The Feast of Booths

Key Verse: “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.”
—Leviticus 23:42,43

Selected Scripture:
Leviticus 23:33-43

AS WITH OTHER PROMINENT festivals, the Feast of Booths—or Tabernacles—had a literal application that pertained to the Jewish people, but also a symbolic fulfillment that was far more comprehensive. This commemoration was also known as the “feast of ingathering,” and was associated with the fall harvesting of grain, wine, and oil.—Exod. 23:16; Deut. 11:14

“The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 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. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.”—Lev. 23:33-36

This annual feast of rejoicing was to be a perpetual occurrence. On the first day of its observance each year, the people were to take the branches of various trees and make temporary shelters—booths—as their dwelling for the remainder of the feast week.—vss. 40,41

Our Key Verse explains that this festival was to serve as a reminder of how God had sustained the Israelites in the wilderness. He did this for a period of forty years, during which they had no permanent place in which to dwell.—Neh. 9:21

A broader fulfillment of this celebration is suggested by the following prophetic words of Zechariah. “The Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. … And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. … 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, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.”—Zech. 14:9,14,16

The context of the foregoing places its application in the future, when God’s kingdom is established on the earth. Gratitude will be expressed by all the obedient members of the human family, and they will forever render praise and honor to the Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus. This will be the time when there is a “new heaven and a new earth,” and the “holy city, new Jerusalem,” will be manifested to all who love God’s holy arrangements.—Rev. 21:1,2

Continuing, we read concerning that day: “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”—vss. 3,4