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The Seven Feasts of Jehovah: Tabernacles

The Seventh Feast: Tabernacles
March/April May/June July Aug Sept/Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb
Early rain The long hot Summer Late rain        
Nisan Iyar Sivan Tamuz Ab Elul Tishrei Marches-van Kislev Tevet Shebat Adar
Abib Ziv Sivan Tammuz Av Elul Ethanim Bul Kislev Tebeth Shevat Adar
Passover (14)
Unleavened Bread (15-21)*
Firstfruits (16)
  Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) (6)*       Trumpets (Jewish New Year) (1)
Day of Atonement (10)
Tabernacles (15-21)*
         
*All men had to attend in Jerusalem (Deut 16:16, Ex 23:14)
Some alternative names/spellings for the months of the Hebrew calendar

Introduction

Key Bible Passages

Exodus 23 16, Deut 16 13-17, Lev 23 33-44, Numbers 29 12-40, Nehemiah 8 14-17, Matt 6 10, Rev 20.

Relation to other feasts

This feast closed the final "season" of feasts and is associated with the Day of Atonement, and also closed the sacred cycle along with the agricultural year. The Feast of Trumpets occurred at new moon, the first day of the month, this feast occurs at full moon, the middle of the month on day 15 (Leviticus 23 34). Day of Atonement was one of great solemnity (affliction of soul) whereas this feast is one of great rejoicing.

The Name of the Feast

The feast of ingathering Exodus 23 16, 34 22, due to its relation to the harvest

The Feast of Tabernacles Leviticus 23 34, 23 43, Deuteronomy 16 13, 31, 2 Chron 8 13, Ezra 3 4, Zechariah 14 16,18,19, John 7 2

The feast 1 Kings 8 2, 2 Chron 5 3, 7 8,9

Feast of Jehovah (L ord) Leviticus 23 39

The words 'glory", 'tabernacles", 'cloud" and 'overshadowed" describe the feast, hence its name Sukkot

Purpose

Lev. 23:43 (NKJV)
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.’"

Key Elements (See Leviticus 23)

The elements that marks this feast are:

  • Joyous festivities, including the singing of the Hallel ie Psalms 113-118..
  • The dwelling in 'booths".
  • The type and order of the sacrifices.
  • Added afterward, the ceremony of water liberation (performed at the time of Jesus), and the waving of willow branches (still performed today).

The key elements:

  • Every male had to appear in Jerusalem, as at Passover and Pentecost.
  • Was the last feast of the seven, occurring on the 15 th day of the 7 th month (Tishri) and lasted 7 days (Noting the number 7 here), the eighth day (Shemini Atzeret) was also a holy convocation (Lev 23 36).
  • The first day was a holy convocation (Lev 23 34).
  • Booths were constructed and dwelt in during the week, constructed of living trees, with at least three sides covered with boughs along with the roof. All dwelt and eat in the booth, excluding the sick and their attendants, women, slaves and infants dependant upon their mothers.
  • Fruit of goodly trees and palm branches (Lev 23 40) were carried during the times of festive rejoicing. The actual tree used were the citron (aethrog), carried in the left hand, the palm, carried in the right hand which had tied to it myrtle (boughs of thick trees) and a willow branch (collectively called the lulav). Each was fresh, unpolluted, not taken from any idolatrous grove.
  • The offerings were notable:
    • A sin offering for each of the seven days, a kid of goats.
    • Burnt offering with appropriate meat and drink offerings, bullocks, rams and lambs.
    • The number of rams and lambs were the same each day, but the number of bullocks decreased by one from 13 on the first day (Num 29 13).
  • Music was an integral part of the celebrations beginning with the Hallel (Ps 113-118), sang accompanied by flutes, except on the Sabbath and on the first day of the feast. It was a time of rejoicing of all, including the stranger (See Deut 16 14).
  • The ceremony of water libation was conducted everyday where the priest took water from the Pool of Siloam and poured it into a bowl that drained into the alter. This was directly connected to the time Jesus cried out:

