Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Meaning of Sukkot

I. Introduction
The Feast of Booths or Sukkot is one of the three great festivals, Shalosh Regalim God commands Israel to keep in the Pentateuch.[1] This paper begins with the discussion on the meaning of Sukkot within historical and agricultural frameworks as well as the unity between the two to the original audience, namely the first and second generation of God's people in the wilderness. The connection with the New Testament after the coming of Christ is covered next including its use for God's people today.
Two sections of Leviticus 23, verses 33-36 and 39-43 give the details necessary for the observance of Sukkot. It is to be observed on the fifteenth day of the seventh month (the month of Tishri, v.34) for seven days. Verse 36 indicates the required offerings that Num 29:12-38 elaborates as to what offerings on each day should consist of. The first and eighth days are to be treated as Sabbath where the people must abstain from ordinary work and gather for worship (v.35-36). The eighth day seems to be distinct but I believe it is still integral to Sukkot (see section IV for further discussion). Verses 39-41 contain the occasion and the nature of Sukkot, namely to joyfully celebrate the harvest as "a feast to the Lord" after the people have "gathered in the produce of the land." The prescribed plants in verse 40 are used to construct booths where the people are to dwell for seven days (v.42). Sukkot is to be observed by every generation of God's people (v.41b) for the purpose of commemoration that when God delivered their forefathers from Egypt, he made them dwell in booths (v.43).

II. Historical Dimension
The historical element of Sukkot consists of reflection of the past. Lev 23:43 gives the reason behind its observance as a moment of remembrance of the wilderness journey in which God provided Israelis shelters. Milgrom claims that Lev 23:42-43 is an exilic insertion and therefore does not apply to Moses' original audience.[2] His arguments and my refutations are as follows. First, the word sukkot, despite acting as an object in the sentence, is placed in the emphatic position at the beginning of verse 42. This can only imply that the verse is addressed to the Babylonian exiles. But the placement of the word may also convey a different message that does not necessarily imply that it is addressed to the exilic community as discussed in this section as well as sections III and IV. Second, only Israelis are commanded to build booths, but not gerim (resident aliens) because in exile there is no ger. Here Milgrom is talking about the word ezrach in verse 42 which he believes to refer to native or biological Israelis. But the OT contains examples where gerim are considered native Israelis such as Ruth and Rahab. Moreover, in Deut 16:14 the groups of people required to observe Sukkot include gerim which can only mean that gerim is a subset of ezrach. Third, the command to build booths is "an act of desperation" in exile due to the absence of the temple and its attended rites. Milgrom is mistaken in his assumption that the people are required to observe Sukkot at the temple in Jerusalem. Deut 16:15 shows that they are to celebrate "at the place that the Lord will choose," which is not necessarily the temple. Fourth, it doesn't make sense for a Jerusalemite (and I assume all Israelis) to leave the comfort of his home to endure the inconveniences of living in an impoverished shelter. But the inconveniences associated with dwelling in booths as an object lesson are precisely one of the purposes of Sukkot that the people may truly understand the message God is teaching them in its observance, which again, is covered in this section and the next two sections.
Wenham thinks that Sukkot encourages Israelis to appreciate "the good housing they now enjoy." [3] But Sukkot means more than appreciation of material blessings. I am leaning toward Henry's view that the purpose of Sukkot is to remind the people of God's faithfulness to care for them in the midst of a terrifying wilderness.[4] In other words, the purpose is not material-centered, but God-centered gratitude. The object of praise is not the gift, but the Giver. Deut 8:15 describes this wilderness that God led the people through as vast and dreadful. The dreadfulness consists of a constant threat of death, not only due to the absence of basic means to sustain life such as food and drink, but also the presence of hostile climates and preying animals capable of inflicting serious, or even fatal injuries: the venomous snakes and scorpions. The hopeless prospect of going through a seemingly impassable desert is a reason to despair. Yet God sustained the people, to use Henry's words, "with the utmost care and tenderness imaginable," not only by giving them shelters, but also through miraculous provision of food, water, clothing and footwear (Deut 8:3-4, 15-16) until they safely entered the promised land.
In addition to the call for joyful praise at the present in light of past gestures of God's kindness, there is also a warning implicit in the celebration of Sukkot. In causing the people to dwell in booths[5] (Lev 23:43), God taught them lessons. The hardships in the wilderness that include living in booths were his fatherly instructions for the good of his children.[6] Deut 8:11-14, 17 warns about the dangers associated with future material blessings that they will enjoy in the land. Greenberg remarks, "People heap up treasures and power and status symbols in the hope of staving off the unexpected, disaster, even death. The search of solid security all too often leads to idolatry, to the worship of things that give security."[7] The security resulting from living in solid home and the comfort of enjoying life in a fruitful land potentially leads to pride and idolatry. To prevent these from happening, Moses warns the people twice, negatively in verse 11 not to forget God and positively in verse 18 to remember God as the sole benefactor of his people. Sukkot is a way to remember God through the re-enactment of the wilderness experience (Lev 23:40-43),[8] that when internalized in one's heart would foster genuine gratitude and faith, the opposite of pride and idolatry.[9]    

