We are studying the Feasts of Yahweh found in Leviticus 23:
'These are the appointed times of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them. Leviticus 23:4 NASB
The words "holy convocations" is the Hebrew miqra, which means: "rehearsal." The Feasts of Yahweh were appointed times of worship for Israel that would serve as "dress rehearsals" of prophetic events that were to happen in the future. Through these Feasts Yahweh was showing Israel what He was going to do. They were pictures of their coming Messiah and His work. These Feasts, as we have taught, were both literal Feasts celebrated in Israel every year and TYPES of God's prophetic calendar of events for the Church.
We have studied the four Spring Feasts--Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost. These four Feasts were a prophetic foreshadowing of the First Coming of the Lord Yeshua. They spoke of His death, deliverance, resurrection, and the advent of the New Covenant.
The remaining three feasts are the Fall Feasts, which were a prophetic foreshadowing of the Second Coming of Christ. The Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. The Fall Feasts took place in the month of Tishri on the Hebrew calendar, which would be September or October on our calendar. These three Feasts speak of the consummation of redemption after the outpouring of God's wrath and the New Heaven and Earth, which is typified by the Feast of Tabernacles.
Let's jump right into our study of the Seventh and final Feast, which is the Feast of Tabernacles:
Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD. 'On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind. 'For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work. 'These are the appointed times of the LORD which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, to present offerings by fire to the LORD--burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each day's matter on its own day-- besides those of the sabbaths of the LORD, and besides your gifts and besides all your votive and freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD. 'On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day. 'Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. 'You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 'You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.'" So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the LORD. Leviticus 23:33-44 NASB
This is the seventh Feast on the seventh month, and it was to last for seven days. The number "seven" is the biblical number of completion. This is the grand finale in God's plan of redemption; Yahweh dwelling with His people.
The Feast of Tabernacles is the most joyful and festive of all Israel's Feasts. It is also the most important and prominent Feast, which is mentioned more often in Scripture than any of the other Feasts. The Feast of Tabernacles is known by at least two names in Scripture. Most often it is referred to as "Sukkot" or "booths or Tabernacles." The English word "tabernacle" is from the Latin tabernaculum, meaning: "booth" or "hut." It acquired this name from the biblical requirement for all Israelites to dwell in tabernacles or temporary shelters during the holiday. It was to be an annual reminder of God's provision during the 40-year wilderness sojourn when Israel lived in similar shelters. This final Feast of the year is known in Scripture also as the "Feast of Ingathering" for it was observed after all crops had been harvested and gathered:
"Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field. Exodus 23:16 NASB
The Feast was celebrated with great joy. The joy was twofold, for it commemorated God's past goodness and provision during their wilderness sojourn, and it commemorated God's present goodness and provision with the completion of harvest.
The mood of Sukkot is joyous, and it is a time for celebration. Remember the progression: repentance on the Feast of Trumpets, forgiveness and atonement on Yom Kippur, and now it is time to rejoice and be glad during Sukkot:
and you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your towns. "Seven days you shall celebrate a 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 will be altogether joyful. Deuteronomy 16:14-15 NASB
Everyone, including Gentiles (stranger), were commanded to rejoice during Sukkot.
The Feast of Tabernacles falls in the autumn of the year. On the Hebrew calendar, it occurs on the 15th day of Tishri, the seventh month (usually late September to mid-October); only five days after the solemn Day of Atonement. The Feast of Tabernacles lasts for seven days. The first day and the day after Tabernacles (the eighth day, known as Shemini Atzeret) are considered sacred assemblies, or Sabbaths (Lev. 23:36, 39). As such, no work of any kind is permitted on these days (Leviticus 23:36, 39).
Three portions of Scripture outline the biblical observance of the Feast of Tabernacles. The people were to live in booths and rejoice before Yahweh with branches. (Lev. 23:33-43). There were to be many daily, sacrificial offerings (Numbers 29:12-39). In a sabbatical year, the Law was to be publicly read during Tabernacles (Deut. 31:10-11).
Because of the joy associated with the Feast of Tabernacles, it became the most prominent of Israel's holidays. It was referred to simply as "the holiday" by the ancient rabbis. The importance of the Feast of Tabernacles is also seen in its inclusion as one of the three pilgrim feasts; Passover and Pentecost being the other two. Three times during the year, all Jewish males were required by Yahweh to appear before Him in the Temple. These were known as Pilgrim Feasts because of the required pilgrimage to Jerusalem. During the Feast of Tabernacles, the people brought their tithes and offerings to the Temple, for they were not to "appear before Yahweh empty-handed."
