Introduction

So far in this series, we have looked at the following

1. The Fall Feast (Part 1)
2. Pauls Explanation Of Col 2 (Part 2)
3. Day Of Atonement (Part 3)

According to Jewish Calendar, this evening marks the beginning of  feast of the Tabernacles.  Today let us look at the feast of the Tabernacles according to the Torah of Moses. In this article we would look at the feast from the following perspective

1. The Feast And Its Purpose
2. Priestly Sacrifice And Its Role In All Feast under The Mosaic Covenant
3. Tabernacles And The Wilderness Journey
4. Christ Fulfilment Of The Feast
The Feast And Its Purpose

Under the Mosaic Covenant there are 3 passages in the Torah that talks about the Feast Of The Tabernacles.

Lev 23:33-43  is the most detailed explanation of the feast. Let us look at the feast in details

1. There is a convocation (gathering) on the first day of Tabernacles (Vs 35,39)
2. For 7 days sacrifices are meant to be made to the Lord (by Priest) (Vs 36)
3. On the eight day there is another Convocation (Vs 36,39)
4. People are to rejoice using Fruit, palm, willows  (Vs 40)
5. All Native Israelites are to dwell in booths (Sukkot) (Vs 42)

God explained the need for dwelling in booth in his own words.

“that your generations may know
that I made the children of Israel
dwell in booths when I brought them
out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord
your God.’”- YHWH (Lev 23:43)

Other records of the feast is found in Deut 16:13-17 and the offering the priest ought to sacrifice in the feast are detailed in Num 29:15-40.

There are also other commands that are given to Israelites on sabbath year (Deut 31:10-13). they are to read the Law as a nation together.

Priestly Sacrifice In All Feast under The Mosaic Covenant

While today man Christian and Karite Friends are so hyped up about constructing Sukkot. One of the most important aspect of every feast of the Lord is often ignored. The most important aspect of all feast is sacrifice. In every of the Fall and Spring Feast Of Mosaic Covenant, they were tied to special sacrifices.  When you compared the amount of sacrifices made, the Feast Of The Tabernacle tops all the feast.

When God talks about the feast, he mentioned of the sacrifices before the constructing of sukkot. The purpose of the Sukkot is to serve as a reminder of the wilderness journey while the sacrifice is for God directly.

Here are all the feast and their sacrifice requirement as stipulated under the Mosaic Covenant

Note: This diagram did not factor freewill offering or the sacrifices of those attending the feast.

The reason why the feast of the Lord had sacramental effects came from the animal sacrifice.

Interestingly, the number  of animal sacrificed was the greatest at the feast of Tabernacles. It is the single feast with the most sacrifices is done. Have you ever wondered why is it so?  I can help remembering how Job would sanctify his children by sacrifice.

“It may be that my sons have
sinned and cursed God in
their hearts.”- Job  (Job 1:5)

Perhaps God is doing this to sanctify his children. For God is dwelling among unclean people.  He is using mandatory sacrifices to sanctify his people, for he know not everyone would come to offer sacrifices. The true sacramental effect of all the feast lies not constructing Sukkot or reading of he law. It is given through the sin sacrifice that is done every day during the feast.

According to part 3 .We understand that the tabernacle is sanctified during the day of atonement. For God instructed the high priest to purify the temple with blood. The feast of tabernacles happens 5 days after, you will notice that the amount of sacrificial animals was decreasing as the days goes by. the number of bulls fell from 12 on the first day to 7 on the seventh day. (Num 29:12-38)

The author of Hebrew talks about these sacrifices

“For the law, having a shadow
of the good things to come,
and not the very image of the
things, can never with these
same sacrifices, which they
offer continually year by year,
make those who approach perfect.

 For then would they not have
ceased to be offered? For the
worshipers, once purified, would
have had no more consciousness of
sins. But in those sacrifices there is a
reminder of sins every year.
For it is not possible that the blood of
bulls and goats could take away sin”- Author of Hebrews (Heb 10:1-4)

Prophet Samuel also tell us that God would rather want obedience more than sacrifices.

