This study is based on a handout that I distributed at an oral teaching that I gave, entitled, "Tabernacles: The Crowning Glory of the Feasts of Israel." It focuses on the prophetic highlights of what Scripture has to say about each feast, but with an emphasis on Tabernacles, and touches on traditional observances and interpretations only insofar as they contribute to our understanding of key portions of Scripture, modern dating of the observances, and other key points of understanding.
I. The Seven Annual Feasts of Israel
After Moses had received the ten commandments and Israel was still at the foot of Mt. Sinai, God enjoined them through Moses to celebrate the seven annual feasts or festivals or holy seasons of Leviticus 23. Each feast is a prophetic mile marker in the outworking of the Lord’s plan of redemption from the crucifixion through the Messianic (Millennial) Kingdom, the futuremost age revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures as a dwelling for those who love the Lord.
1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2. Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
~ Leviticus 23:1-2 ~
1. The Feasts of Yahveh
God refers to the feasts as the feasts of the LORD, literally, the feasts of Yahveh (Jehovah), indicating that they belong to Him and have been set aside by Him to be sanctified and celebrated unto Him for His glory, honor and praise. I have identified them as the feasts of Israel because that is how they are commonly identified, but it should be kept in mind that they are the feasts of Yahveh.
2. Eight Feasts
Another thing that should be kept in mind is that God actually presented a package of eight feasts in the chapter, the eighth being the weekly Sabbath (verse 2), the first of the feasts that are mentioned. God instituted the seven annual feasts for a purpose, but the Sabbath ties them all
together in a beautiful way.
We will examine all eight feasts.
3. Holy Convocations
Leviticus 23:2,4 and 7 refer to all eight of these occasions as feasts or holy convocations or sacred assemblies or appointed times, depending on the translation, and these are good translations of the Hebrew, the root of which means to call. However, Dr. Fruchtenbaum points out that these convocations or assemblies were not for the calling out of the people for public worship, but for the gathering of the priesthood for the carrying out of sacrifices* which, of necessity, needed to be done at the tabernacle in the wilderness, and later at Shiloh, and finally in the temple in Jerusalem. Indeed, though the priests were required to perform sacrifices on each of the seven annual feasts and on every sabbath, Israeli males were required to gather for worship at Shiloh or Jerusalem only on Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. This will be discussed below under section VI. The Pilgrimage Feasts.
*(Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold (2001). Israelology. X. Dispensational Israelology, 3. The Mosaic Covenant and the Law of Moses, (3) The Sabbath.)
II. Three Yearly Periods
The seven annual feasts are distributed over three periods of the year. There are four spring festivals consisting of Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits and Pentecost, a four month summer hiatus between the spring and fall feasts, and three fall feasts consisting of Trumpets, the Day of Atonements and Tabernacles.
III. The Spring Festivals
The spring festivals begin in March or April, encompass a period of seven and a half to eight weeks, and cover the period of the spring harvest.
Feast 1: Passover (Pesach)
Date: 14th of Aviv (later biblical and modern name: Nisan)
13. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. . . . 22. You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.
~ Exodus 12:13, 22 ~
The basis of the Feast of Passover is the protection that the Lord provided the Israelites when the death angel struck all the firstborn in Egypt, but passed over all Israelite houses on which the blood was applied, sparing them the judgment of God.
Passover begins when the 14th of Aviv/Nisan begins, at sundown. (The Israeli day is from sundown to sundown.) Each Israelite family was to kill an unblemished lamb or goat, collect its blood in a basin, and then apply the blood to the lintel and doorposts of their houses. It is probable that, in many houses, the basins were first set down on the ground before the hyssop was dipped in to apply the blood; so after the blood was applied, we have blood at the feet, blood above the head, blood on the left at arm level and blood on the right, possibly in prefigurement of the cross that our Lord died on.
