Both Tabernacles and Unleavened Bread keep us off balance so that we remain humble, seek stability, and trust in God's providence for our ultimate destiny.
The basics of the Feast of Tabernacles consist of a harvest image, depicting a massive number of people coming to the truth. The journey depicts a time of judgment.
Love for this world will inevitably bring disillusionment. Because the world is passing away, our priorities should be to fear God and keep his commandments.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a type of the soon-coming Millennium, when Christ will set up His government on the earth. Real peace and prosperity will be the norm. And everyone will have access to the knowledge of God!
What we learn and experience at the Feast of Tabernacles should keep us in the proper fear of God for the rest of the year. Here's how to approach the Feast.
How can we evaluate whether our Feast is 'good' or not? God's criticism of Israel's feasts in Amos 5 teaches what God wants us to learn from His feasts.
God emphasizes Ecclesiastes during the Feast of Tabernacles to show the result of doing whatever our human heart leads us to do. The physical cannot satisfy.
If we go to the Feast with the goal of physically enjoying, we may lose out on both the spiritual and physical benefits. 'Going through the motions' defiles it.
Jeroboam, pragmatic and fearful, established a more convenient idolatrous festival to prevent his people from keeping the real Feast of Tabernacles in Judah.
Though no verse directly states it, a unifying factor in the instructions for the Feast is God's faithfulness, which will lead us to the proper fear of Him.
The Feast of Tabernacles has aspects of a vacation, yet its purpose is far more serious and spiritual. We know this, but what do we practice?
The Feast is not a celebration just for the sake of having a good time. Our festivities should focus on God's faithfulness, rejoicing in all He did during the year.
Why does God want us to keep the Feast of Tabernacles? John Ritenbaugh shows that the Feast is far more than a yearly vacation!
God can take satisfaction that He is doing the right thing, and thus His rejoicing can even come from painful judgments. Sarcificing and rejoicing are linked.
The Feasts of God are not vacations, but are holy convocations when God assembles His family for the purpose of enabling us to learn to fear and honor Him.
Just because we keep God's feasts does not necessarily mean we are in sync with God's Law or intent. The Israelites kept the feasts in a carnal manner.
The world will learn that God judges—that He has the ultimate decision over everything. After Satan is bound, God will bring about seven reconcilements.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a wonderful gift God has given us to spend time with each other, really sharing of ourselves. Mark Schindler gives a few examples of how this can be done.
John Reid, reflecting upon the plethora of stresses in today's society, observes that the saints are being incrementally worn down by evil societal pressures. Perversions are looked upon as the norm and morality as the perversion. The Feast of Tabernacles gives us hope that all of this filthy perversion will be destroyed, making way for God's righteousness to prevail upon the earth, enabling the earth to be healed from its plagues. The Feast of Tabernacles will be incrementally enforced upon the whole earth. For those of us who have been called, the veil has been lifted and we know the mind of God. Like David, we look forward to seeing God as He is, having His composition, mind and character. When we become resurrected from the dead during the first resurrection, we will be conformed to the image and likeness of Christ, who has served as our model as well as high priest. We will serve as beacons of morality, teaching God's commandments in both principle (understanding) and practice (using God's law), serving as priests for those who will be mortal beings at that time, instructing them in the truth (having become grounded thoroughly in God's laws, commandments, and statutes) turning them from Satan's influences into beings qualifying to be members of the God family. God insists that the process of our sanctification- emerging as first fruits, we learn to love and forgive as God has loved and forgiven us, exercising patience, gentleness, and self control.
We are seeking a permanent dwelling in God's Kingdom. In our on-going sanctification process, we are not yet home, but trudging along the way in our pilgrimage.
Valuable lessons may be learned when we observe the feasts God's way, but they would get lost if we tried to apply to them what we believe are good ideas.
God commands us to keep His feasts and holy days, and He also makes funds available for us to do so—by saving second tithe. When God gives us something to do, He always provides the means to do it!
The dwelling in booths and the sacrifices were the context for rejoicing at the Feast of Tabernacles. The booths depict our current lives as pilgrims.
The Eighth Day (or Last Great Day) is a separate festival from the Feast of Tabernacles, which can only derive its significance in the New Testament.
We must fill our lives with peace, repenting, changing our attitude, and voluntarily yielding to God before we can produce the fruits of righteousness.
We must not construe the term, "whatever our heart desires," as a pass to sin, but we should use every occasion to grow in thinking and acting like God.
Here are the foundational principles to keep in mind in observing the Feasts of God throughout the year.
