Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Feast of Tabernacles - Part 1

"Sukkah Roofs" by Yoninah -
Own work. Licensed under
Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons -
The seventh and final annual Feast of the LORD is the Feast of Tabernacles. The Hebrew name for this Feast is Sukkot (sue-COAT). It is also known as the Feast of Booths.

God gave the instructions for the Feast of Tabernacles to Moses in Leviticus 23:33-34.

33 The Lord said to Moses, 34 "Say to the Israelites: 'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord's Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days...'"

This is the third Feast that God required all Jewish males to attend in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16).

This feast lasts for seven days. The Feast of Tabernacles begins on Tishrei 15, five days after the Day of Atonement, and lasts until the Tishrei 21.

The reason God wanted the people of Israel to celebrate this Feast was to remember and celebrate the way God provided for and protected the Hebrew people in the dessert for 40 years after they were released from slavery in Egypt in the time of Moses (1526 – 1406 B.C.).

To celebrate this Feast, the people of Israel throughout the centuries have built "booths" out of tree limbs to live in temporarily, like the ones in the photo upper left. This remembers how their ancestors lived in the dessert around 3,500 years ago.

The word "tabernacle" means a dwelling place. The Tabernacle, built in the time of Moses, and its more permanent version known as the Temple, was symbolic of God's dwelling place as God dwelt among His people. (Tweet that!)

In other words, in the Tabernacle/Temple, God "tabernacled" with His people. (Tweet that!) 
Jesus fulfilled this idea in part when he came to earth. We could say Jesus, being God incarnate, came and "tabernacle" (lived with) us, humankind, for a time.

The apostle John wrote this about Jesus*, the incarnation of the very Words of God:

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14, NIV 2011).
The idea of the Feast of Tabernacles also looks forward into the future. Back in Moses' day, it was the far distant future. Today, approximately 3,500 years later, it is much closer. There is coming a day when God will again "tabernacle" with humankind during the 1,000 year millennium reign of Jesus Christ (at the end of which Satan and all evil will be done away with forever). Hear what the last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation which is about the End Times, says:

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God' " (Revelation 21:3, NIV 1984).

The Feast of Tabernacles looks forward to the day when God will come to tabernacle with His people -- those who love and follow Him. All others have been swept away.

Which group are you in? Which group would you like to be in? If you are not yet one of God's people but would like to be, simply talk to Jesus in prayer and tell him you want to be a true follower of his. He will begin to guide you and teach you his Truth.

The Feast of Tabernacles in 2014 will begin at sundown on October 8. This is also the date of the next total lunar eclipse or Blood Moon. That is no coincidence. (Tweet that!) We'll talk more about that in the next post next Tuesday.

*If you would like to learn more about how Jesus came to tabernacle among us, how all the prophecies of old point to Jesus, and how many of these prophecies were fulfilled in his birth at the first Christmas, please get my book Prophecies Fulfilled in the Birth of Jesus. This makes an excellent study for the upcoming Christmas season. Added thoughts, prayers, and questions make it easy to discuss as a family or use it to lead a small group. 

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