We just celebrated the Feast of Sukkot. It is known by many names, including The Feast of Tabernacles, The Time of Our Joy, and Our Time to Rejoice (Hag Z’man Simchateinu). Two references to rejoicing can be found regarding Sukkot in Deuteronomy 16:13-17:
“You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast…the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.”
Another name for Sukkot is the Feast of Ingathering (Hag Ha-Asif), as seen in Exodus 23:16.
“The Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.”
There are four things which take place during this ingathering:
- An offering is made to God.
- A portion is given to the poor, the orphans and widows.
- A portion is set aside as food for the upcoming months.</li?
- A portion is sown for the next harvest.
The main point when giving, is that it be done joyfully―realizing that up until now, God has been our Provider and we must trust and have faith that He will continue to provide.
Sukkot is also one of the three pilgrimage festivals, when the nation of Israel is called to go up to Jerusalem, bringing their thank offering (their tithe) to God. In John 7, we read that Yeshua was going up to Jerusalem. What would He have seen while He was there? As mentioned above, people were bringing their offerings to the Temple. In addition, the Levite priests walked down from the Temple to the Pool of Siloam, with music, singing and celebrating as they filled pitchers with water. Then the priests would return to the Temple and pour out the water on the altar. This was done throughout the seven days of Sukkot. When the ceremony was completed, they would ask God to pour out water (rain) over the dry land. This all took place at the end of the dry season, before the beginning of the autumn rains.
Zechariah 14:16-18 clearly explains the consequences of judgment in the last days, of not observing the Feast of Tabernacles by coming to Jerusalem and joyfully bringing our tithe–no rain! In addition to the obvious natural application, we can also see this as a spiritual picture of a lack of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Yeshua says that whoever believes in Him, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-39). Just as the land of Israel is a dry and thirsty land; so too are the hearts of man. We, the believers in Yeshua, thirst in our hearts for the Word of God, Yeshua. He takes our dry hearts and fills it with Himself, pouring out rivers of living water, healing rain, by His Spirit, over a dry and weary land and people.