Lawrence Family Fun at Sukkot

Moses overlooking the Promised Land? Well not quite, but a happy thought nevertheless. It is Nathan overlooking the high mountain desert of Central Oregon atop Smith Rocks—Oregon’s “Mount Sinai”—where he and his family are celebrating Sukkot/the Feast of Tabernacles 2020.

Hello everyone. Hope you’re having a great Sukkot wherever you may be.

My first Sukkot was in 1960, and I’ve been privileged to celebrate Sukkots in various places in the U.S., in Canada and in France. I’ve been apart of Sukkot gatherings with thousands of attendees, and in many with only small groups of hundreds, tens or just my family as is the case this year.

For our family and since I was a little child, the Feast of Tabernacles has always been the highpoint of our year. And it well should be because of what this biblical feast represents in Bible prophecy—a coming time called the Millennium when Yeshua has returned, and has destroyed the New World Order which the Bible refers to as Mystery Babylon the Great with all of its Satan-worshiping and Elohim-hating cast of character. During this time, which some forward-thinking people have referred to as “the world tomorrow”, Yeshua will establish his world-ruling kingdom and rule with his resurrected and glorified king and priest saints teaching the physical humans on this earth the ways and Truth of YHVH Elohim. At this time, Satan will have been bound and placed in the abyss for 1000 years and the world will be at peace as the glory of YHVH covers the earth as the waters cover the sea. It is this paradisiacal time that Sukkot prophetically portrays.

Each year at Sukkot, traditionally my family and I have vacated the city where we live (our “Babylon”) for some beautiful and idyllic place on earth where we can enjoy a small foretaste of Yeshua’s millennial kingdom. This is also why we colloquial refer to Sukkot simply as “the Feast,” for it is a time to rejoice in YHVH Elohim and the blessing he has lovingly and graciously bestowed on us during the past year. Sukkot also represents and points to the marriage feast of the Lamb of Elohim.

In preparation for this “vacation,” we save our feast tithe (or a biblically mandated “vacation fund”) as Scripture commands to help finance our time “away from it all.” During this time, we follow Scripture and use our money to bless others, and to buy whatever our hearts desire and to feast joyfully including with “wine and strong drink.” As we read,

You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the LORD your God has blessed you, then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses.  And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the LORD your God has blessed you, then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses. And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you. (Deuteronomy 14:23–27)

Now some more Hebraic-minded saints declare that it’s impossible to keep the biblical feasts including Sukkot exactly how the Torah commands, and so they take the minimalist approach to scriptural obedience and use this as a justification for not doing the feasts at all. Over the years I have directly confronted this mindset and shown from Scripture how YHVH favors and desires a heart that is inclined to serve him “the best we can” regardless of our location or circumstances. Instead of finding reasons and excuses why we can’t obey him by keeping his feasts, I prefer to look for every reason why we can obey him. This shows him that our hearts are inclined toward obedience and we are endeavoring to love him in so doing. If we fall short in our obedience, his grace covers us. This is a better approach and heart and mind orientation than that of looking for any excuse not to obey him. And truthfully, YHVH has blessed our family immensely both physically and spiritually as he have endeavored to obey him the best we can as imperfect as it may be.

So some of you may be wondering what we do during Sukkot. For the 18 years Sandi and I pastored a local congregation, we sponsored regional Sukkot gatherings where dozens up to a couple of hundred feast-goers came and celebrated. During this time, we scheduled daily meetings, teachings, praise and worship gatherings, family events and activities, group meals and much more. Needless to say, this kept Sandi and I busy organizing, setting up, tearing down, and overseeing and leading. It has been a couple of years since we “retired” from that, and after we did, it all died since no one was willing pick up that mantle and carry on that work. It was a lot of hard work that few were willing to help us with. Since then, because we have no congregation or group to meet with, we simply gather together as a family, which is our own personal tribe where I am the “patriarch.” During Sukkot, on the high holy day Shabbats, I lead my family in prayer, Bible study and music as we endeavor to rest and keep the sanctity of the day. During the rest of the week, we do our best to keep our hearts and minds on the meaning of Sukkot while, at the same time, building family relationships by engaging in fun activities.

