At his first coming, Jesus fulfilled the four spring feasts of the Lord over the exact fifty-three days allotted to them—on time and in order. Recall how Jesus was sacrificed as the Passover Lamb on Passover, rested three days in the tomb during Unleavened Bread, resurrected as the first fruits of God on First Fruits, and sent the Holy Spirit upon the Church on Pentecost.
By the time Jesus was born, his people Israel had been rehearsing for this day of his visitation for centuries. Every year in which they celebrated the feasts of the Lord—remembering their salvation and giving thanks to God for His protection in the promised land—they were simultaneously rehearsing for this greater salvation to come. The ultimate purpose of the feasts was unfortunately lost on the nation at large, and thus they rejected Yeshua, their salvation (Yeshua means salvation)—their true Passover lamb.
I believe that Israel will come to recognise their salvation in Christ at his second coming, and this will coincide with the fulfilment of the fall feasts in like manner. Jesus will again demonstrate the ultimate significance of the feasts of the Lord over the exact period in which they are celebrated—in this case, twenty-two days. These three fall feasts are of course, Trumpets (Yom Teruah), the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and Tabernacles (Sukkot).
We know that by Jewish tradition, the feast of Trumpets heralds the "Day of the Lord" and marks the beginning of what Jews consider to be the "Ten Days of Repentance" or "Days of Awe"—a time for introspective thought and repentance. I believe that its ultimate, and wider significance will lie in its function as a universal grace-period for mercy, one that lasts the ten days of awe until the Day of Atonement—the final day for unbelievers to accept salvation. As we know, the day which follows the Day of Atonement is the Day of the Lord, the final judgement that is to come upon the world. After this time, God is said to gather His people together in Jerusalem and establish a millennial kingdom with Jesus Christ as King, which I believe to relate to the feast of Tabernacles—His true tabernacle.
I do acknowledge that many believers are not expecting there to be a greater fulfilment of the fall feasts of the Lord beyond the yearly celebrations. Even among those who do entertain a future ultimate fulfilment, they tend to see it covering the final week (seven-years) of Daniel’s seventy-week prophecy. My personal objection to this idea is the following: Why would Jesus fulfil the spring feasts to perfection in regard to timing and content, but then discard this pattern almost completely for the fall feasts?
Before I explore this possibility in deeper detail, I will first provide a brief summary of the end times context of these feasts as I see it. The fall feasts, I believe, will coincide with the end of the seven-year reign of the Antichrist, the latter half of which will be the time of Great Tribulation. This time of great travail will be like a recapitulation of the plagues of Egypt which were intended to humble Pharaoh, a type of the Antichrist, and the Egyptians at large, so that they could receive the mercy of God through the blood of the Passover lamb. God will similarly save those who accept the blood of Christ during this time from the angel of death on the Day of the Lord.
In both instances, the loving God works to shine light into the darkness so that the heart or disposition of man can be softened to love Him before it's too late. During the night of Unleavened Bread as it carried over to Passover (Exod. 12:11-12; Luke 12:36-40), the Hebrew people in Egypt obeyed God's instructions to depart Egypt and escape from Pharaoh. With their loins girded, shoes on their feet, and staff in hand, they departed Egypt under the cover of darkness. The unrepentant Pharaoh commanded his armies to pursue them to the edge of the Red Sea. Moses, at God's instruction, saved the Hebrews from certain destruction. First he parted the Red Sea so that his people could pass over (Passover) to the other side and head on towards the promised land, and second, he closed the waters behind them on the Egyptian army. As it will be in the end days, God's people were saved by the very waters which destroyed His enemies. The unrepentant Antichrist will similarly command his armies to pursue God's people to the valley of Megiddo (Armageddon) (Rev. 16:12-16). This time it will be the true living water that is Jesus Christ, the prophet greater than Moses, who will supernaturally protect Israel and save them from total annihilation. Again, Jesus will save His people and judge His enemies.
To support this theory of a second Exodus, follow me as I unpack the deeper significance of the fall feasts, and illustrate how they, like the spring feasts, are rehearsals performed by Israel as preparation for the final performance.
