and A study of the appointed Feasts of YHWH by Norman B. Willis

YHWH we are the temple

2015 Oct 15th is thThe Eighth Day of YHWH 

When YHWH gave us HIS Calendar, He did not choose the days at random.  Rather, He incorporated specific days into His calendar in order to give us prophetic shadow pictures of the things He has purposed to come to pass.
In the last chapter on Sukkot we spoke briefly about the Last Great Day of the feast.  This Last Great Day is also called ‘Shemini Atzeret,’ which means, essentially, ‘The Assembly of the Eighth (Day).”
While the Assembly of the Eighth is often thought of simply as the final day of the Feast of Sukkot, it is actually a separate festival.  This is in much the same way as the Passover is followed by the seven Days of Unleavened Bread.  However, in this case, the seven days of Sukkot are followed by the one day Assembly of the Eighth (Shemini Atzeret).
In Hebrew, the word ‘Atzeret’ (עֲצֶרֶת) means not just ‘an assembly,’ but a very special kind of assembly.  It indicates that one’s host is not letting one go home.  Rather, one’s host is ‘holding one over’ for an extended period of time.  Strong’s Concordance defines the word atzeret (עצרת) in this way:

OT:6116 `atsarah (ats-aw-raw’); or `atsereth (ats-eh’-reth); from OT:6113; an assembly, especially on a festival or holiday:

When we look up the root at Strong’s OT:6113, we get:

OT:6113 `atsar (aw-tsar’); a primitive root; to enclose; by analogy, to hold back; also to maintain, rule, assemble:

KJV –  be able, close up, detain, fast, keep (self close, still), prevail, recover, refrain, reign, restrain, retain, shut (up), slack, stay, stop, withhold (self).

Shemini Atzeret, then, shows us that YHWH intends to hold us back, to detain us, or to ‘close us up’ in some fashion for the eighth day.  But in what way does YHWH intend to ‘detain us’, or to ‘hold us over’?
The Apostle Kepha (Peter) tells us that one prophetic day can symbolize a thousand earth years.

Kepha Bet (2nd Peter) 3:8
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing: that with YHWH, one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day.

Notice, then, that Scripture tells us that the Creation Week was seven days long.

B’reisheet (Genesis) 2:2
2 And on the seventh day Elohim ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

If the Creation Week lasted seven days, and if one prophetic day can represent a thousand earth years, then the Creation Week is symbolic of a seven thousand year plan for the earth and its inhabitants.
But if the earth is to last for seven thousand years, then why would the Feast of Sukkot last for eight days? And what is the symbolism of the eighth day?
In truth, the Feast of Sukkot lasts only seven days.  We know this because it is only for seven days that the children of Israel are to dwell in booths.

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:41-43
41 You shall keep it as a feast to YHWH for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths,
43 that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am YHWH your Elohim.’”

The eighth day of Sukkot, then, is really a separate festival.  Leviticus 23:36 tells us that we are to hold an assembly (עֲצֶרֶת) on this eighth day in order to bring an offering made by fire.  We are also to do no ordinary or laborious work.

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:36
36 For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to YHWH. On the eighth day you shall have a set-apart assembly, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to YHWH. It is a set-apart assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it.

Verse 39 then tells us to keep the first and the eighth days of the festival as set-apart sabbaths of rest.

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:39
39 ‘Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of YHWH for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest.

It may be that the first day of the feast symbolizes the first day of the Creation Week, when YHWH Elohim created the heavens and the earth.

B’reisheet (Genesis) 1:1-2
1 In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth.
2 The earth was made formless and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.

If the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes the first day of Creation, could it be that Shemini Atzeret symbolizes how we will go to the New Earth, which Isaiah speaks of?

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 65:17-20
17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
20 “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old,
But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.”

While the Feast of Tabernacles is symbolic of many things, it is also symbolic of the New Earth, for the Book of the Revelation tells us that in the New Earth, the Tabernacle of Elohim will be with men.

Gilyana (Revelation) 21:1-4
1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.
2 Then I, Yochanan, saw the set-apart city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from Elohim, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the Tabernacle of Elohim is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. Elohim Himself will be with them, and be their Elohim.
4 “And Elohim will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

If YHWH wills, we will explore this topic in much more detail in the Joseph’s Return study, as well as explore why Yahuhua returns to take us to the New Earth at the end of the earth’s seven thousand years.
Once we understand the prophetic symbolism of the number eight, we can begin to see this symbolism turn up throughout the Torah.

