Sunday, June 21, 2015

TEXT: Leviticus 23:34-43
SUBJECT: The Feast of Tabernacles

In this message we conclude our teaching on the Seven Feasts of God. As we have learned, God’s Feasts were actually rehearsals carried out at appointed or set times by His chosen nation Israel. The Feasts begin with Passover and end with Tabernacles.[1] And it is The Feast of Tabernacles that will be our final subject in this series on God’s redemptive plan and purpose.

The Hebrew word “sukkot” can be translated as “tabernacles” or “booths.” As with the other feasts, this feast is found in the Book of Leviticus. From the fifteenth day of Tishri to the twenty second day of Tishri—the Jewish seventh month— (our September or October) the nation of Israel was to dwell in “booths” to remind them that God had brought them out of the bondage of slavery in Egypt and into freedom! It was actually a week-long celebration of their deliverance from slavery and bondage. This was to be a joyous feast and celebration!

Deuteronomy 16:16 says “Three times a year all of your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place He will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread/Passover, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and at the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. They shall not appear before me empty-handed.”

Keep in mind that each of these feasts had to do with the harvest. Unleavened Bread/Passover was the barley harvest; Pentecost or Shavu’ot (weeks) was the wheat harvest; and Tabernacles was the fruit harvest—pomegranates, olives, and grapes.

Exodus 23:16 refers to the Feast of Tabernacles as the feast of ingathering at end of the Jewish religious year. The point is this: The Feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled at the end of the age with the final harvest. I’ll say more about this a little later.

1. What is the context for The Feast of Tabernacles or where does it all begin?

John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Verse 14 “The Word became flesh. . .” God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ.

Concerning the birth of Jesus, we read in Luke 2:22-24, “When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

But when you look back to Leviticus 12:6 we read, “When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering.” Verse 8,
“But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering.”

Luke 2:22-24 tells you that Joseph and Mary were not a wealthy family. Yet here is Mary with this unique experience with the Holy Spirit and this powerful Word from the angel Gabriel about her son and who He was! Don’t you know that in her heart she wished that she could afford to offer a lamb to God on such a special occasion?

Actually she did have a lamb to offer: Jesus The Lamb of God!

This is the place where I want to begin my message on this seventh and final feast—The Feast of Tabernacles. Back to John 1:14 “The Word (Jesus) 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.”

The Greek word for “dwelling” is “eskeenoosen,” from the root word “skenoo” which means to “tent” or “tabernacle” as God did in the Old Testament Tabernacle.

In Jesus, God was tabernacling among us![2]

The question is this: to what end? Why was God tabernacling among us in Jesus? Why did the Son of God become a man? I believe the answer to that question is found in the Seven Feasts of God. The Seven Feasts tell His story. God revealed the feasts in the Old Testament and chose Israel to rehearse the feasts at set or appointed times each year with types and symbols. But only God could fulfill the feasts! And that is why Jesus—God in the flesh—came and pitched his tent among us—to fulfill the Feasts of God! 

1. First there was Passover.

God laid the foundation for this feast through the blood of the Passover Lamb that was to be taken into Jewish homes on the tenth day of Nisan (our March or April) and inspected for four days to make sure that the lamb had no blemishes or imperfections. On the fourteenth day of Nisan, the Passover Lamb was to be killed and its blood applied to the top and two side posts of the doors of each Jewish home.

At midnight when the destroyer came into Egypt to kill the firstborn, the homes that had applied the Lamb’s blood were “passed over.” They were delivered from judgment.  It was in this way that God broke the power of Pharaoh and set His people free from bondage and slavery. This deliverance was to be rehearsed by Israel each year.

Then two thousand years ago on what is called Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the tenth day of Nisan and the Jewish people chose Him as their Lamb when they welcomed Him by waving palm branches and saying “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

He was inspected by the Jewish religious leaders as they asked him questions. And they could find no fault in Him.

But then on the fourteenth day of Nisan they killed their lamb when they turned him over to Pilate and said “crucify Him.” At 9am on Nisan fourteenth, the same time the High Priest bound the Passover Lamb to the altar as he had done for hundreds of years, Jesus the Lamb of God was crucified.

