Messianic Overtones
in Judaism



A Study of Rites and Rituals in Types and Shadows

Feast of Tabernacles (Succoth)

Leviticus 23:33-34:  "And the Lord spoke unto Moses saying, speak unto the children of Israel saying, the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for the seven days unto the LORD." 

Leviticus 23:39-43: "Beside the Sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your free will offerings, which ye give unto the LORD.  Also, in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD for seven days; on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath.  And ye shall take you on the first day boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees and willows of the brook, and ye shall rejoice before the LORD, your God seven days.  And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD for seven days in the year.  It shall be a statute forever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.  ye shall dwell in booths seven days, all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: that your generation may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God."

As the Lord had said, this was a day to remember where He had brought them from, and how He had provided the plenteous harvests they had gathered in barley, wheat and now fruits and vegetables.  He wanted them to never forget that they had been strangers, and nomads, wandering around in the desert, living in tents and lean-to's.  When they came into the land He had promised Abraham, the Lord wanted them to live in these temporary dwellings or booths as a remember God's promises are "yea and amen."  This Feast was the last one of the year to be celebrated, and a joyous time for the people to rest from their labors and enjoy the fruit and food from their harvest.  It was all about the goodness of God and His blessing.  Even the numbers in the dates factored into design of the Feast, for the number 7 is used repetitively, and is the number of completion.  The number 15, (on the 15th day of the 7th month), is the number for rest.  They were celebrating and taking their rest in the tabernacles or booths for 7 days.  There are other traditional feasts that the Rabbis have added through the years, including Channukah and Purim, memorialized to remember God's victories on their behalf.

 

There was yet another link to the 15th day of the 7th month.  Not only was it a day that brought rest, but on one particular  15th of Tishri, it became the day that REST eternalized itself.  Jesus personalized REST when He said, "come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest...and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29)  Isaiah described the Holy Ghost as "rest" in Isaiah 28:11-12: "For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to his people.  To whom he said, this is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing..."  How did that "rest" become manifested on Tishri 15?  In the form of a baby boy, born to a young Jewish virgin, in Bethlehem.  God had concealed this within numbers in the scripture, but with careful and close study, numbers reveals these hidden truths.  The secular world teaches December 25 as the birthday of Jesus, but that's a fallacy... according to the Bible.  I don't mean to sound like the grinch that stole Christmas, but I'd like to share a few scriptures that seem to line up and come out with a different conclusion.

At the time that David collected all the money and building materials so that Solomon, his son, could build a Temple, he decided on a system of priests to minister in that Temple.  The original priests had long since died, but their sons and grandsons ministered in their name.  It was decided on two priests for each ministry for a period of two weeks, so each month, they had a total of four priests in each ministry.  Two cleaned the altar; two changed the oil in the lampstand; two tended to the shewbread table, etc.  That's the backdrop for Luke 1:5.  The priest we're concerned with is Zacharias, the husband of Elizabeth.  The Bible says they were childless and elderly, and he is the priest that ministers at the Temple in the course of Abia, one of his patriarchal fathers.( in other words, Zacharias followed in the footstep of one his patriarchal great- grandfathers).  The chart shows us, according to I Chronicles 24:20, Abiijah, (same as Abia) served the 8th course.  Checking with the chart, it corrosponds to the month between June 15 and July 15 as being the exact time frame that Zacharias ministered in the Temple.  Zacharias sees an angel while he is ministering to the lampstand, and is told God has heard their prayer for a  child, and in spite of their age, they will have a son, John, who will be used of God. Luke 1:11-25, and after his ministry was complete, he goes home, and shortly thereafter, Elizabeth conceives.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch in Nazareth, an angel appeared to Mary.  Luke 1:26-31;36-39.  Mary conceived Jesus, and goes to help her cousin, Elizabeth  who is already 6 months pregnant. Counting from John's conception, he is born between April 1 and April 15.  6 months later, Jesus is born, approx October 15, the 15th of Tishri.  From another viewpoint:  Tradition dates the age of Jesus at 33 1/2 when He was crucified at Passover, in April...his last birthday was 6 months before; his next birthday would have been 6 months later..backwards or forwards, it's October 15!  In the Gospel of John 1:1-14, he says, speaking of the incarnation: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father); full of grace and truth."  In Strong's concordance, the word dwelt in this particular has an unusual meaning in the Greek, not used anywhere else in scripture.  It's "skenoo"; meaning, "to tent, encamp or occupy; To reside as God in a tabernacle."  John is actually saying, to paraphrase it, "and the Word was made flesh and encamped, resided or tabernacled among us."we celebrate the birth of He who tabernacled in flesh and walked among us as Jesus,( Yeshua), our Messiah! 

One of the biblical practices of this Feast was to bring a jug of water and one of wine to the outer court of the Temple, to spiritualize the provision of God.  They placed the wine on the altar for the Priests, and poured the water on the ground to offer thanks for the rain God had provided to help thirsty ground to produce crops.  This was called a "libation service", and was the part of the service we see Jesus in.  John 7:37: "In the last day, that great day of the Feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (but this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified."  Jesus was offering Himself for the quenching of man's spiritual thirst, knowing that after Calvary, He would be pouring out His Spirit upon all who desired to be saved.  He had already told them the only way to see God was to experience being born again, of water and Spirit.  He was offering them both.  The water spoke of cleansing of water for the remission of sins, and the outpouring  of the Holy Ghost, which would come later. 

Numerically, Tabernacles is the 7th Feast, and the number 7 relates to fullness or completion.  It is the full and complete calendar God gave the Jews to worship by, live by, and produce by.  It dealt with their deliverance from bondage, their agricultural harvests, and their worship and relationship to God.  The calendar was a floorplan of life, both physical and spiritual, and concealed within, it contained Messianic prophecies that we can now see revealed.  The first Feast of the calendar was Passover.  The number 1 pointed to the All Sufficient One, God.  In Passover, we saw a lamb sacrificed for the Jews, its' blood  was a type and shadow of Jesus, Who would one day be sacrificed for the world...the blood of Jesus, all sufficient.  In the Feast ofTabernacles, the 7th Feast, we see Jesus again, born during the time of that Feast... God "tabernacled" in flesh, Who would one day pour out His Spirit to be tabernacled in us!...Christ in you, the Hope of Glory!  We see Jesus, in the first month and in the last.  Truly, He said "I am the alpha and omega; the first and the last."

"Tabernacles" is the only Feast that God speaks of to be observed continually in the Millenium...(a period of 1000 years of peace and tranquility, when the Lord will reign on earth after the time of Tribulation.)  In Zechariah, the Lord makes references to the nations that remained after the Tribulation, after He dealt with all those nations that came against Israel.  Those that remained would come to Jerusalem at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles to worship Jesus, the Almighty God and King.  Jesus, who was "tabernacled" in the flesh, so that He could shed His blood for the Ultimate Sacrifice for all humanity.  He returned after death, to reign and rule with His followers, beginning in Jerusalem for 1000 years...to accept the worship of the entire world as they came on the Feast of Tabernacles to worship He, who is the Tabernacle of God...Jesus said, "I and the Father are One"...just the beginning of an eternity to be with Him!