1. Dwelling (Leviticus 23)
The Feast of Tabernacles has been held for the last seven days. Everyone packed up their booths and tents yesterday afternoon as the seventh day ended and the eighth day – today – the Great Day – began.
Of all of the Biblical Feasts, Tabernacles (called Sukkot) is the one Christians seem to know least about, and many of the Jews around the world who celebrate it are engaged in more of a street party.
What’s amazing is how it relates to the rest of the Feasts in the end times; since Sukkot is about the Thousand Year Reign of Christ, it helps us unpack some difficult parts of the book of Revelation, so that’s a bonus.
If you have ever wondered or debated what happens to us when we die, as Christians –
we know our bodies are buried – but do our souls/spirits go directly to heaven (as some verses seem to imply) – or are we in the grave, but with Jesus in some temporary place waiting for our bodies to be changed in an instant? The Feast of Tabernacles is literally the answer to those questions.
We are going to discover God’s idea of a camping trip, why we’re commanded to rejoice and to give, how to celebrate the Feast, the prophetic aspects of it, the power behind the name Yeshua, where it fits in the end times, and how to make sure you have enough oil as we encounter the heart of Jesus in a brand-new way.
The Spring and Fall Feasts are shadows and types of Jesus, who fulfilled the Spring Feasts when He died at Passover, and rose three days later on the Barley Harvest Festival called Firstfruits (which is part of the 7 day Feast of Unleavened Bread). He then walked with the disciples, until He ascended on Day 40, and then 10 days later poured out the Holy Spirit from Heaven on the Wheat Harvest Festival called Pentecost.
He also partially fulfilled the Fall Feasts at His first coming because He was born on Rosh Hashanah, 30 years later He came out of the desert to begin His earthly ministry on Yom Kippur; and John described Jesus’ time on earth in John 1:14 like this, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The word dwelt is equivalent to sukkot, so you can say, “He became flesh and tabernacled among us.” Jesus will fully fulfill the Fall Feasts at His Second Coming.
I believe that all seven of the Feasts have a part to play in the end times. And that’s part of what we will look at today.
Tabernacles seems to be equivalent to the Spring Feast of Unleavened Bread but is almost the opposite of it. Both of them begin on the 15th day of the first month and last for seven days. But, in the spring, Passover comes the day before to total eight days of the festival – when you fast from leaven.
In the Fall, Tabernacles is the third and Final Harvest Festival (this one is for fruit) and it goes on for seven days and then a special eighth day is held (with unique aspects follows it) which is called the “Great Day”. All the days you feast, celebrate, and give offerings to God and others.
Let’s read Leviticus 23 to see what God told the Israelites to do at the Feast of Tabernacles:
- Yehovah told Moses…for seven days,
Everyone must celebrate the Festival of Shelters in honor of Me.
- No one is to do any work on the first day of the festival –
- It is a time when everyone must come together for worship.
- You begin the Festival of Shelters…after you have harvested your crops.
- You pick the best fruit from your trees and cut leafy branches to use during the joyous celebration in My honor.
- For seven days every Israelite must live in a shelter (called a sukkah), so future generations will know that
I made their ancestors live in shelters when I brought them out of Egypt…”
- For seven days, sacrifices must be offered on the altar.
- The eighth day is also to be a day of complete rest,
This is the Feast all of Israel looks forward to all year long.
It was a harvest festival to celebrate the completion of the agricultural year.
Specifically, for the seven species ─ Barley in the Spring and Wheat and Grapes in the Summer. All the sweet fruit in the Fall: pomegranates, figs, date palms, and olives.
Building the flimsy sukkahs testify that their safety and stability came from God’s care. They would remember the Exodus, The Tabernacle where God would meet Moses. Rosh Hashanah, The Days of Awe, and The Day of Atonement had all passed, so all of the repentance and judgment was behind them.
Their sins were atoned – now they would spend a week celebrating life with Him during the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths.
They would construct a sukkah – a lean-to or hut (tent) where they eat their meals together. Essentially, it’s anything they could build to create shade for themselves.
It was intentionally flimsy (but still safe) to show that it was temporary.
They decorated it with beautiful foliage and left room in the ceiling to be able to see the stars at night.
Essentially, they went camping. Sleeping in a sukkah was optional but eating together in it was crucial.
Building sukkahs wasn’t just for this Festival. It’s what Jonah built to sit in as he waited to see what would come of Nineveh.
“Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.” Jonah 4:5
So, there is this fascinating picture of the saints who deserve judgment but are spared because they repented. Their hope is not in the lives they lived, but in the God who is sustaining them in their temporary sukkah.
2. Give with Joy
Sukkot is all about thanking God for all He provides.
What’s the best way to be thankful – you give to someone in need.
The Feast of Tabernacles became known simply as “The Feast”
and they called it the Season of Joy. It’s Christmas and Thanksgiving combined
We look forward to when we will tabernacle or dwell with God in heaven
and on the new earth after all sin has been removed and the devil is cast into the lake of fire.
