Shabbat shalom! Today – Saturday, October 13th, 2018 – is the first day of Sukkot, otherwise known as the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (which is one of the Torah feasts and still applies). It is described in Leviticus 23:
And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, In the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be a Feast of Booths seven days to Jehovah. On the first day shall be a holy gathering; you shall do no work of service. Seven days you shall bring a fire offering to Jehovah; on the eighth day you shall have a holy gathering; and you shall burn the fire offering to Jehovah; it is a solemn assembly; you shall do no work of service [translation correction: no work whatsoever]. (Leviticus 23: 33-36, Green’s Literal Translation)
You may have thought that Sukkot has passed. For most, it has. But I don’t follow the same calendar as most. See my explanation of the calendar here.
On Sukkot, one is supposed to sleep in a booth/tent. The origin of the festival is as follows:
10. And in this month Abraham moved from Hebron, and departed and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur in the mountains 1 of Gerar. 11. And in the middle of the fifth month he moved from thence, and dwelt at the Well of the Oath. 2 12. 3 And in the middle of the sixth month the Lord visited Sarah and did unto her as He had spoken, and she conceived.
13. And she bare a son in the third month, and in the middle of the month, 4 at the time of which the Lord had spoken to Abraham, on the festival of the first-fruits of the harvest, 5 Isaac was born. 14. And Abraham circumcised his son on the eighth day: he was the first that was circumcised according to the covenant which is ordained for ever. 15. And in the sixth year of the †fourth† 6 week we came to Abraham, to the Well of the Oath, and we appeared unto him [as we had told Sarah that we should return to her, and she would have conceived a son. 16. And we returned in the seventh month, and found Sarah with child before us] 7 and we blessed him, and we announced to him all the things which had been decreed concerning him, that he should not die till he should beget six sons more, 8 and should see (them) before he died; but (that) in Isaac should his name and seed be called: 9 17. And (that) all the seed of his sons should be Gentiles, and be reckoned with the Gentiles; but from the sons of Isaac one should become a holy seed, and should not be reckoned among the Gentiles. 1 18. For he should become the portion of the Most High, 2 and all his seed had fallen into the possession of God, that it should be unto the Lord a people for (His) possession 3 above all nations and that it should become a kingdom and priests and a holy nation. 4 19. And we went our way, and we announced to Sarah all that we had told him, and they both rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 20. And he built there an altar to the Lord who had delivered him, and who was making him rejoice in the land of his sojourning, and he celebrated a festival of joy in this month seven days, 5 near the altar which he had built at the Well of the Oath. 21. And he built booths for himself and for his servants on this festival, and he was the first to celebrate the feast of tabernacles on the earth. 22. And during these seven days he brought each day to the altar a burnt-offering to the Lord, two oxen, 6 two rams, seven sheep, 7 one he-goat, for a sin-offering, that he might atone thereby for himself and for his seed. 23. And, as a thank-offering, seven rams, seven kids, seven sheep, and seven he-goats, and their fruit-offerings and their drink-offerings; 8 and he burnt all the fat thereof on the altar, a chosen offering unto the Lord for a sweet smelling savour. 24. And morning and evening he burnt fragrant substances, 9 frankincense and galbanum, and stacte, and nard, and myrrh, and spice, and costum; all these seven he offered, crushed, mixed together in equal parts (and) pure. 25. And he celebrated this feast during seven days, rejoicing with all his heart and with all his soul, he and all those who were in his house; and there was no stranger with him, nor any that was uncircumcised. 26. And he blessed his Creator who had created him in his generation, for He had created him according to His good pleasure; for He knew and perceived that from him would arise the plant of righteousness 1 for the eternal generations, and from him a holy seed, so that it should become like Him who had made all things. 27. And he blessed and rejoiced, and he called the name of this festival the festival of the Lord, a joy acceptable to the Most High God. 28. And we blessed him for ever, and all his seed after him throughout all the generations of the earth, because he celebrated this festival in its season, according to the testimony of the heavenly tables. 29. For this reason it is ordained on the heavenly tables concerning Israel, that they shall celebrate the feast of tabernacles seven days with joy, in the seventh month, acceptable before the Lord–a statute for ever throughout their generations every year. 2 30. And to this there is no limit of days; for it is ordained for ever regarding Israel that they should celebrate it and dwell in booths, and set wreaths upon their heads, 3 and take leafy boughs, and willows from the brook. 4 31. And Abraham took branches of palm trees, and the fruit of goodly trees, and every day going round the altar with the branches seven times 5 [a day] in the morning, he praised and gave thanks to his God for all things in joy. (Jubilees 16:10-31, Charles’ translation)
A little-known fact is that our Messiah, Yehoshua (Jesus), was born on the first day of Sukkot. No, He was NOT born at Christmas, which is an ancient pagan festival that has nothing to do with Yehoshua or Yehovah or anything good. The idea that He was born on December 25th came about centuries later and has no historical (or Biblical) basis. James Trimm explains the evidence that He was born on Sukkot:
There is evidence that Yeshua [Yehoshua/Jesus] was born at Sukkot. The key to calculating the date of the birth of Messiah is Luke 1:5 where we learn that Zechariah the father of Yochanan was a priest of the course of Abijah.
