Restoring the Bride of Messiah

SUCCOTH - The Feast of Tabernacles

THE HISTORICAL ASPECTS OF THE FEAST

Leviticus 23:33-43 YHWH said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month YHWH’s Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. For seven days present offerings made to YHWH by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to YHWH by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work. (“‘These are YHWH’s appointed feasts, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing offerings made to YHWH by fire—the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day. These offerings are in addition to those for YHWH’s Sabbaths and in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to YHWH.) “‘So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to YHWH for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest. On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before YHWH your Elohim for seven days. Celebrate this as a festival to YHWH for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in booths so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am YHWH your Elohim.’”

The seventh and final Feast of YHWH is the Feast of Tabernacles. It occurs five days after the Day of Atonement on the fifteenth of Tishri (October). This feast is also called the Feast of Ingathering, the Feast to YHWH, the Feast of Booths, or simply "the feast" because it was so well-known.

Tabernacles or Booths is an annual week-long feast, celebrated in the seventh month (Tishri), in which Israel was to dwell in tents for the duration of the feast. Its historical fulfillment was the time that Israel dwelt in tents in the wilderness, and that Elohim’s presence dwelt in the Tent of Meeting and the Temple. It also was fulfilled historically when Elohim clothed Himself with humanity and dwelt among men in the form of His Son, Yahushua Messiah (John 1:14).

After the return from Exile, Ezra read the Torah and led the Israelites in acts of repentance during the Feast of Tabernacles. The dedication of Solomon's' Temple also took place during this feast.

Nehemiah 8:13-18 On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered around Ezra the scribe to give attention to the words of the Torah. They found written in the Torah, which YHWH had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in booths during the feast of the seventh month and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: “Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and shade trees, to make booths”—as it is written. So the people went out and brought back branches and built themselves booths on their own roofs, in their courtyards, in the courts of the house of Elohim and in the square by the Water Gate and the one by the Gate of Ephraim. The whole company that had returned from exile built booths and lived in them. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great. Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Torah of Elohim. They celebrated the feast for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly.

1 Kings 8:1-2 Then King Solomon summoned into his presence at Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families, to bring up the ark of YHWH’s covenant from Zion, the City of David. All the men of Israel came together to King Solomon at the time of the festival in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month.

Later, Josephus (Flavius Josephus, a first century Jewish historian) referred to the Feast of Tabernacles as the holiest and greatest of the Hebrew feasts.

On the first day of the feast, each participant had to collect twigs of myrtle, willow, and palm in the area of Jerusalem for construction of their booth. These "huts" or "booths" were constructed from bulrushes as joyful reminders of the temporary housing erected by their forefathers during the Exodus wanderings. The "booth" in Scripture is a symbol of protection, preservation, and shelter from heat and storm.

Psalm 27:5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 31:20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues.

The rejoicing community included family, servants, orphans, widows, Levites, and sojourners.

Deuteronomy 16:13-15 Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your Feast—you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the Feast to YHWH your Elohim at the place YHWH will choose. For YHWH your Elohim will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

Besides the construction of the booths, other festivities included the ingathering of the labor of the field, the ingathering of the threshing floor and winepress, and the ingathering of the fruit of the earth. Samples of the fall crop were hung in each family's booth to acknowledge Elohim's faithfulness in providing for His people.

Exodus 23:16 Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.

Deuteronomy 16:13 Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress.

Leviticus 23:39 So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to YHWH for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest.

On the eighth and final day of the feast, the high priest of Israel, in a great processional made up of priests and tens of thousands of worshipers, descended from the Temple Mount to pause briefly at the Pool of Siloam. A pitcher was filled with water, and the procession continued via a different route back to the Temple Mount. Here, in the midst of great ceremony, the high priest poured the water out of the pitcher onto the altar.

