Explore the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles and its prophetic significance with guest Richard Hill along with hosts Tim Moore and Nathan Jones on the television program, Christ in Prophecy!
Air Date: May 6, 2023
To order, call 1-972-736-3567, or select the resource below to order online.
Tim Moore: Greetings and welcome once again to Christ in Prophecy. I’m Tim Moore, the senior evangelist here at Lamb and Lion Ministries. And joining me today as co-host is Nathan Jones, our Internet Evangelist. After six episodes focusing on the Feasts of Israel, today we arrive at the seventh and final feast in the spring through fall series, Sukkot. We started off with Passover, the springtime feast that once heralded the beginning of the Jewish year. After that, we considered the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits, Shavuot or Pentecost, Yom Teruah or Trumpets, and then Yom Kippur. Today’s feast points prophetically and symbolically to the Eternal State or the Millennial Kingdom all Christians are looking forward to. More on that in a moment.
Nathan Jones: Well, last week we expressed great anticipation about the prophetic fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets, because it seems to point to the Rapture of the Church when the Trumpet of God will sound and the Archangel will cry out, and the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout. And when that happens, we know the dead in Christ will rise, and then we who are still alive, will be caught up, snatched up, or raptured to meet the Lord in the air.
Tim Moore: Nathan and I get very excited about the Rapture because we see the signs of the times multiplying and converging all around us. We sense that Jesus is at the very gates of Heaven waiting for His Father to say, “Go and get your Bride.” We are ready and eager for His appearing. But as wonderful as that moment will be, a glorious instant when we will be caught up and transformed in the twinkling of an eye, something even greater awaits us. Sukkot points to the Millennial Kingdom and the Eternal State.
To dive into this final ordained feast, were once again going to pick the brains of our friend, Dr. Richard Hill. Richard, welcome back to Christ in Prophecy.
Richard Hill: It’s great to be here.
Tim Moore: Well, Richard, obviously you’ve brought a wealth of knowledge and information, your credentials speak for themselves. You’re a doctor, you’re a Messianic congregation pastor, you’re a teacher and preacher of God’s Word from a Jewish perspective. And you have produced books and videos of your own. How could our viewers be able to view some of the tremendous videos you’ve produced of an even longer nature about the feasts themselves?
Richard Hill: All they have to do is go to our website: bethyeshualv.org and it is on the screen. And they can go to our Facebook and YouTube pages where all of our videos all on.
Tim Moore: Fantastic. Well, help us understand the significance of Sukkot. It’s not just an outdoor camping trip, so what does that word actually mean? And what does this feast mean to the Jewish people?
Richard Hill: Well, Sukkot is the plural form of sukkah, and a sukkah is a temporary shelter. And this feast, God had the Jewish people building sukkahs, Sukkot. And wherever they are around the world, you build a sukkah. So when I was in Los Angeles sometimes, and this is many years ago, they would build a sukkah right on the freeway.
Tim Moore: Almost a lean-to.
Richard Hill: On the side of the freeway, yeah.
Nathan Jones: You mean like a homeless shelter? What are we talking about here?
Richard Hill: Just a regular temporary shelter, yeah. They weren’t living in it. They just built it up so people would see it as they drive by.
Tim Moore: Okay. Okay.
Nathan Jones: And what was the purpose?
Richard Hill: So that everybody would know that this was the Feast of Sukkot, that it’s here.
Tim Moore: All right.
Richard Hill: Yeah, so telling all the Gentiles that, hey, this is the feast.
Tim Moore: So it seems like most of the other feasts point back to the time of the Exodus when the Lord delivered the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt, led them toward the Promised Land. But Sukkot, in particular, talks about the wandering in the wilderness and the time that they lived in temporary dwellings. The Lord Himself lived in a temporary dwelling.
Richard Hill: For 40 years we see the Jewish people living out in the desert and they lived in temporary shelters. Okay. And so it’s tents, right? But these are also shelters that they built with the trees, and the palm branches, and the etrog and all that, that they could build, you know, throughout their history. They used these devices to build those sukkahs.
