Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve written about God’s rescue and rest—the heart of His ordained fall festivals. Trumpets and Atonement deal with His rescue. The final festival, Tabernacles/Booths (Hebrew Sukkoth), celebrates the rest God gave Israel when He rescued her from Egypt about 3,500 years ago. Importantly, it looks forward to the rest God will give His people in the new age. Before exploring the feast’s significance, let’s look at some details and its background.
God implemented the feast so that Israel would remember His provision and shelter during the 40 years they wandered in the desert. It begins five days after Atonement on 15 Tishri, is eight days long, and identifies a completion of the harvest and, therefore, the agricultural year. In the ‘feast context,’ Trumpets happens on 1 Tishri, Atonement happens ten days later on 10 Tishri after the ‘ten days of awe’ for repentance, and Tabernacles occurs five days later.
Today, Tabernacles is Israel’s Thanksgiving for the fall harvest. It’s a party, as people are invited to come and eat and drink and enjoy God’s harvest provision and view creation at night. How do they do that? Well, per God’s instructions, they sleep in a three-sided booth. A relatively open roof made of sticks and leaves allows the inhabitants to see God’s handiwork. This reminds me of Psalm 19:1-2:
“. . . The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.”
The feast celebrates God’s rest for His Old Covenant people, Israel. It also looks forward to fulfillment when God returns His creation to perfection and once again dwells with His people:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. . . . And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’” (Revelations 21:1-4)
To summarize the fall feasts of God, terrible times happen, and worse are coming, but God will insert Himself into human history when He’s ready and bring rescue and rest for everyone who is His. Where will we go next week? I mentioned the word ‘perfection’ in this article, so let’s learn what the word means in the original language and explore character traits that can keep our fellowship with God perfect.
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley