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Bible verses about Feast of Tabernacles
(From Forerunner Commentary)

In Leviticus 23, rejoicing is seen in context with, and is subordinate to, dwelling in booths. The Feast is kept not merely to rejoice, but also because the Lord made the Israelites live in booths when He brought them out of Egypt. The booths served as the focal point to remind the Israelites of something God did so that they could rejoice with understanding. Thus, this festival is also called the Feast of Booths.

The serious purpose of the Feast is further illustrated in Numbers 29, where God lists the sacrifices He commanded to be offered to Him at each festival. He required 189 animal sacrifices be made at the Feast of Tabernacles alone—more than all the other holy days combined! Remember, a sacrifice is a freely given offering and represents the giving of the self (Romans 12:1-2). So God seems to expect more sacrifice from His people at the Feast of Tabernacles than at any other time of the year.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing for the Feast


 

Being at the Feast is a spiritual equivalent of being in the land enjoying the fruits of His blessing. God occasionally provides even a measure of hardship at the Feast, but it is not given in wrath. He is trying to teach us discipline. He wants us to consider if we have forgotten Him or put Him in a secondary position at the Feast. Has He not supplied our need to enable us to be there? He has given us not just the money, but all the experiences of the past year that helped to shape us into what we are now. Has He been involved in our lives in this way?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing for the Feast


 

Several Bible passages say people came to Jerusalem at Feast time "to worship." Even Greek converts came to worship (John 12:20). The Ethiopian eunuch "had come to Jerusalem to worship" (Acts 8:27). The apostle Paul claims he "went up to Jerusalem to worship" when he was arrested (Acts 24:11). Even the prophecy of the Millennial era says the remnants of the nations "shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles" (Zechariah 14:16).

Staff
Worship God!


 

A booth is temporary, yet God made Israel dwell in booths. No one in his right mind would ever choose a booth to live in because one would no sooner erect it than the thing would begin deteriorating. If it lasted the whole eight days of the feast without all the leaves falling off, it may have been considered a minor miracle. The Israelites were probably able to look up and see the sun and stars of their "roof"—and hoped that it did not rain.

God made them live in booths to get across a powerful and important lesson. The lesson is that life in the flesh is just as useful, just as temporary, as a booth—unless one sees life from Paul's point of view Paul in Romans 8. When God is the dominant part of a person's life, then life becomes truly profitable.

The Feast of Tabernacles focuses on the contrast between the temporary and the permanent. A booth is temporary. It quickly deteriorates, loses its original beauty, and becomes meaningless, useless, a piece of trash once its use is finished, except to supply some heat in a fire. Such is human life apart from the right reasons for living.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and the Feast of Tabernacles (Part 1)


 

Exodus 23:14-16  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The "three times" are three general periods during which God's holy days fall. Passover and Unleavened Bread occur in early spring, the "Feast of Harvest" in late spring, and the "Feast of Ingathering" in the fall.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Holy Days: Pentecost


 

Leviticus 23:35-37  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The holy days and their offerings are shadows of good things to come (Hebrews 10:1). The offerings especially are indicative of many aspects of Christ's conduct and attitudes while serving God. We are to imitate Him (I John 2:6). Understood correctly, they represent the spiritual manner in which we are to observe these days.

Numbers 28:16—29:40 lists all the offerings to be made at the feasts. One can quickly see that more offerings were required for the Feast of Tabernacles than all other festivals combined. This ought to indicate what God expects regarding our conduct during the Feast of Tabernacles. He requires that we offer ourselves as living sacrifices so that it be most fruitful spiritually. It should be both a spiritual and physical feast whose fruit is rejoicing and learning to fear God as a result of the sacrifices done with understanding and a good attitude. This cannot be forced. It is the fruit of a right approach and use.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Amos 5 and the Feast of Tabernacles


 