Further importance is seen in the great number of required sacrifices during the Feast week. Each day one goat, 14 lambs, two rams, and a number of bulls (13 on the first day, decreasing by one each day) was offered in the Temple. Each of the sacrifices were offered with its appropriate meal offerings (flour and oil) and drink offerings (wine). All 24 divisions of priests shared in the sacrificial duties during the week. In the days of the Temple, the Feast of Tabernacles was viewed with great awe, for it was during the Feast of Tabernacles that Solomon dedicated the newly built Temple to Yahweh. At that ancient observance of Tabernacles, the Shekinah glory of Yahweh descended from Heaven to light the fire on the altar and fill the Holy of Holies.
The Feast of Tabernacles occurs at Israel's change of seasons and marks the beginning of the winter, rainy season. These refreshing rains bring necessary moisture for working the soil and the sprouting of new crops. If for some reason the weather patterns are such that several weeks of rainfall are missed, a dire water shortage can quickly develop for the coming year's crops. Because the Feast of Tabernacles is observed at this important junction, when the anticipation of rain is at its highest, the two have become inseparably connected. Even today, the prayers of rain remain an important part of Tabernacles' observance.
The Service of the Feast of Tabernacles
In the days of the Temple, the Jewish pilgrims flocked to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. They came from every village within the nation and from many foreign countries, most often in large caravans for protection. It was a joyous trip with much singing and laughing along the way.
Upon arrival in Jerusalem, the pilgrims focused their energies upon building booths for the Feast. By the afternoon of Tishri 14, thousands upon thousands of leafy booths lined the streets and dotted the surrounding fields and hills. All were carefully located within a Sabbath's day's journey (a little more than a half mile) of the Temple. At sundown, the blast of the shofar (ram's horn) from the Temple announced the arrival of the holiday. A sense of increased excitement fell over the city as darkness came. Myriads of twinkling campfires studded the surrounding countryside.
During the Feast of Tabernacles, the intense anticipation of rain came to be reflected in the temple services. Each morning of Tabernacles, a water libation (sacrificial pouring out water) was offered to Yahweh as a visual prayer for rain. Shortly after dawn each morning, while the many sacrifices were being prepared, the high priest was accompanied by a joyous procession of music and worshipers down to the Pool of Siloam. The high priest carried a golden pitcher capable of holding a little more than a quart of water. He carefully dipped the pitcher into the pool and brought it back to the Temple Mount.
At the same time, another procession went down to a nearby location south of Jerusalem, known as Motza, where willows of the brook grew in great abundance. They gathered the long, thin willows and brought them back to the Temple. At the Temple, the willows were placed on the sides of the altar so that their tops formed a canopy of drooping branches over the altar. Meanwhile the high priest with the water from the Pool of Siloam had reached the southern gate of the Temple. It was known as the WATER GATE because of this ceremony. As he entered, three blasts of the silver trumpets sounded outside the Temple, and the priests with one voice repeated the words of Isaiah:
Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation. Isaiah 12:3 NASB
The high priest slowly proceeded then to the stone altar in the Inner Court of the Temple and ascended the right side of the ramp. At the peak, he turned to the left where there were two silver basins which drained to the base of the altar. One was reserved for the regular drink offerings (libations of wine), and one for the water libations during this Feast. As the high priest raised the golden pitcher to pour out the water offering, the people shouted, "Raise your hand!" In response, the high priest lifted his hand higher and poured, allowing the people to verify his action. This tradition arose around 95 B.C. in response to an uprising in the days of Alexander Jannaeus, the king-priest grandson of Simon the Maccabees.
As the high priest poured out the water libation before Yahweh, a drink offering of wine was simultaneously poured into the other basin. Three blasts of the silver trumpets immediately followed the pouring and signaled the start of the Temple music. The people listened as a choir of Levites sang the Hallel (i.e. the praise Psalms 113-118). At the proper time, the congregation waved their palm branches toward the altar and joined in singing:
O LORD, do save, we beseech You; O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity! Psalms 118:25 NASB
At the same time the priests, with palm branches in hand, marched once toward the altar.
