Why is the Feast of Tabernacles 
So Important to God?

by: Guy Swenson

Email: info@icogsfg.org


Let me share with you my personal story about my first Feast of Tabernacles. I was 18 years old and I was stunned to find out there was more to obedience to God than I had been led to believe. One example was when I found out there was a Feast of Tabernacles.

You see, in August 1971, I first began to attend Sabbath services in San Jose, California, then I went away to college in Spokane, Washington and the first Sabbath service that I attended in Spokane was the Sabbath that fell between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement.

I remember that I heard about the Day of Atonement that you weren't supposed to eat, so I went back to my dorm on the appointed time. I didn't eat but I didn't know about not drinking. So man, I drank water like crazy, then I learned that I wasn't supposed to do that during the Day of Atonement service, so I went back to the dorm sort of feeling sheepish.

The Church in Spokane was very warm with very generous people. I learned that there was the Feast of Tabernacles coming up and my attendance at the feast was a hastily organized ride. It was a borrowed sleeping bag. I stayed in a tent in Penticton, Canada. It snowed that year. I had one sport coat to my name and I wore it every day of the feast.

I remember that I had a food budget and I think it was like six dollars a day and I was very careful. I spent only so much for breakfast, so much for lunch and so much for dinner. I had people walk up to me and I didn't know them. I had no idea who they were, and they would hand me a ten or a twenty dollar bill and say, "Here." I thought, "Hey this is a great place." I ate better after people were so generous with me.

God Has An Opinion on People Observing His Holy Days

To know that God had an opinion about what days He wanted His people to assemble and worship Him was a surprise to me. You see, I was raised as a Methodist and the only one of God's Holy Days that I remember observing was Pentecost. Now I was a pretty active Methodist teenager and I was involved in the church and I really don't remember making the connection that Pentecost was something other than a day when the Holy Spirit descended on the people who were gathered together. I had no concept that it was one of the seven annual Holy Days of God. In fact we called it something a little different, we called it Whit Sunday.

It was God who was opening my teenage mind to understand things from the Bible, that had never been explained to me before, and contrary to what I had assumed, God had an opinion about Christians observing His Holy Days.

Now for example, I discovered that God had picked days for the express purpose of getting His people together. That's really what this is about from God's perspective.

In the N.I.V. in Leviticus 23 verse 1, it says, "The LORD said to Moses, {2} "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: "These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies."" So God is making it very clear that these are times that He had picked for the worship of Him and the assembling together of His people is sacred to Him. Now God expressed His opinion about when and how His people are to worship Him.

Then I discovered that the only religious days that God's people were instructed to observe, that were recorded in the Bible, for the New Testament Church, were the feast days of God. You don't find other days. What you find is the Church of God observing the Feast Days of God, in any of the instances that you see. For example, in the New Testament Church, we find the apostle Paul observing the Sabbath Day and preaching on the Sabbath Day, teaching people on the Sabbath Day and people assembling together, even Gentiles, on the Sabbath Day (Acts 13:14, 27, 42-44). And the Sabbath Day, by the way, is the first of the feast days that God mentioned and spoke about in Leviticus 23.

Keep The Feast

The New Testament Church kept Pentecost, that is real obvious in Acts chapter 2. The New Testament church kept the Passover. Read the book of first Corinthians, chapters 5 and 11. In regards to the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, it absolutely blew my mind, when somebody showed me first Corinthians chapter 5 and verse six, that the apostle Paul went so far as to boldly say, "We should keep the feast."

Let's read that, it says in verse six of first Corinthians chapter 5, "Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?"

And of course we understand the concept of leavening and unleavened bread.

Verse 7, "Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you are truly unleavened. For indeed Christ our Passover," (a clear connection here), "was sacrificed for us, {8} Therefore let us keep the feast."