III. Agricultural and Material Dimensions
Sukkot is called the Feast of Ingathering when it was first instituted in Ex 23:16. The month of Tishri when Sukkoth is observed is the end of the agricultural year and the beginning of the new one.[10] Milgrom views the agricultural aspect of Sukkot almost exclusively in terms of supplication for rain. The focus of the seven-day activities as well as the holy convocation on the first and the eight days is prayer for blessings on the sowing and reaping activities in the upcoming year.[11] But there is certainly much more to be conveyed that Milgrom fails to take into account. To begin with, as Henry points out, "The joy of the harvest ought to be improved for the furtherance of our joy in God."[12] Greenberg sees all three elements: gratitude for harvest, prayers for rain and nature rituals.[13]  Sukkot's joyful nature acknowledges legitimate use and celebration of material goods, not only within one's family and nation, but the happiness of the harvest ought to be extended to the underprivileged in the land as well: the servants, the widows, the orphans and the sojourners (Deut 16:13-15). Praise to God for present provision as a demonstration of his faithfulness to care for his people is the basis of faith in his future faithfulness expressed in prayers and nature rituals.
Also tied to Sukkot is the theme of pilgrimage. To understand the concept of pilgrimage, Rubenstein begins with the description of a sukka being a temporary shelter for farm laborers to protect them from the sun. During winter, the sukka stands neglected and ends up being ruined since it is subject to the wind, rain, storm and frost. Accordingly, throughout the OT, sukka is a symbol of fragility and vulnerability (cf. Amos 9:11, Isa 1:7-8). Rubenstein elaborates that Lev 23:43, tied to Deut 8:12-14, 17 is a reminder against overconfidence and unbridled celebration at the time of the harvest, "when their houses are full of good and (they) think that this world is their purpose and the foundation of their life."[14] The homes usually swell with crops and bounty at the end of the harvest, hence the timing of Sukkot. Here is how Rubenstein links sukka to the true state of God's people in this world,[15]

Humans naturally look upon the fruits of their land, their good fortune, and material prosperity as hard-won triumphs. We take deep satisfaction in what we have produced. We believe that we have realized our goals and accomplished our purpose in life. But this is a dangerous delusion. This world is but a guesthouse and temporary dwelling over against the world to come.

To remind us that our focus should not be this worldly goods but rather other worldly salvation, God commands us to leave our homes specifically at the time of the greatest prosperity, when houses fill with the bounty of the harvest. Just at that time God commands his people to leave behind the riches of the home for poorer domiciles so as to retain the proper perspectives.

The temporariness of sukka symbolizes the ephemerality of the present world. While residing in temporary sukka resident comes to appreciate her true purpose in life, not to dedicate herself to producing abundant crops, but to the religious worship that God demands.

