God did not leave us in the dark concerning His purpose and will with man. Through the ages He gave direct instructions in regard with:
- Noah – how to build the Ark (specific measurements and material to be used)
- Moses – building of the Tabernacle
- His 10 commandments to His people to separate them from all other nations
- The seven feasts for Israel which all pointed to Christ and eventually the Church
- His final plan of Salvation and Redemption through Jesus Christ.
God stipulated exactly when the specific feasts had to be kept and by whom and when and where. Therefore, we see with the Feast of Tabernacles, that it was to be held on the 15th day in the seventh month and for 7 days. These numbers do have a specific meaning in the Word of God, such as:
- 7 = Completeness and perfection
- 15 = Rest
But the Feast of Tabernacles is also the only feast that had an eighth day.
- And eight stands for New Beginnings.
Specific Note: See also my note on the book “Arithmetic of God” written by Don Kistler. God revealed the meaning of each number in the Word of God to him and it completely testifies that the Word of God is the truth.
The purpose of the Feast was to remind the nation of Israel:
- Of their deliverance from Egypt
- That they stayed in huts (succah’s) in the wilderness
- That God provided for them in all their needs
- And He brought them into the Promised land
But the Feast also had another meaning and purpose. It was also to commemorate the end of the harvest period where the people would go into a period of rest (therefore the 15th day), and the winter period is now on hand where they would not be able to plant the fields anymore. During this feast, Israel would thank God for all the blessings they had received through rain and good crops, etc – the abundance that God provided to them.
The feast would start with a Sabbath and end on a Sabbath (8 days) and both Sabbaths are symbolically of the rest period they would go into. As Christians we also commemorate the other 2 main feasts, such as:
- And therefore we should also celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, because:
- We have been called out and delivered from a spiritual Egypt through the blood of Christ;
- We have been redeemed and delivered from the bondage of sin;
- We have been brought over to the new Kingdom of God; and
- We have the hope of a final Promised Land and rest in Christ.
2Co 5:1 We know that if the earthly tent we live in is torn down, we have a building in heaven that comes from God, an eternal house not built by human hands.
2Co 5:2 For in this one we sigh, since we long to put on our heavenly dwelling.
To celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles does not mean we are still under the Law and stuck in the Old Testament. No way! But we are still in transition to the perfect rest in Christ and perfect house – not built by human hands!
All other 6 feasts have been fulfilled by Christ on the specific time of each Feast. Therefore the majority of Bible scholars are in agreement that the Lord Jesus Christ will return on the Feast of Tabernacles to fulfil the true meaning of this feast as well. The seventh day of the feast is called: “Hoshanah Rabbah” and it means “Oh save” and also “The great Hosanna”. It is a form of praise and adoration and this day represents the day when the Messiah of Israel will return to establish His Kingdom on earth.
Rev 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and
God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Dwell with them—literally mean: “tabernacle with them”; to encamp with them
But the Feast of Tabernacles will also be celebrated in the Millennium and by all nations:
Zech 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Zech 14:17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
During the Feast, the people would build small huts (Succoth’s) of wood and palm trees and other tree branches. It was required that all men had to attend the feast and no work was to be done during the feast. It was a joyous occasion where they would lie in the Succoth’s at night and reflect on the goodness of their God. And there is so much more to say on this specific subject.
All rituals during the feast points symbolically to Jesus Christ and His Gospel as well as the Church dispensation that started on the day of Pentecost. The priests would go to the pool of Siloam on a daily basis to collect fresh water and then pour it out on the steps of the temple, for it to run off over the steps. They truly believed that their faith in God would one day be available to all other nations. In John 7:38, Jesus Christ made this statement on the Feast of Tabernacles: He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Why 8 days for this feast?
The eighth day was also called the last Great Day and they celebrated that the planting and harvesting has come to an end for now. Their season of rest is on hand and it also meant their first day of rest has started. The eighth day represents:
- Period of eternity
- Symbolic of new things to come – new beginning.
- Together with their Messiah – no more pain, death and sickness.
The eighth day is called: “Simchat Torah” – meaning: Rejoicing with the Torah
On this day, the leader of the temple would take out the Torah (Word and law of God) and each one then had the opportunity and privilege to:
- Touch the Torah
- Kiss it; and mainly
- To dance with it.
Israel truly understands the symbolic behind this ritual and that the Word is a shadow of their true Messiah who they are waiting for. But we have the scripture in the New Testament that Jesus has already come and given us the true picture of who He is:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
We have the fullness of Christ in us.
Col 1:26 -27 This secret was hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints, to whom God wanted to make known the glorious riches of this secret among the gentiles-which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
He lives in us already and we have to reveal Him to other people through our faith and love.
In my youthful days, things were not as complicated as today and when someone was in love they did act somewhat strange – compared to today. I must add those were the days before TV, cell phones, e-mail and Mix-it. Young people who were in love would fantasize over that special person as if he/she was right there in their presence. You would talk to him/her and even dance with them when a love song is playing.
If the people of Israel truly believed they were dancing with their Bridegroom, how much more can we dance with and before our Bridegroom? When you dance before the Lord, your dance will become spiritual – where you dance with the Bridegroom in spirit and in truth. There will be a special closeness and intimacy in presence between the two of you, up to the point where you will be lost in the Glory of God.
How much more do we have the privilege and the grace to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles? The fact remain that this feast was not only established for the purpose and benefit of Israel, but much more so for the Bride. This feast also directly points to the marriage feast of the Lamb.
The day when I married the love of my love (nearly 30years ago), I saw in an instant that she was ready for that special day. She was prepared and ready to start a new life with me.
The Bridegroom is waiting for the Bride to prepare herself. Are you ready and prepared? As surely as the sun rises in the east, the Lord Jesus Christ will come back to fetch His Bride! Be ready and while we are waiting upon His return, enjoy the life of grace He has given to you as a gift!
Eric Heath is the pastor of End-time Pentecostal Ministries in Danville, Pretoria and is available to lecture or minister on specific subjects as required. He can be contacted through this website.