Now I don't know how Paul could be more explicit. I don't know how he could be more plain, and in discussing it with friends of mine who believed otherwise, they tried to turn that clear statement into so many other meanings. "Well it really meant this, or it meant that." But Paul was pretty blunt, he was pretty clear and then he goes on to explain that what is done in ritual or in symbol or in the keeping of unleavened bread, that these things have a deeper meaning.

The Passover lamb, and the blood on the sides of the door and the top of the door, it had a meaning for the times of the people of Israel, it protected their firstborn from the death angel, but Paul makes it clear that there is a broader connection. There's something deeper. Those symbols had a meaning beyond what was clear to the Israelites of the day. When Israel left Egypt in hast and they did not have time for their bread to be leavened, for the bread dough to rise, that had a meaning.

Paul goes on to describe in verse 8, "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness." These are things that we repent of and we try to put sin out of our lives, "but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."

This is a different way of thinking. This is a different way of living. This is a different way of acting and behaving. Here's Paul, talking about this, and I don't remember a Methodist preacher ever saying to me, "Therefore let us keep the feast," and then connect it with the Holy Days. I don't remember first Corinthians chapter 5 verse six ever being preached on. It could have been. I just don't have any memory of it.

Paul, in Acts 18 verse 21, says, "He took leave of them, saying, "I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem, but I will return to you again, God willing," and he sailed from Ephesus."

I saw where Jesus kept the feast days, including the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7), but my religious friends were saying, "The Old Testament laws were for Israel, and the sacrifice of Jesus had done away with them all." But that did not explain how Paul was telling, for example, the Corinthian church, which was a mixture of both Jewish Christians, I don't know if you would say ex-Jewish Christians or formally Jewish Christians, or Christians who had been Jews, AND in that same congregation in Corinth, there were ex-pagan Christians. People who had been following the idolatrous worship, common in Corinth. Corinth was a hot bed of idolatry.

Paul told that mixed church to observe the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

In The Millennium The Nations Are To Keep The Feast of Tabernacles

I think for me, the thing that really nailed it, and put all of these different interpretations and ways of viewing the matter of "Does God have an opinion?", and what days we should observe, the thing that really nailed it for me, was when somebody turned and showed me Zechariah 14.

Zechariah 14 is a prophecy and the prophecy is clearly that of the returning King of Kings and Lord of Lords. At the time Zechariah was writing this, he didnít have this concept and He didn't know it would be Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary and had no idea of those things, but he knew, that the LORD would come and would descend and His foot would stand on the Mount of Olives.

We know in Acts chapter 1, that's where Jesus ascended to heaven from, right there on the Mount of Olives. In Zechariah 14, He is giving this overview picture of what happens when the LORD, Jesus as we understand it, returns and establishes Godís Kingdom on this earth.

In verse one, it says, "Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst, {2} For I will gather the nations to battle against Jerusalem," and then later on in verse 3, "For the LORD will go out and go forth and he will fight against those nations as he fights in the day of battle. {4} And on that day, his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives," and it goes on to describe this great and terrible war that takes place.

A parallel, which we find in Revelation 19, and the armies of mankind assembled together to fight against the Lord of hosts, and they are defeated in battle and then, as the Lord establishes the Kingdom of God on this earth, with His capital in Jerusalem, an edict goes forth to all mankind, all those who are left of the armies in the nations that fought against the Lord and were defeated, they are given a specific instruction.

We find it in verse 16 of Zechariah 14, it says, "And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year-to-year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles."

To keep the Feast of Tabernacles. Three times the Feast of Tabernacles is mentioned.

It says, {17} "And it shall be, that whichever families of the earth that do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain. {18} And if the family of Egypt will not come up, they shall have no rain and they will receive the plague, which the LORD strikes the nations, who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles."

And the third time is in verse 19 of Zechariah 14, "This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles."

