What Does It Symbolize?

The seven-day Feast of Tabernacles and the "eighth day" associated with it are the last of the holy days mentioned in Leviticus 23 (see verses 33-44). Other holy days in this chapter clearly represent specific future events—Passover foreshadowed the death of our Savior (1Cor 5:7); Pentecost foreshadowed the coming of the holy spirit (Acts 2:1-4).

What does the Feast of Tabernacles picture? One common teaching is that it depicts the Kingdom of God in the millennial rule, that the Feast portrays in microcosm Godís kingdom on earth for 1000 years. Zechariah 14 shows that participation in the Feast of Tabernacles will be mandatory when Christ returns to establish Godís kingdom here on Earth. Ezekiel 37:27 states "my tabernacle will be with them," showing that God will tabernacle (dwell) with men.

Once the Feast of Tabernacles and the Kingdom of God are "tied together," there is much the Bible says about life in the Kingdom after it becomes fully established:

And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be—"The Lord is one," And His name one (Zech 14:9).

But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, And no one shall make them afraid; For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken (Mic 4:4).

"The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, The lion shall eat straw like the ox, And dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain," Says the Lord (Isa 65:25).

Revelation 20:1-6 shows that Christ will reign for 1000 years, painting a picture of Godís rule of peace, tranquility, prosperity and happiness for 1000 years. This is certainly a useful understanding of scripture, but is that all that there is about the Feast of Tabernacles?

Some teachers further explain that brethren should spend a lot of money at the Feast of Tabernacles, living the lifestyle that everyone will have in the prosperous Millennium. This thinking is often derived from this scripture:

Then you shall exchange it [tithe] for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses. And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household (Deut 14:25-26).

Applying this scripture specifically to the Feast of Tabernacles and/or Millennium is a bit of a stretch. This chapter mentions bringing in the tithe and the harvesting of fall crops, but it does not mention the Feast of Tabernacles or any Feasts at all. The expression "place which the Lord your God chooses" does not specifically refer to the Feasts. It refers to a place for worship in general (Deut 12:5; 18:6), eating firstborn animals (which may occur at various times throughout the year) (Deut 15:19-20), a place for judgment (Deut 17:8), a place to give firstfruits (not tithes) (Deut 26:2). The expression does refer to a place to keep the Feast of Tabernacles twice (Deut 16:16; 31:11), but also other Feasts.

Certainly, the Feast of Tabernacles was a time when Ancient Israel rejoiced with their harvest, consuming the tithe and various offerings of which the offeror was commanded to eat. However, we do not find any scripture indicating that the Feast of Tabernacles should be a time of luxury any more than other Feasts or Sabbaths in Jerusalem. There is no scripture that instructs us to "imitate or symbolize the wealth of the Millennium" during the Feast of Tabernacles or at any other time.

What Else Can We Learn From the Feast of Tabernacles?

Leviticus 23:43 gives an often-ignored reason why we should keep the Feast of Tabernacles:

That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Keeping of the Feast of Tabernacles was to remind Israel of how God dealt with them as he brought them out of the land of Egypt. If we are going to understand the meaning of the Feast, then we need to study how and why God made Israel to dwell in tents.

A tent offers a bare minimum of security as opposed to a permanent dwelling. A tent dwelling is much more vulnerable to the elements of the weather and wild beasts, etc. But it is easier to change and move. The Israelites had to learn to trust in God for security. They had to be flexible—willing to change. They were drawn away from material security to prompt an awareness that their true security really came from God. But why 40 years? Apparently, immediate entrance into the promised land was not possible because of the lack of faith (Num. 13, 14). The people refused to believe that God would bring them safely into the promised land. Therefore, God kept them in the wilderness 40 long years until a whole generation of Israelites died in the wilderness.

As we understand it, a generation of experiences in a tightly controlled environment were required to develop the faith and habits needed to enter into the promised land. It was during these 40 years that God was "hands-on" governing and judging the people of Israel. Judgment was immediate and personal. Godís presence was always visible to the people in a pillar of fire by night and cloud by day. The Word of God was available directly from Moses. He also established 70 elders as leaders and judges over the people (Deut 11:16-17). These men prophesied by the power of the spirit (Deut 11:25). It was a time to instill the habit of Sabbath keeping (Ex. 16). It was a time in which physical care and provision was at a minimum. Their shoes did not wear out, their clothes did not grow old.

