Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sukkot 5772

Sitting on the gorgeous green grass lawns, under the shade of trees, right next to a flowing river which was far away from any kind of civilization, and studying the Word of the Almighty in His own language was such a delight. We got to do so for about a week and a half with a group of believer friends on the annual Scriptural festival (chag) called Sukkot (feast of tabernacles).

That is one of the major reasons why I have not posted here on my blog this month yet. Between Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), we were also getting ready for Sukkot and really did not have much time to write.

Now the reason for this article is to clear up a few discrepancies concerning Sukkot.
The first point I would like to make is that there were many groups that held Sukkot a day later than they were supposed to keep it according to Scripture. The reason that certain groups did so was because they followed the instruction of other people instead of observing the signs for themselves according to what the Scriptures teach us. One of the major Characters leading many people to observe the appointed times on the incorrect days is Nehemiah Gordon, as he has a huge following and loves the attention rather than pointing people to the Scriptures for themselves.

In order to know when the start of Sukkot is, we first need to know when the sighting of the seventh new moon was, which is the first day of the seventh moon (month). All you need to do then is to count the days until the fifteenth, and that is when Sukkot begins. Now the discrepancy comes in here where the new moon in Israel was sighted a day later than most other places in the world. For example, in the USA and South Africa, where I live, the new moon was sighted on the evening of 28 Sept but in Israel it was sighted on 29 Sept,  which makes the beginning of Sukkot fall on 12 Oct in the USA and South Africa, whereas it begins on 13 Oct in Israel.

Now many people follow the calendar according to when the moon is sighted in Israel even though they sighted the new moon in their own location for themselves a day earlier. This is what Nehemiah Gordon has done and led many people to do so too. But this is certainly not Scriptural! You see, we need to look at a bit of logic here, according to Scripture, we need to observe for ourselves when the times are, and also in our current location. Think a hundred years back, were the people living in South Africa able to know when the new moon was sighted in Israel? Certainly not, as technology was not at the point for people to do so yet. Now that it is possible for us to know, have the rules then changed?

The other problem that needs to be addressed is that of where do we keep Sukkot? The Scripture clearly says that we must go to the place that YHWH chooses. Now Jerusalem is the place where YHWH has chosen to put His Name and that is where all of us are supposed to go up to for Sukkot.

Now you are probably thinking that it is impossible for us all to trek up to Jerusalem, never mind everyone gaining entrance into Israel at the same time. Yes, I agree that this is a little bit of an impossibility as there are very few who can afford to do so now. Even for the majority of Jews are not able to go up to Israel for Sukkot. This is due to the dispersion of the Jews and other Believers all around the world.

So what do we then do, or rather, where do we go for Sukkot? Well, we do the best we can with what we have. We can organize a venue to keep Sukkot at etc, but we can in no way really call it Sukkot or say that the venue is the place where YHWH has placed His Name! There are many Messianic and Hebrew Roots groups who do exactly that. It is a heresy to do so. Do you really think that the Almighty will put His Name on a place that is unclean or anywhere else other than Israel?

So we can do what we can with what we have and only hope that the Almighty finds what we do acceptable. We do however have the hope that when the Messiah Yehoshua returns, that he will rule the world with the Torah and it will be possible for those who desire to go up to Jerusalem for Sukkot to do so, as we read here, “And it shall be that all who are left from all the gentiles which came up against Yerushalayim, shall go up from year to year to bow themselves to the Sovereign, יהוה (YHWH) of hosts, and to observe the Festival of Booths” (Zec 14:16).

No comments:

Post a Comment