Then at 3pm, after all of the other Passover Lambs had been slain for the Jewish people, the High Priest went to the last lamb to be sacrificed—the lamb that had been bound to the altar at 9am—and he cut its throat and said, “It is finished.” Sovereignly, also at 3pm, Jesus the Lamb of God said, “It is finished,” and gave up His spirit!

Jesus, the last lamb to be sacrificed, had once and for all taken upon Himself the sins of the world—your sins and my sins. To what end? To the end that the obstacle of sin that stood between God and His people was eternally removed.[3] Jesus died so that a holy God could now dwell and tabernacle among us and with us—forever! Let me ask you friend, have you accepted Jesus as your Passover Lamb?

Are you trusting in His blood alone that you might have fellowship with a holy God?

2. Unleavened Bread.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread began at sunset on Nisan 15. The Israelites were to eat unleavened bread as a reminder of their deliverance from Egypt. They left Egypt in such haste that the bread did not have time to rise. No leaven (a type of sin) was added to the bread.

More importantly, this unleavened bread pointed to the pure, spotless bread that came down from heaven—even Jesus the sinless Son of God. And because His body was pure, spotless and sinless, when they put Him into the tomb death had no power over Him. He suffered no decay or corruption even as David prophesied in Psalm 16:10 and Peter preached in Acts 2:27.

The question is why? Because this was all part of God’s plan to tabernacle, to dwell, to live among us. And that naturally leads to the next feast—the third of the Seven Feasts of God.

3. The Feast of First Fruits.

On Nisan 17, sometime before sunrise, Jesus arose from the dead with a resurrected body—the first wave offering to God—the First to rise from the dead with a new body!

As I Corinthians 15:20-23 says, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection from the dead comes also through a man. But each in turn: Christ the first fruits; then when He comes, those who belong to Him.”

Can you see it? The only way God could tabernacle with us forever was for Him to become a man and defeat death by rising from the dead with a human body. In this way, the resurrected Christ becomes our guarantee that as He was raised up as the first fruits, so too will we be raised up with Him. As I have said many times, Jesus did not die and rise again to just save us for a day, a week, a month, a year, or even a lifetime. Rather, He died and rose again so that we could be with Him forever! That requires new and resurrected bodies!

4. The Feast of Pentecost.

Fifty days from the The Feast of First Fruits was the The Feast of Pentecost. The resurrected Jesus who had ascended back to Heaven poured out the Holy Spirit on those who had been cleansed by His blood shed at the cross.

He wrote the new law of the Spirit on their hearts as God had written the Ten Commandments on stone tablets at Mount Sinai.

At the same time the Priest was waving the two loaves of leavened bread—representing both Jew and Gentile, who are sinners—God had come to tabernacle and dwell in the hearts of sinful men and women who had been cleansed from their sins through faith in Jesus. The true harvest of the New Creation had begun by the power of the Holy Spirit.

And it was Jesus who had poured out the Holy Spirit, having made a more intimate fellowship with God possible by fulfilling the Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits! Let me ask you friends, have you allowed Jesus to pour out the incredible gift of the Holy Spirit into your heart? Is God tabernacling/dwelling in your heart?

That brings us to the remaining feasts that are yet to be fulfilled by Jesus. They are The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and The Feast of Tabernacles.

5. The Feast of Trumpets.

On The Feast of Trumpets Jesus will rapture the Church and return to the earth. This will most definitely happen on the first day of Tishri, our September or October. He will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.[4]

Notice that we are going to meet the Lord and be with Him forever!  God will be dwelling with us, tabernacling with us through the rapture and second return of His Son—even Jesus Christ the Lord. This will be a major upgrade in our knowing and experiencing God!

In I Corinthians 15:51-52 we read, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep, but we will be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will we raised imperishable and we will be changed.”

Changed? Why? Because we will need new and glorified bodies so that we can live with the Lord forever as His New Creation in Christ Jesus!  We will be “partakers of the divine nature!”

The Old Testament Feast of Trumpets, fulfilled when Jesus raptures the Church and returns to the earth, allows God to tabernacle with us in a new and more dynamic way.

