What is the Feast of Tabernacles?
The Feast of Tabernacles, held in the seventh month, is the seventh and final feast of the festival year. See Leviticus chapter 23 for the seven Feasts of the LORD. The feasts in the seventh month span from the 1st to the 22nd, three weeks plus 1 day. The Feast of Tabernacles starts on the 15th of Tishrei and is celebrated for seven days followed by an eighth day that is celebrated as a Sabbath. In Hebrew, this day is called Shimeni Atzerat meaning the eighth day assembly. Just as Passover is a one day feast to start the festival season, Shimeni Atzerat is a one day feast to end the festival season. It is observed as a day to rejoice in the Torah, keeping with the Feast of Tabernacles theme of rejoicing.
The Feast of Tabernacles is one of the three pilgrimage feasts and during temple times all the men would go up to Jerusalem to celebrate. Each of the pilgrimage feasts is associated with a specific harvest. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was at the beginning of the barley harvest, the first harvest of the agricultural year. It was at this time that Yeshua rose from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits in the midst of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Feast of Weeks is the beginning of the wheat harvest. On this day, the Holy Spirit fell on all the disciples in Jerusalem. The Feast of Tabernacles is at the end of the harvest of the fruits such as grapes, figs, and citron. It concludes the harvest season. This feast comes after God’s final harvest of souls, some to eternal life and others to eternal destruction. We rejoice in the completion of His redemption plan.
Prophetically, the Feast of Tabernacles is a rehearsal of the wedding supper of the lamb. It is a time to rejoice! God has again taken up His dwelling place with man. His son, Yeshua is on the throne and the millennial reign begins!
In the time of Yeshua, the Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated around the clock. Because this was one of the pilgrimage feasts the population of Jerusalem once again swelled to around two and half million. Although all the feasts of the Lord are joyful occasions, the Feast of Tabernacles is specifically a time of rejoicing. In the Talmud, the Rabbis write, “He that hath not beheld the joy of the drawing of water hath never seen joy in his life.” (Sukkah 5:1) There was dancing, singing, juggling, and acrobatics all night long every night.
In the days leading up to the Feast of Tabernacles, sukkot or temporary dwellings sprang up all over the countryside leading up to Jerusalem in honor of the commandment to dwell in booths. Sukkot were built wherever space could be found. Not only the pilgrims, but also the permanent residents of Jerusalem would build and live in a Sukka (singular form of Sukkot) for the seven days of the feast. Imagine the whole city of Jerusalem moving out of their homes and building sukkot all over the city! The building of Sukkot is practiced to this day in the land of Israel and through out the world.
Shalom and Be Blessed
Dan and Brenda Cathcart
Come with Brenda and I next June 19th to 29th to Israel, the land promised to Abraham for a special tour where you will see the promised Messiah of Israel like you have never seen Him before! We will visit places off the beaten path and follow in the foot steps of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Join us as we also explore the people, culture, politics and conflict that is today’s Israel and a special Sabbath day in Jerusalem. For details on the tour visit www.theheartofisrael.com .