Now these are the things they could remember by looking back as they kept the Feast, but what does this have to do with us? Why should we look back at these things? Much of the New Testament teaching is pictured in terms of a "wilderness." John the Baptist was a literal "voice crying in the wilderness" (Matt 3:1; Mark 1:3). Jesus began his work in the wilderness and fed the multitudes in the wilderness (Matt 4:1;15:32-38). The Israelites are actually referred to as the "church (Greek ekklesia) in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38). Also, Revelation 12:6 speaks of a woman (usually symbolizing a church) that escapes to a wilderness to get away from the Dragon. The Apostle Peter refers to believers as "sojourners" and "pilgrims," here for only "a time," yet called to be a "special people" (1Pet 1:17; 2:9,11). Their physical bodies are referred to as "tabernacles" (2Cor 5:1-4; 2Pet 1:13-15). Many other scriptures expand on this theme.

Does the Feast of Tabernacles Picture a Future Event, Also?

We see how the Feast of Tabernacles pictures "the church" being nourished in the wilderness in a general way. Is there a scriptural basis to use the Feast as a type of something in the future? Hebrews 7-10 makes it clear that many things in the old covenant portrayed types of yet future events under the new covenant.

Colossians 2:16-17 states that the feast days (along with Sabbaths and new moons) are a "shadow of things to come." If feast days are to foreshadow events in the future and are based on events of the past, then it becomes clear that the Feast of Tabernacles is based on Israelís experience in the wilderness and probably foreshadows something relating to those past events. In order to understand the future fulfillment, let us look at the past events:

#1 All of Israel Dwelt in Tents—Temporary Dwellings

Participants in the final fulfillment will dwell in some kind of temporary dwellings. God himself spoke to Moses from a temporary temple. Now in prophetic fulfillment where can we find these conditions extant? We already mentioned the emphasis on the "pilgrim" and "sojourner" nature of the people that God is using now. Even the world that we know is temporary:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness (2Pet 3:10-11).

This reminds us that we and our world are all of a fleshly nature, which equates to a temporary existence—in effect, a temporary dwelling.

#2 Godís Direct Government

These Scriptures also portray an obvious hands-on presence of God with His direct guidance and organization. Ancient Israel was organized into 12 tribes. We find that the same 12 tribes will be judged by the twelve apostles:

So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt 19:28).

Jesus said in John 5:22 that the Father had committed all judgment to the Son and thus Jesus must remain supreme in judgment on his throne, subordinate to him, the twelve apostles under him, and also many others. Seventy elders were appointed in Numbers 11:16, and similarly Jesus sent out seventy more in Luke 10:1. Many additional judges and officers were chosen (Deut 1:13-17; 16:18-20). Similarly, Paul said:

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? (1Cor 6:2.)

This reminds us that we must learn to judge righteous judgment. It likens Godís Kingdom—His government in action—to the 40 years in the wilderness, when judgment and punishment were immediate and quick. Other scriptures mention immediate and quick judgment in a future setting:

And though the Lord gives you The bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left (Isa 30:20-21).

"For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me," says the Lord, "So shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me," says the Lord. "And they shall go forth and look Upon the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, And their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh" (Isa 66:22-24).

#3 A Time of Learning

The forty year experience was a time of training. In Exodus 16, the habit of Sabbath keeping was irrefutably instilled in people. The first recorded Sabbath-breaker died for his deed (Num 15:32-36). People learned both to fear to disobey God and to trust in his loving care to feed them in spite of the wilderness, semi-desert conditions round about them.

Judgment and Learning
Go Hand in Hand

Now if judgment and learning Godís righteous way of life were an integral part of "tabernacling" in the wilderness, would not one expect Jesus to emphasize these things in his teaching while attending the Feast of Tabernacles? As a matter of fact, he did just that! In John 7:14 he begins to teach that one must be willing to follow Godís will to agree with the doctrine of God. Then he reprimands them for not keeping the law and for plotting to kill him. In verses 19-23 He reminds them of keeping priorities straight in Sabbath observance. In verse 24, He admonishes them to judge with righteous judgment. Surely, Jesus was demonstrating by his actions the future fulfillment of those days.

These two principles, learning righteousness, and righteous judgment, appear to go hand in hand. Peter points out that for those being called in this age, judgment is an integral part in the process of maturing. "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God..." (1 Pet 4:17). Later, Peter says:

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you (1Pet 5:10).

Other scriptures show this judgment/righteousness relationship and show that the saints will become the judge:

...For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness (Isa 26:9).

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? (1Cor 6:2-3).

