The third of the fall festivals. As are all of the Festivals of Yehovah, the Festival of Tabernacles is filled with spiritual meaning that is nothing short of exhilarating and very precious to the Believer. For many years I was very ignorant of the Festivals of Yehovah, only seeing a very dim picture of their meaning, and not understanding any need to celebrate them. I am thankful to the Mighty One for opening the eyes of my understanding as to what I believe is a compulsion (His command) to celebrate Yehovah’s festivals, and for the joy and wonder that the understanding of the festivals has brought, and still brings to me and mine as we celebrate them. The understanding of Festivals of Yehovah have added greatly to my life and faith.
Moses, the servant of Yehovah commanded the people of faith to keep this festival, in its time, and according to its particular set of rules, this was to be done every year as a “mikvah”, (Public rehearsal) and for the most part the Jews were faithful to do that. For 1,500 years up to, and even past the time of Messiah, and since that time the more faithful element of Judaism has, and still endeavors to keep this Festival. However, in reality the festival cannot be physically kept for a number of reasons, but only celebrated. Yet, each of the Festivals of Yehovah cries out to be understood and kept in the spirit. For remember, all the Festivals of Yehovah are shadow pictures of spiritual realities. A tree will cast a shadow on a sunny day, but can you cut that shadow down and harvest it for timber, or for firewood? If it is an apple tree that casts the shadow, can you pick a shadow apple and eat it? Obviously not. The shadow is not the substance of the tree. In like manner the Festivals of Yehovah are not the reality, they are only a shadow of the enormous and great things that God has in store for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. Yehovah's people are called to observe the festivals each year, and by doing so we are built up in our faith, and the understanding of His plan for our lives, and His plan for mankind in general, and consequently our faith is strengthened, and our resolve to serve Him faithfully is strengthened.
The Festival of Tabernacles is one of three "pilgrimage" festivals listed in Leviticus 23. Meaning, that the Scripture compelled all the males of Israel (Who remember, were the people of faith in their generation) to get up, leave their homes and go and observe it, and it is my opinion that at least these three festivals ought to be celebrated by the gathering of the people of faith. (Ex. 23:14-17, Ex. 34:18-23) Besides the name, Festival of Tabernacles, the festival goes by other names: Festival of Booths, Festival of Ingathering, Festival of Nations.
This festival looks back at the forty-year period of time when the Israelites (The then people of faith) lived obediently in the wilderness of Sinai, (Deut. 1:3) directly under Yehovah’s protection and blessing, (Ex, 19:3-6) which offered a cloud covering by day, and a pillar of fire by night. (Ex. 13:21-22) During that time the people could see the very presence of God dwelling in their midst, (Ex 40: 34-38) all their needs were taken care of, there was no sickness among them, neither did their shoes or their clothes wear out, (Deut. 8:2-4) water came forth as a river from rock, (Ex. 17: 1-7, Num. 20: 1-13) for a forty year period food in the form of manna was provided for the people six days each week, (No manna was provided on the seventh day, which of course is the Sabbath, (Ex. 16:1-36, Jos 5:12) and they had righteous judges in the persons of Moses and the elders of Israel. (Ex. 18:13-26) Truly that period of time was a taste of the good things that are yet to come for those that love and serve Yehovah.
Like many promises of Yehovah the Festival of Tabernacles has experienced more than one point of fulfillment. The forty years that the people of faith were under Moses’ leadership was certainly a fulfillment of Yehovah dwelling with, and among His people. The next periods of Yehovah dwelling among His people were the periods of time when the Judges led Israel, when the Kings of Israel ruled, and then the period after the fall of Israel. If one will attentively read the books of history, the Psalms, and the Prophets, (Also the book of Maccabees, which covers a broad spectrum of time not covered in our Bible) that person will note that they testify of tangible expressions of the presence of God among the people of faith, how be it they were limited.
