah your Elohim.'"  So Mosheh announced to the sons of Yisrael the appointments of Yahuwah. (Vayiqra 23:39-44)

The first statement made above is important to take a moment and think through.  Is says that Sukkot occurs on the fifteenth day of the seventh month which is after you have gathered the crops in the land.  There are several significant points to see here.  Each of the pilgrim feasts occur after the crops have been gathered.  This is why the first month of the year begins at the sighted new moon in the springtime when the barley is aviv ("ripe"), so that by the middle of that same month, the barley harvest has already been gathered and the pilgrims can bring a tenth of that harvest to Yerushalayim as an offering to Yahuwah, who blessed his people with an abundant harvest of food.

Each of the three pilgrim feasts follow immediately after the three seasonal harvests, and the worshippers bring the first tenth of each of these harvests to Elohim to thank him and worship him.  So, if the people began the counting of the year in the spring with the sighting of the ripened barley, then by the fifteenth day of the seventh month the fall harvest would have been ripe and gathered and ready to take to the Feast of Tabernacles.  The biblical tithe is always brought to Yerushalayim, during the three annual pilgrim feasts, and it consists of food, not money!

Next, let's consider the celebration.  The instruction is to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before Yahuwah your Elohim for seven days.  Literally, the Hebrew of this verse reads, "take fruit of ornamented (plump, swollen) trees, palms of palm trees, and branches of leafy trees, and poplars of the wadi, and rejoice before Yahuwah...."

So, what would one do with fruit and branches of various trees?  One would eat the fruit and wave the branches around in celebrative dance and procession and praise.  Though not explicitly stated here, later in Nehemiah's times, the people built and decorated their sukkahs with these various tree branches.  Keep in mind that this is a harvest festival, and the products of the harvest are featured in praise of Yahuwah's goodness.  So it is up to the people to be creative with the fruit and branches in their celebration of the feast.  The point of the celebration is to praise Yahuwah for all the products of the harvest he brings.

The Rabbis call the four items named above "the four species."  The choice fruit from the trees they interpret to be etrog (citron, similar to a lemon).  The palm fronds they identify as lulav.  The leafy branches they represent by the chadasim (myrtle).  And the poplars of the wadi they represent by the aravot (willows).  These four species are collectively represented by the Etrog and the Lulav (see picture).  While these are the four items used in the ceremony celebrated by the Jews, any fruit could be used to fulfill the requirement of Scripture.  And a wider variety of fruit used in the waving celebration would honor Elohim, who brings to harvest all of our good food.

Another instruction states that this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.  This instruction does not have an end date.  There is to be no time when this feast is "done away with"!  Messiah did not annul or destroy or get rid of any of the festivals of Yahuwah.  This harvest festival is to last as long as Yahuwah blesses his people with a harvest of food in the fields.  And I don't think anyone can argue that Elohim has stopped crops and trees from growing in the fields.  Thus, Yahuwah is to be thanked and praised for these things at their appointed times.

So, the sons of Yisrael are commanded to make booths and live in them during these seven days of the feast.  As mentioned above, these booths are temporary shelters - tent like structures - and not permanent homes.  The reason Yahuwah wants us to live in booths during this week is because it reminds us of how Yahuwah had us living in tents during the journey from Mitzrayim to the Promised Land, when Yahuwah dwelt among us in a tent of his own.  We are to always remember what work Yahuwah has done for his people to deliver them from bondage and to feed and care for them while he brought them to the inheritance of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov.

Devarim 16:13-17 - Chag HaSukkot: the Time of Our Joy

The instructions of Devarim 16 emphasize the feast as a time of joy and rejoicing:

Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress.  Be joyful at your Feast-- you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Lewites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns.  For seven days celebrate the Feast to Yahuwah your Elohim at the place Yahuwah will choose. For Yahuwah your Elohim will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.  Three times a year all your men must appear before Yahuwah your Elohim at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before Yahuwah empty-handed: Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way Yahuwah your Elohim has blessed you.

As we learned from the instructions in Vayiqra 23, Devarim 16 affirms that Chag HaSukkot is celebrated after the harvesting of the summer crops of grains and fruits.  The summer produces all manner of fruit trees - apple and orange, pear and peach, plum and nectarine, lemon and pomegranate.  Also, the grapes and all the berries are harvested before the autumn festival.

