Can we observe the Feast of Tabernacles at home and must we keep the entire Feast?

    Can we observe the Feast of Tabernacles at home and must we keep the entire Feast?

 

    The Feast of Tabernacles is unique from all other Feasts. Yahweh commands that we stay in “booths” during this time.  Leviticus 23:41-43 reads, “And ye shall keep it a feast unto Yahweh seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 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 Yahweh your Elohim.”

The word “booth” here comes from the Hebrew sukkah. According to Strong’s, this refers to “a hut or lair.” The Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon defines sukkah as, “a crude or temporary shelter.” Since the booth commemorates Israel’s travels in the wilderness, perhaps the best definition would be a shelter that is temporary.

For this reason, staying in our homes during Tabernacles is not biblically permitted. Instead, we must stay in a temporary shelter. This would include anything from a cabin to a tent, the latter being the closest to Israel’s booths in the wilderness. Even when Israel observed the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, the Bible records that they built and stayed in booths, Nehemiah 8:14-17.

Another consideration is that Scripture speaks about three pilgrimage Feasts. Exodus 34:22-23 reads, “And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end. Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Sovereign Yahweh, the Elohim of Israel.”

The Feast of Ingathering here is the same as the Feast of Tabernacles. It was during this time that Israel would bring in the fall crops. Notice that during these three Feasts, Israel was called to appear before Yahweh. Some will debate this by claiming that only the males are mentioned here.

As with any belief, we must consider the totality of evidence. Deuteronomy 16:13-15 shows that this is a family event: “Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto Yahweh thy Elohim in the place which Yahweh shall choose: because Yahweh thy Elohim shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.”

Yahweh confirms here that the Feast of Tabernacles is a family event and not limited to only the men. This is a time marked with great rejoicing, involving not only the men, but also the women and children. We also see here a command that we are to observe all seven days of this Feast, which answers the question, can we keep only part of the Feast. Israel worshiped every day and so should we.

Another reason why we should come together and not stay at home is that Yahweh in Leviticus 23:35 defines this time as a “holy convocation.” In Hebrew, this phrase refers to a set apart meeting or coming together. This again cannot be done by staying at home.

One of the most significant passages pertaining to the Feast is Zechariah 16:14-19: “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith Yahweh will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.”

This is a millennial passage referring to Yahweh’s coming Kingdom. It confirms here that at this time the Feast of Tabernacles will be required for all nations. This includes the family of Egypt. All will be obligated to come up to worship before Yahweh, even those nations afar.

What about those who refuse to come up to observe this time? The Bible says that they will be cursed with no rain. Considering that Scripture indicates that the earth will return to an agrarian culture (Micah 4:4), rain may mean the difference between life and death. The fact that Yahweh will curse those who defer to observe this Feast shows how important it is to Him. It’s also intriguing that this Feast is singled out here. However, the Bible confirms elsewhere that the Sabbath and other Feasts will also be required, Isaiah 66:23; Ezekiel 45:21-25 and 46:1-3.

In summary, the Bible does not permit us staying in our homes during Tabernacles. As believers, we are commanded to observe the entire Feast, not just a few days. This would include not working at our employment, sending our children to school, engaging with family and friends outside the faith, and other mundane activities. These detract from the Feast. This week is dedicated to Yahweh and should be spent focused on Him and the fellowship of others of like-faith. We invite all to join us this year in Holts Summit as we observe this important Feast. For more information, visit https://yrm.org/feast-of-tabernacles.

Posted in Q&A - Passover - Feasts, Q&A - Biblical law & Obedience.

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