Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret—The Historical Roots of Our Faith, Present Relevance for Believers & Prophetic End-Time Implications
Spiritual and Ceremonial Aspects of Sukkot
Overview of the Season
Sukkot (also spelled “Succoth”) or the Feast of Tabernacle/Booths or Ingathering is the sixth of the seven annual feast days in YHVH’s plan of redemption for mankind. It occurs in the early fall of the year on the fifteenth day of the seventh month on YHVH’s biblical calendar fifteen days after Yom Teruah (the Day of Shofar Blowing) and five days after Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). This festival lasts for seven days and directly following it is a separate festival called Shemini Atzeret literally meaning “the Eighth Solemn Assembly” and commonly referred to as “the Eighth Day.”
We see in the early fall a rapid succession of biblical feasts with one coming right after another. It is a time of great energy, excitement and anticipation both in the natural realm and prophetically.
We also observe a transition from the somber and repentant, even frightening, mood of Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur to the joyous and celebratory mood of the Feast of Sukkot, and no wonder, for the first two fall festivals of YHVH represent a very dark and ominous time in human history—the end of the age with the judgments of Elohim being poured out upon the earth (Great Tribulation, Wrath of Elohim, Battle of Armageddon, and Satan being bound and cast into the bottomless pit). But this same period culminates in the return of the Messiah, Yeshua, to rule the earth during the Messianic Age as King of kings and Master of masters. The Feast of Tabernacles pictures this glorious epoch in the history of humanity’s tenure upon this earth—a time of unspeakable joy and triumph of good over Continue reading
YOU ARE INVITED…DON’T DELAY!
There is still time to register for Sukkot Northwest 2016 on the wild and scenic Rogue River in warm and pristine Southwest Oregon. We have rented an entire campground with full camping and RV facilities, and several camp sites are still available.
After seeking YHVH Elohim, the theme for this year’s Feast is, “Get in the River of Life…Be a River of Life!” Our cornerstone scripture passages are:
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Yeshua stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:37–38)
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14)
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Rev 22:2)
We were led by the Spirit of Elohim to choose this theme unaware of its broader prophetic implications until Brother Bill who is from Washington State and is one of our speakers pointed out to us, “This is a wonderful theme to have this year, just having come off of last year’s theme of ‘Coming out of Babylon.’ Babylon is known by several names, one of which is the ‘Land Between Two Rivers.’ One river speaks of death, and the other river speaks of life. Babylon is a mixture of the two. ‘Come out of (the river of death)” was last year’s theme. ‘Get into the River of Life!’ (and then be a river of life) is this year’s theme. A natural progression!” Thank you Bill for this encouraging confirmation.
Our primary motivation for choosing this theme is a response to the times in which we are living. Evil in the form of secular humanism, the rise in false and demonic religions, the moral and the spiritual decline of our society, the rise of the spirit of Antichrist, the rapid expansion of the police state and the move toward one-world government is coming upon us like a tidal wave! What should be our response? What can we possibly do about it? Very simply this: Do what Yeshua and the apostles did. Be a menorah on a hill boldly proclaiming the light of gospel message in the power of the Spirit of Elohim through our lifestyle and our words. This is the one weapon that we possess that makes all the powers of death, hell and darkness tremble. So, it’s time to saddle for battle!
A theme running through this year’s Sukkot will be learning to operate in the gifts of the Spirit to be a river of life to those around us as we help to gather in the lost sheep of the house of Israel in preparation for Messiah Yeshua’s second coming. Everyday, we will be having short teachings followed by group discussions (where we can learn from each other) on the gifts of the Spirit including prophecy, healing, deliverance, dreams and visions, signs and wonders, and the baptism of the Spirit. These will be followed by a workshop the following day in the prayer tent where we can learn to minister and be ministered to in these areas.
Nearly every day, we will have live praise and worship, Torah reading, and teachings from anointed speakers from several West Coast states.
We will also have workshops and several fun group activities including our annual erev Shabbat dinner, river immersion and water pouring ceremony.
For specific information and details on Sukkot NW 2016, please visit sukkotnw.org.
