The tabernacle became Yahweh’s first step to restoring the Garden of Eden. Whereas Adam and Eve originally had total access to Yahweh, humanity no longer had that due to their sin. However, Yahweh had chosen Israel in order to begin restoring that relationship. In building the tabernacle, Yahweh created a model of heaven on earth that would give Israel access to Him (Heb. 8:1-5; 9:11, 24). However, that access was limited due to sin, and the only way to gain access was through strict obedience to the Law and through the continual atonement of sin through the sacrificial system. The word tabernacle means, “to dwell with.” Thus, this was how Yahweh would dwell with Israel. The Shekinah glory of Yahweh would dwell within and on the tabernacle.

While the pagan gods of the ancient Near East were thought to dwell on mountains, Yahweh actually revealed himself to Israel from a mountain (Ex. 19). In this way, He demonstrated His deity and sovereignty over the pagan gods. Whereas the gods stayed upon their mountains, Yahweh would come down to the people and dwell among them through the tabernacle. Later, Yahweh would dwell in the land of Israel in the temple in Jerusalem, showing that He is not limited to just one region as were the pagan gods. Once again we see Yahweh coming done to His people not expecting them to ascend to Him through their own deeds.

The tabernacle was a rectangular tent with only one entrance, which was in the east (45 feet long by 15 feet wide by 15 feet high) (Ex. 26:1-6). A courtyard that all Jews were allowed to enter surrounded the tabernacle, which contained the bronze altar and the bronze laver. It was here that the animal sacrifices happened in order to atone for sin. The tabernacle tent was divided into two rooms. The larger room (30’x15’) was the Holy Place, and only the priests were allowed to enter it. The smaller room (15’x15’) was the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant. It was the furthest from the entrance, and only the high priest was allowed to enter and only once a year.

After the twelve tribes of Israel had been numbered, Yahweh then instructed them as to where they were to set up camp around the tabernacle and the order in which they were to march when they traveled. In the center of the Israelite camp was to be the tabernacle; camped around the tabernacle on all four sides were the Levites, set as a barrier between the tabernacle and the people. Yahweh then set three tribes on each of the four sides of the tabernacle. Judah was to be the leader of the eastern camp, which included Issachar and Zebulun. Reuben was to be the leader of the southern camp, which included Simeon and Gad. Ephraim was to be the leader of the western camp, which included Manasseh and Benjamin. Dan was to be the leader of the northern tribe, which included Asher and Naphtali. The front of the tabernacle was the eastern side, where the gate was and where Judah, the head tribe of the nation, was camped (Gen. 49:8-12). The four camps were to make their camp only as wide as the Levites were on that side, and they were not allowed to touch the other camps. This means that the tribes were only allowed to set up camp at the cardinal points of the campus and not fill in the corners; from an overhead view, the Israelite camps would form a cross around the tabernacle.

Each of the four camps was to be represented by the standard of their lead tribe. The image of the standard of the twelve tribes has been lost throughout history, yet rabbinical tradition has maintained the four lead tribes of the four camps. From what scholars can tell, the images of the 12 tribes were based on the twelve Zodiac signs and the blessings of Jacob in Gen. 49. The standard of Judah was the lion, of Reuben was the man, of Ephraim was an ox, and of Dan was originally the serpent but later (during Israel’s wanderings) was changed to the eagle with a serpent in its mouth. These images are the same four faces of the cherubim that carried the throne and glory of Yahweh in Ezekiel’s vision and, later, John’s vision (Ezek. 1:10; Rev. 4:7). These are also the images of the four gospels of the Second Testament. Matthew emphasizes Jesus as the Messiah and king of Israel (lion); Mark portrays Him as the suffering servant of the Israel (ox); Luke portrays Him as the perfect man (man); and John portrays Him as fully divine (eagle). Thus Israel on earth, the cherubim in heaven, and the four gospels of Yahweh’s Word all bear these images as a reflection and testimony of Christ.