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 22:26-27
26 And YHWH spoke to Moshe, saying:
27 “When a bull or a sheep or a goat is born, it shall be seven days with its mother; and from the eighth day and thereafter it shall be accepted as an offering made by fire to YHWH.”

YAHushua tells us that those who believe on Him are like unto sheep, or to goats.

Mattai (Matthew) 25:31-33
31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the set-apart messengers with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.”

For seven days, our sheep and our bulls and our goats are not acceptable as sacrifice offerings unto YHWH.  In much the same way, for seven thousand years, the ‘sheep’ and the ‘goats’ and the ‘bulls’ who believe on Yeshua are not acceptable into YHWH’s kingdom.  Rather, we must wait until the start of the ‘Assembly of the Eighth’, after the Judgment, when YHWH will ‘hold us over’ in the New Earth.  Then we will Tabernacle with Him.
Going Deeper:
As one might expect, the Most High Perfect Elohim has created multiple layers of symbolism and meaning not only in His Torah, but also in His Festivals.  While a complete discussion of the significance of the festivals is outside the scope of this work, let us take a look at the interrelationships between the spring and the fall festivals.
In Yoel (Joel) 2:23, YHWH tells us that the latter rains come in the first month.

Joel 2:23
23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in YHWH your Elohim, for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you — The former rain, and the latter rain in the first (month).

(23) וּבְנֵי צִיּוֹן גִּילוּ וְשִׂמְחוּ בַּיהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם כִּי נָתַן לָכֶם אֶת הַמּוֹרֶה לִצְדָקָה | וַיּוֹרֶד לָכֶם גֶּשֶׁם מוֹרֶה וּמַלְקוֹשׁ בָּרִאשׁוֹן:

The Land of Israel is semi-tropical, and has essentially two seasons: a hot dry summer, and a wet winter.  In between these seasons are short temperate periods of transition, when the Spring and Fall Feasts take place.  Most of the rain in the Land of Israel falls in the winter, after the Fall Festivals, but before the Passover.  Later we will see symbolic aspects of this as well.
Scripture speaks of the early rains, and the latter rains.  From a Western-Roman standpoint, one might think the earlier rains fall in the spring, and the latter rains fall in autumn.  However, when we realize that the Hebrew year does not start until the spring, and that the Land of Israel is then normally sunny for at least six months, we see that the ‘earlier’ rains actually fall after the Fall Festival season, and the ‘latter’ rains fall just before the Passover, in the first month.
But when is rain more than just rain?  In Joel 2:23, the word for the early ‘rain’ is מוֹרֶה (moreh), which is also the word for a teacher, or a teaching (i.e., instruction).

OT:4175 mowreh (mo-reh’); from OT:3384; an archer; also teacher or teaching; also the early rain [see OT:3138]:

The word for the latter rains is malqosh (מַלְקוֹשׁ), which translates figuratively as ‘eloquence.’

OT:4456 malqowsh (mal-koshe’); from OT:3953; the spring rain (compare OT:3954); figuratively, eloquence:

