When the prophet Isaiah spoke of a coming Messiah, the name he used conveyed a message of great hope for the future of mankind. Isaiah prophesied of a virgin who would conceive a son, whose name was to be Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). Matthew later confirmed that this was the Christ and made it clear that the name Immanuel meant “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
“God with us” is a theme which threads its way from the graphic account of the exodus, all the way to, and beyond, the return of Christ. As we observe the Feast of Tabernacles let’s be sure to appreciate the great significance of God being with us.
Firstly, through Jesus Christ, God’s presence moved from the community sense with ancient Israel to the individual. The veil representing man’s separation from God was removed by Christ. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). We individually have God with us.
Secondly, the Feast pictures a time when God will be with all peoples and nations. This presence of God is summarized in Luke as, “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6). As we gather in God’s presence, we will be mindful of the time soon coming when God will be with all people.
Thirdly, the final stage of God being with us is when all who have ever lived will be resurrected into a situation where they can know God personally. “Then you shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:6).
At the end of time allotted to mankind’s physical existence on this earth, every person will have had the opportunity to have a deeply personal relationship with God. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God’” (Revelation 21:3).
What a privilege it is for us to be able to observe a period of time which pictures the great plan God has for bringing all people into an eternal family relationship with Him. Let us keep the Feast in the presence of God.