Revelation 11:15 “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet . . .” Verse 19 “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within His temple was seen the ark of the covenant . . .”

This is the rapture of the Church: the last trumpet, the seventh trumpet, God’s dwelling place now open or visible. And it is another step toward the fulfillment of The Feast of Tabernacles, God dwelling more fully with us and us dwelling more fully with God!

6. The Day of Atonement.

Passover is the individual applying the blood of the Lamb to his or her life in personal salvation. But The Day of Atonement is the salvation of the entire nation of Israel.

The Day of Atonement follows ten days behind The Feast of Trumpets—on the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tishri, our September or October.[5] On this day Israel’s enemies, led by the Antichrist and the Beast kingdom, will be trying to annihilate the Jews. But Jesus, having raptured the Church and having circled the globe where every eye will see Him, will have come down in Edom/Bozrah, modern day Jordan, and will have begun releasing the final seven bowls of God’s wrath killing His enemies as He makes His way to the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem. (See Isaiah 63:1-4)

It is here that Jesus will kill the False Prophet and the Antichrist.[6] It is at this point, on the very day of The Day of Atonement, that the veil that has been over Israel’s eyes will be removed as she looks on Him whom she has pierced.

Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”

On The Day of Atonement all of Israel will be saved in one day! Her sins are atoned for as she realizes and accepts Jesus as the One who made atonement for her by shedding His blood on the cross.

And now God is dwelling or tabernacling with Israel as He promised! Israel’s willingness to repent and so fulfill Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 23:39 which says, “You (Israel) will not see me again, until you say, ‘blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,’” will literally open the door for The Feast of Tabernacles to begin—the last of God’s Seven Feasts.

All of the nations that have come against Israel during the tribulation period will have been judged by Jesus. This will also begin the millennial reign of Jesus over all the earth. Zechariah 14:16 says, “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty and celebrate THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES. This feast will be celebrated year after year in the millennial reign of Jesus over the nations of the earth.

Think of it friend: we will literally be living on the earth with Jesus the Jewish Messiah for one thousand golden years of righteous rule, peace and justice. There will be no devil and no war. It will be the restoration of what was lost in Eden!

God will be tabernacling with us on a redeemed and restored earth through His Son—even the God-man—Christ Jesus!

Then after the thousand years are ended, we will then enter into the transcendent life of God Himself! You say, what is that? I truly don’t know because it will be a mystery until it actually happens.

But I do like its description in Revelation 21:1-5, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no more sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, look! God’s dwelling place is now among people, and He will dwell with them and be their God. He 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. He who was seated on the throne said, I am making everything new! Then He said, write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, and Day of Atonement all lead to the ultimate fulfillment and desire of God’s heart—The Feast of Tabernacles—God dwelling with His people forever and forever in transcendent life and glory! This is the eternal plan of Almighty God! This is the Gospel—the Good News of Jesus Christ!


Dear friends, as believers in Jesus, this is what is ours in Him:

1. Our sins have been forgiven, forever.
2. Our Savior has forever conquered death, hell and the grave.
3. We have the Holy Spirit of God now dwelling in our mortal bodies.
4. God will give us new and glorified bodies when He comes again.
5. We will live with Him in our new bodies on a redeemed and restored earth for 1000 golden years.
6. And then we will enter into the New Heavens and New Earth and know forever the transcendent glory of God!

[1] I believe that the Blood Moons that God has orchestrated over the last five hundred years on the Feasts of Passover and Tabernacles is significant. The redemption that began with Passover through the shed blood of Jesus will culminate in Tabernacles and God dwelling with His people forever—which has always been His eternal plan.
[2] Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means “God with us.”
[3] Hebrews 9:26
[4] I Thessalonians 4:16-17

[5] There are those who “spiritualize” The Day of Atonement saying that it will cover the seven year tribulation period. But this would be completely contrary to how Jesus fulfilled the other feasts on the very day. I do not see how that God could or would change the way the feasts have been and will be fulfilled—literally to the day!

[6] Revelation 19:19-21