That same evening they were required to eat their lamb, which we refer to as the Paschal lamb, without breaking any of its bones (Exodus 12:46), along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Exodus 12:8). Leaven (yeast) is a biblical symbol of sin, and the absence of leaven in the bread is a picture of sinlessness. The following morning, Passover morning, the morning of the fourteenth, the single Passover lamb was slain by the priests on the altar.
The fulfillment of the Feast of Passover is the crucifixion of Yeshua, Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), prefigured by the many Paschal lambs and the single Passover Lamb, For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed (1 Corinthians 5:7) without a bone of Him broken (John 19:31-33). As the priests were slaughtering the unblemished Passover lamb on the altar of sacrifice in the Temple, the true Lamb of God was being hung on a cross outside the gate (Hebrews 13:12).
By the time that Jesus walked the earth, the drinking of wine was added to the Passover ceremony, and Jesus clearly revealed the Passover as prototypical of His crucifixion when, at the last Passover feast that He celebrated, He declared metaphorically of the unleavened bread, This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me; and of the wine, This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. (1 Corinthians 11:24-25).
Other references and related passages: Isaiah 53; Luke 22:17-20; John 1:29, 35, 36; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 5:12.
Feast 2: Unleavened Bread (Chag Hamatzot)
Dates: 15th - 21st of Aviv (later biblical and modern name: Nisan)
The Feast of Unleavened Bread begins the evening after Passover begins, and is a seven day festival. Yeshua was crucified the morning of the fourteenth of Aviv/Nisan, and Unleavened Bread began that evening, the evening of the fifteenth. Passover and Unleavened Bread are commonly regarded as a single eight-day festival called Passover.
Leviticus 23:6: And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
Exodus 12:15: Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. (There is controversy as to whether cut off means banished or executed.)
The day after the death of the firstborn of Egypt, the Israelites were required by God to leave Egypt in haste. So the people took their dough before it was leavened…. and they baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay (Exodus 12:34, 39).
The Israelites were required to maintain leaven (yeast) free dwellings for the entire eight days and to refrain from eating anything with leaven during that period on pain of death.
As was pointed out, the many Paschal lambs and the single Passover lamb were fulfilled by the Lord’s crucifixion. The focus of the fulfillment of Passover is the offering of the Lord's body (nor are you to break any bone of it, Exodus 12:46), but the focus of the fulfillment of Unleavened Bread is the sinlessness of the sacrificed Lamb of God, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth (1 Peter 2:22). Hebrews 9:11-10:18 places the focus on the sinlessness of His blood.
1 Corinthians 5:7 tells us that we, personally, are to fulfill the Feast of Unleavened Bread by living holy lives: Clean out the old so that you may be a new lump [of dough], just as you are in fact unleavened [purged of the guilt of sin at salvation]. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
Other mentions and related passages: Numbers 28:17-25; Deuteronomy 16:3-8; 2 Chronicles 29:23-27; Ezra 6:21-22; Ezekiel 45:21-24; Mark 14:1.
Feast 3: Firstfruits (Chag Habikurim)
Date: Variable, in Aviv (later biblical and modern name: Nisan)
Firstfruits is a one-day festival that marks the beginning of the two-month spring barley harvest, which is followed by the harvest of other grains. In modern Judaism, it is celebrated on the first day of Unleavened Bread, but according to verse 11, it is to be celebrated on the first day of the week that follows the Sabbath that follows Passover Day.
Its fulfillment is in the resurrection of Jesus, who rose on the Feast of Firstfruits. 1 Corinthians 15:20: But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
There were resurrections before the resurrection of Jesus, but they were all resurrections back to life in natural bodies, to die again. Jesus was the first fruits in that He was the first to be resurrected with a glorified, immortal, heavenly body. First fruits implies that there are many more to follow, and we who are “in Christ” (believers of the Church Age) are among, but not the totality of, the many more. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 35-54)
Further instructions for the Mosaic observance of Firstfruits may be found in Numbers 28:26-31.
