Lulav and Citron - The Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot

The Feast of Tabernacles is the last of the three fall feasts we will be celebrating this year: Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. The Hebrew word Sukkot means “Booths” and the feast is celebrated beginning of the 15th of Tishri. Tishri is the seventh month on the Jewish religious calendar and it is the first month on the civil calendar. This same sort of calendar can be seen within the US government, where the fiscal calendar begins on 1 October. The Feast of Tabernacles is considered the most joyful of all the feasts as we celebrate God’s provision for His people and the year’s last harvest.

Today, Sukkot centers on several traditions such as living in booths during the feast and the waving of the lulav. The Feast of Tabernacles is first established in Leviticus 23:33-44. The celebration lasts for seven days. Leviticus 23:39 states, “you shall keep the feast of the LORD for seven days”. The seventh day of the feast is known as Hoshana Rabbah (more on that in a moment). However, there is also an eighth day included. This is called Shemini Atzeret in Hebrew, which means Eighth (day of) Assembly.  Lastly, The Feast of Tabernacles is one of three feasts that required pilgrimage to Jerusalem (see Exodus 23:15-17).

So, remember earlier that the seventh day of the feast is called Hoshana Rabbah? During the Temple period, temple festivities during Sukkot included water and light. The Water Pouring ceremony involved the priest drawing water from the Pool of Siloam in a golden picture. He would then return to the Temple and, pouring the water on the altar, recite Isaiah 12:1-3 (NKJV), “…For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.”

First, let’s recognize that the Hebrew word used here for salvation is yeshua. How exciting is that! But as the info-mercials like to say, “But wait, there is more!”. Let’s now turn our attention to John 7. It is Hoshana Rabbah, the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. And in John 7:37-38, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.'”