The Feast of Tabernacles is the only of the seven feasts that the Bible mentions will be celebrated in the Millennial Kingdom and it concerns the nations.
Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. –Zechariah 14:16-17 NIV
So, nations, worship the King now, lest He be angry (Psalm 2, Psalm 110).
"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… 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." – Leviticus 23:34, 42-43
Egypt banned all harvesting and exporting of palm fronds midway through September, causing a scramble in Israel to find other sources before next week. Palm fronds are not a great commodity most of the year, but tens of thousands of them are waved ceremonially throughout Israel on the holiday of Succoth, the Feast of Tabernacles, along with citrus, myrtle and willow branches. No specific reason was given for the ban on the date palm branches, but it ultimately doesn’t matter. If Israel cannot get palm fronds from Egypt, it will turn to Jordan and even the Gaza Strip. Israel has previously imported some 70,000 palm fronds per year in the days leading up to this fun fall feast, and domestic crops are being harvested at higher rates than normal.
A family sits in their sukkah in Jerusalem
It is fascinating to visit Israel at this time and observe the temporary shelters built in the traditional way, leaving deliberate gaps in the branches to view the stars at night and to let the wind blow through during the day.
At the end of the eight days, the Jews leave their temporary dwellings to return to their permanent homes. (This is one of the reasons some suspect that this feast, rather than the Feast of Trumpets, is suggestive of the Rapture of the Church.) This day, traditionally, is the day that Solomon dedicated the first Temple.
The booths are everywhere, on sidewalks, in yards, on the roofs, on the side of an apartment building, like this one.
The holiday also involves waving four types of branches: the willow, the myrtle, the palm, and a citrus (Leviticus 23:40). The willow has no smell and no fruit. The myrtle has smell, but no fruit. The palm has no smell, but bears fruit. The citrus has both smell and bears fruit. In Judaism, these four branches represent different personalities and kinds among the people of Israel. However, these descriptions can also be matched in the four soils of the first "kingdom parable" of Matthew 13.
As Christians we may not celebrate many of the traditional Jewish holidays, yet they hold great spiritual and prophetic significance. Colossians 2:16-17 says, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come." [emphasis added]
Most observers note that the three feasts in the first month of the religious year – Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Feast of First Fruits – are prophetic of the Lord’s First Coming. They each were also fulfilled on the day they were observed.
Between these three feasts and the final three feasts is the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, which is predictive of the Church. (It is also the only feast in which leavened bread is ordained!)
It is believed that the last three feasts, in the seventh month, are prophetic of the Lord’s Second Coming. It seems little coincidence that the seventh day of Succoth is called Hoshanah Rabbah – "Great Salvation". Many believers are particularly watchful each fall in the hopes that "this" will be the year these final three feasts are fulfilled. Even if Egypt wants to hold out on delivering its palm fronds.
For more background, review our briefing package The Feasts of Israel.
Related Links: The Feasts of Israel – MP3 Download – Koinonia House
The Fall Feasts: The Feast of Trumpets – eNews Archive
Netanyahu, Abbas, and The Day of Atonement – eNews Archive
How is Sukkot Observed? – Chabad.org
Egypt Bans Export of Ceremonial Palm Fronds for Jewish Holiday – CNN
Businesses, as well as families, put up booths during the feast. Here are a few samples.
And one more, on the roof patio of a home.