Nathan Jones: When you all do this, is there a biblical command for a certain time of the year to celebrate the Feast of Booths?
Richard Hill: Great question. And now and that’s, we have to get to the Scriptures.
Tim Moore: All right, let’s do that.
Richard Hill: Leviticus 23, and we’re going to start in verse 39. It actually does start in verse 33, so that could be homework for our viewers. “On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month,” that is the month of Tishri now, the fifteenth day “when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the Lord for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day.” And so we’re looking on the seventh day of the month, which is the fall now, and so the 15th day they have gathered in all the crops of the land. So remember where you’re talking about a cultural, all of these feasts are culturally bound with Israel. And so they had already now finished up all of the gathering in of the crops. So this feast is also known as the Ingathering Feast.
Nathan Jones: So, this is the final harvest celebration.
Richard Hill: It’s done, it’s done. Now you know. Now you know, you’ve got all your crops and you’re great for the rest of the year and so everybody is very excited. This is a very joyous feast. Family, friends, congregations are all joyous because God has blessed the land, blessed the people with lots of food.
Tim Moore: I think you said many episodes ago, even in our introduction, that this feast harkens back to almost Thanksgiving. In other words, the early pilgrims tied our celebration of Thanksgiving to Sukkot because it was after the harvest was gathered in, there was a great time of celebration and rejoicing.
Richard Hill: And thanking God for His provision. And a lot of the feasts talk about that as well, that God is sovereign and He is blessing. And so the Jewish people are very thankful. And even the sacrifices, the peace offerings are a thanksgiving offerings unto God.
Tim Moore: Well, you mentioned a few moments ago about how they used materials that were available to them, but God specifically told them what kinds of materials to use. For some examples in the very next verse, so what does it say in verse 40 regarding the materials?
Richard Hill: In verse 40, “Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.” And so they’d take all of these leafy trees and branches and then build the sukkahs. Now, today we don’t necessarily use all of them, of course we do have palm branches and things like that, but we do a little bit of cheating at times and we use PVC pipe and wood. Our sukkah that we use for our congregation is made out of wood and its big thick pieces of wood to make it strong.
Nathan Jones: Does it matter if there’s three poles or four? I’ve seen different ones depending on traveling through Israel and how they do it here in the United States.
Richard Hill: Well, the rabbis have a whole bunch of very specific rules and regulations for them.
Nathan Jones: I can imagine.
Tim Moore: Of course, don’t they always?
Nathan Jones: They always do.
Richard Hill: You need at least to have three walls and the top has to be open, but not completely closed as well. So it has holes in the top.
Nathan Jones: To see the sky?
Richard Hill: The sun, the stars, yeah.
Nathan Jones: What if it rains?
Richard Hill: So, in the rain, even the rain can come in as well. You’re supposed to live in the sukkah as well. So you eat, you pray, you live in the sukkah for the whole time.
Tim Moore: So it’s really camp out for the family for a few days.
Richard Hill: It’s a camp out for the whole week.
Tim Moore: The thing that grabbed me when you’re even reading from verse 40 is that the Lord said, you should bring the foliage of beautiful trees and palm branches. And of course, my mind immediately goes to Jesus coming into Jerusalem and people grabbing palm branches and waving them before Him. And you almost think it’s a feast of thanksgiving.
Richard Hill: Hosanna.
Tim Moore: Yes, Hosanna. It’s got to be tied some way, at least in my mind, to that particular passage.
Richard Hill: To Tabernacles. Well there’s also a scripture in Revelation where we see the believers that are already up there and they’re waving the palm branches in the sky. And a lot of people believe that’s the Feast of Tabernacles they’re celebrating in Heaven.
Tim Moore: Wow.
Nathan Jones: That makes a Messianic implication then, not only because of the Jewish people traveling through the wilderness, but if it points to tabernacling with God, is this prophetically pointing to a certain event?
