Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles
Succoth – Joy in Harvest
by: Robert (Bob) Somerville
THE GRAND FINALE
The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. (Lev 23:34)
The Feast of Tabernacles (Succoth) was the final and by far the most festive and joyous of the Lord's festivals. History records that four huge candelabras were constructed, lighted, and attended by young men ascending ladders periodically with pitchers of oil to keep them burning. The light from these lamps illuminated the whole city of Jerusalem, and around them danced distinguished men with torches in their hands, singing hymns and songs of praise. The dancing as well as the music continued until daybreak. It was an extravaganza! Scholars suggest that Jesus referred to this custom when he spoke those well known words, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). The harvest was completed, the work was done, hearts were filled with gratitude. For these reasons, this festival is also known as the Feast of Ingathering (Ex. 23:16). They came with rejoicing bring in the sheaves!
This festival was called the "Feast of Tabernacles" (Lev. 23:34) because the Israelites actually "camped out" in temporary shelters in remembrance of how God had been their provider (Jehovah Jireh) in their wilderness journeyings, having supplied all of their needs; food, shelter, clothing and good health. It also became a designated time for giving special thanks for the harvest of the fields and newborn livestock of the year. It could be rightly viewed as the biblical "Thanksgiving" holiday.
Spiritually the celebration of Tabernacles represents the fullness of Christ in His Church. It reminds us that He is our shelter and our refuge in the time of storm:
"For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his TABERNACLE shall he hide me." (Ps. 27:5)
"And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the TABERNACLE (dwelling) of God is with men, and he will dwell with them." (Rev. 21:3)
PRAY FOR THE LATTER RAIN
During the Feast of Tabernacles in Old Testament times, a priest would pour out in the temple pitchers of water, taken from the pool of Siloam, to signify Israel's gratitude for the rain that had produced the harvest, and to pray for rain to return in the coming year. There is a spiritual lesson in this demonstration. The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ should be in special prayer for the rain of God's Holy Spirit and the revelation of restored truth. for our day and time
"Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to everyone grass in the field." (Zech. 10:1)
"Be glad then ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God; for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. AND I SHALL RESTORE..." (Joel 2:23-25)
"My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass." (Deut. 32:2)
Interestingly, it was at this very celebration of Tabernacles, during the pouring out of water and prayers for the latter rain, that we read:
In the last day, that great day of the feast, (Tebernacles/SimchatTorah) 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." (St. John 7:37-38).
Prophetically, this festival celebrates both the first coming of the Messiah (a brochure on Jesus' birth is available). and His final appearance Rabbis have called it "Messiah's Feast" because of the following words of the prophet Zechariah:
"And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to WORSHIP THE KING, the LORD of hosts and to KEEP THE FEAST OF TABERNCLES." (Zech. 14:4,16)
Since the Church is the "...true Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man" (Heb. 8:2, and since our Lord is the thirst quenching "water of life" (St. John 4:13-14), Believers have much to celebrate at this festival!
Jesus is coming again! If we are to participate in the WORSHIP of the King as described by Zechariah, it is important that the Church receive a clear understanding of this Biblical celebration day. It is appropriate that all Christians begin now to make this celebration a vital part of their appointed times for special Worship and Praise.
ACKNOWLEDGED BY JESUS
As the Feast of "Ingathering", this festival also demonstrates the ingathering of God's "elect" from the four corners of the earth, about which Jesus prophesied. (Mark 13:27)
Jesus said, "Go ye up unto this feast..." (St. John 7:8). Our Lord celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles during His Judean ministry and encouraged His disciples to do so. Therefore, it should continue to be celebrated by the Church today. It is "Messiah's Feast."