The LORD has appointed times when HE calls HIS people together for various reasons. One of these appointed times is the Fall Feast of Tabernacles also known as the Feast of Booths or Ingathering. The Bible tells us that “the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, saying: The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord.'” (Leviticus 23:33-34).
The Feast of Tabernacles is a joyous celebration of remembering how the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob brought His people through the wilderness from Egypt to the Promised Land of Israel. He cared for them for 40 years in a desolate place, providing shelter, food, and water. Their clothes also did not wear out.
Throughout Israel and in many Jewish communities throughout the world the Feast of Tabernacles is commemorated even today. Families build a temporary shelter outside called a “sukkah”. For seven days they eat dinner together as a family in the sukkah. They celebrate the faithfulness of the LORD and His provisions. Some families will also sleep in the sukkah.
The sukkah is made of natural materials. They are decorated with the leafy branches of palm, willow and myrtle trees as well as fruits such as citrons, grapes and pomegranates celebrating the harvest. In modern times a sukkah is also embellished with decorations such as brightly colored paper chains. The roof is not solid so that you can look up at the night sky, seeing the stars and moon, thanking God for His creation.
The Feast of Tabernacles is one of the three Feasts of the LORD when Jewish men were commanded to go up to Jerusalem in the Old Testament! Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) went up to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast as recorded in John 7. He taught in the Temple during the Feast, and on the last day of the Feast he stood up saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38. As a result many in the crowd said, “This is the Christ.” (see verse 41)
The Feast of Tabernacles also has a future fulfillment. When Jesus returns to reign and rule from Jerusalem as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, “it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” (Zechariah 14:16) Currently many Christians from all over the world travel to Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles to celebrate and show their love and support of the Jewish people. Visit icej.org to learn more and take part online.
As Jesus fulfilled the Spring Feasts of the LORD in his first coming, many believe that he will fulfill the Fall Feasts at his second coming and may return during this season. An overview of both Spring and Fall Feasts is given in Leviticus 23. A very good resource that gives both biblical background and cultural/traditional perspectives is a book entitled The Feasts of the LORD.
As Gentile believers we are not commanded to keep the Feasts, but since we are grafted into the commonwealth of Israel (Romans 11:17, Ephesians 2:11-13) it is a blessing and great joy to participate in them. There is much to learn by studying and celebrating the Feasts of the LORD.
In conclusion, since this Fall Feast is also known as the Feast of Ingathering and celebrates the harvest, it is also a wonderful time to pray for a harvest of souls. Please join me in asking the LORD to bring in a great harvest of souls, both Jew and Gentile, from every nation.
Psalm 118 is traditionally read during “Sukkot” (The Feast of Tabernacles). Here are a few verses……..
v. 14 The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.
v. 21-25 I will praise You for You have answered me, and have become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, I pray, O Lord! Amen!
May you be blessed and experience much joy as you celebrate that Jesus tabernacles (dwells) with us and we with Him. Hallelujah!
Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, a women’s event ministry. She leads trips to Israel on a yearly basis. Betsy and her husband Jim have 3 children and 5 grandchildren and live in New England.