Each morning I enter the sukkah with either a thought from the Lord about what to write, or a prayer to the Lord that he would give me the message for the day. Today I had no idea what to write, so I entered with a prayer and my laptop. I noticed the beautiful breeze and chill that can only be found early morning here this time of year, got comfortable in a chair, and opened my laptop. As it finished loading, it gave me a “Hey, you didn’t plug me in last night and my battery is about to die–plug me in” warning and here I am in my chair in my home again. So today would more appropriately be called “Thoughts ABOUT the Sukkah.” Hey, the Lord speaks in mysterious ways
So what about the sukkah? Why are we supposed to dwell in temporary structures for a week out of the year?
As with most things the Lord commands, at least one aspect of it all is to remember. We remember dwelling as a nation in the wilderness for 40 years. We remember that our bodies are but jars of clay (2 Cor 4:7) and therefore temporary dwellings for us while we are in this world–and in the World to Come we will have resurrected and perfected bodies!
Could there be more to it? Of course there is the aspect of obedience–Adonai commands it. To do less than he instructs is to miss the mark. We miss the mark all the time–sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes out of immaturity, sometimes because we choose our own path . . . . but when we learn of one of God’s commands we must have some response to it. And when that response is obedience, it can only be to our benefit. God’s instructions are, after all, for us.
Prophetically, it is a picture of God dwelling with man–the Millenial Kingdom. The general Messianic thought on the Festival of Sukkot is that it is when Yeshua was born. The story certainly presents a picture of Sukkot–especially when you learn that what is generally translated “manger” is the Greek word for “structure.” And I think this is a beautiful understanding. The thought that Messiah came into the world at this Festival infuses it with an amazing meaning that I believe holds great value. In studying it out, I think there is (possibly greater) support for his birth being at Shavuot . . . the day the 10 Commandments were given, and the day the Holy Spirit empowered first the Nation of Israel and then the Church as Israel expanded and went out to the nations!
This addresses a few of the problems I have had with the idea of a Sukkot birth. As I just mentioned, it doesn’t fit with the giving of the Torah or the Holy Spirit, and God is pretty consistent! If a day is for something, it’s for something. It also doesn’t fit with the distinctions between the Spring and Fall festivals. The Spring Festivals were fulfilled at his first coming, the Fall Festivals will be fulfilled with his second coming/return. Isn’t that what we always say? Then why have we attached his birth to a Fall Festival?
But what does that do to the idea of Yeshua and a sukkah? A Shavuot birth would require a Sukkot conception. That means that the Sukkah would have been his mother’s womb–his mother’s jar of clay, in which she temporarily dwelled. This brings, at least to me, a beautiful humanity to the first Sukkot for which Yeshua had joined us. As a mother, I consider the year of “dwelling with God” that Mary would have been blessed to experience as she grew the body of Messiah in her sukkah. A year of holding this treasure inside of her physical body before, on Shavuot, he would have been brought forth to be shared with the world!
To be fair, there are Messianic Rabbis who take both positions, but this isn’t a theological discourse or a thesis paper. It’s ponderings. And regardless of which Feast or Festival Messiah was actually conceived or born, he came–and that is the most important part of that! We do know he taught some amazing things at Sukkot . . .
37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Yeshua stood and cried out, saying, ” If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7)
When we believe in him, out of us flow rivers of living water. From our innermost being will flow out the Holy Spirit.
Rabbi Shaul/Paul expanded on this idea when he taught,
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Cor 6:9)
So with a Temple no longer standing, those who believe in Messiah have become the Temple of the Holy Spirit. And out of us flow not just living water . . . RIVERS of living water! The Spirit has been given, and we who believe have received, and out of us flows living water to the nations . . . that really is Good News!
So it’s okay that I’m not technically in the sukkah this morning. Because I dwell in the sukkah of my body–and my body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. So I thank the Lord today for that body, for the Holy Spirit, and for another day of Sukkot on which I may learn something more about Him and His purposes for me.