Deuteronomy, which is to be reviewed every seven years, provides us with vision and instruction for living in our spiritual Promised Land.
It is unusual for lunar eclipses to occur on God's holy days. Understanding those days helps us to find the right significance to the blood moons.
The Bible tells us that at the Feast of Tabernacles, we can spend our money on whatever we desire. However, the Feast is a test of our hearts. What do we really desire? Do we indulge ourselves, or do we use our resources to make it the best Feast ever for others?
Richard Ritenbaugh contrasts the true view of the afterlife with the prevailing Protestant view as reported by patheos.com, stating that at the end time, God will judge between the righteous and unrighteous, consigning the righteous to a blissful heaven or a tormenting hell. In both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, there is a total lack of ideas as to what we will be doing in the afterlife. People are more apt to believe the traditions than the truths of scripture. After the conclusion of the Feast of Tabernacles, the people left their booths and returned to their permanent homes on the Last Great Day. The following day a holy assembly was again called focusing upon the time of judgment, a time our temporary existence is exchanged for a permanent one. The Last Great Day represents changelessness, endurance, or eternity, a time when all mankind's destinies will be set in stone; everyone will be judged and will cease being transitory and will have their fates permanently sealed. The general resurrection or the Great White Throne Judgment will occur right after the Millennium. Jesus Christ will have gathered His first fruits from their graves or transformed in the twinkling of an eye at His coming. The saints will then become the sons of God, totally composed of spirit, no longer subject to death. Like our Elder Brother Jesus Christ, we will attain spiritual son-ship (membership in the God family) through resurrection from the dead, following the same process that Christ began. We have hope of the resurrection because Christ went through the resurrection. The promises in the Beatitudes are that we shall see God as sons of God, inheriting the new heavens and earth, the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven, shining as luminous suns. The saints are going to be glorified as God at Jesus Christ's second coming, well before the general resurrection, serving in God's kin
God intends for us to learn daily lessons from living in booths during the Feast of Tabernacles, a joyous time after the harvest has been taken in.
Fearing God is equated with obeying or complying with God's instructions, voluntarily measuring all our thoughts and behavior against His Law.
John Reid, asking the perennial question "Why are we here?" explains the significance of temporary dwellings, rejoicing before God, and learning to fear God and faithfully keep His law. Ezra and Nehemiah commanded the people to dwell in temporary booths, listening to instruction from God's law for seven days, depicting a millennial setting- a time, following a frightful period when modern Israel, for its disobedience, shameless rebellion and lawlessness, would be scattered and go into captivity. When Jesus Christ has completed cleaning up his people, He will re-gather a remnant ' a small, humbled group who will (grateful for their redemption) unconditionally yield to Almighty God, grateful to have His laws implanted in their minds, and a new pure language implanted on their lips. At this time, the physical earth and its inhabitants will be healed and restored to wholeness. Peace, health, and incredible prosperity will be the fruits of obedience to God. As kings and priests, having developed character in our present calling, we will have a role in administering this government, guiding and teaching the inhabitants of the earth.
John Ritenbaugh stresses that the day-to-day choices we make have far-reaching spiritual consequences. When we incrementally learn to fear God, we make a choice to preserve our eternal life. God initiated our calling as an expression of His love and grace. Contrary to popular misconception, the law was given after salvation (as a consequence of salvation) enabling God's called out ones to get in harmony with His way of life. Upon receiving salvation (liberation from sin) our journey has only begun. The major theme throughout Exodus (and the whole Bible) is God's faithfulness to His people, demonstrated by His continuous gifts and providence. God's faithfulness is the foundation of our faith. We cannot live by faith unless we believe we have a God who is faithful in everything He does.
The Eight Day (or Last Great Day) has little written about it, but the patterns of Scripture reveal much about the abundance of this holy day.
Richard Ritenbaugh, acknowledging the premature death of Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, and his accomplishments, reports he had a darker side, dying as a Zen Buddhist and displaying the characteristic of a tyrant. Though he was highly successful by worldly standards, he was not called, and had no concept of God's plan. This 8th Day, symbolizing the Great White Throne Judgment, depicting the huge harvest, will be the harvest of the greater part of mankind—all the rest of the dead. What Jesus preached about in John 8-10 is the gold standard of instruction about the eighth day. Jesus comes in as the Light of the World, providing forgiveness to the woman caught in adultery and rebuke for the recalcitrant Pharisees. People in the world cannot understand without God's Spirit. Jesus Christ knew that God the Father had his back. At the conclusion of His confrontation with the Pharisees (pointing out their hopeless bondage to sin), the next part of God's plan is revealed—the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Pharisees, by their behavior, proved that they had not the foggiest concept of God the Father, but instead were children of Satan, as is the bulk of the world's population. The episode contained in John 9, about the man born blind from birth, depicts the hopeless spiritual blindness of most of the earth. Only Jesus Christ, as the Light of the World, can release the world from spiritual blindness. The clay and spittle Christ uses possibly depicts or alludes to a new creation in the future. Jesus Christ's admonition for the blind man to walk and cleanse himself emphasizes the works of repentance. The pool of Siloam alludes to the paradise of creation -waters of Eden from Gihon Spring, perhaps depicting the Holy Spirit and its power to heal.
