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Feast of Tabernacles
September 19, 2013
Some may wonder why a Christian might observe the Feast of Tabernacles, and some may not even know what a tabernacle is. In short, a tabernacle is a tent, a temporary dwelling. For those who read the Bible, the word tabernacles might create images of the exodus followed by years of wandering in the desert, where the Children of Israel lived in temporary dwellings and where the ark of God was contained in a specially designed tent. The tabernacle was the home of the ark and the mercy seat, and it is significant that this Feast is celebrated after the Day of Atonement, the only day when the high priest had access to this inner sanctuary of the tabernacle. It was this part of the tabernacle that was the holiest of all.
Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 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: 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; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
It is the sacrifice of Jesus that makes it possible for us to celebrate this feast, the Feast of Tabernacles, as a Christian observance. In the Christian observance of this Feast, we do not need to sacrifice as was previously required by the Children of Israel; the sacrifice of Jesus is the sacrifice once and for all. The tabernacles, plural that are remembered include the tabernacle of the old testament, and the more perfect tabernacle brought about by the sacrifice of Jesus. Some may wonder if Jesus makes access to this part of the tabernacle possible for all who are His, why do we celebrate this Feast? While we do celebrate this feast, we do not celebrate this feast for selfish reasons. Yes it is great that we are eternally redeemed from sin. But if we only focus on ourselves, we miss the entire point of the celebration, because the Feast of Tabernacles doesn't celebrate our salvation; it celebrates the future salvation of those not yet called, a time when God's tabernacle will come to earth and when God will dwell among mankind.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
This verse from Revelation shows a time that Jesus talked about when he spoke of rivers of living water on the last great day of the feast and we will explore this more on September 26th. The important concept to take from this verse is that mankind will become God's people and as result, God will live with mankind. In the present age where there is so much evil, few obey God. The Bible shows that even during this future time, after the great tribulation, there will be those who initially will not obey God; eventually they will. The Bible gives us hope for this future time through a simple verse about a child, a lamb, a lion, and how animals that are feared today will be docile enough for the child to be safely nearby.
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
So to this Christian, the Feast of Tabernacles celebrates not only our access to the Holy Spirit and a relationship with Jesus and God, but each and every future relationship that others will be able to develop through the Holy Spirit with Jesus and God. Today, we live in world that is filled with good and evil. It takes imagination to consider a world filled with only good. And it takes faith to overcome evil with good. One day the world will be a world filled with only good, and God will live with mankind. The more we overcome evil with good, the more we will be able to celebrate what is good, embrace what is good, and do what is good.
All verses are from the King James Version.
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