a sliced pomegranates on a ceramic plate
Feasts of the Lord, Friend of the Bridegroom, Seed and Soil, The Wilderness, Watchmen on the Wall

The Joyful Feast of Sukkot (Days 15-22 of the Fall Ingathering Feasts)

Your cheeks are like rosy pomegranates behind your veil. Song of Solomon 6:7 (Song of the bridegroom about his beloved bride)

But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also has come through a Man.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Messiah will all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 1:20-22)

Sukkot means “tents” or “tabernacle,” and we are reminded that God asked the Israelites to dwell in tents when they left Egypt. (Leviticus 23:39-43) This is final part of the Festival of the Final Harvest (the first fruits harvest came way back at Pentecost). Why celebrate this memorial of tents? What makes it so important that it coincides with the Final Harvest? How will it coincide with the final harvest of the earth that Jesus and the prophets taught about (Matthew 13:24-30, Mark 4:29, Revelation 14:14-20)? Once again, it is all about Messiah. Yeshua talked often about the final harvest of the world. And this final harvest of souls will initiate the dwelling, or tabernacling of God with man forevermore. Just as Yeshua was the word who temporarily tabernacled (dwelt, literally pitched a tent) in flesh with us (John 1:14), He will return to us and the dwelling of God will be with man. God will dwell with His people once again…forever.

On this day in the land of Israel, in a prophetic act, the people prepare their Sukkot shelters, make-shift huts and tents on rooftops and sidewalks out of bamboo, palm branches, canvas, plastic tarps, twinkle lights and plastic pomegranates and greenery. I love thinking about the symbolism of God. It’s the symbolic language of the Bride and Groom. If you look closely, the sukkot (temporary tents) constructed in the land through these days are reminiscent of the chuppah (the wedding tent). These days are foreshadowing the joy of the wedding of the Lamb and the Bride to come.

The yearly act of obedience is set up, both as a sweet remembrance of the wilderness, but for those who trust Yeshua Messiah, it is a reminder that one day, we will be in our promised land, a country under the Kingship of our God who will once again live among us, His people. Until then, we are walking through a wilderness of sorts…and even that journey is sweet, because He is with us even now. Our lives in Messiah are sweet like pomegranates, which are in season here, right now, and so delicious! In fact, though there are many things we could say about this day, I just have not been able to stop thinking about pomegranates. They are a symbol of fertility in the whole Mediterranean/Middle East, and in Jewish culture represent the commands of God, the sweet seeds of His Word that bear fruit in our lives. They are seasonal fruits that are intrinsically connected with this time of year in Israel, much like pumpkins remind Americans of the fall.

Pomegranates show up a couple of times in scripture. God dictated that they should adorn the garments of the priests “On its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, around its hem, with bells of gold between them, a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe.” (Exodus 28:33-34) Even today, the pomegranate adorns the covering of the torahs. We who love the scriptures know the sweetness of the word of God. His Word is the seed that bears fruit in us.

But the best thing about pomegranates is that they are used at weddings, Beloved. They are representative of the sweet “seeds” of new life, of children, family expansion, multiplication. Everything that “will be” is tied up in the DNA of those flesh-covered seeds. You will find pomegranates adorning wedding coverings and clothing, on wedding invitations and ketubahs (wedding covenants), even decorations. The idea of the pomegranate encapsulates the sweetness of union with your Beloved.

And, since pomegranates are seasonal at this time of year…it makes me think we can expect the wedding of the Lamb to take place during Pomegranate season, in culmination with the fall feasts. Then again, maybe those are just my romantic notions (but I think He likes that I wonder about these things).

Several years ago, while sill living in Virginia, I had a dream of a pomegranate and heard a voice saying, “Yeshua is the firstfruit.” At the time I had no idea what this meant. But now, living here, understanding the feasts of Messiah better than I did then, I know a little more, still in part, but a deeper understanding.

But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also has come through a Man.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Messiah will all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 1:20-22) Just as He was the firstfruit of the resurrection (resurrected during the Feast of First Fruits, no coincidence), so we bear the life-seed of the Son of God in us by receiving His word and Spirit into us. Like all those seeds in the pomegranate when it is broken, we carry His life in us because of His broken body and red blood poured out for us. And like Him, we will be raised to life one day, because we carry His life, His Spirit, and His Word in us.

Yeshua is the high priest, who walks in the priestly, righteous path of the laws of God willingly and joyfully. He is the first of many who will follow the Lord to death not because of law but out of love, with the hope of resurrection!

Not only will we walk in the sweet fruitfulness of His commands because we hope in the resurrection, but we will walk in the pathways of life with such delight, alignment, and purpose BECAUSE it is the best pathway…it’s the joy of the journey, even when it’s hard! We want to taste perfect unity with the Father and one another like Yeshua tasted perfect unity with the Father. He is the High Priest, who intercedes before the Father on our behalf who approached the holy of holies through the curtain of His flesh (Hebrews 10:20) that was torn and His red blood poured out for us that he might be the firstborn of many brothers (Romans 8:29). With Him as our advocate, we walk sealed by the Holy Spirit as holy unto the Lord (Exodus 28:36-39), as a kingdom of priests and intercessors (Isaiah 61:6; Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6), telling about Yeshua, who made peace between God and man forever (Romans 5:1 ). We walk as “one new person” in purpose, neither Jew or Gentile, His emissaries and ambassadors. (Ephesians 2)

Yesterday, I met a taxi driver who asked me why we came here. I said it was because “we love the people, and because God loves the people here.” He said, “I would argue with you because if He loved us there wouldn’t be this balagan (crazy chaotic mess).” We started talking about the Messiah and He said Yeshua was not the Messiah because no one raised from the dead. But they did. In fact, most people who do not believe in Yeshua have one prophecy that they think He did not fulfill. But the truth is. He did fulfill them. Every Messianic promise and prophecy is fulfilled in the person of Yeshua, the Son of God.

How many people do not know that God loves them so much He gave His only Son, Yeshua, that whoever would believe in Him would not die but have everlasting and abundant life. Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send workers into the Harvest fields of the earth. One day, Messiah will return and bring peace to the balagan, but as followers of Yeshua, we can have shalom now in our hearts because Yeshua came to make peace between us and God so we would have peace starting in our hearts first.

What about you, do you dwell with God? Does He dwell with you? Because in the middle of remembering the past and looking forward to the future, there is a “right now” realization of His presence available to everyone who believes in Yeshua as Messiah who atoned for their sins. He comes in and dines with all who invite Him to the Sukkot of their heart, to tabernacle with them. Have you prepared a place for Him?

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