Shemini Atzeret (Convocation of the Eighth Day, Lev. 23:33–36, 39–43), the day following the seven days of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles or Booths), and Shavuot (Pentecost) are “buddies.” The symbolism of one is mirrored in the other. What happened on Shavuot throughout the Bible is a “shadow,” a likeness, of what will happen on a Shemini Atzeret during the Day of the LORD.
This is a 50,000-foot-high view of the fall “feasts to the LORD” (Lev. 23:2) — Yom Teruah (Trumpets, aka Rosh Hashanah), Yom haKippurim (Atonement) and Sukkot (Tabernacles). We’ll look at what they are and what meanings are stacked on top of each other as memorials of the actions of the Messiah past, present and future.
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.
Yeshua (Jesus) kept the festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles), but the only record of that is His keeping the latter part of it (John 6:26-7:41). During the Feast of Tabernacles, the people were looking for the Prophet like Moshe (Moses), but did they recognize the Prophet? Do we recognize the Prophet when we memorialize the past, present and future of God “tabernacling” with mankind (Lev. 26:11–12; Num. 35:34; Zech. 2:11; 8:3; Jn. 1:14; Zech. 14:16; Rev. 21:2–4)?
The beginning of the future reign of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) on Earth (Rev. 20:4–6), memorialized in the appointed times of Sukkot (Festival of Booths or Tabernacles) and Shmeni Atzeret (Convocation of the Eighth Day). Consider: During the 1,000 year-reign of Yeshua, if someone “walks” the wrong direction, the errant person will hear a voice, “Turn neither to the left or to the right; walk straight!” (Deut. 28:14; Josh. 1:7; Prov. 4:27; cp. Zech. 8:20–23).
Right now, that voice is hard to hear, but during the Millennial reign, that voice will be very clear.
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.
It would seem that there’s not much to say about this part of chapter 8. But if you read it closely, you’ll find something special.