With this in mind, we are commanded to be joyful at the feast.  Who is commanded to be joyful at the feast?  Let me quote, "you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns."   Wait a minute!  Everyone in my family is mentioned except my wife.  Where is my wife mentioned?  Does she have to go up to the three annual feasts?

I have heard it argued by people that the wife is not commanded to go up to the feasts.  This seems to be confirmed in verse 16 where there is an explicit commandment requiring "all your men" (Hebrew, "males") to go up to Yerushalayim for the three annual feasts.  So it would appear from a flat, literal reading of the text that wives are not required to go.  So, why are wives not mentioned in this instruction for the feasts?

The answer to this apparent dilemma is that the "you" who is commanded to go up is addressed to both the man and the woman of the household.  The man who hears or reads this instruction and the woman who hears or reads this instruction understands that he and she are the "you."  Otherwise, it would make no sense that the sons and daughters would be required to go up and celebrate while the mother stays at home.  If a mother had children still nursing, the child would still be required to go up, but the mother would stay behind?  Of course not.

All the family - the man and the woman, the sons, the daughters - and even the servants in the house, the Lewites, the fatherless children and the widows in your town were all to go up.  Here, the widows in your town are explicitly required to go up to celebrate.  It makes no sense at all that only the women of each household would have an exclusion.

Where there is an explicit commandment requiring "all your males" to go up to the feasts, we need to understand that the emphasis here is not on the males, but on all the males.  In other words, no one is to be left behind.  A man who was taking his family to Yerushalayim for the feasts would naturally want to leave a male or two behind to watch over the farm and property.  Yahuwah says "no" to this.  All males must go up.  Yahuwah is going to provide protection for you property when you obediently go up:

Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Adonai Yahuwah, the Elohim of Yisrael.  I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before Yahuwah your Elohim. (Shemot 34:23-24)

Yahuwah himself will see to it that when you leave your property, you and all who are in your house, no one will covet, much less steal anything, from your land.

Now that we have settled just who is to go up to the feasts to celebrate, we can understand how this festival of tabernacles is to be such a time of great joy.  With all the family members present and participating, the goodness and kindness and generosity of Yahuwah can be appreciated.  Having "survived" the judgment of Yom HaKippurim just five days earlier in which the entire nation was forgiven all their transgressions, the celebrants of Chag HaSukkot have every reason to be full of great joy.  This feast, more than any of the others, is a time of rejoicing.

Devarim 14:22-27 - Eating and Drinking During Chag HaSukkot

Devarim 14 provides some details about giving and tithing during the feasts:

Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.  Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of Yahuwah your Elohim at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere Yahuwah your Elohim always.  But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by Yahuwah your Elohim and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where Yahuwah will choose to put his Name is so far away), then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place Yahuwah your Elohim will choose.  Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of Yahuwah your Elohim and rejoice.  And do not neglect the Lewites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own.

In this passage of Scripture, we are informed about how to use the tithe of our fields and flocks.  This instruction will blow a huge hole in the teachings of many Christian churches.  Here we are told that the tithe of our crops is to be brought to Jerusalem at each of the three annual feasts, and it is to be eaten!  We are to eat it at the Feast.  We are also to share it with the Lewites, the aliens, widows and orphans.  But let me repeat this because most people don't understand this.  We are to eat the tithe that we present before Yahuwah!

The tithe is not just about money.  This is where Christianity has perverted its teaching about tithing.  Nowhere in Scripture are we ever told that the tithe which is to be set aside for Yahuwah was to be given only in money.  It is also food.  This is what Yahuwah is concerned with.  Neither was the entire tithe to be given away to someone else!  The tithe was to be eaten by the giver of the tithe.  And it was also to be shared with the Lewite, the alien, the widow and the orphan.

Furthermore, if your home was too far away from Yerushalayim to carry it there, then you could sell the tithe for its equivalent value in silver, carry the silver to Yerushalayim, and there buy grain, cattle, wine and strong drink, so that you can celebrate and rejoice in the harvest in the presence of Yahuwah.

This brings up another confrontation with standard Christian teaching.  The Scriptures command us to buy wine or other strong (fermented) drink at the feasts.  We are to eat and drink anything we want during the celebration.  We are commanded to have a good time at the feasts.  So much for the teaching that strong drink and wine are forbidden by Scripture.  Quite the contrary, we are encouraged - commanded, in fact - to drink these strong drinks and be merry at the feasts.  Another sacred cow has been tipped!