Feast 4: Pentecost, Feast of Weeks (Shavuoth), Feast of Harvest
Date: Variable, in Sivan
Pentecost is a one day festival that takes place fifty days (seven weeks and a day) after Firstfruits (verse 15), and marks the end of the spring harvest (Numbers 28:26). It is also called the first fruits of the wheat (summer) harvest (Exodus 34:22).
Part of the ceremony consisted of the simultaneous offering of two leavened (sinful) loaves before the Lord (Leviticus 23:17). The fulfillment of Pentecost is the formation of the church on the Day of Pentecost, at which time the Spirit was given to baptize believers of two sinful “loaves” into one body: For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles (1 Corinthians 12:13) that He might make the two into one new man (Ephesians 2:15).
Other mentions and related passages: Numbers 28:26-31; Deuteronomy 16:9-12; Matthew 3:11-12, 13:24-30; John 4:35-38; Acts 1:5, 2:1-4, 2:41-42, 11:15-16, 20:16; 1 Corinthians 16:8; Ephesians 2:11-16, 3:5-6; Colossians 1:18; James 1:18.
The formation of the church at Pentecost completed the fulfillment of the spring festivals.
Pentecost and the Giving of the Law at Sinai
It is a common assumption that, in addition to being a day of remembrance for the Israelites that they were slaves in Egypt, Pentecost was also to be a day commemorating the giving of the Law at Sinai. Is that a biblical commandment?
In Leviticus 23:15-22, the section on Pentecost, no mention is made of Sinai or the giving of the Law. In Deuteronomy 16:9-12, a section on Pentecost where God exhorted the Israelites to remember that they were slaves in Egypt, no exhortation was made to remember the giving of the Law at Sinai. Search as one may, he will find no such command anywhere in Scripture.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia writes the following under the heading of "Pentecost":
The Old Testament does not give it [Pentecost] the historical significance which later Jewish writers have ascribed to it. The Israelites were admonished to remember their bondage on that day and to reconsecrate themselves to the Lord (Deu_16:12), but it does not yet commemorate the giving of the Law at Sinai or the birth of the national existence, in the Old Testament conception (Ex 19). Philo, Josephus, and the earlier Talmud are all ignorant of this new meaning which was given to the day in later Jewish history. It originated with the great Jewish rabbi Maimonides and has been copied by Christian writers. And thus a view of the Jewish Pentecost has been originated, which is wholly foreign to the scope of the ancient institution.
According to the quote, the belief that Pentecost commemorated the giving of the Law at Sinai originated with Maimonides, who lived in the twelfth century.
In short, there is no biblical command to commemorate the giving of the Law on the Day of Pentecost. For a much fuller study on this point, please see Was the Law of Moses Given on Pentecost? A Tale of Two Occasions.
IV. The Four Month Summer Interval
With Leviticus 23:21, God had completed addressing the spring festivals; but before addressing the fall festivals, He had this to say, seemingly out of the blue:
When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 23:22)
Why should God be addressing the providing of food for the needy and the alien at this point? The answer is this: The feasts all have sequential prophetic outworkings, and this admonition also has a prophetic outworking, and perfectly in sequence with the feasts.
Historically, the Day of Pentecost has come (Acts 2), and we are now in the Church Age, the summer, and it’s the time for laboring in the fields. Jesus said, Do you not say, “There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest”? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest (John 4:35). It’s the time in which we all need to be laboring to provide spiritual food for the spiritually needy and the alien to bring in a harvest of souls for the Lord, each of us doing his or her part according to our gifts and callings.
As soon as Israel rejected Messiah in Matthew 12:24 and the Church Age became a necessity (Hosea 5:15; Matthew 23:39), Jesus declared the Parables of the Church Age by beginning, The sower went out to sow . . . . (Matthew 13:3), again characterizing the Church Age as the time for laboring in the fields. Now, during the Church Age, in addition to appealing to individual Jews, God is taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name (Acts 15:14).