Psalm 118 was viewed as a messianic Psalm, and, as such, gave the feast a messianic emphasis. This is why Yeshua was greeted by the crowds shouting, "Hosanna" (Hebrew for "save now" ) and waving palm branches on His triumphal entry into Jerusalem ( Luke 19:38; John 12:13). They viewed Him as the Messiah King, come to deliver ("save now" Israel in fulfillment of Psalm 118).
This same imagery is in view in Revelation 7:9-10, where redeemed saints worship, with palm branches in hand, around the throne of God and of the Lamb.
This custom of carrying branches and singing Psalms during the Feast of Tabernacles is of ancient origin. It dates back at least to the time of the Maccabees, some 165 years before Christ (cf. Mac. 10:6-7). The water-drawing ceremony is also from antiquity. Although debate exists as to whether Isaiah alluded to the water-drawing ceremony (Isaiah 12:3), or the ceremony was derived from the words of Isaiah, it is known that the ceremony was in use at least 100 years before the time of Yeshua.
The celebration of the water pouring (as opposed to the ceremony) was observed during the evenings of the Feast by an impressive light ceremony in the Temple. It was known as the Simchet Bet Hasho'ayva ("The Rejoicing of the House of Water Drawing"). As the second evening of Tabernacles approached, the people crowded into the vast outer court of the Temple known as the Court of the Women. On this occasion, a barrier was raised to divide the men from the women. In the center of the court stood four towering menorahs (lamp stands), each with four branches of oil lamps. Their wicks were manufactured from the worn-out linen garments of the priests. Each menorah had four long ladders leading up to the lamps, which were periodically refilled by young priests carrying large pitchers of olive oil. The Feast of Tabernacles began in the middle of the lunar month, when the harvest moon was full and the autumn sky was clear. The outline of the surrounding Judean hills was clearly visible in the soft moonlight. Against this backdrop, the light of the Temple celebration was breathtaking. All night long the elders of the Sanhedrin performed impressive torch dances, while the steady yellow flames of the menorah oil lamps flooded the Temple and the streets of Jerusalem with brilliant light.
Soon after the celebration was underway, a group of Levites gathered in the Inner Court in what was known as the "Court of the Israelites." Once formed, the group of Levites moved through the Nicanor Gate to stand at the top of the 15 steps leading down to the Court of the Women. The sound of Temple flutes, trumpets, harps, and other stringed instruments swelled as the Levites sang the 15 Psalms of Degrees (Psalms 120-134). With each new Psalm they descended to the next step.
This celebration was repeated every night from the second night until the final night as a prelude to the water drawing the next morning. Nothing in ancient Israel compared to this light celebration. It was so spectacular that the ancient rabbis said, "He that hath not beheld the joy of the drawing of the water (the Simchet Bet Hasho'ayva celebration) hath never seen joy in his life (Sukkah 5:1). The light celebration was reminiscent of the descent of the Shekinah glory in Solomon's day, and looked forward to the return of the glory of Yahweh.
This Feast also served as the historical backup for the important teachings of Yeshua in John, chapters 7-9. John recorded that it was the day after the Feast of Tabernacles (the eighth day), which was considered a Sabbath, when Yeshua returned from the Mount of Olives to teach in the Temple (John 8:2; cf. 7:2, 37). During the Feast of Sukkot it was said that Jerusalem was the light of the world. As the Pharisees came to entrap Him, Yeshua proclaimed:
Then Yeshua again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." John 8:12 NASB
The Pharisees did not question the meaning of His statement. They knew it was a messianic claim, for they immediately called Him a liar. They were familiar with the many titles in Scripture which ascribed LIGHT to the Messiah. He is called the "Star out of Jacob," the "light of Israel," the "light of the nations (Gentiles)," a "refiner's fire," a "burning lamp," and the "Sun of righteousness."
According to the idioms and symbols understood and practiced by the writers of the New Testament, the symbol of light spoke of the menorah in the Temple. The Menorah, which is one of the oldest symbols of the Jewish faith, is a seven-branched candelabrum used in the Temple. It has been said that the menorah is a symbol of the nation of Israel and their mission to be "a light unto the nations."
