And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
This Sunday finds us in the midst of The Feast of Tabernacles. In the Old Testament, God ordained this 7-day Feast to celebrate the ingathering of the Fall harvest. As we have been discussing during these holy fall Festivals, they are dress rehearsals for Christ's Second Coming. Just as the ancient Israelites celebrated the wheat harvest, Believers will be celebrating the Ingathering or Spiritual Harvest of those who belong to Christ. This will happen when Christ sets up His reign in the Millennial Kingdom, which is, as one website described it, " that joyous, utopian time of peace and fulfillment that has always been the hope and focus of true Christians."
Since the Feast of Tabernacles was historically the time of the wheat harvest, and we know the spiritual fulfillment of it in the Future, this brings so much more understanding to Jesus's Parable of the Wheat and Tares. Can you discern what He means when He says, "Let both [wheat and tares] grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."
The Old Testament significance of this Feast has great meaning. This feast lasted for eight days, and Numbers 29 gives a lengthy description of the animal sacrifices and the grain and drink offerings that are to be made. It required a pilgrimage to Jerusalem where there was to be a daily sacrificial offering. This was Israel’s Thanksgiving feast, so to speak, in which they acknowledged the Fall harvest and God’s provision for them.
This Feast was also held in remembrance of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and their subsequent wandering in the wilderness for forty years. It is recognition of when God appeared in pillars of smoke and fire, and dwelt (tabernacled) with them. During this time Israel lived in tents and worshiped at the Tabernacle, which was also a big tent. Throughout their history, to remember this time, the Jews built small tabernacles or booths with walls of plaited branches and thatched roofs as God instructed in Leviticus 23:42: You shall dwell in booths (shelters) for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths. Today, faithful Jews (and a growing number of obedient Christians) still construct temporary shelters to honor God dwelling with us.
Today, the Feast of Tabernacles is a Festival/Feast of joy as we anticipate Yeshua’s return to “Tabernacle” among His people and rule and reign for a thousand years. According to Scripture, during this time one of Yeshua’s first orders of business is to throw the “anti-christ” and his “false prophet” into the lake of fire, and bind up Satan at the bottom of the abyss for the thousand years. For the first time in thousands of years, the world will be free of satanic influence, and seek to follow God's ways and statutes.
The "Living Water of Salvation", the "Sustaining Bread of Life", and the "Light of the World" will be present with His people. The Seven Days of the Feast represent that joyous time. There is an 8th day that concludes the Feast of Tabernacles, known as the "Great Day" or "Day of Rest". This day may represent what happens at the conclusion of the 1,000 year Millennium. Satan will be released from the abyss and destroyed in battled. This will usher in the time of the new beginning – when this present Heaven and Earth will pass away, and the New Jerusalem descends from Heaven.
So how can we, as modern-day Christians, honor God in this solemn Feast? We can build temporary shelters, gather with friends and family and celebrate His "tabernacling" with us. Tell the accounts of the ancient Israelites who wandered the desert for 40 years and how the LORD YHVH’s Glory shone in the Temple and how He looked after them and provided water out of the rock, gave them manna (bread) from heaven, and caused their shoes and clothes not to wear out. He dwelt with them as a pillar of fire by night and a cloud of smoke by day. Remember and share how He has provided and resided with you during your personal covenant with Him.
It is a time to remind ourselves that He is our protector and provider even when it may sometimesfeel like our time in the wilderness. May we endure these times without grumbling and complaining but instead be full of thanksgiving and praise knowing that our God is greater and can get us through any and every situation we may face. And just like the ancient Israelites, one day this wilderness experience will be over.
As we Christians join our Jewish brethren and begin to celebrate God’s appointed Times, we will have a deeper appreciation of AND anticipation of the return of God’s Only Begotten Son. A remnant of physical Israel will recognize their Messiah and inherit the blessings God intended for them, and Christian believers will inherit their rewards for faithfully running the race. Until then, we are all looking forward to Christ's fulfillment of the Fall Feasts. Not much longer ….