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The Feast Of Tabernacles

Leviticus 23:33-44


1146:  "Renovated And Repaired"

        Dr. Harry Ironside frequently emphasized to his friends and relatives that he didn't want an elaborate funeral or an expensive tombstone when the Lord took him to Glory.  He requested that his final resting place be marked only by a plain, wooden slab reading:  Harry A. Ironside, sinner saved by grace, moved out until renovated and repaired!  As a humble servant of Christ, he was firmly committed to the cardinal doctrine of the resurrection of the body.

        Where will you spend eternity?  Where will your eternal dwelling place be?  What will be your eternal home?  Those of us who know Jesus Christ have another tabernacle not made with hands, which is eternal in the heavens!!!  This brings us the Feast of Tabernacles.

        I am preaching a nine message series on the rudiments, skills, or principles of celebration.

  God has been showing me that humanity needs celebration.

  He has been showing me that celebration is a very important part of the Christian life!

  He has been showing me that celebration is of special significance and importance to African-American Christians.

        Life is a struggle for everybody, no matter what your color or nationality, but for African-American people life is even more of a struggle because of the residual effects of slavery.  Therefore, it is important that we take a time out from the futility of the world and plug into the meaning of life, the dignity of life, and the vibrancy of life that is provided through a worship celebration.  The importance of celebration is illustrated in the Old Testament in Leviticus the 23rd chapter.

        My purpose in looking at celebration from various cultural perspectives is not to embarrass or alienate anyone, but to educate both Blacks and Whites about the similarities and differences between us.  We are an integrated church that is becoming more integrated.  Our church is becoming a microcosm of heaven, and I love it.  But we must learn to acknowledge, accept, and appreciate our similarities and our differences.

·        Seven messages ago, we began to deal with the eight feasts or festivals which God commanded Israel to celebrate.  These festivals were holy convocations, conventions, or celebrations which God invoked upon His people.  There is a major rudiment or skill which is taught in each festival, which will yield a principle that we can learn and apply to our own modern worship celebrations.

·        In the first two messages, we covered the weekly feast of the Sabbath.  The major skill of celebration involved was resting from our worldly labors.

·        In the third message, we studied the feast of the Passover.  The major rudiment of celebration involved was remembering God’s redemption.

·        In the fourth message, we studied the feast of unleavened bread.  The major rudiment of celebration involved was removing all sin, worldliness, and filthiness of the flesh from our lives.

·        In the fifth message, we studied the Feast of First Fruits.  The major principle of celebration involved was rendering sacrifice to thank God for His blessings.

·        In the sixth message, we studied the feast of Pentecost.  The major rudiment of celebration involved was rejoicing over the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the harvest of the Church.

·        In the seventh message, we covered the Feast of Trumpets.  The major skill of celebration involved was regathering.  When we gather for worship celebration on the Lord’s Day, we should look forward to the gathering of The Rapture.

·        In the last message, we covered the Feast called The Day of Atonement.  The major rudiment of celebration was repenting for a whole year's sins.

(Let's wrap up this message by covering the final rudiment of celebration, which is found in verses 33-44.  The final rudiment of celebration is:)


This final festival in Leviticus 23 is The Feast of Tabernacles. “This Feast is primarily agricultural in its character.  It is a joyous occasion.  The harvest has been brought in from the fields, the groves, and the orchards.  Barns and sheds are full.  Hearts, too, are full of praise and thanksgiving for God's bounties.”[1] “This was the last of Jehovah’s feasts, a season of great joy and rejoicing, a kind of harvest-home, after the harvest had been gathered in.”[2]

        "The Feast of Tabernacles is the equivalent of the American or the Canadian `Thanksgiving Day' when the harvest is brought in and the people rejoice at the goodness of the Lord.”[3]

        “So the Jewish people could look back and be thankful for God's provision, protection, and direction.”  God had provided specific blessings for His children:

·        “They once lived in booths--now they were living in houses.

·        They once had to wander--now they were settled down.

·        They once had to ask Him for water--now they had plenty of water.

·        They could rejoice over past and present mercies from the generous hand of God (1 Timothy 6:17)."[4]

        To summarize then, "The Feast of Tabernacles was a reminder to the Jewish people that everything they had came from God.”[5]

(What is the application for us?)