Nehemiah 8:13-18 - Tabernacles Celebration Restored by Ezra and Nehemiah

The next substantive information about the observance of the Feast of Booths took place in the time of the return of the exiles from the Babylonian captivity of Yehudah.  Having rebuilt the walls and the temple, the people had been called to gather together on the first day of the seventh month.  Ezra the priest and scribe read from the Book of the Torah and it was learned that that very day was a day set apart to Yahuwah and that they were to celebrate with the blast of the trumpets.  Ezra and Nehemiah the governor explained the Torah to the people.  So the people worshipped Yahuwah here, and then ate and drank and rejoiced in what Yahuwah had done for them because they understood what the Torah was teaching them.

On the next day, Ezra again read from the Book of the Torah and the people were taught about the Feast of Tabernacles which was a mere two weeks away:

On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered around Ezra the scribe to give attention to the words of the Law.  They found written in the Law, which Yahuwah had commanded through Mosheh, that the sons of Yisrael were to live in booths during the feast of the seventh month and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Yerushalayim: "Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and shade trees, to make booths"-- as it is written.  So the people went out and brought back branches and built themselves booths on their own roofs, in their courtyards, in the courts of the house of Elohim and in the square by the Water Gate and the one by the Gate of Ephraim.  The whole company that had returned from exile built booths and lived in them. From the days of YHUSHA son of Nun until that day, the sons of Yisrael had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great.  Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of Elohim. They celebrated the feast for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly.

From the reading of the Torah, everyone understood that during the Feast of Sukkot they needed to live in booths and that they were to have a miqra qodesh - a proclamation of the Word.  Every appointment day on the Hebrew calendar, including the Sabbath day and each of the annual holy days, the Scripture commands the day to be a miqra qodesh - a set apart assembly for the purpose of proclamation of the Word of Yahuwah.

So, the people went out and gathered the four species - branches from olive, myrtle, palm trees and shade trees - and they built for themselves booths (sukkot) to dwell in during the week of the feast.  The record indicates that they built these sukkot all around the city, including on their rooftops and courtyards, in the courts of the rebuilt temple of Yahuwah, and near several of the gates of the city and in the open spaces of the city.  This custom of building sukkot all over the city is still observed to our modern times.  During the festival of Sukkot, you can see sukkot everywhere - on rooftops of houses and business establishments, on porches and patios, in open spaces throughout Yerushalayim and in the Old City.

Everyone who returned from the captivity built sukkot and celebrated the feast according to the instructions given to Mosheh.  During the several hundred years from the days of YHUSHA (a.k.a. Joshua) until this time, the feast had not been celebrated like it was by these returning from exile.  Not since the days of YHUSHA did the entire people of Yisrael celebrate the feast.  Frankly, it was because the people had stopped walking in all of Yahuwah's ways that they were taken into exile.  And those who repented and turned back with their whole hearts to the Torah returned from the exile and all observed the feasts of Yahuwah.

Two more things are said about Sukkot that year.  First, Ezra read from the Torah every day.  And second, the people were experiencing very great joy.  These two items stand in stark contrast to how Christians conduct themselves with regard to the feasts.  Most Christians rarely read from the Torah, because they have believed the lie that "Jesus" did away with all those old, worn out laws and regulations.  Thus, Christians find no joy at all in the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles - in, fact, they despise the feasts of Yahuwah because their preachers have polluted their minds and brainwashed them into thinking that the Sabbath and the feasts and all the "Old Testament laws" were abolished "at the cross."

However, nothing could be further from the truth.  For those who have ears to hear, and who love Elohim with all their heart, mind and strength, the Torah and all the set apart days of Yahuwah are dear and special.  Those who understand that the set apart appointments are pictures and rehearsals for the events in the redemption of Messiah YHUSHA find great joy in participating in Chag HaSukkot.  There is great joy in knowing and rehearsing the Messianic Reign during Chag HaSukkot.  And there is great rejoicing in knowing that Elohim has tabernacled and will yet again tabernacle with human beings in a body of human flesh.