YHWH says, then, that He will give His teachings and His eloquence at the times of the early and the latter rains, which come just before the Spring festivals, and after the Fall ones.
But if YHWH gives instruction and eloquence at His festival times, are there other relationships between His feasts?  Other relationships turn up if we match up these festivals and their associated traditions side-by-side, reading from left to right.
Spring Festivals > > > > > > Fall Festivals
[Rabbinical Tu B’Shevat]
[Traditional Jewish New Year for Trees]
Yom Teruah (Trumpets)
The Bridegroom comes for His bride
Purim (before Pesach)
The bride-to-be is tested, and turns back to Him.
Traditionally celebrated by eating and drinking, and then starting to cleanse one’s house of leaven
Yom HaKippurim (can also be translated, “a Day like the Purim”)
The bride-to-be is taken in marriage.
No eating, drinking, or any other pleasures of the flesh.
Pesach and Unleavened
Bread.  A one day feast followed by a seven day feast.  All native Israelites must eat unleavened bread
Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret.  A seven day feast followed by a one day feast.  All native Israelites must dwell in sukkot.
Pentecost (Shavuot)
Traditionally, the bride was given the Torah on this day as a marital covenant (ketubah).
[Shemini Atzeret]
[Traditionally, the bride rejoices, from whence the tradition of ‘Simchat Torah’ comes]
Second Passover
A second opportunity to celebrate Passover, for those who were unclean at the first Passover
Originally established as a ‘second sukkot’, since the Maccabees were fighting the Greeks during Sukkot.
Physical renewal
Spiritual renewal
Additionally, there are parallels between the first and the seventh months.
First Month (Aviv) > > > > > > Seventh Month
Day 1
The Tabernacle was put into service on the first day of the first month (reference Exodus 40:2)
Day 1
Traditionally, Yahushua our Temple, will return on the first day of the first month (Yom Teruah)
Day 10
The Passover Lamb is chosen
Day 10
Two goats are chosen, one for YHWH, and one for Azazel (Satan).
Day 10
The Feast of the Passover and Unleavened Bread basically begins here, and five days later, Israel will be freed from bondage
Day 10
Jubilee (‘Release’) is declared, when Israelite slaves are released from bondage, and property returns to its owner
Day 10
Israel enters the Promised Land (Joshua 4:9)
Day 10
High Sabbath of rest
Day 14/15
YHWH’s people enter inside their houses for protection
Day 15
YHWH’s people enter into their sukkot for protection
Day 15
Israel begins dwelling in Sukkot while traveling in the Wilderness of Sinai
Day 15
Israel dwells in Sukkot for protection while living in the Promised Land
Day 14/15
Yahushua dies
Day 15
Yahushua is born
Day 14-22
Israel eats unleavened bread
Day 14-22
Israel lives in sukkot
Day 15
Pilgrimage festival
Day 15
Pilgrimage festival
Day 15
Opening harvest.  Barley is waved before YHWH
Day 15
Final harvest.  The Four Species are waved before YHWH
Ripening of grains
Ripening of grapes and olives
But why does YHWH not give all of the commandments regarding the festivals in one place, so we can understand what He wants more easily?  The answer is that there are hidden messages in how the commands are laid out within the Torah.
Pilgrimage Feasts
Days of Judgment
Exodus 23:14-19
Exodus 34:18-26
Deuteronomy 16:1-17
Yom Teruah (Trumpets)
Yom Kippur (Atonements)
Shemini Atzeret
In Exodus and Deuteronomy, the date of the festival is not given with regards to its numerical or ordinal date, but with regards to the agricultural season and the harvests.  This is also why the tithe is mentioned in these passages, is that the tithe was also historically based on the harvests of the land, whether animal or vegetable.

Shemote (Exodus) 23:14-19
14 “Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year:
15 You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of the Aviv, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty);
16 and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.
17 “Three times in the year all your males shall appear before YHWH Elohim.
18 “You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; nor shall the fat of My sacrifice remain until morning.
19 The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of YHWH your Elohim. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.

Exodus 34:18-24 gives us a similar set of commands, with the dates also being set with regards to the firstfruits of the land, both animal and vegetable.

Shemote (Exodus) 34:18-26
18 “The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time of the month of the Aviv; for in the month of the Aviv you came out from Egypt.
19 “All that open the womb are Mine, and every male firstborn among your livestock, whether ox or sheep.
20 But the firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb. And if you will not redeem him, then you shall break his neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem.  And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.
21 “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.
22 “And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and theFeast of Ingathering at the year’s end.
23 “Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Adon, YHWH Elohim of Israel.
24 For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before YHWH your Elohim three times in the year.
25 “You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven, nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover be left until morning.
26 “The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring to the house of YHWH your Elohim. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

Deuteronomy 16:1-15 follows this same pattern, by making reference to the animal and vegetable fruits of the land, and the harvest seasons.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 16:1-15
1 “Observe the month of the Aviv, and keep the Passover to YHWH your Elohim, for in themonth of the Aviv YHWH your Elohim brought you out of Egypt by night.
2 Therefore you shall sacrifice the Passover to YHWH your Elohim, from the flock and the herd, in the place where YHWH chooses to put His name.
3 You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life.
4 And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight remain overnight until morning.
5 “You may not sacrifice the Passover within any of your gates which YHWH your Elohim gives you;
6 but at the place where YHWH your Elohim chooses to make His name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight, at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt.
7 And you shall roast and eat it in the place which YHWH your Elohim chooses, and in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents.
8 Six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a sacred assembly to YHWH your Elohim. You shall do no work on it.
9 “You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain.
10 Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to YHWH your Elohim with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as YHWH your Elohim blesses you.
11 You shall rejoice before YHWH your Elohim, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your gates, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are among you, at the place where YHWH your Elohim chooses to make His name abide.
12 And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.
13 “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress.
14 And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates.
15 Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to YHWH your Elohim in the place which YHWH chooses, because YHWH your Elohim will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.