Now something wasn't right. How is it, as my friends were debating and discussing and trying to persuade me, how is it that God told Israel to observe these feast days. Jesus observed these feast days. The apostles observed these feast days, after the death, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And the New Testament Church kept these feast day, even the ex-pagans were told to keep the feast days. And then when Jesus returns, all the nations, the Gentile nations are going to be instructed, commanded, and they're going to receive a punishment if they do not keep the feast days of God, and in particular, the one that's highlighted, is the Feast of Tabernacles.

Letís put this in a sequence. You have God dealing with Israel, keep the feasts, and then you have Jesus, He kept the feasts. And then after His death and resurrection, the New Testament Church keeps the feasts. You have the apostles by example keeping the feasts, then you have this time from the end of the New Testament, about one hundred A.D. to now, and what's taught? "Oh you shouldn't keep the feasts, that's being Jewish. You're denying the sacrifice of Jesus Christ." And then when Jesus returns, what does He do, He commands everybody to keep the feasts. What is wrong with this picture? There is something between 100 A.D. and now to the return of Jesus Christ where people have gotten off track when it comes to what it is that God expects and wants them to do.

I had gotten off track. It wasn't that people were mean or trying purposefully to mislead me, they were teaching what they had been taught, but in fact, the theologians are playing, in my opinion, pretty loose with the facts from the Bible. That just nailed it for me.

If Jesus, when he returns, expects everybody to keep the Feasts, why aren't we doing it today?

Christmas and Easter

And then it got worse, you see, here I am an 18-year-old, I'm learning about these things, and not only did I learn about the feast days, but I found out that what I had been taught, that had in essence replaced the observance of the feast days were things like Christmas and Easter.

I did not just read something and believe it. I went to the library. I checked out a dozen books on the holidays of Christmas and Easter. I was at a Presbyterian College and they had a well-stocked library and I pulled these books out and I looked it up for myself and in every one of these books that described anything to do with the history of Christian celebrations, Christian observances, every single one of them pointed out that there was a historical basis apart from God for these days. Christmas it turned out had a component from Saturnalia, a pagan worship practice some time in December, and there was the worship of the SUN god and the birth of the SUN God was on December 25th. and nobody had ever told me that.

Easter had an origin with Astarte, the goddess of spring. I had never been taught that. I was reading in history books that theologians had written and it was clear to them, and it was becoming abundantly clear to me, that what I was learning, was not about the seven annual feast days of God, I was taught about the 12 days of Christmas with drummers drumming and pipers piping and lords a leaping, and ladies dancing, maids a milking, and swans a swimming, and geese a laying, gold rings calling, birds, french hens, turtle doves and partridges in a pear tree.

Where do these things come from? I did my own research on this. I read what people wrote about this. I found out, there is a reasonable, justifiable question to ask, what in the world do bunnies have to do with Easter? Or the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Or colored eggs or Christmas trees? Where do these things come from?

Syncretism

Syncretism is where they take a religious practice from one belief and they mix it in with another, and this is not talking about, you know, Baptists and Methodists, Methodists and Episcopalians. No, it's talking about two grossly different religious beliefs, paganism in this case, and of what the Bible taught, and they mixed it together and they decided that this is what people would be taught to replace what the Bible had said.

When my friends told me that, "It really didn't matter what days that we worship God or how we worship God," they said, "The important thing is that we take time to worship God." That sounds so agreeable and you know what, that is their opinion, and it could become my opinion, but you know it doesn't really matter a whole lot what your opinion is, or what my opinion is, or what their opinion is, what I learned was to ask, "Does God have an opinion?"

Essentially what my friends were saying was that "God had no opinion." It really didn't matter to God, the rituals, the practices, the days, the times, the methods, that didn't matter to God. What matters to God is that we take time to worship. We take a day in the week. Now I could take their word for it, or I could look and see, does God have an opinion? Does God express His mind? Is there some place in the Bible where His mind is expressed, written down, His thoughts are collected, about whether or not it was okay to take practices that were pagan in origin, that worship false gods, that caused people to commit idolatry, graven images, all these other things. Did God have an opinion about that?