The priests became to numerous to all serve at the Temple all the time, so they divided into 24 course (1Chron. 24). Each course served for two weeks each year, once in the former rain (first half of the year) and once in the latter rain (second half of the year). There were also three weeks in which all the priests were required to serve, these were the three pilgrimage festivals (Dt. 16:16). 24 times 2 is 48 plus three is 51. …
The course of Abijah is the eighth course (1Chron. 24:10)j which serves the tenth week during the former rain portion of the year (this is because during Passover and Shavuot (Pentecost) all for the priests serve together Dt. 16:16). Zechariah had his vision while serving in the course of Abijah in the tenth week (It will become apparent that he was serving his first course not his second as the timing will show as we progress). Thus Zechariah’s vision took place during the 10th week of the year (The religious year beginning at Nisan/Abib around 14 days before Passover). We must add two additional weeks before Yochanon (John) could be conceived, due to the purity laws (Lev. 12:5; 15:19, 25). So Yochanon was conceived in the 12th week of the year. He was born about 40 weeks later during the 52nd week of the year (12:40=52) which brings us to Passover. Thus Yochanon was born at Passover, the very time that Elijah was, according to Jewish tradition, supposed to appear.
Yeshua was conceived 6 months (about 25 weeks) after Yochanon’s conception. This means that Yeshua was conceived around the 37th week around Chanukah [Hannukah]. This would mean the light of the world was conceived during the festival of lights.
Yeshua was born 40 weeks later (around week 77 that is week 25 of the following year) this brings us to the time of the fall feasts.
There are several clues that Yeshua was born at Sukkot:
- Bethlehem was “booked solid.” This would not have been due census which would have taken place over the period of a year. Every Jew was required to come to Jerusalem for Sukkot (Dt. 16:16) this would have over run Jerusalem as well s Bethleham just five miles away.
- Yeshua was born in a “manger” or stable. The Hebrew world for “stable” is “sukkah” (as in Gen. 33:17) so it is likely that Yeshua was born in a Sukkah/booth.
- If Yeshua was born on the first day of Sukkot then he would have been circumcised on the “eighth great day” a festival following Sukkot. This day was the original “Simchat Torah” (Rejoicing in the Torah) which is now held the following day in Rabbinic Judaism. So Yeshua would have entered the covenant on the day of “rejoicing in the Torah.”
- When the angels appeared to the shepherds they made a statement which closely echoes the ancient Sukkot liturgy “…behold, we have come to declare to you glad tidings of great joy.” (Lk. 2:10-11)
- Sukkot is symbolic of God dwelling in a “tabernacle” (body?) with us.
(James Trimm, Channukah and the Last Days, appendix iv “The Birth of Messiah at Sukkot”, pages 139-140)
Another point: “Shepherds would not be out with their sheep in the dead of winter in Israel.”
Yeshua was born in 2 or 3 BC. So, today is the 2020th or 2021st anniversary of the Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem! The second-greatest event in history, behind His crucifixion and resurrection 30 years later. What a truly great day this was, just over 2000 years ago! Have a happy Sabbath, and a happy Feast of Tabernacles!
[If you’re not sure about a booth/tent, you could always do what my family and I do: sleep in the lounge.]
As a bonus, here’s the 2006 movie The Nativity Story, based on Jesus’ birth. It’s the most accurate Biblical movie I’ve ever seen (with only very minor accuracy issues):