DO OUR LIVES REFLECT WHAT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES SYMBOLIZES?
Eric V. Snow, Christian Club Speech, 11/5/06
What did we learn from the Feast of Tabernacles this year?† We know how in type it foreshadows the kingdom of God and Christís reign on earth over humanity.† But what does it portray about living the Christian life in the present?† What does living in booths symbolize for us now in this life?† What would the wilderness that surrounded Israel as it wandered towards the Promised Land symbolize?
We Christians have to realize the Feast has symbols that teach us about how we should live our lives in the present, not just about what it predicts about the future.† For just as Israel dwelled in tents were temporary dwelling places in the wilderness before they reached the promised land, we Christians live in temporary physical bodies in a hostile world before entering the kingdom of God.
S.P.S.† The symbols of the Feast of Tabernacles should teach Christians that our present physical lives are much less important than our future eternal lives in Godís kingdom.
What is the purpose of making Godís people dwell in these temporary shelters for seven days?† What is God wanting to teach us by this ritual?
Much like the Passover was to remind Israel about their deliverance from Egypt, the Feast of Tabernacles was to remind Israel about their wilderness experience.† For if we donít understand the past properly, we wonít look to the future correctly either.† If Egypt in type represents living in an unsaved condition, what does the wilderness represent then?† The hostile world we arenít supposed to be part of.† To understand the wilderness experience better will help us get to Godís promised land, the kingdom of God.†
What would the tents/booths/tabernacles represent then?
II Peter 1:13-14
II Cor. 5:1+
II Cor. 6:14-18
Are we willing to be separate from the world then?
We should be separate from the world as God has made us holy by putting His Holy Spirit within us, which sets us apart for His special use.† So then, why would we want to get tangled up in the world?† Close friendships, marriages, business partnerships, etc., between true Christians and unbelievers really should be avoided.
How should we live this present physical life then?† Are we emotionally and psychologically tied to this world, in gaining financial success in it?† Or are we emotionally detached from it?† Are we just passing through while focusing on Godís kingdom, just as Israel was passing through the desert before entering the Promised Land of Canaan?
We naturally seek Godís protection when we feel vulnerable in desert with only cloth walls to protect us.† Do we feel similarly vulnerable now in this very brief and temporary physical life?† Death canít be avoided, so we must face it, and prepare for it by the way we live now.
God provided so much to Israel while in the wilderness, such as manna for food and keeping their clothes from wearing out.† God can clear the way for us also to the Promised Land, but do we have the faith to wait on him to do that?† Despite being delivered from Egypt by so many miracles, Israel kept doubting if God would save them from destruction again while in the wilderness.† If God has helped us during our own past bad trials in this world, do we similarly doubt that heíll help us again?† Are we chronically murmuring and complaining against God as they did during our own wilderness experiences?† Do we doubt that God could clear the way of the worldís obstacles in our spiritual journey to Godís kingdom?
Are we like the father of the faithful?† Abraham knew he was just passing through Canaan, and hadnít inherited it yet.† He was looking to his ultimate inheritance above all, when this temporary life has ended, like a folded up tent. He knew that pleasing his present bodily needs wasnít the most important aspect of life.† If youíve been camping, like at our annual church campouts, you know the tents come down ever so quickly when youíre packing up.† Think of this symbolism the next time you camp.
Think of the adults of the children of Israel:† Out of perhaps 1.5 million, only 2 made it (Joshua and Caleb).
If the kingdom may be here in a few years or decades possibly, weíre on the banks of the Jordan now.† Even if it doesnít, as we get older, we draw closer to that threshold personally since our knowledge of passing time ceases once we die.
Conclusion:† The Feast of Tabernacles uses a ceremony during which we live in temporary shelters for a week that represents symbolically our temporary physical lives while living in a hostile world.† This ritual should teach us that just as Israel passed through a hostile wilderness before entering the Promised Land, we Christians should seek Godís protection while living emotionally detached from this worldís attractions before entering Godís kingdom.† So now, are we willing to live the Tabernacleís life, year around and lifelong?