Feast of Tabernacles Resume
The meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles is a vast and varied as the many sermon subjects inspired for this period. Here is, nevertheless, an overview of the meaning of this important Feast. It pictures Jesus’ joyous reign of peace and love on the earth with us His co-heirs for a thousand years. As Adam ruled over earth in a perfect world, the last Adam — Jesus — will bring about the return of the Garden of Eden. This is the feast that teaches us how to celebrate. It is a family reunion of love. It also prefigures the millennial honeymoon to be enjoyed by Jesus and us His bride. It is a special time of intensive training in spiritual maturity as we strengthen one another to prepare for our job as kings and priests.
This feast is a time of respite from the world of fear and a time of intensive fellowship in love for seven days. Seven is God’s number of completion and perfection. It has numerous applications at this time. Seven days signifies our whole life, celebrating our life in Jesus. It also allows us to celebrate the entire 7000-year period of man’s history as we see the fulfillment of the promise of the Messiah given to Adam 6000 years ago. God saw the end from the beginning, prophesying in His Word and in this feast the rule of Jesus for a thousand years on earth as kings and priests. Aaron’s son was consecrated for a period of seven days (Ex. 29:30-33) with the offering of a ram, symbolizing priesthood, kingship, leadership and authority. Laymen could not partake of the holy things. Similarly, only the first fruits rule as kings and priests for the duration of 7000 years – much more powerfully in that last 1000 years. The others must wait until the second resurrection or the eighth day – the Last Great Day – to exercise any authority. If we knowingly refuse to keep this Feast of preparation to reign, we forfeit the right to reign with Jesus and must wait until after the Millennium.
Jesus instructed physical Israel, whose spirits had not been made alive by His presence in them, to dwell in physical booths or temporary abodes during this feast. We whose spirits are alive do not need this reminder that we are temporary. Our bodies are the temporary dwellings or tents in which our souls and spirits reside. When we partake of the body and blood of Jesus in communion, we are reminded of our fleeting existence physically and of our need for Jesus’ strength.
Although we don’t dwell on the physical life, the Holy Spirit has inspired us to decorate the altar and sanctuary with lovely tree boughs, following the principle of Leviticus 23:40. Some may even wave the boughs as a wave offering, signifying that we come under Jesus’ covering. Kings and priest could not be anointed with oil from a man-made flask but only with oil from an animal horn. These natural branches follow the same principle. We are also saying that we are branches of Him. We are saying that we are part of the tree of life and are connected to Jesus. We begin the use of these boughs at Atonement because of the aspect of covering, the meaning of the Hebrew word for atonement.
Satan’s tree was the tree of death or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That’s why Jesus had to be sacrificed on a tree or cross made from part of a tree. The tree of life is not reestablished until after the Millennium. Until then God uses parts of trees as symbols. Satan has perverted this symbolism with a pagan Christmas tree.
These tree boughs can also be waved back and forth in praise and celebration such as the children did when they shouted hosannas to Jesus. The pleasant, peaceful and invigorating scent fills us with anticipation, joy and thanks.
The Feast is a time of sowing love into the lives of our brethren and those whom we encounter from the world. It’s a time to be one with our Father in loving and giving. The first day especially is a time for giving and exchanging gifts. The more love we show, the more we prophesy a coming world of love. We celebrate the coming Kingdom of God on earth and our part in it, the time of removal of sin and the rebuilding of Eden worldwide.
It’s also a feast of thanksgiving, a time to count our blessings. It’s a time to enjoy the best of the best and rejoice in the abundance that announces overflowing blessings for the whole world soon.
It’s a time of reflection. The Jews read Ecclesiastes during the Feast to meditate on the fleeting nature of this life and look forward to the Kingdom. The word sukkah or tabernacle has among its meanings: a place for sharing, to collect one’s thoughts; booth for reflecting on what Jesus has done in our lives; a tabernacle for holding one’s blessings and counting them; a place for peace, trust and unity with Jesus.
It’s a time of surrendering undesirable aspects of our lives to Jesus. Each day has a specific purpose and/or matter to surrender or sacrifice, just as with Israel (Lev. 23:37). At the middle of the Feast, on the third or fourth day, Psalm 37 and other blessings were spoken over the people in the Jewish culture.
Conceptual Biblical Hebrew is a picture language with vast meanings for one word. The Holy Spirit has given a greater fullness to the definitions given by Hebrew scholars — meanings that make the Bible glisten like a brilliant diamond. When no qualifiers are present in the following verses, all of the meanings apply.
The Hebrew word “celebrate” in regards to the Feast (the first “celebrate” in Lev. 23:41 or “keep” in KJV) is chagag (Strong’s Concordance No. 2287). The root is “the Eternal has risen” and can mean “the eternal ones (saints) have risen (Jesus has resurrected all those that are His).” The past perfect tense indicates prophesied events that are assured and true. Other meanings are: move or dance in a circle; jump for joy; clap to the music; observe a festival; be giddy with content; celebrate answers to prayer; dance with thanksgiving; keeping hold of a promise; keep a holy time to God (His time); acknowledge God’s plan in His holy days; reel to and fro (as in a square dance) giving honor to God; revolve around and around or twirl; get unhindered emotional joy; Jesus reigns with man in the Millennium; bring in total shalom over the land; dance in a circle around the earth (or globe) so everything in the circle would be dedicated to Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit; sit in a ruling position with Jesus and then dance with Him in this Feast (if we are not willing to dance and celebrate with Jesus, we can’t rule with Him); everlasting reason to sing, dance and praise Jesus.
