In ancient Israel, Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles was a week-long fall festival commemorating the 40-year journey of the Israelites in the wilderness. It is one of the three pilgrimage feasts recorded in the Bible when all Israelite males were required to appear before YHWH in the Temple in Jerusalem. The first Biblical reference to the Feast of Tabernacles is found in Exodus 23:14-16, where it is named as the “feast of ingathering”. This terminology is based on the agrarian based culture of the early Israelites. “Ingathering” is a term meaning the gathering in of crops (Strong’s H614) occurring at the end of the growing season.
The Feast of Tabernacles takes place on the Biblical calendar on the 15th day of the 7th month called Ethanim or Tishri on the Babylonian calendar, which typically coincides with September or October on the Gregorian calendar (depending on the year). Originally, the joyous festival was a time of celebration as the Israelites gave thanks for the current year’s harvest as well as their deliverance from the 40 years in the wilderness after the Exodus. This festive celebration is a reminder of YHWH’s protection, provision, and faithfulness.
Agriculturally, the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot in ancient Israel shares the characteristics of a thanksgiving celebration. The 7 day festival celebrates the ingathering harvest of fruit, grapes and grain in an environment of peace, joy and security. YHWH is given reverence and acknowledged as the provider of all blessing. As an historical feast, the primary characteristic is the requirement to dwell in temporary shelters or booths. These temporary dwellings memorialized YHWH’s protection, provision and care during their 40 years in the wilderness.
The word Sukkot means booths. The booth constructed on Sukkot is called a sukkah. The original shelters consist of at least three walls and a makeshift roof, typically wood framed with woven tree branch for the sides and top. The Sukkot was commonly used to protect livestock (Gen 33:17) and to provide shelter for the military (2 Sam 11:11). This is your basic “tent” or “pole barn” in today’s vernacular.
Sukkot dates back to around 1400 BCE prior to the Israelites entering into the Promised Land. A sukkah was used as a shelter during the time when the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years (Lev 23:42-43). As they moved from one camp to another they built tents or booths, called sukkot, which provided temporary shelter in the desert. One of these dwellings was called a sukkah while two or more were called sukkot (plural). Early sukkah were also constructed near the edges of the fields during the harvest season.
This festival has a rich Biblical history with accounts highlighting Solomon’s dedication of the first temple (1 Kg 8:2, 2 Chron 7:8-10), Nehemiah’s reform after the Babylonian captivity (Neh 8:16-18) and Yahushua’s remarkable proclamations during the Feast of Tabernacles in 29 CE (Jo 7 & 8).
The Feast of Tabernacles, as do the other Holy Days, points directly to Yahushua Messiah. The agrarian theme of the Feast of Tabernacles is focused on the completion of the year’s predominant fall harvest.
The spiritual significance of The Feast of Tabernacles is derived from the main harvest of the year’s agricultural cycle as a metaphor representing:
- A joyous time – the world is at peace
- The end of the growing season – man’s 6000 year experiment in self-government is over
- The crops are harvested – the ingathering (gathering in) of those that have been saved by the onetime blood sacrifice of Yahushua Messiah are harvested (resurrected to eternal life)
- The 1000 year millennial reign of Yahushua will begin on the Earth
This festive 7 day period pictures a time of universal happiness and abundance when the entire world will exist in peace. During this timeframe, Yahushua’s ruling monarchy will be the only governmental authority on the Earth. This will truly be a new world order made directly by the hand of YHWH.
This feast pictures the restoration of the Earth for a 1,000 year period, following 6,000 years of Satan and manmade chaos.
- Creation to Abraham – 2000 years
- Creation to the flood – 1600 years
- Flood to Abraham – 400 years
- Abraham to Yahushua Messiah – 2000 years
- Messiah to the Millennium – 2000 years
After Yahushua’s return, the Earth and its inhabitants will be brought into harmony with YHWH’s Spirit, and peace will no longer be an exception. Real peace, prosperity and abundance will prevail. Even the nature of wild animals will be changed (Isa 11:6-8).
The Feast of Tabernacles not only celebrates the physical agricultural harvest, but the more relevant great spiritual harvest of humanity when all people who are alive on earth (during and after Yahushua’s return) will have access to and learn the true way of YHWH. Humanity will be restored to a right relationship with YHWH (Isa 11:9-10).