Richard Ritenbaugh, focusing on Micah 4:1-4, emphasizes that during the Millennium, inhabitants will own their own property. Mankind at the beginning of Creation had dominion or ownership of the earth. God charged mankind with the responsibility of tending and keeping (maintaining) the earth. After Mankind's sin Adam's offspring were denied access to owning land. Our ancestors (Abraham's offspring) were promised a future inheritance, with boundaries. God gives specific laws forbidding people to move landmarks. In the blessings and cursings to be recited upon the mountain, prohibitions were invoked against removing boundaries. God legislates against people who trespass upon other's property. God established the Jubilee year in which the title of the land will go back to the original owners. In the future God will plant Israel in the land to stay (Jeremiah 32:41). Property rights will be held sacrosanct during the Millennium. God brings His people back to their own land, and to restore it to be like the Garden of Eden in peace, in prosperity, and permanently planted in the wonderful Kingdom of God.
The doctrine of tithing often raises specific questions regarding how many there are, who they go to and whether they are strictly on agriculture. This article gives the answers.
God has blessed us with the Sabbath, a period of holy time, when He redeems us from the clutches of our carnality and this evil world.
National renewal cannot take place unless there is a true turning from sin and commitment to following the Law of God.
John Ritenbaugh observes that without our special calling and the gift of God's Holy Spirit, we would be about as clueless as to the purpose of our life as Solomon was throughout Ecclesiastes. Understanding is totally different from knowledge. Some people with ample knowledge are incredibly stupid when discerning the plan of God. Without God's Spirit the Bible makes no sense whatsoever. The mystery of God's plan, that special secret code, can only be discerned through special revelation powered by God's Holy Spirit. God did the choosing (often choosing the weak and base of the world); we did not. God is totally running the show; our lives must be in complete submission to His will, totally devoted to preparing for the next stage of God's purpose for our lives. The Millennium will be but a blip in the whole scheme of time propelling us as immortal beings and the very offspring of the immortal God into the vast infinitude and plenitude of the universe—all eventually under the subjection of God's family. Mankind is designed to be a builder, not a destroyer like Satan. The family will be the basic building block of the new government. Scriptural understanding will only become activated if we believe it, are committed to it, and are led by God's Holy Spirit following the pattern of our Elder Brother Jesus Christ.
The Millennium or God's rest will be an exceedingly busy time, a time when all of humanity will be converted, a time everybody will be on the same trek.
The Sabbath is an antidote to the weariness we experience. It recalls God's pausing after completing His physical creation, focusing on the spiritual creation.
God never says the Christian life would be easy or that life would always be fair. Difficulties and tests are given to test our hearts and promote humility.
Biblically, the third day carries much historic and prophetic significance.
We have been allowed the privilege of knowing God now. We need to radiate the glory of God as Moses radiated the glory of God by having been in His presence.
John Ritenbaugh asserts that what God's called-out ones have been given is rare in the annals of the history of all mankind, a kind of sacred secret into which one must be initiated in order to grasp, appreciate and make the right use of. Through a miraculous combination of knowledge plus the spirit of God, we realize that our destiny is to be a part of a family ruling and reigning over everything that has been created. Through our dressing and keeping, growing and overcoming, using one's gifts, and being faithful to His word, God prepares us for fit use in His far expanded Kingdom. With Jesus as our Elder Brother and forerunner, we will be transformed to God (not in authority, but in kind) sharing rulership, dominion, and creative responsibility in the vast expanded Kingdom of God.
Are millions lost because they never heard the name of Christ? What about infants who died? Are the doors forever shut on those born into false religion?
