The Feasts of the Lord--Part VIII (8)

THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES
 

The seven-day Feast of Tabernacles pictures the 1,000 year reign of
Jesus Christ over the earth after His second coming (Revelation 20:4).

This Feast also reflects the "rest" symbolized by the weekly Sabbath
(Hebrews 4:1-11) that celebrates the great harvest of humanity when all
living people will learn God's ways.  Humanity will at last be restored
to a right relationship with God (Isaiah 11:9-10).

The name of the Feast of Tabernacles derives from God's command to
ancient Israel to build temporary "tabernacles," sometimes called
"booths," to live in during the festival.

The Bible emphasizes that, as with booths or temporary dwellings, our
physical life is transitory.

"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were
dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands,
eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be
clothed upon with our house which is from heaven." -2 Corinthians 5:1-2
 

"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." -Leviticus 23:34

"Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou
hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine." -Deuteronomy 16:13

The Feast of Tabernacles or the festival of "Booths," occurs for seven
days, from Tishrei 15 to 21.  There is therefore a quick transition from
the high holidays, with their somber mood of repentance and judgment, to
a holiday of rejoicing and celebration, for which the people are
commanded to build a hut and make it their home.  The Bible identifies
the booth with the temporary dwellings in which the Israelites lived in
the wilderness after they left Egypt on their way to the Promised Land
(Leviticus 23:42).

God desired that the tabernacle in the wilderness be built because He
wanted to dwell with his people (Exodus 29:44-45).  Spiritually
speaking, this physical tabernacle was given by God to teach and
instruct us that He desires to live and dwell with His people by means
of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19, 2 Corinthians 6:1).

UNDERSTANDING THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES

The Feast of Tabernacles completes the sacred festivals of the seventh
month.  In contrast to the somber tone of Rosh HaShanah and the Day of
Atonement, the third feast of Tishrei was a time of joy.  Israel had
passed through the season of repentance and redemption.

The Feast of Tabernacles is called the "Season of Our Joy."  One reason
the Feast of Tabernacles was a time of joy was that after the season of
repentance and the redemption of Yom Kippur came the joy of knowing your
sins were forgiven and the joy of walking with God, knowing God, and
being obedient to God.  Historically, the Feast of Tabernacles
commemorates the days in the wilderness of Sinai after coming out of
Egypt.  According to all natural laws, the Israelites should have
perished, but were instead divinely protected by God.  Prophetically,
the Feast of Tabernacles is the festival that teaches on the Messianic
Kingdom and the joy of that Kingdom.

The word tabernacle refers to a temporary dwelling place, which is the
purpose of the booth.  The 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.  The booth is the physical body, which is a
temporary dwelling place for our souls and spirits (1 Corinthians
6:19-20).  We need the food that the Word of God provides (Matthew 6:11,
4:4, John 6:33-35), the cleansing, rinsing, and washing that the Word of
God brings to our lives (Ephesians 5:26), and the shelter of God's
protection over our lives from the evil one (Matthew 6:13, Psalm 91).
Our physical needs will be provided for by God if we seek Him
spiritually (Matthew 6:31-33).

The observance of the Feast of Tabernacles described in Leviticus
23:40-41 can be seen in Nehemiah chapter 8.  The temporary dwellings or
booths are described as a part of the festival.  This is in remembrance
of when the children of Israel dwelled in booths during their time in
the wilderness (Leviticus 23:43).

Isaiah talked about the tabernacle in Isaiah 4:4-6.  The divine order
declares that after judgment, the Day of Atonement (Isaiah 4:4), comes a
tabernacle for a place of refuge (Isaiah 4:5-6).  The command to rejoice
at this time is given in Deuteronomy 16:13-15.

A tabernacle is a temporary dwelling place.  In First Kings 8:27, at the
dedication of Solomon's temple during the festival of Tabernacles,
Solomon asks, "Will God indeed dwell on the earth?"

The Scriptures say that Jesus became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among
us (John 1:14).  He came to earth at His first coming and temporarily
dwelt among men.

UNDERSTANDING THE MEANING OF BOOTHS OR TABERNACLES

The Hebrew word for tabernacle is 'sukkah'.  It means "a booth, a hut, a
covering, a pavilion or tent."  The Greek word for tabernacle is
'sk'en'e', which also means "a tent, hut, or habitation."

With this in mind, let's look at the context by which the word
tabernacle is used in the New Testament.

1. Jesus tabernacled among us (John 1:14)

2. Peter spoke about his body being a tabernacle (2 Peter 1:13-14)

3. The apostle Paul told us that our earthly bodies were earthly houses
or tabernacles (2 Corinthians 5:1-5)

4. The tabernacle of Moses was a tent of habitation (Acts 7:44, Hebrews
9:2-8)

5. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived in tabernacles (tents) (Hebrews
11:8-9)

6. The tabernacle of David was a tent or dwelling place (Acts 15:16,
Amos 9:11).  This tabernacle was the temple of Solomon (1 Kings 5:2-5,
8:1-21)

7. Jesus entered the temple on the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2,27-29)

8. The Bible speaks of a heavenly tabernacle (Hebrews 8:1-2, Revelation
13:6, 15:5).  This heavenly tabernacle will come to earth (Revelation
21:1-3)

9. Jesus was the true tabernacle of God (Hebrews 9:11)

So, the booth or tabernacle 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 tabernacle points
toward the future to the Messianic age, the Millennium.  Spiritually, a
tabernacle is supposed to remind us that we are but strangers and
pilgrims on the earth, this being a temporary dwelling place.  So the
believer in Christ is but a stranger and pilgrim on this earth (Hebrews
11:8-10,13-16, Genesis 23:3-4,47:9, 1 Peter 1:17, 2:11).