God has commanded us to rejoice (for a whole week). And to give charity.
- think about God and rejoice
- think about Others and give
Deuteronomy 16:14-15 “Be joyful at your festival – You – Your Sons and Daughters – Your Male and Female Servants – And the Levites – The Foreigners – The Fatherless – And the Widows who Live in Your Towns.
“For seven days celebrate the festival to Yehovah your God at the place Yehovah will choose. For Yehovah your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.
Three times a year all your men must appear before Yehovah your God at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles.”
The primary focus of Tabernacles was water and light – which along with oxygen and temperature – are at the very heart of how God designed seeds to become a harvest. It was all about recognizing God’s provision.
No one should appear before Yehovah empty-handed: Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way Yehovah your God has blessed you.”
God will never come into your presence empty handed
That is a promise – He will give you: life, strength, grace, a future, a dream, a vision, a family, a hope, and He will give you all of Himself every single day 24/7
“I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16
“I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, Yehovah, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel.” Isaiah 45:3
First things first, let’s look at the “treasure” and “riches” that God has hidden in the darkness of secret places. God supplies provision, sufficiency, riches, wealth, etc; and each in their proper time and place, according to His will and the needs of His kingdom.
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Exodus 19:5-6
Notice that “you” are God’s idea of treasure.
“Treasure” is in a class of its own. It is highly prized, even priceless, and kept secure.
Likewise, “riches” imply an amount beyond what meets a need;
it’s a quantity considered more than sufficient.
Luke 5 says, “But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying,
“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he was astonished, and all that were with him, because of the catch of the fish which they had taken, and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Fear not, from now on you will catch men.” So when they brought their ships to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”
Sukkot is a festival about rejoicing in the blessings that God has provided, but let’s be sure our focus is on Yehovah of blessing – instead of the blessings!
Tithes – You start with 100% and there are 2 tithes
- The 1st tithe is specifically for the Levites
- The 2nd tithe is for you to enjoy and to use to be a blessing and honor God
Deuteronomy 14:22-27 “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of Yehovah your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere Yehovah your God always.
But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by Yehovah your God and cannot carry your tithe…then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place Yehovah your God will choose. Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of Yehovah your God and rejoice. And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own.”
Let’s flip to the New Testament for a moment because the greatest ever Feast of Tabernacles happened while Jesus was walking the earth. It was during His third year of ministry. He had been in Jerusalem a few months before and healed the paralytic by the pool on the Sabbath and faced a great deal of backlash from the Jewish leaders. He went back to Galilee for some months to teach and continued facing a lot of attacks from the Jewish leaders.
While He was in there, John the Baptist was beheaded, and Jesus grieved him deeply. Then He fed the 5,000, walked on water, and taught the crowds that He was the Bread of Life. We’re told that, “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” So He’s facing leaders that want Him dead, and followers that stopped following, and then we arrive at the Fall Feasts.
I’ll pick it up in John 7, “After this, Yeshua traveled around in the Galilee, intentionally avoiding Judea because the Judeans were out to kill Him. But the festival of Sukkot in Judea was near; [His brothers try to convince Him to go to the Feasts, but He doesn’t travel with them]. However, after His brothers had left for the festival, He went also, not publicly, but in secret. Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is He?” Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about Him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, He deceives the people.” But no one would say anything publicly about Him for fear of the leaders.”
Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?” They begin to argue is He is the Messiah, and Jesus said, “I am not here on My own authority, but He who sent Me is true. You do not know Him, but I know Him because I am from Him and He sent Me.” At this they tried to seize Him, but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.”
It’s not really clear here in English what caused them to try to arrest Him, because English bibles use the Greek word for I AM – eimi [which means I exist, I am]. In Hebrew it’s Eheyeh and it’s how God describes His name. When God appeared to Israel on Mt Sinai, the first three words He said were, “Anokhi [Ann-oh-hee] Yehovah Elohekha [el-oh-eck-ah] / I am Yehovah, your God.” Exodus 20:2
The fact that God describes Himself as “I Am”, has created one of the more fascinating qualities of the Hebrew language. Only God is in the present tense.
They don’t say “I am hungry”; they say, “I hungry”.
They don’t say “that table is big”, they say “that table big”.
They can say “I was hungry”, or “I will be hungry”, but not “I am hungry”.
There’s no “is” or “am” in Hebrew. The present tense of the verb “to be” is reserved for use by God alone. Only God can say “I AM”. God is the central focus of the language.
But they couldn’t arrest Him, and it seems like they tried throughout the festival. During Yom Kippur, I told you that the events of the Book of Revelation take place during the Fall Feasts.
When you get to Revelation chapter 7, you have arrived at the Feast of Tabernacles.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 7:9
There is a lot going on during this feast, including bringing gifts. Besides your gifts, you bring two things to Sukkot: a citron in your left hand; and a lulav (a palm branch, two myrtle branches, and two willow branches all bound together).