Leviticus 23:40-43  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Deuteronomy 16:15 uses an even stronger phrase in relation to rejoicing and the feasts: "so that you [shall, KJV] surely rejoice." The wording is so strong we might be misled into thinking it is to be one big blast! Make no mistake, He desires us to rejoice, but He wants us to rejoice with purpose. If we are not rejoicing with His purpose in mind, we will have merely titillated our senses.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing for the Feast


 

Leviticus 23:40-43  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The Feast of Tabernacles is different from the other festivals in that God commands that we live that week in "tabernacles" (tents), "booths" (impermanent structures), or other temporary dwellings. It is no longer required that we gather boughs of the specific trees of the Holy Land to make booths, but we do travel to another place—a Feast site arranged by the church in advance—and live in campgrounds, motels, or hotels. By this, God teaches us that, like the Israelites who lived in tents in the wilderness, Christians are pilgrims on the way to their own Promised Land, the Kingdom of God.

Of course, going away for a week or so costs money. God made provision for this in His law by commanding that we set aside a festival tithe—most often called the "second tithe"—to pay for our transportation, food, housing, and other needs during the holy days, particularly at the Feast of Tabernacles. God's instruction on this is found in Deuteronomy 14:22-26. While new Christians may see it as a burden, this second tithe is a great blessing from God, allowing us to keep and enjoy His feasts properly and to receive a foretaste of the blessings of His Kingdom.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
How Do We Keep God's Festivals?


 

Leviticus 23:42-43  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

To some, living in booths may suggest privation or a lack of amenities. But privation is not associated with rejoicing. Notice the wording in Leviticus 23:40: "fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook." This implies, not a ramshackle hovel, but the best and most beautiful shelter that could be constructed under the circumstances. Think of this in terms of hotels: We can hardly say hotels are austere, and we are in great privation. No, the first purpose of booths is to teach temporariness, impermanence, and vanity.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing for the Feast


 

Numbers 18:21  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Does God command three separate tithes, or one tithe merely split into three different uses? God says in Numbers 18:21, "Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacles of meeting." The Hebrew term for "all," kol, means "the entire amount," "the totality," "the whole" of the tithe, not a percentage or part.

Moses uses the same word in Deuteronomy 14:22-23, regarding the festival tithe:

You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstlings of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

Just a few verses later, he shows another use for ALL the tithe!

At the end of every third year you shall bring out [kol; see KJV—"all"] the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do. (verses 28-29)

Here, a third tithe is given for a separate use. It was not to be given to maintain the Tabernacle (church) or spent on oneself at a festival. It was to be stored, implying a use over a period of time for the poor, widows, orphans, etc. Since this third tithe occurred only on the third and sixth years of the seven-year cycle, it had to be stored for the special purpose intended.

For each of the three tithes, God specifies all, or the entire tenth, should be used for the stated purposes. If on the third and sixth years we kept all the tithe for the poor, we would have no money for festival use! Yet the feasts were kept every year as a memorial (Exodus 13:10). This clarifies that all of the three tithes are referred to rather than a splitting of one tithe.

Staff
Common Tithing Questions


 

Numbers 29:12-13  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

That is typical of what God requires on every one of the festivals except for one thing—the number of sacrifices required. The Feast of Tabernacles is a type, a symbol, of the Millennium, of the rule of God on earth. What we see here is a requirement to give offerings during the Feast of Tabernacles. What is so interesting is that the Feast of Tabernacles requires more sacrifices than all the other holy days combined! Far more! There were 172 animals sacrificed during those seven days.

Since the Feast of Tabernacles represents the Millennium, and the priest stands for us, and his major responsibility is to make offerings on behalf of the people before God, does that not picture how big our responsibility will be during the Millennium? There will be more sacrifices, more priestly work for us during that time than at any other period in God's plan.

Physically, the Levitical priests offered animals. In the Millennium, we will not be sacrificing animals. We need to understand what a priest does so that we understand sacrificing. A priest does a lot of it, and during the Millennium, there will be a need for a great deal of spiritual sacrificing.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing to Be a Priest


 

Deuteronomy 12:11-14  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The Israelite set aside the second tithe throughout the year and consumed it at the annual holy festivals of God for whatever his heart desired. This means that he spent the tithe on things that enhanced his glorifying of God or added joy to the feast.

