What can the Maccabees teach us this Sukkot?

Have you ever wondered why Hanukkah became the second Sukkot? In 2 Maccabees it is written that the Maccabees and the remnant of Israel celebrated Sukkot in order to restore what they could not celebrate when the Temple was captured and desecrated by the pagans. But for two or three years (according to different chronologies) they could not celebrate all other feasts. Why did Sukkot become the model for Hanukkah celebrations?

Holiday despite the circumstances

The holiday of Sukkot was commanded to commemorate the trial in the wilderness. That is, from the very beginning it was a celebration of the experience of insecurity that Israel experienced in the desert. And this feast gives us the opportunity, amid the terrible war that Ukraine is now experiencing, to remember that the Lord has already achieved a final victory that no one can challenge. Sooner or later this victory will be fully revealed to all His faithful children.

This is very consistent with the situation that existed in Judea during the time of the Maccabees. They, together with God’s remnant of Israel, miraculously liberated the Temple Mount and the Temple, cleansed and consecrated the Temple. But parallel to Yehuda, Maccabee had to send an entire military detachment to besiege the fortress of Acre, so that the enemies and traitors who had settled there could not come out and disrupt the festive celebration. And with all this, it was a magnificent holiday.

I think that by remembering what Israel experienced in the wilderness and seeing what Israel was experiencing then, Judah Maccabee, his brothers and God’s other servants in Judah realized that no holiday was as close to their situation as the Feast Tabernacles. Sukkot is not only a holiday that commemorates the trials in the desert. This is also a feast, which remains such, despite any trials.

We don’t know when the war in Ukraine will end. But if we celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles despite all these trials, we are truly fulfilling God’s mitzvah (commandment) about this holiday. And this gives us new power of the Holy Spirit and new boldness in faith.

Celebration of trusting yourself to God

The second reason is that Sukkot is a holiday of restoration. We see one example of how the Feast of Tabernacles became a Feast of Restoration in the book of the prophet Nehemiah. It was a celebration of the restoration of Jerusalem, the restoration of full service in the Temple, and the restoration of God’s people to the confidence that the Lord was with them, despite everything that they and their fathers had to endure.

Sukkot is a holiday of dedication and trust in God for yourself, your family and the entire community. Because on this holiday people gather in family shelters, and not only in family ones. Sukkot is a holiday of national unity. It is not for nothing that the Torah and even the Jewish tradition do not stipulate the maximum capacity of the tabernacle; tradition establishes only its minimum dimensions.

Holiday of waiting for Moshiach

And another reason why the Maccabees decided to celebrate Hanukkah according to the model of Sukkot is that Sukkot points to Moshiach. It is a holiday that prepares us for His soon return. The first rehearsal of this was when Yeshua entered Jerusalem before Passover. Those who believed that He was the Moshiach met Him, so to speak, with a lulav – with palm branches and branches of other trees. They waved branches and glorified the coming King with the messianic greeting “Baruch aba beShem Adonai!” (Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord) and shouting “Hoshana!” (Save us!). Of course, no one expected His salvation to be accomplished the way it was, but those cries were answered.

When the Hasmoneans liberated Jerusalem and the Temple, they had a premonition that the Messiah would soon appear. Therefore, they dismantled the stones from the desecrated altar and put them in a certain place, and it is written that this was done in anticipation of the appearance of the great Prophet, who alone could tell what to do with them. It was a holiday in anticipation of the coming of Moshiach. Yehuda and his first successor brothers understood perfectly well that they were not kings at all, because only Mashiach could be a king.

A holiday that unites past, present and future

Sukkot is an amazing holiday that connects the past, present and future. It is celebrated in remembrance of a specific event in the past. This holiday affirms the complete dependence of God’s people on the one God of Israel now, no matter where and in what conditions we are. And this holiday points to the future, when the King of kings, Mashiach Yeshua will appear in glory, no longer as a slave, but in the radiance of great glory and reign in Jerusalem over the whole earth.

Sukkot is a holiday that connects all big and small victories with the coming victory, which has already been completely accomplished by God, and is now only being revealed. Sukkot is a holiday of great optimism, because in any temporary defeat we know that the final chord will be with our Savior. And those

those who cling to Him will enter into His triumphant glory.

Boris Grisenko, rabbi of KEMO / t.me/messianicrabbi

Source: https://ieshua.org/chemu-nas-mogut-nauchit-v-etot-sukkot-makkavei.htm

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