On the seventh day (called the Hoshanah Rabba – the great Hosanna) willow branches were beaten against the pavement next to the Great Altar to symbolize the casting away of the nation’s sins. At this time the people waved their lulavs (palm branches) while the Levites chanted the Hallel (Psalm 113-118). For those who knew Him and loved Him, the irony of the Feast of Tabernacles would have been hard to miss. Jesus arrived quietly as the people shouted the words of the psalm, “The voice announcing the coming of the Messiah is heard.”
Even the name of this Special Feast Day (Hoshanah Rabba) is all about Yeshua Jesus. Hoshanah joins together two words: Hosha (save us) and na (which means now, but it means it in a very emotional, pleading way.). It comes from the last Hallel Psalm, Psalm 118, “Save now, I pray O Yehovah.”
Hosha is part of Yeshua – the name of Jesus which means Yehovah is salvation. So, at the noisy celebration of the Feast, the priests are trying to find a way to arrest Yeshua Jesus, but they just can’t seem to accomplish it. Meanwhile, the people are trying to decide if He really is the Messiah.
And they are all shouting some variation of His name Yeshua, save us, for the entire week. And they’re saying “blessed is He who comes in the name of Yehovah”. And Yeshua, or Yehoshua as it was originally spelled, literally was the joining together of Hosha and Yehovah which means Yehovah is salvation.
The Great Hosanna (Hoshanah), which cried out Yeshua Jesus literally by His name, was also sung during Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The same Hallel Psalms they sang at the Feast, were sung by the crowds again the next spring on Palm Sunday when Jesus entered Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate. Jesus would recite Psalm 118 during the Last Supper and He would hear it echoing over and over while He hung upon the cross, as it was chanted by the priests as they slaughtered hundreds of thousands of lambs.
Both feasts are connected by the “hoshanah pleading” to be rescued:
In Exodus 3:7, Yehovah said, “I have seen how my people are being oppressed in Egypt and heard their cry for release from their slavemasters, because I know their pain.” 1500 years later the same continued cry of His people caused Yeshua to lay down his glory to put on flesh and come to deliver His people.
John 10:14-16 “I am the good shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them in as well, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd.”
In fact, the words of Psalm 118 would come true the next spring at Passover, “This is the gate of Yehovah through which the righteous shall enter. The stone which the builders rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone. This was Yehovah’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. Blessed is He who comes in the name of Yehovah! Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. OH, give thanks to Yehovah, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
4. The River of Life – Water
Literally streams of Jewish families – farmers, shepherds, merchants, craftspeople, rabbis, scribes, and scholars – they’re all together streaming in from everywhere. Not just every part of Israel, but Syria, Babylonia, Egypt, and they all have made their way to Jerusalem to celebrate day and night, non-stop for eight days. The last day of the Feast became known as, “the Great Day,” which had lots of special ceremonies to mark the day.
The most spectacular of these was the water drawing ceremony. Here’s what it looked like back at the time of Jesus: There was a parade of worshipers led by the priests to the Pool of Siloam. The priest has two golden pitchers. One is for wine. He fills the other with water from the pool. As the flutes continue to play, a choir of Israelites chants Psalm 118. Then the kohanim sound their trumpets, while the Levites play their flutes, lyres, cymbals, and every sort of instrument as the people joined in song. This Pilgrimage Road has been discovered – I snuck in it.
Even the elders, with their long white beards, would dance wildly singing at the top of their lungs. There are detailed stories written of acrobatic feats and juggling acts with eight flaming torches. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said, “If you never saw the celebration of the water-drawing, you never saw a celebration in your life.”
The whole procession heads back to the Temple through the Water Gate. A trumpet sounds as the priest enters the Temple area. He approaches the altar where two silver basins are waiting. He pours wine into one of the basins as a drink offering to Yehovah and water from the pool of Siloam into the other.
John 7:37-38 “On the last day, the great day of the feast, Yeshua (Jesus) stood and cried out, saying, “If any man thirsts, let him come to Me, and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, “out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.””
If it sounds familiar, His words about Living Water were similar to what He told the woman at the well in Samaria. But this time He wasn’t alone at a well with a woman, He was in a huge crowd whose focus was totally on Water. He’s quoting Isaiah 12, which is perfect because the people had been repenting of their sins for over 40 days hoping that somehow by Yom Kippur, God would forgive them for their shortcomings, failures, and sin, and rebellion, and would seal their name in the Book of Life.
Isaiah 12:1 was the perfect verse, “And in that day you will say: “O Yehovah, I will praise You; though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.” The Feast of Tabernacles comes 4 days after the Day of Atonement, and finally your fate was supposed to be finalized. They’ve built their sukkots and have been staying in them for the week.
They’re in the midst of the water pouring ceremony. And they begin to recite the same verses they do every year, but this year Yeshua is there, preaching and ministering, probably with a gentle smile on His face, and piercing eyes. And now His name has been reverberating everywhere as the crowds shouted hosha na (save us or literally Yeshua us).
As Yeshua stood in the middle of that great crowd teaching during the water ceremony, He proclaimed Himself their long-awaited Messiah, in a language unique to the very moment.
His name was even the focus of the verses. It would have been hard to miss.