Richard Hill: And the theme, of course, is God is with us. And so we see.
Tim Moore: Emmanuel.
Richard Hill: Emmanuel, yes, again, right. But this future one now we see after the Second Coming of Jesus, God then tabernacles with us here on Earth, He sets up the Kingdom. And so every year in that kingdom we have a prescribed rule for the Gentiles. Now, it’s kind of interesting, it’s just for the Gentiles around the world that they’re going to repopulate the world during the Kingdom Age. But the Jews are already living in the land, and so they’re going to celebrate. But now the rule and the command is the Gentiles from around the world need to come and celebrate.
Tim Moore: And that’s in Zechariah.
Richard Hill: That’s in Zechariah, that’s where we’ll go.
Tim Moore: Well, let’s look at that.
Richard Hill: Zechariah 14:16-18. In verse 16, it says this, “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem,” talking about the battle, “will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.” And so when Jesus comes back in the Second Coming He wipes out the enemies of the Jewish people. Right? Sets up the kingdom, and now the nations from around the world, the Gentiles, will go up from year to year to worship who?
Tim Moore: The Lord.
Richard Hill: The Lord of hosts, but the king, the King of the Jews. And that’s the key aspect. Jesus comes back as the conquering king, as the Messiah sets up the kingdom. And now everybody worships Him as the king, the King of the World.
Nathan Jones: And the Feast of Tabernacles then points to our living and dwelling with our Savior throughout the thousand year Millennial Kingdom.
Richard Hill: Throughout the thousand years, yes, Millennial Kingdom.
Nathan Jones: That’s amazing.
Richard Hill: And then in the Eternal Kingdom, guess what? The Father then also dwells with us.
Tim Moore: I have to say, again, how beautiful it is. It talks about beautiful foliage. We have a beautiful picture pointing to Christ. You know, Emmanuel was the name given to Him to represent the fact that He is God dwelling with us. In John 1:14, John writes, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Dwelling with among us, that’s just it boggles the mind, because you remember in the Old Testament, even the Lord being in close proximity with the Jewish people, boy, there was great peril involved because the holy and the profane, as we’ve discussed, coming in close proximity, and yet He dwelled with them. And one of my favorite passages, the final verse in Ezekiel, is the renaming of the city of Jerusalem. Because in this Eternal State, it says that the name of the city will become Yahweh Shammah meaning the Lord is there.
Richard Hill: The Lord is there. Amen. That goes right along with God is with us.
Tim Moore: Yeah.
Richard Hill: And there’s a family aspect to this if we keep on reading in the Scriptures. So that’s kind of our theme as well. Let’s talk about the family situation, verse 17, “And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them.” No rain.
Tim Moore: Wow.
Nathan Jones: Kind of a reminder to come?
Richard Hill: But there’s going to be judgment even in the kingdom. No rain. What happens if you have no rain? Well, then you have no crops. And remember, this is the Ingathering Feast as well, they’re bringing in all the crops. And so if you’re not worshiping Jesus as the king, then your needs are not going to be met. God is not going to be with you.
Tim Moore: Wow.
Richard Hill: Or your nation. And he will be out. He’ll be taking it out. And those people, unfortunately, will be judged.
Nathan Jones: That can sound really strict, like God needs people to come up, or Jesus needs the people to come up and worship Him, but it’s really about maintaining the fellowship aspect of being with our Lord and Savior, right?
Tim Moore: Exactly.
Richard Hill: And He wants worship. He wants us to worship. The original creation, mankind, why were we created? Because God wanted us to worship and to fellowship with Him.
Tim Moore: And I think there’s an aspect to where if any of us said, well, you owe me worship. You’d be like, what? No I don’t. Who do you think you are? I mean, that would be ridiculous. We have some people today who get a little bit arrogant or have the audacity to elevate their own selves. But God, it’s not audacious. It is His due. And so the angels were created to worship Him, and they do. And it is our responsibility. It’s our privilege to worship Him. And so He is not full of Himself, He is God that is His right, and His glory can never be diminished but we should respond with worship always.