There are a few lessons gleaned from the pilgrimage symbolism in the sukka. First, the sukka teaches the fragility, the fleeting nature of human life and the impermanence of the world he lives in. The resident of the sukka then ought to learn to place his trust not in the work of his hands or on his strength but in the shade of God, "Desist from your concerns about the weather according to which you plan to take shelter in the solid houses that you build, and come take shelter in my shade. For truly, he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High and abides in the shade of the almighty (Ps 91:1) lives a secure life."[16] Second, the pilgrim mindset is not something unique taught in Sukkot but is attested throughout the OT beginning from Abraham and Jacob to David. Abraham along with Isaac and Jacob with the rest of the OT saints confess that they are sojourners (gerim) in this world[17] (Gen 23:4, 47:9, Ps 39:12b, 119:19a, 54, Heb 11:9,13). Even after Israel was firmly established in the land, David considers himself as a "ger" whose days on earth are as a shadow[18] (1 Chron 29:15). Third, the sobriety of the pilgrim state of God's people does not mean that Sukkot is not a time of celebration, but one with a different perspective that aligns well with the pilgrim mindset of the OT saints. To quote Rubenstein,[19]

The joys of this world, like the world itself, are not unreal, but they are certainly fleeting and ephemeral. Human beings are under God's protection, care and providence in this world, just as the Israelis were in the desert. Yet in this world, material possessions and all this worldly experience: joy, suffering, prosperity, satisfaction and sickness are transient. Only divine protection transcends this world and endures in the next. We rejoice not on account of material prosperity in this world though that is surely reason to give thanks, but at the joy of fulfilling the commandments, of residing in the "shade of God," and of future inheritance of the world to come.

IV. The Unifying Theme
So far, the discussion on Sukkot focuses on either its historical or agricultural aspect. Derby denies the latter[20] while Milgrom barely touches on the former. Others who acknowledge both do not seem to have a connecting link between the two or an overarching theme, so each aspect is disjointed from another. Of a particular difficulty is the place of the offerings, especially the burnt offerings in Num 29:12-38 in the overall picture of the observance. Milgrom offers an insight about the progression of the number of bulls offered each day according to n-1 formula starting with 13 on the first day that gives a total of 70 in seven days representing the total number of nations in those days. He believes that the number 70 signifies the universal appeal of the need and desire to give thanks to God for the year's harvest[21] which I disagree in favor of Vernoff. The burnt offerings (Lev 1) and the sacrificial system in general are intended as a type of atonement for sins (Heb 10:1-3) fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross (Heb 10:4-14), not as an expression of thanksgiving or dedication.[22]
Vernoff, on the other hand, proposes a theme that links nearly all elements of Sukkot from Ex 23:16, Lev 23:33-36, 39-43, Num 29:12-38 to Deut 16:13-15, namely the theme of redemption.[23] He first looks at the bigger system of Shalosh Regalim representing a progression of events from Pesach to Shavuot then Sukkot associated with creation, revelation and redemption, respectively. Pesach commemorates Israel's creation as a nation while Shavuot recalls Israel's arrival at Sinai to receive the revelation, the Torah from God. Sukkot symbolizes the remainder of Israel's journey culminating in the arrival at Canaan, an arrival which may be identified with the theme of final redemption.
By looking at the list of Scripture passages read traditionally during Sukkot such as Zech 14:9-16, Vernoff discovers an eschatological message, "an anticipation of end time where all will come to recognize that there is but one God and all will join in calling him by one singular name in the eschatological temple." The four ingredients (Arba Minim in Lev 23:40) and the sacrifices of a total of 70 bulls from the first to seventh day have to do with the worship of God by all nations. Vernoff argues that Arba Minim symbolize unified wholeness of the body, of Israel representing humankind. The fact these ingredients are held together and waved in six directions which is part of the rituals signifies the totality of divine rule over all creations, a rule to become fully accomplished only with the redemption. Priestly Israel offers sacrifices on behalf of universal humanity divided in 70 nations. There is an implicit acknowledgement of the universal impact of the Fall and therefore, the universal need for atonement to reconcile sinful humanity to a holy God. Israel as pilgrim in the wilderness of the sinful world is chosen by God to be his witness to all nations that they too may be reconciled to and worship the true God, fulfilling the mission he gave her given in passages such as Isaiah 2:2-3.

