The Feasts of The Lord
Leviticus 23 – Part 7
by Earlene Davis
The Feast of Tabernacles
Vs. 33-34, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.”
This is the last of the seven feast of the Lord. It is also called the “Feast of Booths” or “Feast of Ingathering” and is known in Hebrew as Succoth. Being the final fall harvest festival, it is a time of ingathering at Jerusalem and also a memorial of the shelter God provided the Israelites in the wilderness.
Vs. 35-44, “On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD. Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.”
This was truly a feasting time, of joy and song, for there was no work performed for eight days. The first day was a sabbath and the last day was a sabbath. A time when Israel began to gather in the produce of the land for which they thanked the Lord. It was somewhat like our thanksgiving day, except it lasted a week. Our camp meetings might answer to it, except Tabernacles was on a larger scale. The devout Jews built little shelters outside their houses and worshiped in them and lived in them during this eight-day festival. Even today some Jewish people build little huts and decorate them with tree boughs and autumn fruit to remind them of harvest.
In Jesus day, everyone in Israel who was able, came up to Jerusalem for this very joyous festival every year. Jesus not only celebrated it, but took the traditional elements of water and light. He used them to help the people understand who He is and what He offers. Jn. 7 & 8.
The Temple worship for this holiday included the ritual pouring of water from the pool of Siloam, symbolic of the prayers for the winter rains which were so vital for the preservation of life. At this time Jesus cried out, “…If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)” Jn. 7:37-39. As the rain falls to nourish the crops, so the Holy Spirit (Ruach ha Kodesh) refreshes us and causes us to grow spiritually. All those refreshing streams were stored up in Christ Himself.
At the end of the first day of the feast, the Temple was gloriously illuminated. Four gigantic candelabras were lit and the Temple being on a hill above the city, the glorious glow was a light for the entire city to see. The light was to remind the people how God’s Shekinah glory had once filled His Temple. In the person of Jesus, God’s glory was again present in that Temple. Again He used that celebration to declare to all who were gathered there, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Jn. 8:12.
Today in Jerusalem there is a municipal shelter provided near the Jaffa Gate for the whole city to celebrate this feast of Tabernacles each year. Even though the majority of the people in Israel are secular, yet Tabernacles is a time when the nation pauses for a time of joy, celebration and thanksgiving. The public schools are closed and many business and government offices are closed. Let us pray for the Jewish people that more will come to know the One of whom all the festival speaks.
After Israel’s final Day of Atonement, this Feast of Tabernacles will again be celebrated. Zech. 14:16-19, “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.”
What a joyous assembly that will be. The repentant, converted and restored Israel under the rulership of THE KING will celebrate like never before. They will commemorate the years of their exile, but they will also remember the Lord their Messiah and King who will have made their restoration possible. They will wave palm-branches and shout, “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He who cometh in the Name of the Lord.” They will remember His mercy and thank Him at the feast.
Ezek. 37:26-28, “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.” Natural and spiritual blessing shall fall upon Israel, their feast of Tabernacles will fully come to them.
Notice, in verse 34 that the feast was for seven days. It was followed with an eighth day (V. 36) which was the greatest day of the feast yet not a part of the seven, but a day apart. It symbolizes a new day, the eighth, when old things are done away with and all things are new. Revelation 21:3-6 tells of the eternal state after the seventh dispensation, the Kingdom Age.
God set these feasts to picture the entire career of the Messiah. The first three (the crucifixion, burial and resurrection) occurred very close together. Then a pause before the coming of the Holy Spirit. Then a long pause before the rapture of the church. The Day of Atonement will end tribulation days for Israel, then following will be Tabernacles.
Passover and Tabernacles are the only feasts that Israel will continue to celebrate during the millennium. Passover represents the Lord’s first coming as the Lamb foreordained before the foundation of the world to suffer and die for the sins of mankind. They will never forget the cross where their own Kinsman-Redeemer shed His blood for them They will truly then understand the real significance of Passover. Tabernacles represents the second advent of Christ when the nation will come into and enjoy all the blessings that are theirs because of the death of Christ. For one thousand years they will enjoy the spoils of Calvary. The ingathering will have taken place. The harvest will have come to them, both naturally and spiritually.