Here’s the rest of Isaiah 12, but we’ll read it in Hebrew, so we don’t miss the best part.
|So, they’re saying, “It is Certain that God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid”
or in Hebrew, “hin·nêh Yehovah Yeshua, I will trust and not be afraid.”
They’re literally just declaring His full name Yehoshua, which means Yehovah is salvation.
I will trust
Behold or Certainly
|‘For Yah (God), Yehovah, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’
or in Hebrew, Yehovah [hāyâ ‘ănî / has become] Yeshua [my salvation.’]
|“Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”
They’re drawing water from the wells of Yeshua.
from the wells
Therefore you will draw
The Water Ceremony was held to thank God for His provision, and to ask Him to provide rain for the crops in the coming year. Today, we take water for granted. We turn the tap and—water pours out! But in the Middle East in the first century, water was often scarce. The people were dependent on God for the rains that were so vital for life. And, they are pouring out water. It’s precious. All to say, “Come quickly Messiah. We trade everything for you. You are more precious.”
There are two very significant kinds of water sources:
Genesis 26:18-19, “And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham…Also Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found a well of springing water there.”
Wells are efforts of man’s hard labor. Springs come to you as a gift of God.
Don’t miss the significance of digging your own well and rejecting the living water of Jesus. The 8th Day represents the final “great” judgment of all mankind and the devil. Today is the day of salvation.
John 7, “On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice,
“Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
In Hebrew, the phrase “springing water” literally means “living waters”.
This is part of the significance of the story of the woman at the well. When Jesus spoke of the spring type of water (living water), she knew there was no spring around, so he must be talking about prophecy. The rock they carried in the desert that brought forth water came from Rephidim & Meribah. Jesus prophesied, and the woman recognized the promises of a future Moses.
5. The Light of the World
At the end of the first day of the Feast, according to the Mishnah, gigantic candelabras stood within the court of the women in the Temple. Each of the four golden candelabras is said to have been about 75 feet tall!
Each candelabra had four branches, and at the top of every branch there was a large bowl. Four young men bearing 10-gallon pitchers of oil would climb ladders to fill the four golden bowls on each candelabra. And then the oil in those bowls was ignited.
The Temple was on a hill above the rest of the city, so the glow was a sight for the entire city to see. The light was to remind the people of how God’s Shekinah glory had once filled His Temple.
But in the person of Jesus, God’s glory was once again present in that Temple. And He used that celebration to announce that very fact. He was teaching in the court of women on the 8th day, perhaps standing near those magnificent candelabras when He declared to all there, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Many refused to have their own darkness exposed by that light.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
If God had no beginning and everything that exists was created by Him, then nothing existed before Him, not even darkness.
Scripturally speaking, darkness isn’t the absence of light. (It’s scientifically impossible to create perfect darkness because all objects radiate heat in the form of infrared light and gamma rays and extremely high frequency light can penetrate even dense materials.)
Darkness was probably the very first creation of God, before the universe itself. “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, Yehovah, do all these things.” Isaiah 45:7
Darkness was a creation, and every creation has a purpose. We can know that the Spirit of God is hovering near us, and He has a vision for what He’s making us into. And He uses darkness, or hides things from us, as part of the process of revealing Himself to us.
“Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:3-5
“God divided the light from the darkness.”
To say it another way, Jesus triumphs over darkness. Everything God is doing in our lives is to accomplish one purpose, dividing the light from the darkness.
Ephesians 5 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in Yehovah. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to Yehovah. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
If God is Light and He is the image of the invisible God, and we are made in the image of God, what does that mean? We are light.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7 “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
Listen to Jesus explain this to Nicodemus John 3, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Our original birth is similar in that we are surrounded in the womb by water, and when it breaks, we come out of the darkness and water into the light of the world. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit…And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. “
At creation, Before When Adam and Eve sinned, they were surrounded with God’s glory of light. When they sinned, they went into darkness. When we sin – we go back in. God doesn’t hate us when we sin – but we have to choose darkness or light. His life’s purpose is to separate one from the other. When you choose darkness, you also lose your purpose as light.
The light spectrum includes radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, x rays, gamma rays, and other electromagnetic radiation. God is raising up many kinds of people with many kinds of gifts just like the many kinds of light. He is going to fill up some with a lot of power, others with revelation, others with skills, others for war.
Light is also sound. At creation God spoke, which was a form of light. The Hebrew word for “voice” is the sound of a trumpet. That same word is used throughout the Bible for the blast of a trumpet (Mt Sinai). The Hebrew word also means calling out, shouting, or even singing.
6. Darkness & Oil
What is the point of these Fall Feasts: The End Times, Tribulation, and Final Judgment: “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb…These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘He will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’” Revelation 7
But then everything changes; It’s Celebration for the Feast of Tabernacles?
