The Feasts of the Seventh Month
by Daniel Yahav
The season of the fall Feasts, is a very special season, and already in the Bible, the Feast of Tabernacles was called "THE feast". When it says they went up to Jerusalem for THE feast, it always means the Feast of Tabernacles. All the 'appointed times' of God, or Biblical Feasts, are an important prophetic sign for us in these days. Each of them has a prophetic fulfillment in the history of mankind. The Spring Feasts are: Passover, which signifies the death our Lord Yeshua; the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which signifies His resurrection, and Pentecost, signifying the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the first harvest of believers. All of these Spring Feasts have already been fulfilled. The four Fall Feasts, however, are yet to be fulfilled. They are a reminder to us of what is to come and that we should be ready at all times to meet our Lord."For of that day and hour no one knows..." (Matt 24: 36). We will now focus on these Fall Feasts.
1) The Feast of the Remembrance of Blowing the Trumpets.
"In the seventh month on the first of the month, you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation." (Lev 23:24) . This is to remind us of the rapture, when the Lord will appear at the blast of the trumpet "... the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall 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). "For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed" (1 Cor 15:52b).
We see all around us the signs of the times. Signs of which Yeshua spoke in Matthew chapter 24. "When you see all these things, recognise that He is near, right at the door" (Matt 24:33)
"Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming" (Matt 24:42)
Now is the time to make sure that our relationships are in good order: firstly with God Himself, that we are walking before Him in obedience to His word, in the fear of the Lord, with no hidden & unconfessed sin, and secondly with others, forgiving and asking forgiveness where needed. We must be on the alert, watching and praying, and not allowing busy lives to distract us from spending time in God's Word and in His presence. Yeshua, the Bridegroom, is seeking a pure and spotless bride, may we each be diligent to be found ready, with clean hearts and our lamps full at His sudden coming.
2) Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement
"On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall torment your souls..." (Lev 23:27). The word 'torment' is used three times in this context. It has to do with great suffering, deep repentance and remorse for sins committed.
The Holy of Holies was accessible only on one day of the year, by only one person - the high priest - and only after obeying very particular instructions. This priestly duty was taken very seriously, because our God is a Holy and a consuming fire. Aaron's sons did not fear the Lord and offered strange fire which He had not commanded, and they themselves were consumed with fire. The fire here represents the Holy Spirit. Just as fire and incense go together, so also the Holy Spirit and prayer are connected. See Revelation 5:8, Romans 8:26. Offering incense with a strange fire was like ministering unto the Lord with another spirit. We must worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, not allowing the flesh or even other spirits to enter into our worship, for our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. In the book of Acts, Ananias and Sapphira were struck down by God for lying to the Holy Spirit. We would do well to take Him seriously. The high priest had to put incense on his fire pan first and allow the cloud to cover the mercy seat before he entered with the blood of the sacrifice, lest he die in God's presence (Lev 16:13). While the English translation reads that he had to sprinkle the blood on the east side of the mercy seat, the Hebrew original text says that he had to sprinkle the blood on the mercy seateastward, and then also along the front of the mercy seat. "Moreover, he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side, (eastward= direction east); also in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times" (Lev 16:14). This sprinkling eastward and then in the front, would form the shape of a cross made of the blood of the sacrifice, thus revealing a picture of the plan of salvation, Yeshua's atonement for our sins, which has given us access to the Most Holy Place - the presence of Almighty God Himself.
Inside the Mercy Seat were the tablets of the Law, testifying against the people who had broken the commandments during the previous year. But when God looked down, He would see the blood between Himself and the high priest -representing the people- and He would forgive their sins and cover them, looking forward to the sacrifice of Yeshua, the true Lamb of God. All of this took place unseen, while the people were waiting outside, repenting and tormenting themselves in the hope that God would indeed have mercy and forgive their sins. But we are blessed to know the assurance of His mercy every day - not just once a year. For when God looks into our hearts, if we truly repent, turn from our sinful ways and receive in faith the atonement of Yeshua's death on the cross, his blood washes away our sins, and the risen Lord Himself stands as the High Priest between us and the Almighty God. We then can have access to the Throne of Grace - or the Mercy Seat - each day.
Prophetic Meaning .
The prophetic words of the Bible tell us that there is coming to Israel a time of great torment, through which God's people will repent, thus fulfilling the picture of the Day of Atonement. This time could be coming very soon. Jeremiah chapter 30 speaks of a time when Israel and Judah will come back to the Land and possess it. These are the days we are living in right now! It goes on to say "I have heard a sound of terror, of dread and there is no peace... Alas! For that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob's distress" (Jer 30:5-7). The prophet Zechariah also declared this word from the Lord: "And it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it" (Zech 12:3). "For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle" (Zech 14:2). The UN is already against Israel and does not recognise Jerusalem as its capital. The nations are gathering against her and there will come a time of terrible suffering and cleansing by fire in the midst of a great war. But God says: "I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion" (Zech 1:14)
"And it will come about in that day that I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem". ( Zech 12:9) God will judge the nations by how they have treated His people and His land: "Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations and divided up My land" (Joel 3:2).
