Today’s article is part of Brother Frank Natoli’s guest column on the Seven Feasts of Israel.
The Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths) is a type and shadow of the Peaceful Reign (Zion)
- Leviticus 23:34-36; Exodus 23:16; 34:22; Numbers 29:12-32
- Occurs on the 15th day of the seventh month
The Feast of Tabernacles was easily the most joyous of all feasts of Israel, lasting seven days. Israel delighted in commemorating the fact that God had provided shelter, food, and protection for them in a period of wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.
One of the features of this feast was the construction of temporary shelters or booths, made from branches of palms and willow trees. The scripture tells us that Jesus faithfully kept this feast (John 7).
Zachariah gives this warning for those not observing this feast:
“And it shall come to pass, that everyone that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up with all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, where with the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of the tabernacles.” (Zachariah 14:6-19)
Rejoicing After a Period of Trial
The sequence of festival events and their corresponding types and shadows, as described in the wording of this passage (“everyone that is left of all nations”) lends strong evidence that just prior to this feast, a destruction had occurred, leaving only the more righteous, even as stated in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 9:13).
As the passage further reveals, the Lord will establish His tabernacle in Jerusalem, and all survivors of the destruction (the more righteous) will gather there (Ezekiel 37:26-27; Joel 3:16-21).
This is a perfect depiction of the fact that two of the primary tasks undertaken in the time surrounding Zion will be the gathering of God’s people (gathering of Israel) along with believing Gentiles (3 Nephi 20:13-18, 33; 21:1, 27-28) and the building of the New Jerusalem (3 Nephi 20:22; 21:23-26; Ether 13).
Protection in Destruction
Since we all desire to find ourselves in Zion, we also recognize we’ll have to endure a time of destruction and will no doubt turn our time of mourning and lamentations to joy, praise, and thanksgiving.
The Book of Mormon echoes the same sentiment:
“And the earth did cleave together again, and it stood; and the morning, and the weeping, and the wailing of the people who were spared alive did cease; and their morning was turned into joy, and their lamentations into praise and thanksgiving under the Lord Jesus Christ, their Redeemer.” (3 Nephi 10:10)
It will become a time of great happiness for God’s people. This happiness is expressed in 4 Nephi verse 16:
“And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor lying’s, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.”
No doubt one of the many things the people of God will be thankful for will be how God provided shelter and protection through a time of conflict and destruction. This will truly be a most joyous celebration, knowing that God has spared the more righteous, even as the Nephites felt:
“And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; And they knew it was because of their repentance and humility that they had been delivered from the everlasting destruction.” (3 Nephi 4:33)
There you have it! All seven feasts of Israel. Next week, Brother Frank will wrap it up by explaining why it’s important to have a basic understanding of these feasts.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.