- The ingathering harvest – gathering in physically and spiritually
- Yahushua’s 1000 year reign – The Millennium
- Restoration of the Earth
- Universal peace and prosperity
- Ex 23:14-17 & Ex 34:21-22 – feast of ingathering (verses feast of first fruits in Spring at Pentecost)
- Lev 23:1-4, 33-43 – gather fruit of the land, that your generations may remember
- Num 29:12-40– the FOT and LGD offerings, all replaced by Yahushua’s blood.
- Deut 14:23-26 – enjoy your increase
- Deut 16:13-15 – parallel instructions
The first major Feast of Tabernacles Bible event was the dedication of the first temple by Solomon. After a 7 year major construction project, the awe inspiring Temple of YHWH was complete.
- 1st Temple (1 Kg 8:1-2)
- 180K labors (80K stone masons, 70K transporters from Lebanon), 3K supervisors,
- 7 years to complete
- >100K talents of gold, >1M talents of silver (1 Chron 29, 1 Kg 10:27 – silver as common as stone)
- Holy of Holies alone overlaid with 600 talents=22.5 tons – 2 Chron 3:8
- $135+B total project
- Peace offering sacrifice included 22K oxen & 120K sheep – 1Kg 8:63, 2 Chron 7:5
- Queen of Sheba was overwhelmed with the magnificence (1 Kg 10:1-23)
- Dedication of Temple on Sukkot circa 965 BCE – 2 Chron 5:3, 2 Chron 7:9-15
- Detailed accounts of dedication, Solomon’s prayer – 1 Kg 8 & 9, 2 Chron 6 & 7
- YHWH accepts the peace offering – 2 Chron 7:1
That all the people of the earth may know that YHWH is YHWH, and that there is none else. Let your heart therefore be perfect with YHWH our Eloah, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day. And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before YHWH. And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto YHWH, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of YHWH. The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of YHWH: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that was before YHWH was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings. And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before YHWH our Eloah, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days. On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that YHWH had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.
(1Ki 8:60-66 KJV)
Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt. And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that YHWH had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people. (2Ch 7:8-10 KJV)
The first Temple and Jerusalem were totally destroyed in 587 BCE by Nebuchadnezzar’s army and the remaining residents in Judah were exiled into captivity in Babylon. After the decree of Cyrus in 539 BCE, the exiled northern and southern tribes of Israel were freed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:1-4). Soon after their return, and well before the completion of the second Temple, the returning Israelites set up an alter and re-established the Feast of Tabernacles as it was written in the Torah.
- Ezra 3:2-4 – holy day assembly following Babylonian captivity on Sukkot
And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto YHWH, even burnt offerings morning and evening. They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required (Ezra 3:3-4 KJV)
The historical record shows that the progress of the Temple was seriously thwarted by the harassment of the local residents (non-Israelites). Before the work on the Temple could progress, the city walls of Jerusalem needed to be first rebuilt, in order to provide a protected workspace for the construction activity on the Temple Mount. In 446 BCE the city walls were completed and a Feast of Tabernacles event is described by Nehemiah the Governor.
- Neh. 8:1-18, vs 14 – FOT, enjoy choice food, rejoice
So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of YHWH, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of YHWH. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner. (Neh 8:16-18 KJV)
The account of this time period in the Book of Nehemiah indicates he was the trusted cupbearer for the world ruling King Artaxerxes I, of Persian. Artaxerxes’ primary palace was located in Susa Persia, some 1000 miles away from Jerusalem. Nehemiah, now a senior citizen, was granted a leave of absence from his cup bearer responsibilities by Persian King Artaxerxes I and returned to Jerusalem to oversee the completion of the second Temple. After years of setback and challenging political obstacles, the second Temple, although modest by comparison to the first, was ultimately completed.