Nathan Jones: In other Millennial Kingdom, passages say that the Jesus will rule and reign from Jerusalem and teach the people. So it’s also an opportunity to be taught by the author of the Bible Himself face to face. Why would anyone want to give that up?
Tim Moore: No.
Richard Hill: Well, in Isaiah 2, it tells us exactly that, that Jesus will be teaching from His throne.
Tim Moore: Wow.
Richard Hill: So that is very exciting.
Nathan Jones: Now, what’s the Jewish people’s role in the Millennial Kingdom? Those who are saved, of course, and live into the Kingdom, because you said the Gentiles have to go to Jerusalem. But if the Jews are already living there, what are they doing?
Richard Hill: The Jewish people are living in the land and they’ll be worshiping God, and they’ll be taking care of the Temple as well. There’s going to be Levites. There’s going to be Kohen. And what’s really great is that the Gentiles are going to be also part of that group, they’ll be some Kohen and some Levites.
Nathan Jones: Really?
Richard Hill: Included in.
Nathan Jones: Well, I know one of Tim’s favorite verses is always about ten men grabbing the hold of the hem of a Jewish person, so he will bring this to the King. So that’s going to be the time period when that happens.
Tim Moore: Right.
Richard Hill: So we’ll have some Gentiles that will be involved in that.
Nathan Jones: Interesting.
Richard Hill: But this water aspect, I wanted to jump from that, because now we can go to a Messianic partial fulfillment or what are we called a pre-fulfillment?
Tim Moore: A pre-fillment, yes.
Richard Hill: Let’s go to John. I want to show this water aspect and show you why it’s so important to God in the Kingdom when it comes to worship. Okay, let’s go to John 7:37-38. In this feast, of course, we have seven day feast and the great day that Jesus is going to talk about here in verse 37 is Hoshana Rabbah, The Great Day of the Feast, seventh day it’s the most joyous day of the feast. But there’s a couple of things now that happen, two processionals happen each day of the feast. And the water processional is something that’s really fascinating, and it kind of connects to Zechariah as well.
So what happens is a priest and a processional of people, worshipers, he leaves the Temple area, the Temple Mount area, and he has a pitcher, a golden pitcher with him. And he’s going to the Pool of Siloam and he’s going to draw the waters of salvation out of that. He’s going to bring that pitcher back, and then what he’s going to do is pour it at the base of the altar, symbolically pouring out salvation upon the Jewish people, symbolically pouring out the Holy Spirit upon the Jewish people. And so this act is occurring now at this time pouring out the water. And this is what Jesus does here in verse 37, John chapter 7, “Now on the last day of the great day of the feast, (Hoshana Rabbah) Yeshua stood and cried out,” so, at the time that he is pouring it out He says this to the whole company of the Jewish people there, for the whole Temple Mount to hear, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”
Well, what is Jesus talking about? Look at verse 39, “He spoke of the Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh for the Jewish people), whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Jesus had yet to die and resurrect, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t be given, that was a different feast. Right? But Tabernacles is now, okay, the water is being poured out and Jesus says, you need to have this water. This water is talking about the waters of salvation, but you need to come to Me.
Tim Moore: And there’s two other things that just jumps out to me, because in Ezekiel in chapter 47, the first 12 verses, it talks about water flowing from the Temple in this Millennial Kingdom, from the very throne, the altar and the throne of God, and it will flow east and west and it will go to the east and actually bring life to the Dead Sea. Anybody who’s been to the Dead Sea knows nothing can live in it, but it said they will fish from the Dead Sea because this life giving water that flows from the throne of God. And then we see the same thing, a river that feeds the Tree of Life. And really all of us in Revelation chapter 22, a river and the water of life clear as crystal coming from the Throne of God and of the Lamb. I can hardly wait. I mean, all of these things tie back together.
Richard Hill: So go back now to Zechariah 14. If they do not believe in Jesus, they don’t go and worship Him. No water. What does water mean now?
