Preparing together for a permanent home
School of Biblical Hebrew and master’s students are now together in Jerusalem from around the world, learning “from the source” to translate the whole Word into languages that have never known God’s full story of redemption. How meaningful it is that they began this week with the biblical festival of Sukkot. This “Feast of Tabernacles” is one of the three major biblical holidays in which all of the Hebrew people were commanded to gather in Jerusalem to actively remember the faithfulness of the Lord and celebrate their belonging (Leviticus 23).
The students built and decorated a sukkah—a symbolic wilderness shelter, commemorating God’s provision for the Israelites who were nomads in the desert for 40 years before being brought to a more permanent home.
All over Jerusalem and the Land of the Bible, families and communities gather in sukkahs next to homes and in gardens for this seven-day event of joy for the whole community. Sukkahs are decorated richly with colorful paper chains and ornaments. A table is put inside for the feast and mattresses lie on the floor for sleeping under the night sky. A portion of the roof is open to the stars as a reminder of the majesty of our Creator, and a portion is open to welcoming strangers.
We draw from these rituals God gave in Scripture to celebrate the sense of belonging He provides us, even as nomads in this world—a home amidst the desert. Through the entire story and all the elements used, God shows that He has gone before us to prepare a permanent dwelling—a land of promise.
Jesus chose the last day of Sukkot to powerfully speak about Himself in the outer court at the Temple in Jerusalem: On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38).
It is amazing to know that the One who led His people through the wilderness is preparing a permanent home, inviting all to celebrate their belonging in His presence.
Thank you for sharing the Word,
The Whole Word Institute team The Whole Word for the Whole World