Tag Archives: Israel

The Feast of Tabernacles

This is a post in a series of posts titled Types and Shadows. You may want to start at the FIRST post of the series, or see the PREVIOUS post, before reading this one.

This post in this series-within-a-series is over the last major festival in the Jewish religious year – The Feast of Tabernacles. As we discuss in the first post, the Feast of Tabernacles was actually made up of 3 sub-feasts spread out over many days. These include:

The Feast of Trumpets (see Leviticus 23:23-25; Numbers 29:1-6)

The Feast of Trumpets was actually just one day, the first day of the seventh month of the Jewish religious calendar. It was a special Sabbath, where the Israelites were not allowed to do any work. They would come together in a “sacred assembly”, where a special burnt offering would be made, and trumpets would be sounded as a call to prepare for the upcoming Day of Atonement.  For those who might have heard of it before, this is the day known as Rosh Hashanah.

In Scripture, the sounding of trumpets represented the voice of prophets, calling out the Word of the Lord. In the case of the Feast of Trumpets, the trumpet blasts were used to call Israel to awaken, to repent, and to prepare for the Day of Atonement. In fact, the 10 days between this day and the Day of Atonement were often called “the ten days of awe,” and were intended for the Israelites to spend time in self-inspection and repentance.

The Day of Atonement (see Leviticus 23:26-32; Leviticus 16)

On the tenth day of the month the Israelites held their most holy day of the year – the Day of Atonement (also known as Yom Kippur). It was also a special Sabbath, and the Israelites were not allowed to work, but beyond that, they were also required to fast (“deny themselves”). On this day, special burnt offerings were made for the people, and even more intense rituals were carried out. For instance, part of the ceremony involved 2 goats. The priest would cast lots for the goats, and one goat would be sacrificed, while the other would be released into the wilderness. Prior to it’s release, the High Priest would lay his hands on the second goat – called the scapegoat, or Azezel (meaning “an entire removal”) – effectively transferring the sin of the nation of Israel to it. When the goat was released, it symbolized the total removal of sin from the nation. After this part of the ceremony, the High Priest would continue by cleansing the sanctuary by the sprinkling of blood, and would enter the Most Holy Place in the tabernacle (or later, the Temple). This was the only day of the year that anyone was allowed to enter this inner part, as God promised that any other time of the year, the person would die.

The Feast of Tabernacles (see Leviticus 23:33-44; Deuteronomy 16:13-17; Numbers 29:12-35)

During this time of year, the nation of Israel would begin it’s fruit harvest, reaping grapes and olives (except on the regular and special sabbath days). On the 15th day of the month, the actual Feast of Tabernacles would begin, as a celebration of the “gathering of the produce of [their] threshing floor and winepress.” The festival lasted 7 days, with the first day being a special Sabbath. No work was performed that day, and a “sacred assembly” came together make burnt offerings and to present the “choice fruit” before the Lord. For 7 days, the whole nation would live in booths (small tabernacles or tents), which is why the feast is also sometimes called the Feast of Booths.  On the last day, the day after the 7 day festival, another special Sabbath was held and no work was to be done.

New Testament Application

The Feast of Trumpets served as a heralding of the judgment of God. One source I read said,

The massive blowing of the shofar (trumpet) on the first day of the seventh month was understood by the Jews as the beginning of their trial before the heavenly court where books would be opened and the destiny of each individual would be decided. The trial lasted ten days until the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) when God would dispose of their sins in a permanent way.

In this perspective, it’s not hard to see the parallel between the trumpets sounding here and the trumpets mentioned in the book of Revelation 8. Here, in the last days, trumpets also sound as a heralding of the judgments of God. The final judgment is described in Revelation 11:18:

The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great—and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

Interestingly, just like during this Feast, where the Day of Atonement followed the judgment of God, similar events are described in the end times. Right after describing the final trumpet judgment in Revelation 11, it says “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.”  Just as the Israelites had their sin removed on the Day of Atonement (the day the High Priest entered the Most Holy Place in the presence of the ark of the conventant), we too have had our sins removed by the sacrifice of Christ.

