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Playing Ludo in the Sukka with my wife

September 25, 2010

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  1. Just realized maybe not all readers know what a Sukka is and what we celebrate. Below article is taken from the Bible Society in Israel’s website.

    About Sukkot

    We mentioned the Book of Life when we spoke of Yom Kippur. Jesus told his disciples to “rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Sukkot is indeed the holiday of rejoicing! “and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.” (Lev 23:40). This true joy can only be achieved, as Jesus stated, when we are free from sin and our names are written in the Book of Life. “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” Psalm 97:11. That is why this holiday must come directly after Yom Kippur.

    Sukkot is one of the three holidays of pilgrimage – when we were supposed to come and celebrate at the temple in Jerusalem. The other two are Passover and Pentecost. We now know that Passover was fulfilled when Jesus died on the cross, and that Pentecost was fulfilled when the disciples received the Holy Spirit. Sukkot, however, has not yet been fulfilled. It is still in the future. The future fulfillment of Sukkot is mentioned in Revelation 21:1-7 and in Zechariah 14 – it symbolizes the time when we are with God in heaven. Sukkot is also the third of the Fall Feasts. If Rosh haShana reminds us of the return of the Messiah with the clouds of heaven, and Yom Kippur reminds us of the day of judgement, Sukkot is reminds us of the time when we sit with God in his heavenly Tabernacle.

    Why do we sit in a Sukka?

    The small booth we make – the sukka – is because God said so. But many explanatyions have been offered. One of them is the obvious reason that God said – “Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” (Lev 23:42-43). So we are celebrating the fact that God brought us out of Egypt – that we are totally dependent on him, and that our security we have from living in fixed stone houses is false – we need to be out is God’s creation and experience the fact that we need him. In a sense we are celebrating “God with us” – Immanuel!

    Agriculturally this is the time of fruit harvest – the time when the farmer has finished his work, sits down and thinks “everything’s done – now I can rest. I have provision for the winter, and I don’t need to worry”. This is a security in one’s own work. Exactly at that time of the year God commands us to live outside for a while. To experience that security in our own work is false. We need him.

    The Sukka is also a picture of our own life – it’s temporary. Our life here on earth is short. Our permanent home is in heaven.

    We mentioned Immanuel – one of Jesus’ names. The sukka is a clear symbol of the Messiah. He came and dwelled with us on the earth for a time. It was a temporary dwelling. It’s also the feast of the “bikurim” – the firstfruits – the same word as “firstborns” in Hebrew. It’s the time to remember the incarnation – how “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14). Many believe that Jesus was born on Sukkot, relying on certain mathematical calculations from the NT, claiming that he was even born in a Sukka. Whether it’s true or not, it is important to have one time a year when we remind ourselves of the incarnation and the divinity of Christ.

    There are many different symbols of the Messiah, but the Sukka is the only such symbol that you can actually go into – it is like a big hug from the Lord. What a blessing it is, to have our sins forgiven and come to the Lord and receive his protection and blessing all around us. “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.” Psalm 125:2

    The Four Species

    The Torah tells us to take “the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook” (Lev 23:40). This is directly connected to rejoicing. Branches of palm trees connected to joy – that reminds us of how Jesus entered Jerusalem. That was not at Sukkot, but it still shows us that these branches they took is a symbol of joy. In Nehemiah 8 the description of branches is slightly different, suggesting that the rabbinical modern interpretation of these four things mentione (Lulav, Etrog, Hadas, Arava), is not what God had in mind. In any case, these four things that we by tradition wave with are said to symbolize all 4 types of people, since the Etrog has both smell and taste, the Lulav only taste, the Hadas only smell and the Arava neither. Thus it symbolizes both true believers that have both faith and works, non believers that have neither, non believers that have good works, but no faith, and false believers who profess faith with their mouth but don’t live accordingly. They are waved to all 6 directions, symbolizing that God is king of all kinds of people and of all the World.



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