Bearing these things in mind, we can look for prophecies which are a fulfillment of the judgment and learning experienced by ancient Israel. We find just such a prophecy in Rev 20:4: "And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them." This appears to follow right on the heals of Christ returning to this earth to put down all misrule and establish Godís Kingdom on earth. This is also borne out in Danielís prophecy:

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom (Dan 7:21-22, KJV).

We find out more about who and how many will judge and be judged:

I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated.... A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened (Dan 7:9-10).

Who are these 1,000,000 assistants who will judge with Jesus Christ and the Apostles? Who are the 100,000,000 that will be judged? To determine who are the "assistant judges," let us look at the qualifications of the leaders that the Eternal chose:

The Lord said to Moses: "Bring me seventy of Israel's elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tent of Meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone (Num 11:16-17, NIV).

Moses selected people who were already considered leaders by the people. Other scriptures give the standards for righteousness demanded of leaders. But it is important to note that God approved them by placing his holy spirit on them. The same type of person was desired when people were needed to serve the New Testament congregations, but here they already had the holy spirit:

Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business (Acts 6:3).

So it was the outstanding selected ones who were placed in positions of judgment. So shall it also be in the final fulfillment. Revelation 20:4 shows that those who successfully resisted the beast "Ölived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." Rev. 3:21 puts it this way:

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

Who Will Be Judged?

Since the saints are to rule the world, who then are those 100,000,000 who are to be judged? Once again we can look back at ancient Israel to help understand what will happen in the future. All who were Israelite born were required to attend the Feast and to dwell in booths (Lev. 23:42). In Deuteronomy 31:9-13 there is a further defining of who must attend the Feast of Tabernacles. Every seven years all men, women, children and sojourners who were within the gates of Israel were to have the law read to them:

...that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God... (Deut 31:12-13).

And so all Israel, all within Israel and generations who have not heard must participate and be taught Godís way. The final fulfillment of this Feast must include people who have not heard Godís way, but need to learn it.

Who is Judged and When?

For years, most Church of God groups taught that there would be three resurrections, only the second of which would involve judgment:

1) The first resurrection is for those who died "in Christ" and will rule with him during the Millennium (Rev 20:1-5). They have already been judged in their previous life and will no longer be judged, but "meet the Lord in the air when he returns" (1Thes 4:16). During the millennial rule, those humans who survived the tribulation will be taught Godís way and judged on their obedience by those of this first resurrection.

2) The second resurrection or "great white throne judgment" is for all who ever lived not having understood what the Eternal expects of them (Rev 20:11-14). "And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books" (Rev 20:12). This is an obvious picture of people learning to live by the laws and principles of God and were judged according to their performance in the light of those laws and principles. Isaiah 65 appears to say that everyone will have 100 years to learn righteousness and put it into practice in their lives.

3) The third resurrection is for the wicked who knew of Godís way but rejected it. They will be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 20:15). That is their judgment and there is no need for further judgment or chance to repent. This final resurrection is immediately followed by the new heavens and the new earth, when the physical earth is recreated (Rev 21:1-3).

Is There Any More to Learn?

The above is one possible understanding, but if we conclude that it explains everything, we may miss important truth in the scriptures.

Since many people have lived and died, never having heard about God, His Son, His truth or His Word, one or more resurrections are necessary for them to have a chance to learn. It is important to realize that the Bible does not assign numbers to resurrections. The expression "first resurrection" appears only in Revelation 20:5,6 and the Greek word for first is protos, which conveys more the idea of "chief" or "primary," not "number 1 in a series." The expressions "second resurrection" and "third resurrection" are not in the Bible! Furthermore, the chronologically first resurrection to immortal life was Jesusí resurrection; those who rise at his return will be chronologically the second resurrection. The Bible does appear to describe two—possibly three—different kinds of resurrections. These would be resurrections to life, to judgment, and possibly, to contempt or destruction. Keep these in mind as you read the following resurrection scriptures.

Jesus definitely spoke of two specific kinds of resurrections:

Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment (John 5:28-29, NAB).

The King James and most other versions say "damnation" or "condemnation" here instead of "judgment". The Greek word here is krisis, which is translated "judgment" in 41 out of 48 places that it appears. It does not mean an "already judged condemnation." There are two kinds of resurrections here: those who judge with Christ on one hand and those who will be judged on the other. This interaction of both appears in Jude 14-15:

"...Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

Verse 1 of Daniel 12 explains how God stops humanly-devised evil government. Verse 2 discusses two results of resurrections:

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever (Dan 12:2-3).

