The Feast of Tabernacles – Exodus 23:16:34:22 Leviticus 23:34-43; Numbers 29:12-14; Deuteronomy 16:13-15; Ezra 3:4 Nehemiah 8:13-18
This past week we observed the holiest day in the Hebrew biblical year, the Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur, a day of fasting and prayer, of supplication and repentance, of reflection and meditation. As we continue celebrating the Feasts of the Lord, this next week moves quickly into rejoicing and thankfulness. The Feast of Tabernacles (Succot) is the Harvest Festival of Ingathering, a time of celebration and joy, of thankfulness and good food. Succot is the original inspiration for our Thanksgiving Holiday!
“Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the Lord for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest. And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 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.’ ” Leviticus 23:39-43
In the Bible it is also known as the Feast of Ingathering “Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the first fruits of the crops you sow in your field, the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.” - Exodus 23:16 (NIV) On this occasion we are called to remember the Israelites' deliverance from slavery in Egypt and being brought by God's mighty Hand through the wilderness into the Promised Land; During this 40-year journey, life was hard, and they lived in temporary dwellings in tents for an entire generation. For this reason Israel commemorates this throughout their generations by dwelling, eating, rejoicing, in a temporary shelter called a “succah” (“succot” for plural) for 7 days, and having a big celebration on the 8th day representing their settling into their inheritance – a new beginning. Who it's for? Deuteronomy 16:13-15 “Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for 7 days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your festival, you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns” concluding with “for the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.” The verses following this mention that “No one should appear before the Lord empty-handed: Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.” This is the part that applies especially to believers in Yeshua the Messiah; during the Feast of Tabernacles throughout the Bible, besides the sacrifices, two other important ceremonies took place.
The first - The priest would draw fresh pure water from the Pool of Siloam and carry it to the Temple where it was poured into a silver basin beside the altar, which foreshadowed the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, 4 huge golden menorahs were lit along the outer walls of the temple, which reminded the people of the pillar of fire which led them through the desert; however it also demonstrated that the promised Messiah would be a “Light to the World”. The Lord Jesus had these very specific references in mind when He said these words during The Feast of Tabernacles- “the last day that great day of the great feast Jesus stood and cried, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." - John 7:37-38 (NIV) AND "I AM the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness but will have the Light of Life." - John 8:12 (NIV)
The Feast of Tabernacles is also a time when we celebrate all that the Lord has done for us and a time of restored fellowship with the Lord. Moses’ Tabernacle in the desert - “the tent of meeting” represents God‘s presence dwelling among his redeemed people - “I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God: they will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt, so that I may dwell among them. I am the Lord their God. Exodus 29:44 to 45. Tabernacles means “God with us”. Now where have we heard that before?
Isaiah 7:14 reads “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. In Matthew 1:23 I quote “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel which means “God with us”.
Many Christian Jews who understand the Torah believe that Yeshua was born at The Feast of Tabernacles and not specifically on 25 December because this was the day pagans celebrated Mithras’ birthday – the Sun God and we just replaced his name with the name of Jesus.
However, it would appear that baby Jesus/Immanuel was conceived during Hanukkah in December called The Festival of Lights anyway – a sign He is “The light of the World” and so we can still celebrate His coming even though it would appear Jesus was actually born nine months later in September during the Feast of Tabernacles. But it doesn’t really matter does it! Or does it? – I will leave that question with you.
Luke 2 tells us that Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken and that everyone went to his own town to be registered. It is not unreasonable to think that Caesar chose the Feast of Tabernacles in Israel because everyone would be going to Jerusalem to celebrate anyway.
Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem 5 miles from Jerusalem because they belonged to the House of David and that there was no room in the Inn because everyone had filled the rooming houses in Jerusalem because of the census and preparing for the Feast of Tabernacles. My study with “Hebrew4Christians” support this view that baby Jesus was born in a Succah– a temporary dwelling under the stars with the animals in Bethlehem at Tabernacles.
Only the perfect lambs born in Bethlehem were the ones prepared for sacrifice in the Temple in Jerusalem for The Feast of Passover in April. So it would seem that the perfect spotless Lamb of God, conceived during Hannukah - The Festival of Light in December was born in Bethlehem in a temporary shelter at Tabernacles meaning (God with us) and was crucified at the Feast of Passover – the perfect spotless lamb - for the sins of the whole world.
This is why it is important for Gentiles to understand The Feasts of the Lord and how Jesus has fulfilled them all – the Feast of Passover. He is the Passover Lamb: He is the Feast of Unleavened Bread – without sin: He is the Feast of First fruits as He is the first fruit of those to rise from the dead: He is the Feast of Pentecost as He left us His Holy Spirit at Pentecost when the tongues of fire fell and the church as born. The Feast of Trumpets declares the King is coming: “Wise men came from the east to Jerusalem saying, “Where is he, King of the Jews, for we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship Him” Baby Jesus, the King of Kings.
He is Yom Kippur the atoning Messiah and I believe Tabernacles celebrates His first coming as a baby, born of a virgin and laid in a manger – a temporary shelter in Bethlehem.
However, the Fall feasts are also the dress rehearsal for His second coming and are prophetic. The Feast of Trumpets will herald His second coming– “The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend: Yom Kippur – The Day of Atonement - is when Israel calls on their Messiah for He is their Atoning Lamb: Today Israel is beginning to receive Yeshua ha Mashiach as God removes the veil from their eyes and “all Israel shall be saved” Rom:11– this has begun. The Feast of Tabernacles signals the Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus. We may not know the day or the hour of his coming (Matt: 24:26) but we do know the season - during the Feast of Tabernacles – “God with us”.
Prophetically speaking, the seventh day of Tabernacles represents the world to come and then 1000 year Millennium Kingdom. It is written, you will know the end from the beginning – Genesis means “In the beginning”. 6 days God created the heavens and the earth and on the 7th day He rested. If a day is as a 1000 years and a 1000 years a day (2 Peter 3:8) and we are in the Hebraic year 5782 we are nearing the end of the age – God with us. The Great day – the 8th Day of Tabernacles is the Day of New beginnings of the Millennium Reign.
Revelation 22:17 “The spirit and the bride say, “Come” and let the one who hears say, “Come” and let the one who is thirsty say, “Come”.
Maranatha Lord Jesus – Come Lord Jesus.
Ref: Notes from the Aliyah Return Centre – Galilee: Hebrews4Christians:Old and New Testament Readings.