OBSERVATION OF THE FEAST

1. The people were to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles on the fifteenth day of the seventh month.

2. It was to last for seven days, a full week of festivities and worship.

3. The people were to begin with a sacred assembly on the first day, doing no work whatsoever.

4. On the eighth day, they were to hold another sacred assembly to close the festival.

5. They were to approach Elohim for atonement (reconciliation) during each of the seven days, approaching Elohim through the Burnt Offering.

6. They were to live in these booths or shelters for seven days.

7. The festival was to be a celebration of great joy and rejoicing before YHWH.

8. The festival was to be a lasting, permanent observance.

Purpose of the Feast

1. It was to teach all descendants that their ancestors had to live in booths when Elohim delivered them out of Egypt.

2. This was a symbol of how temporary this world is.

3. It was a warning of Elohim: "I am YHWH your Elohim".

4. Elohim expected His people to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. If they failed, His judgment would fall upon them.
 
NEW TESTAMENT REFERENCES TO THE FEAST

Since in Israel the rains normally stop in March, there is no rain for almost seven months! If Elohim does not provide the "early" rains in October and November, there will be no spring crop, and famine is at the doorstep. This ceremony, then, was intended to invoke Elohim's blessing on the nation by providing life-giving water.

It is in connection with the Feast of Tabernacles and this eighth day that the gospel of John records a fascinating event.

John 7:37-38 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Yahushua stood and said in a loud voice, “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.”

The Son of Elohim was saying in the clearest possible way that He alone was the source of life and blessing; that He could meet every need of the human heart.

Another ritual included the lighting of huge Menorahs at the Court of the Women. This is the probable background for Yahushua' statement: "I am the light of the world."

John 8:12 When Yahushua spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The water and the "pillar of light" provided during the wilderness wandering (when people dwelt in tabernacles) was temporary and in contrast to the continuing water and light claimed by Yahushua during this feast which commemorated that wandering period.
It will be a time of peace and no fear. NO STRESS!! No ulcers, anxieties, worries which are the cause of many ailments. Of course, we will already have our glorified bodies.

Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says YHWH.

Micah 4:4 Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for YHWH Almighty has spoken.

The eschatological visions which speak of the coming of all nations to worship at Jerusalem refer to the Feast of Tabernacles on the occasion of their pilgrimage. This feast speaks eloquently of Messiah's millennial Kingdom - of a new beginning without the ravages of the curse of sin. In that day, the earth will give her full bounty, all animals will be docile, armies will no longer march, every man will sit under his own fig tree, and righteousness will become a reality in the earth.

Those nations that do not send representatives to Jerusalem during "The Feast of Tabernacles", so they may worship Master Yahushua Messiah, will be punished for their disobedience in two ways:

• Their nation will suffer a drought from "The Feast of Tabernacles" they did not attend until the next Feast of Tabernacles that they do attend.

• A plaque will kill many of the citizens of the offending nation that would not obey the Word of YHWH.

Zechariah 14:16-19 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, YHWH Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, YHWH Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. YHWH will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.

APPLICATION FOR US TODAY

Elohim Wants His People to Have Joy

1. Elohim wanted to remind the people that He had led them out of Egypt, had led them through the wilderness, and had been good to them.

2. The Feast of Tabernacles was a reminder to Israel that everything they had came from Elohim.

3. We need to remember this also. Sometimes folks in church take everything for granted -the church building, the ministry, etc. But we need to remember that people sacrificed, worked and gave that the building and ministry might be here. Look back and be grateful for Elohim's past mercies.

4. Elohim also wants us to be grateful for the present blessings. The Feast of Tabernacles was a harvest festival. So Israel could look back and be thankful for Elohim's provision, protection and direction. They once lived in booths, but now they were living in houses. They once had to wander, but now they were settled down. They once had to ask Him for water, but now they had plenty of water. Just as they could rejoice over past and present mercies from the generous hand of Elohim, we need to be reminded to enjoy what Elohim has given us, and use it for His glory and for the good of others.

