Posted by: Heather | October 2, 2010

Feast of Tabernacles – My Experience

Lev 23:40b …and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.

OK, technically my experience was only 3 days, but I’m going to tell you about it.  🙂

I’ve been studying the feasts of the LORD to some degree for a few years.  Each year, we’ve learned a bit more, and celebrated them on a limited basis.  They’ve been a great learning experience for our family, and a way to make us feel closer to the LORD.  The more I study and find the parallels between the feasts and Jesus, the more I want to celebrate them.  But, we had never celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles before.  We were invited to this celebration last year, but weren’t able to make it.  When the invitation came again this year, I knew I wanted to go.  We were only able to make 3 days this year.   But after this experience, I will do everything within my power to be sure we make it again next year, preferably for the whole week!

Of course, this feast, as all others, can be celebrated within the confines of one’s family.  But, in biblical days, the feasts of Passover, Weeks (Pentecost), and Tabernacles were the feasts all Jewish males were required to be in Jerusalem.  So it was customary to celebrate it corporately.

We arrived at Christmount Christian Conference Center in Black Mountain, NC early Sunday evening, greeted by Bob Pohlman.  He and his family are the founders of ‘Enter His Gates Ministries‘, the organizer of this event.  We’re thankful to them for all of the work they did to make this time of ‘tabernacling with the LORD’ a success!

When we arrived, it had been raining since the night before, and was still raining.  I was wondering how it was going to be with this weather.   Let’s face it, I’m not a ‘camping’ type girl anyway (as is none of my family, with the exception of my 9-year-old son), but with soaking rains??  I really didn’t think I was looking forward to it.   Add this to the fact that our car top carrier (which was supposed to be waterproof, but was not) had allowed our sleeping bags, camping chairs, and clothes to get very wet.  In my mind, it was not shaping up to be a pleasant trip at all.  Our friend had also come along with us, and I was concerned she wouldn’t have a very good time either.

We arrived in the family cabin we were staying in for the duration.  The part of the conference center  rented for the gathering was the children’s camp used during the summer.  (Think days of summer camp when you were a kid).  There was RV space, a tent camping area, and rustic cabins with 4 bunks and one single bed in each.  (Thankfully, there was a bathroom and shower in each cabin, so we didn’t have to go to the ‘outhouse’.  LOL)  For those feeling less adventurous, but wanting to attend, the fancy conference center is within view, and rooms or cabins could be rented there as well.   Meals and the other festivities occurred in the large dining hall within sight of the sleeping areas.

We spread everything out to work on getting it dry.  But, with all the rain and the cabin being damp anyway (because of couple of the windows wouldn’t close), it only helped the inside walls get wet as well!  I am happy to report that everyone’s else’s cabin stayed pleasantly dry, since they didn’t have wet equipment.

This all happened within the first hour of our arrival.  By this time, I’m thinking there’s no way this is going to be any fun!  But, when we arrived in the hall to hear our first teaching, my mindset began to radically change from that point forward.

The resident teacher on this trip is a man we have grown to know and love dearly over the past 3 years…Dr. Karl Coke.  His knowledge of biblical languages and culture, and his engaging style of teaching has made my interest in the Bible surge over the time we’ve known him.   This teaching was no different, and by the end I was already feeling better about our decision to attend.

Immediately after the teaching was over, the music went on, and the rejoicing commenced!   The teen girls and women began to do some traditional Hebraic dancing.  Shortly, they were joined by a few men.   The Israeli flag was being waved, shofars blown, and songs sung.  It was such a wonderful time of rejoicing and fellowship!   After everyone got tired, those that weren’t ready to sleep yet settled in to play cards, or just talk.  I heard some of the most encouraging stories of how God had provided the needs of some of these families, and my faith was given a much-needed boost!

