The Feast of Tabernacles
This feast is both memorial and prophetic. We look back and remind ourselves of our redemption. “We have known redemption, Lord.” We also look forward to the perfecting of our redemption, the consummation of our hope and the sharing of Christ’s ultimate glory.
Let me remind you of something we mentioned earlier: Leviticus 23 begins with the death of Christ, the Paschal Lamb. Then it reminds us of the resurrection, and finally sweeps us on to glory. This would be a good pattern to follow for the Lord’s Supper. We should never leave with Christ on the Cross or in the tomb. We should carry from our worship the thought of Christ exalted, crowned, and glorified. We also should remember Him in light of His soon return.
In closing, God selected the place where His people should gather to worship. He has made similar provision for His people in the 20th century, by instituting the Lord’s Supper. “This do in remembrance of Me.” See 1 Corinthians 11. At this weekly remembrance feast, worship becomes the predominant feature. We also express our unity in Christ, and our fellowship together in the bonds of Christian love.
Leviticus 23 is one of the most profound and comprehensive chapters in the Bible. It begins with the Passover and ends with the feast of tabernacles. That is to say we have first “Redemption” and last of all “Glory.” Between these two great truths we have some of the richest and most profound spiritual verities. In the context of our subject, the importance of worship, each of these great spiritual truths should be present to some degree as the Spirit leads.
The Passover: This feast was memorial and brings into view redemption – upon which all blessing rests. Christ, our Passover, sacrificed for us (See 1 Corinthians 5:7).
Unleavened Bread: This speaks of communion with Christ. We gather around the Lord, cleansed by blood. Our bodies washed in pure water – our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience (See Hebrews 10:22 and 1 Corinthians 11). While gathered by the blessed Spirit, the fragrant odor of the sacrifice of Christ ascends to the throne of our God.
First-Fruits: This is typical of resurrection. “Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first–fruits of them that slept.” (1 Corinthians 15:20) The presentation of the sheaf of first-fruits typified the resurrection of Christ, who “at the end of the Sabbaths as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, rose triumphant from the tomb, having accomplished the glorious work of redemption.”
The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost: This speaks to us of the descent of the Holy Spirit and the formation of the Church. Do you see how divinely perfect all of this is? Christ must die and be resurrected before the Church could be formed.
Pentecost took place 50 days after the feast of first-fruits = Resurrection.
Pentecost actually took place 50 days after the resurrection of Christ.
Forty days of manifestation, then 10 days after the ascension.
Trumpets: This draws our attention to the gathering and rapture of the Church - the last trumpet.
Atonement: This is not so much redemption and its consequent blessings as it affects us, but rather the cost to the Godhead of the atoning work of Christ. There is more truth in the “atonement” than our finite minds have ever grasped.
There are many things in a believer’s life that can draw his heart away from God as the supreme object of his love. Israel is an example of this, and the Spirit warns us in 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 of this immanent peril. Self, in its many and various forms, can ascend to the throne of the heart and displace God so that little or no worship ascends. Among the many idols that have turned a believer’s heart from God are: business, wealth, home, family, possessions, talents, popularity, power, and pleasure. All should seriously consider the concluding words of John’s first epistle. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols,” (1 John 5:21).
It was God’s desire that His people should gather themselves together. This was to serve a double purpose: (1) To acknowledge Him as the Giver of every good and perfect gift, and (2) To praise and worship Him. In order that this should be done to God’s satisfaction, He ordained the place – Shiloh and then Jerusalem.
God then instituted seven feasts, each with its own unique character and meaning. The names of these feasts were: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. For our immediate purpose, we will not discuss the feasts in their relation to Israel, but rather consider them in their rich spiritual significance as they relate to the church.
The Importance of Worship
The importance of worship is seen both in the Old and New Testaments. From the conclusions drawn from a study of the Word, we see that worship is the believer’s highest occupation. Its importance can be determined from the fact that it was the first commandment of the Law. Read Exodus 20:1-5:
“I am the Lord thy God, who has brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”
“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” (verse 3)
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any carved image.” (verse 4)
“Thou shalt not bow down to any carved image.” (verse 5)
“Those that worship, and keep His commandments, and love Him can expect His blessing.” (verse 6)
The implementation of these divine laws gives God the place of absolute pre-eminence. Not only does God claim first place, but He shows His disapproval, hatred and intolerance of anything that would deprive Him of His position. In Exodus 34:14, He says, “Thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 15:11 says, “Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like unto Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” Our God is infinite in holiness – indescribable in praises, insuperable in power.