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
  And to heed than the fat of rams.
  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”- Samuel (Sam 15:22-23)

These sacrifices are meant as a reminder for sins, to teach Israel to obey the words of God. ‘

Tabernacles And The Wilderness Journey

God instructed Israel to build tabernacles and stay in them for 7 days. This action is meant to teach the younger Israelites the story of how God made Israel to dwell in booths. During that 7 days they would recall the stories of Israel and their 40 years in the wilderness.

Interestingly when God sent Moses before the Pharaoh he said

“‘Let My people go, that they may
hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”- YHWH (Ex 5:1)

God kind of regarded the entire Journey of the Israelites in the wilderness as a giant feast of the tabernacles. Interestingly most of  its participants did not survive the journey and enter Canaan.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites followed Moses into the wilderness. They followed Moses into the red sea, they had food and water provided by God. They were led by the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire.  They suffered all the way to the land of Canaan, yet in the midst of those suffering God grace is shown to them .

The purpose of constructing the tabernacles is to serve as a reminder. This reminder is mentioned off by Moses in (Deut 8:14-17) . That is the spirit and the purpose for constructing the sukkot.

How Christ Fulfils the Feast Of The Tabernacles.

When Christ had sacrifice himself on the cross for us. There is no longer a need for us to perform any sacrifices as required by the law of Moses. By taking away the sacrifice, the sacramental effect of the feast is now made obsolete.

Paul in 1 Cor 10:1-11 drew parallel of the journey to our Christian life

Like wise today we as Christians were called out of Egypt and were baptised into Christ. We are lead by the Holy Spirit of God. We have manna in the word of God and we drink from the rock that followed us in the journey.  Instead of journeying towards Canaan, the modern Christian walk with Christ onto heaven.

Will we finish this journey?  Will we enter our promise land which is promised to us in the new covenant? That depends on the attitude we lead our lives in this world.

Let us not have the same unbelief as the wilderness pilgrims. For we know that almost 99.999% of them failed to enter the land of Canaan. They fail because they were unable to hold on to Gods promise and they were not willing to obey God when he told them to enter the land of Canaan.

Just as God called Israel out of Egypt to enter the land of Canaan . Christians are called out from the world by Jesus. To Christian, the world is just like the wilderness, it is a temporary dwelling for us. . As Christian we ought to keep the spirit of the Tabernacles, to believe in the salvation of Christ and obey him. We read how the majority of the people died in the wilderness and were unable to inherit that promise land. They did so out of unbelief.

At the same time let us remember that it is Christ who called out out to this wilderness. Even though it is difficult. God will help us with the journey. We need to bear with the difficulties we need to face in life. We may not need to build tabernacles but we ought to carry our cross to follow Christ.

The Tabernacle Of God Is Now On Earth

After the sacrifice of Christ is complete, he started the church. It is the heavenly Jerusalem. The Author of Hebrew described it in his book as he contrasted this Jerusalem with the Mount Sinai of Moses where men were not allowed to draw near to it

But you have come to Mount
Zion and to the city of the
living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
to an innumerable company of angels,
to the general assembly and church
of the firstborn who are registered
in heaven, to God the Judge of all,
to the spirits of just men made perfect,
 to Jesus the Mediator of the new
covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling
that speaks better things than that of Abel.”-Author of Hebrews (Heb 12:22-24)

In the covenant of Christ, man do not need to set up a tents to encamp around the tabernacle. But the tabernacle of God is now among man. This heavenly Jerusalem. Instead of building physical tents. Let us rejoice for now the tabernacle of God is on earth

“Behold, the tabernacle of God
is with men, and He will dwell
with them, and they shall be His
people. God Himself will be with
them and be their God.
And God will wipe away every
tear from their eyes; there shall
be no more death, nor sorrow, nor
crying. There shall be no more pain,
for the former things have passed
away.”  -Voice From Heaven (Rev 21:3-5)

This is the eventually the state of the church at the end of this journey. May God will help us in this journey. He will lead us safely to the promise land. May we all finish our feast of the tabernacles. May we all enter the promise land at the end.

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