Let's look at the menorah in the ancient Hebrew. The first letter is the "Mem," depicted as a series of waves on the sea, which can suggest the various potential meanings of chaos, mighty, blood, or simply water or waves. In this instance, we'll choose "Mighty," and the reason will be apparent in a moment.
The second letter is the "Nun," which is a picture of a seed. This letter can mean: "either continue, heir, or son," since all of these come from a man's seed. Or, it can simply mean: "seed." But we'll choose "Son" in this instance.
The third letter is a "Resh," which resembles a man's head. This letter can mean: "first, top, or beginning," since in the ancient world a man was the first or top of his household. In this case the meaning of "First" fits our purposes best.
The last letter is the "Hey," which is a picture of a man trying to get your attention. This letter has the alternate meanings of look, reveal, or breathe, but can also mean: "praise or behold," depending on how and where it is used. But here we'll choose "Reveal."
So the Menorah in the Hebrew pictographs means: "The Mighty Son First Revealed." The Temple Menorah had seven candles with seven flames, and we know that these flames were to remain lit at all times. This menorah was intended to represent the seven Feasts of Yahweh. So we see the symbolism that refers to Yeshua the Christ, since the two advents of Yeshua fulfill all of these festivals in their entirety. So Yeshua was first revealed by the symbolism behind this Menorah.
If we look at the name "Yeshua"' in the Hebrew letters, we see additional Menorah symbolism is revealed. Notice how the Lord's name has seven flames on top of the letters, just as the Menorah was always to have seven flames burning on top of it. Hebrew letters are somewhat unique in this manner, in that several of them have this flourish at the top that looks like a flame. But the name Yeshua is one of the few words in Hebrew that would exhibit this effect.
Later that day, the Messiah reinforced this same truth when He healed the blind man. As He did so, He repeated, "As long as I am in this world, I am the light of the world" (John 9:5). The Pharisees were again angered at Yeshua. The issue continued to be His messiahship (John 9:22). This time, however, they chose to find fault in that He had healed the blind man on the eighth day, which was a Sabbath (John 9:14). Although there were no Mosaic Laws against the act of healing on the Sabbath, the traditions of the Pharisees classified it as work, and therefore, forbade it. More than just a messianic claim, Yeshua's claim to be the "light of the world" carried a reference to the Temple light celebration. The celebration was still vivid in their minds. They had just celebrated it six nights in a row. The light that Yeshua offered would light not just the Temple, it would light the whole world. He, Himself, was the source:
He says, "It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth." Isaiah 49:6 NASB
The Servant of Yahweh is Yeshua, He is the light of the nations.
On the seventh and final day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the Temple services reached a climax. The anticipation of rain was at its annual high. Jewish tradition held that it was on this day that God declared whether there would be rain for the coming year's crops. Consequently, on this final day of the Feast, the Temple water-pouring ritual took on great importance. Water was the foremost thought on every one's mind.
On the other six days of this Feast, the silver trumpets gave three blasts. On this day the trumpets gave three sets of seven blasts. On the other six days, the priests made but one circuit around the altar. On this day, the priests made seven. As they marched around the altar, they sang the Hosanna verse (Psalm 118:25), and the people waved palm branches. For these reasons, the day was known as Hoshanah Rabbah, or "Great Hosanna." Thoughts of rain for the coming year and messianic fervor were at their highest pitch.
The year was around A.D. 30. It was Hoshanah Rabbah, the last day, the great day of the Feast of Tabernacles. As the people intently watched the priests conduct the service, a loud voice rang out from the crowd. The priests glared in consternation, and the people whipped around in great surprise to see who dared interrupt the service. They saw a young Galilean in His early 30s, the one whom many held to be a great rabbi, a prophet, or even the Messiah:
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Yeshua stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" John 7:37-38 NASB
The sound of His words produced silence, then ecstasy. The religious leadership was infuriated, indignant, and threatened. Some wanted to kill Him:
Some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. John 7:44 NASB
The authoritative claim was understood by all, believed by some, spurned by others. Yeshua was claiming to be the long awaited and promised Messiah.