You Shall Not Worship the LORD Your God That Way

Do you know what? I didn't discover this myself, somebody showed it to me. They showed me this book called Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is an interesting title for a book, from the Greek it means, "The second law," it is the second giving of the law. It is from the Hebrew and it is taken from the words from the first sentence. It was written by Moses, just before Joshua led the people into the promised land. It was about the last month of the life of Moses. Moses is recounting and summarizing things for Israel, the things that were important for them to know just as they were going in to conquer the land that God had originally given to Abraham, and now they were to receive it as their inheritance and it was filled to the brim with pagans, who did not worship the true God, who hated the worship of the true God, and were intent on trying to find ways to circumvent and even cause Israel to leave the worship of the true God.

So the question in my mind was, does God have an opinion about the adopting or modification of pagan practices in using those practices to worship Him?

Deuteronomy chapter 12 verse one, Moses is saying, "This is what you have to watch out for, this is what you are going to do when you enter the land." He said, "These are the statutes and judgments, which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth." Verse 2, these are strong words, "You shall utterly destroy all the places." That's pretty strong. "Where the nations which you shall dispossess, served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree. {3} You shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, burn their wooden images with fire, you shall cut down the carved images of their gods, and destroy their names from that place."

That's pretty clear instructions, no mixing, no adopting, no compromising, and no saying, "I like the way they did this!" It is incompatible with the worship of God, because it leads people some place God does not want them to go. The mixing of pagan idolaters, anti-God worship practices, with the truth leads people away from God, and God can't help people who turn their back on Him.

It goes on to say, verse 4, "You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things," and then it gets worse again, verse 29, "When the LORD your God cuts off from before you, the nations which you go to dispossess and you displaced them, and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself, {30} That you're not ensnared to follow them, after that they are destroyed from before you and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying," (Now this is how they get ensnared), "saying, "How did these nations serve their gods, I will do likewise.""

You know it's really easy to think, that "I am going to worship the false god," No, No, No, No. Read this, it says, "How did these nations serve their gods, I will do so likewise." Who is it and what God are they trying to worship using the pagan practices? Read the next verse, {31} "You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way."

How much more clear can it be? God's opinion is, "Don't use the pagan practices, as a basis for worshiping Me."

You could say, "Well that's the Old Testament." Well how often does God change His mind on these things? Paul says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

Who's opinion matters?

He goes on in verse 31 of Deuteronomy 12, and describes how this kind of thinking has led to abominations, "For every abomination to the LORD, which he hates, they have done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods."

You think, "How in the world could people ever do that?" Today, 21 percent of pregnancies in the United States end up in abortion. That's one in five. Among some ethnic groups it is one in three. One in three babies are aborted.

Now I'm sorry, maybe they don't pass them through the fire, but the process of abortion is every bit as intense and personal to that baby. Now why do people do that today? I think one of the reasons is, there's been a mixing, a mixing of pagan, if you will, and it's not necessarily some worship of some multi-armed god, but it is worshiping, or putting in the place of the worship of the true God, science or some other thing, such as selfish desires, that had led people astray, and it is not just one in a hundred, it is not just one in fifty, when it's one in five, or one in three, this is genocide!

You would think that no one would do that to their kids. Well after they are born people have a little different opinion of a baby, but you know, that unborn baby has a beating heart.

I'm sorry, I think we are every bit to the place in our society that these nations of Canaan were at with their society.

So when it says, in verse 32, "When I command you, be careful to observe it, you shall not add to it or take away from it."

Essentially God does have an opinion about adopting pagan practices. Anything that supplants or replaces what He has described, what He has enumerated, He says "Don't do it!" "He doesn't like to be worshiped that way."

Again, nobody had ever taught me that! Nobody had ever explained that to me before, but for me, it was a revelation, because it was becoming more and more important for me to do what God has asked me to do, to obey and to follow Him. It was a journey that I was beginning that was very different from anything that I had ever known before.