The Feast of Tabernacles is the fall harvest festival.  It begins on the
fifteenth of the Hebrew month of Tishrei.  Like the other pilgrimage
festivals, the Feast of Tabernacles has an agricultural element.  It
marks the time of the harvest, the final ingathering of produce before
the oncoming winter.  Hence, it is also called the festival of
Ingathering.  "And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours,
which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which
is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of
the field." -Exodus 23:16

As just stated, the Feast of Tabernacles is called the Feast of
Ingathering.  Jesus told us that the harvest represents the end of the
age.  This is found in Matthew 13:39, Revelation 14:15 and Joel 3:13.
The harvest refers more specifically to people who choose to accept
Christ into their hearts and lives (Matthew 9:35-38, Luke 10:1-2, John
4:35-38 and Revelation 14:14-18).

SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES

One of the most outstanding truths of the Feast of Tabernacles involves
the seasonal rains in Israel.  The prophet Joel tells us that the former
and latter rain would come in the first month (Joel 2:23).  This is
because Passover is the first month in the religious or sacred calendar,
and the Feast of Tabernacles is the first month in the civil calendar.
So Israel has two first months in the same year because of the special
calendar that God set up in Exodus 12:2.

Hosea 6:3 tells us that the coming of the Messiah will be as the former
and latter rain on the earth.  His second coming will also be in the
first month of the civil calendar, Tishrei.  Jesus will return to earth
during the fall of the year.

The fullness of this feast in the seventh month will be experienced at
the coming of the Messiah when He will rule and reign on the earth
during the Messianic age, the Millennium.  This will be a time of joy
for all believers in Christ and will be the age of Israel's glory.

THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE FESTIVALS TO THE INDIVIDUAL BELIEVER
IN THE LORD JESUS AND HOW THEY RELATE TO HIS LIFE

God designed the agricultural and weather seasons in Israel to parallel
the life of every believer in Christ who seeks to love Him and serve Him
with all his heart.  With this in mind, let us examine how this is true.

Every time a person receives the Lord Jesus as his own Savior, he
spiritually experiences Passover.  He is to flee Egypt, the world's evil
system and ways, trust in the Lord, the Lamb of God, and allow Christ to
be the doorpost of his heart.  As believers, we are then to seek to live
holy lives before God and experience Unleavened Bread.  Just as Jesus
rose from the dead, we are to consider our former ways dead to us and
experience the newness of life in the Lord.  Once we do this, we can be
immersed (baptized) in the Holy Spirit and have the power of God (the
anointing) in our lives.  Spiritually, we have experienced the spring
harvest of Israel in our lives.  When we accept Jesus into our hearts
and lives, He begins to teach us the Bible and show us how much He loves
us, and we begin to grow in the knowledge of Him.

At that time, God will begin to take us on a spiritual journey through
the wilderness of life.  Spiritually, we will begin to experience the
dry summer season of Israel.  Many things in our lives will not go the
way we expect them to or how we trust God for them to go.  In the
process of experiencing life's bitter disappointments and struggles, if
we keep our eyes upon God, He will take us from Passover to Pentecost.
There He will reveal His ways and his Word, the Bible, in a deeper and
more progressive way.  By keeping our eyes on the Messiah through life's
struggles, God will not only reveal His Word, the Bible, to us in a
greater way, but He also will refine our faith like fine flour, just as
was done to the wheat during the days of counting the omer between
Passover and Pentecost.  Meanshile, if we put our entire trust in Jesus
while on our spiritual journey in the wilderness of life as God refines
our faith and reveals Himself to us in a greater way, then our spiritual
journey will not end in the wilderness of life.  Instead God will take
us forward to spiritually experience the fall festivals and our
spiritual promised land.

It is when we spiritually experience the fall festivals -- especially
the Feast of Tabernacles, and enter into our spiritual promised land
that God will anoint our lives for Him in an awesome way, as we live and
serve Him, and we will then experience the greatest joy in our entire
lives.  Joy unspeakable!  But we will experience not only joy, but also
dancing, praise, victory, peace, and the power of God in our lives.
Spiritually, we will be experiencing the fall harvest of Israel.  The
rain in the bible speaks of two things: the great outpouring of the Holy
Spirit and an in-depth understanding of Jesus and his Word, the Bible,
in our lives.  Both the anointing of the Holy Spirit and great knowledge
of spiritual truths will be present in our lives in order that we may
accomplish the purpose God has for every one of our lives.  Therefore,
we have the anointing of God upon our lives so we may help to do our
part to build up the Body of Christ to full maturity and to establish
the Kingdom of God on earth until we come to that day when we will rule
and reign with the Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords on
earth during the Messianic age, the Millennium, and for all eternity.

---Study taken from "The Seven Festivals Of The Messiah"
        by Eddie Chumney
 

Click Here to go Back to the Home Page:
Online Bible Prophecy Studies;
Please feel free to email me, Jason, at
group@spintheweb.com
if you have any questions or comments on this article,
or on the subject of the pretribulation rapture,
or if you wish to share any scriptures with me.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .