In Leviticus 23: 33-44, we find a description of the Feast of Tabernacles as God commands Moses to explain this celebration to the Israelites, along with other feasts and sacred assemblies.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a harvest festival, and Scripture records: “beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days.” (Leviticus 23:39)
The Israelites were to begin and end the 7-8 days with a sacred assembly, and in between, they were to bring offerings and sacrifices to the Lord made by fire.
Even though the first day of the festival was a sacred assembly and rest day, they were directed “to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the Lord for seven days.” (Leviticus 23: 40) They were also directed to “live in booths for seven days” reminiscent of the time when the Lord brought them out of Egypt. (verses 42-43).
The custom developed that the leafy branches were used for roofing for the booths, and the people rejoiced in this celebration. Perhaps we could almost relate the experience to our fall camping outings and bonfires and to our charity harvest festivals with booths and games.
As the Feast of Tabernacles developed, four plants, symbols of rejoicing, were typically used: citrus fruit, palm branches, boughs of the myrtle tree, and willows of the brook. Besides the reading of the Law before the altar every seventh year, the harvest fruits and animal sacrifices took on a universal dimension.
They were offered to the Lord for the welfare of all peoples. And water was poured out and prayers made for good crops in the coming seasons. (This custom became another reference that Jesus made in proclaiming belief in Himself as “living water.” John 7: 37-39 the Holy Spirit—Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles)
As we rejoice in the beauty and bounty of Autumn with our “sacred” fall festivals and worship experiences, we too can consider the welfare of all peoples. We too can bring our offerings and gifts for the needy, for world missions, and for crisis areas in the world.
We can remember to pray for the good and blessing of all earth’s peoples, and perhaps we can find a way to donate more each year for the good of our fellow man.
We can honor the Lord through faith and belief, knowing with all our hearts and souls that He truly is the “living water” which nourishes us and makes our giving and serving a pleasing sacrifice in the eyes of the Lord.
(Christian reference books were used for parts of this note: concordance,
dictionary, and encyclopedia.)