“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 Lordyour 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 them, even in their 40 years of testing through their wilderness wanderings.
“You shall dwell in 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, where God’s presence dwells because of the Holy Spirit deposited in us.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwell in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16).
This deposit was a guarantee UNTIL we receive our immortal (permanent) bodies.
“who (speaking of the Holy Spirit) is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:14).
The Tabernacles blueprint required drink and wine offerings to be given 7 days of the Feast of Tabernacles. The drink offering was symbolized as an outpouring of the Holy Spirit (water) that prophesied of the “guarantee.” Because of Christ’ sinless sacrifice that conquered death, at God’s SET TIME, He will also swallow up death in our mortal bodies and manifest God’s glory.
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9).
The wine represented the overthrow of evil because of the wrath of God, which will produce righteousness in the earth. A similar pattern is found in Revelations 16, as the “7 bowls of wrath” are poured out, confirming this transformation process of light overcoming darkness.
“Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth” (Rev. 16:1).
God warns us in Rev. 14 that those who worship the beast (Babylon (money and power and reject the Law (Way, Truth, Life of Christ), will be affected by God’s wrath:
“If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation” (Rev. 14:9,10).
In addition to the offerings, at the end of every seventh year, the Lord commanded the Israelites 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).
By opening up the Law and reading what God spoke in His Tablets of Covenant, the hearts were reminded of God’s love and promise for each of them.
Historically, on the first day of Tabernacles, the Israelites sang Psalm 105 when the priests poured their offerings of water and wine on the altar. Psalm 105 is a brief history of how God redeemed the children of Israel from Pharaoh and slavery. This kicked off the celebration.
It is interesting to note that the Feast of Tabernacles was not properly celebrated for over 900 years between Joshua and Ezra. Butjust 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 (Rom. 3:20; 4:15; 7:7).
Tabernacles was the seventh and final Feast of the Hebraic Covenant Calendar. The number seven means blessing and completion and is so fitting that this Feast is all about celebration, joy, and “REST from works.”
The last day 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 Feast of Tabernacles blueprint primarily focuses on God perfecting His promise of immortality through His Son returning to the earth as our kinsmen redeemer and releasing us from the debts of sin (Book of Ruth). The 7 days of Tabernacles fulfills the laws of cleansing, which is the lawful process of purification to rid ourselves from our sinful flesh so we can receive our “immortal and glorified body (a permanent dwelling) (Num. 19; Lev. 14). After this process is complete, we can fully “tabernacle with God.”
“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 (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” which is an immortal corporate body).
“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).
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).