Feast of Tabernacles Reference Material
Compiled by: Richard C. Nickels article link
Festivals of the Jewish Year, by Theodor H. Gaster (New York, 1953)
Also known as the Feast of Booths, Succoth, the Feast of Ingathering, or "the season of our rejoicing," the Feast of Tabernacles begins at the full moon of the seventh month. Like Passover, it is a harvest festival. Just as Passover marks the beginning of the summer dews, Tabernacles begins the season of winter rains. It is the end of the harvest year, harvest home, and the beginning of a new agricultural year.
Booths remind Israel of the time when they wandered through the wilderness on their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, as well as being reminders of the Temple, as the First and Second Temples were dedicated during the Feast of Booths. Thus, booths are an earthly type of heavenly tabernacles. They are also symbols of God's continuing protection over His people, like a canopy or pavilion. Through Haggai (2:1-9) God reminded Israel on Tishri 21 to get busy and build His house (tabernacle), stop stealing His tithes, and that the latter Temple would have far more glory than the former. We would do well to heed this warning today.
Jews read Leviticus 22:26 to 23:44; Numbers 29:12-16, and Zechariah 14 on the first and second days of the festival. There is more "Feast of Tabernacles" in Zechariah 14 than verses 16-19.Verse 7, "it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light," emphasizes that although the days are getting shorter (at Feast time) there will come a time when there will be universal twenty-four hour daylight (refer to Exodus 34:22; "at the revolution of the year"). Verse 8 shows the time when there will be living waters in summer and winter. After a long dry summer in Palestine, the winter rains would not come until after Tabernacles. This verse points to the time the whole world will be well watered ("latter rain"). Physically, Tabernacles represents the beginning of the rainy season. This theme is throughout Zechariah 14, verses 8, 17.
On the weekly Sabbath during Tabernacles, Jews read Exodus 33:12 to 34:26 concerning the conclusion of the covenant, and Ezekiel 38:18 to 39:16. The latter passage, about the destruction of Gog and Magog, also shows the Tabernacles theme: Gog is judged with torrential rains and fire (showing that God will judge the wicked by fire, as he did in Noah's day by water), Ezekiel 38:22, 39:6, 39:9. I Kings 8:2-21 (dedication of Solomon's Temple) is also read during Tabernacles.
Last Great Day
The eighth day, "Solemn assembly" or Azereth, (Hebrew word meaning "restrain") is an independent festival from Tabernacles. In Deuteronomy 16:8, Azereth is applied also to the last Day of Unleavened Bread. It does not mean a day of sadness, but a time of reflection at the end of a joyous festival. The Law is read in a ceremony known as the "Rejoicing in the Law," in which a marriage ceremony is acted out, typifying the marriage of Israel to the Law.
The Jewish Festivals, by Hayyim Schauss (Cincinnati, 1938)
The Feast of Tabernacles known also as the Feast of Ingathering, Feast of Booths, God's Festival, or "The Festival." It is the merriest time of the year, and at no other time of the year did Israelites drink and sing as much as during the fall festival. Sometimes the participants went too far, and Amos, Hosea and Isaiah protested against the bacchanalia of the fall festivals, Amos 5:21-27; Hosea 9:1; Isaiah 28:7-8. But the people, however, paid little attention to their spiritual leaders, and continued to drink and revel at "The Festival."
Tabernacles especially was a festival which involved a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, usually on foot in great caravans or groups of people, banded together to escape robbers (see Psalm 42:4). On the way up to Jerusalem, the "Songs of Degrees (ascent), or Steps," Psalm 120-134, were sung. Isaiah 2:2-4, 56:6-7; Zechariah 8:20-23; and Micah 4:1-3 refer to going to Jerusalem to keep the Feast.
Symbols of Tabernacles are the palm branch, lulov, the citron, esrog, the myrtle, and willow (See Leviticus 23:40), whch emphasize the harvest nature of the Feast.
A Guide to Succoth, by Rabbi Isaac N. Fabricant (London, 1958)
There is a close tie between the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. On the former, spiritual union with God is stressed, and in the latter, physical union with God is the highlight. Together these festivals show that God's law is intended to bring about spiritual and physical union with God and the total joy He wants us to have.
The Feast of Tabernacles shows that God wants us to be joyful, but our physical enjoyment must not be allowed to run wild into abandonment or licentiousness, but be controlled (see Deuteronomy 16:14).
