“You will dwell in booths seven days. All that are Israelites born will dwell in booths, so your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I AM the Lord, your God!" [Leviticus 23:42, 43].
The command to dwell in booths during this third First Fruits of the growing season is pinnacle not only to tradition, but also relates directly to something we need to remember in our every day lives - the frailty of our temporary dwelling in body, and the Divine provision from the Great Provider, our Lord. When the Israelites were lead out of Egypt by the Lord, they were accustomed to their provision coming from Pharaoh - their food, their shelter, their water, even their rigorous work load - and now they were faced with something completely new and different. Their dwelling places now were uprooted and moved around frequently, their food supply fell from the heavens like the dew, their water came from a Rock, and their new work load was not making bricks but having faith.
Today, when we dwell in our booths during this season, we are reminded of the same work load our ancestors’ had in the wilderness; having faith in the Lord and realizing that the blessings we have in our life are because He gave them to us. It’s easy to melt into the background of society, go to work day in and day out, dream and hope for bigger things in the future - and all the while lose sight of the preciousness and sanctity of our relationship with the Lord. Sukkot is a great time for all of us who are stuck in a whirlwind of busy activities to take a step back and celebrate the goodness of our Lord - putting all of our focus on Him during this Sacred Time, in which we share activities with the Lord instead of the world.
We can read in the first chapter of the Book of John how the Scripture says, “…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…" and understand that Yeshua [Jesus] is the embodiment of the Word of God - He came in atemporary dwelling of a human body and became like us as an example to us on how to live. There have even been speculations as to whether or not our Messiah was actually born during this season of Booths, the last First Fruits of the harvest season.
We know that Yeshua was not born during the winter months because the sheep were in the pasture [Luke 2:8], and if you study the history of John the Immerser [or John the Baptist], you will find that John was conceived about Sivan 30, the eleventh week. When Zechariah was ministering in the temple, he received an announcement from God about a coming son. The eighth course of Abia, when Zechariah was ministering, was the week of Sivan 12 to 18 (Killian n.d.). Adding forty weeks for a normal pregnancy reveals that John the Immerser was born on or about Passover (Nisan 14). We know six months after John’s conception, Mary conceived Yeshua (Luke 1:26-33). Therefore, Yeshua would have been conceived six months later in the month of Kislev. Kislev 25 is Hanukkah. Was the Light of the world conceived on the festival of lights?
Starting at Kislev 25, and the Hanukkah festival continuing for eight days and counting through the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy, one arrives at the time of the birth of Yeshua at the Festival of Tabernacles (the early fall of the year). During the Feast of Tabernacles, God required all male Jews to come to Jerusalem. The many pilgrims coming to Jerusalem would have spilled over to the surrounding towns; and we know that Bethlehem is about 5 miles from Jerusalem. Joseph and Mary were unable to find room at the inn because of the influx of so many pilgrims. They may have been given shelter in a sukkah!
We know our Messiah was made manifest in a temporary body when He came to earth; is it possible He was also put into a temporary dwelling during His birth? The field would have been dotted with sukkots during this time to temporarily shelter animals as well as people; the Hebrew word “stable” is called a sukkoth [Genesis 33:17].
Let us celebrate during this season of joy and remember that all of our provision comes from the Lord, and that our dwelling here on earth is but temporary - “…All flesh is grass and all its loving kindness is like the flower of the field. The grass is withered, the flower fades because the Spirit of the Lord blows upon it. Surely the people is grass. The grass is withered, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever.” [Isaiah 40:6b-8].