Luke 2:1-16 - Elohim Tabernacling in Human Flesh (The Birth of Yahusha)

The Brit Chadasha (New Testament) is the record and testimony of Elohim taking on a human body and visiting mankind for the purpose of providing redemption.  (I will not here discuss why I propose that YHUSHA is Elohim in the flesh.  For that study, see my article, www.bibletruth.cc\YahushaElohim.htm ).  The major theme of Chag HaSukkot - that of Elohim dwelling in a tabernacle in the midst of men - finds fulfillment in the birth of YHUSHA:

Luke 2:1-7  In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to his own town to register.  So Yoseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Yehudah, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Miryam, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

We are told here that Yoseph and Miryam traveled to Bethlehem, the place of his family roots.  The influx of people for the census has long been the accepted explanation for the lack of rooms in the nearby places of lodging.  And for good reason.  The Scriptures are explicit about the command of Caesar Augustus to conduct a census.  But there may have been an additional, unspoken reason why it was so difficult to find a room at that time.

A little deeper probing into the narrative raises a question which we have been remiss to ask.  Why would Yoseph take his wife on a long journey when she was near her time of delivery?  Surely this trip could have been taken earlier when she was more mobile, or later after she recovered from birthing her child.  So why did Yoseph choose this unlikely time to make his full term wife travel such a long distance?  Furthermore, why did the Romans choose this particular time to take a census of Israel?

Amazingly, there is a compelling reason why Yoseph would have subjected his full-term wife to such a rigorous journey.  Elohim required it!  Yoseph, along with all other Elohim fearing men, was required to go!  And Miryam, a righteous Yehudi woman, wanted to be there, too!  You see, Elohim required his people to make the journey to Yerushalayim three times a year:

During the Feast of Sukkot, Elohim required that all male Jews come to Jerusalem. And Beyt Lechem (Bethlehem), the place where Yahusha was born, is only about four miles from Jerusalem.  For this reason, the city of Jerusalem and all the surrounding towns and villages would be overcrowded with people.  This would explain why Miryam and Yoseph could not find lodging in Bethlehem (Luke 2:7).  Bacchiochi concurs:

The overcrowded conditions at the time of Messiah’s birth (“there was no place for them in the inn”—Luke 2:7) could be related not only to the census taken by the Romans at that time, but also to the many pilgrims that overrun the area especially during the Feast of Tabernacles.  (Samuele Bacchiochi, The Date and Meaning of Christmas).

The Roman governor knew that the best strategy for keeping peace with the inhabitants of Yehudah would be to allow them to travel to their home towns for the census at a convenient time for them to travel, which for those who called Jerusalem and its environs their home, would be during one of the annual pilgrim festivals.  Yoseph and Miryam wanted to be in Jerusalem during this most exciting season of the year - the Feast of Tabernacles, even if it meant that she would be traveling when she was full-term!  The festival of Tabernacles was a time of great joy and celebration.  And while they were near Jerusalem, they could take care of the business of the census by taking a short detour to Bethlehem!

Next, let's consider the scene of his birth.  How many Christians erect a Nativity Scene under their Christmas tree?  This usually consists of some sort of barn, figurines of Yoseph, Miryam, the baby Yahusha, a few angels, some shepherds and sheep, three wise men, and perhaps some other assorted animals.  Yet, this very depiction of the night of Messiah's birth is a testimony to what should be obvious to any one who studies the Word of Elohim.  For if we properly understood the customs of the Yehudim during the time of Messiah, there would be no question that the manger scene and the props in this barnyard picture depict the Feast of Tabernacles as the occasion for the birth of Messiah.

The Scriptural account of his birth informs us that Miryam wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger (Luke 2:7), and that this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger (Luke 2:12).  There are several details of the manger scene which suggest that Miryam gave birth to her firstborn son during the Feast of Tabernacles.  The cloths used to wrap the baby, the feeding trough he was laid in, and the "barn" itself!

First, let's consider the swaddling cloths.  In the verses cited above, the babe was wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.  The Greek, evsparga,nwsen, here translated, "wrapped in cloths" or "wrapped in swaddling cloths" depicts the act of taking strips of cloth and covering a newborn baby.  These strips of cloth were used by women of the Old Testament times for bundling their newborns:

On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths  (Greek LXX, evsparganw,qhj,, Ezekiel 16:4).

But the swaddling cloths had a second common usage which was well known to Jews of the time.  These strips of cloths served as wicks to light the 16 vats of oil within the court of the women during the Festival of Tabernacles (Eddie Chumney, The Seven Festivals of the Messiah).  So, swaddling cloths which were used for newborn babies and also served an important function during the festival of Sukkot, would be readily available at this time for Miryam to wrap her baby in.

