The last of the Appointed Times given by our Heavenly Father, to His People is known as the Feast of Tabernacles. After the solemn remembrance of the “Day of Atonement” in which we repent for all our shortcomings, we step into the 8 Day feast of Tabernacles with much joy and rejoicing. This is considered the most joyous of the Appointed Times given to us in Lev 23. Let us study this Feast a bit more closer to understand and apply it to our life today as well as find out its Prophetic significance.
This study has been broken into 10 sections for your viewing ease. If you already know about any particular section, please feel free to skip through to the section that you are interested in.
1. Introduction to the Feasts/Appointed Times of God
God’s appointed times (also known as feasts) which are written in Lev 23 consist of 7 separate events which are “remembrances of God’s grace in time past” as well as “prophetic shadows of things to come”. Even though these feasts have been branded “Jewish feasts”, it is very clear that these were called “My feasts” and “LORD‘s feasts” by our Heavenly Father (Lev 23:2,4,37).
Contrary to popular belief, Yeshua(the real name of Jesus), His Disciples and even the highly misunderstood Apostle Paul, did not teach or abolish God’s Law. Just as God’s Commandments will stand till Heaven and Earth exists, The “Feasts” or “Appointed Times” of God (which are part of God’s Law), is, and will be in effect in the time to come. Out of the 7 events asked to be remembered, God has fulfilled 3 of these prophetic events in the time of the first coming of Messiah.
I highly recommend that you read the separate studies on Passover, First Fruits, Pentecost & Trumpets (if you have not studied this subject before) from which, Passover, Firstfruits & Pentecost have been already fulfilled in its time and season at the time of the 1st appearance of Messiah Yeshua.
Let us review these Appointed times, their significance and their fulfillment –
1. The Sabbath – Every 7th Day (Lev 23:3) – Remembrance of God as Supreme Creator and the one who will provide us with rest in His Millennial Kingdom
2. Passover & the week of Unleavened bread – 14th of the 1st Month is Passover / 15th to 21st is the week of U.B. ; The 15th and the 21st are Special Sabbaths (Lev 23:5-7) – The deliverance from Egypt through the Blood of a Lamb & the Deliverance from Sin/Death through the Blood of Yeshua who is named Lamb of God (Yeshua died on the day of Passover)
3. First Fruits – The day after the 7th day Sabbath, which is right after Passover (Lev 23:10,11) – The lifting up of the First fruit of all Crops to God & the ressurection of the First fruit of all who will rise again – Yeshua – who was the First to have risen from death (Yeshua rose on the day of First Fruits)
4. Feast of Weeks also known as Pentecost – The 50th day counted from First Fruits (Lev 23:15,16) – The day of Thanksgiving for God’s provision for the Harvest and remembrance of giving of the Commandments at Mt.Sinai, as well as The day of remembrance of the giving of the Holy Spirit & the start of the Heavenly harvest of souls collected unto God. – (The Holy Spirit fell on the Disciples on the day of Pentecost)
From the 3rd Month (when Pentecost is celebrated) until the 7th Month (when the last 3 feasts are celebrated) there is a period of silence, much like the time we are living in – awaiting His 2nd coming ——————————————————————————————————————————————-
5. Feast of Trumpets – 1st day of the 7th Month (Lev 23:24,25) – The day Yeshua will return as the Bridegroom & King to reclaim the Earth and establish His Kingdom for a thousand years
6. Feast of Atonement – 10th day of the 7th Month (Lev 23:27-30) – The day of Judgement which is to come, it is day where we fast in repentance, asking God to have mercy for all our terrible sins.
7. Feast of Tabernacles – 15th to 22nd day of the 7th Month ; 15th & 22 are Special Sabbaths (Lev 23:34-36)
2. The “Appointed time” / “Feast” of Tabernacles
Lev 23:33-36,38-43 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
(Also read Num 29:12 onwards)
As seen in the above passage of Scripture, “Tabernacles” was a Week of Rejoicing before God Almighty. As per the Commandment that proceeds from Him, the 1st day is supposed to be a “Sabbath” and a day of “Assembly”. The Feast ended with the 8th day, which was similarly ordered to be kept as a “Sabbath” and a day of “Assembly” again. As we have seen throughout, all of these have been shadows or prophetic announcements of the work of Messiah. As you are now familiar, Christ fulfilled the Passover, the First Fruits and the Pentecost Feasts. The “fall feasts” as they are known, which are trumpets, atonement and tabernacles will be fulfilled in Him, when He comes as the “Son of David” to rule and reign in His Kingdom alongside His Bride.
3. Tabernacle = Booth = Sukkah = Temporary dwelling
The word “Tabernacle” which was also the same as “Booth” (H5521 – סכּה – sûkkâh) meant “temporary dwelling”. The name “Succoth” derives from the above Hebrew word. This word is first seen in Gen 33:17, in which Jacob makes “Sukkah’s” for His Cattle/Possessions. The “Booths” were mostly made of branches of trees (Lev 23:40, Neh 8:15). We see Jonah building himself a “Booth” outside of Nineveh to see what will become of the city (Jon 4:5). This feast also signifies the temporary state of this life, and that we should await the 8th Day in which all will be renewed and made new in Messiah.
