Feast of Tabernacles
Written by arkwriter   
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 16:24

                                          Feast  of  Tabernacles

"Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years." (Gen. 1:14)

There is a fourfold purpose in God's creation of the sun, moon and the stars.  The first one is to give light to the earth.  Second is for "signs"; third for "seasons", and fourth for "days and years."   The Hebrew word for seasons is "moed" which also means appointed time.  God commanded the children of Israel to proclaim the Feasts of the LORD "at their appointed times - moed" (Lev. 23:4).  Of all the feasts mentioned in Leviticus 23 the weekly Seventh Day Sabbath is the only one that is not governed by the heavenly bodies.  All others are.  There are seven Feasts of the LORD that are specially given to the children of Israel who bring sacrifices and offerings to the Tabernacle.  God commanded the children of Israel,

"Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.  Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you." (Deut. 16:16-17)   

All the three feasts were specifically given only to the children of Israel with special conditions for the Gentiles that are part of Israeli households (Ex. 12:43-49; Lev. 23:41-44).  The Feast of Tabernacles, which is the last of the seven feasts, is very significant for the people of God in the End Time.  The prophecy of Zechariah concerning the Feast of Tabernacles has interesting and significant connections to worship of the King and also to receive rain. 

"And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall 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 whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain.  If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the LORD strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.  This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to the Feast of Tabernacles. " (Zec. 14:16) 

Originally, the Feast of Tabernacles was given only to the children of Israel, but God had intended to extend its celebration to "all the families of the earth".  There is considerable controversy on the interpretation of this prophecy.  It is very difficult, if not impossible to interpret it literally, but a spiritual interpretation makes it meaningful.  

 Zechariah also prophesied,  "And the LORD shall be King over all the earth.  In that day it shall be - The LORD is one, and His name one." (Zec. 14:9)  The King refers to none other than the Lord Jesus Christ who is the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:14-15; Rev. 19:16).  Jesus came to this world to become the King at His first advent. The Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ is a spiritual one (Jn. 18:37 cf. Lk. 17:20-21; Rom. 14:17). 

The physical and political Jerusalem is no longer the city of peace that God had intended it to be.  It is now the bone of contention amongst the nation of Israel, the Palestinians and the United Nations.  The Jerusalem in this prophecy is a spiritual one.  "But the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all." (Gal. 4:26)  "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect." (Heb. 12:22-23) 

The rain in Zechariah's prophecy may be interpreted as spiritual rain.  In Israel there are two seasons of rain that signifies God's outpouring of His Spirit in two distinct periods.  The Spring rain, also called the Early Rain, is for sowing and it points to the time of the Early Apostolic Church when the gospel seeds were first sown.  The Autumn rain or the Latter Rain is for harvesting and it points to the End Time when the Church of Jesus Christ brings in the harvest of souls (Joel 2:23,28-31 cf. Acts 2:16-21).   The latter rain occurs during the time of the Feast of Tabernacles (Jer. 5:24; Lev. 23:39; Jas. 5:7).   Rain also signifies God's blessings (Deut. 28:12).  God promised that He would come down like rain (Psm. 72:6).

 "Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD.  His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth." (Hos. 6:3)  Joel prophesied God's outpouring of His Spirit during the former and latter rain.” (Joel 2:23, 28-29; ref. Acts 2:16-21) 

The Lord Jesus Christ went to Jerusalem in secret to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Jn. 7:1-13).  "Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught" (Jn. 7:14).  "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.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (Jn. 7:37-39).  Zechariah prophesied, "And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in both summer and winter it shall occur" (Zec. 14:8).  That day is already here.  God is pouring out of His Spirit on all flesh all over the world.  Another Zechariah's prophecy encourages us to pray for the Holy Spirit.  "Ask the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain.  The LORD will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone." (Zec. 10:1)   

The essence and importance of the Feast of Tabernacles must not be placed on the exact dates and location or site of the feast, but to focus on worshiping the King of kings and LORD of Lords and to pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and receive the spiritual gifts. It is of utmost importance that we do not miss out on the great teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ concerning the Feast of Tabernacles when He gave His invitation to receive the precious Holy Spirit as recorded on John 7:37-39. 

