Sukkot is the last and 7th fall feast of Israel mentioned in the Torah, in Leviticus 23. Seven, (Heb shevah) is from the Hebrew word sava meaning to be full. It is from this word where we get the word Sabbath. These connections point to Succoth as the Feast of Rest, speaking deep into our souls and projecting us forward to a time and to a place we are all longing for. This time and place is when man will live in harmony with his neighbor and with nature.
It is a time described in the book of Isaiah 11as when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the lion shall eat straw like the ox. Isaiah 11:1, 6-7.
It will be a time when animals will be vegetarian and eat together instead of eating each other, just as when God originally created them, as they were in the garden of Eden. And above all these things, it is a time when man will live in harmony with his Creator, something the Scriptures tell us that the heart of all men and women deeply desire. Habakkuk 2:14 describes for us what the earth will be like, … filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea. There will be one faith, one God for all.
Sukkoth also recalls the multitude of wonderful prophecies for the coming world peace, something the world is in dire need of. Predictions like these are read for example in Isaiah 2:2 which contains words of a song we often sing, and which says, Now it will come about that in the last days, the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.
These are words that are yet to be fulfilled; never did the nations of the world worship the one and true LORD of all. There was never yet a global unified belief in the God of the Bible. Never did the nations of the world stream toward Jerusalem where the house of the LORD would be established. How refreshing to consider that bible prophecies are not only about wars and rumors of war; it also speaks of a time, the best the world will ever experience.
Have you been longing for this time, for this Nostalgia of Paradise?
This inner longing for a better, peaceful, and harmonious place is something that many believers in the Tanakh, longed for. We are told in Hebrews 11 that they had this inner knowledge and a longing for this place. The Spirit describes this place as the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God (vs,10). All these believers longed for this wonderful eternal home.
They looked even beyond the earthly Millennium and towards the eternity of heaven.
This is how far Succoth brings us, which will revive this inner homesickness, but it will also confirm a future fulfilment of some great prophecies, especially from the Book of Ezekiel.
And what is truly beautiful is that the Scriptures tell us that God Himself also yearns for this reunion of peace. This is His moment as well, for it was given a special and unique name in Leviticus 23: 39b where He says, You shall celebrate the Feast of the LORD for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day.
The Feast of the LORD, that is the title given to the Feast of Tabernacles. The other feasts were not called this way. Succoth is His Feast, showing one more time God’s great longing for this time so that we may be together with Him.
Furthermore, we can see the great delight and jubilation attached to this feast when we consider that Succoth is one of the three feasts the Lord asked all Israel to gather at the Temple in Jerusalem. As we read in Deuteronomy 16:16, the other feasts were (Passover) Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost. Each feast symbolizes one aspect of the ministry of the Messiah. The first one, Unleavened Bread or Passover is when the Messiah fulfilled His ministry of Prophet; He died for us. The second, Pentecost is when He fulfilled His ministry of Priest; He rose and now is our High Priest. The third is our Feast today, Succoth when He will fulfill His ministry as King. He will come back as the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev.19:16). Succoth helps define and solidify these joyous expectations.
This is perhaps why we find one exclusive commandment given to us only on Sukkot. It is in Leviticus 23:40 and says, You shall rejoice before the Lord your God. This is indeed the only festival of the 7 where rejoicing is explicitly commanded. The Torah orders us to be happy, to smile, to love and to rejoice. Again, the Mosaic Law is not only about sacrifices, but it also wants you to be happy and blessed and have this great anticipation of a better world to come.