Feast of Tabernacles Observance

When God revealed his law to ancient Israel, he commanded them to keep, besides the weekly Sabbath, a series of annual festivals. All of the commanded assemblies are rehearsed in Leviticus 23.

Among them is the Feast of Tabernacles, beginning in the seventh month of the sacred calendar on the fifteenth day of the month. It was to be kept for seven days (Leviticus 23:34). At the end of the eighth day, the last great day, or high day, of the feast, the festival season ends (Leviticus 23:36). In certain respects the eighth day is a feast of its own, with its own special meaning, though closely connected with the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles coincided with the fall harvest season in Israel, and was to be a celebration of rejoicing accompanying the great harvest of the fall season (Deuteronomy 16:13-15).

With the feasting and enjoyment of physical blessings, is a spiritual dimension to the Feast of Tabernacles, as with all the festivals of God. It is a time when the law is to be explained and its meaning made clear, so the people may learn proper reverence toward God and to observe his commandments (Deuteronomy 31:10-12; Nehemiah 8:17-18).

Moreover, there is a prophetic meaning to the Feasts God proclaimed. As Paul wrote, the Sabbaths, including the annual Sabbaths accompanying the festivals, “are a shadow of things to come” (Colossians 2:17). By the time of Christ’s sojourn on earth, the Jewish people had long been taught the general outline of the prophetic meaning behind the Feast of Tabernacles. They understood that it pointed to “the better harvest of a renewed world,” i.e., the advent of the kingdom of God on the earth. “Indeed, the whole symbolism of the Feast, beginning with the completed harvest, for which it was a thanksgiving, pointed to the future. The Rabbis themselves admitted this” (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Alfred Edersheim, 2.9; 4.6).

Under the Levitical system of sacrificial offerings, during the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, among other sacrifices, a total of seventy young bulls were offered as burnt offerings (Numbers 29:12-34). “The strange number of sacrificial bullocks – seventy in all – they regarded as referring to ‘the seventy nations’ of heathendom” (Edersheim, 4.6). The symbolism of the feast pictured, among other things, the future “conversion of the heathen world, and so pointed to ‘the days of the Messiah’ ” (ibid, 4.8).

So the Feast of Tabernacles pictures not only the conversion of Israel to God (Ezekiel 20:40-44), but of the whole world to the worship of the Creator God in the Messianic Kingdom. ” ‘And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me, ‘ says the Lord” (Isaiah 66:23).

Jesus himself kept the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2, 10, 14). Given a vision of Jesus being transfigured to a glorious state, as in his kingdom, along with Moses and Elijah, Peter, James and John naturally associated it with tabernacles (Matthew 17:1-9; Luke 9:26-36). When Jesus Christ returns to establish the throne of his kingdom in Jerusalem, all nations will learn to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, in accordance with God’s command.

“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 keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16-19).

In accordance with God’s command, members of the Messenger Church of God and their families keep the Feast of Tabernacles joyfully each year at the appointed time.

Typically, we share meals and other activities, with abundant opportunities for fellowship and conversation. The messages focus on matters related to God’s kingdom.

If you would like to learn more about the Feast of Tabernacles and other festivals of God, please contact us.

Unless otherwise noted Scripture taken from the New King James VersionTM
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Messenger Church of God
PO Box 619
Wentzville, MO 63385


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