Those who take the mark of the Beast will be destroyed. But there will still be sinners on the earth who did not take the mark, but that do not have their names written in the Book of Life and so are not transformed to reign with Jesus in the Millennium. They are not glorified. They don’t shine. They are alive, so to speak, but just alive.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of Yehovah rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but Yehovah rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” Isaiah 60:1-2
One day when the trumpet sounds, the darkness will descend, and it will be our time to shine. Why the yearly trumpet blast – so we will continue to ask ourselves: “Are we filled with oil?”
Matthew 25 warns us: “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.”
But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ [repent]
Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”
Oil causes the lamps to light up; It’s the presence of the Holy Spirit illuminating the Word of God.
Count the cost. Almost everything in the kingdom is free. Jesus says, come to me and I will give you. But in the realm of oil, His counsel (delivered by the other virgins) was to buy for yourselves. But where were they supposed to go?
Revelation Chapter 3, “To Laodicea: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of My mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” Revelation 3
In Revelation, in the letters to the churches, Jesus said “buy from me [what they lacked].” The 10 wise virgins needed to buy oil from Him not from people, but from Him.
They should’ve counted the cost they didn’t; they were cast into outer darkness.
Between the Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost, they were commanded to count the days –
50 days till Pentecost. Jesus stayed on the earth for 40 days before He ascended and then said wait for Pentecost to receive, which came 10 days later. That’s a shadow; counting – that’s the focus.
You don’t have to be baptized in the Holy Spirit to be saved. But He wants you to be filled; He wants you to be full of Him so you can shine your light which requires oil.
He said darkness is going to come on the face of the earth, so He knows you will use up your oil.
So, He says buy from me – come to me get full – be filled.
They didn’t count the cost. You have to buy from Jesus, not from man. There will be many full pews the day after the rapture because they spent their time only trying to buy from man instead of Jesus.
This is all about spending time in His presence to be filled with Him so, like Moses, we glow when we return into the world.
Yehovah expects light from and His people. The light of God in our lives comes from the Holy Spirit, which causes ministry to happen in the lives of believers. Burning oil produces light. If we are spiritual “virgins” because we are betrothed to Jesus, we ought to bear His light in this dark world.
Still, He has told us that some virgins will not have the wisdom to do it, so it is a warning to us; a warning not to quench the Spirit, but to be filled with Him and be the light of the world.
Here is a reminder of how easily pride can get in the way:
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of My mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are…”
God is truly the only one that actually knows the truth. He says I know, you say, but you don’t realize. I know, you say. I know, you say. We don’t realize anything. That’s a good place to start.
The church and the world need a significant wake up call. Listen to Deuteronomy 31:16-17 as God describes what He will do as a last resort when you keep refusing Him, “And Yehovah said to Moses: “Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. Then My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. And many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’
Sukkot is all of the feasts wrapped into one to show us a picture of eternity so that we don’t miss it. Most of those who were delivered from Egypt did not enter the Promised Land.
7. A Thousand Years
The Feast of Tabernacles is the culmination of all the biblical holy days and represents the final stage of His plan of salvation. After the great war of the end times and the second coming of Jesus, those who survive of all the nations will go up to Jerusalem to worship and celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14).
That celebration takes place in the Millennial Kingdom. There will be a Feast of Tabernacles in the Millennium. The Feast itself is a foreshadow of that kingdom.
We are told to gather fruits of the harvest [souls] to wave them as a thanksgiving before Yehovah (Leviticus 23:40, Nehemiah 8:15). There is a specific mention of palm branches.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding a donkey (Zechariah (9:9), the disciples greeted Him by waving palm branches (John 12:13). That entry was a shadow of His second coming. He came in on a donkey, instead of a white horse (Revelation 19:11).
That was a triumphal entry, because He was coming for souls by laying down His life; it was technically a humble entry. There will be another entry. Jesus will enter in triumph, as a king on a white horse, on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Not only will a few Jewish disciples wave palm branches, but the righteous remnant of every nation.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 7:9
Just as there is an agricultural harvest at the time of Sukkot (the end of the biblical holy days), so will there be a great harvest of souls at the end of the age (Matthew 13:39, Revelation 14:14).
It’s time to discover the answer to the big question:
What happens to us when we die, as Christians –
Do our souls/spirits go directly to heaven (as some verses seem to imply)
Or are we in some temporary place waiting for our bodies to be raised and changed in an instant?
Let’s see how The Feast of Tabernacles reveals the answers to those questions.
Revelation 20:1-15 “And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he would not deceive the nations any more, until the thousand years were fulfilled. And after that he must be released for a little while.
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. And I saw the souls of those that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast, or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection. On such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
So, there are two groups of people:
- Those who were Martyrs – they will spend the Millennium with Jesus.
- The Rest of the Christians. If the thousand years is only for martyrs, what happens to the rest of us? Where will we spend that 1,000 years?
The first seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles is that 1,000 years. And the clue to where we will be is the sukkah or booths.
Notice that no one is in heaven during this period.
So, no – when you die you do not go directly to heaven.
But that’s not really the most important question.
Who will you be with – is the most important thing.
What do we do during this Feast of Tabernacles week?
We live, eat, and sleep in sukkahs. Temporary shelters.
It’s not about eternity. It’s sukkah time.
That’s what the millennium is for the martyrs – a temporary shelter.
And that what Sheol is for the rest of the redeemed – a temporary shelter.
Ultimately what was the “Tabernacle” in the wilderness?
It was the temporary place they would meet with God.
So, if you belong to Jesus when you die, your tabernacle will be with Him.
Wherever you are for those 1,000 years, if you belong to Jesus, you will be with Jesus.
That’s the Feast of Tabernacles – where we taste and see that He is good!
Let’s dig into the word on this:
Hebrews 9:27-28 says, “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
The Bible says that death is the separation of the body from our soul/spirit.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, “The body returns to the ground to await the resurrection, and “the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
Luke 23:43 tells us that Jesus said to the penitent thief beside Him on the cross, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Philippians 1:23 says the apostle Paul desired “to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.”
2 Corinthians 5:8 says that those who have died trusting in Jesus “are away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
It’s unanimous – the scriptures all agree that we will be with Jesus when we die.
But there is still the question of where we will be. And there are a bunch of scriptures that give us a clue, but also can be a bit confusing – unless you have the Feast of Tabernacles to shed light on it.
Daniel 12:2 says, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” So, clearly Christians here will be awakened.
1 Samuel 28 tells the story of an encounter with the Sheol by King Saul. “Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah…[later due to great fear Saul sought a medium.] “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name…Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel”…The woman said, “I see a spirit coming up out of the ground….Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” So, the Bible gives us a pretty clear picture of a godly man’s spirit in Sheol.
But the scripture that causes many people to question the specifics is 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 where Paul tells us, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” Here the dead are raised from somewhere.
8. A Thousand Years in a Booth
In Luke’s story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Jesus describes both men as dying and going to “the realm of the dead” called Hades in Greek and Sheol in Hebrew.
But this view of the afterlife seems to conflict with what Jesus told the thief on the cross: “Today you will be with Me in paradise”. Luke 23:43
Jesus’ promise suggests that after He and the thief die that very day, they will be together in paradise. So, which is it? Do the deceased go to Hades or Heaven?
We know that Jesus went to Hades (Sheol) for three days after he died, not immediately to heaven. So, in order for the robber to be “with” Jesus that day, the thief would have to join him in the realm of the dead.
Revelation 20:13 says, “The sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.”
Just three verses later in Revelation 21:1-3, John writes “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth… and I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God… and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling of God is with humanity.’”
According to this vision, the paradise of God comes down to earth at the resurrection of the dead, and the righteous dwell not in heaven, but in the kingdom on a renewed earth.
So, Jesus told the thief, “Today you will be with Me in paradise”.
Where would Jesus and the thief be later that day (after they died)?
In a place called “the bosom of Abraham”.
You can read about this in Luke 16 in the parable of the rich man who lived in luxury and a poor man covered in sores who laid at his gate; he was named Lazarus (not the one Jesus raised from the dead).
Verses 2-26 tell us, “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. The rich man also died and was buried, and he went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side. The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’ “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
So, sheol or hades is a place of peace where the righteous await resurrection. Those who reside in the bosom of Abraham’s part of Sheol are not separated from God.
Psalm 139:8 tells us of God, “If I ascend to heaven, you are there, and if I make my bed in Sheol (שאול) – look, it’s You! (or You are there.)” [that word sheol is also translated as grave, hell, pit, depths, and underworld]. But to be clear, you are not in your dead body in the dirt. You are spirit/soul then and will be rejoined with your resurrected body later.”
This is why Jesus can cry out as He dies, “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.” Luke 23:46
Proverbs 15:11 adds, “Sheol and Abbadon lie open before the Lord.” So, we don’t have to be in heaven to encounter God. He meets us in the Tabernacle in our wilderness.
Just for clarity, in Luke 23:42 before Jesus told the thief that he will join Him in paradise, the man said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He was asking Jesus to remember him when He came with God’s kingdom at “the last day”; and Jesus explained that he will get to enter the paradise that comes down with God’s heavenly kingdom at the end.
In the meantime, he would await resurrection in the realm of the dead.
It’s the same idea in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”
That does still leave a few situations that require answers. Ephesians 2:6 says, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” Clearly, while we are alive, we have access to His throne room.
Lastly, what of those who die for short periods and are shown around heaven or what seems like hell? Again, I believe that while we are alive, we seem to have a different type of access. Even if we are temporarily dead for hours.
But when we die, He comes to us until we are raised by Him.
One last important thought. This festival has that water drawing ceremony when Jesus says that He is the Living Water. This is a shadow and type. Remember the rich man’s thirst? He neglected the poor – he can’t get access to water now. We have a chance now to be gracious – it will be too late later.
Then on the 8th day:
The Judgment of Satan
“When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
I love that the martyrs get their revenge.
The Judgment of the Dead
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Then it’s Revelation 21 – all of us on the new Heaven and earth with Jesus
“God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
9. A Transfigured Millennium
Luke 9 – “Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him. Then it happened, as they were parting from Him, that Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said.”
