I think this Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) has been the sweetest I've ever had. I've been keeping this glorious feast for about 17 years now - and many of them have been much bigger and grander - but this year it was a week of small gatherings in small but delightfully festive succahs. The succah, of course, is a tent or booth or small structure where one is to dwell for eight days, remembering how God so lovingly and fully cared for His people in their tents in the wilderness for 40 years. But this is the first year I had a deep longing to understand the 8th Day of Sukkot. It is known in Judaism as Shemini Atzeret (the assembly of the Eighth Day). The number 8 in Hebrew means new beginnings; and the Eighth Day is referred to in Leviticus 23:36: "For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to YHVH. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to YHVH; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work."
Last night, as the sunlight faded and the Eighth day of Sukkot began, we gathered with six others on our back deck. Its lattice walls and roof, decorated with leafy branches, flowers, and candles, became our succah. We had invited more than eight people but I knew it was not a coincidence when there were eight of us total who gathered! I had spent the day pouring over the Scriptures, so desiring to understand this Eighth day and what its prophetic meaning really is. What I found was so thrilling, so glorious, that I knew I must write a blog and share it with you, if you did not already know.
First, one must understand God's 7000 Year Redemptive Plan. He created the heavens and the earth and we first glimpse His perfect, sinless, stunningly beautiful creation in the Garden of Eden. We know that Adam and Eve fell into sin and the six-thousand years of the Olam Hazeh (the current world) is still in progress, representative of the six days that God labored in creation. However, there is coming soon a Day when our Messiah Yeshua will return and every eye on earth shall see Him coming on the clouds in great glory! This will usher in the 7000th year, which perfectly reflects the 7th Day Sabbath, and the Athid Lavo, or Messianic Age, the incomparably glorious 1000 year Reign of Messiah Yeshua on this earth. It is the age of restoring the earth back to its original perfection, as the prophet Isaiah describes:
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into a viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isa. 11:6-9)
Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in My people. The sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of My people; My chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD; they and their descendants with them. (Isa. 65:17-23)
Sounds awesome, doesn't it? Yeshua will reign from Jerusalem over all the earth in those thousand years and He will dwell (tabernacle) among us! But what happens after that? That would be the dawning of the 8000th year as represented by the 8th day of God's plan, right? And 8 in Hebrew means new beginnings, right? So what happens then?
As I read the many scriptures (most of them at the very back of the book), which describe this Eighth Day, my heart exploded! TODAY, October 10, 2020, is the 8th Day of Sukkot - and so on some day far into the future, when this Eighth Day fully arrives, and the Lord's 1000-year reign comes to a close, THIS happens:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer there. 2 Also I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “See! God’s Sh’khinah is with mankind, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and he himself, God-with-them, will be their God.4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will no longer be any death; and there will no longer be any mourning, crying or pain; because the old order has passed away.”
5 Then the One sitting on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new!” Also he said, “Write, ‘These words are true and trustworthy!’” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’ the Beginning and the End. To anyone who is thirsty I myself will give water free of charge from the Fountain of Life. 7 He who wins the victory will receive these things, and I will be his God, and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:1-7)
This Eighth Day truly does foreshadow the Olam Haba, the Age of Eternity. Everything is completely restored back to the perfection of the Garden of Eden, and God Himself tabernacles among us! Finally, there is no more death, no more sin, and Satan and all his demonic forces have been vanquished forever!
I sit here breathless, trying to imagine what the future fulfillment of this day means. Amidst all the chaos, all the violence, all the wickedness of this present world, I am suddenly re-focused on the One we read about in John 7:37: On the last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles [the eighth day], Yeshua stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."
He is the same One spoken of above, in the New Jerusalem, once again crying out, "To anyone who is thirsty I Myself will give water free of charge from the Fountain of Life! He who wins the victory will receive these things and I will be his God..."
The Eighth Day is the restoration of all things; it is the fullness of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, who is the "stream of living water"; it is the Final Day of God's entire Plan of Redemption and the Beginning of Life with Him that never ends! I want to endure and overcome all the obstacles and challenges yet before us and win the victory. My heart is exploding and my face is set like flint...on the new Jerusalem!
Kelly Ferrari Mills