Another distinctive feature of the Feast of Tabernacles was the radiant light that emanated from the Temple. Huge lampstands, called menorahs, lit up the Temple courts so brightly that their glow could be seen across the Judean hillside. The menorahs were so big that the priests had to climb ladders to fill their bowls with oil. For seven days these lampstands burned brightly as a sign of God’s Presence. When the lampstands were lit, it was cause for great joy and celebration.
Throughout the Word, God reveals His Presence in light. The first thing God created was light. He visited Moses as fire in the burning bush and He manifested Himself as a pillar of fire to give light to the Israelites in the desert. Light is a symbol of revelation, purity and holiness. It contrasts the darkness of sin. Light always displaces the darkness.
In John 7, Jesus declared Himself to be the Living Water. John 8:12 tells us of another aspect of Jesus that was revealed during this Feast. In John 7:37 it says that Jesus made the declaration of His identity as Living Water on the last day of the Feast. On the last night of the Feast, the menorahs were not lit. The brilliant light had been shining for seven days was giving way to darkness. The next day, while Jesus was still in the Temple courts teaching, that He revealed Himself as the “Light of the World.” The light of the menorah would burn out, but His Light can never be quenched.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Jesus clearly links Himself to the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles. He came in the flesh to dwell (tabernacle) among us. He is the living water (rain which brings harvest), and He is the promised Light that had been spoken of through the prophets.
Further study of the timing of Jesus’ birth reveals that He was born during this Feast. Scripture shows that the angel visited Zechariah, the priest while he was on duty in the Temple. According to 2 Chronicles 24, Zechariah belonged to the division of Abijah which would have served in late June or early July. The angel said Elizabeth would have a son and as soon as Zechariah got back home, she became pregnant. Six months later Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. This would have occurred in December, during the Hanukah season, which is called the Festival of Lights. From the last day of Hanukah to the first day of Tabernacles is 280 days, the exact length of a pregnancy.
Another mystery of God revealed! He has encoded the times and seasons for our discovery. Keeping the feasts is not a matter of keeping rituals or acting Jewish. In God’s great love, He has hidden His treasures throughout time for those that are hungry to find them. When we partake of the divine mystery of God, it satisfies our hearts like nothing else can. We are invited to celebrate in the Spirit of Christ all things that point to Him.
Jesus, the Light of the World, was conceived during the Festival of Lights and born into the world to dwell with His people during the Feast of Tabernacles, a joyous time of Light emanating from the Temple. When you see what God has ordained, it is clear that Jesus will come again during the Fall Feasts and set up His millennial Kingdom during the Feast of Tabernacles. Revelation 21:23 tells us that the New Jerusalem will have no need of the sun or the moon because the glory of God will be its light and that lamp will be the Lamb (Jesus). The glory of God in this context is called the Shekinah – it’s the Presence of God manifested by Light. This is our destiny – to dwell with Jesus forever in the fullness of His glory! That’s reason to celebrate!