All the Feasts of the Lord “are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” (Col. 2:16-17)  The Feast of Tabernacles foreshadows the One True God manifesting Himself in the flesh as the Lord Jesus Christ.  The tabernacle of the Old Testament is called the “Tent of Meeting.” (Ex. 33:7; 39:32)  It is a sanctuary for God to dwell with His people who are sanctified by His glory. (Ex. 25:8; 29:42-46)  The tabernacle truly typifies the Lord Jesus Christ who is “the Word become 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.” (Jn. 1:14)   Jesus Christ is the “Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.” (Heb. 8:1-2)  

“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!"  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, "Arise, and do not be afraid." When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.” (Mt. 17:1-8)

In our present religious setting Peter, James and John may represent godly saints who have close relationship with Jesus Christ.  Moses and Elijah may represent powerful and gifted leaders in the Church.  The tabernacles may represent the temporal and physical aspects of the Church.  The transfiguration of Jesus Christ is God’s correction of the erroneous tendency of believers to focus and place emphasis on church organizations and honor powerful ministers to the same level as the Lord Jesus Christ.  What God wants us to do is to only hear His Son Jesus Christ and make Him the center of our worship.      

During the Feast of Tabernacles the children of Israel leave their comfortable homes and stayed in temporary and simple shelters made from leafy branches of trees and palms (Lev. 23:39-40).  God said, "You shall dwell in booths for seven days.  All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths 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." (Lev. 23:42-43)  Here is an indication that in the End Time God's children must be prepared to move out of their comfort zone; away from the complicated worldly society, and live a simple life. 

Keeping the Feast of Tabernacles has been a thorny issue in modern times due to the fact that it has become a growing movement amongst the Gentile Christians.  Unfortunately some have allowed the enemy to cause conflicts and divisions within the Body of Christ.  In the Early Apostolic Church the Jewish believers not only continued to keep the feasts strictly in accordance with the law of Moses but insisted that the Gentile converts also do the same (Acts 15:5).  According to the resolution of the Jerusalem Conference Gentiles do not have to keep all the laws of Moses contained in ordinances except the four abstentions (Acts 15:23-29, ref. Eph. 2:15).  Some Jewish believers had judged the Gentile Christians for not keeping the feasts and so the apostle Paul wrote,  "Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ" (Col. 2:16-17).  Paul's statement may also be applied in the reverse position.  Believers that do not keep the feasts should not judge those that do.  "Who are you to judge another's servant?  To his own master he stands or falls.  Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.  One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike.  Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.  He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the day he does not observe it." (Rom. 14:4-6)     

All true believers must have a proper understanding of keeping the Feast of Tabernacles in the End Time.  Under the New Covenant believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are no longer under the law but are now under grace (Jn. 1:17; Rom. 6:14).  For several years I have had the privilege of keeping the Feast of Tabernacles with several congregations that share my beliefs and faith.  They have Christian love and do not judge those that do not keep the feasts.  I attend the Feast of Tabernacles, not because I have to, but because I choose to.  I keep the feasts not because of the law but because of the grace that comes from our Lord Jesus Christ.  I also attended the feasts with the brethren of similar-faith because I love the Lord Jesus Christ and also because I love them. I really enjoyed the presence of God and the fellowship of the brethren.  If you have not kept the Feast of Tabernacles in the past do try it this year.  You will enjoy the love of God and the fellowship of the brethren.   

                                       May God bless you 

                            A Sermon based on this article was preached by Paul Wong
                            to a Congregation in Houston, Texas on September 28, 2002

This article was published on this Website on October 21, 2009
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Paul Wong is a Christian minister and the President of ARK International.
His ministry also serves as an architectural service company in Houston.
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 October 2009 17:54