The word Feast in Hebrew is moed, meaning an appointed time or season. We’ll concentrate on the last three of the annually appointed Feasts because they make up the remaining Feasts of the seventh scriptural month.
Feast of Trumpets
The Feast of Trumpets, which comes first in the seventh month, is the only Feast that begins on a new moon. The Jews refer to it as Rosh Hashana, meaning first of the year. Actually, it marks their civil new year but not the new year of Scripture, which comes in the springtime (month of Abib, Ex. 12:2).
Another term they use for Trumpets is Yom ha-Din, meaning the Day of Judgment. This is more fitting, as it signifies what this day denotes.
The Feast of Trumpets is described as a special time of remembrance, a memorial: “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation” (Lev. 23:24).
Prophecy tells us that Yahshua the Messiah will return “at the last trump,” 1Corinthians 15:52. The trumpet will sound and the dead will rise first, 1Thessalonians 4:16. This Feast, which was celebrated by the blowing of trumpets, links beautifully with the return of Yahshua. His potential arrival on the Feast of Trumpets harmonizes with the design of this important day.
Ten days later is the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur (day of covering) in Hebrew. The days coming between Trumpets and Atonement are a solemn time of self-examination when Yahweh’s people reflect on their past, personal mistakes and the hurt they may have inflicted on others.
Asking beforehand for Yahweh’s forgiveness – resolving to make amends for their backsliding and to improve their behavior – His people are now ready for the Day of Atonement.
This “day of covering” finds significance in the lid placed over the ark in the Tabernacle. The Hebrew is Yom Kippur, which is from the same root as the Hebrew word that gives us “mercy seat.”
Placed in the ark were the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s rod, and a gold pot that had contained manna. The lid or propitiatory “cover” on the ark is called the mercy seat or kapporeth in Hebrew. Yahweh dwelled there. Just as blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat (Lev. 16:14), Yahshua’s blood will cover the sin we commit against His laws — if we confess and repent.
Paul wrote of Yahshua, “Whom Yahweh has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of Elohim” (Rom. 3:25).
The mercy seat was of pure gold, not overlaid, because the work of propitiation (reconciliation) for our sins is done by Yahshua. It is pure and not mixed with human effort.
On the Day of Atonement Yahweh’s people fast for 24 hours, from sunset to sunset. During this time they worship together and study His Word. Yahweh’s instructions for this unique day are found in Leviticus 23:27: “Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh” (Lev. 23:27).
“Afflict your souls” means to humble ourselves through fasting (see Ps. 35:13; Ezra 8:21). We neither eat nor drink during this time (see Ex. 34:28; Esther 4:16; Acts 9:9).
On this tenth day of the seventh month we become reconciled to Yahweh. When we fast we draw close to Him and He turns His ear to us and purifies us from all our errors. Our High Priest Yahshua makes the atonement for us through His shed blood: “And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourns among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before Yahweh” (Lev. 16:29-30).
His redemption is available, but we must first come to Him on His terms. We must be willing to humble ourselves through the fast.
So in the prophetic sequence, the trumpet sounds and Yahshua appears (Feast of Trumpets). We are changed from bodies corrupted by sin to new spirit beings through the work of Yahshua (Day of Atonement). The next prophetic phase is to enter the Millennial Kingdom, which is foreshadowed by the Feast of Tabernacles.
Feast of Tabernacles, Earthly Kingdom
Through a variety of means, one can show that our Savior was born in the fall of the year, with evidence pointing to the Feast of Tabernacles. What this means prophetically is that the King came to earth to teach of His future government to be established on earth.
That teaching is fulfilled by the Feast of Tabernacles observance — the symbolic Kingdom on earth.
The annual Feasts are keyed to harvest seasons. The Feast of Unleavened Bread brings the wave-sheaf as the “first of the firstfruits” of the barley harvest (signifying Yahshua). This is followed by Pentecost or Feast of Firstfruits, which commemorates the firstfruits of the wheat harvest portraying His Elect.
