last yearly holiday/feast that God provided to the Israelites when they left Egypt (Lv 23:34-44). It started 5 days after Day of Atonement on the 15th of
Tishri (the 7th month of the Jewish calendar) and lasted for 8 days. A Sabbath (day of rest) was held on the first day and last day but this last day was different and denoted as a 'finale.' Today this eighth day is celebrated as Shemini Atzeret. This feast required that the people build booths made from palm branches, from thick trees, and from willows (Lv 23:40). The booths were burned before the end of the 8th day. The booths reminded the Israelites not only of their lack of permanent dwellings during their time in the wilderness but also emphasizes their precarious existence during those years.  However, the materials of these booths were not those commonly associated with a desert but materials they would more likely find in their Promised Land. Therefore, although a reminder of where they had been it was also a reminder of their future hope as well.
John speaks of this feast (Jn 7). The day would begin with sacrifices followed by a festive meal and a study of the Law. Near evening, the priests would then go down to the pool of Siloam and bring back two golden pint pictures full of water. The people would stand along the way raising willow braches (lulavs) to form a canopy as the priests progressed back toward the temple. As the priests entered the Water Gate, trumpets would blast. The evening sacrifices were made and to climax the event the priests would pour the water into one silver basin (symbolizing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit) and would pour wine into the other. The temple orchestra would then play the Hallel (Ps 113-118). The people would wave their lulavs and recite certain parts of the scripture with the choir. After dark, there would be four golden candelabras to light the occasion. All of the actions and songs of this ceremony focused on the coming of their Messiah and the peace he would bring. It was during this water ceremony that Jesus stood up and spoke the words, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him" (Jn 7:37-38). Here Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah. This offer proclaimed by Jesus Christ linked the Messiah's coming, i.e., his literal kingdom, and the coming peace and spiritual healing with the Feast of Tabernacles.  Therefore, this feast has future significance as well.
Jewish tradition teaches that God's coming presence to the Israelites of the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night occurred on the 15th of Tishri. God came to tabernacle with them. Is there a future day when God plans to tabernacle with His people? The Bible speaks of a literal reign by Jesus Christ for 1,000 years. This seems to be to the future state this feast/holiday points toward. This makes sense from a chronological perspective: Feast of Trumpets (beginning of Tribulation Period); Day of Atonement (Christ's second coming where nationally Israel accepts Christ as their Messiah and God forgives their sin); Feast of Tabernacles (Christ sets up his literal reign with his people and 'tabernacles' with them).
I know that the idea of a Millennial Kingdom and reign is somewhat controversial in Christian circles. However, I think the Feast of Tabernacles is one strong argument that the Millennium will be a literal event and that it will occur after the Tribulation Period. I think there are two other strong arguments for this event to be literal. One is that this promise of God dwelling with his people was a theme of most of the prophets (both major prophets and minor prophets). This promise was also given after a pronouncement of doom and/or destruction. Therefore, it was given as hope to the Israelites even in the midst of God's pronouncement of punishment. Therefore, it cannot be metaphorical because only a promise of literal fulfillment can produce hope. If something is metaphorical, it cannot elicit expectant hope. Secondly, with the Millennium being literal, it prevents one from having to make
a significant amount of scripture metaphorical: the description of the Millennial temple by Ezekiel (Ek 40-48), most of the prophets and the reference to its occurrence in Revelation (Rv 20:3). It being literal makes all of these scriptures and Jewish ceremony come alive, be cohesive, and is able to elicit the same hope in us today. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your savior (you trust in his act of dying for your sins on the cross as payment for your sins so that your reliance of going to Heaven is only through his act and not on your own merit), then you, too, have this hope. It is a literal hope that can spur one own to great things in this current life.
Next time we will see how these feasts tie well into the gospel story and our salvation as well as how another event God asked the Jews to remember guides us into a prophecy of the ultimate state with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I hope you join me.
 Congdon, Robert, An Appointment with God: The Feasts of the Lord (Bloomington IN: CrossBooks, 2009)
Fall Jewish Holidays - Part 4: Salvation & Faith
Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah
Why is Israel so Important