Psalm 119:96

 I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.”  
Psalm 119:96

Ever wondered what that meant?

John Gill is helpful, ” [but] thy commandment [is] exceeding broad; the word of God is a large field to walk and meditate in; it is sufficient to instruct all men in all ages, both with respect to doctrine and duty, and to make every man of God perfect; it has such a height and depth of doctrine and mysteries in it as can never be fully reached and fathomed, and such a breadth as is not to be measured: the fullness of the Scripture can never be exhausted; the promises of it reach to this life, and that which is to come; and the precepts of it are so large, that no works of righteousness done by men are adequate and proportionate to them; no righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ, is as large and as broad as those commandments; wherefore no perfection of righteousness is to be found in men, only in Christ; who is the perfect fulfilling end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believesRomans 10:4.


Feast of Tabernacles (12)

Sung Psalm 118:20-29 (a Psalm traditionally sung at the feast AND sung by the crowds who welcomed Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday).

Reading Ezekiel 45:17-25

Verse 25 refers to “the” feast i.e. the Feast of Tabernacles and dwells on the sacrifices which are different from those in Numbers 29:12-40. The burnt offerings have no lambs, no eighth day is mentioned, the meal offerings given with the sacrifices change and there is more oil (see Numbers 15, 1/10 deal=an ephah) and the prince/king offers them. So why is Ezekiel changing the ceremonial law as a prophet and priest in exile? The Jews had a problem accepting this book as being canonical but as we believe they are Spirit inspired i.e. God-breathed then they are authoritative and point to the fact that there will yet be a total, radical change in the ceremonial law in that it will be totally abrogated by Christ who is the fulfillment of it all. Note that Stephen was charged with this same “crime” in Acts 6:13-14. Note well Hebrews 7:12.

Read Zechariah 14:16. This is a difficult passage but to my mind, since Christ is THE FULFILLMENT OF TABERNACLES, all who do not worship him will be plagued and ultimately destroyed. Read John 1:14 where Christ, the Word incarnate pitches his tent (body) among us just as God dwelt in the wilderness tabernacle (Lev. 26:11-12). The ultimate fulfillment of the feast is the new heavens and new earth where God dwells with his people (Rev.21:3)

Feast of Tabernacles (11)

Sung Psalm 60:1-6 (ref. to Succoth)

Reading Hosea 9:1-10

Regarding the name Succoth which means booths we have two places named “booths”. The first was east of the Jordan so named by Jacob after he built booths there for his cattle (Gen.33:17). The tribe of Gad was given territory that included this town (Joshua 13:27). Gideon whipped the elders of this city after they refused to succour his hungry men (Judges 8:4-16). It was also where Solomon’s bronze temple furnishings were cast, presumably in the thick clay.The other was in Egypt (Ex.12:37).

Booths in the prophets.

Is.1:8 mentions a look-out booth in a vineyard or cucumber field to guard it. Is.4:6 has a booth for protection (God’s of us) in the context of a salvation oracle. Amos 9:11-12 quoted in Acts 15:14-18 is prophetic of the building of the N.T. church after 400 years of no Davidic dynasty, which would involve the gentiles.

Jonah 4:5 speaks of the huffing prophet in his flimsy booth by Nineveh.

Hosea 12:9 in speaking to the Northern Kingdom the prophet mentions “tent” but does refer to the Feast of Tabernacles to be re-instituted (unlike Jeroboam’s idolatrous counterfeit) whereas 9:5 refers to it as “the feast” which can be proven from v1 joy, v2 agriculture and v4 wine and sacrifices, a feast they would not celebrate as they were under impending judgment.

Points: A tabernacle or booth is not a permanent but a temporary dwelling just like our earthly bodies, as we go through this wilderness pilgrimage, but God acts as our tabernacle of protection during this period as he leads us to the promised land.