Secondly, let's take note that the baby Yahusha was laid in a manger. The word manger is the Greek word phatn'e.  It is the same word translated as "stall" in Luke 13:15, where Yahusha answered the Pharisees, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall (Gr. phatn'e) and lead it out to give it water?"  It is obvious that both of these passages are referring to the shelter where animals are kept.

One of the Hebrew words for the shelter where animals are kept is the term sukkah.  We are told in Genesis 33:17 that 

Ya'akov, however, went to Sukkot, where he built a place for himself and made shelters (Hebrew, sukkot, which is the plural of sukkah) for his livestock. That is why the place is called Succoth.

The conclusion of this word study is not a subtle one.  Miryam and Yoseph were in an animal shelter when Messiah was born.  Yahusha was born in a sukkah!  But not merely because there were no vacancies in the motels.  In Elohim's plan for the birth of His Son, the crowded conditions were merely a tool in the hands of the Creator to produce a proper birth place for the Messiah.  He had to be born in a sukkah on the day when all of Elohim's people were living in sukkahs, because he had come to fulfill all righteousness.  His coming to sukkah (tabernacle) with men in human flesh (a fleshly sukkah) was intentionally pictured by his birth in a sukkah on the first day of the Feast of Sukkot.

Luke 2:8-14  And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of Yahuwah appeared to them, and the glory of Yahuwah shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Messiah the Master.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising Elohim and saying,  "Glory to Elohim in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which Yahuwah has told us about."  So they hurried off and found Miryam and Yoseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

Next, let's consider the shepherds abiding in the fields at night.  Is this statement consistent with the time of year of Tabernacles?  It is certain that this scene could not have taken place on December 25th.  It is simply too cold in the winter months for shepherds to be staying out in the fields at night to watch the flock.  But could this have taken place during the Feast of Tabernacles?

Not only is this possible, but it is most probable.  Just as Ya'acov, in the passage cited above, built sukkahs in the fields for himself and the animals, shepherds during the time of Messiah who stayed out in the fields with the animals typically erected sukkot in the field to sleep in at night.  What better time of year to stay in a sukkah at night with the animals than during the Feast of Sukkot?

Yet another convincing evidence that Messiah was born during Tabernacles is that two of the nicknames of the Feast of Sukkot are  "the season of our joy" and "the feast of the nations."  With this in mind, in Luke 2:10 it is written, "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy (Sukkot is called the 'season of our joy'), which shall be to all people (Sukkot is also known as 'the feast of the nations')."  So, we can see that the terminology the angel used to announce the birth of Yahusha consisted of themes and messages associated with the Feast of Sukkot.  

The Feast of Tabernacles was the ideal time for the birth of Yahusha because it was called “the season of our joy.”  In contrast to the Feasts of Trumpets and Atonement which were a time of introspection and repentance, the Feast of Booths was a time of rejoicing. The festive atmosphere reflected the Israelites’ thankfulness for both material and spiritual blessings. The explicit reason for rejoicing is given in Deuteronomy 16:15: “because the Lord your Elohim will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.” It is not surprising that the rabbis called the feast “The Season of our Joy.” 

The reason for the rejoicing was not only because of the material blessings of the harvest gathered in, but also because of the spiritual blessing of Elohim’s protection and abiding presence. The foliage of the booths in which the sons of Yisrael lived for seven days during the Feast, reminded them that Elohim did and will protect the faithful remnant during the time of trouble by sheltering them with the cloud by day and the flaming fire by night: “It will be for a shade (sakkath) by day from the heat, and for a refuge and shelter from the storm and the rain” (Is 4:6). In this context, the cloud and fire of Elohim’s presence function as a protecting booth over His people. 

Being the season of rejoicing for the blessings of the harvest and of Elohim’s protective presence, the Feast of Tabernacles provided the ideal setting for the birth of Yahusha—the One who came to dwell among His people in person. The theme of rejoicing relates perfectly with the terminology used by the angel to announce Messiah’s birth: “Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people” (Luke 2:10). As “the season of our joy,” the Feast of Tabernacles provided the ideal settings for breaking “the good news of a great joy” for all the people, since the Feast of Booths, in the Messianic Age, will be a celebration for all the nations (Zech 14:16).