For a sense of what to expect at Sukkot NW 2016, we invite you to watch a fun video of excerpts from Sukkot NW 2015.
Exodus 23:14–19, Three times you shall keep a feast.
Conventional Jewish wisdom teaches us that during the three biblical pilgrimage festivals of Passover/Unleavened Bread, Pentecost and Tabernacles all the individuals of the nation are to leave their place of individual isolation and are to rendezvous in the presence of the one Elohim of Israel. This was to occur in the festival circle (or chag) around the common sanctuary (where YHVH has chosen to place his name, Deut 16:2, 11, 15), thereby becoming conscious that each one is connected to all the other members of the nation, with YHVH Elohim, and with the Torah (The Pentateuch—Deuteronomy, p. 310, by S. R. Hirsch). In biblical times, the Israelites would gather wherever the tabernacle had been placed. When the temple was built in Jerusalem, this city became the destination of the Israelite pilgrims on these three biblical feasts.
But there is much more to this spiritual picture if we add Yeshua the Messiah of Israel into the picture, for each of the three feasts point directly to him. Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles all point to Yeshua, since the first two festal periods point to Yeshua’s first coming, while the last fall feast points to his second coming. Each of these feasts represent milestones in the spiritual journey of the redeemed believer from initial redemption to glorification and eternal life in the presence of YHVH Elohim.
There were three sections in the Tabernacle of Moses (Heb. mishkan): the outer courtyard, the holy place and the holy of holies. These three correspond with the three parts of man, which are his body, soul and spirit (1 Thess 5:23). The feasts of Passover (Heb. Pesach) and Unleavened Bread (Heb. Chag haMatzot) are the first two feasts the righteous believers are to celebrate in the spring and represent the first steps in a new believer’s spiritual walk. This corresponds with the outer courtyard and relates more to the spiritual cleansing of the outer parts or body of man. It is here that one begins their spiritual walk and relationship with Yeshua, who is the Word of Elohim. The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Heb. Shavuot) is the next step one takes in their spiritual walk as one goes inside the Tabernacle of Moses. The tabernacle’s holy place speaks of bringing the soul (the mind, will and emotions) into submission to the will of YHVH as one advances in their spiritual walk and learns about the fruits and gifts of the Spirit of Elohim, who they are as redeemed Israelites, and about worship and praise.
Finally, the holy of holies corresponds to the Feast of Tabernacles (Heb. Chag haSukkot) and the spirit part of man. This part of the tabernacle speaks more to man’s ultimate spiritual relationship with Elohim. It is here that man relates to Elohim, who is a Spirit, on a deeper spirit to Spirit level (John 4:24; 1 Cor 2:10–13). This prophetically points to man’s ultimate destiny as glorified beings in the New Jerusalem as adopted members into the family of Elohim (John 1:12; Rom 8:14–15, 23; 9:4; 2 Cor 6:18; Gal 4:5–6; Eph 1:5; 1 John 3:1; Rev 21:7).
The joy of YHVH Elohim is a powerful spiritual force that can carry one past the obstacles, pitfalls and hinderances of life. The redeemed believer has every reason to experience YHVH’s joy and all the more so during the biblical festivals including the Feast of Taberncales, which are prophetic pictures of the wonderful world tomorrow of Yeshua’s millennial kingdom. Watch this video and be encouraged!
Shemini Atzeret or the Eighth Day (mentioned in Lev 23:36) is the most overlooked and misunderstood biblical festival in the Messianic or Hebrew Roots Movement, yet it prophetically represents the final step in YHVH’s glorious plan of salvation for humans. Watch this video, because you need to know “how the story ends” and what you have to look forward to for eternity if you remain faithful to YHVH.
Dates of the Festival
First, a discussion of the dates for the festival in 2015, then following that (scroll down) is the information about the daily schedule. The dates are based on the confirmed sighting of the first sliver of the new moon of the 7th month. We don’t set the dates to begin the months. The new moon potentially may be first visible on the evening of 9/14th, but is not considered “easily visible” by the naked eye.