Finally, the Feast of Tabernacles commemorated for the nation of Israel how they lived in booths (tents) in the wilderness, and how God dwelt with them in the Tabernacle of Moses. It also reminds us of how God dwells with us through Jesus (“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. – John 1:14), and through the Holy Spirit within us.  Also, just as the Feast of Tabernacles was to be a time of joy, so shall we be joyful in the New Heaven, after the judgments and atonement has been realized at the end of the age.

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The Feasts of Israel

This is a post in a series of posts titled Types and Shadows. You may want to start at the FIRST post of the series, or see the PREVIOUS post, before reading this one.

Today we will continue to look at Old Testament types, shadows, and illustrations by beginning to discuss the feasts/festivals celebrated by the nation of Israel. Because there is so much to talk about here (my lesson today was almost double the length of my usual lessons!), I’m going to break these up into separate posts for each major feast. Today, in this post, I’ll introduce the feasts and discuss how they fit in Israel’s history and on their calendar.  Tomorrow we’ll look at Passover, including the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Sheaf of Firstfruits. Then the following post will discuss the Feast of Weeks and Pentecost.  The final post in this little series-within-a-series will take a look at the Feast of Tabernacles, including the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the actual Feast of Tabernacles.

Before you can gain an understanding of how the Feasts of Israel foreshadowed and illustrate New Testament events, you have to understand how the feasts were structured and the role they played in the history of the nation.  The structure of the feasts themselves is not hard to understand – there were truly 3 major feasts that the people of Israel participated in, with some minor sub-feasts (so to speak) being a part of the major ones. These feasts were:

  1. The Feast of Passover
    The Passover feast was really made up of 3 feasts – Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Sheaf of Firstfruits.
  2. The Feast of Weeks
    The Feast of Weeks stood on it’s own, and was also called Pentecost.
  3. The Feast of Tabernacles
    The Feast of Tabernacles was made up of 3 feasts – the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles itself. This feast is also known as the Feast of Booths.

The formal worship of the nation of Israel revolved around these 3 major festivals. When the Israelites left the slavery of Egypt, the Lord gave them a new calendar. He then prescribed the feasts and set every detail in place in relation to this new calendar (see Leviticus 23). Check out the image below of the Jewish Calendar with the festivals listed (with Hanukkah added…).

As you can see, Passover occurred in the first month, actually starting on the 14th day of that month. We’ll see in tomorrow’s post that preparation for this feast began a few days prior to that.  The Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, fell in the third month. God told the people, “From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD” (Leviticus 23:15-16).  The word Pentecost means “fifty” in Greek, so it’s easy to see where it got this name.  The final feast we’ll look at is the feast of Tabernacles, which was celebrated in the 7th month.

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The Tabernacle of David

This is a post in a series of posts titled Types and Shadows. You may want to start at the FIRST post of the series, or see the PREVIOUS post, before reading this one.

In yesterday’s post, we looked at the Biblical typology of the tabernacle of Moses. We defined the word tabernacle as a dwelling, and showed how other translations used the word tent in its place. We determined that the tabernacle was God’s plan to dwell with His people, Israel, at that point in history.  Today’s post is going to continue looking at the tabernacle, but will focus on the tent erected on Mount Zion during the reign of King David.

Historical Background

Before we can look at the New Testament significance of the Tabernacle of David, we have to look at the historical background of why David had the tabernacle raised in Jerusalem in the first place. The tabernacle of Moses was still standing and in use in Gibeon, but as we’ll see, the Ark was not there.

In 1 Samuel 4, we read that about a hundred years before David came into power, the Israelites were at war with the Philistines. They weren’t faring well in battle, so they took it upon themselves to bring the Ark of the Covenant (which, as we mentioned yesterday, symbolized the presence of God) out of the Tabernacle of Moses and into battle with them. They figured that it would bring them victory, but in the end, the Ark was captured by the Philistines and taken back to their city of Ashdod. The people of Ashdod ended up being judged by God (they were afflicted with tumors – my lesson said these were probably hemorrhoids…eghh…), so they had the Ark sent to Gath, who in turn had it sent to Ekron. Each city having the same fate (hemorrhoids), they finally decided to have the Ark sent back to Israel. Once in Israel, the Ark made it’s way to Kiriath Jearim, where it stayed until the time of David.

