The Feast: Sukkot
Sukkot is the only holiday that really encompasses two holidays: Seven days of Sukkot and one day of Shemini Atzeret [upon which we celebrate Simchat Torah]. Sukkot begins just five days after Yom Kippur. Sukkot has the greatest number of unique mitzvot to fulfill on the holiday.
Prophetically, Sukkot/Tabernacles points to the millennial reign of Yahusha while also looking back to the Israelites post-Exodus journey through the wilderness, and commemorates what many believe to be the actual time of Messiah’s birth. So as we assemble to honor Yahuah and our King as a Kingdom of Priests (Exodus 19:6. 1 Peter 2:9, Revelation 1:6), we will truly seek to manifest Heaven on Earth, all bringing our best and serving others with our gifts…the organic Ecclesia in action!
In Hebrew, the word for a single shelter is a sukkah—plural sukkot—so the holiday was called Sukkot in Hebrew. (Pronounced “sue-COTE”.) Every year the Great Awakening get to stay outdoors with our family in a shelter (sukkah) you build and be reminded that all of life is temporary, but that you are heading toward the Promised Land.
(Did you know that Yahusha, whom the world call Jesus, celebrated the Festival of Tabernacles? Read about it in John 7.)
“40 And ye shall take you on the first day (of Sukkot) the boughs of goodly trees (Etrog/citron), branches of palm trees (lulav), and the boughs of thick trees (myrtle), and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the YHVH seven days. 41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto YHVH seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:
Let's examine the words, “rejoice” and “celebrate”. Rejoice (Hebrew word sa’mach) means to be glad, joyful, filled with joy and excitement. Celebrate (Hebrew word kh’gag’) means to Dance, stagger, reel to and fro; to become giddy (as a drunkard), lightheaded, GaGa. This is what we were commanded to do for 7 days, PARTY!! We will have Feasts and Speakers every night at 6pm during Sukkot.
“And on the fifteenth day of the seventh month ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work, and ye shall keep a feast (Sukkot) unto YHVH seven days:”
“On the eighth day ye shall have a solemn assembly: ye shall do no servile work therein:”
What is it about?
During this feast the children of Israel remember how they dwelt in tabernacles in the wilderness for forty years. They were to go and make booths and to dwell therein for seven days feasting and giving thanks to Most High for bringing them out of Egypt. The first and the eighth day were to be Holy Convocations.
How do we celebrate it?
We celebrate this feast by not doing any servile work on the 1st or 8th day of the feast and having holy Convocations in which we come together with worship service and feast. Most of the Holy Days are observed in local congregations, with the exception of Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. The Great Awakening Assemblies will gather in tents or cabins is a similar type of temporary dwelling/tabernacle today as our forefathers did. We observe this main festival season of the year with nightly worship services, including those days that are not annual or weekly Sabbaths. This festival is also a time of great spiritual and physical enjoyment and includes programs for families, seniors, teens and young adults.
Feast: Shemini Atzeret
Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah immediately follow the seven-day festival of Sukkot. Shemini Atzeret is translated as the Eighth Day of the Assembly. Shemini Atzeret falls on the day after Sukkot, on the 22nd of Tishrei. Its name means ‘the eighth [day of] assembly’.Simchat Torah means “the rejoicing of the Torah” and engenders the dual meaning implicit in its name.
After He ordains the seven-day feast of Sukkot, Yahuah tells Moses: “On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly. You shall not do any ordinary work” (Numbers 29:35, also Leviticus 23:36). This eighth day of “solemn assembly” came to be called Shemini Atzeret.
“For seven days you are to bring an offering by fire to Adonai. The eighth day will be a holy convocation to you, and you are to bring an offering by fire to Adonai. It is a solemn assembly—you should do no laborious work.” (Leviticus 23:36)
“So on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruits of the land, you are to keep the Feast of Adonai for seven days. The first day is to be a Shabbat rest, and the eighth day will also be a Shabbat rest.” (Leviticus 23:39)
Then on the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work, and you shall observe a feast to Yahuah for seven days. On the eighth day ye shall have a solemn assembly: ye shall do no servile work therein: (Numbers 29:12&35)
Yahuah commanded us to celebrate the feast for seven days, starting with a holy convocation on the first day. He then continues by giving instructions for the offerings which are to be done, once again, for seven days. Subsequently, on the eighth day, there is to be a holy convocation, it is to be an assembly. “On the eighth day you shall hold a solemn (serious) gathering; you shall not work…”
From the Scriptures, proving that the 8th day is about new beginnings, we can deduce that the 8th day of Sukkot or the feast of Tabernacles is prophetic of a future new beginning. We have seen in the previous article “Sukkot-restoring the kingdom, one sukkah at a time“ that Sukkot is also known as the feast of Tabernacles.
And yet, an examination of the nature and significance of Shemini Atzeret reveals a close resemblance between it and the festival of Shavuot . Both are referred to by the Torah as days of “atzeret” (ingathering, assembly, retention, absorption), and are the only two festivals to carry that distinctive name. Both are one-day festivals which culminate a cycle of seven: Shemini Atzeret immediately follows the seven days of Sukkot, while Shavuot closes the seven week count begun by Passover.