Many times when one of the feast days is mentioned: Pesach (Passover), Sukkot (Tabernacles), etc., the response of many Christians is to wonder aloud why we should celebrate a Jewish feast. However, a glance at the Bible reveals something interesting: God calls them feasts “unto the Lord” or “My feasts” (Exodus 10:9, 12:14, 13:6, 23:2 & 18; Leviticus 23:39 & 41; Numbers 29:12; and Deuteronomy 16:15).
So if God calls them “My feasts,” then are they really a Jewish thing? I don’t think so. The feasts sound to me like a God thing. Jesus kept the feasts and the Sabbath. He just didn’t keep the Sabbath the way the Pharisees thought He should.
And many Christians think that the feasts have been abolished since Jesus’ death on the cross. But the Bible says that we will be keeping the Feast of Tabernacles during Jesus’ Millennial Reign on earth:
Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles, (Zechariah 14:16, emphasis mine).
Furthermore, verses 17-19 describe the punishment for any nation that does not come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in the Millennium.
In the absence of a clear directive from God to stop celebrating His feasts, and given that we will be expected to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in the future, then it’s probably not only acceptable to celebrate the feast as gentile believers, but also a really good idea. I don’t think God will punish anyone who in ignorance fails to celebrate the feasts, but now that we know, we really ought to celebrate them.
I have been celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles for the past four years now, and it has been the highlight of my year each time. It has been a time of great intimacy and personal blessings for me.
2011 – I was invited to come to the Feast of Tabernacles in Kalisz, Poland as part of the French worship team. I was really only there as an intercessor on my first trip with Operation Capitals of Europe, but I was hooked. The trip was originally supposed to be Berlin, Warsaw, and Prague, with a stop in Kalisz for Tabernacles. Berlin was canceled, but I had already bought my tickets. Since this was my first trip, I really didn’t know what to expect. So I didn’t know that stopping for a week in Kalisz was an unusual thing to do.
The host church in Kalisz has 24 hour worship for the whole 7 days of the Feast. And they are very careful to make sure that the worship never stops, so the day is divided into two-hour time slots, and worship groups from all over Europe take their times. So each day will look like this: two hour of worship in Polish, then two in Russian, then two in English, then two in French, etc. But they didn’t have an Italian group. So whenever I heard a song that I know in Italian, I sang it in Italian. When I returned home, I told my friend, Pastor Fabio about Tabernacles, but his response was, “Why do we do a Jewish thing?”
2012 – I returned to Tabernacles alone, and the church welcomed me. The day before my birthday I entered the worship room about nine in the morning because I was curious about the group called German Intercessors 2. I had no idea what to expect. The group consisted of the French drummer, the Polish keyboards player, and the German violinist. At ten, the worship room cleared out because the church coffee shop opens at ten. In fact, I was about to leave, too, but the girl at the keyboards began playing my very favorite song: The Revelation Song. So I stayed and sang it with all my heart. That alone is pretty amazing because I had suffered so much shame about my voice that for many years I wouldn’t even sing in church for fear of offending God because of my voice. When she got to the end of the first chorus, the keyboardist played an intermezzo, like when they are giving an altar call. She said, “If you know the words, please come up here.” I looked behind me to see who she was talking to, but I was the only person in the room. So without any good reason not to, I went up to the platform and sang into a microphone.
Now, at ten, Russia was supposed to come do their worship set. But at this point it was after ten, and they still hadn’t shown up. So at the end of the song, the keyboardist started playing another intermezzo and riffing (singing random lyrics from her heart). When she started riffing, I joined in, and soon we were singing back and forth our love for God as if it were something that we had rehearsed. It was such a God moment! Then Russia showed up.
After this incredible birthday present from God, I decided that I would bring Italian worship to Tabernacles, even if it was only me alone. So I went home and told Sally, my ministry partner, about the experience. Sally said that she wanted to go. Great! Now we have two intercessors without a musical bone in either of their bodies. But never mind, we are both worshipers, and that’s the really important thing. When I prayed about it, I got two faces in my mind’s eye: Salvatore and his son, Roberto. They are part of Pastor Fabio’s worship team. So once again, I went to Pastor Fabio and told him that I wanted to take an Italian worship team to Poland for the Feast of Tabernacles. This time his response was overwhelmingly positive. So I asked Salvatore and he said that he and Roberto would be happy to come for the whole week. Great! Now we have two non-musical intercessors a bassist and a drummer. I wasn’t sure what we would sound like to others, but at least we had some kind of music. Then Sally told Allegra about Tabernacles. Allegra has since become a ministry partner, too. Her instant response was unbridled enthusiasm. And since Allegra sings and plays guitar, we now had actual music.
2013 – The Feast of Tabernacles in Kalisz had Italian worship for the very first time, and I sang backup for the group. It was wonderful.
Then almost as soon as we got home from Poland, I got a phone call from Salvatore. He said that the rest of his worship team want to go to Tabernacles, but they won’t be needing me. I felt good about it. It was as if I had been the midwife, but now that the baby was walking, it certainly didn’t need the help of the midwife any longer.
I asked the Lord, “What will I do for Tabernacles, then?” And as soon as that little prayer went through my head, the phone rang. It was Blady. He said, “I heard that you took an Italian group to Tabernacles. I was wondering if you would help me take an Albanian group. So Team Albania was born: me, Sally, and Allegra together with Blady and Phillippe. The only Albanian on Team Albania would be Blady.
2014 – Teams Italy and Albania were at Tabernacles, and although Italy had said that they didn’t need me, they actually did—as a translator. So I stayed very busy at Tabernacles.
After Tabernacles, Team Albania scattered: Sally moved to Rome, Allegra moved back to the US, Blady moved back to Albania, and Phillippe is still in Milan, but I haven’t seen him in months. Team Italy told me that they want to come again for 2015, and also bring along Pastor Fabio.
2015 – As I write this, it is time to make plans for Tabernacles 2015. I had been feeling for several weeks that I wasn’t to go to Poland this year. Although I love the church and all my friends there, I wasn’t sad. Mostly, I was just wondering what God had in mind for Tabernacles this year. Then about two weeks ago I got a call from Pastor Fabio. He said that Italy would not be going to Tabernacles this year. That was confirmation for what I had already been feeling. So I asked the Lord what to do about Tabernacles this year, and a crazy thought came into my head: Why not go to Israel?
I told Nina and Pastor Fabio, and they enthusiastically jumped on board for Israel. So this year, we will be going to Israel for the Feast of Tabernacles. And since that’s what we will be doing in the Millennium, I guess we’ll be getting a head start on things. God is good!