After David had come into power, he decided to bring the Ark back into it’s rightful place – the center of Israel’s worship. He set up an Ark-moving party, and they started transporting the Ark on a cart back to Jerusalem. The only problem was, this was not the prescribed method of moving the Ark – God had commanded that it be moved on poles so that it would not have to be touched by the priests who carried it. Instead, as they moved the cart along, one of the priests put his hand on the Ark to steady it, and God immediately strikes him dead. This angers and confuses David, who probably thought he was doing the right thing by having the Ark transported back to it’s proper place. Instead, David has the Ark placed in the home of the nearest resident and goes back to Jerusalem empty-handed.

Three months later, David hears that the household where he had left the Ark was experiencing great blessing, so he is stirred to try moving the Ark again to the center of Israel’s worship. This time he is careful to move the Ark in the way prescribed in the Law, on the shoulders of Levites, and he offers the right sacrifices to the Lord as the Ark enters Jerusalem. And as we mentioned before, instead of taking the Ark to the existing tabernacle in Gibeon, David has a new tent pitched on Mount Zion especially for the Ark.

Moses’ Tabernacle vs. David’s Tabernacle

As we talked about yesterday, Moses’ tabernacle had 3 compartments – the Outer Court, the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place.  As you can see from this diagram from my lesson, David’s tabernacle had only one compartment, and this compartment corresponded to the Most Holy Place in Moses’ tabernacle:

In this new tent, the Ark was the only fixture inside, and David set up a new order of worship here. The tabernacle in of Moses, in Gibeon, was still in use. In 1 Chronicles 16, where it talks about David’s tabernacle, it mentions the old tabernacle by saying “David left Zadok the priest and his fellow priests before the tabernacle of the LORD at the high place in Gibeon to present burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar of burnt offering regularly, morning and evening, in accordance with everything written in the Law of the LORD, which he had given Israel.” (v. 39-40). At the new tabernacle, David set up many priests to serve before the Ark of the Lord. Their jobs included sacrifice, singing and music, thanksgiving, and guarding the door of the tent. Most amazingly, there was no veil! As my lesson put it, “people had daily access into the presences of God…there was a constant flow of people into the Tabernacle of David, bringing praise and worship before the Ark of the Lord.”

New Testament Fulfillment

David’s tabernacle serves many great illustrations with New Testament significance.

  • Open access into the presence of God. When Christ died, the veil in the Temple blocking the Most Holy Place from the people, ripped in two from top to bottom (see Matthew 27:51). Because of this, we have the authority to “approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Hebrews 4:16).  This open access is illustrated in David’s tabernacle, where the people could enter God’s presence and worship Him freely.
  • Unity. One of the hallmarks of the reign of David was the unity of the nation of Israel. Throughout the times before David and much of the time after, the nation was split in different ways, but during his reign the nation was one. The tabernacle in Jerusalem served as the center of worship for this unified nation. This illustrates the unity that believers have in Christ, which Jesus prayed about in John 17: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (v. 22-23)
  • Our Life in Christ. One of the themes that can easily be seen in David’s returning the Ark to the center of Israel’s worship is joy. David and the people experience great joy in their rejuvenated worship before the Lord, with singing, dancing, and music. At the same time, the Christian life is described throughout the New Testament as a life of joy. This joy comes from doing what we were created to do, just as the Israelites were joyful in returning to what they were called to do – worship.

As a Biblical type, the tabernacle of David is only mentioned once in the New Testament. In Acts 15, James (the brother of Jesus) quotes the prophet Amos as saying “After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things that have been known for ages” (v. 16-17).  The context of this statement by James is a conversation between the leaders of the Church over whether Gentiles should be allowed to convert to Christianity. Therefore, what James is doing is referring to the great spiritual revival that happened in David’s time (represented by the new tabernacle) and comparing it to the spiritual revival that was occurring at that time with the great influx of gentiles into the Church. And with this new revival came all the things that we saw come with the return of the Ark to Jerusalem – open access to God, unity, and a joyful, purposeful life.

