Whoever is engaged in the Word with the desire to know God’s will, will discover God’s will. Here it happens in relation to the Feast of Booths. During their examination of the law, they find the commandment about living in booths in the seventh month (Exo 23:1616Also [you shall observe] the Feast of the Harvest [of] the first fruits of your labors [from] what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in [the fruit of] your labors from the field.; Lev 23:3434“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD.; Num 29:1212‘Then on the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work, and you shall observe a feast to the LORD for seven days.; Deu 16:13-1513“You shall celebrate the Feast of Booths seven days after you have gathered in from your threshing floor and your wine vat;14and you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your towns.15Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.). This feast is to be held when all the harvests of the land have been gathered. That is why it is also called the “Feast of the Ingathering” with the statement that with it also “the end of the year” has come (Exo 23:1616Also [you shall observe] the Feast of the Harvest [of] the first fruits of your labors [from] what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in [the fruit of] your labors from the field.).
The time of effort is over; they no longer need to be busy with their work, but may rejoice in the results. When the whole harvest of the land has been gathered, can it be otherwise than that the whole people, full of thankfulness to the LORD, celebrate a feast for Him? When we oversee all the blessings with which God has blessed us, can it be any other than that our hearts overflow with thankfulness and joy?
The feast begins with a sabbath rest – which does not mean that the first day of the feast also falls on a sabbath – and it ends with it. The Feast of Booths speaks of the millennial realm of peace, the great day of rest for creation, a rest in which the nations will also share (Zec 14:16-1916Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.17And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.18If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no [rain will fall] on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.19This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.). The day of rest at the beginning speaks of the beginning of a period of rest that follows. This represents the beginning of the millennial realm of peace, the time called the “administration of the fullness of the times” (Eph 1:10a10with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, [that is,] the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him). This is the time when God’s intention is fulfilled, namely “the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth” (Eph 1:10b10with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, [that is,] the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him). Christ will then reign over creation together with His church as the true Adam with His wife.
The LORD wants them to celebrate this feast to remind them of the time when He led them through the wilderness, where they lived in tents and not in houses. He takes their thoughts back to the time immediately after their deliverance from Egypt, to His care for them during the wilderness journey. He also lived with them then in a tent. The memory of His care and His proximity will have filled them with great gratitude. Unlike the Passover, which can be celebrated in the wilderness, the Feast of Booths cannot be celebrated in the wilderness, but only in the land. It is a harvest festival and there is nothing to harvest in the wilderness.
When they discover the precept for this feast during their examination of God’s Word, they do not find anything new, but rediscover a forgotten truth. For centuries it has been in the law. But the book of law has become a forgotten book. As a result, God’s precepts for the feasts have also been forgotten. God is withheld what He is entitled to from the side of His people. His people are no longer aware of the blessings associated with doing His will. That awareness is coming back to the surface through this examination.
In Christianity, the Bible has also become a forgotten book. Many Christians barely read it. The heart does not go out to the Lord Jesus and what He values. However, as soon as the Word takes hold of the hearts again and the wrong thing is confessed and forsaken, the inquiring Christian goes from discovery to discovery. He discovers what has been in the Word for centuries, but what now takes on luster and meaning for him. Whether it is about the rapture of the church, the celebration of the Supper or the future of Israel, every new discovery is given a place in heart and life.
The researchers of the law don’t announce their discovery and then leave it to each person’s politeness what they will do with it. No, they are aware of their responsibility and issue an order to make booths. In doing so, they do not give any clues that they believe are more appropriate to the current situation of the time in which they live. They give orders to act “as it is written (cf. Ezra 3:44They celebrated the Feast of Booths, as it is written, and [offered] the fixed number of burnt offerings daily, according to the ordinance, as each day required;).
There is no question of new forms with an old content. Their actions are determined by what “they found written in the law how the LORD had commanded through Moses “. What is true of the feasts for the time of Moses, is true undiminished and unchanged for the days of Nehemiah. Also for our time the Word is as current as in the days in which God had His Word written down.