V. The Fall Festivals
The fall Festivals begin in September or October, and encompass twenty-two days from the day of the first festival to the last day of the last. They are all yet to be fulfilled.
Feast 5: Trumpets (Yom T’ruah), Rosh Hashanah
Date: 1st of Tishrei
Yom T’ruah means the day of the blowing of trumpets, and is the biblical name for the feast which marks the end of the summer wheat harvest. At some point after the Babylonian captivity (586-516 B.C.), the holiday came to be called Rosh HaShanah, the Head of the New Year, because of the belief that God created the heavens and the earth on the first of the month of Tishrei; so although the biblical new year begins in the month of Nisan (Aviv) (Exodus 12:2), the fourteenth day of which Is Passover (Leviticus 23:5), Rosh HaShanah is recognized as the first day of the year in Israel today even though it is six months away from the biblical first day.
In addition to the offering up of sacrifices, the only other biblical requirement for the keeping of the Day of Trumpets was the blowing of the shofar, the ram’s horn. Scripture gives no reason for it; but in the days of Paul and even to this day, the Feast of Trumpets is observed in synagogues by the blowing of a hundred shofar blasts, the last of which is a long, extended blast known as the tekiah
gedolah, the great blast.
The Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled at the Rapture, at which time all believers since Pentecost, whether “asleep” or alive, will receive their glorified bodies and be lifted from the earth to forever be with the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:51-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Writing from his knowledge of Scripture and synagogue practice, Paul wrote, For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven . . . with the trumpet of God (1 Thessalonians 4:16), at the last trumpet (the tekiah gedolah), for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed (1 Corinthians 15:52).
That the Rapture will be the primary fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets is evident from the fact that Paul identified the Rapture and the Feast with the tekiah gedolah. However, the regathering of Israel within the full borders of their Promised Land in the Messianic Kingdom will be another fulfillment.
12. In that day the LORD will start His threshing from the flowing stream of the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt, and you will be gathered up one by one, O sons of Israel. 13. It will come about also in that day that a great trumpet [shofar] will be blown, and those who were perishing in the land of Assyria and who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come and worship the LORD in the holy mountain at Jerusalem.
~ Isaiah 27:12-13 ~
Other mentions or related passages: Numbers 29:1-6; Nehemiah 8:1-12; Psalm 81:3-4; Micah 7:18-20; Revelation 1:10, 4:1.
Feast 6: Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
Date: 10th of Tishrei
Under the Law, "atonement” referred to the “covering” of sins, meaning that the guilt of the sins of pre-Calvary saints was marked by God for removal by the vicarious sacrifice of the coming Messiah. Since Calvary, all who come to Messiah have the guilt of their sins removed immediately without any period of "covering."
The Day of Atonement is a day of solemnity in which all Israelites were to afflict their souls (Leviticus 23:27) for their individual and national sinfulness, yet, as has been pointed out, elsewhere in the chapter it is identified in many translations as a feast, most likely because it effected an atonement between God and His people and is prophetic of the salvation of the nation after a period of great pain. (Consider the "pleasure" of the LORD in Isaiah 53:10: Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.)
A goat was to be sacrificed, and its blood brought by the high priest into the holy of holies of the temple as an offering for the sins of the people. A second goat was then driven into the wilderness, symbolically carrying away Israel’s sins. Leviticus 16:10: But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (Cf. Leviticus 16:1-34)
The sacrifice of the first goat was fulfilled by Messiah’s sacrifice on the cross and by the carrying of His own blood into the holy place of Heaven (Hebrews 9:11-12). The removal of Israel’s sins as symbolized by the scapegoat will be actualized at the end of the Great Tribulation, when all Jews who survive Satan’s most virulent attempt to annihilate them (afflicting their bodies as well as souls) will receive Jesus as their Messiah, fulfilling the key provision of the New Covenant which God made with them (Jeremiah 31:31-34): that they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, the basis of Paul’s declaration in Romans 11:26, all Israel will be saved. (Also Zechariah 12:10, 13:1.) Inasmuch as Passover and Unleavened Bread were also fulfilled by the Lord’s sacrifice, the unique fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is the Great Tribulation (Jacob’s trouble, Jeremiah 30:7), the central purpose of which is the salvation of all Israel, which will trigger the return of Messiah (Hosea 5:15; Matthew 23:39) before the end of the Tribulation to vanquish Israel’s enemies.