This will be the prophetic fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, when God will pour out a spirit of repentance upon His people and they will recognise Yeshua as their own Messiah, their own flesh and blood, and will weep and mourn that they once shouted "crucify him". They will torment their souls as it is written in Leviticus. "And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him with bitter weeping over a first-born" (Zech 12:10) . Then the Holy Spirit will come down upon Israel to cleanse, forgive and renew; to remove the heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh and to write His law on their hearts. "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" ( Ezk 36:26-28). "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I shall write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (Jer 31:33). At this point in time, when Israel's spiritual eyes will be opened to see their Messiah Yeshua, they will then call upon Him and He will return, fulfilling what Yeshua said in Matthew 23:39 that Israel will not see Him again till we call upon Him. His return will open the way for the fulfilling of the next feast, the Feast of Tabernacles.
The Feast of Tabernacles
"Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the Lord. On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no work laborious work of any kind. For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the Lord: it is a solemn assembly. You shall do no laborious work.' (Lev 23:34-36)
After the great tribulation which will come upon the people of Israel, and will lead us as a nation into repentance, recognizing our Messiah and calling upon our God to deliver us - thus fulfilling the prophetic meaning of the Day of Atonement - the Holy Spirit will be poured upon Israel to cleanse, forgive and renew; to remove the heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh; and to write God's law upon our hearts. "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" ( Ezk 36:26-28). "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I shall write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (Jer. 31:33). After much suffering, and the refining of those who remain, there will come a time which is symbolised by the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles. Just as the Succa (Booth) which we build and sit in during this feast, reminds us of God's love, protection, supernatural provision and covering for His people in the wilderness, (when God provided us with water to drink, food to eat, clothes and shoes which did not wear out, and a huge amount of branches to build booths for covering for the whole nation), so there will come a time when His love, provision and covering for all those who put their trust in Him, will be fully expressed through the millennial reign of Yeshua on earth, as He will restore the fallen tabernacle of David. (Amos 9:11-15). This will come to pass as Israel, the chosen nation of God, will finally recognise our need of Him, and call upon God saying: "Baruch Haba Be'shem Adonai" - Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (Matt. 23:39). Yeshua will return to the Mount of Olives just as He was taken up from there 2000 years ago, and establish His kingdom, reigning from Jerusalem, and all nations will come up to Jerusalem to celebrate year by year the Feast of Tabernacles (Acts1:11, Zec.14:3-5,16, Isaiah 2:1-4, Rev. 20:6). He will be present with us and will rule the whole earth with justice, righteousness and peace for a thousand years. But there is yet another feast, separate from the Feast of Tabernacles - the eighth day, which is called the Solemn Assembly. That day comes right after the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles but it is a separate one. Its name speaks about a huge gathering of people, and since it is on the eighth day, it hints to us that it is beyond time as we know it today. Our time is counted by days, and weeks of seven days. There are no eight days in a week. This earth will stand as it was created by God in the beginning, for a "week" of millenniums. According to the Jewish calendar we are approaching the end of the 6th millennium The seventh "Sabbatical" millennium will be the reign of Yeshua for a thousand years, while the devil will be imprisoned (Rev. 20:1-3). After the thousand years, the devil will receive his eternal punishment in the lake of fire, and all men who were not written in the book of life and did not have part in the first resurrection, will stand before the Great White Throne of judgment to give account, "And I saw a great white throne, and Him who sat upon it, from whose face earth and heaven fled away...." (Rev 20:11-15) After all this, will come the fulfillment of this very last feast, the Solemn Assembly, the eighth day, as all the righteous whose names were found in the Book of Life shall live in the new heaven and new earth for ever (Rev. 21:1). That will be a huge gathering of all the saints! Just as there is no eighth day in our week, so there will be an end to our present concept of time and all things will be made new. This present heaven and earth will pass away and we shall join the myriads worshipping the Lord God Almighty, the Holy One of Israel, for ever and ever! "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect" (Heb:12:22-23).
What a joy and hope is set before us! May the richness of the Lord's appointed times encourage us to be watchful, keep our garments clean and hold fast to a living faith, enduring to the end, that we might be found ready when the trumpet blast will sound, and be able to share in this everlasting celebration of life eternal in the presence of our God. " Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect " (Matt 24:44). " He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels." (Rev 3:5).