"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14;

    Note: Scriptures are blue.

    Feast of Booths

    by Charles J. Voss.

    In the following verses we are not commanded to keep the Feast but the instructions are HOW to keep the Feast.. It is assumed that all would be keeping it with out question, the same as with the Sabbath. The question is not whether to keep it or not keep it, but how to keep it. Our CREATOR is stating that when these days come around this is HOW you will treat them.
    "Then YHWH spoke to Moses, saying, `Speak to the children of Israel, saying: The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to YHWH. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to YHWH. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to YHWH. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it" (Lev. 23:33-36 NKJV unless noted).

    Sacrifices are commanded as well as living in booths. By the definition of the word booth (Heb. cukkah) it is a temporary structure of anything from a simple shelter from the sun (as Jonah used) up to a tent with curtains to separate it into rooms.
    "Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of YHWH for seven days; on the first day there shall be a Sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a Sabbath-rest. And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before YHWH your God for seven days. You shall keep it as a feast to YHWH for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. 42 All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am YHWH CREATOR" (Lev. 23:39-43).

    Verse forty-two states that "native Israelites" shall live in these temporary dwellings. The Living Bible and Moffatt state "all native Israelites," the Tanakh states "all citizens in Israel," the NRSV states "all that are citizens in Israel," and the Jerusalem Bible states "all that are home born in Yisra'el." Since sacrifices are not to be made while there is no Temple (see below) it seems safe to also say that living in self made booths is to only be done when Israel is back in their homeland by then "native Israelites".

    Before Israel crossed over the Jordan there were certain places where ETERNAL placed His name. However, after crossing the Jordan He only placed it in one place, Jerusalem. In this next series of verses the Mighty One does not reveal the place but states that in the place 1 He picks Israel is to rejoice before Him, as in His Feasts. He also states that sacrifices are to be made only in the chosen place.
    "But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which ETERNAL CREATOR 2 is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety, then there will be the place where ETERNAL CREATOR chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to YHWH. And you shall rejoice before ETERNAL CREATOR, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you. Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see, but in the place which YHWH chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you" (Deut. 12:10-14).

    He made provisions for His name to be placed at a specific place within each tribe. However, due to the fact that Israel never did follow His laws fully that was never done and to date Jerusalem is the only place where He has placed His name. Thus, the Festival Tithe could only be consumed in Jerusalem when the glory of ETERNAL was there, i.e. during the time of the first and third Temple. It states that in the place where He has placed His name, there we are to do all that He commands.

    If it was to far the people could keep the Festival at home, but could not consume the Festival Tithe there:
    "You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or your new wine or your oil, of the firstborn of your herd or your flock, of any of your offerings which you vow, of your freewill offerings, or of the heave offering of your hand. But you must eat them before ETERNAL CREATOR in the place which ETERNAL CREATOR chooses, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, and the Levite who is within your gates. And you shall rejoice before ETERNAL CREATOR in all to which you put your hands" (Deut. 12:17-18).
    ... "If the place where ETERNAL CREATOR chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter from your herd and from your flock which YHWH has given you; just as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your gates as much as your heart desires" (Deut. 12:21).

    In the next series of verses ETERNAL shows that the preferred method is to go to the chosen place. The Festival Tithe could be exchanged into money to make it easier to take with you to the place where He had chosen to place His name:
    "And you shall eat before ETERNAL CREATOR, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear ETERNAL CREATOR always. But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where ETERNAL CREATOR chooses to put His name is too far from you, when ETERNAL CREATOR has blessed you, then you shall exchange it for money. Take the money in your hand, and go to the place, which ETERNAL CREATOR chooses. And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before ETERNAL CREATOR, and you shall rejoice, you and your household" (Deut. 14:23-26).

    The only place, to date, ETERNAL has chosen to put His was the Temple, in Jerusalem, that King Solomon had built. This is shown in King Solomon's prayer of dedication.
    "...that Your eyes may be open toward this Temple night and day, toward the place of which You said, 'My name shall be there,' that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place" (1 Kg 8:29)

    We are to keep the Feast of Booths in the place ETERNAL has chosen. That place is the Temple in Jerusalem where ETERNAL has placed His name. However, since the first Temple no longer stands and the third Temple has not been built, we are find ourselves in the same status as our fore fathers were when taken captive into foreign lands. The only guideline we have to go by in this time frame is found in King Solomon's prayer of dedication.
    "...yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of those who took them captive, saying, 'We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness.' and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who led them away captive, and pray to You toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen and the Temple which I have built for Your name: then hear in heaven, Your dwelling place, their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. And forgive Your people who have sinned against You, and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You; and grant them compassion before those who took them captive, that they may have compassion on them for they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You brought out of Egypt, out of the iron furnace" (1 Kg 8:47-51)

    Until the third Temple has been built we can not "offer sacrifices" or "booth" in His presence. We can gather in a location and commemorate the Feast but we cannot keep it or observe it before ETERNAL as was intended. In King Solomon's dedication prayer he asked that in future days when Israel is in foreign countries if they repented of their sins and prayed toward their home land that ETERNAL would hear their supplications and maintain their cause. Thus we can repent by obeying commandments and statutes as best as we are able. We in present day Israel can and must repent of worshiping g-ds which the fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, did not know (i.e. a dead man hanging on a wooden cross).


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    Up1. See our article "Where YHWH Place His Name and Why?
    Up2. We will use ETERNAL in place of "the Lord" and CREATOR in place of "God."