Sukkot is the seventh of the holy feast commanded by YHWH. It is considered to be the most joyful of all the hebrew festivals. Sukkot is pronounced “sue-coat”. It is also refereed to as “the feast of tabernacles” or “the feast of the ingathering”. It has historical, agricultural and prophetic significance. The historical significance is that it represents the time the Israelites dwelled in the wilderness for 40 years during the time of the exodus. The agricultural significance is that it represents the hebrew harvest festival. Most religions and most nations have a harvest festival. The idea of the american Thanksgiving came from sukkot. Although some would say it came from the native american pagan harvest festival. That is possible too. The pagan religions incorporated a similar harvest festival because it was a time to give thanks and praise to the one true Elohim YHWH. Satan could not stand sukkot and what it stood for, so Satan perverted the holiday and gave it to the pagans! Part of the eternal war between good and evil.
The prophetic significance that most christians are eager to point out is that it represents the time of the ingathering. The time when Yeshua will return and harvest His followers or gather His bride up to heaven on judgement day. Some believe it will be during the thousand years of peace at the end of the tribulation. Many new age churches that preach pre-trib rapture doctrine will equate it with a pre-trib rapture that is far from biblical. There is no secret rapture. It is a false doctrine spewed forth from the mouths of false teachers and false prophets leading the people astray into the great apostasy that must occur before the great tribulation is to begin.
Most churches reject the hebrew festivals and sabbaths. The few church people who partake in any of the hebrew festivals typically only partake in sukkot. Even then it is a rare event and most of them are christian zionist. The jewish people will even invite their gentile friends to their sukkot parties. This helps more church people celebrate sukkot from time to time. The idea of inviting the goyim (gentiles) goes as far back as Abraham who had an open tent policy as I once read somewhere. He invited strangers in and dined with them. Deuteronomy speaks of the strangers (goyim) having to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot!
Feast of Tabernacles can sometimes be a confusing term. A tabernacle is a temporary and moveable structure. The tabernacle of the bible was the temporary structure that housed the ark and was the place for the priest to do their jobs. A tent classifies as a tabernacle but most refer to the feast of tabernacles as the feast of booths. One of the commandments (mitzvah) is to build a temporary shelter (a booth or tabernacle) to dwell in. Of course the only people who have to keep that commandment are the ones who were born in the land of Israel. It is still a lot of fun to build a sukkah to live in for 8 days. We erected a huge cabin tent in our backyard. It has been a lot of fun. The nights are very chilly and a friend of mine loaned us a portable heater which makes the cold nights easier.
We are really enjoying sukkot this year. On the first night we invited some of our friends over and had a feast. It began at sunset and the last person to leave left after 10 pm. We feasted for 3 hours and had many great conversations about the faith of messianic judaism. It was a wonderful time. My friend who loaned us the portable heater told me his wife had not had that much fun in a long time.
There are many other things to do during sukkot. A lot of the commands has been intertwined with tradition. Sukkot is a festival that I feel all christians should keep. It is a wonderful and joyful time of year that we can gather together, share our faith, donate time or money to charity (give as you are able). It is about as joyful as christmas is to most church people. Only 2 days of sukkot are sabbaths that no work is allowed (most of the time 3 days of no work because of the weekly sabbath) but it is lawful to do good on the sabbath and much more so to give to charity. However because sukkot is such a big holiday and there is so much information on it, it would take me several blogs to share everything with you. I encourage you to do your own independent research on the holiday of sukkot. Here is some resources for you to take advantage of:
List of dates for Sukkot
Jewish Year 5774: sunset September 18, 2013 – sunset September 26, 2013
Jewish Year 5775: sunset October 8, 2014 – sunset October 16, 2014
Jewish Year 5776: sunset September 27, 2015 – sunset October 5, 2015
Jewish Year 5777: sunset October 16, 2016 – sunset October 24, 2016