By Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.
Observation: “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” (Lev. 23:33). “And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days” (Lev.23:40). Again we find the Lord giving directions to the children of Israel concerning a worship feast. This is the final annual gathering for the people. It is the seventh feast commanded by the Lord. This one occurred in the seventh month, beginning on the fifteenth day, and lasted for seven days. It started five days after the conclusion of the Day of Atonement.
Interpretation: This is not a difficult interpretation because the Lord explained to the people what He was doing. “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” (Lev. 23:42-43). The trip from Egypt to Canaan was a difficult one, and the people were strangers in the lands they traversed. God did not want them to forget who they were and from whence they came. He wanted them to remember the bondage of Egypt, as well as their deliverance from the Egyptian slavery. He desired that they never forget their joy of deliverance from that bondage. They were not home until they reached the “promised land.” This trip also symbolizes the journey of God’s people during the “church age.” We are not at home in this world, but we are pilgrims and strangers, and we “seek a country,” as Hebrews 11:14 says. Since this is the last feast, it speaks of the end of the trip. It points us to a time when we shall dwell in the presence of God our Father, living in a land where there are no storms nor devastating winds.
Correlation: After the Rapture of the church (Feast of Trumpets), after the return of Israel to the Lord (Feast of the Day of Atonement), then comes the millennium. It is then that we dwell in peace, represented by the Feast of Tabernacles. “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).
Application: This is given by God to encourage us that there will be an end to our sorrow and trouble. The ending is one of peace and rest in the presence of God.