There are seven festivals instituted by God for the Israelites. These festivals were shadows or types of Christ. You can find a detailed description in Leviticus 23. Males were required to travel to the temple in Jerusalem to celebrate three out of the seven – The Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Weeks and The Feast of Booths. The one that’s probably most unfamiliar to us is The Feast of Booths. They had to hold a holy convocation for the first day, and a holy convocation for the eighth day. No ordinary work was to be done. You can read about all the details of this festival in Leviticus 23:33-44. The point I want to emphasize here is what the Israelites were suppose to remember during this time – that the people of “Israel dwell in booths when I (The Lord) brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (verse 43).
The children of Israel had to leave the ‘comforts’ of their homes and live in these ‘booths’ for seven days. This helped remind them that when God brought them out of Egypt, they had nothing but His presence. If they had His presence, then they needed nothing else to survive. These booths, or ‘tabernacles,’ were reminders, but they also pointed forward. They were to look forward to the Messiah who would be ‘God with them.’ The tabernacle stood as a visible witness that salvation was God’s way or no way. It typified the Incarnation of Christ. The tabernacle was also a visible reminder that God’s presence – the most holy place, was off limits; it was only accessible by a representative. The curtain dashed all of our hopes, and kept us out of the presence of God.
But the greatest miracle the world has ever experienced happened over 2000 years ago – Jesus was born.
John said that Jesus dwelt (tabernacled) among us (John 1:14). Jesus said that He was the only way to the Father – there is no other name whereby men can be saved. Jesus became our hope that entered into the inner place behind the curtain (Hebrews 6:19).
Why do we need to participate in a shadow? We don’t need to go back to darkness and build booths. Jesus said He was the light of the world. A shadow disappears when the sunlight is directly overhead. When the true Light of the world came, He dispelled the shadows. Those festivals were not the real thing, they only pointed to the real thing. Only a groundhog is foolish enough to believe that a shadow is a real thing… Are you going to be Christ-follower, or a groundhog?
Brian L. Spivey