The Feast of Tabernacles begins this week. Here is what Scripture says about it:
“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD. On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind. For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work. These are the appointed times of the LORD which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, to present offerings by fire to the LORD–burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each day’s matter on its own day– besides those of the sabbaths of the LORD, and besides your gifts and besides all your votive and freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD. On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day. Now you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.'” So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the LORD.” –Leviticus 23:32-44
This feast runs for seven days, and is a harvest festival; it is to be celebrated “when you have gathered in the crops of the land.” This is the third and final of the harvest festivals which are commanded in Scripture. The first was Firstfruits, which celebrated the barley harvest. This falls during the week of Unleavened Bread, on the Sunday which falls during that week. Jesus rose from the dead on Firstfruits, thus Paul says:
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him.” 1 Corinthians 15:20-24
So we see that the first harvest festival was a foreshadow of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The second harvest festival was the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, the wheat harvest; on this day the Holy Spirit was poured out on the ekklesia. This day also foreshadowed a type of resurrection, for those who have been born again in Christ Jesus have been made alive in Him. And the final harvest festival was Tabernacles, the fruit harvest. Since this festival is tied into the second coming of Jesus, I believe this one foreshadows the resurrection of the dead in Christ who will rise at His coming.
Tabernacles is the seventh annual feast, which falls in the seventh month, and is celebrated for seven days. It is the culmination of all the feasts, the big one! Many believe that Jesus was born on the first day of this feast, and circumcised on the eighth day, since He ministered for 3-1/2 years before He was crucified or “cut off.” Tabernacles celebrates that God tabernacled among Israel in the wilderness, and Immanuel means “God with us!”
This feast also foreshadows the week- long marriage supper of the Lamb, as the parable of the ten virgins teaches us: Jesus is returning as a Bridegroom for His bride! Hebrew weddings were week-long celebrations, and this feast is the most joyous of all the feasts. This is the only one where seven days of REJOICING are commanded!
So how do we celebrate this feast today? To be continued …
Update: continued in On holidays: celebrating Tabernacles