Jesus Christ’s fulfilled the tabernacle when He came and tabernacle on earth (Jn. 1:14; the word dwelt is tabernacle in the Greek; see also 1 Pet. 2:4-10; Rev. 7:15; 12:12; 13:6; 21:3;). He even referred to Himself as the tabernacle (Jn. 2:18-22) and revealed Himself as the glory of Yahweh (Matt. 17:2; 2 Pet. 1:17-18). Scripture ultimately points to the New Jerusalem that will come down from heaven, which is a restoration of the garden of Eden and the full presence of Yahweh with humanity (Rev. 3:12; 21:2). Notice that in all the images of Yahweh dwelling with humanity, He always initiates, and His presence always comes down to dwell with humanity. This is starkly contrasted with the pagan religions, where the gods always dwelt on top of a mountain and it was left to humanity to ascend to the top through their own efforts. Scripture also says the tabernacle is a symbol of Christ’s work on the cross, which makes the restoration of the dwelling of Yahweh possible (Jn. 2:19-21; Heb. 3:3-4; 8:2; 9:11-12). Finally, because of Christ indwelling the believers, they are also seen as a fulfillment of the tabernacle (the individual believer: 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16, 19; Eph. 2:21; 1 Pet. 2:4-5; and the Church: 1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 3:6; 10:21).

The Tabernacle Articles

Just as the tabernacle as a whole communicates the nature of Yahweh and the coming of Jesus Christ, so did the articles within the tabernacle. There was only one way into the tabernacle courtyard, and that was through the eastern gate (Jn. 10:9; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Cor. 7:11; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Eph. 2:11-18; Col. 1:19-22). In the courtyard were two items: the bronze altar and bronze washbasin.

The Bronze Altar

The bronze altar (Ex. 27:1-8) was a square altar with four horns on its four corners. The image of a horn was symbolic of authority and power. Thus, this altar has the authority and power to deal with humanity’s sins. Both the fire and bronze of the altar symbolized the judgment of Yahweh. It was on the altar that the legal guilt of one’s sins was removed when a substitutionary animal was burned in the fire of judgment in the place of the sin of the person offering the substitutionary sacrifice.

Christ fulfilled the bronze altar through the cross by becoming humanity’s substitutionary sacrifice under the judgment of Yahweh (Jn. 1:29; 3:16; Rom. 3:25; 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 1:4; Eph. 5:1-2; Heb. 9:11-14; 13:10; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10).

The Bronze Washbasin

The bronze washbasin (Ex. 30:17-21) was filled with water, and, unlike all the other articles in the tabernacle, Yahweh did not specify the size that it should be. It was symbolic of the cleansing of sins; where the bronze altar removed one’s legal guilt of sin, the bronze washbasin cleansed the person of their sin and defilement.

Christ fulfilled the bronze washbasin through His death and resurrection, which brought the cleansing of sin for those who trust in His Word (Jn. 15:3, 17; Eph. 5:25-26; Heb. 10:19-22; Rev. 4:6). This water is also symbolic of the Holy Spirit, for it is Him who also cleanses the believer continually throughout their life through repentance (Isa. 44:3; Jer. 2:13; Joel 2:28-29; Lk. 3:22; Jn. 4:13-14; 7:37-39; Acts 2:33; 1 Cor. 12:13). Perhaps this is why Yahweh never specified a size for the bronze washbasin because there is no limit to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the continual cleansing that it offers.

The Table of Showbread

In the tabernacle were two rooms. The first was the Holy Place and contained the table of showbread, the lampstand, and the altar of incense. The second room was the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant.

On the table of showbread (Ex. 25:23-30) was twelve loaves of bread, which symbolized the provision Yahweh made for Israel in the wilderness when the bread (manna) appeared each morning. The twelve loaves represented the twelve tribes of Israel. These loaves were replaced at the end of each week, and only the priests were allowed to eat the old loaves of bread.