Tim Moore: Life.
Richard Hill: The living waters.
Nathan Jones: Life.
Richard Hill: Salvation, glorification.
Nathan Jones: Just like Hell being the absence of God, if God is the source of life and He is life then being in Hell is the absence of being connected to the source of life.
Tim Moore: I think there’s one other aspect to Sukkot that at least is significant to me because God ordains that you should prepare temporary dwellings. But the temporary dwelling in and of itself points to something else that is more permanent. And so right now we live, each of us, in temporary dwellings, this flesh is degrading, shall we say, over the years and over time. But this is temporary. This is not where I’m going to spend all of eternity. There’s a glorified body awaiting me. And Jesus said that He went to prepare a place for us, not a temporary dwelling, but He says in John chapter 14 “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am there you may be also.” Dwelling with Him. And so the Sukkot Feast talks about the temporariness of our earthly dwelling. But it should give in us an excitement and anticipation about what Jesus Christ is preparing for us that will last for all eternity. Our glorified bodies will not, you know, wrinkle and fail on us, our backs won’t hurt.
Richard Hill: I’m looking forward to it, yeah.
Tim Moore: Exactly. But we don’t want to live in the temporary it should point us to the eternal.
Richard Hill: And we should keep our minds focused on that as we’re living our lives as well. This helps us to have that hope to keep on moving forward when we have tough times in life.
Nathan Jones: This is fascinating. Richard, I could go on and on about studying this since folks don’t have the time to go deep dive as much as we did, I picked up Richard Booker’s book on celebrating Jesus in the biblical feast to read up on it. But how can people find out more about the feast through your research and teachings?
Richard Hill: Well, I really like Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s teaching, he has a “Feast and Fasts of Israel” and that’s a great book, very detailed and he gets into a lot of the Jewish aspects.
Tim Moore: Yeah, David Bowen, our other guest on this series, spent a lot of time in Arnold’s book. Obviously, for our viewers, we have resources here at Lamb & Lion Ministries, but all, ever and always our go to source is the Word of God. Study it first and foremost. And even as you seek other experts, Richard, the books we’ve talked about, you will be able to be like the Bereans and test every word against the Word of God. Jesus is coming again soon, and every word that is prophetically pointing to Him will be fulfilled.
Part 2 – Feast of Sukkot Testimonial with Baruch Korman
Tim Moore: The Feast of Sukkot is another uniquely Jewish celebration. Other cultures enjoy camping out, like many of us here in America, but no other people does so to celebrate the Lord’s provision and protection, and to point forward to a time when God will once again dwell with us.
I’ve asked Baruch Korman, a leader of one of our Gospel centered sister ministries and a fantastic Jewish teacher of Scripture, to share what the Sukkot Feast means to him.
Baruch Korman: Sukkot, as we all know, is one of the major festivals of Israel. And maybe we should begin by saying that word for festival in the Torah portion called Emor in the Book of Leviticus 23 is called the moëd. And many people don’t know that the word moëd, which is translated an appointed time, also contains within that word the term for a destination arriving there. So in a general sense, the festivals of Israel help us arrive to where God wants us to be.
And we know that Paul says in Colossians 2 that they are a shadow of things which are coming, so they also point not just backwards but also to the future. But specifically about Sukkot, of course, we always think of that in the fall, one of the fall festivals. We celebrate it for seven days, the number seven relating to purpose. And we are taught in regard to this festival that we are to remember the dwelling of the children of Israel those 40 years in the wilderness, in the desert. And part of the number 40 has to do with a transition, a change. And that’s what God wants to do in the festival of Sukkot, He wants to bring a change in our life. But in order to receive that change, we need to be willing to depend upon Him, to trust Him. And God during those 40 years certainly proved that He was faithful, dependable, that we could rely upon Him, and that He would provide for us and meet all of our needs. The term Midbar, wilderness or desert is a place that’s empty, devoid of everything.
