The Feast of Tabernacles: or tabernacling with your God
During the Feast of Tabernacles it was and is a time of great thanksgiving to God, for He has always been with us. He was there with His people Israel in the wilderness when He led them through for forty long years as they learned to trust Him. During this time, Israel had no permanent housing and so they built “sukkots,” which were a temporary lean-to that could house a family. Then when God commanded them to move on, they took it down and rebuilt it in the next stopping place.
We find the commandment to celebrate this Feast in:
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. These are the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: Beside the sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the Lord.
Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. 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. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
The reason that God commanded that this be done was so that Israel would never forget that their God had never left them while in the wilderness. During the Lord Y’shua’s time on earth in His physical body, He also kept this Feast and it is written in:
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
So why did our Savior Y’shua utter this great proclamation on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles? The last day of this feast is called ‘Hoshana Rabah’ which means ‘The Day of the Great Hosanna,’ and it was on this day that the priest would take water from the pool of Siloam and put it in a basin and then pour it out at the foot of the altar. This represented Israel’s hope for rain in the following year for their crops. In essence, Jesus was claiming to be their answer from God. It should be noted as well here that this was also looking forward to the Feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would be poured out from the Father who would then cause living water to be present with all believers forever. The presence of the Holy Spirit would also permanently cause us to become tabernacles for our God.
In the book, ‘Walk with Y’shua through the Jewish Year,’ by Janie-sue Wertheim and Kathy Shapiro, they suggest that we can still celebrate this great Feast by building a ‘sukkot’ in our back yard (if it is still warm enough to do it), or if you cannot, then to build it in your living room or bedroom. Decorate it with either construction paper cut-outs of fruits or buy a decorative chain of various fruits and drape it on the outside. The purpose is to remind us that we also were in our own personal wildernesses without God and our God has also brought us through. If we cannot build it outside, then they recommend that you paste glow-in-the dark stars on the inside roof of the ‘sukkot.’ This is a great time during these seven days that you can spend in prayer and tabernacling with your God.
Some other suggestions that Wertheim and Shapiro make are to donate food to your local pantries to bless the poor. Another decoration that they recommend is also to list the nine fruits of the Spirit as found in:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.