Sukkot | Tabernacle with Your God

What does it mean to “tabernacle with God?” And what are Sukkot tabernalces? In Hebrew, “tabernacle” means “dwelling.” In Hebraic understanding, this was the settling place of God’s divine presence, particularly during the Israelites’ desert wanderings. 

Sukkot tabernacles, or sukkahs, are constructed during this time to remember God’s provision and protection. But for Believers, it is also a remembrance of how Yeshua came to “dwell among us,” we can now enter our “tent of meeting” because His divine presence lives within us!

  • “And the Word became 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 (emphasis added)
  • “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”—1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (emphasis added)

What is Sukkot and the Fall Feasts?

Collectively, the three biblical holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot create what is known as the Fall Feasts. Interestingly, these three occur within approximately three weeks—typically in September and/or October on the Gregorian calendar—making it a busy yet rewarding period of time.

The first of these, Rosh Hashanah, is a time of celebration and preparation as one biblical year transitions to another.

The second, Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement, is a time of repentance and return to the Lord.

Then finally, after the new season has been harkened in and repentance and return to God have been walked out, Sukkot comes. Sukkot is a joyful, week-long festival that begins each year on the 15th of Tishrei—between late September and mid-October. One aspect of its celebration is the fall harvest, but it is also meant as a time to remember God. Sukkot paints a picture of God’s miraculous presence with the children of Israel after He brought them out of the land of Egypt, and they dwelled in tents—temporary dwellings which are represented by sukkahs during Sukkot.

Sukkot is a precious opportunity to reconnect with our covenant-keeping God. It is a joyous time that, by bringing us into remembrance of God and His covenant relationship, prepares us for the transition into our new season with Him!

It takes all three of these biblical holidays to enter into higher levels with God. We have to be awakened at Rosh Hashanah to notice that a new season is coming and prepare for it. We have to be in right standing with God through repentance at Yom Kippur. And we have to dwell with our God to release the changes to come and to go higher in Him…

As the closing Fall Feast, Sukkot acts as the door we pass through to enter our promise for the year ahead. It is a time of joy as we transition from preparation and repentance to action. It is an ending of one reading of the Word and a signal that it is time to begin anew.

What Makes Sukkot Important for Believers?

Sukkot is made up of many things, which all create a beautiful mosaic of importance for Believers:

  • It is one of the holidays that God founded and ordained as an everlasting ordinance… this alone should scream forth the importance of Sukkot. 
  • It was and is a way for God to set us apart for Himself. 
  • It is a preparatory time where we discover deeper intimacy with our God necessary for the season we are about to enter. 
  • It serves as a reminder of God’s goodness.
  • It seals us into all God desires for us in the coming year.

This is a small portion of the things that set Sukkot aside as unique, and indeed, important for us as Believers. Yet, one of the things that make Sukkot vital for Believers is found in the lessons taught through HOW Sukkot is commanded to be observed…

Sukkot is celebrated in a sukkah, a dwelling covered with branches or other available plant life. This sukkah, unlike our homes, is not built to last. In fact, an ideal sukkah fails to completely protect the inhabitants from the elements, and stars should be visible from within. This is important because our trust has to rest on God and not what we have, just as the Israelites journeying through the desert had to.

For Believers today, this perhaps becomes even more important because Sukkot is celebrated not only away from the hustle of the world. It is celebrated in a dwelling without distractions or conveniences, leaving our attention only one place to turn to—our Father.We may enter the sukkah on the first night one way, but when we exit it a week later, we are never the same!

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What Does It Mean to Tabernacle with God?

When we open our hearts and minds in trust, we engage with God… 

We allow Him to complete what He began at Rosh Hashanah when we stepped into our new season with joy. We allow Him to complete the renewing He did at Yom Kippur, by forgiving and realigning us to meet with Him in repentance. We accept His offer to tabernacle with Him at Sukkot, where He shapes us into His image…

The sukkahs we dwell in at Sukkot represent the years of wandering in the desert when both the Israelites and the Tabernacle of the Lord had only temporary dwellings. Yet, of greatest importance is the connection with God’s Presence and Glory. The very Presence and Glory which hovered over the Tabernacle in a cloud by day and fire by night that the Lord used to lead and connect with His people!

  • “Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all… Israel, throughout all their journeys.”—Exodus 40:34-38

The cloud was God’s Presence and Glory. As long as the Israelites stayed near it, all their needs were supplied and the relationship with God could thrive. 

And the children of Israel observed the signs of His Presence and Glory and followed after it… they followed after God!

Just as Moses said in Exodus 33:15, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here,” we too, desire God’s Presence and Glory. We cannot go forward without them, spiritually or physically. They are required for us to move into our next season, to go higher with God in our relationship with Him AND in our call!

Sukkot not only acts as a celebration that God’s Presence and Glory did not depart from His people as they traveled through the desert during the days of Moses, but that today His Presence and Glory is still with us. That we have been granted access to God as Father, Son, AND Holy Spirit! What is more, we can tabernacle with Him!

For Believers, Sukkot holds unique importance. Jesus observed Sukkot, but more than that, He—our God—commanded it as an everlasting ordinance…

Sukkot is a time when we get close to God, where our attention narrows to Him, His Presence, and His Glory. It is why Sukkot is filled with such joy. It is why it is a time of refreshing!

Whenever the Glory of the Lord and His Presence are truly with His people, there is little that can dishearten, for the joy of the Lord is our strength (see Nehemiah 8:10)! No matter the darkness around us, God remains with us. We can tabernacle with Him. We can enter into a covenant relationship through the moed—appointed time—of Sukkot.

Let us tabernacle with our God this Sukkot. Let us not miss the doors of opportunity He opens to us, inviting us to spend time with Him.

Click here to register for Sukkot on September 29th.