2nd Chronicles 7:1-11; THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES; Solomon’s Final Act of Dedicating the Temple

                                                     Studies in Chronicles




2nd Chronicles 7:1-11


The Feast of Tabernacles;

Solomon’s Final Act of Dedicating the Temple


This passage brings to a climax the dedicating of the temple which Solomon had newly erected.  This was a time of sacred worship which began in Ch.5 with the removal of the Ark of the Covenant and concluded in Chapter 6:11 with the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. 


We know that it was the Feast of Tabernacles which was commemorated here, as the temple was sanctified, because there was a seven day feast (7:8) concluded on the twenty-third day of the seventh month (7:10).  This corresponds with the dates of the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:39-44), which was the spiritual climax of the ancient calendar.


Solomon had spent seven years building the temple (1st Kings 6:38), a period followed by eleven months of preparation for these days of dedication.  Yet the entire work was not complete until the close of the Feast of the Tabernacles on the twenty-third day of the seventh month.  Only then was the temple complete and ready for service.


The lesson for us today is rather straightforward yet deeply challenging.    Whatever we do physically for the Lord will not prosper unless we know His blessing upon our efforts.  The path to blessing has always been the same – dedication or consecration.  Solomon has much to teach teach us about being dedicated to God as he led the nation in celebrating the first great feast in the temple, which he had erected.


1: OFFERING THE SACRIFICES


While it is emphasised that all the people offered sacrifices (7:4-5) it is apparent that the King led by example.  He presented twenty-two thousand oxen and one and twenty thousand sheep on this momentous day.  It was a sacred and memorable spectacle to see the King offering so liberally from his own extensive wealth showing the people how God was to be honoured in this temple.  The Church of Christ needs to be led by men who are committed and dedicated to His cause who are always willing to do themselves, what is expected of their flocks.


With the fire from heaven consuming the offerings, with the cloud of God’s presence filling the sanctuary, with the sacred instruments sounding, with the Levitical choirs chanting their praises, and with the people standing to attention Solomon presented burnt offerings and the fat of peace offerings, therefore hallowing the middle of the court.


These two offerings, the burnt and the peace offerings, show us how we can dedicate ourselves to the Lord.


The burnt offerings represents our faith in Christ as the entire beast was consumed being offered completely unto the Lord.  Christ was fully consumed on the cross.  He gave His entire soul to Hs Father and for us as he took the guilt of our sin upon Himself.  Consecration primarily is about our faith resting upon Christ.  Our dedication must be based upon His dedication or it is of no value.  Too many Christians put the emphasis upon what they can do and achieve which detracts the glory from the Lord and creates and legalistic empty profession.  We first stand under the shadow of the cross in awe and wonder.


The peace offerings represent our fellowship with Christ because the priest ate a portion from this sacrifice as did the offerer.  In like fashion faith in Christ always leads to fellowship with Him.  We are so blessed in that we can fellowship with our God on the grounds of Christ’s sacrifice.  We feed upon His merits and grow in grace through this holy fellowship.  This fellowship is experienced through our bible studies, our prayers, our public worship and our obedience to Him.  The fat in the Old Testament represents and the best and most expensive part of the animal.  God gave His best for us.  We have an interest in the best that God had to offer, His holy Son Jesus Christ.  What a privilege is out !  Consecration, therefore is living for Him, who lived and died for us.


  O Holy Spirit with thy fire divine

Melt into tears this thankless heart of mind

Help me to love what once I seemed to hate

And live to God before it be too late



2: FOLLOWING THE PATTERN


The Feast of Tabernacles, here celebrated, was one of the three times when God’s people were called upon to go to the tabernacle and from this time forward the temple – the Passover or the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles. (Deuteronomy 16:16).  Throughout the course of Jewish history we see Elkhannah travelling the tabernacles to worship with Hannah later bringing young Samuel on one of these occasions and we observe Christ Himself fulfilling this command as a boy of twelve and later on when he appeared in Jerusalem for both the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles.


Therefore Solomon did not contrive his own unique ceremony for dedicating the temple,  he selected that which was the climax of the Hebrew spiritual year as the time to dedicate the temple.  He remained close to the Word of God, he followed the biblical pattern.  Ultimately this act of dedication was an act of obedience.  


While representatives of the people gathered for the initial acts of dedication a much larger company of people from across the nation assembled for this, the greatest spiritual feast that Israel had celebrated throughout her history:


a very great congregation

2nd Chronicles 7:8



This is indicative of an overwhelming desire which was expressed from across the entire nation that God must be obeyed.  Obedience is always and will forever be associated with blessing.


The Hebrew word translated feast means to gather.  These feasts were gatherings unto the Lord according to His pattern.  The COVID-19 restrictions and their impact on public worship has taught us the value of of public worship, of our gatherings unto the Lord.  The ancient Jewish feasts have passed away but the Lord’s Day remains together with our mid week prayer gatherings.  As we return to the Lord’s house let us not neglect the importance of these times of fellowship, of prayer, of praise, of feeding upon the Word and worshipping Him.



3: HUMILIATION THROUGH REMEMBRANCE


This feast is described as a solemn assembly  (2nd Chronicles 7:9).   This solemnity was accentuated by the command in Leviticus that they were to dwell in temporary dwellings throughout the seven days in memory of the wilderness existence:


And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.                                                                                                                                Leviticus 23:40

That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. 

Leviticus 23:43


Therefore the act of living in the open air for this time was a reminder of the sins of their fathers which necessitated the forty years of wilderness wanderings. 


In our worship we must be reminded constantly of our sinfulness, our backsliding, our need of chastening and of the fact that we remain in our wilderness living a transient existence with the Lord being our only hope.


The contrast could not have been greater.  The area around the temple, every open space in Jerusalem was filled with thousands of tents while in the midst was the grandest structure ever built in Jerusalem.  While the people were in very temporary abodes the Lord was in His house.  Our relationship with the Lord is the only permanent hope that we have in a fleeting world. Therefore we rest on Him.


4: THANKSGIVING UNTO THE LORD


The Feast of Tabernacles was especially a time of gratitude.  Taking place at the close of the harvest season before winter was established the people rejoiced in the crops that had been garnered, provided by the land which God had given to them.  Therefore this season was the most joyful of all the ancient Hebrew festivals.  This was especially so as the people gathered under the shadow of the newly constructed temple:


And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the LORD had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people. 

2nd Chronicles 7:10


Centuries later, after the Babylonian exile, another great celebration took place at the same place, after Nehemiah had completed the rebuilding of the walls, and this was accompanied with even greater joy:



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. 

Nehemiah 8:17


The Feast of Tabernacles as the climax of the Hebrew spiritual year is typical of revival which is the highest point of spiritual blessing that the Church can experience economic earth.  This feast also prefigures the millennium which is the state of universal blessing to which God is directing the world.  Most importantly of all it represents the eternal harvest when all of God’s people will be safely gathered into glory and we shall be forever with the Lord.


Whether it was in Solomon’s day, however, or in the times of Nehemiah the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles represented a new beginning for Israel.


How we long for a new beginning, times of refreshing, in these days when God would visit, pouring out His blessing upon us.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.

Or we\’ll walk by His side in the way.

What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;

Never fear, only trust and obey.


Trust and obey, for there\’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.


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