You know, when you look at the Bible, in every instance where people mixed idolatrous practice with the true worship of the true God, it always ended badly.

Why is the Feast of Tabernacles So Important to God?

So let's go back to the question, "Why is the Feast of Tabernacles so important to God?" So important that in the future Kingdom of God on this earth, Jesus will punish the nations who don't observe it, when and where and how Jesus tells them to do it.

I have come to see and appreciate that there are many things, packed into the teachings that God has on the Holy Days. I looked at it from just one perspective, but I've come to appreciate how people see things from different perspectives and they are valuable and when we draw lessons from the feast days of God, I think often we look at, for example, what the rituals are and what those rituals might mean. Sometimes we look at similar themes that are used in other places in the Bible, like the blood and in the case of the Feast of Tabernacles, the dwelling in temporary dwellings, or in tents. We look at events that have occurred and we look at the events that were foreshadowed, and specifically for the feast days, I think one approach that's been used, that I find a lot of value in, is overlaying the feast days with the events that followed God's plan of salvation. Now I think it's valuable that we can look at these things and see different elements and different perspectives. It doesn't have to be an either or.

Let me give you four quick and I think valuable concepts that are related from the themes, the rituals, the historical observances and then a fifth, that I think specifically applies to us today.

God Will Protect and Provide for Us

Let's start with the first one, and this is retrospective, looking back at how the Feast of Tabernacles originated. The Feast of Tabernacles reminds us that when we enter into a covenant with God, we can look to God to protect and provide and care for us.

In the book of Leviticus, in chapter 23 and verse 43, it says, "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."

Now Leviticus 23 was pretty early on in the events with regard to Israel, and often times I have looked at the Feast of Tabernacles, and the dwelling in booths, as the 40 years of wandering, which it encompasses, but you know, we also need to look back at when God first called Israel out of Egypt, He had them to dwell in tents. From the very start, He was making a point. It wasn't just the 40 years. From the very beginning, He was making a point and that's what He says here.

Verse 43, "I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt."

Remember when Pharaoh was being approached by Moses, do you remember what the first request was? "That Israel would travel three days into the wilderness, to sacrifice to their God." Pharaoh said, "No way!" Well do you know what happened?

We find in Exodus 15 and verse 22, when they actually did leave, they traveled three days into the wilderness, and it says in verse 22, "Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea and they went out in the wilderness of Shur, and they went three days into the wilderness." And what happened? "They found no water." No drinkable water. {23} "And when they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah for it was bitter, therefore the name of it was called Marah. {24} And the people complained against Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?" {25} And so Moses cried to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree, and he cast it in the waters and the waters were made sweet," and drinkable.

Do you know what happened? Three days into the wilderness, Israel ran into a problem, a serious problem. You have all these people and no water to provide for them. The people knew this was a serious thing, and who provided for Israel? Who cared for them? God used this situation and through a miracle, provided for their needs.

When we think about the feast, dwelling in temporary dwellings, you know God intended for Israel to learn some lessons. One of them was, He would take care of them. He would watch out for them. He would provide for them. And even when they were faithless, remember after all these incidents and situations, God finally said, "You think that you are going to die and your kids are going to die out here. They're the ones that are going to go into the promise land, you will die." Israel was faithless, Israel was rebellious, yet God was faithful and He chastened them as a father does a child, even though we can fall down, even though we can be weak, even though we can act in a faithless matter, God is faithful. God still provided for them.

In Deuteronomy 8 verse 4, Moses is reminding Israel, "Your garments did not wear out, nor did your foot swell these 40 years, {5} You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you."

It is a loving thing that God is doing. Along with that trip into the wilderness, God intended that Israel, dwelling in tents, that they would learn humility and a deep personal trust in God. These are the lessons that God wanted Israel to learn, from dwelling in these tents and these temporary dwellings.

