The Feast of Tabernacles was a tremendous time of joy in ancient Israel – but was also a time of looking to God in faith for his provision.
It was a time to rejoice in God – do you rejoice in serving Him?
– You shall rejoice with palm branches
– It is for ever – Yom Kippur will come to an end, but tabernacles will continue
– Shall live in tabernacles or booths for 7 days
Tabernacles and Joy
You shall rejoice repeated twice.
Jewish rejoicing in times of Jesus:
– All males were present + many families. 2 Million people in town at the time!
– Special festive celebration at dawn with drawing water from the pool of siloam
Crowds would gather waving palm branches saying
Ps. 118:25-26 ‘blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’ – ‘hosanna’ (save us now!)
– Extra sacrifices throughout the day – one sacrifice for each of the gentile nations.
– In the Temple era, golden candlesticks nearly 25 metres high were lit by young boys climbing tall ladders with 15litre oil jugs, and the light from these candlesticks could be seen throughout all Jerusalem.
The celebrations and joy would often go most of the night.
– Why? Because they were commanded to rejoice before the Lord.
Jesus and Tabernacles
During Tabernacles He revealed himself – being as direct as He could.
– Jn 8:12 The day after the feast, Jesus said ‘I am the light of the world’.The light of the temple went out after 7 days – but His light will never fade.
The Water Supply
They are crying out to the Lord for rain and the 7th day is the peak of their cries for rain.
At this very point – Jesus cries out:
Jn. 7:2,37-38 – Come to me for living water
Jn. 7:40-41 – then they knew who he was – the Messiah.
He is the source of living water – He is the one who can satisfy and we will never thirst again.
Summary: Jesus will bring the everlasting feast of tabernacles where the light will never fade – and where the water supply will never fail.
Rejoicing comes after repentance
Trumpets – wake up call
Atonement – crying out for forgiveness
Tabernacles – restoration of fellowship and joy of forgiveness
Carrying a guilty conscience is horrible – but knowing that you have been forgiven and washed clean brings great joy!
Rejoicing in King’s presence
Nehemiah 2:1-2 – He was afraid of being sad before the king.
Ps. 16:11 – fullness of joy and satisfying joy is in His presence
God wants us to have this joy right now
1 Jn 1:3-4 – Our joy is in our fellowship with God.
Celebrate the harvest that has been
Summary: God commanded His people to rejoice at Tabernacles.
He will turn our sorrow into joy.
Tabernacles and Faith
While Israel was celebrating what God had done – the nation would usually be in desperate need of rain at this time.
So the celebrations and rejoicing are mixed with a cry to the Lord to provide again for the next year.
They need water, yet, the centre piece of the feast was pouring out water before the Lord.
World: If you don’t have enough – don’t give it away!
God’s kingdom – don’t have enough, give to God and ask Him to multiply.
1 Kings 17:12-16 Elijah and widow of Zarephath. Principle: be willing to give to God first – and He will provide your needs
1 Kings 18:32 onwards – Elijah Mt Carmel. He pours out lots of water in the middle of a severe drought. He calls on God – and God answers and provides.
Feast of Tabernacles in about calling out to the Lord for water.
It will be kept in the future as well:
Zec. 14:17,19 – those who don’t come up won’t get rain. Why? Because tabernacles is about asking God for rain.
Sacrifice of Praise
We talk about bringing ‘a sacrifice of praise’ – it is true that we should give praise to God even when we do not feel like it.
However, in the temple the offering had to be perfect
A video – Rabbi asks Orthodox Jews to shake the palm branch before the Lord – many do, without being joyful.
We as Christians can be the same some times – we do what God has commanded us to do – but not with joy or a smile on our faces.
Enoch Lavender was born in Australia, raised in Norway, spent time living in China and is now based in Melbourne, Australia. He has been studying Hebrew and the Jewish roots of our faith for the past decade, and has a keen interest in the Middle East from a Bible prophecy perspective.