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The Annual Feasts of the 7th Month
Part 4 - Tishrei 22: The Last Great Day
Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein, Lev. 23:36.
Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to Yahweh. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh. On the EIGHTH day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh. It is a solemn assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it. [Reading various translations, I discovered that there are a number of ways that "solemn assembly" is described. In verse 36, the Hebrew word, atseret, has been translated “sacred assembly,” “solemn closing assembly,” “a restraint,” or just simply “AN assembly."] These are the feasts of Yahweh which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day besides the Sabbaths of Yahweh, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to Yahweh. 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 Yahweh for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the EIGHTH day a sabbath-rest [a Sabbath-rest, a shabbatown. In other versions, shabbatown is translated as a "day of rest," "a rest," "a sabbath," "a day of total rest," a "solemn rest," and simply, "on the eighth day there shall be rest"]. And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before Yahweh your Elohim for seven days. You shall keep it as a feast to Yahweh for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 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 Yahweh your Elohim,” Leviticus 23:33-43.
My eyebrow went up a bit when I read the words "native Israelites" in verse 42 NKJV. Native Israelites? I’m not a native Israelite; perhaps the commandment is only for those born in Israel. But, I thought, perhaps other versions will clarify, somehow, that not ALL Israelites are Israelites born in Israel. So, I checked it out.
In verse 42, the KJV uses the phrase, "all that are Israelites born”; the NIV, "All native-born Israelites”; the NKJV, "All who are native Israelites”; the NASU, "all the native-born in Israel”; the AMP, "All native Israelites”; the NLT, "all of you who are Israelites by birth”; the YLT, "all who are natives in Israel”; the ASV, "all that are home-born in Israel”; and in the RSV, "all that are native in Israel."
This is actually kind of funny. All of these versions are different, and it appears that each translator was looking for a unique way of translating the phrase “native Israelites.” Why? I don’t know, but none of them is exactly the same. Anyway. Whoohoo! We’re not natives, so we don't have to dwell in tents any more! WAIT!!! Let's not jump to conclusions; let us sit down and reason together.
Now, why, in the last portion of this declaration, did Yahweh cause Moshe(Moses) to emphasize that all native born Israelites are to dwell in temporary booths? Well, number 1, I suspect that Yahweh knows what He’s doing. Secondly, I imagine it would literally freeze their brains if He were to have Moses say to the Israelites gathered there, "Thus sayeth Yahweh, 'Oh, incidentally, millions of Gentiles will join themselves to Israel and will ALSO be dwelling in booths in about 4,000 years.'" Not the best timing. Maybe they will accept it soon. Thirdly, let us note that the message that WAS given does NOT say that ONLY native-born Israelites are to live in booths during the Feast of Tabernacles, but ALL native-born Israelites, which is not necessarily exclusive of others. It may, in fact be a piece of hidden manna, pointing to those who will join Israel, as we have, here, today. If you need more evidence to support this understanding, then does it not say in Hosea 1:10,
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said of them, “You are not my people,” there it shall be said to them, “You are the sons of the living Elohim.”
And, in Hosea 2:23,
And I will sow her [the Israelites scattered throughout the nations] to Me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not My people, “Thou art My people”; and they shall say, “Thou art my Elohim.”
Ok, one LAST witness to the fact that we are to dwell in booths:
Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to Yahweh speak, saying, “Yahweh has utterly separated me from His people”; nor let the eunuch say, “Here I am, a dry tree.” For thus says Yahweh: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths [that is, weekly Sabbaths, #7676], and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters [better than native Israelites]; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to Yahweh, to serve Him, and to love the name of Yahweh, to be His servants -- everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant, even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The Almighty Yahweh, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “Yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him,” Isaiah 56:3-8.
So. We are Israel, even better, possibly, according to Scripture, than native Israelites; and though we were not physically born in Israel, we are certainly willing to continue to dwell in tents, or a temporary dwelling during the Feast of Tabernacles.
On the EIGHTH day you shall have a sacred assembly [atseret, the same word used in Leviticus 23]. You shall do no customary work. You shall present a burnt offering, an offering made by fire as a sweet aroma to Yahweh: one bull, one ram, seven lambs in their first year without blemish, and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bull, for the ram, and for the lambs, by their number, according to the ordinance; also one goat as a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offering, Numbers 29:35-38.
Not all "solemn assemblies" are described by the Hebrew word, atseret. For example,
Yahweh thy Elohim in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden, Zephaniah 3:17-18.
Also, Numbers 15:3,
And will make an offering by fire unto Yahweh, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts.
The words used here for solemn assembly and solemn feasts is bamoadykem, the root word being mow’ed, an appointment, i.e. a fixed time or season and specifically, a feast, to make a sweet savor unto Yahweh, of the herd, or of the flock.
