The Feast of Tabernacles is the last of the autumn feasts as well as the final feast of the seven annual feasts. It is celebrated from the 15th to the 22nd of the seventh month, by sacred year (Lev 23:34-36). The Feast of Tabernacles was not only celebrated in the Old Testament times, but it was also commemorated in the New Testament times by Jesus and His apostles. In this last age, too, the Church of God celebrates this feast, following the teachings of the new covenant established by Jesus Christ at His first coming.
- Origin of the Feast
After Moses came down from Mount Sinai—with the Ten Commandments, which God gave to Moses for a second time—he explained the words of the covenant, as well as the work of building the tabernacle, to the Israelites (Ex 34:27-35). Then, those who were willing presented various kinds of materials to the LORD, including gold, silver, linen, and wood. God’s people brought all of these building materials for the tabernacle in seven days—beginning on the 15th day of the seventh month (Ex 35:4-29; 36:5-7). God appointed the Feast of Tabernacles and commanded the Israelites to celebrate it for generations to come in order to remember the seven days they brought the building materials for constructing the tabernacle. The Feast of Tabernacles is also referred to as the Feast of Booths.
- Prophecy and Fulfillment
In the Bible, “wood” represents people (Jer 5:14) and the “materials for the temple” represent the holy saints (Rev 3:12). In the desert, the Israelites abundantly gathered materials for the holy tabernacle for a week and completed it. Afterward, during the Feast of Tabernacles, they constructed booths (houses of woven grass and trees) and joyfully dwelt within them for seven days. This history is a prophecy. The fulfillment is seen through the gospel work, accomplished by the gathering of the 144,000 saints represented by the “wood” and “materials for the temple.” We should work for the movement announcing Jesus’ final coming, laying its foundation by gathering the saints, the materials for the temple. The saints can be gathered through preaching the gospel, just as the Israelites had gathered the physical materials for making the tabernacle.
The Israelites kept the Feast of Tabernacles by making tents. They used palm fronds and myrtle trees, or willows to build booths, which were then spread onto the courts of the house of God and onto their own rooftops. They lived within these booths for seven days with great joy. Helping their neighbors in need, they celebrated the feast and kept it holy (Ne 8:9-18; Lev 23:39-43; Dt 16:11-15; Zec 14:15-18).
- The Promise of the Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles is the blessed day when God gives us the power of the Holy Spirit Latter Rain so that we can gather the 144,000 saints, the materials of the Heavenly Jerusalem temple. The prophet Zechariah prophesied:
Zechariah 14:16-19『Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.』
The above prophecy reveals that those who do not celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles will have no rain—meaning, they will not receive the Holy Spirit, but receive plagues instead.
God promised to give the Holy Spirit to only those who keep the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus specifically addressed this matter:
John 7:37-39『On the last and greatest day of the Feast [of Tabernacles], Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.』
The prophet Zechariah explained that the people who do not celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles will have no rain, and Jesus declared that God’s people could receive the Holy Spirit by celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. Considering the above words, we can conclude that the Holy Spirit is only given under God’s grace and can only come upon those who keep the Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles.
In these last days, the Bible records the Spirit and the Bride as the source of the living water. As it is written:
Revelation 22:17『The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.』