This will be the last one on these Festivals in Scripture series. In this one we will look at the The Feast of Dwellings and the last remaining festivals and holi-days before the year starts anew. And boy is the allot of Scripture to go through here.
Now the Feast of Temples or Dwellings if you will, was a celebration of the Fruit Harvest, be it Olives or Grapes, it was a time of living in tents and offering sacrifices to SoNini. Remembering when He gave the Tabernacle and thanking the land for giving of its produce. This Festival is, like the others, given as a command for believers and is celebrated for seven days from the 15th day of the Month of Tishri (called Ethanim in the Old books of the Bible). It is also one of the 3 Pilgrimage Festivals in Scripture, being of such that you had to physically go to Jerusalem and the Temple of SoNiNi, and make offerings. Where is the Temple now? We don`t know, somewhere in Southern Africa, but under rock and rubble, overrun by Jackals. That is not what you should be thinking about, but rather believe in Christ and He will help you build a Temple for Him in your heart. One that cannot be destroyed or overrun.
Now this Festival of Dwellings or Ingathering is mentioned in Exodus 34,22:
22 "You shall observe the festival of weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year."
As we can see it marks the end of harvest time and thus sets an important mark on the agricultural year in the Land of ancient Israel. Cross referencing this with Leviticus 23,42-43, we find that the holiday lasts seven days, referred to by the The Hebrew name Sukkot or Sukkah (meaning Booth, Tabernacle or Dwelling). This was in ancient times as walled structure covered in plant material such as palm leaves. Sorta temporary dwelling where farmers erected and lived during harvest. As we see from the verses in Leviticus it is also intended as reminder of the fragile dwellings which they had to endure during their 40 year travel in the African desert after their Exodus from slavery in Egypt. All throughout the festival all meals are eaten inside the dwelling (Ngquphantsi or iXande in Xhosa), a place then where many people sleep during this time of the year.
Leviticus 23,42-43 (below):
42 You shall live in booths for seven days; all that are citizens in Israel shall live in booths, 43 so that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am SoNiNi your King.
44 Thus Moses declared to the people of Israel the appointed festivals of SoNiNi.
If we read Numbers 29,13-38, we find references:
3 You shall offer a burnt offering, an offering by fire, a pleasing odour to SoNiNi: thirteen young bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old. They shall be without blemish. 14 Their grain offering shall be of choice flour mixed with oil, three-tenths of an ephah for each of the thirteen bulls, two-tenths for each of the two rams, 15 and one-tenth for each of the fourteen lambs; 16 also one male goat for a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offering.
17 On the second day: twelve young bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, 18 with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, as prescribed in accordance with their number; 19 also one male goat for a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings.
20 On the third day: eleven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, 21 with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, as prescribed in accordance with their number; 22 also one male goat for a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering.
23 On the fourth day: ten bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, 24 with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, as prescribed in accordance with their number; 25 also one male goat for a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offering.
26 On the fifth day: nine bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, 27 with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, as prescribed in accordance with their number; 28 also one male goat for a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering.
29 On the sixth day: eight bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, 30 with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, as prescribed in accordance with their number; 31 also one male goat for a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offerings.
32 On the seventh day: seven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, 33 with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, as prescribed in accordance with their number; 34 also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offering.
35 On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly; you shall not work at your occupations. 36 You shall offer a burnt offering, an offering by fire, a pleasing odour to SoNiNi: one bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish, 37 and the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bull, for the ram, and for the lambs, as prescribed in accordance with their number; 38 also one male goat for a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering.
So we see here again, very elaborate offerings that was to be made to SoNiNi, but we now know these offerings are not to be undertaken any longer, as the Temple is gone and we know He desires mercy not sacrifice (Hebrews will clarify much of this as to what you should do when Law and Immanuel meets).
Now the Book of Exodus does not mention a Festival of Dwellings, but rather a festival of ingathering (Exodus 23,16 ; 34,22), as a time when you gather in the results of your work from the field. So these constructions was made by the same workers and harvesters of the field (also adopted by some early Christian pilgrims). But it is Leviticus 23,40 that talks about this festival being connected with the Exodus from Egypt.