- Deut 16:13-15, Ezra 3:4 – FOT commanded to Israelites, rejoice in your work
- Isa 11 and 12 – in that day, worldwide peace and one government
- Isa 40:9-11, Ez 37:21-28 – promises of YHWH, peace in the land
- Col 3:24 – the reward of the inheritance
- Isa 60:1-22, 62:1-12 – Israel restored, Yahushua is in charge
- Hos 14:4-7, Amos 9:11-15 – restoration, a time of abundance and blessings
- Mic 4:1-7 – the coming of the Messiah, His government, His Kingdom and laws
- Zech 14:2-17 – in that day, the nations will celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles
Yahushua and The Feast of Tabernacles
By the time Yahushua walked in Jerusalem, the Temple priests had developed numerous traditions. According to the Mishnah, two notable ritual ceremonies were performed during the Feast of Tabernacles. The Jews carried torches around Jerusalem and the temple, providing a lighting parade to demonstrate that the Messiah would come and be a light to all humanity (Mishnah – Succah 5, see links below). Also, the priest would draw water outside the Temple, from the pool of Siloam, and carry it to the temple where it was poured into a silver basin near
the altar. The priest would call upon YHWH to provide heavenly water, looking forward to a time of salvation and the pouring out of YHWH’s Spirit on the people. The water, symbolizing the Holy Spirit poured out upon men. Even though this ritual was introduced solely by tradition, the outpouring aspect of YHWH’s Spirit was regarded as one of the Feast’s most significant ceremonies. 
Yahushua attended the Feast of Tabernacles in 29 CE, just 6 months prior to His crucifixion in 30 CE at Passover. The account in John 7:14 tells us the He came in the middle of the Feast. This would have been just after the transfiguration account in Matt 17:1-8 (and Mark 9:1-8, Luke 9:28-36) which happened 2 weeks previous on or near the Feast of Trumpets (see The Transfiguration ).
During the Feast, Yahushua witnessed His credential as Messiah and encountered the rebellious Pharisees and other skeptical Jews. After the 7 day Feast of Tabernacles, at the beginning of the 8th day (called the last day that great day of the feast – John 7:37), Yahushua made 2 declarations and performed a miracle to confirm His Messianic credentials. This is covered in the section titled 8th Day of FOT (aka Last Great Day).
- Isa 12:3-4 – Customary singing, in that day (millennium), water from the wells of salvation.
- Acts 18:21 – Paul keeps the FOT
Solomon’s Temple was destroyed and razed to the ground by Nebuchadnezzar’s army in 587 BCE. The modest (by comparison – Haggai 2:2-3) second temple was reconstructed and completed under the leadership of Zerubbabel in 516 BCE. (Ezra 5:2, Ezra 6:15-16). Following the conquest of the Persians by Alexander the Great in 334 BCE, the Promised Land and Jerusalem became a vassal state under the Macedonian ruler ship. After Alexander’s death (323 BCE), his empire was divided to his four generals. After years of intrigue and political maneuvering by Alexander’s successors (Dan 11:3-20), Antiochus Epiphanes IV appears on the scene and desecrated the temple during the days of the Maccabee’s Hasmonean dynasty in 167 BCE. The rebel Maccabee insurgency eventually prevailed and the temple was once again the sanctuary of YHWH administered by the Jewish priests.
When Rome became the dominant world power starting with Emperor Augustus in 44 BCE, Herod the Great, an Idumean Edomite, was named (vassal) King of Judea by the Roman authority. Herod is credited with the renovation of the original second temple into the remarkable edifice known as Herod’s Temple. This engineering marvel was the largest project ever envisioned in the 1st century CE, with some foundation stones weighing up to 500 tons. The temple renovation project started in 19 BCE and continued beyond Yahushua’s crucifixion in 30 CE. We find reference to Herod’s temple project in John 2:18-21:
What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Yahushua answered and said unto them, destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. (John 2:18-21 KJV)
The scriptures are clear on the location of the Temple today. It is not a GPS coordinate, it is a virtual location. The first and second temple’s provided a dwelling place for YHWH as well as the administrative center for the Levitical sacrificial system. After Yahushua’s crucifixion in 30 CE, a new covenant was established that replaced the reconciliation process of animal sacrifice requiring a physical temple building.
Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all….Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of YHWH. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience…But Messiah being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; (Heb 9:1-11 KJV)
After Yahushua’s onetime sacrifice in 30 CE, there was no longer a need for a temple. In 70 CE, the second temple was destroyed and has never been rebuilt. It is conjectured by some that the temple must be rebuilt (albeit in a smaller edifice) before the second coming of Messiah. There is however, no reason that this is a requirement for Yahushua’s return. The temple in our heart can be just as easily desecrated with apostasy or blasphemy in the same way as a physical temple building.
