Monday, November 3, 2008

Paul & Susan - Sukkot

Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, is one of the festivals (the Hebrew word used literally means "appointed time") that God calls His appointed times and He calls His people to celebrate.  Leviticus 23:33-43 describes how God commanded all native Israelites (vs. 42) to celebrate this feast.  The first and eighth days are days of rest.  For seven days they are to dwell in booths (temporary shelters made of boughs, in Hebrew Sukkot is plural and sukkah is singular). Verse 43 says,"that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt:  I am Yahweh, your God.'"  Deut. 16:18 tells us that Sukkot is one of the three times a year all males are to appear before God in the place He chooses.  In Zechariah 14 God talks about His return and the setting up of His Kingdom, in vs. 16-19 He describes how all the nations will celebrate Sukkot and if they don't they will have no rain.  We have decided that even though we are not natives of Israel and He has not yet set up His kingdom we want to celebrate Sukkot because it is one of God's appointed times and to remind ourselves and our children about how God provides for us during our temporary dwellings, whether it is during Israel's travels when God brought them out of Egypt or as we live in our temporary bodies now.

We also believe that God's feasts or "appointed times" point to events that have taken place and are yet to take place.  The first four feasts:  passover, unleavened bread, first fruits, and Pentecost have been fulfilled by Christ's death and resurrection and by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  The last three feasts have yet to be fulfilled: We believe the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) will be the taking up or rapture of Christ's bride, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) will be our judgement day when God returns to execute judgement on the earth, and the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) when we enter into the millennial kingdom.  God says in Jeremiah 23:7-8 that we will no longer remember when He brought His people out of Egypt, "but As the Lord lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.'  And they shall dwell in their own land.".

Although we had planned on celebrating Sukkot for some time, when the day actually came Paul had been flying a lot and was very tired and did not feel like building anything.  So, the kids and I started hauling poles into the basement and started figuring out the best way to put up our Sukkah while Paul took a nap.  (We decided a good Alaska adaptation to Sukkot would be to build your Sukkah in your basement since it's so cold out!)

Paul could hear us down below and as tired as he was he couldn't help himself.... He knew (and he was right) that with his help it would be a much nicer, much sturdier, much safer structure...  So he came down to help.

It wasn't long before he was the life of the party and everyone was having a great time Sukkah wrestling.

God commands His people to live in their temporary dwellings for 7 days.  We figured that meant to sleep in them.  As we studied about Sukkot during the week, we learned that the way most people celebrate Sukkot today is to eat their meals in their Sukkah.  We slept in ours all week and it was so much fun we are looking forward to doing it again next year.
Below Paul is reading our nightly Bible reading in our Sukkah.

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