Distinguished from these two is the final Feast, Tabernacles, which is called the Feast of Ingathering. It signifies the general “gathering in” of the harvest of souls who will listen to and obey Yahweh during the Millennium. Those who never had an opportunity to learn the truth will ultimately be given that chance during the White Throne Judgment. Notice Yahweh’s instructions to Israel, which sum up what we have discovered, beginning with the Feast of Unleavened Bread: “You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread: you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it you came out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty: And the feast of harvest [Pentecost], the firstfruits of your labours, which you have sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering [Tabernacles], which is in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labors out of the field” (Ex. 23:15-16).
Is it any wonder that the Feasts, particularly Tabernacles, will still be kept in the Millennium? Because Tabernacles is a vision of the general
harvest, and because others will be given an opportunity in the Millennium to learn the truth so they, too, will be part of the great harvest of souls, and because “laboring” to reach and teach people continues through the Millennium, then Tabernacles,depicting a final harvesting of souls, fits in perfectly with this 1,000-year reign.
Significantly, the Feast of Taber-nacles with the Last Great Day, completes the Feast days marked with the same practice that characterized the first Feast. As Israel lived in succoth or booths — temporary dwellings as they left Egypt — we live in temporary dwellings at Tabernacles to show the momentary nature of the present world. Both the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of Tabernacles are seven-day observances beginning and ending with a high day Sabbath.
Israel’s exodus during the Feast of Unleavened Bread meant a temporary home in the wilderness. We practice the same at Tabernacles, and will again witness this annual, fu-ture exodus in the coming Millennium as people worldwide leave their homes for a brief stay at the Great City of Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles.
The parallels go even deeper. In both Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles the obedient find redemption through worshiping Yahweh and by obeying the King, Yahshua the Messiah. Unleavened Bread is the beginning of the journey out of sin, portrayed by Egypt, while Tabernacles symbolizes our ultimate destination: the Millennial Kingdom.
Today is “law school” for the future judges of the Kingdom, who will see Deuteronomic law administered in the Millennium as well as in the final White Throne Judgment.
Last Great Day
Imagine a celebration in advance of a time when everyone will have their chance to become a citizen in the Kingdom of heaven. Where could one find a more joyful event to honor?
Many are already observing such a day. It comes at the end of the biblical calendar, and is known as the Last Great Day. It immediately follows the Feast of Tabernacles in the scriptural seventh month (autumn).
Man’s holidays all commemorate past events. But Yahweh’s appointed days (Heb. moedim) not only have historic focus, but also foreshadow the future salvation of the people of Yahweh. No empty, nominal celebration can even begin to compare with the significance of Yahweh’s days.
Return to the Country
To understand the Last Great Day is to understand Bible prophecy. All of Yahweh’s Feasts have a prophetic basis. That is one important characteristic that sets them far apart from the days the world observes. Man tries to give his own significance to the days he celebrates, while the Creator Yahweh Himself gives meaning to the appointed times He gives to His people.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a joyous, seven-day observance that pictures the millennial reign of Yahshua, who will govern with His saints on the earth (Rev. 5:10). Notice: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Yahshua, and for the word of Yahweh, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Messiah a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4).
The earth will return to an agrarian economy in a rural setting as people are scattered and cities are left desolate by the judgment of Yahshua, the returning King. The prophet speaks of this: “Behold, Yahweh makes the earth empty, and makes it waste, and turns it upside down, and scatters abroad the inhabitants thereof” (Isa. 24:1).
The cities and their dwellings will be uninhabitable: “The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that no man may come in” (Isa. 24:10).
As Israel left the cities of Egypt, so will those remaining on earth in the Millennium leave the cities to dwell in the countryside, just as Yahweh’s faithful do at the Feast of Tabernacles. In fact, during the Millennium He says He will cause the people to dwell in tabernacles (ohalim, tents) “as in the days of the solemn feast,” Hosea 12:9.
