The prophet Zechariah spoke of the end of days when Israel and the nations would celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. In that day, Israel will be vindicated and her enemies destroyed. At the end of this great tribulation period, the Jewish people will cry out to God, and in His great mercy, the Lord will send His Messiah, Jesus, to deliver them from annihilation.
“And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn” (Zechariah 12:9-10).
Israel will be restored, both spiritually and nationally. Her enemies will be crushed, and the Messiah will reign on His throne over Israel and the nations of the earth:
“And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one” (Zechariah 14:9)
God does not want to destroy the nations, but to bring them into submission to His throne. He will command the faithful among the Gentiles to come to Jerusalem and celebrate the Feast of Booths (Zechariah 14:16).
Why did God choose Sukkot, and not one of the other major festivals, as the test of obedience for the Gentiles? Some scholars feel that Sukkot, as the Feast of Ingathering, is the most appropriate time for God to gather the human fruit for His kingdom. Others believe that the heathens, who have been brought out of the wanderings of this life into the blessedness of God’s kingdom, celebrate the Feast of Thanksgiving out of their overflowing gratefulness to the God who redeemed them.
Most importantly, though, Zechariah describes the conversion of the nations to the one true God. In every age, God gives His people obligations. The Feast of Tabernacles must be viewed as one of the kingdom obligations of the Gentiles. It is their opportunity to worship God as well as His test point for their obedience. The prophet warned the recalcitrant and disobedient nations that there would be bitter judgment for any who would not keep the feast. The judgment, in keeping with the theme of the Feast of Ingathering, calls for God to withhold rain. If the nations were not willing to worship God in Jerusalem, He would withhold the provision of food as well as His blessings.