Christ fulfilled the table of showbread by miraculously providing bread for the Jews, by referring to Himself as the bread of life (Jn. 6), and by becoming the bread of Yahweh (Lk. 22:19; 1 Cor. 10:16-17). Thus, the bread is the body of Christ, which was broken for us so that we may receive the blessings of Yahweh (Jn. 6:56-63).

The Golden Lampstand

The golden lampstand (Ex. 25:31-40) was to have seven branches with lamps at the ends, symbolizing Yahweh’s light shining during the seven days of His creation (seven also represents completion). Yahweh is often seen as light throughout Scriptures (Gen. 1:3; Ex. 13:21; 19:16-19; 2 Sam. 22:12-29; Ps. 4:6; 18:28; 19:8; 27:1; 36:9; 43:3; 44:3; 56:13; 76:4; 89:15; 90:8; 104; 2; 118:27; 119:105, 130; Prov. 6:23; Isa. 2:5; 60:1, 19; Ezk. 1:25-28; Dan. 7:9-10; Micah 7:8; 2 Cor. 4:6; Jam. 1:7; 1 Pet. 2:9; 1 Jn. 1:5; Rev. 4:1-6; 21:23). It also was fashioned to look like a tree, symbolizing the tree of Life in the Garden of Eden and in the new earth (Gen. 1:9; Rev. 22:2). The flowers and almonds on the branches represent the new life that Yahweh’s light brings. The almond trees were the first to bloom in the spring.

Christ fulfilled the lampstand by proclaiming Himself as the light of Yahweh (Jn. 8:12; 12:35, 46), and Scripture also calls Him the light of Yahweh (Matt. 17:1-2; Jn. 1:1-4; Acts 9:3-6; 1 Tim. 6:14-16; Heb. 1:3; Rev. 21:23). By the fact that Christ is in us (Jn. 14:16-18; Rom. 8:10; 2 Cor. 13:5; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 3:17; Col 1:27), we are also called to be light (Matt. 5:13-16; Eph. 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:5).

The Altar of Incense

The golden altar of incense (Ex. 30:1-10) was symbolic of the worship, devotion, and prayers of Israel going up to Yahweh each day. The priests were to offer incense each morning and evening, and the high priest cleansed it with blood each year on the Day of Atonement. The First Testament describes the altar of incense as being outside of the Holy of Holies (Ex. 30:6; 40:3-27), whereas the book of Hebrews states that it was behind the veil in the Holy of Holies (Heb. 9:4). The altar of incense being inside the Holy of Holies would not be possible since the priests were to attend to it each morning and evening and only the high priest was allowed behind the veil one time a year on the Day of Atonement. Most likely, Yahweh intended it to be behind the veil but for practical purposes had Moses place it right in front of the veil so that the priests could attend to it.

Christ fulfilled the altar of incense through His death and resurrection, which allowed for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit so that believers could have a more intimate relationship with Yahweh (2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 3:5; 1 Thess. 1:5; Heb. 10:15; 1 Pet. 1:12; Jude 1:20).

The Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 25:10-16) was located in the Holy of Holies, the innermost room of the tabernacle and also the most restricted room. Only the high priest, one time a year and only with the blood of a sacrifice, could enter the Holy of Holies. The Ark of the Covenant represented Yahweh’s presence with the people and was seen as His throne (2 Sam. 6:2; 1 Chr. 13:6; Ps. 80:1; 99:1; Isa. 37:16; Rev. 4:1-11), which is reflective of His true heavenly throne (Ezk. 10:1-22; Rev. 4:1-11). In fact, the Jews often visualized Yahweh on His throne in heaven with the Ark of the Covenant as His footstool on Earth. It was upon the Ark of the Covenant that the pillar of cloud and fire rested, connecting heaven and earth. Gold in the Scriptures represents Yahweh’s glory because it was the brightest metal in the ancient world and reflects light, looking like the sun and its radiance (Job 22:25; 23:10; Ps. 21:3; 45:9, 13; Dan. 10:5; Rev. 1:12-13; 4:4; 9:7; 14:14; 15:6; 21:18-121). With the Ark of the Covenant being gold on the outside and inside and the pillar of cloud and fire on it, it would reflect light, symbolizing Yahweh’s glory.

