“The Elohim! His Way is perfect; the promise of HaShem is pure. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him!” 2 Samuel 22:31
Can we all agree that the year 2023 has been a year unlike any other in recent history? This year has been an extremely difficult year for many, many people: The sudden deaths of loved ones, receiving devastating health news, economic difficulties, watching a country literally rip itself apart, crime running amok akin to Hollywood movie levels, a literal invasion of the country via the border and being facilitated from the very top, catastrophic weather events, etc. Plus, being literally on the cusp of World War 3 to include using nuclear weapons at any moments notice! This year has been one hit after another hit in rapid succession it seems and there appears to be no reprieve anytime soon!
HaShem knows and has known all along this is how it will be in the End just before the Birth Pains commence because, remember, He reveals the End from the Beginning (Isaiah 46:10)! He is in so much control over all of His creation, He is able to to reveal the End from the Beginning and turn catastrophic events into something good and to our benefit because nothing is impossible for Him!
With this said, it is no wonder then that HaShem, in my opinion, wants us to, now more than ever, better understand the significance of not just His Feasts, but specifically Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) and just what it all truly represents especially in light of 2023! In my opinion, what we are witnessing take place in the year 2023 brings us to the very cusp, before the real prophesied events of the Birth Pains commence; which means we are going to have to draw closer to HaShem unlike anytime in our lives before if we are going to not only survive what is coming but also to be a witness for others that HaShem, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Elohim of Israel, is the One and Only true living Elohim, Who shares His glory with no one and the focus of servitude and worship of Israel and all those who wish to serve HaShem!
It is my intent that this Op not focus on the horrible events that have occurred to people, but to be a reminder that HaShem has NOT abandoned us! But that He Himself, in His abundant mercy, compassion, kindness and forgiveness, is wholly able to not only shelter us, but to provide for us and yes, even weep and grieve with us when these catastrophic events do take place. This is best exemplified in His commanded Feast of Sukkot! Keep this in mind as we progress and never forget the following eternal and unchanging characteristics of HaShem:
- HaShem never changes per Num 23:19/Mal 3:6/Hebrews 13:8/James 1:17
- His Word is firmly established per Psalm 119:89
- He reveals the end out of the beginning per Is 46:10
- He does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets per Amos 3:7
- He says there is nothing new under the sun per Ecclesiastes 1:9
- He says His Torah is the ONLY truth there is per Psalms 119:142
- He says His Torah is a tree of life and eternal per Proverbs 3:18-19 and Psalm 119:160
- He says His Torah is perfect and restores the soul per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah makes the simple one wise per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah Is freedom and liberty per Psalm 119:45 and James 1:25
- He says His Torah is the only good doctrine there is Proverbs 4:2
- He says His Torah will add length of days and years of life and peace per Proverbs 3:2
- He says all of the ways of His Torah are ways of pleasantness and peace per Proverbs 3:17
- He says His Torah is for our good and well-being per Deuteronomy 6:24
- He says His Torah is health for our lives per Proverbs 3:8
- He says His Torah is life to our soul and a graceful ornament for our neck per Prov 3:22
- He says His Torah is better than pearls and all desires cannot compare to it per Prov 8:11
- He says those who walk with His Torah are praiseworthy per Psalms 119:1
- He says observing His Torah is how we purify our path per Psalms 119:9
- He says His Torah is better than thousands in gold and silver per Psalms 119:72
- He says His Torah brings abundant peace to those who love Him and His Torah per Psalms 119:165
- He says there is one Torah for all per Exodus 12:49/Leviticus 24:22
- He says those who hate His Torah love death per Proverbs 8:36
- He says His Torah is the way of faith per Psalms 119:29-30
- He says His Torah makes us wiser than our enemies per Psalms 119:98
- He says His Torah is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path per Psalms 119:105
- He says one who finds His Torah has found life per Proverbs 8:35
- He says one who finds His Torah has found favor from HaShem per Proverbs 8:35
- He says Messiah Yeshua is the GOAL of His Torah, meaning without His Torah, Messiah cannot be known per Romans 10:4
- He says if we had believed Moshe/Torah, we would have believed Messiah per John 5:46
- He says His Torah makes us wiser than our enemies per Psalms 119:98
- He says His salvation is far from the wicked for they sought not His Torah per Psalms 119:155
- He says to hold fast to and guard His Torah, for it is our life per Proverbs 4:13
- He says His Torah is the bread of life per Proverbs 9:5
What is the main theme of Sukkot? Is it to dwell in a sukkah? Is it to commemorate the Wilderness experience when HaShem miraculously delivered our forefathers out of Egyptian bondage by His Great Power and mercy? Yes, Sukkot commemorates these events, but would you be surprised the main theme of Sukkot is the command to REJOICE in HaShem and to celebrate our most greatest possession He has granted to us i.e. His Torah! Seven days of rejoicing in HaShem and acknowledging all we have is from Him and Him alone! Seven days of rejoicing in HaShem and acknowledging only He is our literal place of refuge, shelter, protection, provision, redemption and salvation! Imagine, seven days of celebrating the goodness of HaShem, especially in light of the events of 2023! Baruch HaShem!!