The same applies to our use of second tithe today. Unlike the use of first tithe, the individual who saves second tithe should use it. God wants His people to enjoy the physical abundance He provides at the feasts as they worship Him and learn to reverence and fear Him in ways that please Him. Because of His blessing, many can also help others observe the feasts.

Martin G. Collins
Tithing: Second Tithe


 

Deuteronomy 14:22-26  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God commands us to keep the Feast 1) to enjoy the fruits of our labor and His blessing and 2) to learn. This emphasis on learning is why the Feast is not a vacation, though it is a pleasant interlude in our annual calendar. Learning takes effort, and depending on our intensity, it can be wearying. At the same time, it can also be fulfilling and rewarding because accomplishment produces a sense of well-being.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing for the Feast


 

Deuteronomy 14:22-23  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God instructs Israel to tithe of their increase to Him as the Provider of all things, and verse 23 gives the reason: "that you may learn to fear [reverence] the LORD your God always." He also mentions "eat[ing] before the LORD . . . in the place where He chooses to make His name abide." We know from Leviticus 23:34-43 that He is addressing the period of the Feast of Tabernacles. At first, it seems this has little to do with the previous verses.

Using the tithe for attending and enjoying the Feast is only a part of the entire tithing process, which also involves giving back to God (first tithe) and taking care of the less fortunate (third tithe). Taken as a whole, however, these tithing instructions are an integral part of the total equation of this chapter: taking care of God's chosen people. These verses have expanded the principle outside the personal to include others of God's people and even God Himself.

Staff
Whatever Your Heart Desires


 

Deuteronomy 14:22-27  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This is the second tithe. This tithe is to be eaten, or consumed, before the LORD. It is not a tithe that goes to the priest, but it is a tithe for the individual's use at God's feasts, although he is not to forget the Levite.

John O. Reid
Tithing


 

Deuteronomy 14:23-26  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Verses 23-26 contains admonitions to go to the place God chooses, turn the increase into money if needed, and to spend it on whatever the heart desires, rejoicing with each other before God. However, the chapter's theme remains as a vital component of the instruction. God wants us to enjoy the fruit of our labors, as He also does when we obey Him. He also wants our relationship to be many-layered. Our focus, of course, should be off the self, centered on God, and extending outward toward others.

The rest of the chapter addresses this outward orientation with teaching to share with those who are less fortunate. It tells us to make sure that the needy are also able to rejoice and enjoy this time of fellowship and prosperity. The chapter ends by telling us that when we do these things, we give God good reason to bless us in whatever we set out to do.

Throughout these verses, we see God, very active in the lives of His people, admonishing His people to follow His lead. God is quite concerned about His people and His spiritual body. He cares what we do to ourselves both inwardly and outwardly, physically and spiritually (I Corinthians 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:18-22), and He cares how we treat each other as members of "the body of Christ" (I Corinthians 12:27).

While He allows us to partake of things we desire, Deuteronomy 14 shows that God does impose limits; He wants us to exercise self-control. He expects us to be givers and not just takers. This applies to sharing our money, food, drink, activities, and fellowship with others, and we should make special effort to share ourselves with Him in prayer, study, meditation, and church services during this time of plenty. After all, one of the purposes of going to the Feast is to learn how to fear God, and we do this by spending time with Him.

Staff
Whatever Your Heart Desires


 

Deuteronomy 14:26  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Some who read this have been to the Feast and thus look forward to eight days of experiencing many enjoyable things: food, drink, activities, spending time with friends, and of course, the spiritual meals of eating and drinking in of God's instructions. Many sermons over the years have been preached about prioritizing our time and activities throughout the Feast, keeping God first over the physical abundance and events that can often relegate Him to second place. Some may have justified a physical approach to the Feast from an immature understanding of God's command in Deuteronomy 14:26, using the time and money God provides for the Feast as a vacation with friends and family, rather than an eight-day, spiritual-information-packed, learning experience.