In Deuteronomy 8 and picking up in verse one, it says, "Every commandment which I command you today, you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, {2} And you shall remember the LORD your God led you all the way these 40 years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to test you, and to know what was in your heart, that you would keep his commandments or not. {3} And so, he humbled you and he allowed you to hunger."

But what happened when Israel hungered? God fed Israel with manna. And so Moses said, "He fed you with manna, which you did not know nor did your father's know."

It had never been experienced before. Why? Look at this verse, "That he might make you to know that man shall not live by bread alone, but man shall live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD."

Does that sound familiar? Those are the words that Jesus quoted to Satan (Matthew 4:4), when Satan was tempting and testing Him and trying to get Him to trip up. Jesus used those words in His battle with Satan.

Our Bodies Are Temporary Dwellings

In a second broad lesson from the Feast of Tabernacles looking at this theme of dwelling in a temporary dwelling or a tent, is that our bodies are temporary dwellings and they should be, and will be replaced in time, with a permanent and eternal body through the resurrection.

Second Corinthians 5 verse one says, "For we know that if our earthly house, tabernacle or tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

With this concept, you can see how this theme, that was there in the Festival observance and God working with Israel. The apostle Paul here is taking this theme and expanding on it. So that while we groan in this tent, God has something even greater for us, eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

The ĎWordí Dwelling With Man

The third lesson, again developing from this theme of a temporary dwelling, is the concept of the Logos dwelling, tabernacling with mankind.

If you look in John chapter 1 verse 14, it says, "The Word (Logos) was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." That word 'dwelt' here, is from a Greek word that has a connotation of "to fix one's tabernacle," not repairing it, but fixing it, putting it in its place. It is choosing to live there. Choosing to dwell. Choosing to put your tent, and the Logos, chose to pitch his tent among us. Jesus Christ, the Word of God, living among us.

In Revelation 21 verse three, that same concept and that same word 'dwell' is used when it says, "I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell (pitch his tent) with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.""

The Feast of Tabernacles Pictures The Kingdom of God on Earth

The fourth lesson and I think this one is familiar with many of us, is that we see the Feast of Tabernacles as a picture of the Kingdom of God on this earth. This is that concept again of taking the sequences of events that have happened historically or that are prophesied to happen and then looking at which holy day pictures it, either specifically or expressly stated, like the Passover with Jesus, Pentecost with the church. And when we look at the prophetic events and the return of Jesus Christ with the Feast of Trumpets. Judgments, especially the judgment of Satan and the Day of Atonement and then the next event is the return of Jesus as the King of Kings and Lord of lords and the establishing God's government, the Kingdom of God on earth.

The Feast of Trumpets is like Zechariah 14. The beginning and the establishment of the government would be the Feast of Tabernacles.

Now to me, I look at Zechariah 14 and ask, what was the test for the nations? Was it the keeping of the Feast of Passover? No! Was it the keeping of the Days of Unleavened Bread? No! Pentecost? No! Not the Feast of Trumpets, not the Day of Atonement. It was the Feast of Tabernacles, that was the test of the nations, and if you remember, that also was what God was doing with Israel, it was a time of testing, to see what was in their heart.

It is God who picked the Feast of Tabernacles for the millennial test of the nations. I feel that it is a good fit.

HOLINESS TO THE LORD

There is a fifth lesson. For this we need to turn back to Zechariah 14 and pick up where we left off.

Zechariah 14 verse 20 says, "In that day," and then in your Bible, in mine. (NKJV), it is all caps and it says, "HOLINESS TO THE LORD" shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the LORD's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. {21} Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts."

You know they have the bridles on the horses with bells and they go jingling down the street. "Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts." So we have bells, and pots and it goes on to say, "Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts."