While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were fearful as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” When the voice had ceased, Jesus was found alone. But they kept quiet, and told no one in those days any of the things they had seen.”
Peter, James, and John were “transported” in a vision into the future to see Christ in His glory in His Kingdom! It’s interesting to note that Peter associated that time with tents or tabernacles.
Hebrews 1:8–9 quotes Psalm 45:7 to speak of this future time, “But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
Jesus will be enthroned at this Feast of Tabernacles in eternity and anointed with Gladness – agalliasis [a gall lee ah sis] – it means exultation, extreme joy, gladness.
At feasts, people were anointed with the “oil of gladness”.
Hebrews 1:9 alludes to this inaugural ceremony of anointing of the exalted Son of God.
“Then Zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. And they blew the horn, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!” And all the people went up after him; and the people played the flutes and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth seemed to split with their sound.” 1 Kings 1:39-40
This Feast of Tabernacles is also called the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16), focusing on its role as a celebration of the large autumn harvest in the Holy Land that foreshadows a large spiritual harvest.
Satan is bound, the martyrs are raised in the first resurrection to rule with Jesus, everyone else waits for the second resurrection.
“Then it will be that all the nations who have come against Jerusalem and survived will go up each year to worship the King, Yehovah of Hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.” Zech. 14:16
God’s Word reveals that the nations will one day gather to fight against Jerusalem (Zech. 12:1-14; Joel 3:1-2; Ezek. 38:4). It also tells us without a shadow of a doubt who will win this battle, for Yehovah Himself will fight for His people (Zech. 14:3)!
Following the battle, the survivors from these attacking nations will once again go up to Jerusalem —not to make war, but to worship Yehovah of Hosts, demonstrating their submission to the King of kings.
As prophesied in Isaiah 2:2-3, “In the last days the mountain of Yehovah’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall go and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Yehovah from Jerusalem”.
All the nations will have a new orientation around God’s Will and His Word as they worship Him annually in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles. Their annual schedule will then be aligned with Yehovah’s biblical calendar, as His priorities will be seen in their new confession to worship (Zech. 14:16).
The Scriptures actually speak of the Feast of Tabernacles as being seven days, but it also speaks of an eighth day on which a holy convocation is to be held, with sacrifices made and no traditional work done on that day. See Leviticus 23:34-36
The 8th day is the last great day of the feast. At the end of the 7th day, they leave the booths and go home and then come to the temple on the 8th day – like heaven or eternity.
The Eighth Day symbolized the final judgment of the dead into either eternal life or the lake of fire.
It was on the 8th day that they brought the woman caught in adultery –
We are supposed to rule in the Millennial Kingdom and sit as judges in the Great White Throne Judgment. The Pharisees wanted to judge, but only pretended to be righteous. They walked away when told (whoever is without sin).
Jesus didn’t mean innocent of all sin – but that specific sin. The law said that they must be innocent of the offense of adultery to throw the first stone.
Jewish law said only a witness of a capital offense could throw the first stone. Once they left – there was no one to accuse her – no legal witness.
We must be careful of bearing secondhand offenses of others – they are hurt but we are angry and offended – let the stones fall.
Meanwhile the guilty lady walked away on the 8th day – told to sin no more – our actions determine what we do on the 8th day.
10. Out of Egypt
For over 3,000 years every generation of Jews has been building sukkahs and decorating them, eating, and sleeping inside them, and dancing and celebrating in the streets to celebrate the 40 years with God in the desert. Tabernacles is one of the most joyful Feasts you will ever experience, but what if there is more to dance about then the Jews discovered? Let’s go back to the Exodus to when God brought them out and see if there is something more to His commands to celebrate this yearly Feast?
“You shall dwell in booths [sukkot] for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths [sukkot], that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths [sukkot] when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am Yehovah your God.” Leviticus 23:42-43
Notice the words, “When I brought them out”, So, maybe Tabernacles isn’t about 40 years of wandering; maybe it’s about the initial Exodus when God brought them out.
What if Tabernacles is actually a second part of the celebration of the Passover, but without the lamb and unleavened bread.
Exodus 12 begins in Egypt at the first Passover or Pesach when God tells them what to do to avoid encountering the Death Angel. Then God instructs Moses how He wants them to celebrate the Exodus in the years ahead. They will take a lamb, inspect the lamb, kill the lamb, and eat that lamb on a certain day, but the future Passovers won’t include blood on the doors or a death angel, and instead of just one meal, it will be a weeklong festival.
Then back in real time, the Exodus begins as the death angel arrives and decimates all the firstborn in Egypt, people and animals; All of Israel is safe because of the blood of the lambs. So, Pharaoh releases the Israelites, and the rest of the grieving Egyptians are afraid, and they beg them to leave. Which allows the Jews to plunder them of silver, gold, clothing, and all they requested.
They begin the journey and after three days arrive at a place in the desert with a very familiar name, “Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, [that’s the same word as Sukkot], about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds—a great deal of livestock. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt.”
That’s right. The escaping Israelites first stop was a town with the Hebrew name of Sukkot.
