Christian Churches of God
The Feast of Tabernacles
(Edition 2.0 20100310-20150819)
This paper will focus on the Feast of Tabernacles in the plan of Eloah.
The Feast of Tabernacles
We first read of the Feast of Tabernacles in Leviticus 23.
Leviticus 23:34-43 "Say to the people of Israel, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the feast of booths (tabernacles) to the LORD. 35On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. 36Seven days you shall present offerings by fire to the LORD; on the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is a solemn assembly; you shall do no laborious work. 37"These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the LORD offerings by fire, burnt offerings and cereal offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day; 38besides the sabbaths of the LORD, and besides your gifts, and besides all your votive offerings, and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD. 39"On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD seven days; on the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. 40And you shall take on the first day the fruit of goodly 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. 41You shall keep it as a feast to the LORD seven days in the year; it is a statute for ever throughout your generations; you shall keep it in the seventh month. 42You shall dwell in booths for seven days; all that are native in Israel shall dwell in booths, 43that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God." (RSV)
The first day of the Feast of Tabernacles is the sixth Holy Day in God’s Calendar. It is important to understand that the Feast of Tabernacles is for seven days, and the first day of the Feast is a Holy Day. After the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, on the eighth day, is the Holy Day known as the Last Great Day. It immediately follows the Feast of Tabernacles, but is a separate Feast Day. We will study the meaning of the Last Great Day in CB142.
The Feast of Tabernacles is the third of the three annual pilgrimage feasts. These are the three times a year that we are commanded to leave our homes and travel outside of our city gates to celebrate the Feasts. These are also the three times a year that we are commanded to come before God and give an offering. (See The Day of Trumpets (No. CB139).)
Deuteronomy 16:16-17 "Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place which he will choose: at the feast of unleavened bread, at the feast of weeks, and at the feast of booths. They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed; 17every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which he has given you. (RSV)
Just like at Passover and Pentecost, the offering is taken up before the morning of the first day of the Feast, in this case the 15th. (For more information see Ingathering (No. 139).)
We see 2Chronicles supports the concept of it being a pilgrimage feast where we leave our normal dwellings or homes; we go to where Eloah places His name.
2Chronicles 8:13 According to what was required for each day, making offerings according to the law of Moses for the Sabbath, the new moon, and the three annual appointed feasts- the pilgrim feast of Unleavened Bread, of Weeks, and of Tabernacles (New English Bible).
Where do we stay during the Feast of Tabernacles?
Israel was and still is commanded to live in booths for the entire Feast. The word for booth or tabernacle is SHD 5521. It refers to a temporary shelter. Originally the booths were made of branches. Now we stay in hotels, rented houses or camp in tents. The main thing is that we are out of our gates, or cities, and living in temporary accommodation for the feast. We must be able to gather for services each day of the Feast. (For more information see Keeping the Feast (No. 56).)
When we go away for the feast and live in temporary accommodation, it helps us to remember that we are ambassadors on the earth now. When we travel it reminds us we are sojourners, or just temporarily on this planet. We are to be slaves of Eloah, doing His work at all times. We are to be living the Laws of Eloah daily in our homes, schools and cities.
Hosea 12:9 mentions that Israel lived in tents during the Feast. Leaving our homes to attend the Feast is a symbol of our faith in God and demonstrates our obedience to His Laws. It is also a huge blessing to be gathered with those of like mind to learn to fear and worship Eloah. We all look forward to being able to gather with friends and family at the feast; people of all ages also look forward to the new things they will learn that will help them to obey Eloah more correctly and completely.
Reading of the Law at the Feast of Tabernacles
The reading of the law occurs every seven years in the Seventh year of the Sabbatical cycle in the 50-year jubilee cycle, and the law is then also read in the 50th year. Therefore, we see that the Law of God is read in the 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, 35th, 42nd, 49th, and 50th years. This cannot be emphasized enough as it is for the benefit of all. It is a special blessing to hear the law of God being read.
Deuteronomy 31 clearly tells us why we are to come before Eloah.