The Tabernacle (Succah)
Jews begin building their booth, or Succah, on the evening when Atonement ends. This "temporary residence" reminds man of the frailty of human life and the transience of human existence. Psalm 49:6, 11-12 shows the result of those people who are misled to trust in their riches: "They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches . . . . Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations . . . . Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish."
A Succah must have plenty of shade, for the word itself is derived from a verb which means "to cover," but enough uncovered to see the stars. Living in the shade signifies confidence in God's protection, with God a pavilion of protection over us (see Psalm 17:8). Shadows also typify the transitory nature of man's life (see Psalm 144:4). A devout Jew utters the following prayer upon entering the Succah on the first night of the Festival: "May it be your will, O my God and the God of my fathers, that you may cause your divine presence to dwell amongst us and may you spread the Tabernacle of your peace over us."
The Four Plants
Leviticus 23:40 states: "And ye shall take you on the first day (1) the boughs of goodly trees, (2) branches of palm trees, and (3) boughs of thick trees, and (4) willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days."
Josephus (Antiquities) notes that in his day Jews carried branches of myrtle, willows, palm trees and a citron, and waved these during the offering of sacrifices in the Temple with the singing of the Hallel (Psalms 120-134). The palm tree is an Eastern symbol of majesty, and the citron or ethrog, of beauty.
These four plants are of differing qualities and are likened to different parts of the body in Jewish literature: the palm, a man's spine; the myrtle branch, his eyes; the willow, his lips; and the citron, his heart. Thus all parts of the body -- God's people -- must be united in dedicated service to God: Psalm 35:10, "All my bones ['limbs' in Jewish translation] shall say, LORD, who is like unto you . . . ."
The "hoshanahs" which Jews sing during Tabernacles in connection with waving the four plants are reminiscent of the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem (see Matthew 21:8-9).
The 8th Day is the joyous Climax of the Feast, a time when according to a custom originating in the Babylonian Captivity, the Torah (Book of the Law) is completed after having been read publicly for a year. Thus Jews refer to the Last Great Day as "the Day of the Book" [see Revelation 20:12] or "the day of completion" [of God's plan]. It is a day of completion and recommencement.
The reader of the last verses of Deuteronomy is referred to as the "bridegroom of the Law (which is likened to the bride)," and the Last Great Day is likened to a marriage feast.
There is the custom of the blessing of the children on this day, with an adult leading children in reading Genesis 48:16 of Jacob's blessing on Ephraim and Manasseh [compare with the Church of God practice].
The Book of Jubilees (composed c. 130 B.C.) states that Abraham was the founder of the custom of the Festival of Succoth. When he came to live in Beersheba, he set up his tents and began a ceremony centered around these tents. "And Abraham built Succoth for himself and his servants in the seventh month, and he was the first to celebrate the festival of Succoth in the Holy Land," (Jubilees 16:26). Thus, Abraham's practice was said to be the inspiration for the Feast of Tabernacles. [See Hebrews 11:8-9, "By faith Abraham . . . sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise."]
Genesis 33:16-17 states "So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir [a rough mountain in Idumaea, similar to the word sair, "goat, or devil"]. And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth [booths]." A Jewish legend holds that Esau represents sin and temptation and Seir stands for goat on the Day of Atonement. When Seir departed, that is, after the Day of Atonement, Jacob came to Succoth to observe the Feast of Tabernacles.
The Jewish Festivals, by L.M. Lehrman (London, 1956)
A famous Rabbi said, "He who despises the festivals has no claim to share in the world to come."
Tabernacles, the most joyous festival, depicts the time Israel marched from Egypt to Mount Sinai and into the wilderness, finally arriving in the Promised Land. Yet the Feast is not celebrated in the time of the Exodus (Nisan, when the weather is mild), but in Tishri, when cold winds begin to blow and drizzling rains begins. To dwell in booths in the spring is no trial of man's faith, but in the fall it means hardship and inconvenience, which shows that hardship is no excuse for lack of faith. Thus the booth is a symbol that we have faith in God as our protector.
The booth is also representative of joyous hospitality. Tradition assigns to each of the seven days of the Feast the visit of a figurative guest: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David.
During Passover, unleavened bread is required to be eaten only on the first night of the seven days of Unleavened bread, providing no leavened bread is eaten. But dwelling in booths is obligatory for seven full days.
