Let’s Go Camping

And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner. – Nehemiah 8:14-18

night-camping-tentThe study of the law revealed to the leaders and the priests that there was a festival fast approaching that they were to observe. This “Feast of Tabernacles” was to remind the Jews of the forty years they dwelt in the desert after God had delivered them from Egyptian bondage. Along with the other things that attended Jewish celebrations, the people were to make tents out of branches and sleep in their yards throughout the entire week.

It is very important to see that this symbol was the only symbol given by God to remember their time in the wilderness. God is the Creator. He knows how the mind of His creation operates. Therefore, He knows what the best symbol is to help His children remember, and He said they should sleep in tents.

There are many ceremonies, sacrifices, and observances in the Old Testament Law that are not necessary to observe today. These things were pointing toward Christ. Christ fulfilled the pictures in these symbols, therefore the symbols are no longer needed. There are a symbols of observance given in the New Testament but very few. These, then, must be seen as precious and carefully observed.

Among these New Testament symbols we find the communion of the Lord’s Supper. In this ceremony, unleavened bread and wine are used to symbolize the work of Jesus Christ in His life and on the cross.  Jesus told us what the two symbols represent, and He told us to do the ceremony in remembrance of Him.

Jesus never instructed us to adorn ourselves with Christian symbols in jewelry (especially not tatoos!). Nor did He tell us to cover our houses of worship in the artwork of men’s hands portraying His suffering. He told us to observe this simple supper.

To say, that we remember our Savior better through these other things would be equivalent to a Jew saying, “I don’t think I will sleep in a tent this week. I mean, I already wear this tent charm on my necklace all the time.”

Other symbols are not evil in and of themselves, but they must not replace or usurp the clear symbol that was given by the Lord!

It is also exciting to note that Jesus was born in late September or early October just after this festival.  John records in John 1:14, that the “Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” The Greek word for dwelt in this verse is also tent or tabernacle! God was with the natural Israelites in the wilderness and Jesus dwelt among God’s children during His time here on earth.

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