        Our celebrations should include reminders of what God has done for us, because “God wants us to be grateful and for the past and present blessings."[6] Thanksgiving is so important to our celebrations, and thanksgiving is facilitated by being reminded of and recounting the blessings of God!!!  God has blessed us with so many spiritual blessings:

·        substitution, i.e. Jesus took our place upon the cross and we took His place in Jehovah God;

·        imputation, i.e. having the righteousness of Jesus Christ credited to our account and our sin credited to His account;

·        propitiation, i.e. the satisfaction of God on the basis of the death of Jesus Christ;

·        expiation, i.e. having the debt of our sins canceled;

·        redemption, i.e. being purchased in the slave market of sin, taken from the slave market of sin, and permanently released from the slave market of sin;

·        justification, i.e. a legal declaration of righteousness;

·        regeneration, i.e. being born from above by the Spirit of God;

·        reconciliation, i.e. being brought back into fellowship with God;

·        salvation, i.e. deliverance from sin;

·        illumination, i.e. the light of the Holy Spirit shinning in our innermost being for fellowship, direction, and holiness;

·        etc., etc., etc.

        We also have so many material blessings in the area of food, clothing, and shelter.  What more do we need?

        “Apart from its agricultural character, the Feast of Tabernacles also commemorates God's mighty deliverance of His people from Egypt and their 40 years of wilderness wandering, when they dwelt in tents and tabernacles.

        Israel must never forget that for 40 years they were led by the hand of God, nor that they were pilgrims traveling to a better land where God dwelled."[7]

        The ritual of this festival would remind them of their former dwelling places.  For seven days all the residents of Israel left their homes in order to dwell in temporary booths.  The purpose of this was that the people should have constant reminder of the forty years when the nation dwelt in tents¾wandering in the wilderness with no home.  Oh, how the Lord had provided them with every good thing, dwelled in their midst and led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  There was a reminder of their past wandering in those temporary booths.  They were not to forget the difficult times, when God sustained them.

        Let us not forget the difficult times when God sustained us!!!

Thru many dangers, toils and snares I have already come;

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home!!!

        "The Feast of Tabernacles, like the other feasts of Israel, focuses the attention of God's people both on the past, on what God has done, but also on the future, on what God will do.”[8] "The Feast of Tabernacles speaks of the time when God shall give His people the kingdom that He promised in the Old Testament prophecies."[9] There was also a reminder of the future, when they would wander no more.  God is going to bring the Children of Israel home one day.

        This was a feast of seven days.  “The feasts which were of seven and eight-day continuance, point to the outcome of these acts, and their results in blessing to the people of God.”[10] The length of this feast points out the results of being home!!!  The results will be no more wandering, no more tribulation, no more persecution, no more trials, no more traveling for the Children of Israel.

(But there is more than a prophetic message to the Jews intimated here, there is also a prophetic message to the Gentiles, i.e. the church.)

        “The prophetic message of the Feast of Tabernacles is that there is shelter in the Tabernacle of God under the wings of the Shekinah glory, for the Jew First, and also the Gentile nations."[11] We too are going home one day.

        This is going to be a hard concept to relate to?  What concept is that?  The concept of going home.  Why?  Because many of our homes have been so dysfunctional, that they do not precipitate pleasant images, sights, sounds, and feelings.  Our fathers and mothers have been distant, disinterested, demanding, unreliable, undependable, and sometimes abusive.  Not because they meant to be or were evil, but because they were human.  We transfer these images, sights, sounds, and feelings to our present homes.  We transfer these images, sights, sounds, and feelings to our present spiritual homes, i.e. local church and her leaders.  We transfer these images, sights and sounds, to those in authority and those who remind us of the abandoning, abusive significant other.  But ultimately we transfer these images, sights, sounds, and feelings to God.  Therefore, it will be hard for many of us to think about wanting to go home, i.e. is to our eternal home!!!

        Praise God if you have had a warm, loving, reassuring relationship with your parent or parents.  That relationship will make you want to go home.  Your thoughts of home are filled with delightful memories.

        We now wander in the wilderness of this world being aliens, strangers and pilgrims in this barren land.

·        We should come and celebrate to remind ourselves of where we have come from and where we are going.

·        We must remind ourselves that this is not our home and we didn't come here to stay.

·        We should celebrate our temporary stay in the local church and this local church building.