Deuteronomy 31:10-13 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11 When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13 And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it. (KJV)
Here we see it is not just for our benefit; it is for our children and the foreigners to learn of Eloah’s ways and live them with their brethren for the eight-day period. In the times of restoration by Ezra and Nehemiah we see the command for the keeping of the Feast and the reading of the law.
Nehemiah 8:18 Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day [was] a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.
The Law was read in the times of Ezra and Nehemiah years ago, and current times in 1998 at Wimberley, Texas, and Niagara Falls, Canada in 2005. The next time the law will be read is 2012. (For more information on reading the law and the calendar see God's Calendar (No. 156), New Moon and Holy Day Calendar, Ending Evening Nautical Twilight (EENT) Times and HMNAO.)
What is the meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles?
Each of God’s annual Holy Days is symbolic or looks forward to an aspect in God’s Plan of Salvation. The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the coming Millennium or period of 1000 years. It is the time when Messiah, along with those in the first resurrection, will be ruling or reigning on the earth. It is termed the “Period of Just Rule” because God’s government will be established here on earth. Satan will be bound and put away for almost the entire period of Just Rule. (The binding of Satan is pictured by the Day of Atonement, which occurs five days prior to the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles.)
During this time in the near future, people will be taught about Eloah’s truth and righteousness through His Laws; and mankind will receive blessings for obeying His ways or curses or punishment for not obeying His Laws.
The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the last 1000 years of the 7000-year period. Remember, a day is as a 1000 years to Eloah (2Pet. 3:8). For the first six days or 6000 years, Satan was in charge of Eloah’s creation. He did not govern righteously; he tried to lie and deceive people into not following Eloah’s perfect laws. However, he will be bound for a period so that the nations can all learn of God’s way of life without the influence of Satan.
God the Father, through the Angel of the Covenant, Jesus Christ, delivered us once from Egypt/sin, and will again deliver this planet from destroying itself at Messiah’s second coming. This time Messiah will come as a king and take up rulership of the planet as the new Day Star or Morning Star of the earth. For more information on the feast of Tabernacles and Messiah’s role as Morning Star see Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles (No. CB34), The God We Worship (No. 2), Joseph: The Son of Jacob Part 1 (No. CB14) and David, Nabal and Abigail (No. CB91).
We will join Messiah at his return, but there is still a great work to be done now. See also the paper God’s Holy Days (No. CB22) and Priesthood of Eloah from Messiah Onwards (No. CB118).
Children are not forgotten or neglected in Eloah’s plan. They are rarely told that they are going to be kings and priests. In the period of Just Rule, children that have not yet been baptised will have huge and awesome responsibilities and blessings for remaining obedient to Eloah’s Laws. They will become the leaders of this physical world as they grow up: they will help others to learn of Eloah and His Laws. For more information see Priesthood of Eloah from Messiah Onwards (No. CB118) and Sacrifices and Offerings of Eloah during the Millennium (No. CB121).
Let us now look to see if we have any indication that the Feasts will be kept in the future.
Will the Feasts be kept in the Millennium?
Joshua the Messiah (also called Jesus Christ) said, while he was a man on the earth, that he did not come to destroy or do away with the law of God; rather he came to fulfil or keep his Father’s law.
Matthew 5:17-20 Don't suppose that I came to do away with the Law and the Prophets. I did not come to do away with them, but to give them their full meaning. 18Heaven and earth may disappear. But I promise you that not even a period or comma will ever disappear from the Law. Everything written in it must happen. 19If you reject even the least important command in the Law and teach others to do the same, you will be the least important person in the kingdom of heaven. But if you obey and teach others its commands, you will have an important place in the kingdom. 20You must obey God's commands better than the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law obey them. If you don't, I promise you that you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. (CEV)
Messiah kept the laws he had established at Mt. Sinai, as the Angel of the Covenant.
Leviticus 23:41 tells us the Feast of Tabernacles is a statute forever. We must always keep Eloah’s commands.
Leviticus 23:41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. (KJV)
Messiah kept the Law of Eloah as a man. He was sinless. The New Testament Church, under the apostles, kept all of these Feasts, Sabbaths and New Moons. Therefore, in time, all of mankind will keep the Feasts.
