The 8th Day – The Last Feast is Just the Beginning
Shemini Atzeret, or The 8th Day, is the last of the Lord’s Feast days on the calendar, following seven other Feasts and placed on the end of a seven-day Feast, Sukkot / the Feast of Tabernacles.
But the instructions for this day are a bit vague – it is to be a Sabbath with a holy convocation and an offering – much the same as the weekly Sabbath. What’s the significance of this day? In my study of this question, I was surprised at just how significant this day is. It changed my whole understanding of not just the Fall Feasts, but all of the Feasts. Instead of just an extra day of rest on the end, it has become the whole point of all the Feasts. Here are the eight things I learned about The 8th Day.
(I found this study to be similar to the game show, Wheel of Fortune, where Vana White reveals letters here and there. Then pretty soon the pieces come together until you finally see the whole phrase. That’s how this study was for me, so I’m afraid that’s what it’s going to be like for you reading it. The bigger picture will begin to emerge for you as we look at each point.)
Instructions for The 8th Day
“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Tell the people of Isra’el, “On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Feast of Sukkot for seven days to Adonai. On the first day there is to be a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work. For seven days you are to bring an offering made by fire to Adonai; on the eighth day you are to have a holy convocation and bring an offering made by fire to Adonai; it is a day of public assembly; do not do any kind of ordinary work. But on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered the produce of the land, you are to observe the festival of Adonai seven days; the first day is to be a complete rest and the eighth day is to be a complete rest.”’”
2. Yehovah’s Tangible Presence with Man on Earth
At this point on the calendar, we’ve come through Sukkot / the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days, and now we’ve reached The 8th Day. Seven days plus one is the same pattern we see in Leviticus 8-9 in the consecration of the priests.
Leviticus 8-9 describe the process of consecrating Aaron and his sons for ministry as priests in the wilderness tabernacle. It describes the offerings, the priestly garments that were put on them, all of the requirements for consecrating Aaron and his sons, setting them apart to enter into the holy place and the holy of holies and to minister to Yehovah in the tabernacle.
This is a whole new process for Aaron. Up to this point Moses has done everything for the people, except when Aaron built the golden calf, which did not turn out very well. This is going to be a whole new beginning for Aaron. Yehovah has chosen him – probably while he was still in his mother’s womb – to be the priest who ministers to Yehovah in the tabernacle and carries out the Torah for the people in the wilderness. This is the beginning of his new life.
Look specifically at Leviticus 8:33-36:
“You are not to go out from the entrance to the tent of meeting for seven days, until the days of your consecration are over; since Adonai will be consecrating you for seven days. He ordered done what has been done today, in order to make atonement for you. You are to remain at the entrance to the tent of meeting day and night for seven days, thereby obeying what Adonai ordered done, so that you may not die. For this is what I was ordered.”
Here we see again seven days at the tabernacle, just like we did, sitting in our sukkah for seven days during the Feast of Tabernacles. This passage describes the period of seven days as a time of consecration.
Then Leviticus 9 describes all of the offerings required on the eighth day and the process used for presenting the offerings. Then look what happens in Leviticus 9:22-24:
“Aharon raised his hands toward the people, blessed them and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering and the peace offerings. Moshe and Aharon entered the tent of meeting, came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of Adonai appeared to all the people! Fire came forth from the presence of Adonai, consuming the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.”
On the eighth day of the consecration, Yehovah’s presence came to them tangibly.
That’s the pattern we see whenever the Bible mentions the eighth day. It’s always a day of completion of a process having to do with consecration, dedication, purification or cleansing, and Yehovah’s presence is often tangibly manifest on the eighth day.
That’s what this time of Sukkot is about – seven days of preparation to meet the Lord supernaturally. It all leads up to what takes place on the eighth day.
That’s another reason it’s important to keep this Feast. You don’t want to miss what happens on the eighth day. In this example, you can see that if Aaron and his sons hadn’t obeyed the first seven days, the eighth day would never have happened. Everything they did lead up to that day – The 8th Day. And we’ll see that that’s the case for us as well.
3. New Life
You’ve probably heard that Sukkot represents the Wedding Feast of the Lamb from Revelation 19. What comes after a wedding? The Honeymoon – just the bride and groom. This is a time of consummating the marriage. Consummation speaks of becoming one, and it also brings forth new life. The 8th Day can be likened to the consummation of our marriage to Yeshua and the new life that has been supernaturally implanted in us.
Conception is a picture of the new life that begins on The 8th Day. Think about this: A woman is created with life insider her, waiting to be brought forth. As soon as her eggs are fertilized, that seed of life which has always been inside her, begins to grow. This is how The 8th Day is.
Remember in the spring we count the omer for 49 days, which is seven weeks. It was on the 50th day, Shavuot/Pentecost, that the Holy Spirit was poured out on Yeshua’s disciples. The 50th day is the first day of the eighth week. We were created with a spirit already inside us that has the capacity to hear Yehovah’s spirit. But it wasn’t until Shavuot that it was brought to its fullness. On Shavuot, a new supernatural union between Yehovah and man brought our spirits alive permanently.
