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The Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes the restoration process for mankind, which will start with the return of Jesus Christ, pictured by the Feast of Trumpets, and the banishment of Satan, depicted by the Day of Atonement.
The seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, which begins with an annual Holy Day (Leviticus 23:34-35), pictures the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ on earth after His second coming (see Revelation 20:4). This period is often called the Millennium, which simply means "1,000 years."
In the beginning, God created mankind to cooperate with Him in a beautiful relationship characterized by love and obedience to His laws, but that abruptly ended due to Satan's deception and man's disobedience (Genesis 3:1-6; 21-24).
This broken relationship between God and man has continued to the present day as the Apostle Paul explained: "Through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Romans 5:12). Paul also knew that the breach created by man's disobedience is healed through Jesus Christ: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). After Jesus Christ's return, He will bring creation into harmony and peace with God.
God, speaking through Ezekiel, describes the spiritual change to man’s nature that must take place before this can occur: "I will give you a new heart and … put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them" (Ezekiel 36:26-27). In the Millennium, after Christ’s return to earth, the Spirit of God will influence people to willingly obey God, with the result that, “... nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3).
During this 1,000-year period, God will change even the nature of wild animals, reflecting the peace that will descend upon society. Describing this idyllic time, Isaiah 11:7-9 tells us: "The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain . . ."
God will also heal people's physical infirmities. Isaiah 35:5-6 prophesies that during the Millennium "the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then shall the lame leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy". Of even greater importance will be the spiritual healing that will take place. The accumulated results of generations of people following Satan's sinful ways will begin to be reversed.
The Feast of Tabernacles, also referred to as the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16), looks forward to this time. The name ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ refers to God's command to ancient Israel to build temporary "tabernacles," sometimes called "booths," to live in during this festival. This reminded the Israelites of their release from slavery and their dwelling in booths when God brought them out of slavery in the land of Egypt.
The Bible emphasizes that, as with booths or temporary dwellings, our physical life is transitory. This festival reminds us we are physical, mortal human beings in need of a literal transformation to receive eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). Those whom Christ resurrects at His return will work with Him during the 1,000 year millennium to help all nations build a right relationship with God.
The foundation for this relationship begins with instruction in God's law, including the observance of these annual festivals. Notice the words of the prophet Zechariah: "And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles" (Zechariah 14:16).
Members of the United Church of God will come together at various locations throughout Australia to observe the Feast of Tabernacles in 2022 from October 10 - 16.