God commanded Israel to consider the first day of the seventh month a sacred assembly or feast, and a "day of blowing the trumpets" (Yom Teruah) (Lev. 23:24-25; Num. 29:1). According to the biblical calendar, the seventh month is Tishrei, but during the early post-Temple period the rabbinical Jews adapted the calendar to start from the month of Tishrei. Consequently, Trumpets has doubled as the first day of the Jewish Year (Rosh Hashanah—"head of the year"). According to Jewish Talmudic tradition, it is on Rosh Hashanah (Trumpets) that the righteous, called the tzaddikim, are written in the Book of Life and the wicked, the resha'im, are written in the Book of Death (Exod. 32:32-3; Psa. 69:28). Most people, however, will not be inscribed in either book, but have ten days—until Yom Kippur—to repent before their own fate is sealed. As the Mishnah puts it, "All are judged on Rosh Hashanah [Trumpets], and the sentence is sealed on Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement]" (B. Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 16a).
These ten days are appropriately termed the "Ten Days of Repentance" (Aseret Yemei Teshuvah). Itself the end of a forty-day period of repentance for the Jews, collectively termed the "High Holy Days" or the "Days of Awe" (Yamim Nora’im). The prior thirty-days leading up to Trumpets and the Jewish New Year spans the entire month of Elul. It is a season for repentance (Teshuvah) where people are called to search their hearts and seek forgiveness, but ultimately, to decide who they will be in awe of—Christ or Antichrist.
The ceremonial blowing of trumpets signals the start of the feast of Trumpets and symbolises the second coming of Christ who "will descend from heaven with a shout ... and with the trumpet of God" (Lev. 23:23-27; Matt. 24:30-31; 1 Thess. 4:16). We can gather this directly from how Jesus responded to the following question from his disciples: "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" (Matt. 24:3). In standing with the words of the prophets, Jesus warned them of signs which have striking parallels to Trumpets (Isa. 13-10; Ezek. 32:7; Job 9:7; Joel 2:10, 31; 3:15; Amos 8:9; Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 6:12):
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (Matt. 24:29-31 NKJV).
Jesus then continued with the famous saying: "but of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Matt. 24:36). Surely we should take the Lord at his word and leave it at that? Yes, but there is more to consider here which I believe gives license to speculate on the time and season of his coming. See what he immediately followed up this statement with:
"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be ... Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matt. 24:36-44 NKJV).
So yes, we cannot know with certainty the time of his coming, but Jesus makes it clear here that he does not intend on taking his faithful people by surprise. He reiterated this very point on a number of occasions, including the Parable of the Ten Virgins, so that we would remain vigilant and see the signs of his coming (Matt. 25:1-13; Rev. 3:3; 16:15):
[I]f you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you (Rev. 3:3 NKJV).
As faithful watchmen, not wanting to be caught by surprise, but to be prepared, we should take the liberty to speculate on the time of Jesus' return, even if we cannot know it with certainty. To these ends, I will discuss how Jesus' return could fit within the context of the fall feasts of the Lord.
The first sign or parallel to investigate is the ambiguity surrounding the day and the hour at which Trumpets was sanctified. To understand this, we must understand the biblical context of the time. Since the biblical calendar was based on the lunar cycle, the moon's full cycle of illumination of 29 or 30 days (average 29.5) decided the months. The Hebrew word for "month" (hodesh) even means "new moon." As explained by Jamieson-Fausset-Brown:
"The beginning of the month was known, not by astronomical calculations, but, according to Jewish writers, by the testimony of messengers appointed to watch the first visible appearance of the new moon; and then the fact was announced through the whole country by signal-fires kindled on the mountain tops."
Since Trumpets began on the first day of the month—unique among the feasts of the Lord—it coincided with the sighting of the new moon which decided not only the beginning of the month, but the sanctification of the feast itself.
Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon, at the full moon, on our solemn feast day. For this is a statute for Israel, a law of the God of Jacob (Psa. 81:3-4 NKJV).
Because the time was not fixed, but decided by the lunar cycle of the moon, and the time taken to receive testimony from the appointed witnesses, sometimes it was two days before the sanctification. For this reason, Trumpets became known as the "Long Day" (Yoma Arichta) and, as the foremost Rabbi Maimonides outlined, was often "celebrated for two days" instead of one as biblically mandated. He continued that this custom was formally instituted in the rabbinical period because once the Sanhedrin no longer existed, the fixed calendar was adopted. To this day Trumpets is observed for two days.