The resurrection "to everlasting life" here clearly matches the resurrection "to life" in the above scriptures. The resurrection "to everlasting contempt" does not specifically exclude a "resurrection to judgment." People could be raised to judgment—the final result of which would be either "everlasting life" or "contempt." After all, verse 3 continues the Feast of Tabernacles theme of teaching and conversion.

The following are an interesting pair of scriptures, both words of Jesus and both recorded by John. The identical (even in Greek) term "last day" is used in both. Yet, the first scripture refers to the resurrection of a converted person, and the latter refers to the judgment of one who has rejected Jesus.

"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44)

"He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day" (John 12:48).

Paul appears to confirm that at least one single resurrection will involve both the just and the unjust. The word "resurrection," below, is clearly singular in the Greek:

I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust (Acts 24:15).

We find another indication of apparently a single resurrection of both good and bad people together:

The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth (Rev 11:18).

All the above are to happen simultaneously, if we are to accept this scripture honestly, just the way it is written. Our Messiahís statement concerning two kinds of resurrections bear no hint that one will occur 1000 years after the other.

Another parable, that is often ignored in studies of resurrections is in Luke 12. Peter asks who Jesus is speaking to, and he clearly shows it is converted people in verses 43-44:

Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.

These and following verses show that Jesus is speaking about how He will deal with His followers when He returns. What will happen?

And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12:47-48).

A stripe is symbolic of a punishment given to correct someone—so that they will not make the mistake again. God never commanded a person condemned to death to be beaten first—he takes no pleasure in their suffering. Nor does it make sense to give a "few stripes" to an immortal being or to a human who will be immediately turned into an immortal being. These verses strongly imply that there can be an end-time correction process for people who knew God, but have more to learn before they are changed. (These people are not rising to meet Christ in the air). If this understanding of these verses is correct, it solves the problem of what happens to a person who has been baptized, then becomes involved in some kind of obvious sin, then unexpectedly dies. Does the Eternal have only the choices of 1) raising him immortal or 2) putting him in the lake of fire? Apparently, He has a plan to give correction first.

Even though some people appear to be changed to immortality "in the twinkling of an eye" (1Cor 15:52), other scriptures indicate there is a judgment for every converted person:

For we [brethren] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2Cor 5:10—Rom14:10 is similar).

Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man [Christ] whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all, by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:31).

What Does it All Mean

We can see from the above scriptures that the timing of various resurrections and judgments is not clearly stated in the Bible. There are many more scriptures that refer to "the day of judgement" (though most probably could be translated "a day of judgment"—the Greek does not imply that there is only one such day). Other related scriptures can be found by looking up "His coming" and "His Appearing."

We do not need to be fearful if we do not understand exactly when each person will rise from the dead, when and how they will be judged. We can pray for understanding—that the Eternal will show us how all of the diverse scriptures fit together. We are closer to the truth in this state of mind, than we are when we think we understand it all when we really do not.

We can rejoice in the overwhelming number of scriptures that tell us everyone will be judged and justly rewarded or punished for what they have done. We can use the Feast of Tabernacles as a time to realize that our bodies are temporary dwellings, here now to learn from God, and to be ready for a time of judgment in the future. We should keep an open mind to scriptures that we thought we completely understood and realize that there may be other possible explanations.

One "Other Possible Explanation"

As one example, let us examine the commonly accepted explanation of Revelation 20: that no unconverted are resurrected during the 1000-year. millennium—they are all raised afterward in the "second resurrection". That may may well be true, but we are then faced with many Scriptures (some of which we have already listed) that appear to contradict that premise. 2 Timothy. 4:1 mentions "the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom." Jude 14-15 infers that Christ is coming to judge all the ungodly, an obvious reference to those who lived in the days of the writing of the book.

Obviously, there will be many "ungodly" people who survive the tribulation and live on into the millennium. They will need teaching and judgment. But the huge majority of people that need teaching and judging are dead. It does not seem to make sense that there would be a 1000-year separation between those who are judges and the majority that need to be judged.

Let us consider an alternate understanding of Revelation 20:4-5. It says, "they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years." This does not exclude the possibility of a resurrection or multiple resurrections during the 1000 years. The "resurrection to judgment" mentioned by Jesus in John 5:29 is something less than the "resurrection to life," so the people in the latter will not really "live" on the same level or sense of those in the former. We have already shown how the "first resurrection," in Revelation 20 is not chronologically or numerically first. The Greek primos can also be translated "chief". A "chief resurrection" would define more the quality of the resurrection rather than its sequence. This is born out in verse 6 which indicates they are resurrected with spirit bodies and therefore are not subject to the "second death," which is also a qualitative rather than a sequential term. (We know this from the fact that there were some who were raised from the dead that also died again—Lazarus died twice but will not necessarily suffer the Revelation 20 "second death"). So it seems that the "first" or "cheif resurrection" is referring to the resurrection to everlasting life Jesus mentioned in John 5.

