Why Go To The Feast

Dear Brethren,

Why do we keep the Feast of Tabernacles?  What is the purpose of the Feast?  Is it required by God that we observe the fall Holy Days?  What does the Feast of Tabernacles picture?  Have God's Holy Days been done away with, or, are they still commanded for Christians?  What will become of true Christians when the Feast of Tabernacles is fulfilled in the plan of God?  What is a booth?  Is there a purpose in living in temporary dwellings?  Are God's people taking the command to go to the Feast of Tabernacles serious enough?

The Feast is meant by God to be an experience with vital spiritual lessons attached to it.  The first reason that we go to the Feast is because God commands us to do so.  It is not a suggestion - but a command.  God commands the Feast for Christians because of the indispensable lessons it contains.  Now, we might be inclined to say that we don't need to learn any more lessons, but that is not true.  Unless we learn the lessons that God has for us, we are destined to end up in ruin with the rest of this miserable world.  Especially now, at this end-time, we need to find out what God has in store for us at each Feast. 

The Feast of Tabernacles is a seven day long pilgrimage Feast, also known as the Feast of Booths"They found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the Feast of the seventh month."  (Nehemiah 8:14)  The Feast of Tabernacles requires much planning, preparation and travel. New Testament Christians save their second tithe throughout the year for the express purpose of having sufficient funds to go to the Feast of Tabernacles.  God also provides for the poor to be able to attend, because going to the Feast is that important.

"You shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place His name there, the [2nd] tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee:  Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose: And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee."   (Deuteronomy 14:23-27)

God sends special blessings to those who provide for the poor to go to the Feast.  "At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the [3rd] tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest."  (Deuteronomy 14:28-29)

"The Lord spoke unto Moses:  Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. These are the Feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: Beside the Sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill 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 seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath. 

God gives directions for temporary dwellings.  "And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick 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 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 generations 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. And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the Feasts of the Lord." (Leviticus 23:33-44)

One of the reasons for us going to the Feast of Tabernacles is:  "That your generations 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."   A  tabernacle or booth is a temporary shelter, with the emphasis on "temporary."  A booth is a makeshift structure that is not suitable for continual living.  Today, any motel room, tent or camper, temporarily occupied, qualifies as a "booth."  Staying at home, however, does not meet God's requirements for the Feast of Tabernacles.

God wants to drive home to us just how temporary our existence is.  "We are strangers before Thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding [no one lasts very long]."  (1Chronicles 29:15)  The Feast reminds us of our present, temporary condition, and focuses our attention on the future.  Not only does the Feast of Tabernacles teach us of our temporary nature, it points to the greater and permanent Kingdom of God of which we strive to be a part. Paul wrote: "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved [at death], we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven."  (2 Corinthians 5:1-2)

By going to the Feast we are to learn that we are not yet inheritors of the promise, but only qualifying heirs to the promise of eternal life.  "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned [moved from one temporary station to another] in the land of promise, as in a strange [alien] country, dwelling in tabernacles [temporary booths] with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God [God did not give Abraham a permanent settlement]... These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."  (Hebrews 11:8-10,13) 

At His soon coming return, Jesus Christ will give us, if we have qualified, authority as kings and priests, ruling with Him over the entire earth.  We are not yet qualified to administer the way of the Kingdom of God - there are lessons to be learned.  Are we as rebellious as ancient Israel - whose dead bodies fell in the wilderness (Numbers 14:33)? The millennium will usher in one thousand years of peace, prosperity and rest - have we learned to be peacemakers (Hebrews 4:9, Matthew 5:9)?  Like ancient Israel, God is giving us the opportunity to obey Him.  "You shall remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove [test] thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or not."  (Deuteronomy 8:2)

The Feast of Tabernacles is called the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16). This gathering signified the completion of the annual fall harvest.  God said, "You shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates." (Deuteronomy 12:12), 18; 14:26). The Feast is a time of celebration for the abundance God has given.

Another reason to go to the Feast is to rejoice before the Lord on this solemn occasion.  "Thou shalt observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine:  And thou shalt rejoice in thy Feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn Feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice."  (Deuteronomy 16:13-15)


Sermon:  "Why Go To The Feast"