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Yahushua Messiah once for all. (Heb 10:10 KJV)
Yahushua now dwells in us. We are the temple of YHWH. As the physical temple was sanctified in the first covenant with ceremonial and ritual process, our hearts and minds are to be sanctified with Yahushua’s blood as pure with YHWH’s spirit dwelling in us.
Know ye not that ye are the temple of YHWH, and that the Spirit of YHWH dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of YHWH, him shall YHWH destroy; for the temple of YHWH is holy, which temple ye are. (1Co 3:16-17 KJV)
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of YHWH, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify YHWH in your body, and in your spirit, which are YHWH’s. (1Co 6:19-20 KJV)
And what agreement hath the temple of YHWH with idols? for ye are the temple of the living Eloah; as YHWH hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their Eloah, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith YHWH, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith YHWH Almighty. (2Co 6:16-18 KJV)
And I saw no temple therein: for YHWH and the Lamb are the temple of it. (Rev 21:22 KJV)
- Isa 2:1-4 – the mountain of YHWH, teach us His ways, the end of war
- Isa 11:1-12 – nature of animals changed
- Isa 35:5-8 – streams in deserts
- Isa 61:1-11 – Priests of YHWH, righteousness and praise before all nations
- Jer 31:29-34 – sour grapes, new covenant, all will know YHWH
- Acts 3:19-21 – reconstitution of all things, spoken by the prophets, see Prophecies above
- Rev 20:4-6 – first resurrection, 1000 years
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (Ps 37:11 KJV)
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matt 5:5 KJV)
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to YHWH by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our Eloah kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Rev 5:9-10 KJV)
This Holy Day solemn assembly follows the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles (as the eighth day). The 8th day of the Feast of Tabernacles (AKA Last Great Day) pictures the completion of YHWH’s plan of salvation when a glorious new heaven and new Earth replace the physical universe as we know it.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from YHWH out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of YHWH is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and YHWH himself shall be with them, and be their Eloah. And YHWH shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Rev 21:1-5 KJV)
- Physical universe is replaced
- No more sea
- New Jerusalem appears
- YHWH dwells with immortal mankind
- All tears are removed
- Death is obsolete
- All sorrow, crying and pain removed
- Everything is made new
The instructions provided in the Torah for the Feast of Tabernacles show us that the 8th day is a holy day or special Sabbath (Lev 23:36 & 39). The Israelites were told to live in “booths” for 7 days and to rejoice. In contrast to all other Holy Days, the instructions for the 8th day provide no specific guidance for the day, only that it is a “solemn assembly”.
Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto YHWH: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto YHWH: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. (Lev 23:36 KJV)
By comparison, during the 7 day period of the Feast of Tabernacles, we are instructed to live in booths, to rejoice and to eat and/or drink whatever our heart desires (Deut 14:26). It is noticeable that living in booths, rejoicing and festive dining are specifically excluded from the 8th day observance. The 8th day is a solemn assembly, that’s it.
Solemn assembly = H6116 – ats-aw-raw’ = From H6113; an assembly, especially on a festival or holiday: – (solemn) assembly (meeting)
H6113 = aw-tsar’ = to inclose, to hold back, close up, detain, fast, keep still, refrain, reign, restrain, retain, withhold self
Of interest, the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the spring has a similar instruction for the 7th day.
Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to YHWH thy Eloah: thou shalt do no work therein. (Deut 16:8 KJV)
The last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, like the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread are both “solemn assemblies”.
In the Old Testament scriptures, the 8th day of the Feast of Tabernacles is referenced during the dedication of the first temple (2 Chron 7:9) and at the completion of Jerusalem’s city walls after the Babylonian exile (Neh 8:18). In the New Testament, an additional reference is found regarding the 8th day of the Feast of Tabernacles. In the gospel of John chapters 7 – 9, Yahushua provides us with significant insights into the meaning and purpose of the 8th day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
In the last day, that great dayG3173 of the feast, Yahushua stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (John 7:37 KJV)
G3173 = meg’-as = big, great, high, large
The Greek word G3173 (megas) is also found in John 19:31 and is translated as “high day”, meaning an annual Sabbath day.