It shall come to pass in the latter days  that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD to the house of the God of Jacob,  that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Closely related to the sacrifices of 70 bulls in Num 29:12-38 is Sheminiy Atseret, the eighth day of assembly or the last day of Sukkot. In Judaism, seven denotes completion and eight suggests the threshold of a new and higher reality signifying arrival at a new level transcending seven which is the number signifying completed prior reality. The first seven days of Sukkot are a symbol of Israel completing the wilderness journey and on the eighth day they proceeded to take possession of the land. Sheminiy Atseret then, is a harbinger of the eight day of history, the new beginning that will transfigure the world in the era of redemption, a reference to initiation of another era, the time of the new heavens and the new earth when the world embarks upon a fully redeemed existence. In one sense, Sheminiy Atseret is an extension of Sukkot, the product or the outcome of the preceding age. In another sense, it is distinct from Sukkot as it is a foretaste of the reality of the eschatological kingdom of God which the Messiah (Mashiach) will establish.
But what does Sukkot, the burnt offerings and Sheminiy Atseret have to do with the harvest, the feast and their corresponding joy, the latter being the emphasis of Deut 16:13-15? The joy of Sukkot is inspired by the ingathering of the autumnal harvest. In eschatological sense, by virtue of what the atoning animal sacrifices represent, there is an anticipation of a unique and profound joy occasioned by the harvest of redeemed humanity during the Sukkot of history with the climax being the arrival of the Sheminiy Atseret of history. This joy culminates in the actual establishment of the Kingdom of God as history yields to a fully redeemed new beginning, the ecstatic fulfillment of the joy of Torah (Simchat Torah) under the rule of Mashiach.
The question now is how we tie the redemptive theme of Sukkot in this section with the historical and agricultural / material views covered in sections II and III. The answer is only when Israel understands and lives out the basic principles learned from the historical and agricultural / material aspects of Sukkot will she be able to accomplish the redemptive mission God gives her as a nation. Only when Israel is committed to live in faithful obedience to God motivated by his loving-kindness toward her in the past will she become a witness to the nations. Only when Israel acknowledges that despite God's fulfillment of his promise blessing them with the land, she is still a sojourner living in sukkot in the wilderness, though not necessarily in literal sense, will she be driven by faith to look to her true home in the world to come when Mashiach reigns as the eternal King over all nations.

V. New Testament Connection
Vernoff's framework based on Shalosh Regalim and down to the details of Sukkot is useful to establish various connections to the NT. We can think of Pesach as Jesus Christ triumphing over the enemy of God's people when he shed his blood on the cross (Col 1:13-14, 2:14-15) by which they are redeemed (1 Pet 1:19). The revelation of Torah in Shavuot is meant to be internalized in their hearts (Jer 31:33, Heb 8:8-10, 10:16) after the Holy Spirit gives them a heart of flesh by which they are enabled to obey God (Ezek 36:26-27). The coming of Christ and his finished work on the cross inaugurated the kingdom of God. Christians are the true Israel (Rom 2:28-29) consisting of Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus Christ (Eph 2:14-22). Though they have received salvation forensically through justification by faith alone (Rom 3:24-26, 5:1), they have not received the actual or final salvation reserved as inheritance to be bestowed in the last day (1 Pet 1:5).
Sukkot describes the state of Christians in the wilderness of this fallen world. They are in the world but not of the world (John 17:16, 1 John 2:19). Peter addresses his audience as κλεκτος παρεπιδήμοις "chosen sojourners," (1 Pet 1:1, 17, 2:11) where sojourner παρεπιδήμος is equivalent to גֵר (ger) in the OT. Grudem defines sojourner in the context of 1 Peter as [24]  

a temporary resident in a foreign place, in a world that is not his own. Their true homeland is in heaven and any earthly residence is therefore temporary. Yet they are chosen sojourners, one whom the King of the universe has chosen to be his own people, to benefit from his protection, and to inhabit his heavenly kingdom.