As for the Laws and customs that came, has grown out of, this seven day festival of Dwellings (also called Sukkot in modern Hebrew). The seventh and culminating day was celebrated as the Great Day of Nkosanna (today called Great Hoshana, which does not have a literal meaning unlike Nkosanna which means little King or Prince). If you need more Scriptures of this time of living in Dwellings, please have a closer look in Nehemiah 8,13-18, Zechariah 14,16-19 and Leviticus 23,34-44. Now other references can be found in these outside Biblical sources (though not recommended) is the Mishnah (Sukkah 1,1-5,8 and 1,1-4,28) but also in the Talmud both Jerusalem and Babylonian. However these sourced (which we have never recommended before nor will we) as they are certainly Rabbinical litterateur which origin is man interpretation of SoNiNis Laws, and adding to them. Which is a dangerous road to take, therefore we will not even explore these sources from outside what is known as Scripture.
If we do read Scriptures we quickly find that, according to 1. Kings 12,32-22, King Jeroboam the first king of the so-called northern Kingdom of Israel, instituted a feast on the 15th day of the eight month. This was meant as an imitation of the feast of Dwellings in Judah. During this feast people made the pilgrimage to Bethel, instead of Jerusalem, and made their offerings to SoNiNi. Now Jeroboam feared that this continued pilgrimage from the northern kingdom and down to Jerusalem would create a kind of pressure for a longed reunion of Judah.
As Scripture tells us (1. Kings 12,27):
"If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of SoNiNi at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to SoNiNi, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah."
When it comes to the New Testament this Feast of Dwellings is celebrated and kept by many different Christian denominations that honour the Old Testament holidays. Holidays which SoNiNi has decreed upon us to keep. It is known that Immanuel (Christ himself) celebrated and kept Feast of Dwellings, read the Gospel of John and Chapter 7 to verify.
Scriptures on The Feast of Shelters/Temples
We have already pointed out Exodus 23,16 and 34,22, as well as Leviticus 23,33-43. We also have brushed upon Numbers 29,12-34, have a closer look at Deuteronomy 16,13-15:
13 Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. 14 Be joyful at your festival—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. 15 For seven days celebrate the festival to SoNiNi na NiNi at the place SoNiNi will choose. For SoNiNi na NiNi 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 SoNiNi na NiNi at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. No one should appear before SoNiNi empty-handed: 17 Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way SoNiNi na NiNi has blessed you.
Also 1. Kings (mirrored in 2. Chronicles) chapter 8 talks about the celebration in the month of Ethanim (the Seventh month), and goes on to talk about the Ark of the Covenant:
8 Then King Solomon summoned into his presence at Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families, to bring up the ark of SoNiNis covenant from Zion, the City of David. 2 All the Israelites came together to King Solomon at the time of the festival in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month. (..)
65 So Solomon observed the festival at that time, and all Israel with him—a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. They celebrated it before SoNiNi na NiNi for seven days and seven days more, fourteen days in all.66 On the following day he sent the people away. They blessed the king and then went home, joyful and glad in heart for all the good things SoNiNi had done for his servant David and his people Israel."
Furthermore in Zechariah 14,16-19:
16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, SoNiNi Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Dwellings.17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, SoNiNi Almighty, they will have no rain.18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. SoNiNi will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Dwellings.19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Dwellings.
Here the Prophet Zechariah makes a good case for people, in the future, that does not keep the Festival of Dwellings, will have no rain and even receive plagues and whatever else came upon Egypt.
New Testament quotes that confirm that this is/was a celebration to be kept, as seen in John 7:
7 After this, Immanuel went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judah because the Hebrew leaders there were looking for a way to kill him.2 But when the Hebrew Festival of Dwellings was near,3 Immanuel’s brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judah, so that your disciples there may see the works 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."
Hard thing to read, as even his brothers (by blood), did not believe in him. We see that Christ did keep the Festivals, as He who knew no sin would have had to have kept. Are we not called to do the same?
There was then, back in the day, 3 pilgrim feasts meaning a time when a pilgrim was to travel to Jerusalem and worship SoNiNi in the Temple. Sadly as Scripture has foretold Jerusalem was to be an utter wasteland, a place filled by Jackals. Something we will be looking into in later posts, where was Jerusalem really? Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal or Western Cape? They are all good and viable options. We will let Scripture guide us and not superstitions and old sayings of either Sangomas or relatives. We will let Scripture and stones from the ground be our good guides.
Now one of these 3 particular pilgrimage said that every Hebrew male (13 years or older) must present himself for SoNiNi three times a year at the Temple in Jerusalem at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which we now know was the 7 day feast following the Passover Sacrifice, then comes the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the lastly comes Feast of Firstfruits. Now the three festivals come in rapid succession, in the same month and within an 8 day period. The three later feasts, Feast of Noise, Day of Atonement and Feast of Dwellings also fall within the same month with Feast of Dwellings covering an 8-day period.