And finally, in his gospel record, Yochanan provides the "icing on the cake."  He first describes in no uncertain terms the identity of the man born in Bethlehem.  He uses terms like "beginning" and "light and darkness" and "life" to bring to the reader's mind the images and pictures of Genesis chapter one in which Yahuwah is depicted as the Creator of the universe.  Then Yochanan introduces another image familiar to his readers - the word "tabernacle."  To a people who annually celebrated Elohim's presence among them in the Feast of Tabernacles, Yochanan describes Messiah's birth:

the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (Yochanan 1:14, NIV)

The phrase, "made his dwelling" is actually a translation of the Greek word, skay-no-o, which means "to tabernacle."  Skay-no-o translates into Greek the Hebrew word, sukkah, which means "tabernacle," or "temporary shelter."  Young's Literal Translation accurately renders this verse:

And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us.

What could be the truth Yochanan wants his readers to understand?  By utilizing a technical term attached to the Feast of Tabernacles to describe Messiah's birth, Yochanan is implicitly documenting the time of Messiah's birth to be in conjunction with that Feast of Tabernacles!  It's as if he is saying, "in fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles, the Word of Yahuwah has come to earth to tabernacle in human flesh."

Yochanan 7:1-43 - Messiah Yahusha Teaching on Chag HaSukkot

Yahusha taught his disciples the proper walk of righteousness by keeping the commandments of Elohim.  As such, Yahusha himself kept all the commandments, including going up to Yerushalayim for the three annual feasts of Yahuwah.  Yochanan records for us the occasion when Yahusha went up for Sukkot:

Yochanan 7:1-10  After this, YHUSHA went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Yehudah because the Yehudim there were waiting to take his life.  But when the Yehudi Feast of Tabernacles was near, YHUSHA's brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Yehudah, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do.  No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world."  For even his own brothers did not believe in him.  Therefore YHUSHA told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right.  The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.  You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come."  Having said this, he stayed in Galilee.  However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret.

At this time during his walk, Yahusha was avoiding the religious rulers of Israel because they despised him and his teaching and were seeking to capture and kill him.  Even his own brothers doubted his mission and who he claimed to be.

When he told his brothers, "the right time for me has not yet come," he was not talking about the time to go up to the Feast of Booths.  He was alluding to "his time" when he would subject himself to capture by the Yehudim, who would turn him over for judgment.  This would happen during the following Pesach season.  Nevertheless, Yahusha went up, in obedience to the commandment, to Yerushalayim for Chag HaSukkot.  He did so secretly to avoid contact with his enemies.

Next, we find him in Yerushalayim during the feast.

Yochanan 7:11-14  Now at the Feast the Yehudim were watching for him and asking, "Where is that man?"   Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, "He is a good man." Others replied, "No, he deceives the people."  But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Yehudim.  Not until halfway through the Feast did YHUSHA' go up to the temple courts and begin to teach.

Of course the Yehudim were expecting him to be there because they knew that Yahusha, and all men of Yisrael, were required to be there.  The fact that no one would speak openly about Yahusha demonstrates how much authority the Sanhedrin had over the people.

Yahusha openly taught in the temple courts midway through the festival.  Thought the content of this discussion with the Yehudim does not directly correlate to the study of Sukkot, I have included it here to set the context for his teaching on the last great day of the feast.

Yochanan 7:15-27  The Yehudim were amazed and asked, "How did this man get such learning without having studied?"  YHUSHA answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.  If anyone chooses to do Elohim's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from Elohim or whether I speak on my own.  He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.  Has not Mosheh given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?"  "You are demon-possessed," the crowd answered. "Who is trying to kill you?"  YHUSHA said to them, "I did one miracle, and you are all astonished.  Yet, because Mosheh gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Mosheh, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath.  Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Mosheh may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath?  Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment."  At that point some of the people of Yerushalayim began to ask, "Isn't this the man they are trying to kill?  Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah?  But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from."

The debate about who Yahusha is and where he has come from is at the heart of the meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles.  Yahusha makes it clear that his presence in the temple courts is not to represent his own human interests, but to represent the interests of the Elohim who sent him.  For this reason, all his works are to point to the fact that Elohim is working in their midst.  The miracle he did can only be done by Elohim.  Thus, he represents Elohim and not some selfish human interest.

He then goes on to explain to the people that they really do know who he is and where he came from.  And the miracles he has been performing are the proof that Elohim is working in their midst:

Yochanan 7:28-36  Then YHUSHA, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me."  At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.  Still, many in the crowd put their faith in him. They said, "When the Messiah comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man?"  The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.  YHUSHA said, "I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent me.  You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come."  The Yehudim said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks?  What did he mean when he said, 'You will look for me, but you will not find me,' and 'Where I am, you cannot come'?"

