In 2023, Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles) follows the Feast of Atonement on September 29-October 6. When the Israelites came out of Egypt, they spent 40 years in the wilderness. God visited them and took care of them, providing food, water, clothing, even helping them defeat their enemies. Though they lived in tents, their needs were always met.
The Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated every year because they wanted to remember and celebrate how God not only took care of them, but how His presence came down and lived with them. Every year, each family set up a little tabernacle in a tent, and for seven days the family lived in the tent, celebrating the presence of God with them during those hard times, celebrating that He brought them into the promised land.
As the seventh feast, symbolizing the day of rest, God called them to rest and to enjoy His presence. Seven is also the number of completion. All the other feasts were very busy, but the seventh one was a big celebration full of rest and enjoyment.
This feast emphasized the presence of God with us—no matter where we are, His tabernacle is with us, in our hearts. Where we are, He wants to be. This is seen in the original building of the Tabernacle, in the Garden with Adam and Eve, and in the greatest presence of all, when He comes down and lives in our hearts.
This is a blueprint of Jesus. Through the Feast of Tabernacles, we see God’s plan for us, the sending of His Son so we could have His constant presence, not just once a year, but every day! Tabernacles also represent that one day, Jesus will come back and establish the ultimate tabernacle, His Kingdom.
This year, Yom Kippur (the Feast of Atonement) is September 24-25. In Leviticus 23:26-32, the Feast of Atonement was special, and required a 24-hour feast of repentance. This feast isn’t for the church, but for the Israelites—God’s old covenant people. For 24 hours they reflected on the previous year and repented of their sins.
On that day, no one was to work, only spending time focusing on how they had sinned, seeking repentance, and asking God to have mercy on them. This feast was all about cleansing Israel with an offering of a lamb (blood sacrifice), covering their sins in full. God gave us a future picture with this feast because Jesus, the Lamb of God, came to take away the sin of the world, for both the Jew and the Gentile. Jesus’s blood atoned for (covered) our sin so we could walk in freedom.
Zechariah 12:10 tells us there’s coming a day when Israel will look on Jesus, the Lamb of God, who they pierced and know in an instant that He is their Messiah. A nation will be saved on that day. They will see Him and know Him as the wounded one, the Bread of Life. They will feast on the Bread of Life. This feast has everything to do with you because the Old Covenant is your foundation, and we’ll be blessed when we pray for Israel.