John 7:37 (NKJV)
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

The principal antitypes (this is a very cursory glance – there is much more that can be found)

  • Found in:

John 1:14 (NKJV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

  • The messianic nature is demonstrated in John 7, culminating in 'if anyone thirsts…" verse 37, the meaning is given by John in verse 39.
  • The glory, representing the Divine presence of God – call the shekinah by later writers or the sukkah, dwells, or tabernacles, amongst men.
  • The feast is prophetic, acknowledged by both biblical and rabbinical teachings, and in essence typifies the days of the Messiah. It speaks of the restoration of the tabernacle of David (Amos 9 11).
  • Typically this feast represents the millennium (1000 year reign) mentioned six times in chapter 20 of Revelation - a time of joy and rejoicing. That is after the heart wrenching acknowledgement that the Messiah has come (Trumpets), (e.g. Isaiah 27 13, 29 23, as demonstrated in Jeremiah 14 20), the remnant confess their sins (Atonement) (eg. Ezekiel 16 63, Zechariah 12 10 & Rom 11 26 etc) and the Lord Himself comes (Zechariah 14 8-11, Is 11 such as verse 6 etc, 2 Peter 3 13, Rev 20, 21).
  • The booths represent the 'clouds of glory", the 'sukkah of God", the Shekinah that overshadowed Israel (Number 9 15-23, 2 Chronicles 5 13-13 etc).
  • Booths are typified in Isaiah 4. In a time to come a repentant Israel will celebrate the fulfilment of the Feast of the Tabernacles, when God will be their God and they will be His people.
  • After the long journey in the wilderness, where each pain and pang of hunger was dealt with by the gracious Jehovah, and they now rejoice in Canaan.
  • It remembers the in-gathering of the harvest, a time of rejoicing.
  • The branches reminded the children of Israel of their journey through the wilderness:
    • Palm branches recalling the valleys and plains
    • Boughs of thick trees the mountain tops
    • Willows the brooks
    • The aethrog the fruits of the good land
  • Bullocks offered the worth of the great sacrifice
  • Rams the devotedness of the great sacrifice
  • Lambs the gentleness of the great sacrifice
  • The firsfruits were the very finest from the harvest. Israel will enjoy a unique role in the Millennial kingdom were the remnant form the 'brethren" of Matthew 25. Christ will rule the Kingdome of God on earth. Christ reigns with his saints.
  • ( Israel is represented as corn and wine: the corn to salvation ie gathered, the wine to wrath – see Rev 14 and 19, Isaiah 63).

Application

The firstfruits reminds us of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was the firstfruits (1 Cor 15 20…), who defeated death, and those of His at His coming will be taken to be with Him. (These verses also reminds us that Christ will rule the earth, and His enemies will be dealt with).

ARE YOU SAVED?

The harvest is at hand.

ARE YOU A HARVESTER?

Satan rules now, but Christ will come, first for His saints, then a little later to judge and then rule the earth.


 

Endnote: The Millennial Reign

 

  • Idolatry ceases (Is 2 18)
  • God Jehovah is known and worshipped (Is 11 9, 66 23)
  • War is at an end, the world has peace (Is 2 4, Micah 4 3)
  • There will be no fear (Exek 34 25, Is 32 17,18)
  • Justice will be delivered with righteousness (Is 32 1)
  • The curse will be removed, creation delivered from it and will be fertile and abundant (Ps 65 11-13)
  • The brutal instincts arising since the fall will be changed (Is 11 6-9)
  • Man will cease to pursue vain thoughts (cf Ps 2,: Micah 4 4, Zech 3 10)
  • Selfishness will be ended (eg Zech 8 4,5).
  • The nations will be blessed by Israel (Zech 2 11, Is 2 2, Zech 8 22)
  • Joy will mark the earth, with Jehovah as the focus (Lev 23 40, Deut 16 14,15, 1 Chron 12 40, Ps 96, 97 etc).
  • The Lord will reign (Ps 99; Ps 101 etc) with the majesty that occurred on the mount of transfiguration.

 

David L Simon (October 2005 CCC)
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