The Feast of Tabernacles is also referred to as the Feast of the Lord, which shows us how important this celebration is. It is a time of rejoicing when we are to be altogether joyful. The whole point of living for seven days in simple shelters—booths or tabernacles—is to recall the forty years spent living in simple shelters in the wilderness. But in the Christian mindset, we may think of “the wilderness” as a time when God is dealing with us or when negative things are taking place surrounding us. Yet the truth is that for the children of Israel, the wilderness actually had quite a few advantages to it. Many wonderful things transpired during their time in the wilderness. For instance, the physical presence of God dwelled with them day and night; they literally saw His presence with them.
We see that many aspects of this wilderness wandering were actually tremendous. In fact, it really was representative of God’s Kingdom coming to earth. What a blessed remembrance this is. Daily directions and answers were given to them. There were no diseases. Their clothes and shoes did not wear out. They were fed daily manna from heaven and the rock provided water for them. God brought perfect order to their community. And the rebellious and disobedient were purged from their midst. All these factors were the main focus of the Feast of Tabernacles. What a wonderful time this was. I encourage you to use your imagination and think about what those days must have been like.
We see in Leviticus how God’s people were commanded to “rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days” (Leviticus 23:40). Deuteronomy 16 explains how this was to be a very welcoming and all-inclusive feast for everyone and a time of great joy:
- “You shall celebrate the Feast of Booths seven days; … and you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your towns. Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the Lord your God …, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.” (Deuteronomy 16:13–15)
I think these things point to what Tabernacles is all about. It really is talking about the Lord’s presence in His Kingdom on earth. So this feast gives us something not just to remember but to look forward to. Get rid of thinking that this was just a negative experience in the wilderness; this time brought God’s people some of their most glorious days of the Lord’s presence with them. These were fantastic days when they were provided for in ways that we believe we will see once again in the days of the Kingdom. Let us believe to see the glory of the Lord fill all the earth at this wonderful time of Tabernacles (Numbers 14:21).
1 All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).