It’s known variously as the Feast of Tabernacles or Festival of Tabernacles, the Feast of Ingathering or Festival of Ingathering, the Feast of Booths or Festival of Booths, Succoth or Sukkot. These are all different scriptural names for the same festival…
“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD seven days.
when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” Thus Moses declared to the people of Israel the appointed feasts of the LORD. – Lev 23:39-44
It was created after captivity (Ex 23:16) but before the wanderings in Saudi Arabia. It is a reminder to the end of the captivity in Egypt.
It depends on faith
However, despite what God had done in their sight, they did not place their faith in Him, and He rejected that generation.
The “wanderings” began for 40 years until that generation had passed away. After the wanderings they turned north towards the promised land…
Rest, pasture, Sabbath in the promised land
In the beginning there was a very clear connection between the “rest” and the promised land as the Psalm confirms…
For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.” – Psa 95:10-11
The promised land was simply the location of God’s rest.
Do you know what it means to enter His rest?
for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that the LORD your God is giving you. But when you go over the Jordan and live in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and when he gives you rest from all your enemies around, so that you live in safety, – Deu 12:9-10
So it’s a place of safety from all enemies, a place of safety.
The next few verses promise being in God’s very Presence!
then to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell there,
there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the LORD. And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male servants and your female servants, and the Levite that is within your towns, since he has no portion or inheritance with you. – Deu 12:11-12
The word rest was first used in Genesis when God rested. Then came the sabbath rest which God connects to the end of captivity…
You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. – Deu 5:15
In that same psalm which spoke about the people not entering His rest, just 2 verses earlier, God talks of His sheep and His pasture…
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, – Psa 95:7-8
It was not only abour rest, but also inheritance…
for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that the LORD your God is giving you. – Deu 12:9
God’s focus was giving His people (sheep) who believed in Him their inheritance, rest, Sabbath and pasture, His focus is not so much the actual physical land, but the benefits. The land was where He was going to give them rest. His goal was rest.
Abram-like faith resulting in righteousness
Entering the rest did not simply depend on entering the physical land, but on Abram-like faith which resulted in righteousness.
The first captivity was in Egypt. Sadly, they were to experience a second captivity in Babylon, and then a third exile and dispersion after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Being in the land did not guarantee His Presence, inheritance, rest and pasture.
The location of God’s Presence changed due to sin
Please take note that the location “the place that the LORD your God will choose” is chosen by God Himself. All of these scriptures make reference to “the place where the Lord chooses”…
Deu 12:5, Deu 12:14, Deu 12:18, Deu 12:21, Deu 12:26, Deu 14:23, Deu 15:20, Deu 16:2-8, Deu 17:8, Deu 18:6, Deu 23:16, Deu 26:2, Deu 31:11; Jos 18:1; 1Ki 8:13, 1Ki 8:29; Psa 78:68; Jer 7:12; Joh 4:20-23
Given how much He stresses it, it is clear that the choice of location is His and His alone.
And please take note that He initially chose one place (Shiloh) and then after that moved the location to another place (Mt Zion)…
Then the whole congregation of the people of Israel assembled at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting there. The land lay subdued before them. – Jos 18:1
He forsook his dwelling at Shiloh, the tent where he dwelt among mankind, and delivered his power to captivity, his glory to the hand of the foe. – Psa 78:60-61
but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loves. – Psa 78:68
Feast of Booths/Tabernacles
Jesus Christ said He is the doorway to that pasture for the sheep…
we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, – Psa 95:7-8
“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. – Joh 10:7
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. – Joh 10:9
Jesus Christ connected the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles to Himself…
Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. – Joh 7:2
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. – Joh 7:37-39
On this final day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the post-exile tradition was to pour water!
John Gill explains:
“the pouring out of water was after this manner; a golden pot, which held three logs, was tilled out of Siloah, and when they came to the water gate, they blew (their trumpets) and shouted, and blew; (then a priest) went up by the ascent of the altar, and turned to the left hand, (where) were two silver basins—that on the west side was filled with water, and that on the east with wine; he poured the basin of water into that of wine, and that of wine into that of water.”
I think it’s very interesting that Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine. He was pointing to Himself being the fulfillment of the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles… the end of captivity!
John Gill explains:
“Says R. Joshua ben Levi, why is its name called the place of drawing water? because, from thence שואבים רוח הקודש, “they draw the Holy Ghost”, as it is said, “and ye shall draw water with joy out of the wells of salvation”, Isa 12:3.”
Although it is truly wonderful to see God regathering His chosen to Himself in the land of Israel that He promised to them, but as I showed earlier, simply being in the land doesn’t guarantee peace, pasture, inheritance etc. We enter as Abram did, through faith…
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, – Heb 10:19
by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, – Heb 10:20
The Jews understood
Scripture says that the people welcomed Jesus Christ as their King, they welcomed Him with Messianic quotes from the Psalms and they laid branches of palm trees out in front of Him…
The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” – Joh 12:12-15
The branches of palm trees were a reference to the Feast of Tabernacles…
And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. – Lev 23:40
The people believed He was the Messiah Who would end their captivity under the Roman empire. They believed that He was the manifestation of the Feast of Tabernacles, the end of captivity.
But when He died on the cross seemingly as a common criminal, they did not understand that He was the Lamb of God which was prophesied by Abraham, they did not understand that He was defeating sin and death and creating a much greater end of captivity.
They did not receive the promise because they did not add their faith…
but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith – Heb 4:2
By dealing with sin (which brings death into this world) Jesus Christ ended captivity. The Jewish people had entered the promised land physically on many occasions, but they too failed to have faith, they then received no peace and eventually they went again into captivity.
In that same way, we who hear the message of Jesus Christ but do not combine it with our faith, will not receive the benefit… it is of no value to us. That is why 2000 years later the world is STILL in a mess… because most of what He did on the cross is still largely not being taught and believed.
Feast of Tabernacles 2011
I believe that from September through to the Feast of Tabernacles (12-20 Oct) will be a momentous time in human history.
Add your faith by declaring these scriptures…