So why am I sharing all of this with you? Simply for this reason. Perhaps our example of how we celebrate Sukkot will inspire you and yours to do the same and to find the blessing therein even as we have. We have found that whenever we obey YHVH, there is always a blessing to be found including temporally vacating spiritual Babylon, meeting with Elohim at his appointed times, building relationships with family and friends, and inspiring ourselves to look upwards toward him and toward a future better world that is coming soon where Yeshua the Messiah will be the King of kings.

HalleluYah! Maranatha!! Yeshua come quickly. The grace of our Master Yeshua the Messiah be with you all. Amein

Nathan at Lava Cast Forest standing in a hole made as lava flowed around trees thousands of years ago.
Our daughter Lucy, Sandi and Charlie the dog out for a hike in the mountains.
Nathan playing stick with Charlie our grand-dog.
Jared, Lucy with Charlie.
Smith Rocks State Park—Oregon’s Mount Sinai. Jared and I started a the bottom and did the Moses thing and hiked to the top.
Nathan at the top of Smith Rock, our local “Mount Sinai.”
Natana and his sons doing a very guy and American thing at a local shooting range.
Nathan trying out Aaron’s AR-15.
Aaron and Jared at the shooting range being politically correct with their Covid-masks. Although they may look like Antifa terrorists, they’re very anti-Antifa and all the wickednesss that it represents.

Updated: How to Celebrate Sukkot and the Eighth Day by Yourself

Don’t you feel like you’re living in a spiritual wilderness? That’s because you are living in a wilderness—not a literal wilderness with cactus, sage brush and jackrabbits, but a “wilderness of the peoples” about which Ezekiel prophesied (Ezek 20:35). Is it possible to walk out the commandments of Elohim in this desolate and often lonely place, and if so, how?

In this wilderness YHVH’s spiritual sheep are scattered hither and yon like flecks of gold among the sands of the seas of Gentile nations of the world. During this time, YHVH is testing his people to determine if they will remain faithful to him or not, to determine if they will make a suitable bride for Yeshua his Son. He that has an ear to hear and a heart to receive, let him hear.

 Like a shepherd counting and sorting his sheep, YHVH is currently making his people “to pass under the rod” (Ezek 20:37). Those who passionately love and seek him and his ways of righteousness, whose love neither waned nor waxed cold”  (Matt 24:12), will be allowed to enter into his spiritual rest (Heb 4:1–16), which is the promised land of our spiritual inheritance and is also known biblically as “the kingdom of Elohim.” Those who make it to this point by overcoming the downward pulls of the world, the flesh and devil will become the resurrected, glorified and immortalized children of Elohim.

He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of Elohim, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of Elohim. (John 1:11–13)

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of Elohim! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of Elohim; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:1–2)

He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his Elohim and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Rev 21:7–8)

I don’t know about you, but I’m a “God chaser”—one who desires to passionately and wholehearted love YHVH Elohim by keeping his Torah-commandments (John 14:15, 21; 1 John 2:3–6). Are you one also or do you still have a divided heart with affections for both this world and for Yeshua? Endeavoring to live a righteous life in the wilderness of this world where perfect obedience can sometimes be difficult if not impossible is a challenge, to be sure. Despite this, each of us has to decide whether we’re going to faithfully follow Yeshua the Lamb of Elohim wherever he may lead you (Rev 14:4).

These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto Elohim and to the Lamb. (Rev 14:4)

Is Yeshua knocking on the door of your heart and calling you to come out of spiritual Babylonian (Rev 18:4) Laodiceanism and lukewarmness (Rev 3:14–21) and challenging you to turn up the heat of your passion for him and to come to a higher spiritual level in your walk?