The word for Sabbath, shabbath (Strong’s No. 7676), comes from the root shabath (No. 7673). In the Atonement verse (Lev. 23:32) it is translated to celebrate a Sabbath but literally it is to shabath a shabbath. The verb means to repose, desist or cease from labors, indicating an avoidance of normal weekly tasks; a rest for the purpose of celebration; a rest away from work; keep a clean relationship with God; cause evil to cease in the land; cease the need to war with Satan and his demons; celebrate the victory in Jesus; cause Satan’s plans to fail; to keep the Sabbath of God in celebration; (in case of Atonement) willing to fast for the completion of God’s plan; to leave an old way or life style based on insanity and take on the way that God wants you to prosper; put down all evil, driving it into the pit; put away all thoughts of evil; rest in Jesus; put away all pollution; be still or silent in awe of God; remove all evil from its place of authority or control (e.g, in government); pray against the evil in the world; crush the head of one (Satan) who brings suffering, sickness, pain, disease, loss, lack or death; time to celebrate because everything will be cleaned up.
Another word linked to the word for Sabbath is misbath, meaning to celebrate the end the time of destruction or the cessation of evil’s reign.
Another related word for celebration or feast is mishteh (Gen. 19:3, No. 4960). The root means to stretch out. It’s a drink celebration and implies drinking freely. We “stretch” our communion drink with two drinks as we pronounce blessings. It means to toast God in thankfulness, to acknowledge or remember a covenant, to celebrate an event before God.
Chagag or feast takes on an added meaning in Exodus 5:1: eat or drink what the heart, including the spiritual heart, desired (such as more of Jesus in the communion service); drink in the joy of God; celebrate the fullness of God in God; participate in the Sabbath blessing with God; celebrate a time alone with God.
Chag (Exodus 10:9) signifies: a festival that celebrates an end of a time of victimization (in this case Egyptian slavery); hold a feast day to God; sacrifice for God; be devout in worship on a day God proclaims as holy; observe a feast with proper ceremony; be serious in giving honor; compose the mind for worship (not worrying about your present problems); have the conditions for celebrating defined by God; have all activities and thoughts revolve around God and His plan; bring terror to the terrorizer (the Sabbath and the Holy Days bring terror to Satan!). Keeping God’s days His way teaches us His plan for man and scares the daylights out of the devil! His day is done! The celebration causes us to come full circle to having an intimate relationship with God as Adam and Eve had in the garden.
The word for “appointed” or “feast (KJV) is mowed or mowadah (No. 4150). It’s an appointed time with God, like a date with Jesus. Some of its meanings are: have the time of marriage fixed; be in a season of celebration; celebrate in a feast; convene a party for answered prayer; be in a festival year of jubilee; assembled at God’s command; convened in worship; celebrate as a congregation of God’s chosen; be an extension of God’s celebration (God wants to celebrate with us and about us. He calls our spirit to heaven for a heavenly celebration); come to a designated festival spot (it’s not a convention, but a festival – let’s not be ashamed of Jesus!); be appointed beforehand; be assigned for prophecy (each feast represents something to come to pass); assemble at the time that foreshadows God’s plan (Col. 2:16-17); a gathering; be in the harvest time of gathering; be in due season for the fulfillment of prophecy; come to church as God calls; be on time for God’s celebration; be at the place God has planned for you. No qualifiers limit this word’s scope – only sixteen amplifiers used with mowed. They are: encourage (you come to the feasts to be encouraged); to show where you stand – the cutting line that shows God, Satan and the world where you stand); insight (time of learning); blessing (a special blessing comes from keeping these feasts); favor (obedience always brings favor with God); purpose and destiny; sacrifice (you must break off from the world, being willing to lay down the desires of the flesh and run after Jesus); peace (the Sabbath and the holy days pour out God’s Shabbat shalom); offering (not only do you give God an offering, but also He gives an offering of His love in return); giving (giving joy to one another and joy to God); thanks or thanksgiving (time of being grateful for al the growth and release); belonging (so many are lonely because they have nowhere to belong; Sabbath represents a time of belonging to God and to His Family – a sign that we are His); tradition (you make it a weekly and annual habit); joy (you receive a blessing of joy; great joy fills heaven at these times because God’s heart yearns for fellowship with His children at these special occasions); eternity (these days reveal the plan of God to share His love with us forever); participating in a priestly celebration (we are called to be kings and priests, represented by the Sabbath and especially the Feast of Tabernacles).
These appointed times are different from the carnal celebrations of the world – including the pagan festivities labeled Christian. They celebrate with Satan in the ways of selfishness, lust and greed. The word “Sabbath” has a much nobler meaning: rest in Jesus and celebrate with Him; give special love offerings (commanded on the annual holy gatherings to show our love and thanks to God); be part of God’s plan and acknowledge God as supreme in our lives.
Celebrating with God at His appointed times is the marker He uses to determine which are His children, those who have submitted their wills to Him in complete love and obedience. It is a sign that you have accepted the favor of God above the favor of Satan. We need to celebrate God’s feast, Sabbaths and His love, for they are all tied in together.