I believe that Yeshua the Christ, the Living water, was born into this world during the Feast of Tabernacles. I would like to give you some facts that prove that Yeshua was born on the first day of Sukkot. First, I trust that you understand that December 25th is not the real date of Yeshua's birth. The December 25th date is simply tradition. December 25th was not recognized as the date of Messiah's birth until the fourth century when Constantine Christianized all of the pagan holidays. To understand the date of Yeshua's birth, we must correctly establish the date of John the Baptist's birth. Luke 1:26 indicates that there were exactly six months difference between the conception of John and the conception of Yeshua. If their conceptions were six months apart, then their births would also be six months apart. So let's see if we can figure out when John was born. Luke 1:5 and 1:8 states that John the Baptist's dad, Zechariah, belonged to the priestly division of Abijah and was serving in the Temple when he received the news that Elizabeth would be with child. 1 Chronicles 24:10 says that Zechariah's priestly division, Abijah, was the eighth division to serve at the Temple. The Mishnah (Oral Torah) states that each division had to serve twice in one year (but not consecutively), with the first division starting on the first week of Nisan. Each division served a one-week period and all priestly divisions had to serve during the three pilgrim Festivals.
The following is the order of the priestly divisions in relation to the Feasts:
1st week of Nisan, 1st priestly division of Jehoiarib serves
2nd week of Nisan, 2nd priestly division of Jedaiah serves
3rd week of Nisan, Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread, all priests serve
4th week of Nisan, 3rd priestly division of Harim serves
1st week of Iyar, 4th priestly division of Seorin serves
2nd week of Iyar, 5th priestly division of Malkijah serves
3rd week of Iyar, 6th priestly division of Mijamin serves
4th week of Iyar, 7th priestly division of Hakkoz serves
1st week of Sivan, 8th priestly division of Abijah serves
2nd week of Sivan, Shavuot, all priests serve (including the division of Abijah)
Zechariah serves during the first week of Sivan and then is required to serve the following week for Shavuot. During Shavuot, the priests would draw lots to see who would get the honor of going into the Holy Place to burn incense on the altar. Only once during a priest's lifetime could his lot be drawn for this service. Zechariah's lot was drawn (Luke 1:9), and it was his time to offer the incense. Zechariah would enter the Holy Place, offer incense, and then would return back outside to give the blessing over the worshipers. As Zechariah is offering incense, to his surprise, an angel of the Yahweh appears to him and informs him that his prayers have been answered, and that his wife will be with child. Zechariah doubted the angel's announcement, and he lost the ability to speak (Luke 1:19-20). The worshipers began to wonder what was taking Zechariah so long ,and then he appeared to give the blessing, but soon realized he could not speak (Luke 1:21-22). After Zechariah's service was completed, he returned home; and Elizabeth, his wife, conceived. John the Baptist was conceived some time after Shavuot. If John were conceived sometime after Shavuot, then John the Baptist would have been born in the month of Nisan. I would like to propose that John was born on Nisan 15, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover, based on these facts. First, Malachi 4:5-6 indicates that Elijah must come prior to the arrival of the Day of Yahweh. In Matthew 11:11-14, Messiah says that John the Baptist is the Elijah who was to come. John came as the forerunner to Christ's ministry; John prepared the hearts and minds of people for Christ. John was the Elijah to come as prophesied by Malachi. When were the Jewish people expecting Elijah? At every Passover Seder a place is set for Elijah, and a child will open the door to see if Elijah has come. If John the Baptist is the Elijah to come, and he was conceived sometime after Shavuot, then I believe that John was born on Passover (Nisan 15).
Remember that Messiah was born six months after John the Baptist. If John was born on Nisan 15, then Messiah would have to be born on Tishri 15. I believe Messiah was born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles. John says, "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us..." The Greek word for "dwelt or dwelling" is skenoo and means: "to occupy (as a mansion) or (spec.) to reside (as God did in the Tabernacle of old, a symbol of protection and communion)" The sukkah is a perfect picture of Christ. The sukkah is not an attractive structure, just as there wasn't anything of Christ that would attract us to Him (Isaiah 53:2). If Christ's life and ministry revolved around the Feast's, then even His birth had to be in conjunction with a Feast. The Feast of Tabernacles fits perfectly with Messiah's birth. The Savior of the world was born in a lowly sukkah on the first day of the Feast of Sukkot.
If Messiah was born on Tishri 15, then His circumcision would have taken place on the eighth day of Sukkot. The Jews have a tradition associated with the eight day called "Simchat Torah" and means: "Rejoicing in the Torah." Luke 2:21-38 says that on the eighth day they brought the baby Messiah up to the Temple to circumcise Him and to name Him, and when Simeon and Anna saw Israel's Savior, they rejoiced over Him. These two righteous people were rejoicing over the Living Torah of God. Every aspect of Messiah's birth, including the day of His circumcision, is a picture designed to teach us more about Him.
