“ You shall dwell in booths (Tabernacles) for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths., 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.” (Leviticus 23:42-43 NKJV).
This Sunday (September 27th) at sundown, marks the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles. This is a 7 day celebration for all of Israel. This festive time is also known as the Feast of Ingathering (Fall Harvest). God ordained this time because it would be an everlasting reminder that God’s presence (in the Ark of the Covenant) dwelt for 40 years in the wilderness with His people. The children of Israel would build temporary shelters made from the branches of palm trees, leafy trees and willows of the brook. (Leviticus 23:40). This was one of the 3 Feast Days (Passover and Pentecost) that all men of Israel were required to attend in Jerusalem. (Deuteronomy 16:16). The importance of this Holy Day was to remind all generations that God’s presence dwells among His people.
From the time of the Exodus, until the end of the Millennium, we will learn the role that the Feast of Tabernacles has in God’s plan of salvation. King Solomon built the first Temple and during Solomon’s dedication, fire came down from Heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices. The Shekinah Glory filled the Temple. (A near fulfillment to what will happen at the end of the age.) Solomon held a celebration for 7 days and 2nd Chronicles 7:10 tells us that it was on the 23rd day of the 7th month that the children of Israel were sent home. Solomon dedicated the Temple and God graced it with HIS presence during the Feast of Tabernacles. (Days 15-22 of the 7th month of Tishri.)
As long as Israel obeyed the Lord, God’s presence would remain in the temple. Unfortunately, that did not happen and the temple would become desolate in 586 BC as the majority of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) went into exile in Babylon. The Lord would have mercy and sent a remnant back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. (Fulfilling 2nd Chronicles 36:20-21). Before the foundation of the 2nd temple was built, the exiles celebrated the Fall Holy Days and the Feast of Tabernacles was observed again. (Ezra 3:4). The importance of Sukkot was felt even during the years between the Old and New Testament. In Part 2 we will see how Sukkot influenced a new Holy Day and show why Tabernacles will be forever linked to the birth of our Savior. EJ