UPDATE: The new moon was not seen on 9/14. It was seen on 9/15. This means we will follow the “B” schedule. The other scheduled is being removed and information edited to avoid confusion.
Sukkot NW has reserved the campground from 9/28th through the morning of 10/8th, which covers both possible dates for the Feast and Shemini Atzeret. The policy of Josephine County Parks mimics that of Oregon State Parks where they no longer allow you to cancel only the first day of a reservation, so you will get an extra night of camping at the beginning of the Feast. This will give you an extra day to explore the area, do your grocery shopping, and to relax as we enter the Feast! Those camping may check into their campsites on M 9/28 anytime after 2 pm.
Chag Sukkot = Feast of Tabernacles is a 7-day Feast, an appointed time of YHVH from the 15th through 21st days of the 7th month. The first day is a Sabbath and commanded assembly. This prophetically points to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb and the Millennial Kingdom.
B: Sunset 9/29 through sunset 10/6/15.
Shemini Atzeret = 8th Day Assembly is a Sabbath and commanded assembly immediately following Chag Sukkot. It is an appointed time of YHVH that prophetically points to olam haba (the world to come), which is the New Jerusalem.
B: Sunset 10/6 through sunset 10/7/15.
Sukkot NW celebration will end after Sabbath on10/7/15. We’ll pack up the meeting facilities after sunset 10/7 and travel home on 10/8/15. Check out time at the campground is noon on Th 10/8/15.
Every day (except the one day we keep the schedule free all day so you have all day to explore the area) starts with live praise, worship and a teaching to help us keep our spiritual focus and priorities straight. Sukkot is about YHVH Elohim, and we don’t want to forget that. Nearly every day (except on the weekly Sabbath and the two festival sabbaths), the afternoons will be free for people to rest, recreate or fellowship. On some of the evenings, there will be scheduled sukkah parties around the campfire with food, fellowship and music. On several other evenings, we have some fun events planned for everyone including our erev Shabbat dinner.
With regard to the speakers, Sukkot NW is not a personality-driven event. We are careful to select speakers who hold to the core tenets of our faith and adhere to the Hoshana Rabbah statement of belief listed in our Credal Statement. Our teachers — Natan Lawrence, Joseph Dombek, John Herlihy, Bill Birdsong, and Clay Baremore — are born again, Spirit-filled, love Yeshua, live Torah-observant lives, are well-studied Bible students and are able presenters who have years if not decades as such.
We have done our best to put together a schedule that is a balance between spiritual instruction, fellowship and fun activities, and at the same time one that gives people plenty of space for rest and free time. The Bible says that our Elohim isn’t the author of confusion, so some structure is necessary to help keep our spiritual focus. Beyond that, there’s lots of flexibility and freedom. So come and enjoy!
We value that children and parents are together as a family during services and a separate youth program is not offered during the morning services. All youth are invited to participate in the worship and dance. Please bring quiet activities for your younger children during the teaching times. There is a playground directly next to the Meeting Shelter for the younger set who need to get out and stretch their legs a bit.
Your children (and grandchildren) will be making many friends at Sukkot and there is much to do and see in the area that interests the youth as well as adults. Families may participate in suggested activities during the free times or venture out on their own or with new friends to enjoy the area’s outdoor recreation or sightseeing.
Youth who attend school bring their homework with them to Sukkot NW. If you make arrangements in advance, most schools will provide homework for classes missed during Sukkot and then provide time after to catch up. Be sure to communicate with your schools and teachers beforehand. You’ll notice on the schedule below that 2 afternoons have been set aside for time at the library to do homework, if desired. The Josephine County Library in Grants Pass has wi-fi and reservable computers with internet access available. The library is open on both Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 2–7 pm. It is closed on Sunday and Monday. Most afternoons are free of scheduled activities and youth may study at their campsites, cabins, or motel rooms during that time as well. We’ve also compiled a handy list of all the local libraries and their hours.
Our planned schedule is as follows (with the usual caveat that it is subject to modification). Not all activities are shown on this schedule. A final detailed schedule will be provided to you in your welcome packet. To open a printable pdf file, click on the graphic below: