You probably know that the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot, is the final of the three Harvest Festivals and concludes the High Holy Days. But did you know that the first Hanukkah was a belated Sukkot celebration and that the dedication of Solomon’s Temple also occurred during the Feast of Tabernacles? Were you aware that of all the festivals given to Israel, the Feast of Tabernacles was the only one that God said all the nations will one day celebrate? Perhaps you were; I know that I was not. Unfortunately, this very important holiday has been given secondary status among many of us. David Brickner, in his new book Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles, thoughtfully describes the Feast (as the celebration came to be known), its immensely important themes and its relevance for today’s believer.
I’m a college student and new at Jews for Jesus—a summer intern at the time of this writing. Frankly, I was a bit intimidated when assigned to review the new book by “the boss.” I quickly found the book to be clearly organized and understandable, making my task much less daunting. The book’s clear presentation, however, belies its depth of thought and theologicallybased content.
Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles offers the reader practical suggestions (mainly in the appendices) to apply what he or she may have learned. But providing application is secondary to expositing the Scriptures that speak of the festival. The particulars of the celebration are elucidated as well as the many instances of spiritual renewal that resulted from Israel’s participation in the Feast. Brickner traces how the celebration has changed from Old Testament times to the time of Jesus’ ministry and finally the time following the destruction of the Temple.
Brickner shows that God intended the Feast to remind us of His provision and presence. He outlines a variety of themes to consider in light of the Feast. These include (but are not limited to) the proper view of the Creator and the Creation, the linking of the people of Israel and the Land, and the proper attitudes of joy and reverence in worshiping God.
As the title indicates, Y’shua is a central thread in the book. Brickner shows how Jesus’ actions during the Feast of Tabernacles (see John 7) used the familiar symbols of the day to point to Himself as the fulfillment of Messianic prophecies. Brickner says, “The Messianic hope, the promise of the kingdom, is integrally linked to the Feast of Tabernacles” (p.127).
The book provides a practical appendix, including instructions to build your own sukkah. Also included is a worship guide with praise music, as well as a convenient chart of the seven feasts. There is also a mouth-watering selection of twelve recipes (including one of my personal favorites: kreplach) perhaps alone worth the price of the book (see p.158).
I’ve had a cursory knowledge of Sukkot, but have not taken part in constructing a sukkah since my elementary school days. Having read this book, I realize that the significance of the holiday is anything but elementary. In fact, I’m envisioning a sukkah full of Jewish students constructed on my college’s main quad. I have already recommended the book to my parents and will encourage my friends to read it as well. Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles is already on my list of books to re-read.
Whether or not the reader plans to build a booth or cook the holiday recipes, whether or not she or he makes use of the liturgy, the book provides a basis for understanding the deeper significance of and connection between biblical events in both the Old and New Testaments. As a Jewish believer and a student of the Word, I found the book immensely encouraging and satisfying in that, above all, it depicts the love of our God who dwells amongst us and provides for us.