Later, Yahweh would have Moses place in the Ark the broken Ten Commandments, a jar of manna, and the budded staff of Aaron (Ex. 25:15-16; Num. 17:10; Heb. 9:3-4). All of these items represented the sin and rebellion of the people, so the Ark of the Covenant symbolically contained the sin of the people.

The lid was called the Mercy Seat (Ex. 25:17-22) and covered the Ark of the Covenant and the items in it. On top of the lid were two cherubim, which are often portrayed as the bodyguards of Yahweh (Gen. 3:24; Ex. 26:31; 2 Sam. 6:2; 1 Chr. 13:6; Ps. 80:1; 99:1; Isa. 37:16; Ezk. 10:1-22; Rev. 4:1-11). Note that Yahweh does not need the protection of bodyguards, but their presence as His attendants emphasizes His authority, as the attendants of kings on earth emphasize their authority. In fact, the cherubim serve more as protectors from Yahweh’s glory for unholy humans who come into His holy presence. Their presence on top of the Ark’s lid symbolically covers the sins of the people, creating a protective barrier between sinful humanity and Yahweh. Because of this barrier, Yahweh can come down and dwell, in a limited way, with the people. The cherubim are Yahweh’s provided covering, but the people also need to provide a covering—their faith. Once a year, the High Priest is to carry the blood of a goat into the Holy of Holies (the innermost room containing the Ark of the Covenant, Ex. 26:31-35) and place the blood on the Mercy Seat, thus covering the sins of the people (Lev. 16:15-17). In this, the cherubim and the blood allow for Yahweh to dwell with the people.

Christ fulfilled the Ark of the Covenant when He came to earth as the glory of Yahweh (Matt. 17:1-3; Jn. 1:1-5, 14; 1 Jn. 1:5; Heb. 1:3) and dwelt with humanity, or “tabernacled” with us (Jn. 1:14; Rev. 7:15; 12:12; 13:6; 21:3; the word dwelt is tabernacle in the Greek). It is also through His blood that our sins are covered and that the Holy Spirit (the pillar of cloud and fire, Lk. 1:17; 3:16; 21:27; Acts 2:1-4) is now able to dwell within us. Since we are called the dwelling house of Yahweh (Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Pet. 2:4-5), and since Christ’s glory is within us (Jn. 14:16-18; Rom. 8:10; 2 Cor. 13:5; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 3:17; Col 1:27), we are the Ark of the Covenant.

The Sacrificial System

The fact that Yahweh provided a way to Himself through atonement demonstrates His incredible love for humanity despite their sin that violates His holiness. Atonement is the covering of sin to reconcile one back to Yahweh. The most specific way that Yahweh provided atonement for the people of Israel was through animal sacrifices. How animal sacrifice paid for the sins of the people is not addressed directly in Leviticus. However, the key is found in the blood of the animal, which was the life of the animal (Lev. 17:11). Since the life of the sinner is demanded as the price for sin, then a life must be offered up in the place of the sinner in order to pay the price. Thus the life/blood of the animal is poured out onto the altar as a covering of sins. The point of the sacrifice was to remove the judgment of sin and provide atonement. This is seen most fully in the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16) when the sacrifices of the two goats paid the price of sin, purged the sanctuary of the pollution of sin, and removed the guilt and defilement of sin from the community as a whole.