As we have stated earlier, the Feast of Tabernacle is called "the season of our joy" and "the feast of the nations." With this in mind, notice what Luke writes:
but the angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, because I am here announcing to you Good News that will bring great joy to all the people. Luke 2:10 CJB
Here the birth of Christ is announced as a time of great joy (Sukkot is called the "season of our joy"), which shall be to all people (Sukkot is called "the Feast of the Nations"). So, we can see from this that the terminology the angel used to announce the birth of Yeshua were themes and messages associated with the Feast of Tabernacles.
In Luke 2:12, the baby Yeshua was wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. The swaddling cloths were also used as wicks to light the 16 vats of oil within the court of the women during the festival of Sukkot. So, swaddling cloths are associated with the festival of Sukkot.
During the Feast of Tabernacles, God required that all male Jews come to Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16). For this reason, the city would be overcrowded with people.
It was during the time of this Fall Feast that marks the beginning of the construction of God's sukkah, the sanctuary in the desert (Exodus 25:8-9). In Exodus 25:9, the word tabernacle is the word mishkan in Hebrew. According to tradition, Moses again ascended Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights to receive the second set of tablets and descended on Yom Kippur, carrying them as a sign of God's forgiveness of Israel for the sin of the golden calf and as a symbol of the lasting covenant between God and Israel (Exodus 24:12-18; 34:1-2; 27-28). The following day Moses relayed God's instructions for building the mishkan--a dwelling place. Why was the mishkan built?:
"Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. Exodus 25:8 NASB
To establish the relationship between Yahweh and Israel, God would dwell amidst the people. Therefore the mishkan, the tabernacle in the wilderness, was instructed to be built by God for Him so He could dwell with His people. Spiritually speaking, this physical tabernacle was given by God to teach and instruct us that He desires to live and dwell with His people.
The sukkah, or booth, symbolizes man's need to depend upon God for his provision of food, water, and shelter. This is true in the spiritual realm as well. With this in mind, let's look at the context by which the word tabernacle is used in the New Covenant.
Yeshua tabernacled (sukkot) among us (John 1:14). The Apostle Paul told us that the Old Covenant was a tabernacle:
For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1 NASB
The word for "tent" here is skenos, which means: "a hut or temporary residence."Most people today interpret this text as talking about a change that takes place to our biological body at death. If you read it in isolation, it's easy to see how you could get that, but if you keep it in context, you'll see that the subject is covenant.
"We have"--is a present active indicative,which means we already have a house not made with hands. So there are two houses existing at the same time, the earthly tent and an eternal house not made with hands. Old Covenant equals temporal booths. New Covenant equals eternal presence.
The Bible speaks of a heavenly tabernacle (Hebrews 8:1-2; Revelation 13:6; 15:5). This heavenly tabernacle is seen coming to earth (Revelation 21:1-3). Yeshua was the true tabernacle of God (Hebrews 9:11).
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; Hebrews 9:11 NASB
So, the booth, or sukkah, was a temporary dwelling place. Historically, it was to remind the people of their exodus from Egypt as described in Leviticus 23:42-43. Prophetically, the sukkah points toward the return of Christ, when Yahweh would dwell with His people in a face to face relationship.
One of the most outstanding truths of the Feast of Tabernacles involves the seasonal rains in Israel. Christ is the rain that came down from Heaven as well as the living water and the fountain of living water spoken of in John 4:4-6,10-14,20-24; and Revelation 21:6 and 22:1-5,17. Christ desires that we drink of the water He gives, which results in everlasting life (John 4:14) that we might be filled (Matthew 5:6).
The fullness of this Feast in the seventh month was experienced at the coming of Christ at the destruction of Jerusalem. This was a time of great joy for all believers.
The Feast of Tabernacles was to celebrate and commemorate: 1) The end of the wanderings in the desert of the children of Israel. 2) It also was a celebration of their inheritance of and entry into Canaan--the Promised Land.