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Genesis 46-47: Moving to Egypt…

My study today covered Genesis 46 and 47. The story of Joseph and his family continues with Jacob (Israel) and his entire family moving to Egypt in order to see Joseph and in order to be saved from the famine. They begin to head toward Egypt, stopping in Beersheba to offer sacrifices to God. God speaks to Jacob in a dream that night and promises to be with him and to bring him back out again.  The chapter continues with a detailed genealogy of Jacob’s sons and grandsons, commenting that all of Jacob’s direct descendants numbered 70 people (Genesis 46:27). Joseph meets his family in Goshen and is reunited with his father Jacob. Chapter 47 describes the meeting between some of Joseph’s brothers, as well as Jacob, and Pharaoh. Then, in the second half of this chapter, it elaborates on the effects of the famine in the land. The people continued to come to Joseph to get their food, but after a while they ran out of money and had to start using their livestock as payment. After their livestock was all given to Pharaoh, the people began to use their land and their own bodies (selling themselves into slavery) as payment for food. The chapter ends with the account of Jacob making Joseph promise that he will take Jacob back to Canaan to be buried with his forefathers when he dies.

Several things stand out from these two chapters. Since everything is not necessarily closely related, I have tried to outline it as best I could below.

God’s slow fulfillment of His promise

Matthew Henry’s commentary on Genesis 46 states that “though the fulfilling of promises is always sure, yet it is often slow.” God had promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars, yet as Henry reminds us “it was now 215 years since God had promised Abraham to make of him a great nation, ch. 12:2; yet that branch of his seed, to which the promise was made sure, had only increased to seventy…”  So why was this genealogical account included, do you think? Henry says that it is to show the great power of God. These 70 grow into a much larger number quickly – in Exodus 1:7, after Jacob, Joseph, and all his brothers have died, it says that “…the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land (Egypt) was filled with them.”  And it is also good to remember that God’s timing is not always our timing. “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.” (2 Peter 3:8-9).

Being content with your calling and circumstances

Henry mentions something that I never considered as I read through this account – although shepherds are “detestable” to Egyptians, Joseph made no effort to hide what it was that his family did. He planned from the start to approach Pharaoh and to explain that they tend livestock, and that he would have them settle in Goshen as a way to separate them from most other Egyptians. Henry states that “whatever employment and condition God in his providence has allotted for us, let us suit ourselves to it, satisfy ourselves with it, and not mind high things. It is better to be the credit of a mean post, than the shame of a high one.” This reminded me of a story I heard a while back of how to make a difference in our jobs. The article said:

Take for example, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. He was once asked if he could explain how a black kid, from New York City, with average grades, could become a four-star general. Powell simply smiled and said, “It’s a great country.” When he was asked about the first time that he experienced discrimination, Powell said that when he was 18 years old he worked a summer job in a factory as a floor sweeper. He noticed that only white employees were machine operators and all the floor sweepers were black. Instead of reacting angrily to this, he made the decision to be the best floor sweeper in the factory. The next year, when he returned to the same factory for a summer job, the manager promoted him to be the first black machine operator. It’s amazing how many doors of opportunity you can open for yourself with good performance and the right attitude.

This life is just a pilgrimage

When Jacob is brought before Pharaoh, Pharaoh asks him his age. Jacob answers him by saying “the years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” (Genesis 47:9). This sounds very much like a complaint that he has not lived as long as his forefathers, and that his life has been one difficulty after another. I’m almost certain that it is such a complaint, but Jacob also includes a very interesting word in his response – that his life has been nothing more than a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage, of course, is a journey through a foreign land in order to get to special place. We are told in Hebrews 11:13-16 that those who had great faith in the stories of the Old Testament “admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” We should remember that this earth is nothing more than a foreign land for us, and that Jesus is preparing a place for us in heaven.

God is always in control

Sometimes I like to think that if I work hard enough and want something bad enough, I can get it. We are told from when we are young that, if we work hard, there is nothing we cannot do. But I am starting to think this is completely false. In the latter part of Genesis 47, it tells of how the people of Egypt relied on Joseph and the food he had stored up during the years of plenty to survive. At first they gave their money to buy food from him, but later they had to sell their livestock, their land, and even their own bodies into slavery just to buy food to survive. Why did they have to do this? Because there was a famine! No food was growing in the ground, probably because there was no rain. For 7 years!  Who has control over the rain? God!  These people probably believed just a few years before that they were in great shape – they had money, livestock, land, and freedom. But in less than 7 years they lost it all, just so that they could survive.  This tells me that we should remember that no matter what we think we have, it is God who is really in control.

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