To understand how that is possible, we will need to turn the pages back a few hundred years to walk in the footsteps of Jacob, the man who brought his family to Egypt; the same family that has grown and grown into the millions, and now has been rescued from slavery: The Israelites.
In the book of Genesis, we meet Jacob and his brother Esau, who Jacob cheats of his inheritance and blessing which inspires Jacob to flee lest he be killed. Twenty years pass and Jacob is raising his family and begins a journey to return to his parents and his ancestral lands. This puts him right into the path of Esau, who to Jacob’s great surprise no longer wanted to kill him, but instead, welcomed him back with open arms and they restored their strained relationship.
Jacob continued his travels when he reached a safe place, he stopped, made sukkahs for his family and flocks, and later when he continued his journey, the sukkahs remained and became the place’s namesake. “So that day Esau started on his way back to Seir. Jacob, however, went to Sukkoth, where he built a place for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is called Sukkoth.” Genesis 33:17
So, it turns out that the name “sukkot” came from Jacob. For clarity’s sake, the town in Israel is about 300 miles from the town by the same name in Egypt.
11. A Sukkot By Any Other Name…
Historians guess Succoth in Egypt was about a 3 day’s journey into the desert. Very little is known about it, but my guess is that when Jacob was old and brought his family to join Joseph in Egypt, perhaps it’s where they stopped and built sukkahs for the family and herds before moving on to Egypt. It had the same Hebrew name of the town he founded near Peniel where he stopped and built sukkahs. It makes sense that he would repeat the building and naming.
So, what did God say this Tabernacles Feast was about? “You shall dwell in booths [sukkot] for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths [sukkot], that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths [sukkot] when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am Yehovah your God.” Leviticus 23:42-43
So, it seems possible that they were not supposed to live in sukkahs to remember the entire wilderness journey, but specifically to remember the days directly after Passover, when God caused them to retrace the very steps He used to bring them to Egypt when they were just Jacob and about 80 others.
And to remember how God changed Jacob from a deceiver to a man with a limp who was miraculously saved from the brother he had deceived. His life really profoundly changed after the encounter he had with a wrestling angel/God. He seemed to lose his scheming ways and develop giving ways. Enough so that He wanted his descendants not to forget that journey.
When Jacob died, Joseph made a trip back to The Cave of Machpela, which is called the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron which holds the bodies of four couples. Adam and Eve are said to be buried in the cave. Of course, you’ll find Abraham and Sarah, and Isaac and Rebekah and Jacob and Leah. They are all buried in Hebron because it’s a big deal where you are buried.
Not only did Joseph take his father’s bones to Hebron, but then he made his kids promise to bring his bones all 460 miles from Egypt to be buried in Shechem, where he had been sold into slavery by his brothers. It was the place his father Jacob had dug a well, where Abram had met with God, and where Moses would speak blessings and curses over Israel. It’s a place where God did so much. Graves were a big deal.
And sure enough, as Moses led the Israelites out, they carried Joseph’s bones with them, and no doubt rested with them at Sukkot.
In the end, a sukkah isn’t about a flimsy shack.
Exodus 29:45 “I will dwell (tabernacle or sukkah) among the people of Israel and will be their God.”
We are all in sukkah’s right now – this world is our sukkah – we need to make sure our affections for it are flimsy because we have a better sukkah waiting that we celebrate on the Feast of Tabernacles.
Dwelling is the word tabernacle which means: God will spread His tabernacle over us,
so that we may dwell in safety and security under its cover and protection.
In the simplest of terms, Jesus came to the earth as a baby and lived with us (tabernacled).
John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
When Jesus rose from the grave, He had a glorified body that could still be touched and could eat, but it could also pass-through walls and defy the basic laws of physics. He stayed on earth in that body for 40 days and then ascended into heaven. Those 40 days are a picture of The Great Tribulation and as well as the Millennium, when Jesus will first fight and then reign on the earth.
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them.” Revelation 21:22
Let’s take a chiastic look at Passover/UB and Tabernacles:
The week-long Feast includes Passover the first day, followed by the 7-day Feast of Unleavened Bread the next day (two significant days together at the beginning), and three days later Firstfruits. The First and Last days are Sabbaths. This was the First Exodus which occurred in Egypt and the desert – There is lots of death.
The weeklong Feast of Tabernacles is opposite (two significant days in a row are at the end), because it’s viewed in a mirror. It’s also 7-days with the First and Last as Sabbaths. The last day is the Great Day. You pack up and go home and then come back together at the temple on the 8th day for a celebration. This is the Second Exodus which occurs in eternity – Death has been destroyed.
Why all the celebrations at Tabernacles but fasting at Unleavened Bread?
We are celebrating from a place of faith that comes from knowing Jesus. If He came the first time, we can be confident that He will come the second time. If He proposed and gave us the ring (the Holy Spirit), He will come and bring us to the Father and marry us.
So, The Feast is here. Ignore it or celebrate it. To celebrate it is to celebrate Jesus.