The Feast of Tabernacles begins on the fifteenth day of Tishri (the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar). It is also called the Feast of In-gathering. It lasts for seven days with a sacred assembly on the eighth day. This year it begins on the evening of October 4 and ends at sunset October 11, 2017.
This is a festival of the Lord, as stated in Leviticus: “‘Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, “Speak to the children of Israel saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. On the eight day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it'” (Leviticus 23:33-36).
This is the command of the Lord to observe His Feast of Tabernacles. The Lord commanded four times that this feast be observed: Exodus 23:15-16; Exodus 34:22; Leviticus 23:33-36; and Deuteronomy 16:13-16. It is mentioned six other times in the Bible: Numbers 29:12-38; Deuteronomy 31:10; 2 Chronicles 8:13; Ezra 3:4; Zechariah 14:16-19; and John 7:2. This makes a total of ten times including the New Testament.
Zechariah tells of the Feast of Tabernacles being the feast observed by the nations in the Millennium (Zechariah 14:16-19). He also explains the penalty for those not observing the Feast in that age.
The Sacrifices And Offerings
This is not a feast to be taken lightly. The details of the daily offerings and sacrifices are given in Numbers 29:12-38. The total sacrifices for the entire eight day period (seven days of the feast and the eighth day is a sacred assembly) are as follows: 71 young bulls, 15 rams, 105 lambs and 8 kid goats; this is not including the two lambs sacrificed each day for the regular daily sacrifice, making a total of 121 lambs. There is also the grain and drink offerings in addition to the sacrifices. These sacrifices show that the Lord is very serious about the celebration of this feast. Israel does not carry out the sacrifices and offerings today because there is no temple in which to perform them.
The Building of the Sukkah
During the seven days of the festival, the Israelites were commanded to live in booths (sukkot). This is to commemorate how they lived in the desert after the Lord brought them out of bondage in Egypt. The booths are made out of olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches and branches of leafy trees. Basically there is a post in each corner to hold the roof and the roof is made from the branches.
Most Christians would probably say, “This is all very well, but what does this have to do with me?” It has everything to do with all Christians. It is a commandment from the Lord.
Ephesians 2:12-22 points out that we are joined to the commonwealth of Israel; i.e. from God’s point of view we are citizens of Israel. Paul, in writing to the Romans, also stated”…and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the root, the root supports you” (Romans 11:17-18). This shows that these festivals also apply to us.
Satan has perpetuated a lie in the Church that the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) were for Israel, but do not apply to the Church. This lie is totally unscriptural. Nowhere in the New Testament does it state that the Hebrew Scriptures are no longer valid. In fact, Jesus said “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17-18). We can see the fulfillment of God’s Word happening in the land of Israel today. The Scriptures are to be received, not in par, but in their entirety.
As the Lord led Israel through the wilderness and made provision for them in the Land, so He has provided for us also. He has brought us out of the world and has blessed us with His mercy and provision within His people . Let us celebrate His Feast with thanksgiving in our hearts and give glory to Messiah always.