Should Christians keep the Feast of Tabernacles? A time to teach the law?


The Feast of Tabernacles begins at sunset October 2, 2020.

The ”Feast of Tabernacles” is a 7-day Biblical pilgrimage festival, also known as the Feast of Booths, the Feast of Tabernacles, or ”Tabernacles (it is immediately followed by an eighth day, so normally it is considered to be a pilgrimage of at least 8 days).

Can Christians keep it? Must it be kept in palm-branch booths in Jerusalem? How would Christians keep it now?

Jesus, His apostles, and their faithful immediate followers kept it. It is documented that it was kept for centuries by Christians after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Christians point out that Jesus kept the Feast of Tabernacles. This is discussed in detail in John chapter 7:

10 But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. 11 Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?” 12 And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.” 13 However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews. 14 Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. 15 And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” 16 Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. 18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. 19 Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” 20 The people answered and said, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?” 21 Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel. 22 Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? 24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” 25 Now some of them from Jerusalem said, “Is this not He whom they seek to kill? 26 But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? (John 7:10-26)

Jesus kept the Feast and taught on what we tend to refer to as “the Last Great Day” (see also The Last Great Day: ‘Shemini Azeret).

The Apostle Paul, after the Christ’s death and resurrection indicated that it was important to keep the Feast in Jerusalem–and this may have been the Feast of Tabernacles. As it is noted in Acts 18:21:

21 I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.

So, the Apostle Paul traveled to keep the Feast. Jesus kept God’s Feasts (Luke 22:8,14-16) and traveled to do so (John 7:11-39).

In the 7th day Church of God groups, the Feast of Tabernacles is one of the most important holy days as it lasts the longest and normally requires a great deal of preparation and travel to be able to attend (see also Christians are to Be Strangers and Pilgrims?). But it is normally the physical and spiritual highlight of the year for those that do observe it.

The Feast of Tabernacles also helps give us a glimpse into the coming millennial Kingdom of God which motivates us to live as Jesus wants us to and to teach what Jesus wanted proclaimed.

Now is the Feast just to have a vacation from work or school? Or are Christians to attend to learn the plan of God or the ways of God? While there are many things that Christians should learn from the Feast, consdier the book of the law.

But first, let us notice what the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in his Pagan Holidays or God’s Holy Days Which? booklet:

When Christ Returns

Then it is that God shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people Israel (Isaiah 11:11)…

Then it is that “living waters shall go out from Jerusalem,” and the Gentile nations that have not heard previously “shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles“! (Zechariah 14:16.)

Then it is that many nations “shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain [nation] of the Lord . . . and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares . . . neither shall they learn war any more. . . . In that day, saith the Lord . . . the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever” (Micah 4:2-7). This does not apply to God’s Church now but to the glorious time of the Kingdom, after Christ returns. What a wonderful plan of redemption!

Christians who observe this festival believe that part of the reason that there will be peace is that people will all be taught the law of God, as teaching the law of God was an important part of this feast during the days of the children of Israel.

Look at Deuteronomy chapter thirty-one, beginning with verse ten:

10…”At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, 13 and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess.” (Deuteronomy 31:10-13).

Notice that this reading of the book of the law was to happen every seven years. I had long felt that this needed to be done, but had been overlooked by most COG groups. So in 2006, when I was first asked to give full sermons at the Feast of Tabernacles, I decided that to try to do this myself, hence that is when this article you are now looking at was originally written.

As it turns out, 2013 was seven years later. I believe that this was God’s timing, and perhaps one of many reasons that God wanted the Continuing Church of God to form prior to the start of the Feast of Tabernacles in 2013. Since the Bible teaches that the “word of the law” needs to be preached as part of the Feast of Tabernacles every seven years (Deuteronomy 31:10-13; cf. Nehemiah 7:73;8:1-3,8,13-17; Joshua 8:34), instruction about covering the law, especially through the light of the New Testament, has been conveyed to those givings sermons at the CCOG sites for 2013–and it happened. It is not that other subjects cannot also be covered then, but reading and explaining the law needs to be part of the Feast of the Tabernacles at least once every seven years. Furthermore, this would make 2013-2014 the ‘year of release’ (sometimes called the Shemitah or Shmita year) that would be proclaimed on the Feast of Trumpets in 2013 (see also The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets?). Also, since 2013 was the first official Feast of Tabernacles of the Continuing Church of God reading the “words of the law” (Deuteronomy 31:12) would also be consistent with the instructions of Leviticus 25:2 (see also The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets?).

Seven years later is 2020.

Being taught the entire Book of the Law (Deuteronomy) with explanations is expected to occur at all the Feast of Tabernacles sites for the Continuing Church of God this year.

The Continuing Church of God wants to mention the following sermon from its ContinuingCOG channel:


Should Christians keep the Feast of Tabernacles?

Is the annual Feast of Tabernacles something that Christians should observe? Did Jesus and the Apostle Paul keep it? Can it only be kept in Jerusalem? What do the Bible and Jewish sources teach? Did early Christians keep this festival in the second and later centuries? What did Methodius of Olympus teach? What does the Feast of Tabernacles represent? How does someone keep the Feast of Tabernacles? When is the Feast of Tabernacles? What is its relationship to the Kingdom of God and the millennium? Dr. Thiel provides answers and insights into these matters.

Again, here is a link to the sermon: Should Christians keep the Feast of Tabernacles?

For those who would prefer to read about it, or get more written information, check out the article: The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach? Two related sermon videos include Should Christians keep the Feast of Tabernacles? and Feast of Tabernacles from Israel.
The Last Great Day: Shemini ‘Azeret What is the ‘eighth day’ of the Feast? What does it help picture? A sermon on this topic is also available: Shemini Azaret: The Last Great Day.
Christians are to Be Strangers and Pilgrims? Should Christians sojourn? What does the Bible and Feast of Tabernacles teach? A related video sermon is titled Christian Pilgrims.
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law The Bible teaches that every seven years that the law should be read at the Feast of Tabernacles. This is what I did at the first Feast site were I gave an actual sermon (as opposed to a sermonette) in 2006.
Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2020 This is information on the Feast of Tabernacles’ sites for the Continuing Church of God in 2020. The Feast in 2020 Services began the evening of October 2nd and runs (including the Last Great Day) until sunset October 10th.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it? Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near? A related sermon is titled The Millennium.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

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