Joy Always Follows Cleansing

1. The Day of Atonement was followed by the Feast of Tabernacles.

2. Nothing robs us of joy like sin.

Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

3. Sin robs us of joy, but joy always follows cleansing. This was true of the Prodigal Son; when he went home, and the father received him and forgave him, and there was great joy. First the cleansing and then the joy. The same is true for us today, first sin has to be taken care of, and then there can be joy and happiness.

4. Elohim wants His people to have joy, and joy follows cleansing.

Joy Leads to Sacrifice

1. During the Feast of Tabernacles, nearly 200 different animals were sacrificed.

Numbers 29:12-38 “‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. Celebrate a festival to YHWH for seven days. Present an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to YHWH, a burnt offering of thirteen young bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect. With each of the thirteen bulls prepare a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil; with each of the two rams, two-tenths; and with each of the fourteen lambs, one-tenth. Include one male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain offering and drink offering. “‘On the second day prepare twelve young bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect. With the bulls, rams and lambs, prepare their grain offerings and drink offerings according to the number specified. Include one male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their drink offerings. “‘On the third day prepare eleven bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect. With the bulls, rams and lambs, prepare their grain offerings and drink offerings according to the number specified. Include one male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain offering and drink offering. “‘On the fourth day prepare ten bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect. With the bulls, rams and lambs, prepare their grain offerings and drink offerings according to the number specified. Include one male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain offering and drink offering. “‘On the fifth day prepare nine bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect. With the bulls, rams and lambs, prepare their grain offerings and drink offerings according to the number specified. Include one male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain offering and drink offering. “‘On the sixth day prepare eight bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect. With the bulls, rams and lambs, prepare their grain offerings and drink offerings according to the number specified. Include one male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain offering and drink offering. “‘On the seventh day prepare seven bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect. With the bulls, rams and lambs, prepare their grain offerings and drink offerings according to the number specified. Include one male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain offering and drink offering. “‘On the eighth day hold an assembly and do no regular work. Present an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to YHWH, a burnt offering of one bull, one ram and seven male lambs a year old, all without defect. With the bull, the ram and the lambs, prepare their grain offerings and drink offerings according to the number specified. Include one male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain offering and drink offering.

2. When we are joyfully thankful to Elohim, sacrifice is no problem.

3. When we are happy in YHWH, rejoicing in His goodness, it is no problem at all to share what Elohim gives us.

4. Yahushua Messiah became poor that we might be rich.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Master Yahushua Messiah, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

The Greatest Joy Is Yet to Come

1. The Feast of Tabernacles is a picture of the future kingdom when Yahushua shall reign.

Zechariah 14:4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.

Zechariah 14:9 YHWH will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.

Zechariah 14:16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, YHWH Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.

2. The Feast of Tabernacles will be a time of great rejoicing. It will be a time when you and I will enter into the glory of YHWH, when His Kingdom is established.

3. Let's not fix our hearts on the joys of this world because they will not last. And let's not get discouraged because we are going through some difficulty; it will not last either.

Psalm 30:5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

1 Peter 1:3-7 Praise be to the Elohim and Father of our Master Yahushua Messiah! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Yahushua Messiah from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by Elohim’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, esteem and honor when Yahushua Messiah is revealed.

1 Peter 4:12-13 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Messiah, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

4. Yahushua is coming soon; He will establish His Kingdom, and we shall reign with Him.

Master Yahushua Messiah will set up His Tabernacle in Jerusalem upon His return to Earth to rule for 1,000 years. Each year, thereafter, representatives from every nation on earth will be expected to attend this feast in Jerusalem where they are to appear before YHWH Yahushua Messiah and to worship Him.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of Elohim and of Messiah and will reign with him for a thousand years.

Ezekiel 37:26-27 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their Elohim, and they will be my people.

Revelation 20:4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Yahushua and because of the word of Elohim. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Messiah a thousand years.

next...