Hebrew Roots/Holy Days/Tabernacles/Tabernacles/The Sukkah and the Lulav
The Hebrew word Sukkot means hut, booth, habitation, dwelling or tabernacle. One booth is a "sukkoh" (or sukkah), and being a feminine noun, the plural becomes "sukkot".
It is translated in the New Testament by the Greek word "skene" - John 1:14 . The word "sukkot" actually means "woven". These 'sukkot' were originally shelters that were woven together from branches and leaves to protect animals from the sun, so sukkot later came to mean the hut or booth with the "woven" roof. Since the commandment was to build a hut on this holiday to remember Yahweh's sheltering care, the feast became known as "Sukkot".
The instruction for the feast is to build a 'sukkah' and dwell in it for the entire seven days of the feast. Leviticus 23:40-43 and Nehemiah 8:14-16. They constructed these temporary shelters either on their roof-tops, in their own courtyards or in the court of the Temple area or in open areas of the city squares.
BUILDING THE SUKKAH
The succoth were made of four main types of branches, the palm as a symbol of victory, the willow for weeping, the myrtle for joy and the olive to represent the anointing. Nehemiah 8:15
These were to be temporary shelters made of a few upright posts or poles, with a few rods across the top on which branches of thick trees were laid, to form a 'brush arbor" type of roof . The sukkah is a four-walled structure with "schach" (leaves and branches) as a covering. Sources to obtain them may be council street or park prunings, gardeners or nurseries, river banks or forests where permissible. If the designated type of branches are not available, the covering (schach) may be of any natural plant material which has been harvested (i.e. bamboo, straw, reeds, brush) bound together and attached to the frame. The covering must be spread so that there is more shade than sun but enough spaces within the schach (covering) to be able to see the stars from within the sukkah, at night and attached to the framework with twine, cord or rope. This can be a temporary structure especially built either in the back yard, the garden, or as an attachment to the house. It can be built on a patio or balcony, or if confined within an apartment, a sukkah can be made inside the dwelling, as a tent-like structure.
The sukkah is decorated within with pictures, tapestries, garlands, decorations and streamers made from natural fibres and whatever other creative craft will represent the season, hanging fruits, nuts and flowers that are in season. It needs to be large enough to house the family for meals, entertain others coming for fellowship, have services and possibly, sleep in it. To "dwell" in the sukkah means to "sit" in it. To spend time in it, meditating on God and His goodness and His provision and rejoicing in the future harvest of souls from the nations and the kingdom era with all it's blessings.
The building of the sukkah commences at the end of Yom Kippur. It is customary to begin the erection of the sukkah at the end of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), leaving four full days to construct and decorate the sukkah for the coming festival.
After the seriousness of Yom Kippur, His people delight in beginning to construct the "succoths" for the 15th Tishri for the commencement of the feast and the joyous celebrations that follow.
THE LESSON OF THE SUKKAH
The main lesson of dwelling in the sukkah is to remember the object lessons from the wilderness journey that Yahweh God is our Provider, our Source of all things and we have no permanent dwelling place in this world, but are on a journey to the 'promised land', in the kingdom of God.
While dwelling in individual succoth, Yahweh spread His canopy over them and 'tabernacled' with them on their journey, leading and guiding them through the barren wastes, while providing their every need.
The concept of dwelling in booths is to reinforce our dependence on God, while we live as sojourners in this world.
This was also a prophetic picture of Yahweh God dwelling with His people in the age to come, where it is said, "Behold, the Tabernacle of Yahweh is with men and He will dwell with them and they shall be his people and Yahweh himself shall be with them and be their God." Revelation 21: 3
This seven day feast is a celebration of the joy and spiritual blessing to be experienced in the future union of Yahweh God dwelling with His people when His Shekinah glory and His life will be poured out upon them in full measure.
As we build the sukkah with its canopy over us, we are constructing an abode for Yahweh to tabernacle with us in kingdom glory during this festive season and give us a foretaste of the glory and blessing of the age to come.
Blessing on entering sukkah - Blessed are You, Yahweh, king of the Universe who has commanded us to dwell in the sukkah.
The "Lulav" is the banner of living branches of the trees of the field (representing peoples of the nations) which is waved during the feast of Sukkot to represent the harvest of the nations and is a powerful token in spiritual warfare which Yahweh has ordained for His people to herald in the salvation of the nations into the kingdom.
The "Four Species", are made of the four specified branches as the verse (Lev. 23:43) states, "you shall take for yourself a fruit of the citron tree, a palm frond, myrtle branches and willows... you shall rejoice before the Yahweh your God for seven days."
These are common types of plants in Israel representing four types of soil into which the Word is sown -
- 'etrog' - a tiny citrus fruit which tastes and smells sweet and represents those who know the truth and do it.
- 'lulav' - the palm branch which has sweet fruit but no perfume and represents those who know the truth and don't do it.
- 'haddasim' - three myrtle twigs that smell beautiful but have no taste and represents those who do good deeds without knowing the truth.
- 'aravot' - the two young willow branches which have no taste and no smell and represent those who don't have the truth or any good deeds in their life.
It is traditional to make these of one Palm branch (the 'lulav"), three myrtle (haddasim) twigs, two willow branches (aravot) and one citron (etrog; a small citrus fruit). The myrtle and the willow are bound on each side of the palm branch which is stripped of some of its lower fronds so as to use it's spine to hold it in the right hand and the citron (fruit) is held in the left hand.
Before commencing to make the prophetic declarations, the following blessing is said.
Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with his commandments and in the blood of Y'shua the Messiah, and commanded us to raise up the Lulav.
- Baruch atah Yahweh, Elochenu Melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b mitzvotav uv dahm Y shua haMoshiach, v tsivanu, al ni-tilat lulav.
Shake the 'lulav' as waving a joyful banner in celebration that we are pilgrims and sojourners in this world and our destiny is the kingdom of God for which we wait in joyous expectation of our complete redemption and the ultimate victory of the kingdom of God out from Jerusalem with the redemptive deliverance of the kingdom age.
Shake them in each direction 3 times as you say the traditional declaration of faith: Facing East: Great and mighty is Yahweh, God of Hosts. He alone is King over all the earth.
Facing North: He is my victory and my shield. In Him I will have no fear. His glory and His power surround and preserve me.
Facing West: Behold Yahweh, my God, has become my salvation. His grace is toward all who believe and call upon His Name. Facing South: In Him I will trust. In Him I will be justified. In Him I have become more than a conqueror.
Facing East: Surely I will dwell in the house of Yahweh forever. Goodness and mercy shall preserve me all the days of my life.
Blessed be Yahweh forever, in the Name of Y'shua haMashiach, Amen and Amen.
- Baruch Yahweh ha-olam, b shem Y shua haMashiach. Amean v Amaen.
Give praise and thanksgiving for God's provision, protection and guidance for the journey through this life, present, past and future to bring us to the fullness of the manifestation of His life and glory in us by His Spirit. Amen.
"Praise Yahweh. Sing to Yahweh a new song, His praise in the assembly of the saints. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and harp. For Yahweh takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation. Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.
"May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all His saints. Praise Yahweh." Psalm 149