If there are resurrections to judment during the Millennium, how then do we explain Revelation 20:5?

But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

Most expounders of this verse have had to claim that the first sentence should be in parenthesis (though there are none in the Greek) because the second sentence desribes the "first resurrection" in verse 4. It is possible that the key to understanding this verse is the Greek word anazao here translated "live again". This word apparently means more than just "live again" but implies a "re-creation," "rebirth," or a "renewal better than before." Thayerís Greek Lexicon gives these definitions:

1) live again, recover life; 1a) to be restored to a correct life; 1a1) of one who returns to a better moral state; 1b) to revive, regain strength and vigour

The Greek anazao is used four other places in the New Testament, and each seems to have this meaning in all of them. In Luke 15:24,32 it describes the new and superior state of the repentant "prodigal son." It is used in Romans 7:9 to show how sin is more powerfully disclosed by the Law of God. Finally, it is used in Romans 14:9:

For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again [anazao], that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

In this verse there is already a word for "rose", but apparently Paul did not consider that enough. He used also anazao to indicate that Christ went on to a superior state of life.

When we couple the understanding of this word with that of the "primary" or "chief resurrection," Revelation 20:4-5 takes on this meaning:

And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not receive superior life until the thousand years were finished. This is the chief resurrection.

With this translation, there is plenty of room for one or more resurrections to human life and judgment during the Millennium, just not to Eternal life. These people could live and learn, and die again. Isaiah 65 indicates that people will have 100 years to learn, but will still die afterward. This fits with the end of Revelation 20 which seems like a final dispensing of everyone with little time to change: the people written in the "book of life" live, and everyone else is cast into the lake of fire. Admittedly, this translation of Revelation 20:5 is different than nearly all other Bible translations, but it makes a lot more sense with other scriptures that seem to imply judgement near the beginning of the return of Christ.

One more question that some of our readers may be asking: If all of the dead are resurrected and judged during the Millennium, symbolized by the Feast of Tabernacles, what becomes of the traditionally taught "hundred year judgment period" symbolized by the "eighth day" of the Feast? Answer: The period is not really needed—but then, it is very difficult to document from scripture anyway. What, then, would the "eighth day" of the Feast symbolize? Possibly the "New Heavens and the New Earth" of Revelation 21-22. But that is another subject for another time. We included this example not to declare it as "new truth," but to point out that there are other possible understandings of the Bible and that we should not dogmatically declare our beliefs simply because a "credible teacher" taught them or because we know a lot of people who believe them.


Let us review what we have discussed. The Feast of Tabernacles is to be a reminder of Israelís experience in the wilderness and at the same time be a shadow of things to come. It is, in effect, a pivot point between the two, bringing forth the reflection of the past, and transforming it into a prophecy of the future. Its characteristics are direct guidance by God, re-education, building of faith, judgment, and removing of evil and evil doers. Also, there was miraculous feeding of bread from heaven, water gushing from the rock, and shoes and clothing that did not wear out. These ought to be prophetic of future events in fulfillment.

Also, we see that many prophecies of resurrections, the Millennium, and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth are not as straightforward as we might have thought. If there is anyone who can harmonize all of the prophecies on all of these subjects, we would like to hear from them.

Even without understanding all of the prophecies, we can see that the Feast of Tabernacles foreshadows Godís Kingdom on Earth. Whether or not it foreshadows only the Millennium appears to hinge on whether judgment and re-education are to take place only during that period, afterward, or a combination of both. It seems many Sabbath-keepers envision a life of bliss and glory for both the Feast and the Millennium and somehow seem to miss the responsibilities that are going to be required in the Kingdom. If we feel that we "understand the prophetic time line," we may tend to cut short or ignore things that could teach us lessons God wants us to understand for now and for the future.

By studying these, and considering what was to be done during the Feast, and who was to participate in it, we should be able to ascertain whether and how the Feast pictures Godís Kingdom. We should be able to study the Bible and gain fresh understanding for ourselves and our future.

We believe there is a challenge here for us to strive to learn about and teach all that God intends, as embodied in the Feast celebration.

—Archie Faul & Norman S. Edwards

Return to August 97 index.