God wants us to experience both the spiritual and the physical abundance that foreshadows the time when we will live and reign with God during His Millennial rest and on into His eternal Kingdom. However, we need to prioritize and balance our wants and needs with God's expectations—especially so during this short period of plenty when it seems we do not need God as much as we normally do.

God notices how we treat this eight-day period and assesses our actions to see if we really feel we do not need Him as much during this time of plenty versus the rest of the year when our daily struggles require His involvement in our lives. We may see the Feast as a time of fun activities, which is partially true, but it may expose how we would live if God were to bless us financially or how we would govern if He were to give us exalted positions in His Family.

Staff
Whatever Your Heart Desires


 

1 Kings 12:26-33  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The religion of Israel began with a man, Jeroboam I, who changed the true worship of God.

• He established a feast in the eighth month to replace the true Feast of Tabernacles in the seventh.
• He may have replaced the Sabbath with Sunday worship.
• He replaced the Levitical priesthood with men of his own choosing.
• Lastly, he replaced God with golden calves in Bethel and Dan.

A religion with such a beginning was doomed to fail, bringing the nation down with it.

When religion is ungodly, its power is destructive, and every institution in the nation suffers. For instance, Amos 2:7 describes a deliberate act of ritual prostitution in a pagan temple: "A man and his father go in to the same girl, to defile My holy name." What was the rationale behind this perverse, immoral act?

Because Baal was neither alive nor a moral force, his worshippers felt they could communicate with him only by ritual actions that portrayed what they were asking him to do. Since Baal was, like almost all ancient deities, a fertility god, the human act of intercourse demonstrated that they wanted Baal to prosper them. But what was its real effect on the participants and the nation? Ritual prostitution only served to erode the family, eventually leading to the destruction of the nation.

Baal was different from his adherents merely in that he was above them. God's difference from us is that He is holy; He is moral and we are immoral. After we accept His calling, He commands us to become moral as He is.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prepare to Meet Your God! (The Book of Amos) (Part Two)


 

Nehemiah 8:13-18  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Nehemiah 8 records a significant festival period in Judah's history. This occasion begins on the Feast of Trumpets during the rebuilding of Jerusalem's wall following the reestablishment of those Jews who chose to return from their Babylonian captivity. They had good cause for their emotional response to keeping this Feast of Trumpets in this particular location and time under the stresses they had already endured, all the while knowing that those stresses were not yet over. This was in all likelihood the first Feast of Trumpets observed in seventy years, and who knows how long the Jews had not observed it before they went into captivity?

Their joy continued, as verses 13-18 relate the first keeping of the Feast of Tabernacles in the land in a long time.

"Not since the days of Joshua the son of Nun had the children of Israel done so" probably means the Feast of Tabernacles had not been kept with the combination of all the elements in their right proportion to constitute a great Feast. They were obedient, in the right place, in the right attitude, with the right emphasis. The books of Kings and Chronicles provide records of the feasts being kept by Israelites during the period between Joshua and Ezra, but they did not always keep them consistently or correctly, especially in attitude and purpose.

However, we can see that Ezra understood the Feast of Tabernacles to be a spiritual bonanza whose fruit was rejoicing.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Amos 5 and the Feast of Tabernacles


 

Psalm 81:1-4  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

We need to be aware of a danger inherent in festival times: that our pursuit of joy does not obscure more important elements. Psalm 81 is a festival psalm, and these verses bid us to enjoy God's feasts fully.

