A little joke to think about, what is the number one use for cow hide is in the United States? The answer is holding cows together. So often when it comes to the Jewish holidays there is either an emphasis on doing them in the Jewish believing community or an emphasis on ignoring them within the larger church. I do not want to get into the ins and outs of the value of the Jewish holidays, they are part of the Bible, and we are told that all Scripture is useful and inspired by God. I personally celebrate them, but I think there is a bigger problem we need to focus on. I think we forget what the Jewish holidays were designed for or get so involved with either the doing or not doing that we lose the being. While the Torah or Pentateuch is one it does have different aspects to it. If you are going to have a nation ruled by God you would have to have certain civil laws that would govern the way the society interacted within itself and where the societal boundaries were corporately, we could refer to this as civil laws or the civil aspect of the Torah. Obviously the way individuals conduct themselves in order to reflect God ethically and morally would also be important and so there are moral laws based on God’s character which formed the moral aspect of the Torah. And obviously since Israel was to be a worshiping community with God actually dwelling in the midst of that in his glory and holiness there would have to be certain laws related to worship. Now the laws related to ceremony and worship would provide valuable truth pictures of who God is and how he relates to human, and that is exactly what the ceremonial aspect of Torah does.
Now if the Jewish holidays or moedim provide truth pictures related to who God is and how he relates to human beings then of course they have purpose! But are they more important to learn from and do or more important to learn from and be. By the way, one could be them without necessarily doing the holidays. We know that Passover pictures the sacrifice of the Lamb and the application of the blood so that God’s judgment will not be upon us. Then we must live under the blood of Messiah both coming to him and relying upon his atonement to provide our view of ourselves and give us a true picture of our worth. In the case of the feast of Tabernacles there may be more than one picture there, but one obvious picture is God dwelling amongst his people and being there source of protection and security. Was God not the source of blessing when he visited Adam and Eve regularly in the 1st Tabernacle being the garden of Eden. Was he not the source and protection for his people Israel as he dwelt in the tabernacle of old is a tabernacle alongside him relying upon him for their protection and security — of course he was! Is that Jesus or Yeshua not the place in which God meets man and provides blessing, security, and forgiveness. Is the answer not obvious, of course he is! So, the proper response to the feast of Tabernacles is to remain in Christ and to come to him as your dwelling place where you can meet God if you have not already done so. Just as knowing the proper purpose for cow Hide helps us understand it, so understanding the purpose of the high holy days helps us live out their lessons.
For my dear Jewish brothers and sisters who follow Messiah let us exemplify by being not just doing in this holiday season. For my dear Gentile brothers and sisters I encourage you to be blessed by the pictures of truth contained in the Jewish holidays. Above all, let us remember that we dwell together in Yeshua and receive one another as Jesus received us!