Now if these sacred, still sacred, but now forgotten feast are a blueprint for SoNiNis plan of salvation, where are we now? What time is it? Are we still in the long summer harvest with the workers in the vineyard gathering souls into SoNiNis great storehouse of Heaven?
Remember Colossians 2,16-17:
"Then never let anyone criticise you for what you eat or drink, or about observance of annual festivals, New Moons or Sabbaths. These are only a shadow of what was coming: the reality is the body of Christ."
A mere Shadow writes Paul, the man behind of many of the letters in the New Testament. Now to be able to understand the things to come, you must now come to grips with the festivals and the Sabbath. The Sabbath is the 7th day of the week, remembered as the Day when SoNiNi rested and was set aside as a day to worship and talk to be in communion with The Creator. This day is the only one given a name, and was first announced in Exodus 16,23-29 in the wilderness on the way to Sinai and was also associated with the giving of the manna.
If one reads Exodus 20,8-11 (which are the Ten Commandments given by SoNiNi and interpreted by men, then Exodus 31,13-16 the din of the golden calf, Leviticus 35,2-3 and a great many others. You will find more references to the above.
Now moving on and in closing, we will see these Periodic Feasts, monthly and yearly and even a collection of years, along with the New Moon (which was also to be celebrated, not as a Sabbath, but a reminder of when the Month started). WE will find a counting of 7 as being SoNiNis mark on the calendar.
New Moon Feasts - a perpetual and tuned with nature celebration which marked the beginning of each lunar month, which was celebrated by sacrifices and feasts. The old Hebrew calendar was dependant on the comings and goings of the Moon, with spring being the month of Nisan. All feasts then had to be calculated and determined by this lunar calendar. The Romans followed a solar calendar, the very same being used today. Now when we say sacrifices, we have to be as specific as Scripture, meaning: two young bulls, 1 ram and 7 yearling spotless lambs. A grain offering was with each sacrifice, which was three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for the bull, for each ram it was two-tenths of fine flour mixed with oil, and each lamb was one-tenth of fine flour mixed with oil. Accompanied by half a hin of wine for a bull, one-third a hin for one ram and one-quarter of a hin for a lamb. Please crosscheck Numbers 10,10 ; 28,11 and 15,1. Samuel 20,18. 1. Chronicles 23,31 and 2. Chronicles 4,8 ; 8,13 and 31,3. Other mentions are Ezra 3,5, Nehemiah 10,33, Isaiah 1,13-14, Ezekiel 45,17 ; 46,3, Hosea 2,11 and Amos 8,5.
Now every Seventh Year there was supposed to be a Sabbath Feast, designated as the Year of SoNiNi which the land was supposed to rest. If only farmers could do this today, much of the land would heal. If one reads Exodus 23,10-11, Leviticus 25,1-7 and 18,22 (also mentioned in Deuteronomy 15,1-11) the land must be at rest and cannot be sown nor should vines be pruned for the whole year. This all holy year feast was supposed to be a reminded that the land ultimately belongs to SoNiNi. This was also the year for forgiving debts. The Bantu Israelites may have been either placed in bondage in the seventh year or they were released in that year (Nehemiah 10,32).
Nest one was a Jubilee Feast (50th Sabbath year), which there is much debate about for all theologists, was it the 49th or the 50th year. Scripture is clear however, counting 7 weeks of years, or 49 years from the last Sabbath year, the 49th year then becomes the 7th Sabbath year. So 10 days after the New Year is celebrated on the Feast of Noise (as we have covered), the 50th year is proclaimed and the Day of Atonement and celebrated as a beginning of the year long celebration of the Seventh Sabbath Jubilee Feast. Now this is where is gets interesting, this 50th year countdown allowed the Jubilee Year to fall on a Sabbath, and also helped adjust the Lunar Calendar, if not you would have two continuous years of no sowing at all in the fields and no harvest.
The Great Year of Jubilee was meant to provide a year of liberation, and was enforced in addition to the return of the land to its original tribal owner. IS this what we are seeing happening in Southern Africa today, the land being returned to its original tribal owners? IS not SoNiNi behind this awakening among the Bantu People of Israel? This holiest of Feasts of Jubilee allowed the Israelites to show mercy to each other mirroring SoNiNis mercy shown in the Great Exodus from Egypt, liberation of captives, debts forgiven and nulled, and SoNiNis land was at rest and was given the covenant the following year. This feast assured social justice and and more equal society, not like the hoarding of wealth you see today. Immanuel declared a divine Jubilee in his first year of teaching, and quoted Isaiah 61,1-3 (He knew what time it was):
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of SoNiNis favour and the day of vengeance of SoNiNi, to comfort all who mourn,3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.