The significance of Arba Minim is related to Grudem's exposition on the theme of pilgrimage in 1 Peter. Heb 13:14 speaks of the transient nature of the present world (cf. 1 Cor 7:31b). Such a realization leads believers not to build mansions, but sukkot, though not necessarily in literal sense, whose construction using Arba Minim is not suitable for permanent dwelling, but good enough to sustain them as they journey toward the realization of the new heavens and the new earth (2 Pet 3:13). They look forward to the eternal city whose designer and builder is God (Heb 11:10, 16). Perhaps there is nowhere in the NT where this pilgrim mindset is displayed more clearly than that in Heb 10:32-34, 11:35-38 describing the dire straits of persecuted Christians.
The sacrifices of 70 bulls representing all the nations of the world are tied to the role of Christians as priests (1 Pet 2:9) in the wilderness and the Great Commission (Mat 28:19-20). Instead of being concentrated in a particular location, the church of Jesus Christ is scattered all over the world to be his salt and light. Christians are not only to pray that "his name be hallowed in the world," and "his kingdom come," but also they are to actively bring about the reality of the Lord's Prayer by carrying the gospel to the nations to fulfill 1 John 2:2 that Jesus Christ, the Mashiach himself is the propitiation, not only for their sins, but also for the sins of the whole world. The "whole world" fits theme of the burnt offerings on behalf of the 70 nations not in the sense that everyone without exception will be saved, but that salvation is extended to certain people of all existing nations in the world according to God's election (Eph 1:4-5, Rom 8:29-30).
Sheminiy Atseret has the characteristics of solemnity (Miqra-Qodesh, holy assembly) and joy (Atseret, festival). In the NT, this is the blessed day Christians look forward to when they arrive at their true home, the city of God that Heb 11:10, 16 talks about, to be present with Jesus in the celestial mansion that he is at the moment preparing for those who are his (John 14:2-3). It is a solemn moment Heb 4:9-10 speaks of, a blessed rest from their earthly labor (Rev 14:13b). But this rest is not to be understood as an absence of activity, but refers to activity of a different nature. Labor on fallen earth is burdensome since it is tainted by sin (Gen 3:17b-19). The labor of the saints in heaven, however, is free from the effects of the Fall. Joyfully praising God is their chief employment throughout eternity, beginning with the gathering of all the saints of all nations (Rev 7:9-10, cf. 1 John 2:2) in preparation for the glorious marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:1-7). Note the connection between people from all walks of life in Deut 16:14 invited to join the festivities in Sukkot with Titus 2:11, the grace of God bringing salvation to all men. Again, this is not a proof-text for universal atonement. Calvin rightly exegetes,[25]

Paul does not mean individuals but rather all kinds of people with their diverse ways of life, and he lays great emphasis on the fact that God's grace has graciously come down even to slaves. Since God does not despise even the lowest and most degraded people, we would be most foolish to be slow and negligent to embrace his goodness.

The point of Deut 16:14 in light of Titus 2:11 and Num 29:12-38 in the context of Rev 7:9 then is that salvation is extended to diverse people in kind and degree. The extent of the elect not only covers people from all nations, but also people from all walks of life; man and woman, young and old, rich and poor, master and slave and everything in between. These are true ezrach (citizens) of Israel, Jews and Gentiles who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, predestined to the praise of his glorious grace (Eph 1:6) throughout eternity.

VI. Applications
Three general uses of Sukkot can be learned from Edwards for Christians today. First, just as Sukkot was celebrated as a community of God's people, Christians ought to encourage one another often in their journey together as the Church of Jesus Christ (cf. Heb 3:13, 10:25).[26] Second, Edwards exhorts Christians to labor to get a sense of vanity of this world.[27] Third, they are also to labor to be much acquainted with heaven.[28]
There is a link between Edwards' outlines and Piper's exposition[29] on 1 Tim 6:6-10, 17-19 that contains more specific applications as to how Christians ought to live in light of what God teaches them in Sukkot. Instead of being consumed by the love of money, they are to pursue godliness, an element of which is "being content with simplicity rather than being greedy for riches." But a lifestyle of simplicity is not the end, but the means for a greater good. As we look at Jesus' command to lay up treasures in heaven (Mat 6:20) and Paul's charge to "do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous," we see that this greater good is the reward in heaven. No, this is not work-based salvation. Christians pursue this reward, namely joy in God, not in order to be saved, but because they have been saved,[30]

Don't seek the reward of an earthly tit for tat. Be generous. Don't pad your life with luxuries and comfort. Look to the resurrection and the great reward in God "whose presence is fullness of joy and at whose right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Ps 16:11).