The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high dayG3173) (John 19:31 KJV)
The reference in John 19:31 make it clear that the “great day” in John 7:37 is pointing directly at the 8th day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It should be noted that some commentaries associate the “great day” as the 7th day of the Feast of Tabernacles, however the evidence found in John 19:31 does not reconcile with this theory.
You will also find some who associate the 8th day of the Feast with the “last day that great day” (John 7:37 KJV) and the “great white throne (judgment)” found in Revelation 20:11. Although these scriptures share the same Greek word for “Great”, there does not appear to be any other scriptural similarity between these two verses. The Greek word used in these verses is “Megas” (G3173) and is found in 195 scriptures in the New Testament with a variety usage. IE. great joy, great king, great commandment, great storm, great building, etc.
By the time of Yahushua the temple administration had developed numerous rituals handed down through the “oral law”. The Mishnah provides a testimony of these ceremonial rituals including the main events during the Feast of Tabernacles. The two main events described in the Mishnah during the Feast of Tabernacles include the “Water-Libation” ceremony and the “Menorah Light” display, both pointing forward to the Messiah.
What was the manner of the Water-libation? They used to fill a golden flagon holding three logs with water drawn from Siloam. When they reached the Water Gate they blew on the shofar a tekiah – teruah – tekiah. On the right of the Altar ramp were two silver bowls. They each had a hole like a narrow snout, one wide, the other narrow.
(Mishnah Sukkah 4:9)
He that never has seen the joy of the Water Drawing has never in his life seen joy. (Mishnah Sukkah 5:1)
The ritual themes significantly influenced the second temple celebration of the FOT and serve as the historical background when Yahushua arrived midway through the Feast in 29 CE.
Now about the midst of the feast Yahushua went up into the temple, and taught. (John 7:14 KJV)
The “Water Drawing – Libation” ceremony was a daily early morning event during the first seven days of the Feast. The priests would parade to the pool of Siloam and draw an offering equivalent to 1 quart of water in a golden flagon. The assembly of priests would then proceed back to the Temple through the Water Gate and make a water libation offering into a bowl located at the altar which flowed through a pipe down to the Kidron Valley and eventually into the Dead Sea. The temple priests pictured this ceremony as bringing new life, healing and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
(Isa 12:3 KJV)
The Water Drawing – Libation ceremony started at daybreak during the 7 days of the Feast after the previous evenings joyful festivities. At the end of the procession from the pool of Siloam, the priests would act out an unusual ritual. We find the account in the Mishnah:
Our fathers when they were in this place turned there backs towards the Temple of YHWH and their faces toward the east, and they worshipped the sun toward the east; but as for us, our eyes are turned toward YHWH. (Mishnah Sukkah 5:4)
The account being referenced can be found in Ezekiel 8:16. Ezekiel was taken into captivity in Nebuchadnezzar’s second siege of Jerusalem in 597 BCE. Prior to the third siege along with complete destruction of Jerusalem and the razing of the Temple in 587 BCE, the Temple priests practices had degenerated into idolatry, including the worship of the Sun God Tammuz (Ez 8:1-18). Ezekiel, exiled in Babylonian captivity was being shown this vision of the priests facing east as the sun rises. This is the event the Mishnah, Sukkah 5:4 is referencing.
During the time of Yahushua a second ceremony was performed during the Feast of Tabernacles. From the description below it is not clear how many menorah were set up in the court yard of the Temple. It is however, thought the Mishnah is referring to four menorah, each with a golden bowl container for the candlestick fuel.
At the close of the first festival day they went down to the Court of the women, and made great preparations there. There were golden candlesticks there with four golden bowls on the top of them. The candlesticks were fifty cubits high. Four ladders led up to each candlestick, and four youths from the priestly stock went up holding in their hands jars of oil, of twenty four logs capacity, which they poured into the bowls. They made wicks out of worn out garments of the priests, and with them they set the candlesticks alight, and there was not a courtyard in Jerusalem that did not reflect the light of the “beit hashoevah”. (Mishnah Sukkah 5:2-3) 
As a side note, the candlesticks were 50 cubits high, the equivalent of about 75 feet. This would be a towering menorah even by today’s standards. It is unlikely this monolithic tower would exceed the height of “Herod’s” Temple and it turns out even at 75 feet the Temple was a taller edifice.
