By One for Israel—
The Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot as it’s known in Hebrew, is a God-ordained feast with a fantastic point behind it. Or perhaps a range of very meaningful points. There’s the mysterious command of the four species of plant required, the aspect of inviting guests (ushpizin) into your sukkah, the harvest festival of rejoicing or the water libation ceremony to name a few. But here we’re going to look at one aspect in particular: those ramshackle little dwelling places – the sukkot themselves.
He tabernacled among us:
‘Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will live among you’—it is a declaration of Adonai. ‘In that day many nations will join themselves to Adonai and they will be My people and I will dwell among you.’ Then you will know that Adonai-Tzva’ot has sent me to you. (Zechariah 2:10-11)
God, THE LORD, says He’s coming to live among His people. And that God sent Him, if you can get your head around that. And like all of His words, it all came to pass exactly as He said.
And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. We looked upon His glory, the glory of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
Jesus, who was God incarnate, came to live on earth with us… and was sent by God.
This word incarnate means He in carne, meat, or flesh… God clothed in human skin.
Paul the apostle talks about our life in the flesh like this:
For we know that if the tent, our earthly home, is torn down, we have a building from God—a home not made with human hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— if indeed, after we have put it on, we will not be found naked. For we groan while we are in this tent—burdened because we don’t want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:1-4)
But surely that’s not what Sukkot is all about? Isn’t it to do with remembering the time of the desert wanderings after the Exodus from Egypt, on the way to the Promised Land? Aren’t these temporary dwellings to remind us of the fragility and transience of this life? That’s certainly the impression you get from the instructions in Leviticus 23 at any rate:
You are to live in sukkot for seven days. All the native-born in Israel are to live in sukkot, so that your generations may know that I had Bnei-Yisrael to dwell in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am Adonai your God. (Leviticus 23:42-43)