On Shavuot we were given new spiritual life. On The 8th Day we’ll be given new physical life. It will be the bringing to life that which was set in our hearts from the beginning.
That brings us to the fourth point. What is it that has been set in our hearts?
Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us “Yehovah set eternity in their hearts.” This is what comes to life, this is what begins literally on The 8th Day – new life for eternity.
The Fall Feasts are a rehearsal for the events that are ushered in by Yeshua’s second coming:
- The Feast of Trumpets represents Yeshua’s return at the last trump.
- The Day of Atonement represents the judgment of the nations.
- Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles represents the Millennium when we’ll tabernacle with Yeshua for 1,000 years.
- The 8th Day represents the new heaven and new earth – Eternity!
Yehovah set eternity in our hearts, and on The 8th Day, he consummates our union and brings that seed of eternity to life. That new eternal life is on the new earth.
I am suggesting that just as the Spring Feasts end with bringing our spirits to life supernaturally in the eighth week, the Fall Feasts end with bringing us into new life physically on the new earth, on The 8th Day.
Noah’s flood is a foreshadow of this physical new life on a new earth.
5. The Example of Noah’s Flood
In Hebrew the word “kaphar” means to cover. This word is used in reference to the covering of pitch over Noah’s ark and also in the word Kippur, as in Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement.
While Noah and his family were covered by the ark, the sin on the earth was destroyed. During the flood, sin and all other living things on earth were washed away while Noah and his family were covered and “tabernacling” with Yehovah in the ark. Then the earth was renewed, the ark was brought to rest, and Noah began new physical life on this renewed earth. This is a foreshadow of new life on the new earth.
The flood is also a picture of the Fall Feasts. Just as the pitch covered Noah in the ark, Yehovah covers us on the Day of Atonement. We tabernacle with him during Sukkot, where he protects us from judgment. Then we begin eternity on the new earth on The 8th Day. (In Noah’s case it was the eighth month). This eternity set within our hearts from the beginning is finally brought to life.
The 8th Day is the completion of Yehovah’s plan of restoration, where mankind and all of his creation are brought again into complete and perfect union with him, dwelling with him for eternity in the new earth, the new heaven and the new Jerusalem.
As we can see, Yehovah’s timing is everything. Look at the timing of Noah and the flood.
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.”
“In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. Then Yehovah spoke to Noah, saying, ‘Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.’”
The floodgates of heaven opened up in the second month, and one year later in the second month, the earth was dry. Now here’s a trick question: What month is that?
6. The Month of Cheshvan – The Eighth Month
After the Exodus, Yehovah told us that Nisan would be the first month of the year. But Noah’s flood comes before the Exodus.
Did you ever wonder why Judaism celebrates Rosh Hashanah on the first day of Tishrei – on the Feast of Tabernacles? Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year.” They’re celebrating the new year on Tishrei 1. Why? Because they have evidence that the earth was created during Tishrei. The beginning of time started then. Tishrei was considered the first month before Yehovah commanded that Nisan be treated as the first month of the year in Exodus 12:1-2.
If the Rabbis are right about the calendar before Yehovah changed it, Tishrei would’ve been the first month of the year all the way through Genesis, clear up to the time of the Exodus. If Tishrei was the first month of the year during the time of Noah, the second month would be Cheshvan. When Yehovah told us to celebrate Nisan as the first month, that then made Tishrei the seventh month and Cheshvan the eighth month.
We just read that Noah’s time in the ark took place in one year beginning and ending in the second month. At the time, that would’ve been from Cheshvan to Cheshvan. But Cheshvan is now the eighth month. Noah’s new life in the new earth began in the eighth month.
The number 8 surrounds this Feast day: Shemini Atzeret / The 8th Day always falls eight days before the eighth month. What is the significance of this? Looking at the meaning of the word “Cheshvan” answers this question.
Here is the word “Cheshvan” in Hebrew with the Ancient or Paleo meanings included:
Chet = ח = fence – to separate, enclose
Shin = שׁ = teeth – to destroy, consume
Vav = ו = nail – to attach, secure, add
Nun = ן = fish – life, activity, quickening
Putting it all together, the word “Cheshvan” means destruction is separated and new life is secured.
This is what happens in the new heaven and new earth – we begin a new life, completely separated from destruction and death. This is the description of the month of Cheshvan – the eighth month. If we’re in covenant with Yehovah, this is our destiny.
This further demonstrates what we stated earlier: The Spring Feasts end with bringing our spirits to life supernaturally in the eighth week; the Fall Feasts end with bringing us into new life physically in the new earth, on The 8th Day.
7. Simchat Torah, The Joy of Torah
In their wisdom, the Rabbis created the Torah reading cycle for us, so that we read through the Torah once a year. Simchat Torah is a day that celebrates the turning back of the scrolls from the end, the book of Deuteronomy, to the beginning, the book of Genesis. Simchat Torah is always the day after The 8th Day, on Tishrei 23. So during the last week of the seventh month, we begin again reading Genesis and the story of the creation of the earth.
The following week begins the month of Cheshvan, and our scripture reading is always Genesis 6-9, the story of Noah and the renewal of the earth. We read the story during the same month Noah departed from an evil earth and came to rest on the renewed, righteous earth – the month that means “separating destruction from life.”
