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Doctrine of Feast of Tabernacles

January 28, 2011

Feast of Tabernacles
The 23rd chapter of the book of Leviticus gives us an account of the 7 Great Feasts of the Lord. They were a prophecy and foreshadowing of future events, part of which have been fulfilled, and part are yet to be. They are the “shadow of things to come,” of which Christ is the “body” or substance (Col. 2:16-17). They were “holy convocations” of the people. The Lord instituted them. The people had no say in the matter. God promised that if the males went up at the appointed time to Jerusalem to keep these Feasts, He would look after their families. When the people became legalistic and arrogant, the Lord said, “I hate your new moons and your appointed feasts; they have become a burden to Me. I am weary of bearing them” (Isa. 1:14). Therefore Jesus called them the “feasts of the Jews,” rather than the “feasts of the Lord.” The “feasts of the Lord” are 7 in number. If we include the Sabbath there are 8. But the Sabbath stands by itself. It was to be observed “weekly,” the other feasts “annually.” The Sabbath was to be observed at “home,” the other feasts at “Jerusalem.”
The 7 Feasts may be divided into 2 sections of 4 and 3. The 1st section includes the following feasts: (1) Passover (2) Unleavened Bread (3) First-Fruits (4) Pentecost. Then there was an interval of 4 months followed by the 2nd section includes the following feasts: (1) Trumpets (2) Atonement (3) Tabernacles.
The 3 Great Festivals were the following: (1) Passover (2) Pentecost (3) Tabernacles. They extended from the 14th day of the 1st month (Nisan) to the 22nd day of the 7th month Tishri or Ethanim.
These 7 Feasts were given to only given to Israel to be observed and not the Church. They do however dispensational implications since they mark God’s timetable with reference to human history. Each of these 7 Feasts were designed in eternity past to be literally fulfilled by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They speak of Lord Jesus Christ’s intervention into human history.
The following Feasts were literally fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ during the dispensation of the hypostatic union: (1) Passover: His voluntary substitutionary spiritual death on the cross in April of 30 A.D. (2) Unleavened Bread: His impeccability as a Person. (3) Pentecost was literally fulfilled when the Baptism of the Spirit took place in June of 30 A.D., which marked the beginning of the Church Age.
The following Feasts are eschatological in nature and thus have yet to be literally fulfilled: (1) Trumpets: Rapture or exit-resurrection of the Church terminating the Church Age. (2) Atonement: 2nd Advent of Christ ending the Tribulation dispensation. (3) Tabernacles: Millennial Reign of Christ on planet earth.
The Feast of Tabernacles is the 3rd of the great annual feasts. The other 2 being Passover and Pentecost. It is also called in the Scriptures the festival of Tents (Hebrew: hag hassukkot, “Feast of Booths,” 2 Chron. 8:13; Ezra 3:4; Zech. 14:16, 18-19; Greek: skenopegia, John 7:2, “Feast of Booths”) was so called because the Israelites were commanded to live in booths during its continuance (Lev. 23:43). It was also called the feast of Ingathering (Hebrew: hag ha’asip, Ex. 23:16, “Feast of the Harvest”; 34:22), because it was held after the ingathering of the harvest and fruits. The Feast of Tabernacles was also called the festival of Jehovah (Hebrew: hag YHWH, Lev. 23:39, “feast of the Lord”) or simply the festival (1 Kings 8:2; 2 Chron. 5:3, “the feast”), because it was the most important or well known. The principal documentation for this feast are as follows: (1) Exodus 23:16 (2) Leviticus 23:34-36 (3) Leviticus 39:43 (4) Deuteronomy 16:13-15 (5) Deuteronomy 31:10-13 (6) Nehemiah 8.
2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries
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2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries
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This was the last of the 7 Feasts. It was a celebration to be observed at the end of the harvest and was continued 7 days (Deut. 16:13). The people during the feast were to dwell in booths made of the branches of palm trees and willows from the brook, which would remind them of the palm trees of Elim, and the Willows of Babylon (Psa. 137:1-9). The Feast of Tabernacles typifies the Millennium. What the Sabbath is to the week, a day of rest; so the 7th month to the other 6 months of the 7th month cycle, typifies a period of rest-the Sabbath rest of the Millennial dispensation in relation to the other 6 thousand years of the world’s work day history. Like the Lord’s Supper is to us here in the Church Age, a memorial looking back to the Person and Work of Christ on the cross and forward to the 2nd Advent so the Feast of Tabernacles will be a memorial to Israel looking back to Egypt and forward to the Millennium. While the Feast of Tabernacles began on the Sabbath and continued 7 days, it was to be followed by a Sabbath (Lev. 23:39). This Sabbath on the 8th day points to the Eternal State that follows the Millennium and the termination of human history when the Lord will create a New Heavens and a New Earth.