God commands us to rejoice in His feasts (Deuteronomy 14:26), but Psalm 81:8-10 cautions us to remember certain things so that their real purpose is not lost in an unthinking keeping of that command:

Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you! O Israel, if you will listen to Me! There shall be no foreign god among you; nor shall you worship any foreign god. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

God knows that even among His people, human frailty can misuse festival occasions, for they seem to beckon us to play. Relaxation and merriment tend to become the sole interest. Yet the greater the gaiety, the more obscure God's intent for the feasts become, and their spiritual value diminishes. God reminds us of the meaning of our songs of praise lest our joy becomes gaiety, gaiety becomes hilarity, hilarity becomes revelry, and revelry becomes debauchery. Our God-produced joy is lost.

"Listen to Me while you rejoice," God says. "Stay completely clear of idolatry and remember I am the God who freed you from your bondage. Open your mouth and I will feed you!" When we follow God's prescription, He will feed us so that we experience real joy and satisfaction. God removes the burdens that make true rejoicing a reality. He continues, "I would feed you with the finest of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you" (verse 16). He makes it plain that real joy lies in the quality of our relationship with Him!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy


 

Isaiah 11:11-16  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

After Jesus Christ returns, the survivors of all the nations will be gathered, and He will appoint the resurrected saints to rule over them. If they initially rebel against His rule, He will cut off all rain until they submit and keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

Staff
Holy Days: Feast of Tabernacles


 

Daniel 9:24-27  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God's annual holy days reveal that this is not the only "day of salvation"—that He is working with only a relative few right now, and the rest of mankind will have an opportunity for salvation either during the Millennium or after the Second Resurrection. Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost hold great significance for the firstfruits who have already made the New Covenant, but they have little spiritual meaning for the Israelites who have not. Next, the Feast of Trumpets, the pivot point in the holy day calendar, is meaningful for firstfruits, for Israelites, and for all of mankind because it pictures the return of Christ to establish His Kingdom on earth.

After that are the holy days associated with the second harvest, the fall harvest—particularly the Feast of Tabernacles, which pictures the Millennium when the resurrected and glorified firstfruits will have responsibilities. Yet, the greater meaning concerns Israel. The remnant of Israel—those who survive Jacob's Trouble—will then have the opportunity to make the New Covenant, even though, as a nation, they will not be a part of the first resurrection.

The apostle Paul goes to great lengths to explain this phased approach to salvation, using the metaphor of an olive tree with natural branches, representing Israel, being broken off, and wild branches—Gentiles—being grafted in (Romans 9-11). To summarize, Paul explains that God will use the Gentiles, and by implication, those making the New Covenant now (including individual Israelites), to make the majority of Israel jealous, to bring her back to Him when she sees the spiritual blessings. Paul shows that God has not at all disowned Israel. Even in his day, a small believing minority of Israelites had been chosen by grace, of which Paul was a part.

Only the elect—whether Israelite or Gentile—have obtained God's favor at this time, while the rest of Israel has become callously indifferent to it. Israel was broken off the olive tree because of unbelief, and others were grafted in because of true belief. But, Paul warns, there is no room for pride, because if God did not spare the natural branches when they fell into unbelief, neither will He spare us if we do the same thing. Now notice Paul's conclusion:

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins." Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Romans 11:25-29)

When Christ confirmed the covenant during the 3½ years of His earthly ministry, the covenant was not just for those alive at the time. The firstfruits have been making that covenant for nearly 2,000 years now. Similarly, there will be another 3½ years, finishing out that final week, during which Jesus will complete the confirming of the covenant. This will set the stage for the salvation of all mankind, but in particular the salvation of Israel.

If we use Jesus' earthly service as a guide, most of the 3½ years were spent in preaching and in preparing His servants. This is how He "confirmed" the covenant, even though it was not actually sealed until the end of the 3½ years, at that last Passover. If this pattern holds, it indicates that the final 3½ years of "confirming" will also consist of preaching to, and a rigorous and even violent preparation of, a remnant of Israel. Then, at the end, they will enter into the covenant.

At that final Passover, Jesus said that He would not drink the fruit of the vine again—that symbol of His shed blood and of the covenant—until He drinks it with His disciples (and, by extension, all of the glorified firstfruits) in His Kingdom (Matthew 26:29). That joyous occasion corresponds with the time when Israel will also drink of that cup of the New Covenant, but for the first time. That covenant, then, will be available throughout the Millennium and into the time of the Second Resurrection. The Seventy Weeks will have been fulfilled, but the effects will continue.

