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THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES

How is the festival that represents the sixth step in God's plan to be observed?


"On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD's Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work ..." (Leviticus 23:34-35, NIV).

"Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the LORD your God in the place [or places; Exodus 20:24; John 4:21] which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice" (Deuteronomy 16:15).

The first time the Bible mentions the Feast of Tabernacles it is called the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16). It was the great autumn harvest festival that people from every corner of Israel came together to observe. All during the harvest season they set aside animals and produce for this special week of rejoicing. Everyone enjoyed an abundance of food, drink and fellowship.

It was also a commemoration of the peace and safety God had promised if they would diligently obey Him. Notice the instructions He gave them: "But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest [peace] from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety, then there will be the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you ... And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God ..." (Deuteronomy 12:10-12). This festival is a celebration of God's guidance, protection and blessings for His people.

Jesus Christ will give those same blessings even more abundantly to the whole world when He returns and establishes His reign on earth. What ancient Israel could enjoy for one week at the end of the fall harvest merely represented what He will bring to all mankind when He assumes the role of King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Will Christ insist that everyone observe the Feast of Tabernacles after He returns?

"And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the LORD strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles" (Zechariah 14:16-19).

The joyful Feast of Ingathering represents the time during which God will gather the great harvest of humanity into His family. First "all Israel will be saved, as it is written: 'The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob'" (Romans 11:26, NIV).

Then God will offer salvation to everyone. The prophet Daniel makes this clear: "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days . . . Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:13-14).


How will knowledge of God's ways go to all nations?


"Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).

"In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore" (Micah 4:1-3, NIV).


What other blessings will abound during Jesus' 1,000-year reign on earth?


"Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's 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" (Isaiah 11:5-9).

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