Next to this parallel of temporal ambiguity is the darkness. Jesus said at the time of his coming "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light" (Matt. 24:29). The scriptural background for this is exhaustive, and it all relates to this day of the Lord (Isa. 13:10; 24:23; Ezek. 32:7; Joel 2:10, 31; 3:15; Amos 5:20; 8:9; Zeph. 1:15; Matt. 24:29-35; Acts 2:20; Rev. 6:12-17; 8:12). We can easily account for this in the feast of Trumpets. Let's take it from a Rabbi, Eliyahu Safran:
One might expect the observance of Rosh Chodesh, the New Month, to take place when the moon is full; when its luminance is most pronounced. But Rosh Chodesh is celebrated at the new moon, when the moon’s presence is essentially invisible in the dark, night sky.
Notice how, from these two parallels, we can avoid contradicting Jesus’ words “no one knows the day or hour” or “I come like a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:2; Rev. 16:15). This gives us license to wonder if Jesus was hinting that no one knows the day or hour he will come because of the ambiguity surrounding both the day and the hour at which Trumpets begins.
The third parallel between Trumpets and the statement from Jesus on the signs of his coming is of course, the "blowing of the trumpet" to herald the arrival of the feast—and in the case of the ultimate feast to come, the arrival of the Son of Man, Jesus Christ.
And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matt. 24:31 NKJV).
Notice how the next fragment of Jesus' message seems to speak of the rapture taking place upon the second coming. I must admit that this is a highly contentious passage, and many arguments have been made both for and against this reality. With that disclaimer, I will put forth my personal view of a post-tribulation rapture coinciding with Trumpets.
If we consider the scriptural allusions to the rapture, we will notice the presence of trumpets. While the blowing of trumpets are common beyond the feast itself, it is worth investigating the symbolism. The earliest instance is during the Exodus when God descended to Mount Sinai to meet with his people (Exod. 19:14-25):
And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up (Exod. 19:20 KJV).
Here we see that the blowing of trumpets coincides with the "calling up" of Moses to the top of the mount—the dwelling place of God—to be in God's presence. The term "rapture" in the original Greek is "harpazo," which has many uses in this context, meaning "caught up" (Acts 8:39; 2 Cor 12:2, 4; 1 Thess 4:16-17; Rev 12:5). Now notice the similarities to Paul's description of the rapture:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:16-17 NKJV).
In this view, Jesus will descend to earth to cut short (Greek: kolobo) the Great Tribulation at his shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God (Matt. 24:21-22). The faithful saints (living and dead) who were awake and watchful for their saviour (Eph. 4:30) will be spared this time of impending judgement and be caught up to be with their Lord (1 Cor. 15:51-55; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). The blowing of the shofar could thus be prophetic of the rapture of the church, where those who are part of the bride of Mashiach—the Church (typified by Leah the wife of Jacob)—will experience everlasting transformation:
We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Cor. 15:51-53 NKJV).
Even after the rapture, before judgement is rendered on the Day of Atonement, God will send an angel "to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people" (Rev. 14:5-6). The same call will be permitted from the unholy trinity of Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet:
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon (Rev. 16:12-16 NKJV).
The unholy trinity through powerful demonic miracles will call mankind to faithfulness to them and their ability to defeat Jesus Christ, who they shall frame as exemplifying the goat for Azazel which was banished during the yearly Day of Atonement. To those who heed their words, Jesus will appear to them as the accursed goat for Azazel which has returned from the wilderness, and must therefore be repelled and defeated. To these ends, all the unregenerate armies of the earth will gather at the valley of Megiddo (Armageddon) to take Azazel and his people (Jesus and the Jewish remnant) and as it were, push them off a cliff.
But before Jesus stands before them, or "returns from the wilderness" the remaining remnant (unbelieving) of Israel will have his immediate attention. I believe the next scene will take place in a manner similar to the wilderness wanderings of the Hebrew people in the days of Moses. Israel were forced to make the choice between remaining in Egypt or becoming sons of God—the Israelites. The reward was life in the promised land under God. The wilderness in this case I believe, will be that of Bozrah (Petra) which is in Edom, the land of their adversary Esau (Ezek. 35:1-15; Isa. 34:6; 63:1; Jer. 49:22; Amos 1:12). Before Israel can get to the promised land under Christ (symbolised by Tabernacles), they will be in hiding from the Antichrist and his armies in the wilderness of Bozrah as their ancestors had been in hiding from Pharaoh and his armies in the wilderness of Egypt:
“And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,” says the Lord God (Ezek. 20:35-36 NKJV).
“I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture; They shall make a loud noise because of so many people (Mic. 2:12 NKJV).