Again we see how Yehovah is leading us to this understanding that The 8th Day will be our entrance into new physical life in the new earth. Yehovah is amazing!
8. All the Feasts Lead up to The 8th Day
Lastly, let’s look again at The 8th Day in context with the other Fall Feasts.
Everything else we do in the seventh month (Tishrei) leads up to this day. Think about the sequence of the Feasts:
- On the first of Tishrei we have an alarm – the trumpet, awakening us to the time of the end.
- We have ten days to prepare our hearts.
- Then on the Day of Atonement we have complete repentance, bringing ourselves under the covering of Yeshua’s blood.
- Once that’s done, we come into the presence of Yehovah and Yeshua for seven days, tabernacling with him just as the priests did for their consecration in Leviticus.
- On The 8th Day our consecration is over, our purification process is complete, and we can enter into our new life on the new earth.
But all the other Feasts have specific instructions: Blow the trumpet on the Feast of Trumpets, deny yourself on the Day of Atonement, sit in your sukkah and wave your branches during the Feast of Tabernacles. But for The 8th Day the instructions are: “Rejoice in the presence of the Lord for seven days, the first day is a complete rest and the eighth day is a complete rest.” What eighth day? It’s a seven-day festival. The 8th Day is just tacked onto the end, and the only instructions are to meet together, bring an offering, and rest from our work. Why?
Because The 8th Day is when we enter our rest. That’s our instruction, because it’s a rehearsal for our rest.
Remember Sukkot reminds us of how we lived in tents for 40 years. After 40 years, the Israelites entered the Promised Land. The 8th Day is our entrance into the Promised Land. The Promised Land was a land of abundance and blessing, a land flowing with milk and honey – paradise compared to the desert. It was the Israelites’ destiny. Just as the new earth is our destiny, our Promised Land.
Psalm 95:11 refers to entering the Promised Land as “entering Yehovah’s rest.” The new earth is our rest from striving against evil and unrighteousness, where we live fully in the blessing and tangible presence of the Lord – like the Garden of Eden, only better. Imagine a place where there is absolutely no unrighteousness – no illness, no need for security, no ill intentions or wrong motives, no abuse or exploitation of any kind, no baggage or hang-ups. A place where everything is holy, everything brings life, everything is in complete alignment with the holiness and righteousness of Yehovah. This is our destiny.
Everything else we do in the month of Tishrei leads up to this day. Everything else we do in our lives leads up to the day we enter eternity. Eternity is when real life actually begins – life as Yehovah intended it, in the Promised Land. It’s what his whole plan for mankind is about. Eternity is the supernatural culmination of all of it.
That yearning for eternity which was set in our hearts from the beginning will be supernaturally brought to life on this day, when we begin our new life in the new heaven and new earth.
Let this day remind us why we do everything else – what it’s all leading up to. The 8th Day is the last Feast, but it’s just the beginning for us.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 tells us:
16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Eternity will change your life – both now and forever!
Such a beautiful presentation of the meaning of the 8th day.
November 8, 2022 at 6:05 am
The 8th day is also Resurrection Sunday marking Passover end and beginning the counting of weeks. and it is also a reference to Chanukah/Second tabernacle and is spoken of by God in His Book Haggai as He tells us that 24 Kislev is when He shall set the foundation stone of His Temple and from that day forwards will bless The Israel of God (any person who puts faith in His Name as The Saviour and Kinsman Redeemer. In Galatians Jesus speaks of His pouring to every believer the essences of His Spirit’s Holy Produce into our human heart (where our soul and spirit agree together in Jesus name). The Chaniyot is the symbol of His operations and service maintenance done in us. It starts with the Shammash – Love and moves in order for every nine days and accumulates (at least in my family tradition) on a tenth day which is when we celebrate Christmas because God has come to us El-Manu-El in The Name Jesus who gave Himself as the only sacrifice to give us freedom and set us in His Liberty from death, sin and our sinful natural human beingness. If this is not cause for celebration and The Only Resason for Any Season, I cannot say celebrate anything else.
November 28, 2018 at 8:33 am
Of all God’s Holy Days, my favorite is the last Great Day. Its future impact will be amazing. Thank you for the insight and details on this very important day. It matches up with this website http://www.godsholydays.com/last-great-day/
November 18, 2018 at 8:01 pm
Very insightful! In my years of attending and helping to plan Sukkot gatherings, relatively little attention has been paid to the eighth day. By that time, people are tired, many are leaving, patience has run thin. But, obviously, we need to change our priorities to make this eighth day the most joyous. Thank you for sharing and thanksgiving to Abba for enlightening you!
October 30, 2016 at 3:22 pm
Reblogged this on The Lamb's Servant and commented:
I had to ‘reblog’ this excellent article originally posted at “Messianic Sabbath” so that I can keep it available for more study. This is an outstanding study of the meaning, implications and promises of “The 8th Day” – enjoy!
October 30, 2016 at 2:00 am
I do appreciate a lot these Biblical teachings. May Yashua bless you. Thanks a lot
October 24, 2016 at 11:05 pm