Men, women and children enjoying Hebraic dancing

The remainder of our time there was spent in more of the same:  sitting around the huge fireplace with a crackling fire, talking about the goodness of God, preparing and eating meals together, and times of prayer for both the men and the ladies.   There was teaching and worship every morning led by some others that attended.  I learned several people I’d known, some for a while, and some only a short time, are also very able teachers.  After lunch, there was plenty of free time to explore, fellowship and play.  Our evenings were topped off by teaching from Dr. Coke and more worship and fellowship time, including s’mores every night for those that wanted to indulge.   New friendships were forged with people I’d never met before, and strengthened with those I had met, but had little time to spend with previously.

Of all the fun we had, and the memories made I will never forget, there is one thing that is forever engraved in the recesses of my mind.   My family is doubly blessed, as we have two men we consider to be our pastors.  Both have a pastor’s heart, and have been very supportive of us, both practically and spiritually.  We love both of them very much.  Dr. Coke (whom we affectionately call ‘Pastor Karl’) is an internationally known Hebrew scholar, and is called upon to teach in conferences of thousands.   He is one of the most sought after speakers in the world on the subject of the Hebraic roots of the faith.  He is also easily the most intelligent man I’ve ever met.  I believe he’s forgotten more about the Bible than I ever knew!  You would think such a man would be unapproachable and unwilling to interact with others, because so many are.  But not him!  The memories I have of him and his wife during this trip will stay with me forever.

I thought my heart would literally melt while I watched him and his wonderful wife Lori (they’re still newlyweds!) playing musical chairs with the children.  The teenagers would flock around them to play games or just talk around the fire.  There were even many individual conversations with my children.  And whenever a biblical question was asked, any time of day, he would patiently sit and explain the answer, or use that question as the springboard for his teaching that evening.  This picture of him and my daughter says it all to me:

As I sit writing this, I am remembering how truly blessed we were to attend this celebration.  After a bit of a rocky start, I couldn’t have imagined a better time.  Of all the playing everyone’s children did together, I didn’t witness or hear of even one argument.  Pastor Karl tells us celebrating the feasts is like a sanctuary in time.  He couldn’t be more correct.  In my life, time almost stood still for 3 days.  It seems the time we spent together was so much longer than it actually was.  When it came time for us to leave on Wednesday, neither our friend nor my family wanted to leave.  It was so peaceful and enjoyable, even my ‘homebody’ children that don’t like to go anywhere were begging to stay!

We are so excited, we’re telling all of our friends, in hopes of getting them to attend with us next year.  I promise, it’s a time you will never forget.   Get ready Bob and Denise…we’re trying to up the attendance next year!

Just incase you were wondering, after the teaching that first night, we found a clothes dryer in the kitchen of the dining hall.  Thank you LORD!  At least we didn’t have to spend all of our nights sleeping on wet sleeping bags.  But, even if we had, it would have been worth it for this girl, whose idea of camping is sleeping in a decent hotel…

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Responses

  1. Heather, Just by me reading your story, (and what a story) you know I have a great imagination,especially when Dr. Coke is speaking ….with you writing your story it was as if time stood still, my eye’s were closed and I was there with you .. What a Beautiful story, …. I’m glad that you, family and friends had such a good time…AWESOME!!!!!!

    • Thank you Gail! I know what a great imagination you have. It was too rainy to ask Dr. Coke to teach under a tree. If he had, I surely would have remembered you the entire time! 🙂 Wish you all could go next year. You don’t have to camp..there are nice accommodations right next door! Love you!

  2. Heather, how I missed not being able to go this year. In years past I have gone several years to Ridgecrest when Dr. Coke was there to celebrate and it is truly a time to rejoice and learn. So glad you and your precious family were able to go and celebrate in Black Mountain. God is so good!!!

    • Yes, He is Judy! I wish you could have been there. 🙂

  3. It was such a blessing to have your family join us! I agree Charity, Dr.Coke is an amazing teacher! Todah for teaching me the “Irish” dance 🙂
    Blessings
    ~D

  4. I love to hear Dr. Coke teach, and he makes me laugh a lot. He’s so Awesome=))


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