Well, the Day of Atonement is gone. I enjoyed the day – a day of complete rest without any of the usual activity, seeking God. He did show me a couple things that have been sneaking into my life over the last year that need to be dealt with – that is one of the purposes of the day – so I am glad He showed me what He did. If you observed the day, then I hope God met you also.
Next comes the ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ or ‘Feast of Booths’. It is a seven day feast! And, in the words of scripture, the first day, and on the eighth day are to be days of “solemn rest.”
“…that you generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am Yehovah (the LORD) your God.” Leviticus 23:43 (ESV)
The days are to be joyous celebrations. There are two commands associated with the days. One is to build and live in ‘booths’ (though that is specifically for “native Israelites”, anyone can join in the fun!), and the other is to ‘wave’ some stuff before the Yehovah.
“And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before Yehovah (the LORD) your God seven days.” Leviticus 23:40 (ESV)
In Jewish tradition, the “4 species” to wave are an etrog, palm branches, myrtle, and willow. Those are great if you can get them. Often used substitutes are a lemon, corn stalk leaves, olive leaves, and willow.
The point is that you have a chance to be in the center of God’s perfect will by grabbing these items, and waving them around before Yehovah (and dancing if you like – I do). It’s fun in a group or even alone!
An interesting point about the feast of Tabernacles is that it is the one feast explicitly mentioned that will be observed in the millennium.
“Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, Yehovah (the LORD) of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths…” Zecharaia 14:16-17 (ESV)
So get a early start and enjoy the feast now! It starts, according to the Jewish calendar, at sunset on Sunday, the 23rd of Sept., 2018, and ends at nightfall on Sunday the 30th. The final day (Saturday night to Sunday night, the 29th and the 30th) is known as “Hoshannah Rabbah” (sort of translated to “the Great Salvation” or “the Great Praise”). Click this link to see an opinion on this day.
This leaves Sunday, the 30th to Monday night as the ‘eighth day’ and another ‘solemn day of rest’. In Judaism, the day after this is celebrated quite vigorously as this is the day that the yearly cycle of reading through the Torah (1st 5 books of the Bible) ends and starts new. Dancing and singing are part and parcel of the celebration!
Hope you join in the fun!