|Origin||Tabernacle ||Porch ||Reference|
|L x W x H||L x W x H|
|Solomon’s Temple||60x20x30||20x20x120||1Kg 6:2, 2 Chron 3:4|
|Ezra/Zerubbabel Temple||60×60 Height & Width||Included in Tabernacle||Ezra 6:3|
|Herod’s Temple||100x100x100 ???||Mishnah Middoth 4:6|
Pious men and men of good deeds used to dance before them (menorah) with burning torches in their hands and sang before them songs and praises. And the Levites on harps, and on lyres with cymbals and with trumpets and with other instruments of music without number upon steps leading down from the court of the Israelites to the Women’s court, corresponding to the Fifteen Songs of Ascent in psalms (Ps 120-134); upon them the Levites used to stand with musical instruments and sing hymns. (Mishnah Sukkah 5:4)
The background found in the Mishnah provides useful historical evidence of the activities associated with the Feast of Tabernacles in 29 CE when Yahushua attended the Feast. With the historical background provided by the Mishnah, we will now examine the events described in John 7, 8 and 9.
As previously discussed, John 7:37 is referring to the 8th day of the Feast of Tabernacles (not the 7th day). Notice in John 7:38, Yahushua’s reference to “living water”.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Yahushua was not yet glorified.)
(John 7:38-39 KJV)
This event is likely taking place in the evening, after the 7th day of the Feast of Tabernacles. This would be the start of the 8th day. We know the festivities of the Feast lasted long into the night. You will notice that this section of scripture (John 7:37-53) takes place as a single event ending in John 7:53 when everyone went home.
And every man went unto his own house. (John 7:53 KJV)
Some commentaries challenge the accuracy and timing of John 7:53 through John 8:11. However, when read with the understanding that John 7:53 was the evening portion (and beginning) of the 8th day (Holy Day), and John 8:1-12 is the day light portion of the 8th day, this argument becomes less relevant.
The transformation of the Water and Light ceremonies by Yahushua both took place on the 8th day of the Feast.
The Water – Libation ceremony took place during the 7 days of the Feast and was not performed on the 8th day. Yahushua is using this ritual as an allegory to announce the soon coming availability of YHWH’s spirit. It is noteworthy that this announcement comes after the end of the 7 day Feast of Tabernacles, at the beginning of the 8th day (evening) when no more Water – Libation ceremonies would be taking place.
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Yahushua stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Yahushua was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39 KJV)
While the massive Menorah’s in the Temple court yard were considered the light source for the Temple and Jerusalem during the 7 Feast days, the same light sources would now be extinguished (on the 8th day). Yahushua capitalizes on this event and proclaims a bold statement.
Then spake Yahushua again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12 KJV)
Yahushua proclaims Himself to be the ‘light of the world”. Imagine the astonishment of the Feast attendees, especially the Temple Priests. The huge Menorahs are extinguished and Yahushua proclaims Himself as the Messiah, which is precisely what the ritual ceremonies picture. The only problem was the Pharisees and Sadducees did not accept the One who fulfilled the anticipated promise that they (the Pharisees) looked forward to. Their prayers had been answered, however not as foreseen.
The fulfillment of Yahushua’s proclamations of water and light are anticipated in Zechariah, John and Revelation. When Yahushua returns, living water will flow from Jerusalem and there will be no more darkness.
But it shall be one day which shall be known to YHWH, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And YHWH shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one YHWH, and his name one. (Zech 14:7-9 KJV)
In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from YHWH, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
(John 1:4-9 KJV)
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of YHWH did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
(Rev 21:23-24 KJV)
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of YHWH and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of YHWH and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for YHWH Eloah giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Rev 22:1-5 KJV)
The reference to “living waters” is also mentioned in Ezekiel 47:1-12. This prophesy looks forward to the future millennium after the return of Yahushua Messiah to the Earth (Rev 5:10).
