Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles is the third and final Hebrew pilgrim festival called for by God. Also known as the Feast of Ingathering, it follows the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Weeks. It has been observed by Hebrews for generations and will occur this year from October 2nd through October 9th, 2020. What is the Feast of Tabernacles and what is its significance?
After Israel was delivered out of their oppression by Moses, the LORD made them to dwell in tabernacles. In Hebrew these dwellings were called succoth which means ‘booths,’ ‘tents,’ or ‘tabernacles.’ The temporary shelters were made of interwoven branches that protected them in the wilderness.
“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD… You 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.”Leviticus 23:33-43
Dwell in Booths?
Those that observe the Feast of Tabernacles, today, build succoth in which they eat their meals, and where some even sleep, during the seven days of the festival. The gathering of palm, willow, and myrtle branches is another feature of this festival, which are waved while saying a thanksgiving prayer. Do the traditions surrounding this festival fulfill the commandment of this Law? Is it a physical habitation that Israelites are to build or is there a shadow behind this Law that’s been hidden?
“…seeing there are priests that offer gifts according to the [ceremonial works of the] Law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the Tabernacle: for, See, saith He, that you make all things according to the pattern shown to you in the Mount.”Hebrews 8:4-5
“And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies… a Tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.”Isaiah 4:5-6
Shadow of the Tabernacle
There is a much deeper meaning to this Law than simply dwelling in a booth. A tabernacle is made up of interwoven branches to provide warmth and protection to the dweller. God told Ezra that he would give His People everlasting tabernacles which He has prepared (2 Esdras 2:11). He then identified twelve trees sent to help Israel.
“For your help will I send My servants Isaiah and Jeremiah, after whose counsel I have sanctified and prepared for you twelve trees laden with divers fruits, …whereby I will fill your children with joy.”2 Esdras 2:18-19 from the Apocrypha
The everlasting tabernacles that God has prepared are the interwoven words of His prophets throughout Scripture. When woven in the mind and heart, their wisdom gives understanding to the reader for their protection. God is not speaking of a physical house when He commands His People to dwell in booths. Israel is commanded to dwell in the finely woven Word of God. If they dwell with God by reading and understanding His Word, He will dwell with them in their hearts and minds.
The apostle Paul likened his body as an earthen vessel, wherein the wisdom and knowledge of the glory of God shines forth.
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”2 Corinthians 4:6-7
Scripture must be read with discernment and spiritual understanding. Through continual study and contemplation, the Word will be written in the heart and mind of the reader. Being immersed in His Righteous Judgements, one will begin to walk in agreement with God.
“Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel, and the House of Judah …I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My People.”Jeremiah 31:31-33
“Let us become spiritual, a perfect temple to God. As much as in us lies let us meditate upon the reverence of God; and strive to the utmost of our power to keep His Commandments; that we may rejoice in His Righteous Judgements.”Epistle of Barnabas 3:12
Entrance to the Tabernacle
Jesus identified himself as the door to the sheep. One must discern Scripture, through his perspective, in order to enter the Tabernacle of the Word. Jesus always spoke in parables. Understanding these parables, by knowing the shadows spoken by the words of the prophets, is the first step into the Tabernacle.
“This parable Jesus spoke to them: but they understood not what things they were which he spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep… I am the door: by me if any man enters in, he will be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”John 10:6-9
Reenter the Tabernacle
The entire Book, including the sayings of Jesus has been sealed. There is one prophesied to come, the Branch, from the line of Judah, of the root of David who would prevail to unseal the Book. A teacher and interpreter of the Law has come.
“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the Throne a Book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals …behold the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the root of David has prevailed to open the Book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”Revelation 5:1-5
The way into the tabernacle of His Word has been shut until recently; without the true interpretation no one could read it with discernment. The Spirit of understanding rests on the shoulders of the Branch of David (Isaiah 11:1-5). As a Shepherd guiding the lost tribes/sheep of Israel, he has shown the way in which to return to God: know His Word and keep His Commandments, in every sense of the Word.
“And My Servant of David shall be King over them; and they shall have One Shepherd; they shall also walk in My Judgements, and observe My Statutes, and do them.”Ezekiel 37:24
“And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on Mount Zion, and with him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having his Father’s Name written in their foreheads… These are they which follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes… Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ.”Revelation 14:1-4, 12
The Branch of David is also the one who is prophesied to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. Jesus, who was the Levitical High Priest, laid the foundation as the chief cornerstone of the Spiritual Temple of God (Isaiah 28:16, 1 Peter 2:6-7). He and his apostles were persecuted for their testimony. Upon their words, the Temple will be rebuilt to the Lord.
“…Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is THE BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the Temple of the LORD.”Zechariah 6:12
Tabernacle of God Rebuilt
The scattered tribes of Israel are to rebuild the Temple of the LORD. There is a Tabernacle of God spoken of throughout Scripture. Could there be any correlation between this Feast of Tabernacles and the Tabernacle of God?
The succoth Israelites inhabit during the Feast of Tabernacles are shadows of the place in which one can find God. By immersing themselves in His Word, they are covered by the Wisdom of all the prophets. His Laws will then be written in them, making them a living Temple for God.
The Tabernacle of God is not a physical house. He does not dwell in houses made by hands (Acts 7:48-50). God has been patiently waiting for the spiritual dwelling place within the hearts and minds of His People. When the multitude of the scattered tribes are all dwelling in His Word, they will glorify Him with one mind and one voice. Then, the House of Israel will stand up as the Tabernacle of God.
A House not made of Hands
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the Tabernacle of God is made up of people and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”Revelation 21:3
The children of Jacob must dwell in God’s Word, keep His Laws, and love Him with all their heart and with all their minds. Then, and only then, will God and His People dwell together as one. When the true meaning of the Word is passed on to their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, then the Tabernacle of God will be reestablished forever.
“And they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and My servant of David shall be their king forever. 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; yes, I will be their God, and they shall be My People.”Ezekiel 37:25-27
Feast of Tabernacles Playlist:
You Raise Me Up, Secret Garden
Shouts of Joy, Paul Wilbur
Now is the Time, Paul Wilbur
He Lives in You, Lebo M
Free at Last, David Blamires
Thanks be to God, Handel’s Messiah