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We welcome you to worship and learn with us at Bet Shalom Messianic Congregation.

We gather together weekly for Hebraic worship, Biblical teaching from the Hebrew perspective, Messianic Dance and caring fellowship.

We look forward to seeing you!
Rabbi Amnon & Rebbetzin Lynette Shor

SATURDAY SHABBAT SERVICES

Messianic Lifestyle Class - 2 PM
In the Oneg Hall
Shabbat Service - 4 PM
In the Sanctuary
Oneg after Shabbat Service
In the Oneg Hall

WE MEET AT

MT OLIVE CHURCH
101 W Clinton Avenue
Fresno CA 93705

between Palm and Fruit Avenues
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MAIL:
Bet Shalom Messianic Congregation
5132 N Palm Avenue PMB 101
Fresno, CA 93704

PHONE:
559-288-0330
EMAIL:
betshalom@betshalomfresno.org

SUKKOT

THE SEASON OF OUR JOY

Immediately after the break-fast for Yom Kippur, preparations are made for Sukkot. Sukkot is the last of the seven feasts. It falls on the last seven days of the seventh month, and we are commanded to observe it seven times. Seven is the number of completion, as seen in Genesis (B’resheet) 2:2 when God’s work was completed in seven days. The number seven has special significance in this, the final fall feast.

WHAT IS SUKKOT?

Sukkot is first mentioned in the Bible as the name of the Israelites’ first resting place on their Exodus out of Egypt.

“Ya’acov went on to Sukkot, where he built himself a house and put up shelters for his cattle. This is why the place is called Sukkot [shelters]” (Genesis [B’resheet] 33:17).

These shelters (booths) were woven together from branches and leaves to protect the animals from the sun, so sukkot later came to mean the hut or booth with the “woven” roof. Since we are commanded to build a hut or booth on this holiday as a reminder of God’s sheltering care for us, this feast is called “Sukkot.” (One booth is a “sukkah,” and being a feminine noun, in Hebrew the plural becomes “sukkot”).

“You are to live in sukkot for seven days; every citizen of Israel is to live in a sukkah, so that generation after generation of you will know that I made the people of Israel live in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am Adonai your God” (Leviticus [Vayikra] 23:42-43).

We physically reenact the building of these temporary shelters to remind us of the time spent in the wilderness when we were totally dependent on God. According to the laws of nature, the nation should have perished from their lack of food, water, road map, and mall to buy new clothes and shoes when they wore out in forty years. The Lord met each need in abundance, so we celebrate this holiday to remember His faithfulness and our dependence on Him. The sukkah was purposely made flimsy and constructed outside. It should be made so the stars can be seen through the roof and rain can fall in. This is to show our dependence on God as our protector and provider, not some wood or brick building. When we are outside, we are closer to nature, and it is easier to physically see how God is so obviously taking charge of things. It also makes us aware of how fragile human life is. We get another lesson in trusting God as our protector and provider.

Although the sukkah is primitive and may be flimsy, it may also be a thing of beauty. We are commanded to do three things for the sukkah: live in it, gather lulav (heart of palm) and etrog (wild lemon), and enjoy the feast! Part of the enjoyment is to engage the whole family in building and decorating the sukkah. Children can participate so they too may know God’s provision. If they are too young to actually construct the sukkah, they can make decorations such as paper chains or drawings to hang once it is constructed. If there is no space to build one outside, the family can make a miniature sukkah out of twigs and leaves on a tabletop.

Sukkot, celebrated during the fall season, is associated with the ancient Israeli cycle of agriculture. Fall marked the final harvest when the fields’ abundance was gathered in thankfulness. A reference to this is mentioned in Isaiah (Yesha’yahu) 1:8 where there were temporary huts, or “sukkot,” for the harvesters in the vineyard. The watchmen in the fields who protected the ripe harvest before it could be gathered occupied these huts.

THE ILLUMINATION OF THE TEMPLE

One of the features of the Feast was the ceremony of the “illumination of the temple” featured the lighting of four enormous golden menorahs. This was a terrific spectacle, noted in rabbinical commentaries. The Mishna says the pious worshippers would rejoice and dance well into the night, holding torches and singing songs of praise. It is said the light from these menorahs on the Temple Mount could be seen for miles!

As bright as the lights were during this joyous occasion, Yeshua proclaimed an even brighter light for all:

“I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light which gives life” (John [Yochanan] 8:12).

Yeshua offered life and redemption to all the pilgrims at Sukkot. He was announcing the coming of the Messianic Age. Zechariah describes the return of the Lord when He will stand on the Mount of Olives. God will personally deliver His people:

“On that day, his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem …” (Zechariah [Z’kharyah] 14:4)

Later, Zechariah [Z’kharyah] describes the unique light also present in those days and the living waters flowing out of Jerusalem:

“It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime — a day known to the Lord. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day, living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea, and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter” (Zechariah [Z’kharyah] 14:7-8).

In addition to the light, this verse also refers to the living waters of salvation. The multitude could continue to rejoice because of what followed in Zechariah [Z’kharyah]:

“Finally, everyone remaining from all the nations that came to attack Yerushalayim will go up every year to worship the King, the Lord, and to keep the festival of Sukkot” (Zechariah [Z’kharyah] 14:16).

What a great Messianic prophecy! Yeshua came to the masses on the last day of Sukkot and proclaimed that there was a way for them to be cleansed of their sin so they no longer needed atonement year after year, as they had just done on Yom Kippur. He was alluding to a time Ezekiel (Yechezk’el) had prophesied about:

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel [Yechezk’el] 36:25-27).

This feast is the most joyous of Israel’s feasts. It came at a time when the crops had been reaped and the peoples’ hearts had been naturally gladdened by the bounty. As they presented themselves in Jerusalem, they recalled when they were gathered there six months earlier, when they had dedicated their entire feast to the Lord during First Fruits. At that time, they remembered the Exodus from Egypt and the Passover with its fulfillment of the true Passover sacrifice, the perfect Lamb of God, Yeshua. Then they would recall seven weeks after that, they gathered again for the grain harvest, or Shavuot. This was remembered as the time the Torah was given on Mount Sinai. It also alludes to the time the Holy Spirit fulfilled this feast by writing the Torah on their hearts at Shavuot (Pentecost). Now, gathering for Sukkot, the people remembered God’s provision in the wilderness when they had dwelled in booths. The fulfillment of the feast will be the harvest of the nations, when they will all be gathered to worship the Lord when He returns to reign in Jerusalem:

“I heard a loud voice from the throne say, ‘See! God’s Sh’Khinah (God’s presence) is with mankind, and he will live with them. They will be his people and he himself, God-with-them, will be their God” (Revelation 21:3).

There is a very good reason for rejoicing on Sukkot, especially for believers. Yom Teruah’s (Rosh Hashanah) goal is to turn the nation of Israel to repentance with the sound of the shofar. Prophetically, this will signal Messiah’s return. Yom Kippur’s theme is redemption and forgiveness through Yeshua’s atonement. One day, all Israel will recognize Him as HaMashiach (Messiah). On Sukkot, we rejoice in the Lord’s gathering of His people to the tabernacle with Him. Then they will truly be “sealed in the Book of Life.” This refers to a future Sukkot:

“After this, I looked; and there before me was a huge crowd, too large for anyone to count, from every nation, tribe and language. They were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palm branches in their hands; and they shouted, ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9-10)