Leviticus 23:33 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 34 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the LORD. 35 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. 36 For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it.
37 ‘These are the feasts of the LORD which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day— 38 besides the Sabbaths of the LORD, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to the LORD.
39 ‘Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest. 40 And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. 41 You shall keep it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 43 that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.’”
44 So Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FEAST
The specific elements are:
- Occurs between the 15th day – 22nd of the seventh month
- The 1st day and 8th day of the feasts are Sabbath rest days
- It is a holy day to bring something extra to the Lord, “besides the Sabbaths of the LORD, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to the LORD”
- On the first day you build a booth from beautiful trees “branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook” and then live in them for seven days
- Remembrance that “I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.”
TABERNACLES = INGATHERING
Additional instruction for this feast is given under the name of Ingathering:
(Exo 34:22-24)…and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end. “Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the LORD God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.”
(Exo 23:16)…and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.
(Deu 16:13-17) “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice. “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.
Exodus 23:14-16 14 “Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year: 15 You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty); 16 and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.
The additional details are:
- All the men shall appear before the Lord “in the place which He chooses” for this feast as well as for the feasts of unleavened bread and weeks. God promises that no one will covet or more literally “take your land” if you travel for this holiday.
- The feast occurs only after all storing up for the winter is done, everything from the field gathered in, the threshing floor and winepress are not only used but cleansed and finished. (Deu 16:13 “gathered” is the Hebrew word aw-saf more properly translated “taking away / cleaning (H4480) from or out off – cleaning the floor”)
- The feast is to benefit your entire family, your servants, the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, the widows, everyone who is around you.
- Reading between the lines between the statements “every man shall give as he is able,” the description of storing up the possessions gained through the year, and the list of people who are to benefit from the feast, this event more than any other is a command to share the blessings of the year with those in need, as opposed to simply storing up “things.” The degree of charity is suggested in moderation. You only give “as you are able” and you give out of that which you would normally just store away, not which you need yourself for your own immediate use.
THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS
The parable of Jesus in Luke 16:19-31 is of special significance. To a casual reader, the sin of the rich man is not obvious except in the context of this feast. All the clues are given, the rich man is clothed well and eats well every single day. Lazarus is a poor beggar desiring to be fed from the crumbs from the rich man’s table, but obviously receives nothing. Lazarus lives at the gate of the rich man so therefore is a close neighbor. The parable explicitly says that during his lifetime, “Lazarus received evil things,” obviously not sharing in the blessing of the rich man as commanded by this feast. The final command in the parable is that “if they do not hear Moses and the prophets” – yet another reference saying that the rich man is violating that which Moses and the prophets commended.
Jesus also described these instructions when he was invited to the house of a Pharisee on the Sabbath. It is not explicitly specified if this was a seventh day Sabbath or a feast day Sabbath, but among other things Jesus stresses the importance of sharing with poor:
(Luk 14:12-14) Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
DAVID AND ABIGAIL
1 Samuel 25 describes an event which does not make sense outside the context of the feast of Tabernacles, and explicitly references that this event is taking place on a feast day. David with a large group of armed men is camping nearby a very rich rancher, and not only prevents his men from stealing anything from this rancher but actively protects his land and property. When the feast of Tabernacles arrives, and the direction of the Law of Moses is to share in the newly gathered wealth gained during that year, David does not show up as a neighbor with all of his men looking for a handout, he sends only a small group of 10 with the following message:
(1Sa 25:6-8) And thus you shall say to him who lives in prosperity: ‘Peace be to you, peace to your house, and peace to all that you have! Now I have heard that you have shearers. Your shepherds were with us, and we did not hurt them, nor was there anything missing from them all the while they were in Carmel. Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever comes to your hand to your servants and to your son David.’ “
Nabel rejects his message, shows himself as someone who does not follow the feast and spurns the unsolicited protection that David’s men had been giving them throughout the year. This is the reason why David became so furious and Abigail decided to bring a large amount of food to give to David. Without the context of the instructions of this feast, it makes David look like a mobster enforcing a protection racket, not as someone sharing in a holiday event.
Prophetically Tabernacles represents the time period in the future after probation is closed, after the events of the great day of atonement has taken place and God’s people are separated from Satan’s people.
Sanctuary: Ark of the Covenant/Testimony
(Exo 25:10,11,16) “And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around. And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you.
(Exo 40:20-21) He took the Testimony and put it into the ark, inserted the poles through the rings of the ark, and put the mercy seat on top of the ark. And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, hung up the veil of the covering, and partitioned off the ark of the Testimony, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
(Gen 2:2-3) And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
This next time period has many parallels to Tabernacles. This era starts with the accounting of the followers of Jesus in Acts 1. The focus is upon the ingathering of the world to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Themes include spreading God’s gifts of healing to the poor and injured (Acts 3), sharing of possessions with one another (Acts 4), distributing possessions to the poor into the widowed (Acts 6), leaving the cities and spreading the word of God (Acts 8), taking the blessings and truth formally only given to the Jews to all of the Gentiles (Acts 9), and all of the acts of the ingathering of those people willing to follow God into His church.
After the close of probation either with the experience of the 144,000 or after the resurrection, the character of Jesus Christ is perfectly in tune with our characters because we have completely surrendered to Him through the atonement. From this point onward, we leave behind our worldly homes with everything behind in order to live with God. Just as God shares everything with us, we are to be willing to share our “stuff” in this world to help and bless others, with the perspective that when Christ comes, we must be ready to throw all of our “stuff” away – everything that the world values so highly. Any regret or love for this world, however small, is as dangerous to us as it was to Lot’s wife.
(Luk 17:28-33) Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. “In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
(Return to the Sabbaths of Leviticus 23)
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