Feast 7: Tabernacles (Booths, Chag Hasukkoth), Ingathering
Dates: 15th-21st of Tishrei
Tabernacles is a seven day festival with an eighth day added to it (22nd of Tishrei), namely, Simchat Torah, The Rejoicing over the Law. Tabernacles begins When you have gathered the fruits of the land (Leviticus 23:39). Also Exodus 23:16: the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field.
1. Biblical Requirements
Leviticus 23:42-43: 42. You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, 43. so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt.
The booths (simple shelters made of palm branches or the boughs of leafy trees) commemorate the forty years of wilderness wandering and memorialize God’s provision of shelter for the Israelites in that great and terrible wilderness (Deuteronomy 1:19, 8:15) as well as the temporary nature of those shelters with a view to more permanent dwellings in the Promised Land.
They were also to celebrate with the lulav (myrtle and willow branches tied together by a palm frond) and ethrog (citron, a fragrant and tasty citrus) (Leviticus 23:40), representing the fruitfulness and beauty of the Promised Land.
2. Temple Additions
By the time of Jesus, various Temple ceremonies had been added, the key ones being the Pouring Out of the Water and the Kindling of the Lights.
a. The Pouring Out of the Water. On each of the seven days, the priests marched in procession down the Temple Mount to the Kidron Valley and the Pool of Siloam where they filled golden flasks with about three pints of water, and then returned in procession up the Temple Mount. As they ascended the fifteen steps into the Temple compound, they sang the fifteen Psalms of Ascents (Psalm 120-134), one psalm on each step in succession. They then proceeded to the Altar of Sacrifice where they poured out the water into the channel at its southwest corner, which drew away the blood of the sacrifices. The pouring out of the water was followed by twelve trumpet blasts and tremendous rejoicing. The rabbis interpreted the pouring out of the water as a symbol of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Israel in the last days before Messiah comes.
In response to the pouring out of the water, Jesus cried out, as described in John 7:37-39:
37. Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" 39. But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
b. The Kindling of the Lights. There were a great number of seventy-five foot high golden lamp stands throughout the Temple compound, each of which had four huge bowls and wicks. As sundown neared on each of the seven days, they were all lit with much singing, dancing and playing of instruments. The rabbis report that there was not a courtyard in all Jerusalem that was not lit by the light emanating from the Temple.
To the Jews, this light symbolized the Shechinah Glory of God. In response to the kindling of the lights, Jesus proclaimed, I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life (John 8:12).
3. The Ultimate Fulfillment of Tabernacles
Tabernacles is fulfilled in the life of the believer, for in him dwells the Light of life and the living water of the Spirit; but in the unfolding of the ages, the ultimate fulfillment of Tabernacles is the Messianic Kingdom.
Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles).
~ Zechariah 14:16 ~
In that day I will raise up the fallen booth (tabernacle) of
and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days
~ Amos 9:11 ~
4. Chief Characteristics of the Messianic Age or Kingdom
It will last for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3), and is thus known also as the Millennium.
Satan will be bound in the Abyss for the entire thousand years. (Revelation 20:2-3)
The heavens and the earth will be renewed (Isaiah 65:17-20); all animals will be docile (Isaiah 11:6-9); the earth will give forth her full bounty and beauty (Isaiah 27:6, 35:1-2).