OK. Nowhere in the Tanach do we find the phrase “the Last Great Day.” (I prefer to use the term “Tanach” over the term “Old Testament” because Old Testament seems to imply that it is no longer viable, that it is no longer of use; when in fact the New Testament is really the Old Testament REVIVED and understood in the LIGHT of Yahshua). Anyway, nowhere in the Tanach do we find the phrase “the Last Great Day.”
Now as Yahshua passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Master [actually, the Greek word there is rhabbi, derived from the Hebrew word rabab, meaning a great one], who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Yahshua answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of Elohim should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him Who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. [Here is an interesting statement by Yahshua. He seems to be saying that there will come a time when mankind will not be able to work (that is, to perform the miracles done by Him and His apostles).] As longasIamintheworld, Iamthe light of the world.” When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing, John 9:1-7.
The Greek word Siloam comes from the Hebrew word Shiloach, which means “sent for,” “to send away,” or “to send out.” Yahshua is He Who was sent for us, was sent away and Who sent us out. Clearly, the name of this fountain points to Him Who heals us.
Celebrating the Last Great Day
Let me describe to you the celebration that took place in Jerusalem in the days of Yahshua, on the eighth and final day of the Feast of Tabernacles. The high priest of Israel, in a great processional made up of many priests and many thousands of worshippers, descended from the Temple Mount to the Pool of Siloam. A silver pitcher was filled with water, and the great procession proceeded back up to the Temple Mount via a different route. In Israel, the rains normally stop in March, and there is no rain for nearly seven months. In recognition of the need for Elohim to provide the “early” or “former” rains in October or November, the high priest poured the water upon the altar. This ceremony was intended to invoke Yahweh’s blessing on the nation by providing life-giving water. Without the early rains over the winter, there would be no spring crop. The Feast of Tabernacles is a joyous celebration of Yahweh’s provision and the final harvest of the year. This final ceremony is a plea for Yahweh's blessing for the coming year.
On the last day, that great day of the feast, [OK, now imagine this; as the water from the pool of Siloam was poured out upon the altar, in the sight and hearing of tens of thousands of onlookers], Yahshua stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” This He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Yahshua was not yet glorified, John 7:37-39.
Can you imagine that! The Pharisees, Scribes and Priests must have been FURIOUS to have their celebration upstaged by a man proclaiming that He was the Sent One, the source of the Holy Spirit! How awesome is our Elohim, who makes the pieces of the puzzle fit together, so that we can know, without hesitation, that Yahshua IS Who He said He is. Wouldn’t you have just loved to have been there to witness that event? I am willing to speculate, in spite of not having had the privilege of being there, that there will be opportunities for us to see the work of the Spirit of Yahweh MUCH greater than this.
The phrase “living water” appears in two other places in Scripture, just prior to this event.
Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman” for Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Yahshua answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of Elohim, and Who it is Who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Ya’akob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” Yahshua answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw," John 4:9-15.
Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, there will be no rain on them. If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which Yahweh smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths, Zechariah 14:16-19.
Could this rain also be pointing to the anointing of the Holy Spirit? It fits for me. Rain is that which anoints the soil so that food for energy can be grown, which we depend upon to work. The Holy Spirit is the anointing that provides the energy that we need to do the works of Yahweh.
In spite of the good news of the living water that Yahshua gave at the Last Great Day celebration, it is still referred to as a solemn assembly. The need for water for crops would certainly fill those there with the feelings of solemnity: fear, powerlessness, even a sense of hopelessness. But, the people assembled there probably did not understand why the assembly was to be solemn. We now know because of John’s writing of Revelation. This day represents the Judgment Day at the White Throne of chapter 20.
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Yahshua and for the Word of Yahweh, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with the Messiah for a thousand years. [This is the first resurrection], but the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of Yahweh and of HaMashiach, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from Yahweh out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a Great White Throne and Him who sat on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before Elohim, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades [the grave, the Greek word eido means unseen or unknowing] delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire, Rev. 20:4-15.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it, Matt. 7:13.
Narrow is the English translation for the Greek word, thlibo, meaning to crowd, afflict, narrow, throng, suffer tribulation, trouble.
Thus, the assembly is solemn as it reflects on mankind in general. That last day will certainly not be a day of rejoicing as so many people go to their destruction.
Since you have kept My command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of My Elohim. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of My Elohim and the name of the city of my Elohim, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my Elohim; and I will also write on him my new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies, Rev. 3:10-13.
May we be those who have endured and overcome, and may we be among those whose names are found in the Book of Life on that Last Great Day. HalleluYah!
-Elder John Fisher
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