What does it mean, this "Holiness to the LORD" and pots in Jerusalem? Have you ever wondered about that? The only other place that "Holiness to the LORD" is referenced like that, is in the book of Exodus chapter 28. If you go back to chapter 28, you will find that this is part of the establishing of the priestly rituals and the garments that Aaron was told to wear. He was to wear them in the Holy of Holies and at certain times. All these things were specified and in Exodus chapter 28 where it is describing the garments that the high priest would wear, it says in verse 36, "You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: "HOLINESS TO THE LORD.""

That is what is written on this plate. Then it says, {37} "And you shall put it on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban; it shall be on the front of the turban."

So this plate with "Holiness To The LORD" written on it is attached with a blue cord to the turban. Verse 38 says, "So it shall be on Aaron's forehead."

What does holiness to te LORD mean? Being holy to God?

These pots, these pans and horse's bridles, what it is, is that what was originally intended just for the Holy of Holies, just for the worship in the Holy of Holies, now it is being expanded and things that were not formerly considered holy to be placed in the Holy of Holies, and used in that worship, is now, all of a sudden, are being taken and dedicated for a specific purpose in the service of God. That's what it means to be sanctified or made holy in this case.

So what does it mean? Things that were formerly not worthy, not capable of being appropriately used in the worship of God and in the service of God now are being taken into that service. Now there is pots and pans and horses' bridles, perhaps most importantly, there is you, and there's me, and there are thousands of others, that God is taking into His service and being made holy.

In Hebrews chapter 10, talking about the work of the high priest, it says in verse 10, "By that will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Notice the word "sanctified." In the NIV it says, "And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

Now you are not a holy Joe, you are not something that glows in the dark, but the point is, God looks at us as being holy, dedicated, sanctified, for His purpose in His service. That is pretty neat concept! And that is a Feast of Tabernacles' concept, that comes out of the observance of the Feast by the nations. That's what God intends.

God is sharing something precious with us. It's God making us more like Himself and when we are sanctified, and holy, in the sense that we've been made different from what we were, through the work of Jesus. This is not something that we do. It is giving us a different sense of purpose for our lives today.

You know God intends for us to be learning to think and act like He would think and act, and that includes not only how we behave, but what it is, we are choosing to do

In Exodus 29 and verse 45, it talks about, "I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their, God." That's why He wants us to be sanctified. God, for Christians, dwells in us.

The Feast of Tabernacles Was A Time Of Rededication

In the time of Nehemiah, the Feast of Tabernacles was a time of rededication, by His people, to do the work that God intended them to do. I wonder if the Feast of Tabernacles can be the same thing for us today?

Ephesians chapter 2 says in verse four, "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, {5} made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. {6} And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, {7} in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. {8} For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- {9} not by works, so that no one can boast. {10} For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

That is what holy things are designed to do. They are designed to be used in God's service.

Like Israel, learn to trust God. If we are willing to be put into God's service, God has a purpose and a work for each of us to do today. It does matter to God what we do, how we do it, and why we do it.

The rituals God has provided give structure, walls if you will, to keep us from mixing into our lives pollutions that distract or even lead us away from God. These same walls, give us protection and they also give us, to those who look at it, and look forward, direction. If we are willing to look for and act upon what the spirit of God leads us to see, those walls, those things that we do, even on a repetitive basis, give us a sense of direction.

You know, my first experience with the Feast of Tabernacles, I was impressed. I'm still impressed by how much God wants us to become like Him, in what we think, and what we choose to do, and what we choose not to do. I'm impressed that God has set us apart, sanctified us, and given us a holy purpose. Let's look for that purpose. Let's follow Him in faith. Let's trust in the words, that He has spoken, and He will lead us, in these temporary dwellings, on our shared journey to the Kingdom of God and eternal life that He has promised.

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This article was transcribed with minor editing from a Sermon given by

Guy Swenson at the Common Faith Networks - Feast of Tabernacles - Florida

Titled: Holiness to the Lord

10-9-2014

Transcribed by: bb 8/9/15

You can contact Guy Swenson at

gswenson@7words.com

www.NTEvangelism.org