Yahweh designed the sacrificial offerings to teach the Israelites as well as to enable them to worship Him. Yahweh instituted the sacrificial system as a means to provide atonement for sin, as well as a way to demonstrate their thanksgiving to Him. Because of their sins, the people could not enter the presence of a Holy and righteous Yahweh. Since the penalty for sin is death, then only by something dying in their place could they enter Yahweh’s presence. However, the blood of animals could not truly take away sin—thus the need for Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. The sacrifices were therefore an act of obedience that demonstrated the believer’s faith and repentance. The sacrifice given in faith would then cover the sins of the Israelite until the greater sacrifice, Jesus Christ, came. The sacrificial system taught the people what was necessary to maintain and restore the believer’s communion with Yahweh and painted a picture of Christ to come.

There were seven different kinds of sacrifices required by Yahweh in order to gain access to and have fellowship with Him. However, this article will only discuss the first three since they best demonstrate the purpose and what was expected of the sacrifices.

The burnt offering (Lev. 1:1-17) was a required sacrifice and was the most important and most common. It expressed the individual’s complete consecration to Yahweh (Matt. 22:37; Rom. 12:1-2). This sacrifice atoned for the sins of the offerer and maintained peace between him and Yahweh, which was the goal of all the sacrifices. The priests offered a burnt offering every morning and every evening, more frequently on holy days.

The distinction of this sacrifice was that it was completely consumed, becoming a total sacrifice for the sins of the offerer. The Israelite was to present a male bull (male from the herd) without any blemishes or defects. He was then to lay his hands on the animal as a symbol of his sins being transferred to the animal. He was then required to kill the animal and cut it up in order to be laid on the altar. It was the priests who then were to splash the blood on the sides of the altar and lay the animal on the altar. The offerer could not do this since the altar was holy and only the priest had been dedicated to Yahweh. Thus a priest acted as a mediator between Yahweh and Israel. The animal removed the legal guilt of sin, and the blood cleansed the defilement of sin.

The grain offering (Lev. 2:1-16) was required and was also an offering of worship, symbolizing the sacrifice and commitment of oneself and one’s works to Yahweh, as well as a willingness to keep the law (Rom. 12:1-2; Heb. 13:15-16). A grain offering always followed the official daily burnt offering (Num. 28). The grain offering acted as thanks to Yahweh for providing for the offerer and as a demonstration of trust that Yahweh would continue to provide. One could only offer the grain (thanksgiving) after atoning for his sins through the burnt offering. Unlike the burnt offering, which sacrificed an animal of Yahweh’s creation, the grain offering was the fruit of human labor.

The grain offering consisted of the best wheat, symbolic of the staff of life, and was to be baked into loaves of bread without yeast and honey. Yeast and honey were symbolic of the fermentation and corruption of sin and so could not be in the offering. Olive oil also had to be mixed into the bread, which was symbolic of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, grain and oil, in addition to wine, were signs of the coming of the messiah. The salt symbolized a covenant since nothing in antiquity was able to destroy salt, including fire and time. Adding salt to an offering reminded the worshipper that he was in an eternal covenant relationship with Yahweh.

A portion of the bread was to be burned in the fire as an offering to Yahweh, and a portion was to be offered to the priests. Because the priests served the people and had no means of providing for themselves, they were completely dependent upon Yahweh for providing for them. Thus some of the sacrifices that Yahweh required from the people prescribed a portion going to the priests. Yahweh permitted various kinds of grain offerings: baked, grilled, fried, and roasted.

The peace or fellowship offering (Lev. 3:1-17) was an optional offering that could be presented whenever and as frequently as the offerer desired. The offering represented the fellowship between Yahweh and the Israelite that resulted from the relationship that Yahweh had established with the redeemed individual. The only time Yahweh required the offering was from the priest at the Feast of Weeks (Lev. 23:19).

Just as with the burnt offering, the offerer was to present a bull without blemish and lay his hands on the animal before he slaughtered it. The priest would then splash the blood on the altar. However, only the fat and the entrails were to be offered on the altar. The meat was then to be divided between the priest and the individual. The individual would then have a fellowship meal where the meat was shared with others. Thus Yahweh, the priest, and the people were all sharing in the same fellowship offering. The lamb and goat were the optional offerings.

