Posted October 10, 2011
This October, many people all over the world will be observing the Feast of Tabernacles—just as our Savior Jesus Christ did when He lived on this earth 2,000 years ago. Find out what this joyous celebration is all about!
During this month—October—multiple thousands of people, a "little flock" (Luke:12:32), are gathering in designated places around the world, all to observe the same biblical festival that Jesus kept just a few months before His crucifixion.
So what is this special festival, one that the Bible says that your descendants, perhaps even you yourself, will one day observe?
The Bible calls it the Festival (or Feast) of Tabernacles (Leviticus:23:34; Zechariah:14:16; John:7:2-52), literally the Festival of Booths (Sukkot in Hebrew). This annual festival season represents the capstone of God's plan for humanity. Its modern observance eloquently underscores the temporary nature of our sojourn here as fragile humans, looking always to the magnificent and joyous coming Kingdom of God!
In ancient times the Israelites would take palm and tree fronds and make for themselves temporary dwellings (Leviticus:23:40). They would live apart from their typical dwelling for eight days, symbolizing the transient and frail nature of their lives.
A festival that pictures the Kingdom of God on this earth
After Jesus came "preaching the gospel [the good news ] of the kingdom of God" (Mark:1:14), the spiritual door of deeper understanding was opened to better comprehend what the prophets sought—indeed, "things which angels desire to look into" (1 Peter:1:12).
The Bible teaches, even as Jesus and His disciples observed, that the annual Holy Day seasons of God all possess rich and relevant meaning for each one of us. Beginning in the spring season (northern hemisphere) with the Passover and seven Days of Unleavened Bread and proceeding straight through the year to the Festival of Tabernacles and the Eighth Day (sometimes called the Last Great Day), these days herald the grand and awe-inspiring plan that God has for every single one of us.
The phrase "kingdom of God" and the synonymous expression "kingdom of heaven" appear more than 100 times in the New Testament. It was a focal point of Christ's ministry. Time and time again, Jesus commanded His disciples to "seek first the kingdom of God" (Matthew:6:33). Why? Because no sorrow, no trial, no obstacle can or could stand up to the wonderful knowledge of what incredible eternal gift that God intends to bestow upon us. This Festival of Tabernacles represents nothing less than a foreshadowing of this powerful Kingdom of God being established on this earth! (Revelation:20:4).
Observed by many now—to be observed by all in the future
This same festival—kept faithfully year after year, decade after decade, century after century—pictures the great hope of all humanity when God the Father will directly engage in "bringing many sons to glory" (Hebrews:2:10). It is this same festival that Jesus told His human family to observe (John:7:6) and the same festival of which is prophesied that eventually " all the nations…will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty" (Zechariah:14:16).
Today, as you read this during the days of October 13-20, thousands of members and families of the United Church of God are humbly yet joyously gathering at festival sites across the world to worship God and celebrate this coming divine Kingdom. They are following the example of their Elder Brother and Savior, Jesus Christ as well as the apostles and the apostolic Church. They have temporarily left their homes and are staying in hotels, lodges and campsites, which reflects the transient nature of human life. They are living the vision of what is surely advancing upon this earth, a time when the Almighty God will say openly to all, "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm:34:8).
Members of the United Church of God openly celebrate this wonderful Festival . You may even see our members gather in your city or area. If you are near and so desire, you are welcome to sample or "taste" for yourselves a small portent of what this coming Kingdom of God will be like.
If you'd like to know more—and you should—please go online and order (or download) a copy of the free booklet God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for all Mankind . One day soon, "The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah:11:9). This Kingdom is described as "good news" because it brings a final and complete end to suffering and the beginning of God-given eternal joy and gladness.
Yes, Jesus Christ kept the Festival of Tabernacles with an understanding and a deep joy over what it pictures. You too can understand the meaning of that same festival of joy, the festival representing a time when God brings eternal victory to all, the wonderful Festival of Tabernacles.
View more information about the Feast of Tabernacles and find out where the Feast is being observed around the world.