The Feast of Tents (The Feast of Tabernacles) A Bible Study for a camping trip. Student Guide

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1 The Feast of Tents (The Feast of Tabernacles) A Bible Study for a camping trip Student Guide This study was written by Naomi Schmidt The theological content was reviewed by Martin Luther College Professor of Theology, Lyle Lange.

2 The Feast of Tents The Purpose While this study was originally written for use during a family camping weekend, it is very important that this study not imply that the Feast of Tabernacles was simply a glorified camping trip! It was a very important festival for the Jews, established by God, and rich with symbolism that pointed them to the Messiah. Nor is this a belittling effort to sanctify a modern day camping trip and exalt it to the realms of the beautiful feast God designed for His people to worship Him as they were reminded that a Redeemer was coming to make the final blood sacrifice for their sins. It is an effort to learn about why God commanded this important Feast and be reminded of God s message to His people. His message is still the same today: there must be the shedding of blood to pay for sins (our Savior Jesus shed His holy and innocent blood for us all) and He wants us to know that salvation and blessings are from His mighty hand. Specifically we will look at 1. Why God pulled His people out of their regular routine and told them to dwell in tents for seven days. 2. We ll look at the purpose of the sacrifices and how they foreshadowed the atoning work of the Savior. 3. Furthermore we will understand that the Great Feast of Tabernacles is yet to be celebrated in heaven; we are only temporarily dwelling on this earth and we can look forward to this perfect Festival! 4. Finally we will make applications to our Christian lives of faith, looking to God s perfect love for us in Christ! The Passages Leviticus 23:33-44: Feast of Tabernacles The LORD said to Moses, 34 "Say to the Israelites: 'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD's Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. 35 The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. 36 For seven days present offerings made to the LORD by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work. 37 (" 'These are the LORD's appointed feasts, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing offerings made to the LORD by fire the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day. 38 These offerings are in addition to those for the LORD's Sabbaths and [ a ] in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the LORD.) 39 " 'So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the LORD for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest. 40 On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. 41 Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to The Feast of Tents 2

3 live in booths 43 so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.' " 44 So Moses announced to the Israelites the appointed feasts of the LORD. Deuteronomy 16:13-17: Feast of Tabernacles Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. 14 Be joyful at your Feast you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. 15 For seven days celebrate the Feast to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. 16 Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed: 17 Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you. John 7:2-15: Jesus Goes to the Feast of Tabernacles After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. 2 But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus' brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him. 6 Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. 8 You go to the Feast. I am not yet [ a ] going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come." 9 Having said this, he stayed in Galilee. 10 However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for him and asking, "Where is that man?" 12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, "He is a good man." Others replied, "No, he deceives the people." 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews. Jesus Teaches at the Feast 14 Not until halfway through the Feast did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15 The Jews were amazed and asked, "How did this man get such learning without having studied?" Supporting Passages for further review Numbers 29:12-40 lists the daily offerings to be made 2 Chronicles 8:13 names the important feasts Ezra 3:4 made offerings according to the Law Nehemiah 8:14 found about this forgotten feast and began to gather branches for their tents! Zechariah 14:16 There will be trouble if you don t celebrate it (What comfort and freedom to remember Jesus fulfilled all the commands of the OT and paid the ultimate blood sacrifice that is why we are no longer obligated to follow the ceremonial laws see Matthew 5:17). The Feast of Tents 3

4 Introduction Ever been camping? What are some of the reasons you go camping? The Transition In an outdoor setting, spending some time in tents (of some type), gathering with other Christians seems like a perfect setting to learn about an Old Testament festival that isn t very well known. The Festival of Tabernacles is a beautiful picture and reminder of God s love for His people. It involves being in tents for a few days surrounded by other believers, thanking God for blessings and focuses on remembering how He delivered His people. So, what was celebrated as a worship festival for more than a thousand years is something that we can think about on our camping trip this weekend. First, let s understand this important festival Part 1 The Old Testament Festival of the Tabernacles Read Leviticus 23: What are some of the things that God told the people to do (or not do) during the Festival of Tents? 2. Why did God tell the people to celebrate the Festival of Tents for seven days? 3. What did God want the people to remember at the Festival of Tents? 4. Why did God want them to remember that deliverance? 5. How long did God want them to celebrate this Festival? The Feast of Tents 4

5 Part 2 - Fast Forward to the Generations [That Had] Come Read John 7:1-10 (later you may read the rest of the story in the verses that follow!) 1. What was happening? (see also John 7:25-26) 2. Why is it important that He went? (This is important, make sure you understand this!) Part 3 - Fast Forward to Our Generation 1. What can we apply to our lives from these Bible passages? In other words, what do you see in these passages that is the same for you? 2, What are some harvests in your life? 3. Specifically we listed these commands from God about the Feast. How many are still good practices for us and how do we fulfill those commands now that we are motivated by the Gospel? Do no regular work (23:35-36) Rest (23:39b) Live in tents for seven days (23:39, 42) Celebrate (23:41) Hold sacred assemblies (23:35-37) The Feast of Tents 5

6 Bring offerings and sacrifices to the Lord in addition to the regular gifts (23:38) 4. What are the sacrifices and offerings that we can bring in thanks for the Gospel? 5. When we fail to bring the sacrifices and offerings that God desires or follow His commands for our lives, where does that leave us? Thanks to Prof. John Lawrenz for his information about this great Festival! The Feast of Tents 6

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