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Tabernacles and Ingathering
by Wayne Blank
The Dual Meaning of The "Autumn Harvest"
According to the Biblical calendar (see Bible Months and The Bible Calendar), the fifteenth day of the seventh month (Tishri) is the beginning of a Holy festival to the people of Israel (see Physical and Spiritual Israel). It's known variously as the Feast of Tabernacles or Festival of Tabernacles, the Feast of Ingathering or Festival of Ingathering, the Feast of Booths or Festival of Booths, Succoth or Sukkot.
In contrast to Yom Kippur, or Day Of Atonement, that is observed 5 days earlier with solemnity and fasting, the Feast of Tabernacles is held with feasting and celebration. It's unique in that the people of Israel were to construct and live in temporary shelters, also called booths, during the week of the festival. The English-language word tabernacle means a temporary or movable building or shelter.
The Feast of Tabernacles was also known as the Feast of Ingathering because it occurs at the time of the major harvest of crops (the spring harvest of the crops was smaller than the autumn harvest, just as the "spring" harvest of salvation will be smaller than the "autumn" harvest - as mentioned above, see Seasons Of The Harvest). An abundant harvest and living in temporary shelters are the two profoundly symbolic themes of the festival.
As with all of the Holy Days of The Bible, the Feast of Tabernacles has great and joyous significance to Christianity (see also Christian Living). It symbolizes the first 1,000 year period, often called the "Millennium," that will follow immediately after the Return Of Jesus Christ.
The Dual Meaning Of The God-Commanded Biblical Holy Days
The spring (from Jerusalem's perspective, in the northern hemisphere) Holy Days symbolize the events related to the First Coming of Jesus Christ:
The autumn (from Jerusalem's perspective, in the northern hemisphere) Holy Days symbolize the events related to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ:
The temporary shelters that are built and occupied during the Feast of Tabernacles picture human physical bodies which are "constructed" and "lived in" during our mortal lifetimes. The apostle Paul referred directly to the reality of the symbolism:
"For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling, so that by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we sigh with anxiety; not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life." (2 Corinthians 5:1-4 RSV)
The joy of the time of the festival portrays a time when Satan will no longer be around to cause the terrible evil and religious confusion that he does now. Unlike the first 6 "days" (i.e. the 6,000 years of recorded earth history from Genesis 1:2) of humanity's laborious bondage to sin, the 1,000 years will be a Sabbath of rest and re-creation.
Fact Finder: Will those who repented and were converted throughout history prior to His Return actually rule the earth with Him during the first 1,000 years after His Return?