Rejoice! That’s the biblical commandment for Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles, one of the seven feasts God commanded in the Old Testament. But how do you rejoice with so much hardship around? How did the Jews do so even in the concentration camp, and now how do we do so even in the midst of COVID? Pastor Enoch Lavender shares with Neil on 20Twenty.
Jews in Israel take the commandment seriously, rejoicing over seven days in the harvest, God’s provision, and in God’s goodness. There’s non-stop celebration in the temples in Israel. “The light coming from the temple will literally be seen from afar, fill the countryside all around,” Pastor and Bible Teacher Enoch Lavender shares with Neil on 20Twenty. Families still set up sukkahs or booths/tabernacles with see-through lattices as roofs. They spend joyful times in these tabernacles, praying, looking at the night skies.
But how does one still rejoice in difficult circumstances? This was the key question asked during the time of the holocaust, in the concentration camp, Pastor Enoch shared. “How can we rejoice in this time of suffering, in this time of hardship, when they themselves have lost loved ones? Yet the central command is to rejoice.”
“It is a picture of the joy to come. There is coming a day when every tear will be wiped away. There is coming a day where the suffering will be over, and we will be able to rejoice in God’s presence,” Pastor Enoch reveals.
“Whatever we are suffering with, it’s a time to look forward to the joy that is yet to come.”
Jesus Himself endured the cross for the sake of the joy that was set before Him.
Pastor Enoch thinks the hope of the impending joy is what gives hope to the Jewish people. That one day God will come and tabernacle with His people, and it will be a time of joy where the world has never seen before.
God ordained joy. And this is a picture of the joy yet to come, in eternity.
As Christians we can also relate to these feasts. On a personal level, we come through a process of repentance (Yom Kippur) through which we can then be led by God into a time of joy (Sukkot). On a broader level, the Feast of Tabernacles points to the End Times when all the nations repent, return to God and come into His presence. What a celebration we have to look forward to!
To listen to more of Pastor Enoch’s conversation with Neil on 20Twenty, click below.
For more biblical insight into the Feast of Tabernacle and all the seven feasts, click below for Robbo and Mandy’s Foundations podcast.