The next very dramatic fulfillment the Festival of Tabernacles was the advent of Messiah coming to earth and “tabernacle-ing” among men. (Jo. 1:14) In fact, I have become persuaded that Yeshua was born on the high Sabbath of the Festival of Tabernacles. Messiah’s first coming was truly a taste of “Emanuel”, which of course means, God with us. (Mat. 1:23) Yehovah, in the person of Messiah certainly was among the people, showing Himself with continual and very dramatic supernatural, and natural blessings for the people. In fact, so varied and many were the miracles of Yeshua that the Apostle John described their abundance with these words, “And there are also many other things which Jesus (Yeshua) did, and which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” (Jo. 21:25) I have to admit, that there have been many times that in my heart I have thought, “If only I could have been there to see the life and ministry of Yeshua?” For to see God in flesh, with all His glory, must have been something.
After the life and ministry of Yeshua, the next earth shaking taste of the Yehovah “tabernacle-ing” among men began to be experienced when the disciples received the Holy Spirit, and were born again, (Jo. 20:22), which was quickly followed by the out pouring of the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, (Acts 1:4-5, Acts 2: 1-17) which basically signaled the beginning of the New Testament Church age, where God the Holy Spirit began to both dwell in, and upon people. The book of The Acts of the Apostles is a written description of that, and of course the end of the book of Acts has not yet been written, in a very real sense the best is yet to come! We can be assured that the Holy Spirit will yet do exceeding things in and through Yehovah’s people before the conclusion of this age.
After the early Church age, the next earth shaking taste of Yehovah “tabernacle-ing” among men is yet to be experienced, for this movement is still futuristic, but I do not believe it is far away. This pouring forth of the Holy Spirit is commonly referred to as the Latter Rain. (Ho. 6:1-3, Joel 2:23, Joel 2:28-29, Ja. 5:7) The Holy Spirit will at that time be poured forth as an answer to a movement of very enhanced prayer and repentance, (Zech. 12:9-10, Is. 66:8, Acts 1:14, 2:1, Lu. 1:10, 1 Tim. 2:1-4) and not in just one place or region, but throughout the whole earth in the sense of a double portion. I believe the Latter Rain promise will be twice the anointing that was exhibited in the beginning of the New Testament Church age. It will be a time of exceeding manifestations of Yehovah’s presence among men, a time of great judgement within God’s house, a time of great grace within God’s house, and a time of great revelation to all who dwell in God’s house. Yehovah, like never before in history will be seen in a very broad manner to be present in and among His people. Coming soon to a city near you! In fact, your city. I beg of you to examine your life, and make sure you are firmly in the faith so that you do not lose out in experiencing this outpouring of Yehovah’s presence.
Still, the Bible forecasts that there will be even greater things to come than the Latter Rain movement. I believe it can be accurately said that upon the conclusion of this age, after Messiah as gathered His own from the four corners of the earth, (Mat. 13:41, Mat 24:31, Mk. 13:27) and after He judges the sinners that are then upon the earth, (2 Thes. 1:7-10) that the next great act in the drama of God dwelling in and among men will then be played out, and will happen when Messiah Himself begins to reign bodily on earth. During the period of the Messianic Kingdom Yeshua will be dwelling in, and ruling from Jerusalem, (Zech. Chapters 12-14) and the Holy Spirit will in-dwell His own. (Ez. 39:29, Joel 2:23-29) It will be a time when all the nations learn of the great things that happen when people follow the ways of the God of Israel. As a consequence, peace, health, prosperity, every sort of Yehovah’s blessings will spread out from the Great City (Is. 2:1-4, Is. 11:1-9) and eventually envelope the whole world. Yehovah’s law will fill the earth, (Is. 42: 1-4) and those that do not submit to it will taste severely of Yeshua’s judgment. (Rev. 2:27, Zech. 14:17-19) The children of the resurrection will rule and reign with Messiah during this time. (Rev. 2: 6-7) The peoples of the nations will go up to Jerusalem yearly to keep the Festival of Tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16-21) All men shall worship before Him on that day, and all men shall keep Yehovah’s Sabbaths at that time. (Is. 66:23-24) The ravages of the curse of sin will disappear. (Is. 11:9) In that day, the earth will give her full bounty, all animals will be docile, (Isaiah 65:25) armies will no longer march, (Is. 2:4) every man will sit under his own fig tree, (Micah 4:4) men’s labor will not be in vain, (Is. 65:21-23) a person will die at a hundred years of age and be consider as a child, (Is. 65:20) and righteousness will become the normal reality in the earth. (Is. 42:4)