And how does one pursue this more glorious and lasting reward? Piper brings up the term "wartime lifestyle."[31] It expands on the meaning of simplicity beyond a lifestyle unencumbered with nonessentials to imply that "there is a great and worthy cause for which to spend and be spent."  Jesus' call to lose our lives (Mat 10:39) here is to fulfill the mission of love he gave us considering the dire need of mercy (Luke 14:13-14) and the lack of gospel presence in many parts of the world today. Once Christians are convicted by such a reality in addition to Edwards' second and third points that necessitate a wartime lifestyle, they will be energized to give themselves freely and joyfully in manifold ministries of Christ.

VII. Conclusion
            Though Sukkot contains distinct historical and agricultural dimensions from the point of view of the original audience, there is an overarching theme of redemption embedded in it. Many of the imagery associated with this festival finds vivification in its corresponding realities in the NT. Christians today still have much to learn from Sukkot particularly in the area of sanctification to help them to live a lifestyle appropriate for followers of Christ, to kindle their hope of heaven and thereby encourage them to persevere to remain faithful to him to the end.

[1] The other two festivals are Passover or Pesach observed on the 14th day in the first month of Abib and the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot observed seven weeks after the Feast of the First Fruits.

[2] Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 17-23 (AB; New York: Doubleday, 2001), 2050-2051.

[3] Gordon Wenham, Leviticus (NICOT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), 305.

[4] Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. I (MacLean: MacDonald, 1985), 540. "God not only set up a tabernacle for himself among them, but with the utmost care and tenderness imaginable, hung a canopy over them, even the cloud that sheltered them from the heat of the sun. God’s former mercies to us and our fathers ought to be kept in everlasting remembrance."

[5] הוֹשַׁבְתִּי is יָשַׁב in Hiphil showing strong causation. Israel's dwelling in booths throughout the wilderness journey was not an afterthought, but was God's sovereign design from the beginning.

[6] וְיָדַעְתָּ עִם־לְבָבֶךָ כִּי כַּאֲשֶׁר יְיַסֵּר אִישׁ אֶת־בְּנוֹ יהוה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מְיַסְּרֶךָּ׃ Deut 8:5. The wilderness experience was meant as God's fatherly instructions out of his love for his children. יָסַר is in Piel which means "to teach, instruct, i.e., to give formal and informal instruction, often with a focus on warning of consequences for bad behavior." James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament, electronic ed.) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997).

[7] Irving Greenberg, "Journey to Liberation: Sukkot," Tikkun 3 (1988) 35.

[8] לְמַעַן יֵדְעוּ דֹרֹתֵיכֶם Lev 23:43, "in order that your generations may know…," יָדַע in Qal does not merely refer to intellectual knowledge, to possess information about, but also "to be familiar with, i.e., to acquire information by experience." (Swanson, DBLH).

[9] Nobuyoshi Kiuchi,  Leviticus (AOTC; Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2007), 429. Kiuchi infers from Neh 8:17 that Sukkot was not celebrated from the time of Joshua until the return from exile. Moses' warning was proven true. Failure to remember God exemplified in the neglect to observe Sukkot was one reason behind the erosion of faith in Israel leading to idolatry, apostasy and eventually exile. "It seems in the light of the self indulgence that characterizes general human nature that the people soon forgot their God who had saved them in the promised land."

[10] Wenham, Leviticus, 305.