YHWH’s spirit will be ubiquitous and death will finally be conquered. The “living waters” of life will fill the Earth. The new Heaven and new Earth look forward to the time when all things will be made new.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from YHWH out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of YHWH is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and YHWH himself shall be with them, and be their Eloah. And YHWH shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Rev 21:1-5)
The 8th Day of the Feast of Tabernacles is the only Holy Day that has no description associated with its observance, other than:
- It is a Holy Convocation
- It is a Solemn Assembly
- You shall do no servile work (see Lev 23:36)
What is unique about this Holy Day is that it is specifically noted as a “Solemn Assembly”, Strong’s reference H6116.
H6116 = ătsereth = From H6113; an assembly, especially on a festival, solemn assembly
H6113 = ‛âtsar = to inclose, hold back, assemble, close up, detain, fast, refrain, restrain
The only other Holy Day that provides the instruction for a “Solemn Assembly” is the 7th day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread” (Deut 16:8). No other Holy Day carries this specific instruction. It would seem these two Holy Days have a unique characteristic as “Solemn Assemblies”.
A reference into the significance of a Solemn Assembly is found in Joel.
Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of YHWH your Eloah, and cry unto YHWH (Joel 1:14 KJV)
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly
(Joel 2:15 KJV)
In both scriptures, a Solemn Assembly is associated with the humility, reservation and sobriety of a fast day. In other words, this is a special day. The last day of the spring holy days and the last day of the fall holy days possess distinctive characteristics. As a solemn assembly, these Holy Days take on the characteristics of restraint, suppression and reflection.
1. New Heaven and New Earth established, new world order
2. YHWH’s throne comes to Earth
3. YHWH’s family lives for eternity
- Lev 23:36-38, Nu 29:35 – 8th day of FOT
- John 7:37-38 – The 8th day of FOT transformed by Yahushua in NT, streams of living water, all who thirst, Holy Spirit provided to all
- Jo 11:9-10 – walk in the light
- 1Tim 2:4 – all men will come to the knowledge of the truth
- Isa 60:18-22 – sun and moon are no longer needed
- Isa 65:16-25 – new heavens and new earth
- Isa 66:22-23 – all worship YHWH
- 1 Co 15:23-28 – death is destroyed
- 2 Pet 3:9-18 – purged with fire
- Gen 2:9-10, Rev 2:7 – eat of the tree of life, return to the beginning
- Rev 21 – no more sorrow, new heavens and new earth, 1500 miles square, 1500 miles tall, cube or pyramid. 1 Furlong=660ft x 12,000/5280 = 1500 miles
- Rev 22:1-21 – YHWH’s throne and Yahushua, pure river of water of life, tree of life
- Tree of life – Rev 22:2 & 14
- Tree of life – Gen 2:9, Gen 3:17
- Pure river of water – Rev 22:1
- River out of Eden – Gen 2:10
|Holy Day||Old Covenant (Shadow)||New Covenant (Substance)|
|Blowing of Trumpets||Memorial of Trumpets
||A series of plagues announce the coming Day of YHWH. The second coming of Yahushua. The first resurrection.|
|Day of Atonement||Annual atonement and removal of sin from Israel
||The temple curtain torn in two from top to bottom (Mark 15:37-38).
|Feast of Tabernacles||The wilderness travels, with the presence of YHWH in the camp
||The harvest is brought in. Yahushua reigns over the Earth.
|8th Day (of the Feast of Tabernacles)||Included with FOT||New Heaven, new earth.
- Ps 16:11 – an eternity of delight
- Dan 2:44 – a kingdom that stands forever
- Lk 1:31-33 – no end, ever expanding
- 1 Co 2:9 – surprise!
- Market price of gold calculated @ $1.3k/oz, silver @ $20/oz ↑
- http://www.templemount.org/TMTRS.html ↑
- 100K talents gold x 75 lb/talent = 7.5M lbs x 12 troy oz/lb = 90M troy oz x $1.3K = $117,000,000,000 ↑
- Central Syria today ↑
- Controversial – a tributary of the Nile or Suez Canal ↑
- http://www.goodnewsaboutgod.com/studies/spiritual/home_study/feast_of_tabernacles.htm ↑
- http://www.etz-hayim.com/festivals/succot.php ↑
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simchat_Beit_HaShoeivah ↑
- Measured in cubits – multiple x 1.5 for equivalent feet ↑
- Measured in cubits – multiple x 1.5 for equivalent feet ↑