All of the Feasts of God will again be restored in the 1000-year reign of Messiah and the whole world will keep them; that is why it makes sense that the 1000-year period is called the period of Just Rule. The punishment for disobeying and not listening and following Eloah’s law is very serious.
Zechariah 14:16-19 Then every one that survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of booths. 17 And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain upon them. 18 And if the family of Egypt do not go up and present themselves, then upon them shall come the plague with which the LORD afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the feast of booths. 19 This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the feast of booths. (RSV)
People who are baptized and obedient to Eloah’s laws will be brought to life at Messiah’s return to earth. The dead in Christ rise first and then those that are alive will be changed to spirit.
1Corinthians 15:22-23 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (RSV)
1Thessalonians 4:15-17 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; 17 then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. (RSV)
These saints rule with Messiah for the 1000 years and following (Rev. 20:4-6). God’s Law, including all of the Holy Days, will be enforced with a rod of iron (Rev. 2: 26-27). See also the paper The Resurrection of the Dead (No. 143).
The way the saints of Eloah rule during the Millennium will be the standard or benchmark by which the demons will be judged. Satan and the fallen Host were given a job to do in ruling the earth by Eloah’s Laws. They did it their own way for 6000 years and their actions will be compared to how the Saints of Eloah perform for 1000 years. This is the same process of how Satan, as a spirit being, was judged against the performance of Joshua Messiah when he was human. Through his perfect obedience Messiah qualified to replace Satan as Morning Star of the earth. Most people know how much pain and destruction Satan’s rule has brought to people and the planet.
When does the Millennium begin?
The return of Jesus Christ will usher in a new phase in God’s plan. Terrible things will happen to the planet and a large percentage of mankind as the anti-Christ is destroyed and this world’s governments are brought down. Once Satan’s power has been removed, and he is bound for a time, the Millennium will begin.
God’s timing is perfect, and major events fit into His predetermined sequence. The year 2027 will be the end of the 120th Jubilee since the creation of Adam and the 50th Jubilee since the reconstruction of the 2nd temple in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (see Commentary on Haggai (No. 021J)). The Jubilee beginning in 2028 and ending in 2077 is the Fiftieth or Golden Jubilee.
After years of war, rebellion and destruction, what might we expect the world to be like as the Jubilee starts in 2028?
“The planet will be in the throes of the Millennial Warm Period (MilWP). That will be far worse than the last Medieval Warm Period (MWP). Sea levels should be well over the previous seven-feet levels of the MWP and the Roman Warm Period (RWP).” Cox, W.E., The Golden Jubilee and the Millennium (No. 300), 2006.
The destruction of the planet will have taken place over the years and the effects of that destruction will continue on into the Golden Jubilee. Seas and rivers will be dead or badly polluted. Likewise, the lands will be polluted and only a small percentage of the people that exist in the world in 2009 will be alive. The long process of repair and restoration will be commenced. For more information see Preparing the Temple of God (No. CB35).
The false ministers of Islam, Judaism or the Christian trinity systems will be dead or will have repented.
People will obey Eloah and His Law or they will endure the curses for disobedience. The faithful will send their representatives to the feasts in Jerusalem in 2026 and 2027 to learn more of how to keep Eloah’s laws. Those that do not go will not get the rain they need for their crops.
Satan will have been bound by this time and Messiah will usher in the period of Just Rule. The Law of Eloah will be restored on the planet. The consequences of sin and disobedience will be dealt with in a quick and timely fashion.
From 2028 the Temple system will be under the new priesthood of Melchisedek. The place of worship in Jerusalem will be established. The new millennial Temple described in Ezekiel will begin to be built. It will not be done quickly; it will take a process of time. The priests will be of the line of Zadok and functioning under Messiah. This will be the first time in history that there will be a physical temple on the earth with Messiah functioning as its High Priest. For more information see The Priesthood of Eloah from Messiah Onwards (No. CB118).
The Sabbath is a rest from our normal work activities. However, more work was done by the priesthood on the Sabbath than at any time during the week.