Yahweh's Festivals

There are seven festivals that Yahweh prescribed in the Torah (Ex. 12; Lev. 23-24; Num. 28; Deut. 16): four in the spring and three in the fall. The four spring festivals foreshadow Christ’s first coming, and the three fall festivals foreshadow Christ’s second coming. We will only be dealing with the spring festivals as they relate to the Passover Festival.

The Passover

Passover got its name because it celebrated the night that Yahweh passed over the firstborn males of all families who sacrificed a lamb in their place (Heb. 11:28). Their faith in Yahweh, that He would do what He promised, is what saved them that night. Yahweh emphasized the importance of Passover and the feat of unleavened bread by stating that the Israelites were to celebrate the two forever and those who did not participate would be cut off from Him and removed from the community (Ex. 12:14).

Yahweh required each family on the 10th of Nissan (the seventh month of the Jewish calendar) to choose a male lamb that was spotless and healthy to be sacrificed in place of the family. For four days the lamb would be inspected for imperfections, and on the 14th of Nissan it would be sacrificed. The blood of the lamb would be placed on the frame and above and to either side of the door. Yahweh directed that the Israelites roast the lamb in the same way done by the nomads, rather than eating it raw or boiled, the way many of the surrounding pagans ate their sacrificial meat. Roasting the lamb allowed for the lamb to be placed on the table undivided and unchanged in its essential structure and appearance. This would have strengthened the impression of the substitute nature of the lamb. The eating of the lamb was necessary in order to partake of the blessings of Yahweh.

The lamb is a typology of the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ (Jn. 1:29, 36; 1 Cor. 5:6-8; 1 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 7:10; 21:22; 22:21). Just as the lamb would die in place of the family for their sins in Egypt, so Christ would die for the sins of the world (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Gal. 1:3-4; Heb. 9:24-27; 1 Jn. 2:2). The blood that covers the door to their house, marking them as purified, is a foreshadowing and symbol of the blood of Christ that covers our hearts and purifies us (Lev. 17:11; John 19:24; Heb. 9:24-27; 1 Jn. 2:1; 5:6).

The Feast of Unleavened Bread

The Unleavened Bread festival started on the 15th of Nissan and lasted for seven days. It would be a time of removing all the yeast from the house and eating bread without yeast. Biblically yeast is symbolic of sin. Thus this week was a time where the Israelites reflected on the past year and repented of their sins as they ate bread without yeast.

It is Passover and the Unleavened Bread festival that Christ fulfilled when He celebrated them in the upper room with His disciples, which has since come to be known as the Lord’s Supper (Lk. 22:17-20; 1 Jn. 14; Cor. 11:23-29). Christ stated that the bread was His body and the wine His blood, broken and given for them.

Feast of Firstfruits

The Feast of Firstfruits, was celebrated on the day after the Sabbath that followed Passover (the Sunday after Passover). Firstfruits was not to be celebrated until Israel entered the Promised Land, and then it would celebrate the first fruits of the barley harvest (the first harvest of the year). The people were to offer up the first fruits of their barley harvest as an acknowledgement that it was Yahweh who had given them the land and the harvest and as a demonstration of trust that He would provide more. The Israelites also offered a lamb, flour, and wine, all representing Yahweh’s provisions of spiritual and physical food and drink for His people.

Passover was celebrated on a specific date of the month, and it would fall on a different day of the week with each passing year. Because Firstfruits was celebrated on a specific day of the week, the number of days between Passover and Firstfruits would be different each year.

Christ died on the day of the Passover, and it was three days later that Christ rose from the dead on the day of Firstfruits. Thus Christ became the “first fruits” from the dead (1 Cor. 15:20) with the promise that believers would follow Him in our own resurrections and into heaven (the Promised Land).