So when I remember growing up and observing this festival, I remember my father sharing with us about how God is just that dependable. We can trust Him and He will never, never disappoint us because He’s going to do exactly according to His promises. And that’s what I love about Sukkot, it reminds us that God is faithful, that if we trust Him, if we walk with Him, if we position ourselves in His will, we’re going to find the fulfillment of His faithfulness in our life. So God is trustworthy.
We also know that when we look forward into the kingdom, we see during the Millennial Kingdom that the Festival of Sukkot is specifically mentioned not just for Israel but for all the nations. In fact, there’s an emphasis on all the nations going up to Jerusalem to worship God. And worship certainly involves us recognizing who He is, what He has done, and the fact that His character is perfect and that we can trust Him and never be disappointed.
But also when we look at the final expression of the Kingdom of God, the New Jerusalem, what’s interesting is that there’s no temple in the New Jerusalem, it says that the tabernacle of God will be with us. And we’re not talking about a structure so much, but the word tabernacle is derived from the word to dwell, and what it’s emphasizing is that God Himself will dwell with us. How wonderful that is, that God has chosen to create His kingdom, the New Jerusalem, whereby He would dwell with His people.
But if we want to be part of that kingdom again, we have to trust Him by trusting in His son the Redeemer, the Savior, inviting Him into our life through that Gospel message. When we seek God, we need to take hold of His grace. And when we take hold of His grace, we’re taking hold of all of His goodness, all of His promises, all of His blessings. And we’ll experience the fullness of that, dwelling with Him and Him with us in that kingdom expression. All these festivals, they point specifically to the Kingdom of God and therefore, as believers, we should be excited about these festivals of Israel.
Nathan Jones: You know, gentlemen, after listening to all these beautiful testimonies from people who grew up celebrating the feast, I feel like I lost something in my upbringing in churches not having them, I wish we did.
Tim Moore: I understand what you mean. And the sad thing is, for many Jews, whether they’re secular or religious, they have a commemoration of the feast, but they don’t always understand what it means. And for many secular Jews, Richard, I think that they even blend in pagan and ungodly elements, even to the Passover Seder itself.
Richard Hill: But it’s still an opportunity for these unsaved people to see the light of Jesus in those feasts. And it’s always possible, especially during Passover, when they’re performing all of those little things that they do for Passover, all these little events Jesus is there.
Tim Moore: He is.
Nathan Jones: Amen. Well, it also breaks our hearts is that most Jews reject Jesus, the Jewish Messiah who came to deliver us all from the bondage of sin. The Gospel, He proclaimed, is for the Jew first, even though as Gentiles we are grateful that His grace is for all who trust in Him.
Tim Moore: Amen. And we understand that Jews, obviously are keeping their Jewish culture just as God intended by commemorating these feast. But they also, the feasts themselves, point forward to His coming. And so we want the Jewish people to understand what the feasts mean to them, but we also want Gentiles to understand what the feast are all about. And of course, perhaps, Richard, the greatest way that we as Gentiles can bless a Jew is to share the Gospel with them.
Richard Hill: Yes. And that’s the most important when it comes to Genesis 12:3, where God says, Bless the Jewish people. So we need to bless them. And the best way is to share the Gospel of Jesus with a Jewish person, that’s how you bless the Jewish people.
Tim Moore: Amen. Well, next week we have a surprise in store for you. Although we have explored the seven feast ordained by God in the Old Testament, Jews around the world celebrate two other major holidays during the year, Hanukkah and Purim. Join us next week as we ask Richard to guide us through the prophetic significance of those two additional feast.
Until then, make a point to find a Jew to bless, show them that you love them because God loves them. Tell them that you serve the Jewish Messiah. Make it clear that your love, like God’s, is not conditional. In a loving and encouraging way fulfill Paul’s plea to demonstrate the joy and blessing of being in a relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and worshiping the Son of David, Yeshua.
We hope you’ll join us again next week, until then, look up and be watchful for the Lord who will dwell with those who love Him forever and ever is coming soon. Godspeed.
End of Program