·        We should celebrate our temporary stay in this body or tent.

·        We should celebrate the fact that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us.  Right now He is preparing the New Jerusalem where the streets are paved with gold and every gate is a pearl; where the city is 1500 miles long, wide and high; where there will be no need of the Son, for the Lamb of God will illuminate it.

        Can’t you hear Dorothy, at the end of the Wizard Oz, when she found out that she had the power to go home all the time and didn’t know it?  The good witch told her, “All you have to do is click your heels together and repeat the words, `There’s no place like home.  There is no place like home!’”  And this not our home.  We were not created to live on this earth, while being governed by Satan, sin, and self.  We were created to live with God!!!   We were created for Paradise, i.e. for heaven!!!  I can say, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!”  Why?  Because there is no place like home!

        We used to sing a song, “How I got over, over my Lord.  My soul looks back and wonders How I got over.”  When we get to heaven we will look back and contemplate how we got over, i.e. how we made it through what we had to go through.  But we won’t wonder, because it will be apparent for the day will make it manifest that Jesus Christ was the way that we got over.  We will never have to sing again, “Through many danger’s, toils, and snares, I have already come.  Tis grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.”  Why?  Because we will be finally home!!!

        Don Wyrtzen wrote:

When engulfed by the terror of tempestuous sea,

Unknown waves before you roll;

At the end of doubt and peril is eternity,

Though fear and conflict seize your soul:

When surrounded by the blackness of the darkness night,

O how lonely death can be;

At the end of this long tunnel is a shinning light,

For death is swallowed up in victory!

But just think of stepping on shore and finding it heaven!

Of touching a hand and finding it God’s!

Of breathing new air and finding it celestial!

Of waking up in glory and finding it home!!!

        "The Feast of Tabernacles is one of the three great occasions upon which God commanded the Children of Israel to assemble in the Temple of Jerusalem, and present their sacrifices and offerings unto the Lord.”[12]

        There are two great final assemblies to be held.  One is for the Israelites at the second coming.  God will finally gather all of Israel together for one last, eternal celebration.

        The other great assembly is the assembling of the church, body, and bride of Jesus Christ.  In the rapture, Jesus will return for His bride.  He will gather us up and will never leave His presence again.  We will be on an eternal honeymoon with Him.

1365: "Signs Of The Times"

        Speaking of the imminent return of our Lord, Gresham Guinness related that one evening he went to hear a performance of Handel's Messiah.  He said that after a couple of hours someone might have asked, "How much longer will the concert last?"  He said he would have answered, "Oh, about 5 minutes."  The individual might have replied, " But how can that be?  It's still in full swing and has been going on for a long time.  Why shouldn't it continue for 2 more hours?  How do you know it will be finished in 5 minutes?" Guinness said he would have replied, "Because I have the score, and they are singing the last chorus."

According to the score, the second coming is not far off.  If the second coming is not far, then the rapture is even nearer.  “Now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed!!!

(In addition to the elements of the ritual that we have already covered:)

        They were to do no work, because there is coming a day of complete and perfect rest for the people of God. We are pilgrims and strangers in this land, but:

Hebrews 4:9, “There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.”

One day we are going to rest from the labor, fatigue, stress, worry, and pain of this world!

        "There are some very practical lessons from this particular feast, and the first of them is rather obvious:  God wants His people to have joy.

        It is a good thing to sit down, look back and remember the goodness of the Lord.  Over and over again in the book of Deuteronomy the people were told to remember."[13]

        "There is a second lesson here:  Joy always follows cleansing.  First The Day of Atonement, then the Feast of Tabernacles.

        Nothing will rob you of joy like sin.  Sin robs us of joy, but joy always follows cleansing.  We see that in the life of David and the Prodical Son."[14]

        "There's a third lesson here we should learn:  Joy leads to sacrifice.  During the Feast of Tabernacles, 199 different animals were sacrificed.  Numbers 29 gives you the details on this:  Seventy bullocks would be sacrificed and 14 rams and 98 lambs and seven goats.  And then on the eighth day there would be one bullock and one ram and one goat and seven lams.  This is total of 199 animals.

