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Feast of Tabernacles (Christian holiday)

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The feast of Tabernacles [1] [2] [3] [4] is a seven-day Jewish festival also known as Sukkot or the Feast of Booths [5]. It is immediately followed by the eighth day [6] [7] which alludes to the redemption at the end of days and where shelter is no longer required as protection against physical elements.[8] The feast of Tabernacles is one of the most important days in the Judaic tradition and is celebrated on the 15th of Tishrei in the Hebrew calendar.

In the New Testament

In the gospel of John the use of “dwelling” alludes to the tangible presence of God in the portable sanctuary, first carried by the Israelites in the wilderness and later transferred to the temple in Jerusalem (Latin tabernaculum “tent” and the diminutive “taberna” meaning "hut, cabin, booth").[9] In popular usage the derivative “tavern” possibly by dissimilation from “traberna” came to mean “wine shop" (late 13c) and later “public house” (mid-15c).[10]

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling [11] among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.[12]

As an ordinary Jew, Jesus kept all the Jewish feasts including the feast of Tabernacles. As Messiah, he used it as an occasion to preach and to work the signs and wonders associated with the day of the Lord.

But when the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near [....] Jesus told them, [...] "You go to the feast. I am not yet going because for me the right time has not yet come." However, after his brothers had left for the feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret [....] Not until halfway through the feast did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach.[13]

In Eschatology

The feast of Tabernacles has a particular place in the eschatology of Judah, Jerusalem and all the nations contending with her. In the book of Zechariah it is associated with the day of the Lord and the acceptance or rejection of the redemption that follows.

On that day the feet of the Lord will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him [....] Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain [....] The Lord will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles.[14]

The classic proclamation of the eighth day or the day of the Lord which is the eschatological fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, is summarised as follows in the fourteenth chapter of the book of Zechariah:

The Lord will be King over the whole earth. On that day there will be One Lord, and His name the Only name.[15]

References

  1. Leviticus 23:34
  2. Deuteronomy 16:13
  3. Zechariah 14:16-19
  4. John 7:2
  5. Nehemiah 8:14
  6. Leviticus 23:36-39
  7. John 7:37
  8. http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/4500/jewish/From-Ramses.htm]
  9. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=Tabernacle
  10. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=tavern
  11. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=Tabernacle
  12. John 1:14
  13. Zechariah 14:2,7,14
  14. Zechariah 14:3,16-19
  15. Zechariah 14:9

Further reading

  • Chumney, Edward (1994). The Seven Festivals of the Messiah. Treasure House. ISBN 1560437677
  • Howard, Kevin (1997). The Feasts of the Lord God's Prophetic Calendar from Calvary to the Kingdom. Nelson Books. ISBN 0785275185

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