Signs of a spiritual awakening
After we reflect on our lives and welcome in the fresh start of a new year on Rosh Hashanah, and after we fast and turn back to God in repentance on Yom Kippur, we then come to a season that is called Sukkot, the meaning of Sukkot is the Feast of Tabernacles.
This is a celebration of the goodness and the joy of the Lord! We have come through a solemn period of reflection and critical self-evaluation.
We may not have liked some of the things we saw in ourselves. Thus, we turned back to God to be cleansed in His holiness.
Now is a time to celebrate the fact that we survived. We thank God for last year’s bountiful harvest and look forward to an even greater harvest blessing of joy, finances, health, family, and ministry.
Sukkot Is A Time of Gratefulness And Dwelling With God
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. . . ”
You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.’”
The Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot, is very similar to what we in America celebrate at Thanksgiving. It occurs at almost the same time of year. In fact, according to historians, the pilgrims actually had the first Thanksgiving on and possibly directly inspired by Sukkot. The pilgrims were very religious people. When they came out of Europe, they saw it as symbolic of Israel coming out of Egypt.
The reason they came was to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, free from the persecution of the Catholic Church and the Church of England. They called themselves Judeo-Christians.
After they arrived, they experienced many hardships, but they also recognized the blessings God provided for them.
God’s Miracle Provision
Today, we are so familiar with the deliverance story of Israel from Egypt that the details can almost seem mundane.
But when you think about it, Israel really should have perished many times during this story. Consider all of the unlikely events:
- The murderous and power-hungry pharaoh let them go
- They left with all the wealth of Egypt
- With Pharaoh’s chariots in hot pursuit, God parted an ocean for them to escape
- With little food and water in the hot desert, God provided manna every day and made water flow from a rock. They experienced no sickness. Their shoes never wore out.
. . .the One that passed through the wilderness. It was to re-heal and the One who delivers.
He is the One to remind them that God is Jehovah Jireh, the One who destroys our enemies and provides food and who delivers water in the dry places. Why is it so important to have these reminders? Once again, God is painfully aware of our short memories.
According to Deuteronomy 8:12–18, every year God told His people to build a small tabernacle and to dwell in it for seven days.
When Israel was wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, they would build themselves shelters that they could immediately take down, wrap up, and put away.
These were made mostly out of poles and animal pelts and palm leaves—whatever they could find. They had to be portable and lightweight because the people had to be constantly ready for God’s newest instructions.
They had to be able to see through the tops because God was leading them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. These signs were their GPS system, and they had to be able to see them constantly in case they began to move.
What Does This Mean To Us Today?
No matter how blessed we are, we have to keep our eyes on God, because He is our Covering, our Provider, and our Healer. If we lose sight of Him, the world we’re in may destroy us, as well.
If you’ve ever been to Israel, you know that the desert is not just warm, it’s lethally hot. That’s why the pillar during the day was a cloud, which shaded them.
At nighttime, the desert can actually be a very cold place. Therefore, the pillar at night was made of fire, which warmed them. They may have been wandering the wilderness, but they were also wandering in the supernatural.
It was supernatural that they came out with all of Egypt’s silver and gold. It was supernatural that they walked across a parted sea only to watch it “unpart” and destroy their enemies. It was supernatural for water to come out of a rock.
It was supernatural for food to fall from the sky. It was supernatural that, after walking in the desert for forty years, their shoes and clothing never wore out or rotted. It was supernatural that no one ever got sick.
If you take your eyes off Me and put them on what you have, or if you’re not willing to move when I say to move, then the anointing will leave you, and you’ll be alone in the wilderness.”
When we’re most in need, we keep our eyes on God. We pray diligently, “Oh, God, help me!” Then, after the answer comes, we become a little lukewarm. When our marriages are healed and our careers have taken off, we can begin to lose sight of the Lord.
So, God wants to remind us that in the wilderness, it was supernatural. For forty years, the Israelites had to depend on a supernatural God. There were no stores, no crops, and no water. For forty years, there was just Jehovah Jireh, who was more than enough.