During the first seven days of the Feast, 70 bullocks were sacrificed, which the Talmud interprets this as representing the "70 nations of the world" -- Gentiles. Thus the Feast of Tabernacles emphasizes Gentiles, while the Last Great Day, a special festival of its own, "Israel's own festival," in which only one bullock was brought to represent Israel alone.
The Cycle of the Jewish Year, by Yaacov Vainstein (Jerusalem, 1964)
The "Ceremony of Water Drawing" on the close of the first day of the Feast, the Levites, amidst a brilliantly lit court and the sound of harps, lyres, cymbals, trumpets, and other musical instruments and singing, walked up the 15 steps that lead from the Court of the men to that of the Women, corresponding to the 15 "songs of degrees," Psalms 120-134. At each step they paused while one of these songs of Degrees was chanted with great enthusiasm. At the Upper Gate, stood two priests, who sounded the Shofar as the singers ascended each step.
The vast congregation was tremendously enthralled as these Psalms were chanted. When the procession reached the eastern gate of the city, they turned to the West, facing the Temple, and proclaimed: "In the days of the First Temple, our fathers who were in this place turned their faces towards the east and worshipped the sun [Ezekiel 8] but as for us, our eyes are turned to the Lord."
At daybreak, the procession left the Temple and proceeded to the Pool of Siloam in a triumphal march. From it, they brought back water to the Temple, which they poured upon the altar along with a libation of wine. This custom, which lasted for six nights, has an obvious connection with the season (which was the beginning of the "latter rains" of the fall). On the eighth day was a special prayer for rain. [In John 7:37-39, Christ on the Last Day referred directly to the ceremony of water drawing.]
The Temple, by Alfred Edersheim (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1950)
The most joyous of all festival seasons, the Feast of Tabernacles came at the time of the year when all crops had been stored, all fruits gathered, wine made, and the land only awaited the "latter rain" to prepare it for a new crop. The fall harvest reminded Israel (1) of their dwelling in booths in the wilderness and (2) the final harvest when Israel's mission should be completed, and all nations gathered unto God.
Three things especially marked the Feast of Tabernacles: (1) Joyous festivities, with sharing meals with the poor strangers, Levites and homeless; (2) dwelling in booths to remind Israel they were "strangers and pilgrims in the earth." The Sadducees understood the "four plants" of Leviticus 23:40, 43 to refer to the materials in which the booths were to be constructed, whereas Pharisees applied it to what the worshipers were to carry in their hands. The latter was the universal practice at the time of Christ; (3) special sacrificial offerings.
Three things are worthy of note about the special burnt offerings:
1. They are the characteristic sacrifice of the Feast. Twice the number of rams and lambs are sacrificed at Tabernacles than Unleavened Bread, and five times the number of bullocks.
2. The number of burnt sacrifices, whether taking each kind by itself or all together, is always divisible by the sacred number seven. The number seven is more prominent during this Feast, including the fact that the Feast begins when the seventh moon is full.
3. The daily reduction of the number of bullocks offered. This may show the decreasing sanctity of each successive day of the Feast (common explanation) or that the reason for this is that the bullocks add up to 70, representing the nations of the world (70 Gentile nations), while the one bullock offered on the 8th day represents Israel (Talmud explanation).
Feast of Tabernacles in the Talmud
Jewish Rabbis believe that Sukkot designates the end of the passage of time. That is why they sometimes refer to it as "The Festival of the Future." The mood of the Feast of Tabernacles is totally different than the time of solemn introspection on Trumpets and Atonement. It is a time to be joyful. Some people call the Tabernacles "the Jewish Thanksgiving." A sukkoth emphasizes God's divine protection, that God provides for us supernaturally.