During the Millennium, the priesthood will prepare the planet for the worship of God, physically and spiritually. Messiah will destroy everything that rebels or opposes Eloah and His Law. This period is the 1000 years of Just Rule. What a blessing it will be for people at that time!
From 2026 onwards the Law will be read every Sabbath year throughout the world in accordance with the command of Eloah.
The Law will be read each Sabbath year for the Sabbaths over the twenty-one years from 2028, i.e. in 2034, 2041, and 2048 in the sanctification process. Just as each New Year has the 21 days of Sanctification we will see this same concept occur in the Jubilee with the first 21 years. For more information see Sanctification of the Nations (No. 77).
The restoration of the planet is mentioned in Ezekiel chapters 47 and 48. The spiritual power that comes from Eloah through Messiah in the Temple of Eloah will heal the nations and the land and the seas. The Temple will have a new name as stated in Ezekiel 48:35.
Ezekiel 48:33-35 On the south side, which is to be four thousand five hundred cubits by measure, three gates, the gate of Simeon, the gate of Is'sachar, and the gate of Zeb'ulun. 34: On the west side, which is to be four thousand five hundred cubits, three gates, the gate of Gad, the gate of Asher, and the gate of Naph'tali. 35: The circumference of the city shall be eighteen thousand cubits. And the name of the city henceforth shall be, The LORD is there." (RSV)
The name of the city is “Yahovah Shammah” or Yahovah is there. Shammah (SHD 3074), per the Blue Letter Bible, is a symbolic name for Jerusalem. It is only used one time in the Bible. Since Satan is bound during this period the Laws of Eloah will abound for all on the planet.
Jerusalem means city of peace and it, like many things in the Bible, has gone through many name changes in history. God the Father will not yet be on the planet during the Millennium, but it will be the longest period of time mankind will live under just rule to date. For more details of this time period see The Golden Jubilee and the Millennium (No. 300).
The last war of the Rebellion (Rev. 20:7-10) takes place at the end of the Millennium.
At the end of the 1000 years, Satan will be released for the same amount of time that was cut short before the Millennium (Rev. 20:7). Satan will once again try and influence people against the One True God (Rev. 20:8). Then some people will rebel against God’s Law and Messiah’s rule of the planet. Messiah and the saints will put the rebellion down for the final time; it will be the final war. All the bad or negative concepts like lying, stealing, murder etc. will be cast into the lake of fire. It will burn and serve as a memorial to everyone (Rev. 20:10). It will remind people that all these bad things are now destroyed.
Some people think this is hell fire and the souls of people who do not obey God will burn in there forever. That is not true. Our God is a merciful God and He would not allow anyone to suffer forever.
The second resurrection of the dead then takes place (Rev. 20:11-15) after the 1000-year Millennium, or 7000 years since Adam, is completed. For more information see The Last Great Day (CB142).
Since God created all things, He can also destroy beings. Just as Jesus Christ was a spirit being and then was born a human, Satan and the fallen Host will also be made human (Isa. 14:16; Ezek. 28:16-19). Like all the people who ever lived and did not know God’s way, Satan and the fallen Host will have a chance to qualify to be spirit beings again, if they repent and obey Eloah’s Laws. They will not hold the same position that they once held before the rebellion. See the paper Holy Days of God (No. CB22).
In Summary, we see the Feast of Tabernacles is the 3rd pilgrimage Feast we make to learn of Eloah’s ways each year.
Just as Jesus Christ freed us from the bondage of Egypt and a pagan system once, he will return to the earth for a second time and usher in the period of Just Rule, which will begin in 2028. The period of Just Rule lasts 1000 years. It is difficult for us to imagine a world without wars and suffering, yet people in the Millennium will obey and live by Eloah’s laws or they will not receive rain in due season.
There will be a physical priesthood and temple that will function under the Messiah and those individuals that are made spirit beings at the first resurrection.
Let us all work diligently to take the gospel to the world so that as many as possible can and will repent now and start benefitting from keeping Eloah’s laws. We have a choice to obey God now, or obey God later. The sooner we obey the better.