We’re getting close to the last of the fall Feasts of the Lord, as they are called in Leviticus 23.
Note they are not called the Jewish holidays, nor the Hebrew feasts. They are the Feasts of the Lord. God calls them “holy convocations” and “My feasts.” But a better translation is “appointed times.” They are God’s special time to meet with His people.
The last of these appointed times in the fall is called the Feast of Tabernacles, lasting seven days, with the first being a “holy convocation” in which no work is done, as well as the eighth.
“Wait a minute,” you might say. “You said the feast is seven days, now you said there’s an eighth.” That’s right, so are the ways of the Lord. The feast is seven, and then there is the eighth day. Seven is the number of perfection, the number of days in a week – then there’s the eighth day, a second holy convocation, another day of sabbath rest, apart from any other seventh-day sabbaths that may be included in that period of time.
I believe the eighth day is symbolic of the dawning of the new heaven and new earth spoken of in Isaiah 65:17, 66:22, 2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 21:1. Perhaps that’s why it is spoken of as separate and apart from the other seven days.
There’s so much symbolism in the Feast of Tabernacles – the seven days of Creation, perhaps the 7,000 years of history in the “old” earth, followed by the eighth day – blissful eternity in the new heavens and new earth.
But I get ahead of myself.
Tabernacles, or Sukkot as it is called in Hebrew, has special significance for all people – especially followers of Jesus, who Himself observed it annually in Jerusalem. If you believe the Word of God literally, as I do, you should know that when Jesus returns to save Israel, restore it, rule over it as King of kings and bring peace and justice and harmony to the world – much as it was originally intended for all Creation before the Fall – all people, both the natural and resurrected, will observe the Feast of Tabernacles and worship King Jesus.
That’s what we’re told plainly in Zechariah 14:16-19: “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even 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 whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.”
It’s too bad that people will have to be coerced into observing these fabulous and joyous holy days. But we tend to do what we know, what we’re taught, what we learn. Why am I writing about the Feast of Tabernacles when they are not happening until Sept. 22-29 this year? Because I want you to know them as I do – a time meant for YOU. I want you to plan now.
Just to underline what I’m saying, Tabernacles was observed by believers from the time of Moses through the time of Jesus, through the lives of the apostles and continuously through the fall of Jerusalem and afterward by Jews who followed Jesus and those who did not – right up to our time today. And, when Jesus returns to restore the world and usher in his Kingdom, we will all observe Sukkot again.
Some Christians still do so today. More are doing so every year. And why not? These are holy days actually proclaimed by God, observed throughout Jesus’ own life, practiced by all His closest disciples and prophesied to have even more meaning to followers of the Messiah-King in the future.
If we truly believe Jesus is coming back, does it make sense to think about these things, learn about these things and possibly even begin to observe these things?
What truly hit home for me as I researched and wrote my latest tome, “The Gospel in Every Book in the Old Testament,” was just how fully integrated are the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek. It’s one continuous, miraculous, harmonious, unified, synthesized story from beginning to end. Not only can the Gospel be found in every book of the Hebrew Scriptures, but so can the Hebrew Scriptures be found in every book of the Greek.
This is more than coincidence. This is proof of the One True God of the universe – the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. If you want to discover or rediscover the other three-quarters of the Bible in a way that demonstrates its relevance to Jesus and the Good News, I highly recommend “The Gospel in Every Book,” certainly the most important project of my lifetime.
When I wrote my previous book, “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age,” it was an effort to get Christians back into the Bible, putting their earthly traditions aside and learning more about the ways of the Lord, which are not like our own ways. When Jesus came 2,000 years ago, He was not what everyone in Israel was expecting – even though He fulfilled all the criteria of the prophets – to the T. I sometimes muse as to whether this Hebrew Messiah will be recognized by all those who call themselves His followers.
About one thing I’m certain: Unless we steep ourselves in what the Scriptures say about His return, about the future, about His Glory, our eyes and hearts will not remain where they should be, where He wants them focused – on His Coming Kingdom.
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