The Hebrew word "Atzeret" may be translated "solemn assembly," "keeping back," "Shutting off" and is the same as "Atzirah." On Shemini Atzeret God says "Ye shall have a shutting off," Numbers 29:35, but Pesach God says, "Shall be a shutting off to the Lord," Deuteronomy 16:8. Why these different expressions? God says to Israel, "On Pesach shut Me off from giving rain unto Israel, but on Shemini Atzeret I shall shut you off, by My rains, from walking in My outdoors." [Rain is injurious after Pesach in Palestine, see I Samuel 12:17]. --Yalkut Hadash, 188b
Said Rabbi Levi: "He who observes the precept of the Sukkah in this world will be rescued by God from all loss and damage." --Otzar Midrashim, page 493
Just as one cannot fulfill his duty on Sukkot unless all four Minim [elements] are held together, by the same token Israel cannot be redeemed unless all Israelites hold together. --Yalkut, 188a
Leviticus 23:40, "And ye shall take unto yourselves on the first day, the fruit of the tree Hadar, branches of palm-trees, and the boughs of the myrtletree, and willows of the brook." The palm branch is like the spine, myrtle like the eye, willow like the mouth, Etrog like the heart. With all your limbs praise God. --Yalkut, 188b
It is a custom to draw water at Feast of Tabernacles, representing drawing of Holy Spirit, Isaiah 12:3. Offering of Bullocks on Sukkot: 13 offered the first day, then 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, for a total of 70. But on Shemini Atzeret, only one bullock sacrificed. Seventy were said to atone for the seventy Gentile nations, and the one for Israel. Thus Shemini Atzeret is an intimate feast for Israel only. --Pesikta Buber, page 193, Zohar, iv., 476
Sukkot is a type: you reap and gather produce, so will you enjoy reward in the World-to-come when you reap what you have sown in this life. --Mikrae Kodesh, page 109
Sukkot is especially a time of rejoicing. Scripture enjoins us to rejoice three times; on Shabuot only once, on Pesach not once. On Pesach, neither wheat nor fruit ripe, we know not how harvest will transpire. On Shabuot, wheat has been harvested, but not fruit nor increase in flocks. But on Sukkot, everything has been gathered. --Yalkut Shirmeoni to Emos, 23
Israel was freed on Pesach, "the season of our freedom," but was not united with their father; that was at Sukkot, "the season of our rejoicing." To demonstrate his feeling of freedom, he lives in flimsy hut, not in a stockade or a fortified camp. --Mikrae Kodesh, 151-2
God says to Israel: "My sons, reside in the Sukkah for seven days so that ye may remember the miracles, which I did for you in the desert." --Yalkut Emor, Pesikta Buher, page 189a
Feast of Tabernacles: Dwelling with God
Written by: Gary Sjordal
Why Are We to Dwell in Booths?
Leviticus 23:41-44 says that all Israelites shall dwell in booths. Its purpose is to teach us that God made children of Israel to dwell in booths when He brought them out of Egypt.
Why did God make Israel to dwell in tents? To make them realize that they were not yet dwelling with God, that they had sinned, and that God does not dwell with sin, Exodus 33:1-11. The tabernacle of the congregation was without the camp. Sin separated Israel from the Holy of Holies, Hebrews 9:1-12.
We dwell in tabernacles to remind us that we are not yet as close to God as we should be. Tabernacles are humble abodes, not palaces.
Hebrews 11, shows that dwelling in tabernacles in humble obedience to God means we are desiring the Holy City, that we are faithfully waiting for it.
Will God Dwell With Us?
Revelation 21:1-7, God's tabernacle will come to this earth, He will dwell with us.
Matthew 16:24, 17:1-13, " . . . it is good for us to be here."
Psalm 122:1, I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the LORD.
Isaiah 2:2-5, Let us go to God's house, joyfully, to learn His ways, be taught to walk in His paths.
Is Israel Inclined to Dwell in Tabernacles?
Nehemiah 8:1-18 shows that Israel hadn't dwelt in booths since the days of Joshua! Not even David, Solomon, Asa, Josiah, Hezekiah had done so.
Haggai 1:1-11 shows that everyone was concerned with living in a ceiled house, there was little concern for God's House.
Hosea 12:8-9 is a prophecy. Rich people of Israel today live in fine houses. God will have to make them dwell in tabernacles.
Look Forward to Dwelling in God's Tabernacle!
Truth leads us to God's tabernacles, Psalm 43:1-5. It is our refuge, Psalm 46:1-11.
We long to dwell in God's tabernacles, Psalm 84:1-12; Full of rejoicing and salvation, Psalm 118:14-15. Let's forget about our houses, but instead, work to build God's house, Psalm 132:1-7, 13-14.
How to Make The Feast More Valuable
1. Get into the Feast of Tabernacles Attitude.
The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the Millennium -- so everything we do during the Feast is important. Put your mind, heart, taste buds, and body into action and enjoy a taste of the coming one thousand years of peace. This is the Feast of Ingathering -- a time of harvest when God will bring together His People (Leviticus 23:39).