Again, Yahusha implies that Elohim has sent him and he is doing the works of Elohim - thus, Elohim is working in their midst - a prominent theme of Chag HaSukkot.

Finally, the record picks up at the last day of the feast - the eight day, also known as Shemini Atzeret, or the eighth day assembly.

Yochanan 7:37-43  On the last and greatest day of the Feast, YHUSHA stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since YHUSHA had not yet been glorified.  On hearing his words, some of the people said, "Surely this man is the Prophet."  Others said, "He is the Messiah." Still others asked, "How can the Messiah come from Galilee?  Does not the Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?"  Thus the people were divided because of YHUSHA.

At the eighth day of the feast, the water pouring ritual on the temple mount is the focus of Yahusha's teaching about the Holy Spirit.  Eddie Chumney, in his book The Seven Festivals of the Messiah (sic), published from his website, relates some pertinent information about the celebration of the water pouring during Tabernacles:

Simchat Beit HaShoevah, the rejoicing in the house of the water pouring, is a ceremony included in the temple (Beit HaMikdash) services not mentioned in the Torah, but given in the Mishnah (Sukkah 5). The water pouring became a focus of the joy that the Torah commands for Sukkot. On no other festival were the people commanded to be joyful, and as a result Sukkot (Tabernacles) became known as "the season of our joy," just as Passover (Pesach) is "the season of our freedom" and Shavout (Pentecost) is "the season of the giving of the Torah."

It is written in the Mishah, that the ritual became elaborated into a colorful and joyous, even riotous, celebration called Simchat Beit HaShoevah, "the rejoicing at the house of the water-drawing." This ceremony took place every day except for the first festival day of Sukkot. The Talmud (in Sukkah 5:1a-b) describes this ceremony in detail, including a portrait of venerable sages juggling lighted torches and performing somersaults as part of the celebration. The Talmud states, "He who has not seen the rejoicing at the place of the water-drawing has never seen rejoicing in his life." So, the water pouring ceremony became the occasion for an outpouring of intense joy.

The joy of the Feast, which the water pouring ceremony was designed to illustrate, will be fulfilled when Yahusha sends his set apart Spirit to indwell his disciples (which occurred, of course, at Shavuot).  The Holy Spirit is the source of all our joy, because the Spirit works the power of Elohim in blessing his people with the gifts of the harvest, life and abundance.  So the water pouring ceremony was really a picture of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of Elohim on his people.  This water ceremony during the week of Sukkot is prophetic of the future reign of Messiah when the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) will be poured out on all people.

Zecharyah 14:16-19 - Chag HaSukkot Celebrated During The Messianic Reign

The Holy Spirit will be poured out on all flesh during the Messianic Reign of Yahusha.  Yeshayahu 12:1-6 speaks of that day when the joy of the Spirit will be poured out like the water was poured out at Sukkot:

In that day you will say: "I will praise you, Yahuwah. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.  Surely Elohim is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. Yahuwah, Yahuwah, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."  With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.  In that day you will say: "Give thanks to Yahuwah, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.  Sing to Yahuwah, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.  Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Yisrael among you."

In that day that Yeshayahu is speaking of, the Holy One of Yisrael is dwelling in their midst.  The presence of Yahuwah in their midst is a great source of joy to the heart.

The prophet Yoel also speaks of this same outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the time when Yahuwah is dwelling once again in the midst of Yisrael:

Then you will know that I am in Yisrael, that I am Yahuwah your Elohim, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.  'And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. (Yoel 2:27-29)

The prophet Zecharyah speaks of the Messianic Reign, when the King - Yahuwah Almighty himself - will be living in Yerushalayim in the midst of his people.

Zecharyah 14:16-19  Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Yerushalayim will go up year after year to worship the King, Yahuwah Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.  If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Yerushalayim to worship the King, Yahuwah Almighty, they will have no rain.  If the Mitzrite people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. Yahuwah will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.  This will be the punishment of Mitzrayim and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.

This is the time as spoken of by the Psalmist who tells us that

"I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill."  I will proclaim the decree of Yahuwah: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father.  Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.  You will rule them with an iron scepter. (Psalm 2:6-9)

Zecharyah tells us that during the reign of Messiah on the earth, all people will be coming up to Yerushalayim for Chag HaSukkot.  And if anyone refuses to come to celebrate the feast, Yahuwah will hold back the rain so that their crops don't grow.  Furthermore, plagues will infest those who don't celebrate by going up for the feast.