Feast of Tabernacles (10)

Sung Psalm 122 (pilgrimage Psalm so appropriate for Feasts)

Reading Nehemiah 8:13-18

The altar, Zerubbabel’s temple and the walls of Jerusalem had been finished. It was the second day of the seventh month. The first day was the Feast of Trumpets and Ezra had started reading the Law and teaching it (Ezra 7:10). The leaders humbly come to him for further instruction (v13). Leviticus 23 was to be followed and a combination of types of trees were used to erect booths-thick branches for the structure, willow for binding and weaving and palm leaves for covering. They got much of these on the Mount of Olives near the city. They may well have added material drapes. The booths were made on rooftops (flat), in the courts (yards) of houses, in the temple court, in the streets near the Water Gate and Ephraim Gate where there was wide open space (v3). This keeping of the feast was the best keeping of it since Joshua’s day some 900 years before because all men came, made booths and dwelt in them. According to v18, Deuteronony 31:11-13 was obeyed and the eighth day was a special sabbath or solemn assembly (Lev.23:39) which later included a water pouring ceremony which Jesus used to teach about his life-giving Spirit (John 7:37-39).


Holy Spirit (B.C. and at Pentecost)

John 7:39

“Which they that believe on him should receive; the apostles, and others, that had believed in Christ, and had received the Spirit, as a spirit of regeneration and sanctification; as a spirit of illumination and conversion; as a spirit of faith and adoption; but on the day of Pentecost they were to receive a larger, even an extraordinary measure of his gifts and grace, to qualify them for greater work and service
for the Holy Ghost was not yet [given]; he was in being as a divine person, equal with the Father and Son, so he was from everlasting; and he had been bestowed in his grace upon the Old Testament saints, and rested in his gifts upon the prophets of that dispensation;
because that Jesus was not yet glorified; he had not as yet gone through his state of humiliation; he had not yet suffered, and died, and rose again, and ascended, and sat down at the right hand of God; for the Holy Spirit was to come upon his departure, and in consequence of his sufferings and death, and being made sin, and a curse for his people; and through his mediation and intercession, and upon his exaltation at the Father’s right hand; when being made, and declared Lord and Christ, this should be notified by the effusion of his Spirit;” (John Gill) see Acts 2:33.


Lessons from the Tabernacle


Moses tabernacle in the wilderness constructed by Bezaleel and Aholiab and other skillful men from all the offerings of the people including brass, silver, gold, wood and fine linen had specific specifications laid down in DETAIL by God (Exodus 36-40). This teaches us a basic biblical truth about true religion: it must conform to the will and nature of God. Much in the Bible exists to expose man’s tendency to make religion and worship suit his own pleasure and ideas about God, “I like to think of God this way” or ” As long as we are sincere it does not matter really how we worship him,” justifying, man-made hymns, bands, drama, testimonies etc. But if religion does not match the will of God it is ultimately futile (see for example Isaiah 29:13).” This is the REGULATIVE PRINCIPLE of worship.



Feast of Tabernacles (9)


Sung Psalm 126 (return from captivity)

Reading Ezra 3:1-7

The situation was not unlike the first exodus from Egypt and after the wilderness wanderings when the Jews were commanded to keep the feast of booths.

The captives, over 50,000 in total who had returned with Zerubbabel (Sheshbazzar)kept the feast in the 7th month. First they built the altar (probably on it’s old foundation), then the temple (chapters 3-6). Note different order than when Moses reared up the tabernacle and Solomon dedicated his temple where in both cases altar and place of worship were dedicated simultaneously.

Fire came down on Moses’ altar (Lev. 9:24) and on Solomon’s (2 Chron. 7:1). Miraculous acts of God like this were dying out!

This was the first feast that was kept after returning from the captivity although the first kept after the temple was finished was Passover (Ezra 6:19-22); both were kept with joy. The joy of the Lord is the believer’s strength (Neh.8:10).




These are visible appearances of God in the Old Testament often in human form. Most believe they are pre-incarnate appearances of the Son of God, Jesus Christ who is an eternal being (John 1 and 8:58) but was only incarnated in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago (Matthew 1:23).

