Back from the wilderness…

My bride, Sandi, and I are back from Sukkoting alone in the wilderness of western, central and southern Oregon with each other for the first time in 20 years. Since 1998, we have spent Sukkot with other people—both large and small groups. All but two of those years, we were the event coordinators and spiritual leaders of our ministry’s regional Sukkot gathering. This year, however, YHVH spoke to my heart and told me to come away with my bride into the wilderness to refresh, renew and regroup. So that’s what we did.

I spent my time away from spiritual Babylon rejoicing, resting, walking and praying, taking photos, working on my new book that I hope to have published soon, doing pen and ink drawings of trees, cooking over a campfire, studying a college textbook on botanical biology and otherwise hanging out with and thoroughly enjoying my wife of nearly 29 years, who is my best friend and life partner and the mother of our four children.

Here are some photos I took…

 Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!  O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret places of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” (Song 2:13–14)

For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. (Isa 35:6)

The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes Leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he stands behind our wall; He is looking through the windows, Gazing through the lattice. My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” (Song 2:8–10)

Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me for Your mercies’ sake. (Ps 31:16)

He leads me beside the still waters. (Ps 23:2)

Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of Yehovah, and in His Torah he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. (Ps 1:1–3)

Natan geeking out on another BIG tree.
 

How to Celebrate Sukkot and the Eighth Day by Yourself

Regularly for years I talk to people from all over the world who are alone and without a local fellowship or congregation. Many times I am asked how it is possible celebrate the biblical feasts when alone and disconnected from the greater body of Messiah. Here are some suggestions on how to celebrate the upcoming Feast of Tabernacles (or Sukkot) if you are alone or are only a part of a small group of people.

The first things to keep in mind is that YHVH expected his people to keep the biblical feasts forever wherever their dwelling place happened to be whether inside or outside of the physical land of Israel. I have given proof of this in more details elsewhere, but below are a few Bible verses that state this truth succinctly.

The weekly Sabbath and the seven biblical feasts are for YHVH’s people to celebrate forever and wherever they may be living whether in our out of the land of Israel. The Torah instructs the saints to celebrate the feasts in you dwelling places (d) forever (f)

  • The seventh-day Sabbath (Exod 31:17f; Lev 23:3d)
  • Passover (Exod 12:24 f)
  • Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exod 12:17f, 20d)
  • Feast of Week/Pentecost (Lev 23:21df)
  • Atonement (Lev 16:29f; 23:31, df)
  • Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 23:41f)

Here are the biblical commands relating to Sukkot and how you can fulfil them if you are by yourself or with just a small group of people.

  • Live in a temporary dwelling for eight days  (Lev 23:42). Some people live in a literal sukkah made of tree branches. This is may not always be practical for people living in colder climates. In the past during Sukkot, I have lived in a tent, a tent trailer, a rented house and a motel room. For the past several years, my wife and I have lived in our travel trailer during Sukkot. We will do so again this year in a campground in the mountains.
  • You shall celebrate and rejoice before YHVH Elohim (Lev 23:41; Deut 16:14).
  • Wave lulavim (Lev 23:40). Every year, my wife and I purchase a four-species lulavim from Israel consisting of an etrog (or a citron, which is lemon-like fruit), a willow branch, a palm branch and a myrtle branch. You can make your own lulavim by taking some tree branches and fruit from your local area.
  • Keep the High Sabbaths by ceasing your occupational work (Lev 23:35, 36).
  • Drink wine and strong drink (Deut 14:26).
  • Use your feast tithe to buy whatever your heart desires (Deut 14:22–27).
  • Meet together and fellowship with others on the first day of Sukkot and on the Eighth Day (Lev 23:35, 36)via phone, Skype, Facetime, social media.
  • Give a feast offering to those who minister the word of Elohim to you (Deut 16:16–17).
  • Read the Torah (Deut 31:9–13).
  • Sound the shofar (Ps 81:3).
  • Beyond that, when the saints come together, or you are by yourself, we are to read and study the Bible, pray, fellowship with others as we are able, eat good food, praise and praise and worship YHVH Elohim (Acts 2:42, 47; 1 Tim 4:13; Col 3:16; Eph 5:18–19), and allow the gifts of the Spirit to flow (1 Cor 14:26).
  • Here are some free Hoshana Rabbah resources to help you to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (or Sukkot):

