By Christine Darg
Following after the solemn Day of Atonement, Friday night 29 September 2023 begins the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)– a time for celebration and absolute JOY!
In Deuteronomy 16:14-15 God says, “You are to rejoice …. for seven days you shall keep the festival… and be altogether joyful.”
Why do Christians celebrate? Because the Levitical festivals (moedim, appointed times) belong to the LORD, and throughout the Millennial rule of King Messiah the nations will observe the festival of Tabernacles according to Zechariah 14: 16.
Furthermore, based on various clues in the New Testament—(no fact is recorded by accident in the Bible)— scholars believe Jesus was actually born during Sukkot in the fall, not on the traditional date December 25. So perhaps we should say during the Feast of Tabernacles –Happy Holiday of the Birth– in Hebrew that’s how to say Happy Christmas, חג מולד שמח! John 1: 14 states that Jesus came to “tabernacle” or dwell with mankind. JOY is another clue —the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds of Bethlehem in Luke 2: 10, announcing, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of GREAT JOY which will be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
Jesus celebrated all of the festivals of the LORD. During Succot in John 7: 14 Jesus (Yeshua) went to the Temple and on the last great day of the feast, called Hoshana Rabba (הוֹשַׁעְנָא רַבָּא), the High Priest led a parade to the pool of Siloam to perform the water libation ritual, invoking God’s blessing for rain in its proper time….. at that very moment Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” Isaiah 12: 3 declares, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation (yeshuah ישועה)”.
What a joy to take up his cup of salvation. “The voice of joy and health is in the dwellings of the righteous. . . I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord!” (Psalm 118: 15, 17)
You ask…..How can God command people be joyful in the midst of this chaotic and dangerous world? Nehemiah 8: 10 answers, “The joy of the Lord is your strength!” Thus supernatural joy is divine joy — something more than elation or fleeting pleasure.
Joy is a daily decision. Paul taught in Philippians 4: 4, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!” He didn’t say rejoice only when you feel like it; always rejoicing in the Lord is a faith command!