Come to Understanding

They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding,

and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. ó Isaiah 29:24

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,

and caused them to understand the reading. ó Nehemiah 8:8

August 14, 2007

Volume 6 Number 16

The Feast of Tabernacles

Zechariah offers a great prophecy showing the importance of the Feast of Tabernacles:

16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.

17 And it shall be, that whoever will not come up of all the families of the earth to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.

18 And if the family of Egypt goes not up, and comes not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, with which Yahweh will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. -Zechariah 14

He says that the families of the earth must go to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles and worship the Yahweh of hosts as King. Otherwise there will be no rain, which means no water, upon them. Those who stay in Egypt will be smitten with a plague.

Does this mean what it literally says? Must everyone physically travel to Jerusalem to keep the ordinance of the Feast of Tabernacles? If so, then the sacrificial system required for the Feast must be reinstated, even though Yahshua (Jesus) has already offered Himself as the perfect and final sacrifice:

14 For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified. -Hebrews 10

Unless we understand the meaning of the ordinances of the Old Testament law, we could easily be persuaded to return to the ritualistic sacrifices that were performed under the law. Therefore, it is important that we understand that these legal ordinances were intended to show something much greater than themselves. As the writer of Hebrews explains, they were a "figure" of the true way into the presence of God, the "holiest of all:"

8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

10 Which stood only in foods and drinks, and diverse washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. -Hebrews 9

Israel was commanded to keep three annual feasts, bringing sacrifices with them:

16 Three times in a year shall all your males appear before Yahweh your God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before Yahweh empty: -Deuteronomy 16

The Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the fifteenth day of the first month, the day after the Passover. It showed that Yahshua was to be crucified (see John 19:14), saving Godís people. The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) began on day after the completion of Seven Sabbaths of weeks (the 50th day) from the Passover. It showed the coming of the early harvest of souls as the Holy Ghost fell upon the believers in Jerusalem (see Acts 2).

The final great feast was the Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Booths or Sukkot). It was celebrated in the seventh month, which was ushered in with the blowing of trumpets and with a sacrificial offering:

23 And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,

24 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.

25 You shall do no laborious work therein: but you shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh. -Leviticus 23

The tenth day of the seventh month was the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), in which the people were to humble themselves ("afflict" their "souls"):

27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be a holy convocation unto you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh.

28 And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before Yahweh your God. -Leviticus 23

It was the day of cleansing from sins:

30 For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before Yahweh. -Leviticus 16

Only after the people were cleansed from sin were they ready to keep the Feast of Tabernacles:

39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast unto Yahweh seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.

40 And you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before Yahweh your God seven days.

41 And you shall keep it a feast unto Yahweh seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations: you shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

42 You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:

43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am Yahweh your God. -Leviticus 23

As the people dwelt in booths, they remembered that Yahweh had brought Israel out of Egypt, saving them from bondage. To help them remember their salvation, Moses had commanded them to hear the reading of the law of God at least every seven years, during the Feast of Tabernacles:

10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles,

11 When all Israel has come to appear before Yahweh your God in the place which he shall choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. -Deuteronomy 31

Reading the Word of God helps us to remember that Yahweh delivers His people from captivity. The people of Judah, who were freed from their captivity in
Babylon, sought to hear the book of the law. Ezra read it to them during the seventh month, as they stood before the "water gate" of the temple:

1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spoke to Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which Yahweh had commanded to Israel.

2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month.

3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. -Nehemiah 8

He continued reading:

18 Also day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according to the manner. -Nehemiah 8

The "water gate" was located toward the east side of the temple (see Nehemiah 3:26). Ezekiel shows that water flows eastward from the house of Yahweh:

1 Afterward he brought me again to the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. -Ezekiel 47

This was life-giving water, it gave life everywhere it went:

9 And it shall come to pass, that every thing that lives, which moves, wherever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come there: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live where the river comes. -Ezekiel 47

Zechariah had prophesied that in the Day of Yahweh, living water would go forth from Jerusalem and that there would be one King, who bears the one name of God:

8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.

9 And Yahweh shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Yahweh, and his name one. -Zechariah 14

Yahshua, who came in the name of Yahweh, revealed Himself clearly to the world during the Feast of Tabernacles. On the last day of the Feast, He declared that it is He who offers the living water, which is the Holy Ghost:

37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Yahshua stood and cried, saying, If any man thirsts, let him come to me, and drink.

38 He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

39 (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Yahshua was not yet glorified.) -John 7

As we keep the Feast of Tabernacles by faith, we drink of the living water which He offers.





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