In line with this scripture, the remnant of Israel will be gathered like sheep of the fold in Bozrah, which quite literally translates to "sheepfold" in Hebrew, to evade annihilation at the hands of the false shepherd, the Antichrist—the final animation of the Edomites and Amalekites. There will be great mourning and soul searching among the Jewish remnant during these Days of Awe. They will come to recognise this time of darkness as the sign of their redemption, having faithfully rehearsed the feasts of the Lord which testify to the first and second Exodus. They shall look upon their God whom they have pierced and will mourn for him (Jesus) as one mourns for his firstborn (Zech. 12:10). Jesus, the good shepherd, will hear the impassioned cries of his lost sheep and rush to gather them back into their fold (Isa. 40:11; Jer. 31:10; Ezek. 34:23-24; 37:24; Mic. 5:4; Zech. 9:16; 13:7; Matt. 2:6; John 10:11-16; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 5:4; Rev. 7:17). He will then begin his judgement upon the ungodly forces typified by Esau and his Edomite descendants.
Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this One who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?—“I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come” (Isa. 63:1-4 NKJV).
Behold, He shall come up and fly like the eagle, and spread His wings over Bozrah; The heart of the mighty men of Edom in that day shall be like the heart of a woman in birth pangs (Jer. 49:22 NKJV).
The Day of Atonement, the final day for all of mankind to be added into, or blotted out of, the Book of Life, falls on the tenth of Tishrei, and concludes the forty-day season of repentance (Teshuvah). It is the holiest and most solemn day of the Jewish year, and prophetically foreshadows the atonement for sin at Jesus' first coming, the judgement at Jesus' second coming, and the national restoration of Israel. The ceremonial parallels of the Day of Atonement to the sacrificial atonement of Christ are dealt with extensively in my book "Seed of God: Jesus Christ," but I will briefly summarise.
On this day, the high priest of Israel was presented with two near-identical goats taken from the flock of Israel (my book shows this is symbolic of Jesus and Barabbas) and cast lots for them (Lev. 16:5-10). The outcome of the lottery was divinely determined, as it was for Jesus and Barabbas (Prov. 16:33). Two beings were assigned for two distinct purposes. The goat cast with the white stone (in the right hand) was “for the Lord” and was sacrificed as a burnt offering to atone for the sanctuary and the people (Lev. 16:12-19). The goat cast with the black stone (in the left hand) was “for Azazel” (often translated scapegoat), and was driven into the wilderness with the sins of the people symbolically transferred upon its head (Lev. 16:10, 20-22). This was a preview of when the greater high priest of the order of Melchisedech, Jesus, casts Satan—not merely the scapegoat, but the source of all evil—into the wilderness of the abyss.
After this, and many other rituals, the high priest would enter into the Most Holy Place of the Temple and sprinkle the blood of this goat for the Lord onto the mercy seat (Lev. 16:15; Heb. 9:1-10). The primary purpose of the ceremony was to cleanse the sanctuary from the uncleanness of the people in order for God to stay among them (Lev. 16:15-17,27, 32-34). The blood of the innocent and unblemished sacrifices cleansed the earthly tabernacle from Israel’s impurities for the year. At his first coming, while on the cross, the innocent and unblemished Jesus entered into the Most Holy Place within heaven itself and sprinkled his own blood upon the mercy seat to cleanse us of our sins (Matt. 27:45; Luke 23:44-45; Heb. 9:19-28; 10:19-23). His atoning blood permanently cleansed the heavenly tabernacle from the source of impurity itself, and as symbolised by the tearing of the curtain in the Most Holy Place after his death, provided a way for us to dwell directly with God (Heb. 8-10). This will be effectuated after the ultimate Day of Atonement when Jesus "appear[s] a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him" (Heb. 9:28).
On that day, the armies of the Antichrist assembled in the valley of Megiddo (Armageddon) will make a concerted effort to annihilate God's people and prevent the rightful king from taking his throne on Mount Zion (Rev. 16:16). However, the king will come to rescue the remnant that survives this siege upon the city:
Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle (Zech. 14:1-3 NKJV).
He will rescue His people from the Antichrist’s armies and go on to succeed where all of the Davidic kings, including David himself, had failed. The ungodly who are swept by the spirit of Antichrist like the Amalekites will be utterly destroyed by Jesus, the rightful eternal Davidic king, as God had demanded of his earthly kings (Obad.; Num. 24:17-20; Amos 9:11-12).