The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)

The Feast of Weeks was celebrated at the end of the spring harvest, 50 days after Passover (specifically, the day after the seventh Sabbath). This day celebrated the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai, and the Israelites would offer up the first fruits of the wheat harvest in the same manner as they had previously with the barley harvest. Thus, this became the second firstfruits offering to Yahweh of the harvest season. This was the only festival where the Israelites were commanded to eat bread baked with yeast (a symbol of sin) in it.

This feast was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit indwelled the disciples for the first time. In this way, the Law that had been given to the Hebrews at Mount Sinai was now written on the hearts of the disciples in fulfillment of what the prophets had said (Jer. 31:31-34; Joel 2:28-32; Ezek. 11:17-21). Thus, the believer becomes a second firstfruits resurrection from the dead through the death and resurrection of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (2 Thess. 2:13; James 1:18; Rev. 14:4). By the Second Testament the Gentiles were associated with yeast and sin and were considered unclean. In Acts 2 we learn that people from many different nations (Gentiles) accepted Christ, thus the allowance of bread with yeast.

Feast of Trumpets

The next three festivals were celebrated in the seventh month of the Jewish religious calendar in the spring and foreshadow the second coming of Jesus Christ. The Feast of Trumpets was celebrated on the 1st of Tishri and was a day on which the people of Israel gathered as a nation and presented themselves to Yahweh for repentance. This was signaled by the priests blowing a long and large ram’s horn (shophar) that produced a dull, far-reaching tone.

It is not clear how this feast will be fulfilled in the second coming of Christ, but it will have something to do with the blowing of a trumpet and the gathering together of His people. We are told in the Second Testament that a trumpet will sound, calling all believers to meet Christ in the air (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16-17). It will also assemble the Israelites and herald the Day of Yahweh when He will again resume His dealings with His people Israel in Daniel's seventieth week (Jer. 32:37).

The Day of Atonement

The Day of Atonement was celebrated on the 10th of Tishri. This day was a fast rather than a feast, and the people were to “humble” themselves before Yahweh in repentance and atonement for their sins. On this day, the high priest would lay his hands on a goat and symbolically transfer the sins of the people onto the goat. He would then lead the goat deep into the wilderness, where it would become lost, representing the removal of Israel’s sin. This goat became known as the scapegoat. The high priest would then take a second goat and sacrifice it, collecting its blood in a bowl. It would then take the blood into the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and pour the blood out onto the Ark of the Covenant. The sacrifices on this day atoned for all the sins of ignorance and only lasted for the year to come. They also enabled Yahweh to dwell with the people through the tabernacle for another year.

Christ fulfilled this in a small way when He came, died on the cross, and became our sin offering and atonement. But it will not be until His second coming that Yahweh will purify His people who have returned to Him in repentance and self-affliction as a result of His chastening during the Tribulation period (Zech. 12:10; 13:1; cf. Heb. 9:28). It is on this day that we will experience the final and complete atonement for our sins.

The Feast of Tabernacles (Booths)

The Feast of Tabernacles began on the 15th of Tishri and lasted for seven days. On the Feast of tabernacles the people built booths out of branches and lived under these for the duration of this seven-day festival as a reminder of their life in the wilderness. They presented many offerings during this holiday (Num. 29:12-38), and it revolved around the harvest of grapes. This was a week during which they looked back at the life of slavery from which Yahweh had delivered them, praised Him for the tabernacle and His glory that dwelt with them, and looked forward to the day that Yahweh would bring the fullness of His kingdom and glory on earth. On the eighth day (day after the Sabbath) they would return to their permanent dwellings.

Christ gave a glimpse of this when He came and tabernacled with us (Jn. 1:14; the word dwelt is tabernacle in the Greek) in His first coming and revealed His glory to John, James, and Peter on the day of Tabernacles (Matt. 17:1-8). But this will be fully fulfilled in His second coming through His millennium reign and then the new earth, sky, and Jerusalem (Zech. 14:16; Rev. 21).