Feast of Tabernacles
Read: Matthew 26:26-30, 1 Corinthians 11:13-26 (Symbols Passages), Romans 6:3-4
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
1 Corinthians 11:13-26
13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16 If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.
17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Candles, cake and balloons? A birthday. Evergreens, stringed lights, and stockings? Christmas. Fireworks, flags and barbecue? The Fourth of July. With every holiday comes recognizable symbols to signify something deeper and more meaningful. The more you understand the meaning behind the symbol, the greater the significance that symbol will hold.
Water, light and sukkot? These multifaceted symbols are Hallmark of the Feast of Tabernacles.
On the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles, called Hoshana Rabbah, a lavish ceremony was conducted where water was drawn from the Pool of Siloam. It was then paraded back to the Temple where it was poured over the altar.
At the end of the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the Temple was illuminated in spectacular fashion. Massive candelabras within the Court of the Women were lit. The candelabras stood about 75 feet tall and held basins full of oil, which were also ignited. Can you imagine that against a nighttime sky?!
Sukkot (singular sukkah)
“Tabernacles” and “booths” are attempts to translate the word sukkot into English. Sukkot are makeshift shelters constructed out of lulav, estrog, willow, and myrtle plants. Jews lived in these temporary dwellings during the week long feast.
We’ll spend the next three days diving deeper into the meaning of each symbol above. For today, consider the meaning behind some of the common symbols we use today in the church… the cross, Baptism waters, bread, juice and so forth. Let them be more than familiar “church things” and instead, use them to grab your attention and fix it upon Jesus.
Read John 7 – Jesus’s teachings were spoken during this Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem. Do his words hold any more meaning now, knowing what you just read about the significance of symbol and the particular ones employed in the Feast of Tabernacles?