After the close of the Day of Atonement, Jesus said all those left on earth will be either sheep or goats (Matt. 25:31-46). All will be judged by their individual responses to his people Israel and the Church as they were persecuted throughout the Great Tribulation. Did they or did they not offer mercy to God’s people? The sheep, though not accepting of Jesus as Messiah, but neither having taken the mark of the beast, have nevertheless felt compelled to extend mercy and help to assist the brethren of Jesus and Israel during the Great Tribulation. Jesus will say to them, “blessed are you by my Father, enter into the kingdom prepared for you” (Matt. 25:31-40). But to the goats on the left who aligned themselves with the goat for Azazel—Satan, his words shall be, “cursed are you, depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels”—the wilderness or abyss (Matt. 25:41-46). These would have taken the mark of the beast and refused to help his brethren in their time of great distress, when their survival was critical for the establishment of his kingdom (Matt. 24:41-46). The work of the tribulum and winnowing fork shall be complete, wrath shall be executed, with the wheat (sheep) in the barn and the chaff (goats, including the Antichrist and False Prophet) burned up in the fire (Rev. 19:20).
And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be—“The Lord is one,” and His name one (Zech. 14:9 NKJV).
The seventh and final feast of the Lord is Tabernacles, which begins on the fifteenth of Tishrei, five days from the Day of Atonement, and lasts for seven-days, from one sabbath to another (with an eighth day as a holy convocation). Tabernacles can thus be considered the "Sabbath" of all the feasts of the Lord, the point of rest and renewal of God's creation, as it was at the time of creation (God rested on the seventh day, creating the Sabbath). I will explore the deeper significance of this a little later.
Also known as the "Day of Ingathering," Tabernacles followed the ingathering of the final yearly harvest, of which God called for everyone in the land, including the gentiles, to joyously celebrate, giving thanks to Him for the bountiful provisions (Lev. 23:39-43; Deut. 16:13-15; Num. 29:12-40). As such, Tabernacles prefigures the ingathering of God's people—Israel and the Church—to His dwelling place in the time of their Messiah's return and subsequent millennial reign in Jerusalem (Isa. 27:12-13; Jer. 23:7-8). First it was the Tabernacle in the wilderness, next the Temples in Jerusalem, and ultimately, the body of Christ. The feast of Tabernacles represents the redemptive hope for Israel and the world, a sign that God would one day dwell with us directly in a greater Tabernacle.
Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God" (Rev. 21:3 NKJV).
During the week of Tabernacles, all native Israelites commemorated their deliverance from Egypt by building and living in temporary tabernacles (booths) since God had "made the children of Israel dwell in booths when [He] brought them out of the land of Egypt” (Lev. 23:42-43). In the time between Trumpets and Tabernacles, Jesus' people Israel would be sheltering in the wilderness of Bozrah where they, in standing with this custom, would have built tabernacles for protection as they had in the wilderness of Egypt, knowing Jesus their Messiah will defeat their enemies and bring them into the promised rest. That Jesus is indeed the subject of these ceremonies is made clear to us from Jesus' own words. Firstly, recall how the gospel of John recounts Jesus' preaching at the Temple on the last day of the feast, Hoshanah Rabbah:
On the last day [Hoshanah Rabbah], that great day of the feast [Sukkot], Jesus 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.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37–39 NKJV).
The symbolism of water in connection with the Spirit already had great precedent in the Old Testament (Isa. 32:15; 44:3; Ezek. 36:25-27; Joel 2:28-29; Zech. 12:10), and continues in the New Testament (Matt. 3:11; 1 Cor. 12:13; Titus 3:5-6; John 3:5; 7:39). For those in attendance and all who were familiar with the feast traditions, it would be abundantly obvious that Jesus was positioning himself as the Messiah. This is because, for each day of the feast, and especially the last day when Jesus made this declaration, a water libation ceremony was performed at the Temple (M. Suk. 4:1, 9-10; Yoma 26b). A priest from the Temple would go to the pool of Siloam, fill a golden pitcher with water, then return to the Temple to pour out the water, along with wine, into the altar (T. Suk. 3:14). Of note is the fact that this pool of Siloam was supplied by the sole water supply for Jerusalem, the Gihon Spring—similar to how the living waters of the Spirit can come only from Jesus. This was precisely what he was claiming before his Jewish peers in the middle of a holy convocation. It was either flagrantly blasphemous, or he was telling the truth. In the following two chapters in the gospel of John, Jesus would take this further by asserting himself as the "light of the world" (John 8:12; 9:5), which alluded again to the extravagant lights present in the Tabernacles celebration. For each day of the festival, large oil lamps illuminated the Temple, and according to the Talmudic tractate Sukkah (on Sukkot), "it was so bright that a woman would be able to sort wheat by the light of the Celebration of the Place of the Drawing of the Water" (Sukkah 53a:1).