Sukkot is the climax of the three Pilgrimage Feasts of HaShem i.e. Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot, in which all are to present themselves before HaShem, the Great King, in the Temple in Jerusalem as well as bring korbonot (Offerings) and gifts to the Great King!
On Pesach HaShem redeemed His people and on Shavuot He informed His founding nation Israel the purpose of our freedom, to make the entire nation a ‘Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation’ per Exodus 19:6! On Sukkot, per the Sukkot Machzor, it states the message of Sukkot is as follows: “In the wilderness HaShem enveloped and sheltered Israel in His Clouds of Glory. The clouds were a sign that Israel had risen to the spiritual level that made it worthy of HaShem’s all enveloping protection.” This is where the importance of the Sukkah is derived from in that in the Wilderness, HaShem Himself, sheltered Israel and shielded the people from every form of danger in existence. This is why when we build our Sukkah’s each year, at least in my experience, there is a very real, tangible, Presence in the Sukkah which does give you the sense of protection and shelter! I cannot explain or describe it other than I would recommend people who have not erected a Sukkah before, do so at this time and you will see for yourself and be instantly hooked and will from this point on look forward to Sukkot each year! HaShem wants us to literally experience Him and we certainly can do so on His Feasts along with all the outstanding food He commands we prepare and enjoy, but it is here on Sukkot where we are literally in His Presence in the Sukkah, shielded from the world outside…what could be more important to each of us today especially in light of 2023? The Sukkah is the embodiment of our fullest faith and trust in HaShem that only He provides greater protection than “Battlements and armies. We have experienced the days of joy that stem from awareness that only HaShem cares for us and provides us our sustenance. Such feelings and experiences produce love for HaShem. And in the long run, love and joy accomplish far more than fear. So we move immediately to channel this love and joy into a celebration of the Torah, a celebration which is simultaneously a covenant between ourselves and HaShem to remain loyal to Him and His teachings.”
It is here at Sukkot we are commanded by HaShem in Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:33-34 says “HaShem spoke to Moshe, saying: ‘Speak to the Children of Israel, saying: ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month (Month of Tishrei) is the Festival of Sukkot, a seven day period for HaShem. On the first day is a holy convocation, you shall not do any laborious work. For a seven day period you shall offer a fire offering (Olah/Burnt Offering) to HaShem; on the eighth (Eighth day of the Feast) there shall be a holy convocation as an assembly, you shall not do any laborious work.'” So the first day of Sukkot is a Shabbat as is the eighth day of the Feast is a Shabbat. In the days in between, we are to rejoice, celebrate and experience HaShem and His Presence! What King do you know of in history that actually commands His people to rejoice, experience and celebrate His mercy, kindness and goodness?
