After the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement have been completed, the fall holy days are capped off with a celebration that lasts for eight days. The Feast of Tabernacles completes the third holy day festival season kept annually by the Israelites. The first two were celebrated with the smaller spring harvest and the last one was with the larger fall harvest. It can be referred to as the Feast of Booths, Shelters, Tabernacles, Huts, or several variations of the Hebrew word Sukkot.
Leviticus 23:34-43 New Century Version
34 “Tell the people of Israel: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month is the Feast of Shelters. This feast to the Lord will continue for seven days. 35 There will be a holy meeting on the first day; do not do any work. 36 You will bring an offering made by fire to the Lord each day for seven days. On the eighth day you will have another holy meeting, and you will bring an offering made by fire to the Lord. This will be a holy meeting; do not do any work. 37 (“‘These are the Lord’s special feasts, when there will be holy meetings and when you bring offerings made by fire to the Lord. You will bring whole burnt offerings, grain offerings, sacrifices, and drink offerings—each at the right time. 38 These offerings are in addition to those for the Lord’s Sabbath days, in addition to offerings you give as payment for special promises, and in addition to special offerings you want to give to the Lord.) 39 “‘So on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered in the crops of the land, celebrate the Lord’s festival for seven days. You must rest on the first day and the eighth day. 40 On the first day you will take good fruit from the fruit trees, as well as branches from palm trees, poplars, and other leafy trees. You will celebrate before the Lord your God for seven days. 41 Celebrate this festival to the Lord for seven days each year. This law will continue from now on; you will celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 Live in shelters for seven days. All the people born in Israel must live in shelters 43 so that all your descendants will know I made Israel live in shelters during the time I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’”
As with the other holy day seasons, God uses this holy day festival to remind the Israelites how he rescued them from slavery. Living in huts was a physical reminder to them of how they lived before they entered the promised land. It was also a way to level the social hierarchy. When everyone is living out of a tent it is hard to be jealous of those who have big houses. It is also hard to feel superior over those who camp and live simply, if those unaccustomed to living simply need help to survive the rigours of the week. Few Christians know that along with the normal tythe of ten percent, God also implemented a second tythe of ten percent to be saved for holy day celebrations. Flush with cash to spend on whatever their hearts desired, the nation experienced Sukkot all together. The fall feast was meant to be a time of national bonding and merriment. How would you party with your neighbours?