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Do you obey the Feast of Tabernacles?
This is a question I often ask when people ask me if I observe the Feasts of Israel. On occasion I meet someone who says they do. However, just because they believe they do, doesnít necessarily mean that they do. For example, what does the law require a person to do if they are to obey the Feast of Tabernacles? Some passages that describe the requirements of obedience to the law are found in Leviticus 23:34-44 and Deuteronomy 16:13-17. According to the law, obedience required several important tasks. First, a person needed to know the proper time of the Feast, and observe the Feast during the proper time. The Feast of Tabernacles was to be observed on the 15th day of the seventh month. You were required to observe the Feast in Jerusalem. The first and eighth days of the Feast were to be observed as Sabbath days. You were required to dwell in a temporary dwelling constructed from four different plants.
If you sincerely believe that you obey the Feast of Tabernacles, then consider the following questions with respect to the law you claim to obey. Did you observe the Feast according to the current rabbinical calendar that is observed by Jews today? If you did, then chances are, you did not observe the Feast on the correct day. The calendar is based on a computational system that is not based on the lunar system that was given by God to keep track of the months and years according to the law. The proper calendar is established according to the harvest of barley in the areas surrounding Jerusalem. So, chances are, you began observing the Feast on the wrong day. Did you observe the Sabbath days of the first and eighth days of the Feast by not doing any work on those days? These are a little easier to obey than identifying the correct days to observe the Feast. However, what is necessary to obey this law is discussed in my article on the Sabbath Law. Were you in Jerusalem during the Feast? The law requires you to observe the Feast in Jerusalem. If you were not in Jerusalem, you violated this part of the law of the Feast of Tabernacles. Did you spend the days during the Feast dwelling in a temporary structure made of the four plants listed? If you did not, then you also violated the law.
Therefore, if you did not observe the Feast on the correct days, you did not observe the Feast in Jerusalem and you did not spend those days in the described temporary structure, you did not obey the law of the Feast of Tabernacles. This is the point, you may believe you obeyed the law, but that doesnít mean you obeyed the law. You obey the law when you obey what the law says. There are many people who observe this Feast in different ways. They observe it in a different community than Jerusalem. They donít make their tabernacle out of the four required plants, and donít actually dwell for the number of days required in their temporary structure. They may or may not observe the Sabbath days of the Feast. Instead, they observe the Feast according to rabbinical traditions or their own traditions. The result is that they negate the commandment of God by their traditions.
In defense of their disobedience, people normally reply with the notion that they observe the law in the best way they can. That may be their intent, but that doesnít mean they obey the law. That means they try to obey a law they know they canít, and have been pretending as if they have. Furthermore, they are probably condemning others for not observing the law they are obviously not obeying. If not condemning, then they are encouraging others to try and do what they obviously cannot do, but instead pretend they are doing it by trying to do the best they can through traditions.
I am condemned all the time by various people. They are telling me that I am in sin because I donít observe the Feast, and I teach others not to observe the Feast. When I was not a popular teacher they didnít care at all, but now that I am they have become very aggressive in their condemnation. They condemn me for not doing something that they arenít doing either.
I personally believe that the Feast of Tabernacles was a foreshadowing of many very important truths with respect to the relationship our God desires to have with his people. It is in the obedience to these truths, living my life in response to these truths that I believe I observe the Feast of Tabernacles. Some people have called this a spiritualization of the law, but I could easily say the same thing about them, and further suggest that they are performing a rationalization due to inconvenience.
In the end, when I go before my God, should I expect him to ask me the following questions? Now Aaron, did you make sure you did not do any work on the 15th or the 22nd day of the seventh month? Are you sure you didnít do any work on those days every year. Because, you know I want to be sure you really love me. If you loved me, you would not have worked on those days. Also Aaron, did you spend those days in between every year in Jerusalem, dwelling in the required temporary structure? If you didnít Aaron, that just goes to show that you really donít love me now do you. What am I supposed to do with you now? You have clearly violated my law. How can I permit you entrance into my Kingdom? Is this the kind of discussion you believe I will be having with my God? If you do, then I why would you think that you wonít have the same conversation with Him? If you donít think this is what He will ask me, then why would you be trying to have this conversation with me? Why would you condemn me for what I believe about this law, if God is not going to condemn me like you are?
I believe that the law was a foreshadowing of a reality that is found in the Messiah, Christ Jesus. It is the reality that I live in, not in the shadows. The best you could ever hope for by attempting to obey this law perfectly in the flesh, is to live in the shadow of the true reality that He wants you to know. I will describe this reality in another article.
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