Messiah Jesus will once again “tabernacle” or dwell among us, just as it says of His first coming, And the Word became flesh, and dwelt (Greek. tented, tabernacled) among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
2. Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. 3. And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4. And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.
~ Isaiah 2:2-4 ~
The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
as the waters cover the sea.
~ Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14 ~
All saved Israelites of all ages will be gathered to dwell within the full borders of their Promised Land. (Isaiah 11:11-12, 27:12-13, 43:5-7; Ezekiel 11:14-18; Matthew 24:31; etc.)
Only the saved will enter the Kingdom: some in their glorified bodies and some in their natural bodies. Those who enter the Kingdom in their glorified bodies will be the Church saints (Jude 1:14) who were raptured prior to the Tribulation and had returned with Jesus at its end, the two witnesses of Revelation (Revelation 11:10), the resurrected Old Testament saints (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2), and the resurrected Gentile Tribulation martyrs (Isaiah 65:20; Revelation 20:4). Those who enter in their natural bodies will be those who had become the 144,000 Jewish evangelists of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:3), the all Israel that was saved at the end of the Tribulation, and the sheep Gentiles of Matthew 25:34-40, who demonstrated their faith in Messiah by rendering help to the persecuted Tribulation Jews (these brothers of mine, Matthew 25:40).
Only those who enter the Kingdom in their natural bodies will bear descendants in the Kingdom (Matthew 22:28-30). Throughout the Millennium, all descendants of the Jewish Tribulation survivors will know the Lord (Jeremiah 31:33-34), but the descendants of the sheep Gentiles will have both saved (Isaiah 11:10) and unsaved (Isaiah 65:20) among them.
There will be a great turning to the Lord throughout much of the Middle East (Isaiah 19:23-25).
The church and Tribulation saints will rule over the Gentile nations (Revelation 20:4), each of the twelve apostles will rule over one of the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28, Luke 28:28-30), resurrected King David will rule over all Israel (Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:23-25; Hosea 3:5; Amos 9:11), the Lord Jesus will rule over the entire earth from His throne in Jerusalem (Psalm 2:6-8; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Luke 1:30-33; etc.), and His reign will be characterized by righteousness and justice (Isaiah 9:7; etc.).
Misapplications of Tabernacles in the Gospels
a. By Peter. At the Transfiguration, Jesus' face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light (Matthew 17:2). (Matthew 17:1-7; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36)
Peter saw the Shechinah glory of the Lord that will also radiate from Him during the Messianic Kingdom, and assumed that He was about to establish His Kingdom at that time. Consistent with his assumption, he suggested that he build three tabernacles in keeping with the Feast of Tabernacles, one each for Moses, Elijah and Jesus, all of whom were present. However, Peter did not realize that Passover and the other feasts would need to be fulfilled before Tabernacles was, beginning with the slaughter of the Lamb of God.
b. By the People (Matthew 21:8-9 with Mark 11:8-10 with John 12:12-13). By the time of Jesus, a
procession with the celebratory and ceremonial lulav (palm branch, myrtle and willows) and ethrog
(citron, a citrus fruit), had been added to the Tabernacles celebration during which the marchers sang, O, LORD, save us now. O LORD, prosper us now (Psalm 118:25). During the Lord's so-called Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, the crowds assumed that He was finally about to establish His Kingdom, so they broke off palm branches in celebration of the fulfillment of Tabernacles, and cried out, Hoshana Rabba, Hosanna in the highest, Save us in the highest (Matthew 21:8-9), similar to the cry in Psalm 118. However, as with Peter, the people did not realize that Passover and the other feasts needed to be fulfilled first, beginning at Calvary.
Other mentions and related passages: Exodus 23:16; Numbers 29:12-38; Deuteronomy 16:13-15; 1 Kings 8:1-66, 12:25-33; 2 Chronicles 7:8-10; Ezra 3:4; Nehemiah 8:13-18; Zechariah 14:16-19; John 7:1-10:21.
