The Feast of Tabernacles begins this Sunday evening, September 23rd, and is celebrated for eight days through September 30th. So what is the basic understanding of the Feast of Tabernacles?
“Speak to the children of Israel, saying, “The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation (dress rehearsal). You shall do no customary work on it. For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation (dress rehearsal), and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it. (Lev. 23:33-35)”
The Feast of Tabernacles is also known as the “Feast of Ingathering,” as it is celebrated at the final gathering of the harvest season, signifying the mark of the end of the agricultural year. Whereas the Passover offering was associated with the barley harvest, and Pentecost was associated with the wheat harvest, Tabernacles was associated with the grape harvest. Since the “blessings of the land” had been reaped for the year, the people could REST from their labors and REJOICE, which is the heart of this Feast!
“And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the [a]fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall REJOICE before the Lord your God for seven days” (Lev. 23:40).
The Feast of Tabernacles is also known as “Sukkot,” which when translated means, “Feast of Booths.” This is because the Lord commanded the children of Israel to live in temporary houses, or “tents/booths,” during the feast so that they would remember how the Lord provided and was present with the them, even in their 40 years of testing through their wilderness wanderings.
“You shall dwell in [a]booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths,that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 23:42.43).
The “temporary tent/booth” today is symbolic of a New Covenant believer’s mortal (temporary) body, in which God’s presence dwells in through the deposit of the Holy Spirit given to us at Pentecost.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwell in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16).
The Feast of Tabernacles blueprint primarily focuses on the promise coming when Christ returns, and we receive our “immortal and glorified body (a permanent dwelling) which is when we can fully “tabernacle with Him.”
“Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body (to get the inheritance of a glorified body)” (Romans 8:23).
Until Christ returns, we celebrate like our forefathers, with great anticipation of the “promises” to come. And like the children of Israel in the days of the Old Testament, who were known as a “Church in the wilderness” (Acts. 7:38), the “Church at large” for the past 2,000 years has living in temporary booths (bodies), with the presence of God (deposit of the Holy Spirit), hoping to enter into the Promised Land (New Jerusalem).
“For we know that if our earthly house, this TENT, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2 Cor. 5:1-5).
Tabernacles was the seventh and final Feast of the Hebraic calendar. The number seven means blessing and completion, and is so fitting that this Feast is all about celebration and joy, and “REST from works.”
At the end of every seventh year, which was also the end of the Sabbath land rest year, the Lord commanded them to read the LAW each day of the Feast:
“And Moses commanded them, saying: ‘At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing”(Deut. 31:10,11).
The Feast of Tabernacles was not properly celebrated for over 900 years between Joshua and Ezra. Just one week after the completion of the wall of the second temple in Jerusalem, the people gathered together for the Feast of Trumpets and stayed through the Feast of Tabernacles. They instituted a new tradition of reading the law every year so their hearts could hear the law and respond to the Word (knowledge of sin or revelation) (Rom. 3:20; 4:15; 7:7).
The Feast of Tabernacles is much like a wedding celebration, in which the bride and groom are united as ONE, and because of the Covenant made, ALL rejoice, dance, and toast to NEW BEGINNINGS. The fulfillment of this feast will mark the beginning of the New Millennium reign of Christ here on the earth. The Church at large will then be able to “REST” from the war with Satan as He is “bound” for a thousand years while Christ judges the nations and restores the earth with His righteousness.
“He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and cast him into the bottomless pit ad shut him up and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished..(Rev. 20:2,3).
In my next blog, I will explain why the Lord called the first and eighth days of this celebration, “Holy.”