        When you are joyfully thankful to God, sacrifice is no problem.  God says to us, `I have been good to you.  Now you must share.  Share with Me."[15]

        "I used to ask myself the question, `Why did God stop with 199 animals?  Why not an even 200 sacrifices?'  And then it came to me-- I am supposed to be sacrifice number 200!"[16]

        "There is a fourth lesson here--the greatest joy is yet to comeThe best is yet to come!  "The joyous things of life are always more appreciable when they have been preceded by a dark or difficult experience.  `Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."[17] The best is yet to come!

I have a job, but that’s not the best.

I have a car, but that’s not the best.

I have a home, but that’s not the best.

I have friends, but that’s not the best.

I have a family, but that’s not the best.

I have a wife, but that’s not the best.

The best is yet to come!!!

I have pointed out that the seven feasts of the Lord present God's prophetic program.

·        God's calendar begins with Passover--the death of Christ.

·        Then the Feast of Unleavened Bread--the separation and cleansing of our lives.

·        The Feast of Firstfruits pictures the resurrection of the Lord, and the consecration of our lives to Jesus Christ.

·        Pentecost speaks of the coming of the Holy Spirit.

(Now, what lies ahead in the future?)

·        The Feast of Trumpets--the gathering together of God's people (God's earthly people, Israel, and God's heavenly people, the Church).

·        Then the Day of Atonement when Israel shall be cleansed of her sin, and we shall be cleansed and rewarded.

·        Then shall come that glorious Feast of Tabernacles when Israel shall enter into her kingdom, and we shall reign with Jesus Christ!!!  "The Feast of Tabernacles speaks of the wonderful, joyful time we will share in the blessings of the kingdom with our Savior."[18]

        So, I pray that you can see the importance of celebration to humanity, to the Children of Israel, to the New Testament local church, and to African American Christians in particular.  I pray that you see the importance of celebrating what God has done for us.  I pray that you will become familiar with the rudiments of celebration, which are:

·        resting from worldly labors,

·        remembering God's deliverance,

·        removing sin, the flesh, and the world from our midst,

·        rendering sacrifice to God for His spiritual and physical blessings unto us,

·        rejoicing because of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit,

·        regathering for worship celebration in anticipation of our final regathering,

·        repenting in celebration of the ongoing, cleansing effect of the blood of Jesus Christ,

·        reminding ourselves of how God sustained us during our wandering on earth.

Celebration adds vibrancy to life!

Celebration adds meaning to life!!

Celebration adds dignity to life!!!

O come and magnify the Lord with me in joyous celebration through giving, singing, teaching, preaching, praise, etc., with reverence, awe, excitement, festivity, and thanksgiving!!!

(Now is the day of Salvation.  Come to Jesus, now!)


Call to Discipleship


[1] Victor Buksbazen, The Gospel In The Feasts Of Israel, The Friends of Israal, W. Collingswood, New Jersey, 1954, pp. 46-47.

[2]John Ritchie, Feasts Of Jehovah, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982, p. 67.

[3] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be God's Guest, Back to the Bible, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, pp. 88-89.

[4] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be God's Guest, Back to the Bible, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, p. 91.

[5] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be God's Guest, Back to the Bible, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, p. 90.

[6] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be God's Guest, Back to the Bible, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, p. 90.

[7] Victor Buksbazen, The Gospel In The Feasts Of Israel, The Friends of Israal, W. Collingswood, New Jersey, 1954, pp. 46-47.

[8] Victor Buksbazen, The Gospel In The Feasts Of Israel, The Friends of Israal, W. Collingswood, New Jersey, 1954, p. 49.

[9] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be God's Guest, Back to the Bible, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, p. 69.

[10]John Ritchie, Feasts Of Jehovah, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982, pp. 33-34.

[11] Victor Buksbazen, The Gospel In The Feasts Of Israel, The Friends of Israal, W. Collingswood, New Jersey, 1954, p. 49.

[12] Victor Buksbazen, The Gospel In The Feasts Of Israel, The Friends of Israal, W. Collingswood, New Jersey, 1954, pp. 46-47.

[13] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be God's Guest, Back to the Bible, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, p. 89.

[14] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be God's Guest, Back to the Bible, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, p. 92.

[15] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be God's Guest, Back to the Bible, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, pp. 92-93.

[16] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be God's Guest, Back to the Bible, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, p. 93.

[17] C. W. Slemming, Thus Shalt Thou Serve, Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, 1974, p. 138.

[18] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be God's Guest, Back to the Bible, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, p. 69.

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