Notice also how the festivals line up with what most Americans would traditionally call spring, summer, and fall.  However, since there are really only two seasons in the Land of Israel, these dates actually line up with the transition time at the start of summer, mid summer, and the transition at the end of summer.  These are the times when the crops come ready in the Land.
Pilgrimage Festival
Start-of-summer transition
End-of-summer transition
However, while Exodus and Deuteronomy describe the feasts in relation to the agricultural harvests, Leviticus and Numbers simply tell us what month and day they should be held in.  However, Leviticus and Numbers do give us the offerings the priests are to make in the Temple.  If we study these offerings side by side, in a chart, we can begin to see some interesting parallels.  First we will look at Numbers 25:10 thru 30:1.
Numbers 25:10 – 30:1
(Parasha Pinchas)
15th day of the 1st month
2 bulls, 1 ram
7 male lambs,
1 male goat
50 days after the First Day of the Week after Pesach
2 bulls, 1 ram
7 male lambs,
1 male goat
Yom Teruah (Trumpets)
1st day of the 7th month
1 bull, 1 ram
7 male lambs,
1 male goat
Yom Kippur (Atonements)
10th day of the 7th month
1 bull, 1 ram
7 male lambs,
1 male goat
(plus one for Azazel)
Sukkot (Tabernacles)
15th day of the 7th month
Day 1
13 bulls, 2 rams,
14 male lambs,
1 male goat
Day 2
12 bulls, 2 rams,
14 male lambs,
1 male goat
Day 3
11 bulls, 2 rams,
14 male lambs,
1 male goat
Day 4
10 bulls, 2 rams,
14 male lambs,
1 male goat
Day 5
9 bulls, 2 rams,
14 male lambs,
1 male goat
Day 6
8 bulls, 2 rams,
14 male lambs,
1 male goat
Day 7
7 bulls, 2 rams,
14 male lambs,
1 male goat
Shemini Atzeret (Assembly of the Eighth)
Day 8
Leviticus 23 (in Parasha Emor) is unique.  It not only tells us what unique commandments are associated with each festival, but it also tells us which agricultural season each one of these special commandments falls into.
Special Command
Unleavened Bread
Wave Sheaf (Omer)
Leviticus 23:10 “When you enter the Land… and harvest the grain
Shavuot (Pentecost)
Specially leavened loaves of wheat bread.
Leviticus 23:16 “… count seven weeks, then… you shall bring a new grain offering….”
Yom Teruah (Trumpets)
Blowing the shofar
Yom Kippurim (Atonements)
Afflicting one’s soul
Sukkot (Tabernacles)
Waving the four species: Lulav, etrog, etc.
Leviticus 23:39-40 “… when you gather the produce of the land… and you shall take on the first day a goodly fruit….”
We do not know for sure why YHWH does not give us all of the commandments for the festivals all in one place.  However, we do know that there are many layers of spiritual implication to His timing.
Israel’s physical redemption from slavery in Egypt came in the spring.  The springtime is also when Israel crossed the Jordan River, to enter the Land of Israel.
Spring is an interesting time.  While some crops (such as barley) do grow and mature in winter, most crops lay dormant in the winter, and only begin to experience renewed growth in the spring.  In much the same way, while YHWH does have some servants who may flourish and grow in the ‘winter’ (or in the ‘Wilderness’) the majority of Israelites need the warmth of spring before they can begin to grow and flourish.
However, just as spring only marks the onset of plant growth, we must also realize that our acceptance of Yeshua only marks the onset of our spiritual growth.  Just as plant and animal life is also tenuous, salvation also is far from being certain.  Each one of us needs to continue to work out his salvation in fear, and in trembling before the Father.

Kepha Aleph (1st Peter) 1:17-19
17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
19 but with the precious blood of Messiah, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Tradition holds the Messiah will return on Yom Teruah, which is referred to as ‘the day and the hour which no man knows,’ at the end of the growing season.

Mattai (Matthew) 24:36
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

Revelation also seems to imply that Messiah will return at the time of the Fall Harvests, which is when the grapes and the olives come ripe.  Some among Israel will have reached a similar state of maturity then.

Gilyana (Revelation) 14:17-19
17 Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.”
19 So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of Elohim.

Just as grapes and olives have but one short season in which to mature and come ready for the harvest, we also have just one short lifetime in order to become fit and worthy companions for the King above all kings.  Let us seize the opportunity, knowing that we must work while it is still day, for soon the night will come, when no man can work.
Let us prepare ourselves for Him, and be ready before Him when He comes.

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