The sukkah (booth) (Lev. 23:42) that Believers are commanded to dwell in during the Festival of Tabernacles is intended to be reminiscent of the type of fragile dwellings in which the Israelites dwelt in during their 40 years of travel in the desert after their Exodus from slavery in Egypt. Throughout the festival, Believers should eat their meals inside the sukkah, and if at all feasible we should also sleep there as well. In Leviticus, Yehovah told Moses to command the people: "On the first day you shall take the product of hadar trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook", (Lev. 23:40) and "You shall live in booths seven days; all citizens in Israel shall live in booths, in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt". (Lev. 23:42-43) The sukkah, as both a fragile and temporary shelter is a picture of our present human body and the life it possesses. This present life for the Believer is both very fragile and very temporary. (2 Co. 4:7-18, 2 Co. 5:1-11) Our dwelling in a sukkah (Temporary dwelling, like a tent) for one week’s time each year during the Festival of Tabernacles is a picture of how clumsy and fragile this present body and life is.
The Festival of Tabernacles (Sukkah) also relates to agriculture. This is evident from the biblical name, "The Feast of Ingathering.” (Ex. 23:16, 34:22) It was/is to be a time of thanksgiving and rejoicing for the blessings of Yehovah’s provisions. (Duet. 14:23-27, Ex. 23:16) This natural aspect of the festival is a figure of the harvest of souls that will be gathered into the Lord’s garner at His coming. (Mat. 3:12, Mat. 13: 37-43, Mk. 13:27, 2 Thes. 2:1) Perhaps because of its wide attendance in ancient Israel, Sukkot became the appropriate time for important state ceremonies. Moses instructed the children of Israel to gather for a reading of the Law during Sukkot every seventh year. (Deut. 31:10-11) Sukkot was the first sacred occasion observed after the resumption of sacrifices in Jerusalem following the Babylonian captivity. (Ezra 3:2-4)
King Solomon dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem on Sukkot. (1 Kings 8; 2 Chron. 7) This action in itself is a prophetic shadow picture of the greatest and final fulfillment of the Festival of Tabernacles as is forecasted in the Scripture. (Revelations chapter 21 and 22)
Yehovah will at that time have created a new heaven and a new earth, the former will have passed away. (Rev. 21:1) The New Jerusalem will come down from God out of heaven, it is the Lamb’s Wife. (Rev. 21:2) God Himself with His full person shall dwell in and with His own, and every negative element of human life as we have known it will be passed forever. (Rev. 21:3-6) This is a place only for those that have been washed and regenerated, for there will be no sin there. (Rev. 21: 7-8) In this heavenly city there will be no need of a temple, for God Himself, and the LAMB are its temple, (Rev. 21:22) nor will there be a need for the sun, for God Himself and the LAMB will be the light of this city. (Rev. 21:23) The nations of the world at that time will walk in the light of this city, and bring their glory and honor to it. (Rev. 21:24) The gates of this city will never be shut day or night, for again, there will be no night there, (Rev. 21:25) and nothing wicked or dirty shall ever enter into this place. (Rev. 21:27) The River of Life shall flow forth in this place, and on its banks shall grow the Tree of Life, and from its fruit and its leaves shall flow healing to the nations, and every curse that man has ever known in the past will be forever vanished. (Rev. 22:1-3) In this place men shall see the very face of God, and His name shall be in them, (Rev. 22:4) and these blessings will go on forever, and forever. (Rev. 22:5) That will be the day, the very greatest day of all. That will be the all-time ultimate of God “Tabernacle-ing” with men, and for all that belong to Messiah, it will go on for eternity. Amen
An American Watchman,
Gregory A DeHart