Continuing with our study of the feasts of Israel is this, our final feast, the Feast of Tabernacles. If you have missed the other studies, you may click the links here:
The Lord Our Passover (Passover & Unleavened Bread)
Happy Firey Tongues Day (The Feast of Weeks – Pentecost)
My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Ezekiel 37:27 (NKJV)
THE FIRST TABERNACLE
Moses, determined to bring a stiff-necked people to the Promised Land – as commissioned by God, sought to make atonement for their Golden Calf sin (Exodus). He burned the calf (32:20), and then he pitched his tent outside of the camp, far away from all the people, and called it the tabernacle of meeting (33:7). In this tabernacle Moses met with God. He begged God to not only forgive the people for their sin, but to also continue to journey with them. The Bible says that God spoke to Moses as a man speaks to his friend.
When Moses returned to the mountain, God gave him instructions for building a Tabernacle of worship for the people that they could take with them in their wilderness wanderings.
When David became king, he sought to build God a permanent dwelling place, where the Ark of the Covenant could be kept. His son Solomon fulfilled his father’s vision, and the temple was built in Jerusalem.
Through the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 25:8; 29:45; Leviticus 26:11-12) and the construction of the temple (1 Kings 6:13, 14; 2 Chronicles 6:18) God demonstrated an outward expression of His persistent desire to dwell with man. These tabernacles were however only temporary provisions. God’s word tells us that He does not dwell “in temples made with hands.” (Isaiah 66:1-2; Acts 7:48-50; 17:24, 25 cp. Jeremiah 7:4; Matthew 24:1, 2) (*http://www.dianedew.com/habitatn.htm)
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” 1 Kings 8:27 (NKJV)
Enemies of God regularly conquered the Jewish temple, took the Hebrew people as captives, and evil kings over-an-over-again robbed and desecrated it. In the New Testament, Jesus overturned tables when He found that people were turning His Father’s house into a den of thieves. And then in 70 AD God’s Tabernacle (Temple) on earth was destroyed for the last time when the Holy Land was conquered and God’s people were scattered over the face of the earth. It has never been rebuilt. All that remains is the western wall, where orthodox Jews and people from around the world go to pray and press their paper petitions into the cracks between the stones.
Since that time there have existed Jewish synagogues and Christian churches in almost every city over the face of the earth – house to house gatherings and great, beautiful, giant cathedrals.
THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES
“You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.”
Deuteronomy 16:13-15 (NKJV)
Feast of Ingathering or Feast of Booths, as it is sometimes called, is the last of the yearly feasts of Israel. It takes place in the fall, at the end of the fruit harvest.
In modern Hebrew culture, The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) is celebrated by God’s children who first put up a Sukkah (like a gazebo with an open air roof) in the days leading up to the feast date. It can be built on a porch (as long as the porch does not have a roof of any kind), or in a back yard (as long as its location is open to the sky and not sheltered under any tree cover). The Sukkah can be made of an existing structure, as long as the roof is replaced entirely with “sechach,” which is vegetable matter that has not previously been used for any other purpose. It must be four sided, with one side open for entering and exiting. The roof cannot be premade – it must be newly constructed of twigs and branches of palms collected for that particular Sukkah that year. Inside is a table, and all the family meals are taken in the Sukkah for the entire holiday. Guests are invited and encouraged.
The week-long feast of Tabernacles is book-ended between two Sabbath days of rest – Leviticus 16:30-31; 23:34, 41. On the first day of the feast the people of Israel were to “take the foliage of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and use them for the roof, and also offer an offering made by fire to the Lord, and rejoice before the Lord for seven days” (Leviticus 23:40,36). All native Israelites were to go out and dwell in these booths for the seven days of the feast to remind them of their ancestors wandering in the wilderness.
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EMMANUEL, GOD WITH US
As with all the feasts, Jesus is the pivotal point on which they all are hinged. Jesus is the IS and WAS and IS TO COME of each of them. Each of the feasts are a copy and shadow of things to come. (Read Hebrews 9 & 10 to understand the earthy sanctuary of God, the priests, and sacrifices as a picture of Jesus and what is in heaven).
The first four feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Pentecost) happen in the spring and each has been fulfilled by Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the Messiah. Three feasts remain: Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles.
Click here for the fall-feasts-free-printable
The ultimate fulfillment of the last three feasts, as it appears, will be when Jesus sounds His trumpet and gathers His elect “from the peoples” (Eze. 11:17), atones for His chosen, taking the sacrifice from the cross and sprinkling the blood on the mercy seat in heaven (Lev.16:3, 14; Rom. 5:9-11), permanently penning our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life. And then coming for His bride, the church, to take her away to the many mansions He has built in His Father’s house. “And there we shall all ever be with Him…” (1 Thes. 4:17).
“Come away with Me…” Mark 6:31 (NKJV)
…is an invitation that Jesus continues to extend to anyone who can hear His voice. It is the essence of “Tabernacles” to come out from our fleshly lives and commune with God.
In Jesus the intent of God’s heart is fulfilled. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt (or, tabernacled) among us…” (John 1:14) His name was called “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God With Us.” (Matthew 1:23) The tabernacle of Moses was only a type of “the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man…” (Hebrews 8:2, 5; 9:25) “… Behold, the tabernacle (the abode) of God is with man, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people …” (Revelation 21:3)
God’s ultimate intention, however, has been to make His abode within the heart of every believer (John 14:23). Jesus promised that the same Spirit that “dwelleth with you … shall be in you.” (John 14:17) His place of habitation is within His people: “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord.” (Zechariah 2:10)
In Old Testament times the Spirit of God would “come and go” – His Presence would enter, bless, and depart (Numbers 9:15-23; 11:25; 2Chronicles 5:13-14). Yet the Lord longed for a place in which He might continually dwell, or make His abode. “For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation … here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Psalms 132:13, 14) (*http://www.dianedew.com/habitatn.htm)
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:4-6 (NKJV)
Isn’t it interesting that God instructed His Jewish children to make temporary huts, booths, dwellings, Sukkahs to celebrate His habitation with man, and isn’t it neat that the only thing covering these little earthly tabernacles are branches and vines, which are cut down at the end of the summer harvest? What else shall God do with these branches that are cut down?
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2 (NKJV)
“And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I [John the Baptist] indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:10-12 (NKJV)
“And the fire will test each one’s work (our Firstfruits), of what sort it is. If anyone’s work endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” 1 Corinthians 3:13-17 (NKJV)
“Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’ Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved to the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” Romans 11:25-29 (NKJV)
So while our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, gathered around tables inside their little outdoor huts, let us remember our bodies are the temple of the Lord, and let us eagerly look forward to the ingathering (harvest of souls) that shall take place, and the great supper that the Lord is preparing, where we will share that communion cup with Jesus finally, after all this time.
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2-3 (NKJV)
‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’”
Revelation 19:9 (NKJV)
“Surely I am coming quickly.” Revelation 22:20 (NKJV)