The common name for the day following seven days of Sukkot (Festival of Tabernacles) is Shmini Atseret in Hebrew, or “Assembly of the Eighth (Day).” The day also is called Simchat Torah, Hebrew for “joy of the Torah,” based on the centuries old practice in synagogues of restarting the cycle of Torah readings at that time.
A number of theologians have wondered publicly if the festivals of the LORD are relevant for today or are just historical or intellectual curiosities. Many dismiss Sukkot as either a harvest festival only applicable in the Land of Israel or only relevant with a standing temple. Let’s explore what the Bible says about the past, present and future layers of meaning in these annual appointments and how they teach us about the Messiah and ourselves.
We will look at the different layers of the festivals. The holy festivals do not stand alone. The past, present and future are all apart of the messages of all the feasts.
We will focus on the annual feasts but the Shabbat sets the stage for the feasts. The theme of seven shows up a lot in all the appointed times.
The appointed times of God are multidimensional presentations and memorials of what God is doing. He has the appointed times, prophets and the Messiah to teach us what He is doing. They are waymarkers for where we were, are and will be. They are waymarkers in the history of God’s people and how He is going to recreate the world.
In a sense, they are like a wedding anniversary, on which the couple remembers all the experiences layered on top of one another since the cutting of that first wedding cake.
A large number of believers in the God of Israel and Yeshua as the Messiah of God seem to have an identity crisis. Many have been taught that believers in Yeshua (Jesus) are part of “the Church” or a “new Israel,” which “died” to the Torah. However, Yeshua, the Prophets and apostle Paul said believers join ancient Israel and take on its heritage in the Torah.