David C. Grabbe
Finishing the Week


 

Amos 5:6  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God threatens to send fire, symbolizing divine rejection and purification (Malachi 4:1), upon Israel because of her false religion. The Bible, though ultimately written for His spiritual children, focuses on ancient Israel because she is comprised of God's chosen people. We can see our own lives in their examples. Amos proves through the Israelites' disobedience and corruption that they had no relationship with God. They had not allowed their privileged position under the covenant to transform them into godly people. Thus, God must send a purifying destruction upon them.

Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba were places of pilgrimage, places people went to observe the feasts. But God says, "I hate, I despise your feast days" (Amos 5:21)! Verses 22-23 show that the Israelites loved all the rituals and entertainments of the feasts, but they did not leave the feasts better people (verse 24). They returned to their homes unchanged, unrepentant, after what was supposed to be a rededication of their lives to God!

Our attitudes in attending the feasts today tell God just as much as the Israelites' did during Amos' ministry. Do we go to the Feast of Tabernacles to seek God and learn to fear Him, as He says in Deuteronomy 14:23? Our reasons for attending God's feasts are very important. Do we go to get love and enjoy ourselves? The feasts should be enjoyable, but those who go there to give love and serve others profit the most from them. Those who go to get love usually become offended and leave the feast, telling anyone who will listen how "cold" others were to them.

From the biblical events that occurred in these places, Bethel pictures reorientation and hope; Gilgal, possession of the promises; and Beersheba, fellowship with God. We can have these things in Christ if we abide under the terms of our covenant with Him. In the example of Israel, we can see that hearing and knowing the way of God intellectually is not enough. The lives of the people of Israel did not match what they knew.

The lesson we can learn from the events in Bethel are particularly illustrative of God's transforming influence. At Bethel, Jacob had his dream of a ladder reaching to heaven and angels walking up and down on it (Genesis 28:12). When he woke up from his dream, Jacob reckoned that God was surely in that place and named it "Bethel" or "house of God." The ascending and descending angels, messengers of God, depict God, not man, initiating communication. In other words, the ladder brought God to Bethel. When God arrives on the scene and descends to communicate with a man, He makes a difference in his life.

Certainly, Jacob's life quickly began to change, especially his attitude. He had been fleeing for his life, but when he got to Bethel, his future changed dramatically because God made contact with him. God reconfirmed to Jacob His promises to Abraham and Isaac. A transformation began then that did not end as long as he lived.

On the run from Esau, a man to be feared, Jacob felt at any moment his brother would appear around the next rock. He arrived at Bethel hopeless, but he left a man with a future—God said that He would be with him. So Jacob arose and made a covenant with God that if He would bless him, then he would give a tenth, a tithe, to God (Genesis 28:18-22).

When Jacob returned to Bethel after serving Laban for some twenty years, God appeared to him again, changing his name to Israel (Genesis 35:1-15). In the biblical record, a name change, normally occurring during a period of crisis in a person's conversion, signifies a change in his heart. Undoubtedly, a significant change happened here and another at Peniel where Jacob wrestled with Christ (Genesis 32:24-30). Peniel was a stepping stone to what occurred at his return to Bethel and between them, we see Jacob's spiritual conversion.

To Israel and Amos, then, Bethel represented reorientation and hope. There the old life and the old man became new. This idea is later reflected in New Testament teaching about our spiritual transformation into the image of God (II Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:12-15, 20-24; I John 3:2).