The latter of these two chapters of John details the miracle of Jesus healing the man born blind, presumably shortly after Tabernacles. Jesus states once again, "I am the light of the world" (John 9:5) before healing the man and quite literally overcoming his darkness with light:
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.” So he went and washed, and came back seeing (John 9:6-7 NKJV).
Notice how Jesus ordered the blind man to wash in the same pool which was used by the priest in the water drawing and libation ceremony of Tabernacles. Scholar Ryan S. Gardner summarised well the meaning of this in his exhaustive journal entry on Tabernacles, stating:
By choosing the Pool of Siloam as the place for the miracle to occur, the Savior was superimposing himself on the most important event of the Feast of Tabernacles. It was as if he was saying, “You come to the Pool of Siloam to ‘draw water out of the wells of salvation’—I am the well of salvation.”
These two declarations which Jesus made in reference to Tabernacles are reminiscent of the scene which Zechariah painted in chapters 9 to 14 concerning the coming of the Messiah and the inauguration of the messianic age. Chapter 14 fits within this messianic context and talks specifically of the day of the Lord, after which the feast of Tabernacles is celebrated by all the nations, as well as this concept of “living waters”:
It shall come to pass in that day that there will be no light; the lights will diminish. It shall be one day which is known to the Lord—neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen that it will be light. And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem ... And the Lord shall be King over all the earth ... And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech. 14:6-9, 16 NKJV).
The fulfillment of these prophecies shall come during Tabernacles upon Jesus' second incarnation. He will again offer all the sheep of the surviving nations (gentiles) and his own surviving descendants of Jacob (Israel) to come and drink of the living waters of the Holy Spirit and enter his messianic kingdom in peace and joy. The faithful will follow their shepherd back into his fold “on the high mountains of Israel” and enter into the bond of the new covenant (Lev. 16:29-31; Isa. 63:1-6; Ezek. 20:33-44; 34:1-31; 36:12-37; 37:22-25; Mic. 2:12-13). As prophesied by Zechariah, the kings and queens of the world shall come to Jerusalem to hear the wisdom of the one greater than Solomon upon the throne of David, and so to will people from all the nations humble themselves before the one greater than Jonah (Isa. 2:2-4; Jon. 3:5-10; Luke 11:29-32).
For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. The strangers will be joined with them, and they will cling to the house of Jacob. Then people will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them for servants and maids in the land of the Lord; they will take them captive whose captives they were, and rule over their oppressors. It shall come to pass in the day the Lord gives you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear and the hard bondage in which you were made to serve, that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: “How the oppressor has ceased, the golden city ceased! The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers; he who struck the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he who ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted and no one hinders. The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing (Isa. 14:1-7 NKJV).
Experienced on a universal scale will be the favourable year of the Lord, to the blessing of all in God’s eternal kingdom. The brief release of Satan from the abyss that follows will be discussed in a future article, as well as the purpose of the millennium kingdom, and the reality of the new heaven and earth.
I will end now with a reminder for us to stay faithful and vigilant for this day, whether it comes in our life time or not, coming from V.P. Black, who wrote:
“My friends, I say to you without the least fear of exaggeration that many will never realize they are lost until those books are opened. Many will learn at that time that the most important thing in life was not their friends; it was not their money; it was not their property. The most important thing was the soul, and if we don’t learn it in this world, we will learn it when the books are opened.” Jesus said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26).
So, my reader, how do you expect the fall feasts to transpire? Strictly as allocated by God’s decree to the Jews for yearly celebration, or according to a greater salvific pattern? Time will tell if I am right or if I am wrong.