The Feast of Tabernacles will be observed according to all the regulations of the Torah during Messiah's reign.  The feast is a reminder of how Elohim was dwelling in the midst of his people throughout human history to bless his people and provide for them.  And he will be dwelling in the midst of his people in the person of Yahusha, the King of all the earth.

Revelation 21:1-5 - The Dwelling of Elohim is With Men

Finally, the prophesies of the Book of Revelation end with Elohim tabernacling with men:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Yerushalayim, coming down out of heaven from Elohim, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of Elohim is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and Elohim himself will be with them and be their Elohim.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."  He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

Now I know that there will be those who want to argue with me that this scene of the new heaven and new earth occurs some thousand years after the beginning of the Messianic Age.  I'm sure that no matter what evidence I submit to the contrary, some will not be convinced.  However, let me point out three things about this text of Scripture.

First, the New Yerushalayim is compared to a "bride beautifully dressed for her husband."  But we also know that the marriage supper of the Lamb occurs at the beginning of the Messianic Age at the coming of Messiah to the Mount of Olives.  Since there is no other marriage between Elohim (Messiah) and his people, then these two visions must be describing the same event.  Thus, the Holy City, as a bride, must come down at the marriage supper of the Lamb, at the coming of Messiah.  Right?

Second, the "dwelling of Elohim" is with men and "he will live with them" when the Messiah sits on the throne of David in Yerushalayim to reign over the whole earth.  This, again, takes place at the beginning of the Messianic Age, when Messiah touches down on earth.

Third, this time of the new heaven and new earth is the time for the "old order of things (to) pass away."  Shimon Kepha (Peter) spoke of this event in his sermon as recorded in Acts 3:

Repent, then, and turn to Elohim, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from Yahuwah, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you-- even YHUSHA.  He must remain in heaven until the time comes for Elohim to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. (Acts 3:19-21)

The time when Elohim will restore everything - is this not the coming of the new heaven and the new earth, when he declares, "I am making everything new"?  Kepha says that Yahusha would "remain in heaven until" this time of complete restoration comes.  So, it logically follows that the restoration of all things - the renewal of all things - takes place when Yahusha returns from heaven.  And this is at the beginning of the Messianic Age.

In his second epistle, Kepha reaffirms what he said above.  He notes that

the day of Yahuwah will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of Elohim and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. (2 Kepha 3:10-13)

The onset of the "day of Yahuwah" features the coming of Messiah.  His cleansing acts will see the heavens disappearing and the earth and everything in it destroyed with fire.  At this time, Kepha states, we are looking forward to the new heaven and the new earth.  The home of righteousness and our hope and expectation are fulfilled when Messiah returns from heaven to destroy his enemies and establish his reign on the renewed earth.

Back to Revelation 21.  Yochanan notes that at this time, the dwelling of Elohim is with men.  The Greek word employed here which is translated dwelling is skhnw,sei , pronounced skay-no-sai.  This word is defined by Thayer as "to fix one's tabernacle, have one's tabernacle, abide (or live) in a tabernacle (or tent), tabernacle."  And yes, this Greek word corresponds to the Hebrew word sukkah.  Literally, it reads, "the tabernacle of Elohim is with men."

This is how the Book of Revelation ends.  It envisions the fulfillment of all the prophets and the writings that Elohim has judged sin, established his righteous kingdom and is finally dwelling (tabernacling) with the righteous humans of all ages, who have been resurrected to be with him.

Summary

The Feast of Tabernacles was commanded because it was to be an annual reminder of how Elohim was leading Israel through the desert and dwelling in their midst.  Messiah Yahusha was revealed in human flesh (born) at Chag HaSukkot in a fulfillment of the feast, because Elohim was literally dwelling in a human tabernacle (a human body) and dwelling in the midst of his people Israel.  And the Messiah will reveal himself again in the future to establish himself as King over all the earth and will once again tabernacle in the Messianic temple in Yerushalayim in the midst of his people.

With all this information about Chag HaSukkot, its picture and reminder of Elohim dwelling among his people, how can anyone say that the Feast is irrelevant for today?  Absurd, isn't it?  The Feast of Tabernacles is rightly to be observed by all who put their trust in Elohim and in his Messiah for salvation.  It pictures the very essence of what personal relationship with Elohim is all about.  It testifies to Elohim in our midst.

End