Contact with God causes transformation, and Bethel represents this hopeful reorientation. Israelites may have journeyed to Bethel, but Amos shows that no transformation occurred. There was no change in holiness or morality. They enjoyed the fellowship and good times of the feasts, but they returned to their homes, and it was "business as usual." Unlike Jacob, they had not repented.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prepare to Meet Your God! (The Book of Amos) (Part Two)


 

Zechariah 14:16-19  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

These verses give us a small window into the Millennium, showing that God will then be involved in actively blessing or cursing all nations, not just Israel. The Bible clearly shows that God is now exercising His sovereignty over His creation and will continue to do so beyond the return of Jesus Christ, even in the area of inanimate things like the weather and ground. Blessing or cursing is an act of His sovereignty conditioned to our response to Him. He is not merely passively paying attention and responding as He sees fit, but even more so initiating actions to bring His people to His desired end.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Four


 

Zechariah 14:16-19  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

During the Millennium, people will be required to go to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles to worship the King, Jesus Christ. The Feast will be their primary reminder of where they are in God's plan and when they must secure their salvation. If they fail to keep it, they will reveal their refusal to accept Christ as sovereign and to cooperate with Him in His purpose.

Staff
Holy Days: Feast of Tabernacles


 

Matthew 26:17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Hidden in the Greek of Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:1, 12; and Luke 22:7 is a reference to Passover as "the first of the unleaveneds." This is because unleavened bread is indeed used on the 14th as part of the Passover service. A comparison with the Old Testament, however, discloses this to be only the popular usage of some during New Testament times. In the Old Testament, something akin to this is found in Deuteronomy 16, where the first day of Unleavened Bread is called "Passover," while the context clearly describes the first day of Unleavened Bread. People popularly used Passover and Unleavened Bread interchangeably, and the Bible notes this practice, though "Passover" was the term most generally used for the whole period.

Doing things like this is not uncommon. Today, we commonly refer to the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day as either the "Feast" or "Tabernacles," even though we clearly understand that the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day are separate festivals. So it was with Passover in the time of Christ and the apostles. Neither our use of "Tabernacles" nor the Jews use of "Passover" alters the authority of God's intent in the Scriptures.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Countdown to Pentecost 2001


 

Acts 18:21  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Here we have a mention of a holy day, which may have been the Feast of Tabernacles. Paul says, "I must by all means keep this feast." The Protestant interpretation of the book of Galatians primarily, and the book of Romans secondarily, puts the apostle Paul into the position of being a hypocrite! These commentators suggest that he tells people, on the one hand, that they do not have to keep the law of God, the Sabbath, and the holy days, yet the book of Acts shows him in every city keeping the Sabbath and here telling the people, "I must keep this feast." They make him out to say one thing but do another.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 24)


 

1 Peter 2:11  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A pilgrim is not a wanderer. Psalm 119:10 says, "Don't let me wander from the path." A pilgrim has a definite goal in mind. He may be passing through. He may not take up residence along the way that he is traveling, but he is traveling to a specific destination. He is on a pilgrimage. Perhaps we are most familiar with the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslim pilgrims may travel from one country to another, but they always have their sights on Mecca.

Christians who keep God's holy days make a pilgrimage every fall to the Feast of Tabernacles. They may travel through many states, but they have a singular destination in mind. They follow the route mapped out to get there. They are pilgrims, and there is a route—a way—that they must follow to arrive there.

There is a proper way to play a card game, a basketball game, or a football game. Is it possible to play a coherent game when each player does what he just "feels" is right, if he has his own set of rules, his own way? Is it possible to play a coherent game when some of the rules are left out? Hardly. The game immediately degenerates and will not achieve what the game's designers intended.

There is a way to repair a mechanical device. There is a way to assemble things. We experience this with things we buy that must be assembled. If we do not follow the directions, the dumb thing will not go together!

The point is this: God is not just trying to save us. He is producing a product that is in His image, and there is a way that will produce it.

The commandments—all ten of them—play major roles in His way. If we remove any one of them, the product will be deficient. It will not be assembled in the right way. It will be lacking. Some people think God is stupid for assigning a particular day for worship, but He has reasons for it.

Thus, a way is a method, a manner, a direction, or a route to follow—and that way has rules.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 2)


 

 




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