Kim Myers, acknowledging that we are celebrating an event yet to happen in the future, suggests that we need to have intense faith to move from point A (the present) to point B (the Millennium).Faith is a trust in things we cannot see, the same kind of faith that Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego had to endure the threat of the fiery furnace. We are also promised to be tested by fiery trials, as well as deceptions which threaten even the elect. Jesus warned about pestilence, wars, calamities, false prophets, offenses, and betrayals. How do we get the faith we need to endure this present age? Living faith requires that we match hearing with productive works. Faith without works is a dead faith. Works are what we do every day; everything we do matters. Our most important works are: (1) prayer (2) Bible study (3) meditation and (4) fasting—which all take work. Everything we do is a work, and it all matters. Sometimes God will make the people who humiliate us become dependent or beholden to us. Sometimes God will take things that people intended to be a curse to us into a blessing, as long as we glorify God rather than ourselves. As natural disasters and violence increase, maintaining faith will become problematic unless we also maintain works that please God.
From Passover to Pentecost to Trumpets to Atonement to the Feast of Tabernacles, these days should solidify our vision of he Father, Jesus, and one another.
Jesus shared many happy feasts with His disciples and attended banquets and celebrations, much to the chagrin of the self-righteous Pharisees.
Martin Collins observes that as long as humans have an insatiable lust for power and control, there will never be peace on earth. Sectarian violence and parochial wrangling will perpetuate violence and struggle. God has initiated the process of destroying the enmity between God and man, and between man and man (i.e. Jew and Gentile). Like the restless motions of the sea, man will always have conflict without God's intervention and without the guiding and moderating influence of God's Holy Spirit. The immediate benefit of our justification through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is peace with God.Our society at large is characterized by confusion; God's Spiritual Kingdom (run by His spiritual sons and daughters) in the Millennium will be one of peace and tranquility, a time when would-be terrorists will be compelled to beat their swords into plowshares, a time when people from all over the earth will be keeping the Feast of Tabernacles. In the meantime, we can conquer the restlessness and fears we might experience through the peace of God which passes all understanding.
The myriad opinions of the crowd concerning Jesus were all conditioned from their perspectives and traditions, but hardly ever from God's perspective.
Here are biblical strategies to cultivate the fruit of peace, including controlling our thoughts and emotions, submitting to God's will, and embracing His law.
Satan can fine-tune the course of this world (Zeitgeist), customizing it depending on whom he may seek to murder. We need to be thinking and vigilant.
John Ritenbaugh admonishes that we must continually upgrade our decorum and formality in our approach to God, striving to emulate Him in all that we do. Our culture (paralleling the second law of thermo-dynamics) has seriously degenerated in decorum and standards, pulling everyone down into casual, slovenly and disrespectful behavior. Morally and socially, we must resist the ever-present antagonism toward law, rules, and decorum, choosing instead to submit ourselves to God's standards of order enabling the whole body to be organized, training to become a holy priesthood before God. We must exercise temperance concerning food and drink, dress and demeanor. The non-negotiable rules or instructions given for the organization and administration of the tabernacle were clear, unambiguous and served to enforce strict decorum and formality. What is practiced on the outside reinforces what is on the inside.
If we do not keep God's holy days, we will deprive ourselves of the knowledge of God's purpose. Jesus and the first century church observed and upheld these days.
We are admonished to internalize the book of Deuteronomy in preparation for our future leadership roles.
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the episode of the twelve spies sent into the land of Canaan, calculates that this expedition may have occurred close to the Feast of Tabernacles. Ten of the spies developed weak knees, even though the land seemed to flow with milk and honey, a verdant land with abundant natural resources. The cowardly spies claimed there was no room for them, fearing the war-seasoned Amalekites, Amorites, Canaanites, Jebusites, Hittites, and Philistines (five mighty nations). The Anakim allegedly had superior height and strength. The spies exaggerated the difficulties, claiming the land (a natural land-bridge between three major powers) will "devour" them. The mountains also probably seemed formidable to these former inhabitants of the flatlands. The negative talk made the children of Israel fearful and timid. God's called out ones aren't troubled with giants or enemy nations, but we have trials of similar magnitude. We dare not behave as the timid spies, but instead should emulate the boldness of Caleb and Joshua. The wilderness wandering of our forebears (Abraham, Moses and the children of Israel) is a type of our journey into God's Kingdom— a spiritual Godly realm (or the New Jerusalem). We should take care not to murmur, grumble, or complain (about our calling) as did the majority of our forebears, perennially, in rebellion and fear (1) complaining they would be better off dead, (2) playing the victim role, (3) desiring to return to their captivity, and (4) playing the blame game, demanding new leaders. This idolatrous, faithless, fear-motivated rebellion and fear of other men will lead only to death, but the fear of the Lord will lead to faith, courage, wisdom, confidence, and ultimately to eternal life.
The primary function of a priest is to assist people in accessing God so that there can be unity with God. A priest is a bridge-builder between man and God.