2. Rejoice With Purpose.
We are God's Firstfruits, and we should rejoice during the Festival and enjoy the good things (Deuteronomy 14:26). When we eat a nice meal, we should know why we have it and who gave it to us (Isaiah 25:6). Don't let the mundane and minor things crowd out the real meaning of the Feast. Be sensitive to the needs of the brethren, and give help wherever you see it is needed.
3. Plan to Endure any Inconvenience, as a True Christian Should.
If you can do well during the Feast when wronged, you will learn to be patient with those you must deal with in the millennium (and in everyday life). We must make sure not to offend any of our brethren, especially any "little ones" (Matthew 18:6) during the Feast (or any other time). Let us rejoice and be content (Philippians 4:10-11), and be positive (verse 8).
4. Let Your Light Shine.
Purposely plan to let your light shine during this Feast. Although the gospel can be preached (Matthew 24:14) or published (Mark 13:10), it can also be demonstrated by our example radiating God's Holy Spirit (Matthew 5:16). We should witness that our God exists (Isaiah 43:10), and we, His People should set the example by following Christ's precedent.
5. Get to Know and Love Your Brethren.
If you can't love your brother, how can you love God? (John 15:9-13). It is a joy to love and serve (verse 11), laying down your life as a living sacrifice (verse 13). Go out of your way to meet new people, this could make a big difference to someone.
6. Plan to Learn from Sermons.
Profit from this spiritual feast by listening closely to the sermons, taking adequate notes, and praying for the diligence to follow through and study the subject matter. Prove to yourself from your Bible that the message presented is true.
7. Make This Feast a Turning Point.
If we overcome, we will be pillars in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 3:12). Resolve to get rid of that one big problem you have. If your mind has a wrong attitude get rid of that attitude (Matthew 18:15). If you have a serious "problem" with a brother, go to that person and clear things up (Matthew 18:15).
Summary: Make this Feast an important one!
Feast of Tabernacles and the Millennium
Written by: Gary Sjordal
After Christ's triumphant return to this earth, and after the release of the captives on the beginning of the Jubilee year, one of the most wonderful events in the history of the earth will occur: the Kingdom of God will be set up on this earth and a thousand-year time of true peace and prosperity will begin.
This is the Millennium, the word taken from the Greek language meaning "1,000."
No More War
How wonderful the reign of Christ will be during the Millennium. There will be peace because all nations will "beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks [scythes]: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation neither shall they learn war any more," Micah 4:3.
There will be no more wasted lives due to war, and the corollaries of war: death, mutilation, deadly chemicals, mental problems, venereal disease, drugs, broken homes, heartache. And even more, there will be no wasting of finances and resources used to kill and maim and cause destruction; rather, there will be positive spending of money to help and heal and promote construction.
Wild Animals Tamed
Not only will people not kill each other in the Millennium, but the nature of animals will be changed so that a lamb and a lion can be together, and a small child can play with all animals without being hurt, Isaiah 11:6-8. This world will be restored to the condition it existed at the time of the Garden of Eden.
There shall no longer be hurt in the Kingdom of God, "for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea," verse 9.
Rather than today's rat race, pollution, crime, violence, and drugs, people will live God's way: "They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree [God approves of private ownership]; and none shall make them afraid . . . all people will walk everyone in the name of . . . the Lord our God for ever and ever," Micah 4:4-5.
Who will rule us in the Millennium? "I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them . . . and they lived and REIGNED WITH CHRIST A THOUSAND YEARS," Revelation 20:4.
"And THE KINGDOM and dominion and the greatness of the kingdom . . . shall be given to the people of the SAINTS of the Most High," Daniel 7:27.
"He that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron," Revelation 2:26-27.
And the twelve apostles "shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel," Matthew 19:28. These tribes are the descendants of ancient Israel: United States, Canada, Great Britain, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Christ will be the King of the Kingdom of God. He is "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS . . . He shall rule them [the nations] with a rod of iron," Revelation 19:16, 15.
Those in the first resurrection are very blessed for "they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall REIGN WITH HIM A THOUSAND YEARS," Revelation 20:6.
There is a saying in our hedonistic society: "Let's Party!" But, there is a better saying: "Let's go to the Feast!" This feast always refers to the Festival of Tabernacles (7 days) followed by the Eighth Day (1 day). The Feast of Tabernacles today is generally observed away from where one normally lives -- away from the stress and anxieties of business, away from the daily routine at home and work, away from noise pollution and traffic jams. It is held in an area where peace, happiness, and harmony prevail -- where fellowship, learning, and spiritually maturity can be achieved.