[11] Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus (Continental; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004), 282, 284-285. The theme that unites all these rituals is a supplication for rain. The ritual of waving of branches in all directions is magical in nature. It is a summon to the four winds to bring rain and hinder bad winds and bad dews.

[12] Henry, Commentary, 541.

[13] Greenberg, "Journey to Liberation: Sukkot," 36-37.

[14] Jeffrey L. Rubenstein, "The Symbolism of the Sukka (Part 2)," Judaism 45 (1996) 389.

[15] Rubenstein, "The Symbolism of the Sukka," 389-390.

[16] Rubenstein, "The Symbolism of the Sukka," 391.

[17] Swanson, DBLH. גֵר sojourner, temporary residence, מָגוֹר, pilgrimage, גוּר, to live as temporary resident, to sojourn. In Greek, the word is translated as either πάροικος or παρεπίδημος, derivatives of παροικέω and ἐπιδημέω ‘to live as a foreigner: a person who for a period of time lives in a place which is not his normal residence—‘alien, stranger, temporary resident. παροικία, the time or occasion of one’s living in a place as a foreigner—‘time of residence, stay. Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domain 2nd Ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997).

[18] כַּצֵּל יָמֵינוּ עַל־הָאָרֶץ וְאֵין מִקְוֶה, 1 Chron 29:15b literally says "like a shadow are our days on the earth there is no hope." In ESV, "Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding."

[19] Rubenstein, "The Symbolism of the Sukka," 396.

[20] Josiah Derby, "The Wilderness Experience." Jewish Bible Quarterly 26 (1998), 193.

[21] Milgrom, Leviticus 23-27, 2031-2032.

[22] The grain offering expressing complete dedication and the fellowship offering as an expression of thanksgiving are described in Lev 2 and 3, respectively.

[23] Charles E. Vernoff, "Sukkot: Feast of the Redemption," Tradition 33, no.4 (1999) 6-26.

[24] Wayne A. Grudem, 1 Peter (TNTC; Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 52-53, 122.

[25] John Calvin, 1&2 Timothy & Titus (CCC; Wheaton: Crossway, 1998), 198.

[26] Jonathan Edwards, The Works vol.II, (Grand Rapids: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2002), 627. "Let Christians help one another in going this journey. — There are many ways whereby Christians might greatly forward one another in their way to heaven, as by religious conference, etc. Therefore let them be exhorted to go this journey as it were in company: conversing together, and assisting one another. Company is very desirable in a journey, but in none so much as this. — Let them go united and not fall out by the way, which would be to hinder one another, but use all means they can to help each other up the hill. — This would ensure a more successful traveling and a more joyful meeting at their Father’s house in glory."

[27] Edwards, The Works, 627. "Labor to get a sense of the vanity of this world, on account of the little satisfaction that is to be enjoyed here, its short continuance, and unserviceableness when we most stand in need of help, viz. on a death-bed. — All men, that live any considerable time in the world, might see enough to convince them of its vanity, if they would but consider. — Be persuaded therefore to exercise consideration when you see and hear, from time to time, of the death of others. Labor to turn your thoughts this way. See the vanity of the world in such a glass."

[28] Edwards, The Works, 621, 627. "Labor to be much acquainted with heaven. — If you are not acquainted with it, you will not be likely to spend your life as a journey thither. You will not be sensible of its worth, nor will you long for it. Unless you are much conversant in your mind with a better good, it will be exceeding difficult to you to have your hearts loose from these things, to use them only in subordination to something else, and be ready to part with them for the sake of that better good. — Labor therefore to obtain a realizing sense of a heavenly world, to get a firm belief of its reality, and to be very much conversant with it in your thoughts.

God is the highest good of the reasonable creature, and the enjoyment of him is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. — To go to heaven fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows. But the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean. — Therefore it becomes us to spend this life only as a journey towards heaven, as it becomes us to make the seeking of our highest end and proper good, the whole work of our lives, to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for, or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end, and true happiness?"

[29] John Piper, Desiring God (Sisters: Multnomah, 1996), 159-160.

[30] Piper, Desiring God, 166,

[31] Piper, Desiring God, 169-171.

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