God see His Holy Days (include the weekly Sabbath) as typical places of safety. Such occasions foreshadow a time when the wolf and lamb dwell together.
Praying according to God's will is sometimes ambiguous. Yet as we respond positively to His covenant, He reveals more and more of His secret plans.
John Ritenbaugh reminds us that we are approaching the end of a seven year cycle, the seventh year on the Hebrew calendar, a time of the year of release, when the Law was publicly and solemnly read. This event has always proved more solemn with a sense of urgency than the services of a regular Feast of Tabernacles. In the current grim background of the accelerating decadence of the western democratic democracies, we must remember that for God's called-out ones the responsibility for a life of faith is not the church, but rather on the individual. Because none of us are privy to the time of Christ's return, we must continually seek God's counsel rather than being distracted and mesmerized by the Zeitgeist around us. During the time of Noah, there was a lengthy witness from a preacher of righteousness before God's hammer of judgment (in the form of the flood) fell upon the world's populace. We must be continually aware and alert to our own spiritual condition, remembering that the times would be identical to Noah's, when people were absorbed into the spirit of the time, failing to heed God's warning. God's called-out ones must remain single-minded, fortifying their spiritual reserves with Bible study, prayer, and meditation, maintaining a vigilant, watchful eye out for the surreptitious lures of Satan's decadent socio-cultural milieu.
The Bible records no example of keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread with services each day, unlike the Feast of Tabernacles, which has a daily convocation.
Martin Collins, acknowledging that the Feast of Tabernacles pictures Jesus Christ's role as King of kings, points out that Jesus Christ is still under the authority of God the Father, the Father of all of us. Paul uses many metaphors to illustrate our relationship to God the Father: citizens of the Kingdom, household, and building. The common denominator of all of Paul's metaphors is unity, membership, and merger of parts. The static framework model of a building is actually a closer, more interrelated, interconnected structure than the self-moving analogues of the family or citizen. In this metaphor, Paul tried to discourage the fracturing into cliques or factions, but to bond together as living stones within the metaphorical building. The Church is a building which has been constructed from the foundation of the world, fashioned incrementally stone by stone, layer by layer, generation by generation, member-by-member. This edifice cannot be corrupted by materials promoting syncretistic merger of pagan and worldly elements, but must be crafted exclusively by God Almighty, personally selecting every piece, from the prophets, apostles, and Jesus Christ, the Corner Stone, to the lively stones, consisting of God's called-out ones. We need to carefully examine what construction materials we bring to the site, or the care we use to construct the edifice. We need to construct with care in order that it might stand up under fiery tests, enabling it to last for eternity. We must be related to the Chief Corner Stone and to one another, skillfully and painstakingly fitted together by the Master Builder or the Master Architect.
Richard Ritenbaugh insists that how we spend our money at the Feast of Tabernacles will give to God Almighty an idea of how we will use power in the Millennium. Using the analogy of Bill Gates wealth in comparison to the average person, or the national debt, we see that responsibility with currency is both relative (in terms of the amount of wealth), but absolute (in terms of responsibility for this wealth). For a responsible diligent person, money is power, but for an irresponsible lazy person, it can prove an absolute curse. Whoever is faithful in small matters will in all likelihood be responsible in major matters. Leadership demands faithfulness, productivity, and responsible stewardship of all of our resources. If we are untrustworthy with a paltry sum of money, we will be untrustworthy with the vast resources of God's creative power. At the Feast we have the opportunity to demonstrate to God that we can show outgoing charitable uses for the financial blessings God has given us.
Martin Collins, using a hybrid word, "affluenza," characterizes the deadly consequences of our pleasure-dominated life. Affluenza describes the bloated, unfeeling insensitivity caused by trying to keep up with the Joneses, the stress caused by doggedly pursuing "the American Dream," and the unstable addiction to economic growth. Lust and desire inevitably create conflict, spur wrong behavior, shut the door of prayer, and spawn self-centeredness, destroying generosity and sacrifice. The drive to consume or get is antithetical to the spirit of sacrifice. The Feast of Tabernacles depicts prosperity coupled with the necessary component of sacrifice. The sacrifices that God most desires is a broken and contrite heart and service. If our drive or lust for pleasure is sublimated to pleasing God rather than ourselves, serving others before ourselves, we can defeat this deadly spiritual disease.
What is worship? What should our attitude be in worship? How do we worship God? Our God is seeking people to worship Him in spirit and truth!
Leviticus 23 not only reveals God's holy days—it also provides, in symbol form, a detailed schematic of God's plan!