The temporary dwellings or booths of the ancient Israelites were built of interwoven branches and boughs. This kind of shelter brought the realization, remembrance and thanksgiving that God was their protector, guide and deliverer, the One who brought them out of Egypt (sin), bondage and oppression, to a physical type of salvation which looked forward to the thousand-year reign of Christ in the Kingdom of God.
Today we can also be thankful and rejoice that we have been delivered from the bondage of sin and death, and are looking forward to the Millennium rest and to spiritual salvation. As we keep the Feast of Tabernacles, the Holy Spirit of God the Father, and Jesus Christ, dwells in us and we dwell with them. This is a far greater and enduring experience than just living for today in a booth of branches and boughs.
The Festival of Tabernacles reminds us that living in temporary dwellings, whether our homes or our own bodies, foreshadows permanent residence and a glorious, immortal body in the Kingdom of God.
The Eighth Day Festival
Written by: Gary Sjordal
A popular belief is that you can only be saved if you hear the name of Jesus Christ. A number of religions have sent missionaries to the Orient, Africa, and various remote places in order to make sure that the "name of Christ" is heard so that the hearer can be saved.
But, what about the proverbial flat tire on the missionary's car? He fails to reach a certain person who then dies not having heard the name of Christ. Is this poor unfortunate person doomed to hell for all eternity because of a flat tire? Is this how God works?
Or, is God's power beyond the technical limitations that constrain religionists in their quest to save those God probably hasn't even called as yet? What is God's approach to reaching people in order to offer them their chance for salvation?
What about all your friends and relatives who never really knew the truth of God, some of whom may have been bad persons, drug users, criminals, atheists, etc.
Early in God's Plan we find Him choosing a special group of people -- the twelve tribes of Israel. These and only these were His Chosen People in the Old Testament. Israel was to be a model nation and people, an example to the rest of the world. Any "strangers" who came into contact with Israel could become Israelites if they would follow the God of Israel, then becoming a part of God's People.
Ancient Israel disobeyed God and failed to keep the Old Covenant, Exodus 19:5-6. But, God said He would make a New Covenant with New Testament Israel, Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-11.
Israel in Christ's Time
In early New Testament times, Jesus Christ told the twelve apostles to go first to Israel, Matthew 10:6, and that they would not have gone over the lands of Israel till He was to come again -- sometime in the near future, verse 23. Later, the apostles also went to the Gentiles, but the emphasis was still on Israel. And now Israel was under the New Covenant since God's Holy Spirit was generally available.
God's Chosen People in New Testament times, as well as today, are those whom He calls regardless of whether they are descendants of physical Israel or not, John 6:44. And in fact those who are Christ's become spiritual Israelites, Galatians 3:29.
Those people God calls today can accept the call, and eventually become a part of God's True Church by receiving God's Holy Spirit, Romans 8:9.
Most of the modern physical descendants of Israel (the Caucasian peoples of the United States, Great Britain, etc.) have turned their backs on God and have ceased to be Model Nations. They will be punished severely, but will eventually be regathered during the Jubilee year after Christ's return to become a righteous people as an example for the rest of the nations of the world.
But, what about non-Israelites of the past, or Israelites who never even heard the name of Christ? What about the "lost"?
This is the point of the final festival in God's seven-part Plan. This festival represents the time when God will make salvation available to all those who never had a previous chance to choose it.
Great White Throne Judgment
The seventh festival is often called the White Throne Judgment. "And I saw a GREAT WHITE THRONE . . . and I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; 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," Revelation 20:11-12.
This judgment occurs at the end of the thousand-year Millennium period: " . . . they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished," Revelation 20:4-5.
When Christ returns there will occur what may be called the First Resurrection. Those who will live and reign with Jesus Christ for one thousand years must first be resurrected:
"This is the FIRST RESURRECTION. Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrrection: on such the second death hath no power . . . ," Revelation 20:5-6.
The resurrection back to physical human life of all the dead who never had an opportunity for salvation will occur after the Millennium. This is the SECOND RESURRECTION which will be followed by the Great White Throne Judgment.
The Eighth Day Festival shows a time of New Beginning for those who accept salvation (God's way of life) when they are given their chance for understanding. Eight is the number of new beginnings. What a wonderful time of opportunity that will be!
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