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.
The Feast of Trumpets (also known as Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year) starts on September 15 this year. In the Old Testament (Leviticus 23:25), it was in preparation for the Feast of Atonement and announced the voice of God and His might in warfare, gatherings, and coronations. When the feast was eaten, the people knew that were eating victory, that nothing was impossible with God, and that they could be free from anything.
During this time in history, the ram’s horn was very important, serving as a representation of Jesus’s victory in our lives. Every feast began with the blowing of the shofar (a trumpet made from the ram’s horn), then the people would feast on who God was, giving them a revelation of their true Messiah. The first time we see the horn of a ram mentioned in Scripture was when Abraham was about to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord, but God provided a ram instead, sparing Isaac’s life (see Genesis 22:13).
Several hundred years later, the Israelites blew the trumpets as they conquered Jericho. They marched once around the city for seven days, then on the seventh day they marched seven times—each time they marched around, the priests blew their trumpets. This blowing of the trumpets gave the people confidence that they were going to win because God would make them victorious.
Seen throughout the Bible close to 20 times, the blowing of the trumpets had several different meanings and announcements to the people:
Trumpets were blown before going into battle, claiming victory (Numbers 10:9).
In the year of Jubilee, the trumpets were blown to kick off the celebration (Leviticus 25).
The trumpets were blown for a calling to repentance, and repentance led to victory (Leviticus 23).
Trumpets were blown when someone became king (2 Samuel 15:10; 2 Kings 9:13; 11:14, 2 Chronicles 23:13).
Isaiah 27:12-13 reveals the prophecy of the coming of Jesus through the blowing of trumpets. This meant that Jesus would raise the believers from the dead and take them to heaven to be with Him eternally.
The harvest resurrection will start with the sound of a trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
The greatest Feast of Trumpets will be when Jesus comes back, and we are all caught up to be with Him in heaven. Just as the trumpets were blown for the coronation of a king, the trumpets will again sound when the King of Kings comes to reign victoriously forever!