Preparing to Tabernacle With the Lord

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Sukkah in the desert in Israel (Photo: Zachi Dvira Pikiwiki Israel)

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the LORD. – Zechariah 2:10

We are about to celebrate the last of the fall Feasts of the Lord this Sunday at sunset Succot or the Tabernacles. I imagine that many other emails have gone out over the last two or three weeks, speaking about the Feasts of the Lord explaining their significance and beauty, and also their fulfilment. I am sure that most of you are aware of how Yeshua fulfilled the spring feasts of the Lord as he became the Passover Lamb for us and also was the first fruit offering before the Father. The fall feasts are yet to be fulfilled completely in Messiah.

In Israel during Succot, many families build a small booth on their deck or in their garden. Some families that do not have an outdoor area build it next to the building, and sometimes a collective booth is built for the residence of the building so that anyone can come and dwell in the booth as the Lord commanded us. This is a time of rejoicing as the booths are decorated with the Seven Species which are the fruits of the land of Israel, and a number of them are also harvested at this time Figs, Pomegranates, Grapes, Wheat, Barley, Olives and Dates. Succot is also known as the Feast of Ingathering when the children of Israel would gather to remember God’s faithfulness and give thanks to the Lord for the harvest of the past year. (Exodus23:16)

Zechariah 14 speaks about the feast of Succot,and how even when Messiah dwells among us during the Messianic age, all who dwell on the earth will not only celebrate Succot, but will come up to Jerusalem in accordance with God’s commandment. Those who do not shall have no rain this being not only a physical necessity but also a picture of blessing and life.

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the LORD strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles”. – Zechariah 14:16-19

Not only is Succot a prophetic picture of the dwelling of Messiah among us in the future when Yeshua returns as Lord and King, I believe it is also the time when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us the first time the time of Messiah’s birth. Most scholars today agree that Yeshua was not born on His traditional birthday – December 25th. There are many reasons why, and those who wish to find out more can do so by conducting a simple Google search. The two main dates that are considered seriously are Passover and Succot.

The Messiah had to be born at a time when the shepherds were still out in the fields with their flocks. This would generally be between April and October when there is no rain in Israel and when the temperature in the high hills of Bethlehem and Judah are not hovering around zero. Since the Feast of Tabernacles resembles the dwelling of God’s Spirit amongst us His Schina, I tend to believe that it is during this time that the Messiah was given to us, as it is written in John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

In Jewish thought there is a term I mentioned above known as the “Schina” (pronounced “Shechinah”). This word comes from the root Shin, Chaf, Nun and means to dwell or to rest. This is also the word used in John 1:14 in Greek – “ske¯noo” and it means to encamp; to tabernacle, dwell in a tent; to dwell, have one’s abode.When speaking about the Schina in the different Jewish writings the term is usually used to describe the dwelling or resting of God’s Spirit among us. The Jewish writings speak of unusual signs that caused the sages who were alive in Yeshua’s days to conclude that the Schina, or the Spirit of God had left the temple 40 years prior to its destruction. This is almost the exact time that Yeshua died on the cross for us and sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in each of our hearts, just as He promised! Acts 7:48-49 “However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says: ‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest?”.

The Creator of the Universe was not satisfied with a temple made of gold and other precious metals, stones and amazing artistic designs … He prefers to dwell in our simple, and usually very imperfect hearts instead. During this coming week as we remember the dwelling of Messiah among us 2000 years ago, the dwelling of God’s Spirit in us during these days, and as we look forward with great expectation to the day when the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords will dwell in our midst once again, let us thank the Lord for His greatest gift to us and let us pray that here in Israel and around the world millions Jews and non-Jews will soon come to know the Schina and dwelling of God’s Word and truth in their lives Yeshua our Messiah.

This article originally appeared on Out of Zion Ministries, October 14, 2016, and reposted with permission.

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Stefan Silver serves as a pastor at Kerem-El (God’s Vineyard), an indigenous, vibrant Hebrew-speaking congregation located in the center of Haifa. He holds an Executive MBA from Haifa University and has pioneered two leading media and internet evangelism ministries in Israel as well as serving with Out of Zion Ministries. Stefan is married to his wife Keren, a Messianic worship leader and recording artist, and together they have three beautiful daughters. They reside in a coastal town near Haifa.