Summary: How Jesus fulfills the Feast of Tabernacles
“If I am going to live a normal Christian life, then I must live in a way that is not normal.” Let me say that again. “If I am going to live a normal Christian life, then I must live in a way that is not normal.” Do you believe that is true? If not, let me remind you of a few of the instructions that Jesus gave that certainly wouldn’t be considered “normal” in this world:
… Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:39 ESV)
… Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matthew 5:44 ESV)
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret… (Matthew 6:3-4 ESV)
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19-20ESV)
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ (Matthew 6:31 ESV)
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12 ESV)
Anyone here believe that the world would consider any of those things to be “normal”? And that is just from one of Jesus’ sermons.
And His disciples also said and wrote some things that seem far from normal, too. Most of us are probably familiar with these words that James wrote:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, (James 1:2 ESV)
That’s not very normal either, is it?
So how do we live a normal Christian life that is far from normal? I think that last of the seven feasts on the Jewish calendar, the Feast of Tabernacles, helps us to answer that question in a very practical way.
One last time let’s quickly review where we’re at in our study of these feasts. The seven feasts were divided into two seasons. The four spring feasts, were fulfilled by Jesus at His first coming: [show chart]
• The Feast of Passover was fulfilled by Jesus’ sacrificial death
• The Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by His burial
• The Feast of Firstfruits was fulfilled by His resurrection
• The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) was fulfilled by the coming of the Holy Spirit
Then there is a four month break until the fall feast season – a gap which represents the “Church Age” in which we are now living. During this time God is bringing salvation to the Gentiles in order to make Israel jealous so that they can eventually be saved.
God’s dealing with Israel resumes with the three fall feasts, which will be fulfilled by the second coming of Jesus.
We’ve looked at the first two fall feasts over the past couple of weeks. We saw that the Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled when Jesus returns to the earth accompanied by a trumpet blast that will gather the nation of Israel to Jesus. And then last week we saw that the Day of Atonement will be fulfilled when Israel will finally understand that Jesus is their long-awaited Messiah and they will mourn over their role in His death and be saved through faith in Him.
The third and final feast, like all the others, is described in several places in the Old Testament, but I’m just going to read the applicable portion of Leviticus 23.
[Read Leviticus 23:33-36, 39-43]
The word translated “booths” in the ESV translation is the Hebrew word “sukkot”, which is how the Jews still refer to the feast. That word is also translated “tabernacles” in many other English translations and that is probably the word I’ll end up using frequently this morning. That word is derived from the Latin word for a “tent” or “hut”. The underlying Hebrew word can describe any kind of dwelling place, but here these booths are to be a reminder of the temporary dwelling places in which the people of Israel lived in while they were wandering in the wilderness before entering into the Promised Land.
The feast begins on the fifteenth day of the month of Tishrei and lasts for seven days – actually eight days if you include the day of solemn rest on the day following the end of the feast. This year the feast will begin at sunset on Wednesday and end at sunset on the following Wednesday. No work is to be done on the first or eighth day.