6. Grievous Situations In and After the Messianic Age
a. In the Messianic Age
In a manner of speaking, the proportion of "hell" to "heaven" in our present age will be inverted in the Kingdom. Yes, there will still be sin, judgment, and various aspects of the curse during the Millennium.
b. In the Kingdom-Eternity Interval
In the brief interim between the Messianic Kingdom and the Eternal Ages, the following must come to pass:
7. Fulfillment in Eternity
Heaven was not revealed anywhere in the Old Testament as the eternal dwelling place of the righteous. That revelation was reserved by God for the New Testament. The pinnacle of Old Testament Revelation was the Messianic Kingdom. Nevertheless, eternity in Heaven will also be a fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles.
3. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4. and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." 5. And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true."
~ Revelation 21:3-5 ~
Just as the Lord tabernacled among us at His first coming (John 1:14) and will tabernacle among us again at His second, the tabernacle of God will be among the saved of all ages in the future Heavenly Ages. This is the final feast, the ultimate feast, the one in which even the grievous situations and events of the Millennial Kingdom will be non-existent: no rebels, no death, no cursed areas on the planet, no trace of any curse whatever, no loosing of Satan, no fearful judgment of any kind.
What will it be like? Whereas the heavens and the earth will be renewed in the Millennium, here they will be brand new (2 Peter 3:10-12). We will rejoice and worship the Lord in the presence of all the holy angels in the New Jerusalem on the New Earth in the New Heavens in glorious fellowship with Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and the saved of all nations and ages (Revelation 21 and 22). Hallelujah!
VI. The Pilgrimage Feasts
Exodus 23:15-17 and Deuteronomy 16:16 declare that on the feasts of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost and Tabernacles (verses 15-16), all Israeli males were to gather at the tabernacle, and later in history in the Temple in Jerusalem, to observe these feasts and bring special offerings. They are therefore referred to as the pilgrimage feasts.
In Exodus 12:8, the feast of Unleavened Bread is woven right in with the eating of the Paschal lamb on Passover eve. Perhaps this is why the first of the pilgrimage feasts, named Unleavened Bread in the two passages, is commonly identified as Passover. To quote Dr. Fruchtenbaum, "Actually, the Passover is the pilgrimage festival, but because the Feast of Unleavened Bread immediately follows Passover, the Jews would still be in Jerusalem when this feast began. So in this passage, it is connected with the Passover." (Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Messianic Bible Study 115: The Feast of Hag HaMatzot [Unleavened Bread], pdf., p. 7).
Why Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles, and not the others? Perhaps the fulfillment of these are particularly significant in the eyes of the Lord; Passover: deliverance from sin unto salvation by faith in the innocent shed blood of Yeshua; Pentecost: the conception of the church by the Spirit of God and the opening of a door of faith to the Gentiles (Acts 14:27); Tabernacles: the return of the Lord and the establishment of His wonderful Messianic Kingdom.
VII. The Sabbath (Shabbat)
Exodus 20:8: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Leviticus 23:3: For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath (Hebrew. Shabbat. A ceasing, desisting, resting) to the LORD in all your dwellings.
While named a feast in Leviticus 23:2, this sabbath to the LORD is set apart in that it is the first feast to be mentioned, and that it was to be celebrated every week of the year on the seventh day, not just once a year, an indicator of its significance. It was also interwoven among the succession and cycle of yearly feasts.
Hebrews 4:3-11, esp. 3, 9-10: 3. For we who have believed enter that rest.... 9. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
Matthew 11:28: Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
The typology of the physical Sabbath rest of the Israelites under the Law is fulfilled in the spiritual rest that is the believer's from the moment of salvation through all of eternity, from Calvary through the Kingdom and beyond, from Passover through Tabernacles and all of eternity. Thus, the Sabbath ties the seven annual feasts together in a marvelous way, being the prototype of the blessing aspect of them all.
To God be the glory!