This is why when we read in His Word where various scriptures discuss ‘The Feast’ or ‘The Festival’ it is a Hebrew idiom pointing to Sukkot, THE Great Feast of celebration and rejoicing which has very strong prophetic implications connected to the return of Yeshua to Jerusalem at the end of the seven year Birth Pains. It will be on that Yom Kippur, Yeshua will march into Jerusalem and defeat the False Messiah and all of his followers once and for all. Then He will gather all of Israel to Jerusalem and we will embark on the greatest celebration in human history five days later on that Sukkot!
On a side note, this is precisely why the doctrine of Replacement Theology and its Torah hating theology is so infuriating to me because it accuses HaShem of being a liar and a cruel despotic monster Who has deceived Israel into accepting His Torah and then in turn creates a brand new group of people completely devoid of the Torah and then claims this new group is exactly what He wanted from the very beginning…..its not only very confusing but it is the height of blasphemy and idolatry. I digress.
Per Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:12-34, seventy bulls were offered as Olah (Burnt) Korbonot on Sukkot in the Temple. These korbonot were to protect the seventy nations of the world from suffering, to seek atonement for them and to seek peace for all peoples. These seventy bulls were offered in a diminishing fashion i.e. thirteen bulls offered on the first day, twelve the second day, and so on until there were only seven bulls offered on Hoshana Rabbah i.e. the last day of Sukkot.
On the Eighth Day of the Feast of Sukkot is ‘Simchat Torah’, it is the completion of the Torah reading cycle for that year. In other words a day of celebration and rejoicing over the Torah of HaShem! Why is His Torah something to rejoice and celebrate when we have Replacement Theology constantly going on about how the Torah is the epitome of bondage, death, destruction and enslavement? The following excerpt from the Book ‘Simchat Torah – Its Significance, Laws and Prayers’ it says “The deeper significance of Rabbi Hillel’s famous teaching that the primary commandment of the Torah is ‘Love your fellow as yourself, the rest is commentary; now go and study!’ per Tractate Shabbat 32a from the Talmud Bavli. Hillel meant to say that the Torah and its commandments are the means to bring Jews together as one, and when there is the proper kind of unity among Jews, then the Torah can achieve its purpose of bringing about unity between Israel and HaShem. So it was that the Torah could be given at Sinai only when Israel had banished strife from itself and gathered at Sinai which is based upon the verse ‘Like one person with one heart’ in Shemot (Exodus) 19:2.”
This is another reason why Yeshua MUST come in the likeness of Moshe because it was Moshe, who was HaShem’s Agent i.e His Sheliach/Sent One, who brought the Torah to Israel. Remember as we have discussed in previous Op’s, an agent is likened to the one who sent him in the first place, therefore when read the words of Yeshua where He says “When you see Me, you have seen the Father” per John 14:9, now it makes much more sense in that Yeshua is re-affirming He is the AGENT of HaShem i.e. the Sheliach of HaShem and NOT literally HaShem in the flesh as that is just not possible for so many, many reasons.
The following is from the article ‘The Law of Agency’ from the Jewish Encylopedia and it states: “The Law of Agency deals with the status of a person (known as the agent) acting by direction of another (the principal), and thereby legally binding the principal in his connection with a third person. The person who binds a principal in this manner is his agent, known in Jewish law as sheluaḥ or sheliaḥ (one that is sent): the relation of the former to the latter is known as agency (sheliḥut). The general principle is enunciated thus: A man’s agent is like himself (Ḳid. 41b).”
How does this fit into our discussion here in this Op? It fits because it is a reminder of Who is and who the Messiah cannot be in light of the Word of HaShem! Yeshua is the embodiment of the Word of HaShem and as such can only teach the Torah of HaShem! Any message devoid of the Torah and Yeshua has been disqualified as being the Messiah! Very, very serious topic but I digress.