Genesis 12:7-9 ─ the Lord appeared to Abraham on his arrival in the land promised to him and his descendants (Covenant blessing)

Genesis 18:1-33 ─ two angels and God himself in human form visit Abraham and Sarai who entertain them before they give them the message they will have a son in their old age and that Sodom and Gomorrha are going to be destroyed (Covenant blessing)

Genesis 32:22-30 Jacob wrestles with what appears to be a man but was God in human form (Covenant discipline)

Exodus 3:2-4:17 ─God appears to Moses in the burning bush, which many believe is a picture of the church (at that time Israel in Egypt) who are persecuted but not consumed. (Covenant call)


Exodus 24:9-11 ─ God appears, again in human form to Moses, Aaron, his sons and seventy elders.(Old Covenant institution)

Deuteronomy 31:14-15 ─ God appears to Moses and Joshua as the leadership passes from one to the other. ( Both types of the covenant head)

Joshua 1:13-15 ─ God appears as a soldier who proclaims himself to be captain of the Lord’s hosts. (Covenant conquest)

Since Christ is the covenant head and mediator it is fitting he appears at key times in covenant history.

Many accept that the Angel of the Lord was a pre-incarnate Christ. Genesis 16: 7-14, Genesis 22:11-18, Exodus 23:20-23, 32:34, Judges 5:23, Daniel 3:25 and 6:22, although in the majority of other cases it was probably a created angel. The fact is that Christ was portrayed in the Old Testament in many types and shadows and is specifically mentioned as present in the wilderness as the rock that Moses smote to bring out water (I Corinthians 10:4).


Feast of Tabernacles (8)

Feast of Tabernacles

Sung Psalm 81:1-7 (note feasts)

Reading I Kings 12;25-33

Here Jeroboam institutes a substitutionary sinful idolatrous feast in the Northern Kingdom in the 8th month, 15th day (v33), superintended by false priests (v31). He leads a rebellious political and religious revolution the key word being “like” (v33).

Politically he institutes a new capital, Shechem (where Rehoboam was harsh), thus rejecting Jerusalem and is himself a new king, rejecting the Davidic (Messianic) line.

Religiously he institutes the two golden calves in two shrines at Bethel and Dan, ordains new priests (not Levites), and a new feast. The Northern Kingdom has become a false church, worshipping false gods, with false priests. Jeroboam becomes infamous and a salutary lesson and outstandingly bad example as a king (2 Kings 10:29).

There has been and is a similar serious decline and falsehood in so many apostatizing churches of our day-they are actually worshipping a god of their own making (v33). They have allowed the free offer of the gospel (saying God wants to save all men and loves all men), women in office, homosexuality is condoned, divorce and remarriage, regulative (Scriptural) principle of worship abandoned with hymns, choruses, testimonies, bands, drama etc

Why did he choose feast of tabernacles to be substituted? Perhaps was the time of year, Solomon had dedicated temple at this time and it was the greatest feast (longest, most sacrifices, wine harvest, joy).

This is a lesson in how apostasy (decline) of churches is driven:

  1. It serves the interest of leaders and their sins; greed, easy liturgical worship, dressing up, ecumenism, keep your job.
  2. It serves the interests of the people: nearer shrines, tangible gods, low morality of priests and people, no cost, no discipline.


However there was a lone voice of protest!  1 Kings 13


Feast of Tabernacles (7)

Sung Psalm 119:33-40

Reading  I Kings  8:1-11, 62-66    II Chron. 7:8-10

The ark is brought up to the new temple Solomon has built over a seven year period, along with the old preserved Mosaic tabernacle. This was perhaps the largest assembly ever in Jerusalem (v 65). The feast was in the seventh month as prescribed and lasted 14 days. The priests carried the ark as they had done encompassing Jericho and entering River Jordan, into the holy of holies. God showed his approval of the place and process by coming to dwell there and sanctify it (v 11). The timing is not altogether clear and neither is whether they kept the solemn day of atonement on the tenth day of the month but it appears they dedicated the temple days 8-14, then kept the feast on days 15-22 and then were sent home day 23. The connection between this feast and the temple dedication was the joy of both and the fact that God now, as they themselves after their wilderness wanderings, had a permanent dwelling place. Now of course, he resides IN his people (I Cor 3:16).