In the Millennium they will come up to Jerusalem to learn Yahweh’s laws and way of true happiness.
“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of Yahweh shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, and to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of Yahweh of hosts hath spoken it.” (Micah 4:l-4).
At last the world will learn the ways of peace and security. The rat-race of today’s culture will be replaced by the serenity that comes with a return to the land as it was in Eden. Yahweh’s laws will be enforced worldwide, and wars will end.
After the Millennium, What Then?
But what happens when this thousand-year reign of Yahshua and His saints is completed? To understand, we must go to the final Feast, the Last Great Day.
In John 7:37-38, after observing the Feast of Tabernacles, Yahshua made this statement on the Last Great Day: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
This conclusive Last Great Day pictures the final judgment of man on earth, the Great White Throne judgment. It is the final opportunity for those who lived in ignorance of Yahweh’s Name, Sabbaths, Feasts, and laws during the preceding 6,000 years to accept the ways of Yahweh before He completely cleanses and renews this earth and establishes His throne at New Jerusalem.
Having missed the first resurrection, the rest of the dead will come alive again for the Great White Throne judgment. If they are found guilty of unrepented sin and of having rejected the truth of their Savior, they will be destroyed in the lake of fire. If they never knew the truth, this is school time.
The prophet Isaiah tells us that those in the Millennium will be allowed a 100-year lifespan to learn of Yahweh and the laws He expects all to follow: “There shall be no more thence an in-fant of days, nor an old man that has not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed” (Isa. 65:20).
Conceivably, the same opportunity will be given to those in the second resurrection under the White Throne Judgment. We note in Revelation 20:13 that those in the second resurrection are judged “by their works.” They must be given time to prove themselves.
Hundreds of millions will be resurrected to learn Yahweh’s truth for the first time. True understanding was purposely withheld from them in this life (Matt. 13:11). Only a select few “firstfruits” have been allowed to understand Yahweh’s plan of salvation, and, if they accept Yahweh’s covenant terms and follow them now, will be in that preferred first resurrection to rulership.
Daniel explains more about this Great White Throne Judgment: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened” (Dan. 7:9-10).
These “books” are mentioned in Revelation 20:12 as well, also speaking of this White Throne Judgment: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before Elohim; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
These previously unsaved people who had never been given the opportunity to learn the true Good News and to keep the renewed Covenant originally made with Israel, will now have their chance. They will be taught and judged by Yahshua, helped by the saints who came up in the first resurrection.
But by what standard will their “works” be judged? It won’t be by pleasant feelings, by nice thoughts they had, or by an occasional kind deed. Both Daniel and Revelation say they will be judged out of what is written in the “books.” One of the books is identified as the Book of Life. The rest can be nothing other than the books of the Bible — and the books of the law therein (“books” is biblos in Greek, from which we get the word Bible, Strong’s No. 976).
This is the same standard of judgment by which Israel of old was judged. Notice that they are judged “according to their works” in conjunction with the standard of the law found in Yahweh’s Word: “For the word of Elohim is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
Saints Are Judged Even Now
The criteria are the same today. “That you might walk worthy of Yahweh unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of Yahweh” (Col. 1:10). Also, “For not the hearers of the law are just before Elohim, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom. 2:13).
John wrote, “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you have heard from the beginning” (1John 2:7).
The law of Scripture, especially the Book of Deuteronomy, was the constitution of the ancient Israelites. Notice: “And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before Yahweh your Elohim in the place which he shall choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing” (Deut. 31:10-11).
The year of release and the Feast of Tabernacles picture the Kingdom coming to earth. All the earth will comply with Yahweh’s laws — or else! “And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shines in his strength” (Rev. 1:16).
“And many people shall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:3).
His laws will be the constitution in the coming Kingdom. How fantastic to know that we can learn about His laws and obey them right now, for salvation’s sake.