- This reality is covered in depth in my book Seed of God: Jesus Christ ↩
- Derouchie, Jason S. "The Day of the Lord." The Gospel Coalition, https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/the-day-of-the-lord ↩
- Jerusalem Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 1:3.3 ↩
- Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 16b.12-15 ↩
- Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 16a; Jerusalem Talmud, Bikkurim 2:1.9; Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed Part 3 43:3 ↩
- Jesus reinforced the statement here that the world will be as it was in the days of Noah, when he likened this day to those of Lot in Luke 17:28-30 ↩
- Jamieson, Brown, A. R. Fausset and David Brown. A Commentary: Critical, Experimental, and Practical on the Old and New Testaments. 1882. ↩
- Maimonides, Moses. Mishneh Torah, Sanctification of the New Month. Jerusalem: Moznaim Pub, 2007. Ch. 5:7-8 ↩
- Kitov, Eliyahu. "Why Rosh Hashanah Is Two Days." Chabad, https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/4381/jewish/Why-Rosh-Hashanah-Is-Two-Days.htm ↩
- Safran, Eliyahu. "It’s Always Darkest Just Before the Dawn." Orthodox Union, January 10, 2013. https://www.ou.org/holidays/its-always-darkest-just-before-the-dawn/ ↩
- Galil, No One Knows the Day or the Hour?." Hebroots, https://www.hebroots.org/hebrootsarchive/9807/980715_c.html ↩
- The context here comes from Leviticus 17 and the Day of Atonement Ritual which was replayed in the presentation of Jesus and Barabbas. A full explanation of this appears in the Righteous Atonement chapter of my book, Seed of God: Jesus Christ ↩
- As the Rabbis have stated, Rome became the spiritual possessor of Amalek and as I showed in my book “Seed of Satan: Antichrist,” the final Amalekite and Canaanite king will rule over the reconstituted Roman Empire in its Eastern and Western legs through the ten kings symbolised by the ten toes (Dan. 2:31-35; 2:38-44) ↩
- Rabbi Abba, who was the son of Rabbi Kahana and who lived in the Roman administrative capital of Caesarea, declared that so long as the seed of Amalek exists, it is as if God’s face is concealed, but that when the seed of Amalek will be uprooted from the world, the face of God will be revealed (Jacobs, Steven Leonard. "Rethinking Amalek in This 21st Century." Religions 8, no. 9 (2017): 196. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8090196) ↩
- Also known as the Feast of Booths, Tabernacles is the last of the "Three Pilgrimage Festivals." These were the three feasts which God required all male Jews to observe at the place of His dwelling (Temple), even those living outside Jerusalem had to make the pilgrimage each year (Deut. 16:16). The other two pilgrimage festivals are Unleavened Bread and Pentecost (Exod. 23:14–17; Deut. 16:16-17) ↩
- In the five days between Yom Kippur and Sukkot, tens of thousands of householders and businesses erect sukkot - booths for temporary dwelling, resembling the booths in which the Israelites lived in the desert, after their exodus from Egypt ... All around the country, sukkot line parking lots, balconies, rooftops, lawns, and public spaces (Embassy Of Israel In New Zealand. "Jewish Festivals and Days of Remembrance in Israel." https://embassies.gov.il/wellington/AboutIsrael/Culture/Pages/Jewish-Festivals.aspx) ↩
- John 7:37 sets the teaching of Jesus about “living water” on the “last day, the great day of the feast.” There is disagreement among scholars as to whether the reference to the “last, the great day” is to the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles (which came to be called Hoshana rabba) or to the celebration of the eighth day mentioned in Lev. 23:36 (which came to be called Shimini aseret). The allusion to water would seem to favor a setting on the seventh day. It was on this day that the festival ceremonies included a seven-fold circumambulation of the altar, a culmination of the libations and rituals held each day of the festival. The eighth day appears to be a separate feast from Tabernacles (Lev. 23:36, 34, 42) … Even if the setting of the teaching of Jesus was the eighth day, the teaching could be seen as reflecting back to the water ceremonies of the seventh day (Rogers, Dan. "Imagery of the Feast of Tabernacles in the Gospels, chapter 4." GCI Archive, https://archive.gci.org/articles/imagery-of-the-feast-of-tabernacles-in-the-gospels-chapter-4) ↩
- Gardner, Ryan S. "Jesus Christ and the Feast of Tabernacle." Religious Educator 13, no. 3 (2012): 109–127. https://rsc.byu.edu/vol-13-no-3-2012/jesus-christ-feast-tabernacles ↩
- Webster, Allen. "Three Books on God’s Reading List." House to House Heart to Heart, https://housetohouse.com/three-books-on-gods-reading-list ↩