The Feast of Tabernacles in Prophecy
By Sam Nadler
The seventh feast in the seventh month, the Feast of Tabernacles culminates God’s redemptive program. Each year, according to Leviticus 23:39-43, we celebrate the Harvest Feast of Tabernacles to rejoice in His sufficiency. We wave the lulav branches to the four corners of the earth, acknowledging God’s centrality and sovereignty as the King of kings, who is reigning over all the earth.
Another important aspect of this yearly festival celebration is recognizing His secure protection over us as we build the three-sided tabernacles (booths, or Sukkot) from those same branches referenced in Leviticus 23:40. These flimsy ‘sukkahs’ testify that like the Israelis in the wilderness, we too know that our safety and stability come from His ongoing care for us. In Psalm 140:7, David also declares that GOD is the One who is his “sukkah” (covering) in the day of battle.
Rejoice – The Best is yet to Come!
As meaningful and joyous as our annual celebrations are for us, the best is yet to come, because the Feast of Tabernacles points to more than our present provision and protection. Yeshua used the unusual Temple ceremonies, which were established by the religious leaders of Israel, to reflect the Biblical prophesies about Sukkot and to declare that these traditions spoke of Him. Zechariah 14 foretells that during the Millennial Kingdom, the Feast of Tabernacles will be an annual celebration for all nations to testify that the LORD Himself is the source of all the bountiful blessings we enjoy.
A New Orientation
This yearly celebration gives a new orientation to the nations. Zechariah 14:16 states “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.”
After the destruction of the nations who fought against Jerusalem, the submission of those nations who are left will be demonstrated in their worship of the King of kings, Yeshua the Messiah. These very nations will go up to Jerusalem – not to make war but to worship the LORD of hosts. As prophesied in Isaiah 2:2-3 “In the last days…all the nations will stream to Jerusalem. And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’” This also testifies of that future change for the nations.
All the nations will have a new orientation around God’s will and word as they worship Him annually in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles. Their annual schedule will then be aligned with the LORD’s Biblical calendar, as His priorities will be seen in their new confession to worship (Zechariah 14:16b). Those nations who survive are, by that same grace, no longer God’s foes, but followers of the King, the LORD of hosts. Prefigured in the annual harvest festival, the Feast of Tabernacles anticipates the greater Harvest of GOD, when all nations are yielded to the Messiah as the King of Israel who is established on His glorious throne in Jerusalem, His Kingdom’s capital (see Matthew 25:31).
It’s interesting to note that Zechariah states that the nations will “worship the King” as they “celebrate the feast.” The celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles is the future setting for the true worship of the King of kings. As it points to a certain future, so also today, believers find this feast to be a significant testimony that annually honors Yeshua and anticipates His royal return. Yes, we rejoice in Yeshua’s complete provision and protection as He presently reigns over our yielded lives. As we recognize the centrality of Yeshua in the Biblical calendar, we will thereby orient our lives around His authority and find our full sufficiency and security in Him; thus, we become His witness to His future Jerusalem-centered reign over all the nations.
What if I don’t celebrate the Feast?
The Feast of Tabernacles is not only the culmination of all the Feasts of Israel, but the purpose of this very feast is to see God as central and reigning over His whole creation. In Zechariah 14:17-19, there is a clear indication that God knows there will be resistance to His rule seen in the nations that refuse to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in worship to the LORD of hosts. Zechariah clearly states that there is punishment for failing to “celebrate the Feast.”
Punishment? Yes, this is in reference to the kingdom period, not heaven. In the Millennial Kingdom there will be believers and unbelievers together. Therefore, the punishment is corrective to bring the nations back to true worship as the Lord’s eternal love is demonstrated. For us today in the body of Messiah, we need to examine our attitudes in every aspect of our lives. For those with a yielded heart to Messiah, the celebration is filled with joy in sincere worship of King Messiah, the LORD of Hosts.
During the Feast of Tabernacles, we must examine our attitudes. Do we worship Yeshua as the true King of our lives? How do we treat Yeshua’s authority in our relationships, our activities and our finances? Yeshua is the King, the LORD of hosts! As you pray for Word of Messiah’s Festival outreaches in late September through mid-October, let us all honor Him through this Feast of Tabernacles and rejoice in His eternal love! Come quickly, Lord Yeshua!