The anti-typical fulfillment came at the end of the 40 year transition period (A.D. 30-70) when the Old Covenant came to an end and the New Covenant was fully consummated, and the inheritance of the New Heavens and the New Earth arrived, where we "tabernacle there with God." Tabernacles speaks of the final harvest, as well as the final rest. Remember this was a 7 day feast with a Sabbath on the eighth day? Why was that Sabbath at the end of the Feast? It pictures REST! Yeshua the Christ is our Sabbath rest. He fulfilled the Old Covenant type. We, as believers, rest totally and completely in Him.
I said earlier in this message that the Feast of Trumpets is also known in Scripture as the "Feast of Ingathering," for it was observed after all crops had been harvested and gathered:
"And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Matthew 24:31 NASB
This harvest is a Day of Ingathering, when God gathers His people unto Himself and burns the wicked like the chaff and stubble:
"For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze," says the LORD of hosts, "so that it will leave them neither root nor branch." "But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. Malachi 4:1-2 NASB
The righteous among the Gentiles, too, were gathered to the Yahweh. In that day, the Gentiles will pray in the Heavenly Jerusalem:
Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. Zechariah 14:16-17 NASB
Yahweh not only gathered His people, but He began to TABERNACLE in their midst:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, Revelation 21:1-3 NASB
This age in which we now live is the New Covenant age. We are the New Jerusalem, We live in the presence of Yahweh. We have access to the throne of God 24/7. As the saved of the nations we walk in the light of this holy city. We are the light of the world today, a city set on a hill:
In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; Revelation 21:25-26 NASB
What does that mean? Look at:
"Your gates will be open continually; They will not be closed day or night, So that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, With their kings led in procession. Isaiah 60:11 NASB
Here we see the reason that these gates are never shut; that men may bring into it the wealth of the Gentiles and their kings in procession. This is a reference to the power of the Gospel. The next verse tells us that only the elect enter it:
and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. Revelation 21:27 NASB
Salvation is always available, the gates are always open to this city. Look at chapter 22:
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Revelation 22:1-2 NASB
Here the river of the water of life flows forth from the Temple to the nations of the world. The tree of life is there for the healing of the nations. The river of the water of life was predicted in the Tanakh in Ezekiel 47. This river comes forth from the New Jerusalem in Revelation 22:1-2; which is the church. We are to be involved in taking the water of life to the nations. What is the water of life?:
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. Revelation 22:17 NASB
This is a call to salvation! If the New Heavens and the New Earth are the eternal state as Dispensationalism teaches, why is the invitation to salvation still going out? The New Heaven and Earth is the New Covenant, the Church. And from the Church goes forth the water of life for the healing of the nations.
We are now living in the New Heaven and Earth. We are the New Jerusalem, which is the body of Christ. Yeshua and His Father are among us, and we need no Temple; we need none of the rituals and ceremonies of the old heaven and the old earth. We are in God's presence now and forevermore.
C.H. Spurgeon said: "Did you ever regret the absence of the burnt-offering, or the red heifer, or any one of the sacrifices and rites of the Jews? Did you ever pine for the Feast of tabernacle, or the dedication? No, because, though these were like the old heavens and earth to the Jewish believers, they have passed away, and we now live under the New Heavens and a New Earth, so far as the dispensation of divine teaching is concerned. The substance is come, and the shadow has gone: and we do not remember it." (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. xxxvii, p. 354).
The old heavens and earth of Judaism have passed away, and we now live in the New Heavens and New Earth of the New covenant. May God help us to fully understand and appreciate our position in the New Heaven and Earth, where righteousness dwells, and where Yahweh dwells with His people.
Following the A.D. 70 destruction of the Temple, the observance of this Feast, as all the Feasts, was radically altered. Without a Temple and sacrificial system these Feasts could no longer be observed, which makes it clear that these Feasts ALL ended with Jerusalem's destruction and the return of Christ in A.D. 70. There are no more rehearsals, the rehearsals ended when the antitype arrived. The prophecies that they were rehearsing have been fulfilled.
So as modern day Israel goes through the motions of the rehearsal of this Feast, they have missed the reality by two thousand years. They no longer sacrifice on Sukkot, no more goats, lambs, rams, or bulls are sacrificed as prescribed in the Torah. Because there is no more Temple, no more priesthood, because it was all fulfilled in A.D. 70 when Yeshua returned in judgment on Jerusalem, resurrected His saints and indwelt His church.
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