I could keep going on and on with this Op, but for the sake of time, I will sum it up here in that Sukkot is the time we are to rejoice and celebrate HaShem and His Torah! Especially in light of all the terrible news and experiences people are enduring this very troubled year, now more than ever we need to be reminded and encouraged to draw near to HaShem for He is good, He is kind, He is compassionate and His mercies endure forever. Further, when we are suffering, I truly believe HaShem is right there right next to us suffering with each of us! And think about it, right now our Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) is preparing to officiate the Sukkot Temple Services in the Heavenly Domain i.e. Yeshua, so while we are unable to fully experience Sukkot via the Temple in Jerusalem, our Messiah and Kohen HaGadol in the order of Melchizedek Yeshua, will be officiating on our behalf before HaShem! Baruch HaShem!
With this said, let me quickly input that during the morning daily Tamid services, i.e. the (Burnt) korbonot offerings, it is during the days of the Sukkot Feast in the Temple of HaShem in Jerusalem is the Water Libation Ceremony where the Kohanim go down to the Shiloach Pools, a fresh water spring in the City of David and draw water to bring up to the Altar and offer the water before HaShem. They sounded a ‘Tekiah, Teruah and Tekiah’ Shofar blasts as the Kohanim reached the Water Gate. Isaiah 12:3 says “And with joy, shall you draw water!” which is in reference to this ceremony. There is a very well known saying in the Mishnah Tractate Sukkah 5.1 discussing the Water Libation Ceremony in which it says “Whoever had not seen the rejoicing of the Bet Ha-Sho’eva (Rejoicing of the House of Drawing) had never seen rejoicing in his life.”
Why is this important? Because there is a famous event recorded in the Book of John chapter 7 verses 37-39 in which Yeshua is in the Temple and He suddenly and loudly calls out to the people “And on the last day, the great day of the Festival, Yeshua stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me, and let him who believes in Me drink. As the Scripture said, ‘Out of His innermost shall flow rivers of living water. And this He said concerning the Ruach (Spirit), which those believing in Him were about to receive, for the Set-apart Spirit was not yet given, because Yeshua was not yet esteemed.” Can you see the significance of what Yeshua is saying here? He is likening Himself to the water of HaShem i.e. another famous idiom describing His Torah! Another reason why we need to know everything about HaShem’s Feasts because those same idioms are used in the Apostolic Writings!!
Consider the prophecy in Zechariah 14:16 about Sukkot which says “It shall be that all who are left over from all the nations (At the end of the seven year Birth Pains and destruction wrought by the False Messiah), who had invaded Jerusalem will come up every year to worship the King HaShem, Master of Legions, and to celebrate the Festival of Sukkot. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the land does not go up to Jerusalem to bow down before the King, HaShem, Master of Legions, there will be no rain upon them.” Very interesting, so after Yeshua returns, destroys the False Messiah, then all those nations which remain who invaded Jerusalem, as part of their formal surrender agreement, MUST agree to come up to Jerusalem each Sukkot to bow before HaShem the Great King. Those who refuse, He will withhold the rain and they will go into drought until they do surrender. Interesting connection between the rain and the water ceremony on Sukkot, not a coincidence!
So again in summary, now more than ever before, we need to understand, study and learn all there is about Sukkot because these principles He is teaching us are what will strengthen, encourage and fill us with the fortitude, courage and drive to press forward in this very difficult year. Remember He says His Torah is a tree of life to those who take hold of it!! He either really means it or was just making a statement for effect. Each of us will have to decide how to apply this to our own lives.
Be encouraged and enjoy HaShem this Sukkot and dwell in His Presence in His ‘Shelter of Faith!’ Even if you have crushing health, financial or other problems and or received crushing health news recently, HaShem is not defeated by any of this! We have much to fear from this vile, wicked, cruel world, but Baruch HaShem, He is far above this world and nothing is impossible with Him! May our Final Redemption be so VERY soon in our days!
I will close with this reminder from Psalms 9:10 “HaShem will be a tower of strength for the oppressed, a tower of strength in times of distress.” Draw near to Him today!
- The Scriptures by the Institute for Scriptures Research
- The Stone Edition Chumash by Artscroll
- The Rubin Edition The Prophets by Artscroll
- Tehillim by Artscroll
- The Schottenstein Edition Sukkot Machzor by Artscroll
- The Kehati Mishnah Tractate Sukkot