Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)
Five days later, Israel celebrated its most joyous appointed time of the year with the fall harvest (2nd and final harvest of the year), also known as the appointed time or the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-36,40,42-43 and Numbers 29:12-40), Feast of Booths (Sukkot), or Feast of Ingathering, or Feast of the Nations. During this eight day celebration, the Jewish people built small, makeshift shelters where they lived and ate their meals as a reminder of God’s provision and care during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness when they lived and worshipped in temporary shelters.
Zechariah 14:16-19 prophetically foretells the final harvest when all nations come up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles and share in the joy and blessings of God’s kingdom. And should any of the families of the earth not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, no rain will fall on them.
But wait there’s more……
During the week-long celebrations sacrifices were offered every day, bulls, rams, lambs, a goat, grain & wine. During the time of Herod’s Temple, lighting of oil lamps (20 m tall candelabras) which would shine, (according to the Mishnah oral tradition of the rabbis) as a bright light toward the sky and shone over all Jerusalem. This was a reminder that God’s Shekinah glory had once filled his temple. It was during this ceremony that Jesus declared in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world, anyone who follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life”. After the daily sacrifices the water libation ceremony would take place. The drawing of the water from the pool of Siloam was done at night. In the manner of the text of Isaiah 12:3 “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation”. This water from the pool of Siloam, was used on more than one occasion during the anointing of Solomon as King of Israel (1 Kings 1:45), used in the ordinance of the red heifer (Numbers 19), Jesus sending the man born blind to wash away the clay from his eyes. The waters also became associated with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 44:3). Pouring water on the altar at the feast was symbolic of the Holy Spirit to be poured out during the days of Messiah. On the last day Jesus stood up and declared in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7: 37).
The last day of the feast, the eighth day, is a joyous celebration called Shemini Atzeret. This is a sacred assembly with the presentation of a fire offering. This eighth day is also called Simchat Torah, meaning Rejoicing in the Word or Torah. John says in 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God”, and then in verse 14, “The Word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us”. The Word as in Ps. 119:105 is a lamp to our feet and a light for our path. Jesus the written word and the living word. The living word dwelling in the hearts of men. The Torah readings would commence again for the following year. Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
This concludes the Feast of Tabernacles mentioned as in Leviticus 23: 36b.
In our understanding these Fall/Autumn appointed times are not yet fulfilled but will be fulfilled, and/or are related to the second coming of Christ. These appointed times will happen in a single year, as did the Spring appointed times of Passover, First Fruits and Pentecost. We see the Fall/Autumn Appointed times as foreshadowing the Trumpet Sound heralding the King, satan being banished to the abyss at Atonement, with the beginning of the Millennial reign of Christ, and the Great Ingathering at Tabernacles.
Three times a year, the men went up to Jerusalem to worship and to bring sacrifices, these were called the pilgrimage appointed times (Deut.16:16). This was to happen during Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.
In Zechariah chapter 14, he prophesied the second coming of Christ. Behold a day is coming that all nations will come up against Jerusalem to do battle. But the Lord will intervene, He goes forth and fights against the nations and is victorious; with the result the Lord will be king over all the earth. The survivors from the nations that came against Jerusalem will therefore go up year after year to worship the Lord of armies and to celebrate the feast of booths. The families of the earth who refrain from this pilgrimage, would not have any rain falling on them. They will not reap the benefit from rain. In this prophecy the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of Booths is the only appointed time which continues.