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Rev 3:19–21)

If you’re reading this and be challenged to go deeper and higher in our spiritual upward trek, then you may be wondering how is it possible to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot (its biblical Hebrew name) in the spiritual wilderness of the peoples especially if you’re 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 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 and still expects his people to keep (or celebrate) the biblical feasts forever wherever their dwelling place happened to be whether inside or outside of the physical land of Israel. I have given ample proof of this from Scripture 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 even 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 vacation house and a motel room. For the past several years, my wife and I have lived in our travel trailer during Sukkot.
  • You shall celebrate and rejoice before YHVH Elohim (Lev 23:41; Deut 16:14). How do we celebrate? This can done wherever you may be through music, singing, dancing, praise and worship. Even if you’re not musical, we conveniently and readily have praise and worship music available to us through our numerous electronic devices.
  • 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. These can be waved wile praising and worshiping YHVH through music.
  • Keep the High Sabbaths by ceasing your occupational work and focusing on YHVH (Lev 23:35, 36).
  • Drink wine and strong drink (Deut 14:26). The Bible abundantly that YHVH gave his people alcoholic beverages to joyfully enliven our lives especially during times of celebration. Drunkenness, however, is a sin, and drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of Elohim (1 Cor 6:9–10).
  • Use your feast tithe to buy whatever your heart desires (Deut 14:22–27). Your feast tithe is your Torah-mandated vacation fund to be used while celebrating YHVH’s feasts, so “shop till you drop!”
  • 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 or 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).
  • Whether you are able to come together with others 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).
  • Beyond this, make up your own traditions on ways to celebrate and rejoice during this special time when YHVH Elohim desires to meet with his people.
  • Additionally here are some free Hoshana Rabbah resources to help you to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (or Sukkot):

Teaching articles on Sukkot:

YouTube videos on Sukkot:

Hoshana Rabbah blog articles on Sukkot:

Printable biblical calendars to know when to celebrate the biblical feasts:

Celebrating Sukkot. Natan the tree hugger receiving a hug back from an old snag during a walk in the wilderness with Sandi and some of his children on the first day of Sukkot.

Greetings from Sukkot 2017 in NW Washington State!

This blog has been quiet the last week or so because I’ve been celebrating Sukkot with my wife and some of my kids in NW Washington State in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island on the shores of the Salish Sea on the border between Washington and Canada near the San Juan Islands.

My internet connection has been spotty at best in the RV park where we’ve parked our travel trailer for the past week and several days, so I haven’t been able to post anything. Plus I’ve been busy with Sukkot activities, including helping to lead the celebration and doing a considerable amount of teaching.

Hope your Sukkot festivals have been blessed to the max whether you’ve been alone, at home or with a group somewhere. Although none of us is able to keep Sukkot in the exact way the Torah prescribes and the ancient Israelites did in the land of Israel, YHVH in his merciful grace honors the baby steps his scattered children are taking to obey him and to reconnect with the pro-Torah Hebraic and apostolic roots of their faith. He rejoices when the hearts of his children are inclined to serve, love and obey him as best they can, while trekking through the wilderness en route to the Promised Land of our spiritual inheritance.

Here are a few pics of some of our activities at our Sukkot here. Please enjoy.

Natan teaching the small group gathered at Oak Harbor in Washington State.

Natan and Sandi at Rosario Beach near Deception Pass on Whidbey Island.

Natan filming the sunset at Rosario beach.

Natan and Sandi on a killer whale or orca watching expedition. Yes, we spotted lots of orcas and we’ll be posting videos and photos of them soon. So stay tuned!

Natan was honored to be able to baptize a young lady (Dianna) in Cranberry Lake. The previous day during one of our ministry times, weeping and repenting, she came forward to accept Yeshua and was subsequently baptized in the Spirit with the evidence of overflowing joy and the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues. The next day, I baptized her for the remission of sins. Praise Yah!

Natan blowing the shofar after having baptized Dianna.