4. A mandatory appearance before God
The “Feast of Tabernacles” or “Feast of Ingathering” as it is known, was one of the 3 Appointments that God Specifically said all should appear before Him. The people were supposed to come from their cities, wherever they lived, to God’s Temple in Jerusalem – Deut 16:16, Exo 23:16, 34:22,23.
5. Remembering Tabernacles/Booths – in the Wilderness, today and when we finally reside with Him
The Feast of Tabernacles is a remembrance of the time in which the Children of Israel dwelt in “Booths” in the Wilderness. It was a remembrance of the journey with God towards the Promised Land, after they were redeemed from Slavery in Egypt. Even After the return from the Babylonian Exile, the people of Judah remembered this Feast (Neh 8:14-17), probably because they were exiled from the Land, but God was still with them, in their exile. Today, we as believers who are grafted into Israel (Rom 11:16-26), are still in exile, waiting for the day when we would be let into the Promised Land through Messiah. In this we understand that the present life we live, is a “temporary dwelling” that we must abandon shortly (2Pet 1:13,14, 2Cor 5:1).
6. Ingathering of Harvest
All of God’s Feasts revolved around the Harvest of the Land. Generally, an yearly agricultural cycle consists of two main seasons. Subsequent to the flow of rain, in the “Spring” and in the “Fall”, the fields are harvested of its produce. God’s Feasts can be broken down into 2 main parts, as the “Spring Feasts” (Passover, Firstfruits & Pentecost) and “Fall Feasts” (Trumpets, Atonement & Tabernacles). Passover leading upto First fruits was the time of the ripening of the Harvest. And the First portion of the Harvest of that year was completed on Pentecost. Similarly, by the time of Tabernacles, the Second Harvest of the year was ready. This is the reason why this Feast was also known as the “Feast of Ingathering” (Exo 23:16, 34:22, Deut 16:13). When Christ appeared before, He became the “Firstfruit” and gathered an amount of people unto Himself as His first Harvest after “Pentecost”. The Second Harvest (The Greater Harvest) is what He talked about in His Ministry (Mat 13:30,39) and is further seen in Prophecy (Joe 3:13, Rev 14:15) which will come to pass with the fulfillment of “Tabernacles”.
7. Days of Rejoicing and Gladness
The seven days from the 15th to 21st of the Seventh Month are to be days of Rejoicing (Lev 23:40, Deut 16:14-16, 2Chr 7:8-10). There were so many things to rejoice about at the time of the Commandment and even today. The Israelites remembered how God fulfilled His promise in bringing them into the land given to Abraham. How God provided them on the way, and even after they entered, how God gave the rains on time, giving them plentiful harvests. They also remembered that they had stepped from death to life because there Sins were covered by the “Atonement Sacrifice” which was done 5 days prior to the “Feast of Tabernacles”. Today, similarly, we thank God for His provision and His mercy, as well as looking forward to the Day when we will “dwell” with Him for a Thousand Years (Rev 20:6, 21:3).
8. Learning God’s Word
The 7 day period of this feast has been a time which was exclusively separated for the study of His Word as well (Deut 31:10-13, Neh 8:18). It is a good time to refresh ourselves in His Word and audit our understanding and our doctrines to see whether it is Biblical & accurate.
9. 8th Day of the Feast – also known as the “Great Day”
Many sacrifices and ceremonies were done in the temple on the 8th day, Signifying a New Beginning or perfection (Lev 9:1, 14:10, 15:14, Lev 22:27, Eze 43:27). Circumcision was also to be done on the 8th Day of a Male Child (Lev 12:3). This is the day mentioned in Joh 7:37 in which Yeshua (Real name of Jesus) cried out “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink”. This signified the day which is mentioned in Rev 7:15-17. The 8th Day signifies a time when every thing will be renewed completely whether it be heaven or earth (Rev 21:1-6).
10. The Feast of Tabernacles in the Messianic Kingdom Prophecy
The Feast of Tabernacles is one of the feasts specifically mentioned in the prophecies about Yeshua’s Kingdom. It is clear that all who enter into the Messianic Kingdom will have to keep the Appointed time of Tabernacles (Zec 14:16-19). This is a clear indication that these feasts/appointed times/prophetic rehearsals are not done away after Yeshua’s 1st appearance on earth.
The last feast in the Calendar of Prophetic Appointments given by our Father, is the “Feast of Tabernacles”. As we have seen through the study above, it is evident that this Appointment will be fulfilled only at the end of the age, when God dwells/Tabernacles with us. Furthermore the 8th Day of the Feast signifies the renewal and perfection of all things, in which all of God’s Word would be fulfilled. Reading Zec 14:16-19, it is clear that everyone will have to be obedient to keep this feast in the Messianic Kingdom, which is yet to come. Why not start now, and get ready, by celebrating this Prophetic Rehearsal, before we are “ordered” to keep it, in His Kingdom?