This year we celebrated a very different Succoth than we expected. Succoth is also known as the Feast of Tabernacles and is the seventh feast of the Biblical Feasts. It is the greatest feast, and lasts seven days plus one day for the special 8th day.
In the past, the Lord has called us to do many prophetic things on the Feasts and we organized the feasts for large groups of people. In 2021 for Passover we celebrated with fifty people in our home in the Galilee and the Lord also called us to celebrate a Holy Spirit filled Passover in a secret location in the City of David in Jerusalem. On Shavuot we were able to hold a special prayer meeting at 9:00 in the morning on the original Mount Zion. The day before the Feast of Trumpets we went back to the City of David with a group of Messianic leaders and prayed over Zion, the Melchizedek high place, the spring and pray walked the Pilgrims route. On the actual day of the Yom Teruah we were called by God to go back to the original Mount Zion, where the Tabernacle stood, and blew the Trumpet in Zion, as mentioned in Joel 2:1.
After all these prophetic acts, my expectation for Succoth was high. I knew God would call us for something very special. I prayed and asked the Lord: “Where do you want us to be during Succoth?” But I heard nothing from the Lord. And then suddenly, my a dear friend Ahava died un-expectantly. She had made Alijah by herself and was living in a small apartment near our house. She had gone home to visit her family and died of covid. We are praying for their families and ask God to comfort them. All her family lived in America so we organized a big memorial for her here in the Galilee.
Succoth was approaching and I prayed again: “Lord, what do you want us to do during Succoth? Do you want me to go to Jerusalem? To do something prophetic?” But still I heard nothing! The day before Succoth we started packing up my friend’s apartment for her family. It was hard work, and we had little energy for anything else. Box by box we sorted through everything and packed up during long hot hours without air conditioning (I am not mentioning it here to boast about it, for this was between God and us. But for the purpose of this blog it is important). I cried inside, because I longed to go to Jerusalem to celebrate Gods greatest feast. On the eve of Succoth we were so tired, that we returned home, quickly made a Succa in our garden and celebrated with a few friends who were also helping. On the Feast of Tabernacles God commands us to rejoice before him. But we were still mourning and prayed He would turn our mourning into joy.
Within the entire Succoth week, we worked hard in the apartment. No special journey to Jerusalem. No prophetic acts. After a year of divine dreams and actions, it was so different than I expected. But God was teaching us a very important lesson. On this Feast of feasts He taught us the greatest lesson of all: “Ahava”, which means ‘love’ in Hebrew.
Jesus said that the highest commandment is to love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two things (Matthew 22:34-40). He also taught that if someone is in need on Shabbat that we are to help them. “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep!” (Matthew 12:11-12). He showed us what love is by healing many people on Shabbat because He saw their need (Matthew 12:10; Mark 3:2, John 9:14-16). According to Galations 5:14 the whole Torah is fulfilled by loving your neighbour. And Romans 13:8 says: “for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the Torah.”
There are some people that claim that fulfillment of the Torah, means annulment of shabbat and the feasts. This is a great mistake! Jesus kept the shabbats and feasts, but he did it Gods way, not man’s way. Fulfillment of the Torah means we become part of it and we keep the shabbats and feasts because we love much! Jesus showed us this and laid down His life for us on Passover. It was the greatest act of love ever. “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16.
Shabbat and the Biblical Feasts are Gods appointed times, and we keep them out of pure love for Him, not because we have to. Love is the essence of the entire Bible, and therefore we keep Gods feasts because we love Him. But when we see someone in need, loving them and serving them always comes first. For God is love and love is what Gods feasts are all about… they are a love song between God and man.
This year, on the Feast of Tabernacles, God taught us that laying down our lives for others and loving one another was the fulfillment of the feast itself. We became part of it, by serving others and helping others. We did celebrate His feast, but we served God in a different way than we expected. So if your neighbor is in trouble on these special days, help them, serve them and show them the same kind of love that Jesus showed us.
On the greatest feast of all God taught us the greatest lesson of all: “Ahava”…