Sukkot Is Also Called The Feast of Nations
On this day, God asked the Israelites to sacrifice seventy bulls. That may seem strange in today’s world, but the Bible claims that there were seventy nations at the time.
In Hebrew, the word salvation is the word Sozo, which means “forgiveness,” but it also means “prosperity,” “healing,” “joy,” “happiness,” and “peace.”
In Jewish teaching, there is what is called the Messianic period, a time when the Jewish Messiah will come, and all the nations on earth will recognize Him and gather on Sukkot at Jerusalem, where we will live under the blessing of the Jewish Messiah, and every area of our lives will be taken care of forever.
Thus, beginning on Sukkot and going for 7 days, all the priests in Jerusalem would gather together at the temple and divide into three different groups.
- One group would go out of the main gate;
- Another group would go out of the east gate;
- The third group would go out of the Watergate;
- One group would go out to gather the sacrifices for a blood offering;
- The next group would go down to a certain area off to the west of Jerusalem, where they would cut long branches off of willow trees;
- The third group would go with the high priest to the pool of Shalom—the same pool where Jesus healed the blind man—and use a golden pitcher to gather its “living water.”
. . .The shofar would blow, and the three groups would meet at exactly the same moment with the sacrifice, the trees, and the water and wine. At the moment they all met, the shofar was blown again.
This would call forth a man who would begin to play the flute—always a symbol of the coming Jewish Messiah, who was also called “the pierced one.”
The first group would be the ones with the bulls—a sacrifice so all the world could be adopted into the family of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
After the blood was all over the altar, they would remove the carcasses. Then would come the ones with the trees, and they would arrange the trees over the altar, angling them upward to make a tabernacle or a wedding canopy.
Thus, the blood is shed and the canopy is built, symbolizing that the Jewish Messiah would come and be the Bridegroom for all of God’s people.
The third priest would then come and pour the water onto that blood, symbolizing the Holy Spirit and an outpouring of joy.
Then, the associate priest would pour wine onto the water and the blood, the symbol of a marriage covenant. Imagine how powerful it was for first-century Jews who were familiar with this ceremony when Jesus went to a wedding feast in Cana and turned water into fine wine.
Calling Forth The Messiah
Now let’s fast-forward to the first century. It is the Feast of Tabernacles, and Jesus is in the temple celebrating Sukkot.
Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. . .
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:2, 37–38)
Now, unless you are familiar with the Jewish roots of your faith, how can you know what this passage really means?
This was the final day of the feast—the day on which all the people got to come into the temple.
On the seventh day, the priest would pour water on the altar seven times, and they would all walk around that altar seven times, each time shouting, “Save us!” They were calling for their Messiah.
Jesus stood up at the Sukkot celebration and said, “I’m here! I’ve come to give you living water. When you taste Me, you’ll never thirst again.”
What an amazing event. Jesus was right there with them. He watched them walk around the altar. He watched them pour “living water” on the altar. They started calling for the Jewish Messiah to come and bring His kingdom on earth, and He said, “Here I am!”
Today, Jews all over the world keep Sukkot by building small booths outside in their yards, and the doors are never closed.
At all other times, God’s people live behind closed doors and invite people over for dinner and fellowship. Others are welcome, but they must be invited because the doors are closed.
On Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, If you have loved the Feast of Ingathering, the doors remain open ones who are not All Jews know that if you see a tabernacle, you can be born again, you go in there as a stranger, but you will walk out as a family member.
What does this mean to us? If you have loved this month for ones who are not born again, you need to claim this as their salvation month for their salvation.
Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved” (John 10:9). Jesus is the door, and it’s open to everybody!
Sukkot is also a time for you to gather your harvest—not only save souls but also your financial harvest. Say these words: “He has opened the door, I’m keeping my eyes on Him, and I’m going to have the best year of my life so far.” These are the signs of a spiritual awakening in your life and the lives of others.