Teaching articles on Sukkot: https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/teaching.html#feast

YouTube videos on Sukkot: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5EzE5DQnrHfWWbczzkRo6IOnglxhbRfM

Hoshana Rabbah blog articles on Sukkot: https://hoshanarabbah.org/blog/?s=Sukkot&submit=Search

Printable biblical calendars to know when to celebrate the biblical feasts: https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/calendars.html

Have a joyous Sukkot wherever you may be around the world, and we’ll talk to you when my wife and I return from practicing what we’ve just preached above!


 

Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot Resources

Joyous Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles from my family to yours! We will be celebrating Sukkot with a few like-minded believers in the wilderness mountains of Central Oregon.

To help you to celebrate the biblical festival of Sukkot with understanding, please check out the following Hoshana Rabbah resources—

For an in-depth teaching article on Sukkot, go to https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/sukkot.pdf

Go to the Hoshana Rabbah YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/HoshanaRabbah?feature=mhee and check out the playlist on the Biblical Feasts and the Sabbath for many teaching videos on the subject of Sukkot.


 

A Feeding Trough, Manger or Sukkah?

Luke 2:7, Manger. (Gr. phatne) The Greek word phatne literally means “feeding trough” and according to the word’s etymology and lexicology as stated in The TDNT, there is no indication that this manger is anything but a standard feeding trough or manger.

Nevertheless, this manger may have been a sukkah or tabernacle, which is the flimsy little hut that Israelites build during the biblical Feast of Tabernacles (Heb. Chag Sukkot) as commanded in the Torah (Lev 23:33–43). We see the connection between a manger and a sukkah in Genesis 33:17 where Jacob built booths (or tabernacles; Heb. succot or sukkot is the plural form of sukkah) for his livestock showing us that the Hebrew word sukkah (pl. sukkot) can also mean “livestock barn or manger” as well as a temporary habitation where Israelites dwell during the biblically commanded festival of Sukkot.

This raises the possibility that Yeshua was born in a festival sukkah during the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot and not just in an animal barn as Christian folklore would have us believe.

The LXX Greek word for sukkah in Gen 33:17 is skenas meaning “habitation, dwelling or tabernacle” and is the same word used in John 1:14 and Rev 21:1–3 in reference to Yeshua tabernacling with his people.

Putting all the pieces together, Yeshua may have been born in a sukkah-manger prior to or during the Feast of Tabernacles with a human sukkah (or body, of which the physical sukkah during Sukkot is a metaphorical picture) in order to redeem man from sin, so that Yeshua might tabernacle with redeemed men forever in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:3).


 

Sukkot NW 2016 Praise Report

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We’re back from Sukkot NW 2016 on the middle Rogue River near Grants Pass in SW Oregon. Here is a quick review of the event.

This was our fifteenth and final Sukkot NW. My wife and I founded this ministry in 2002 and every year we have gone to a beautiful location in the state of Oregon in YHVH’s creation and away from the Babylon of the big city to meet with him and to join with those who hunger for the kingdom of Elohim and his righteousness.

When we planted Sukkot NW, there were no other events like ours in Washington State or Oregon. Over the years, we have helped  to transmit this vision to many people and to train them how to do a Sukkot event, and now there are many such events going on around us. We praise Yah for this. It is now time for my wife and I to pass the baton to someone else and focus our energies on other ministry areas that need our attention. To our excitement, YHVH has gone ahead of us and has raised up another family to receive this spiritual calling, and plans are already being made for next year’s Sukkot in the NW region of the United States.

This year, we again rented Griffin Park on the Rogue River. People came in from as far away as Alaska and southern California, as well as Washington State and Continue reading