Jesus and the Eighth Day
In Leviticus 23, and other places in the Bible as well, there is a unique holy day mentioned. Unlike the other biblical holy days, the significance of this day in God’s plan is shrouded. The day is simply called “the eighth day.” And yet it is a holy day, just as is Pentecost, or the Feast of Trumpets. What is the significance of the Eighth Day?
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We’re talking about Jesus and The Eighth Day today. It will be the last one of the series on Jesus and the Holy Days.
Let’s start by going back to Leviticus 23:33 and looking at what it says about the Feast of Tabernacles and The Eighth Day. Verse 33 – it says:
Leviticus 23:33 – The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel saying, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths to the LORD. On the first day shall be a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. And for seven days you shall present food offerings to the LORD. And on the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the LORD. It’s a solemn assembly. You shall not do any ordinary work.’”
So what do we notice about that – about The Eighth Day? There’s a Feast of Tabernacles that is seven days long. The first day is a holy day. Then there’s the eighth day, which isn’t technically a part of the Feast of Tabernacles, but follows immediately afterwards. It is a holy day. What’s the name of it? It’s called The Eighth Day, right? That’s what the Bible calls it. It follows immediately after the Feast – nothing about what it means. Nothing at all.
Now we know the Feast of Tabernacles is a harvest festival. And this is right in the season, but it doesn’t really say anything specific about that name. So what does that make us do? Well, it makes us curious, doesn’t it? I mean, if we keep it every year, it does, because we wonder what it’s about. It makes us wonder. So it’s kind of mysterious, then, isn’t it? Do you suppose that God intended that? Could that be a part of it? Just something to think about.
If you come from the church background I come from, there is a lot of baggage that goes along with this festival, in a way. We have always called it by a name that is not biblical. We’ve called it The Last Great Day. And there are reasons why we called it that. It’s not that we decided to pick something that wasn’t biblical. We thought it was. But, if you just read what it says in the Old Testament, it doesn’t use the terminology that we used before.
We can look at the scriptures that we used to understand why we would call it The Last Great Day. It’s in John 7:37…is the first one.
John 7:37 – On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. So is that the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles or is it the last day in that season? So there’s the word great in there- great day – right? And the last – that’s in there, too. So it wasn’t like we were deliberately trying to pick terminology that wasn’t biblical at all.
Another one is in Revelation 20:11. Let’s look at that.
Revelation 20:11 – I saw a great white throne – there’s that word great again – and Him who was seated on it. From His presence, earth and sky fled away and no place was found for them. Since we learned in the last part of this series about the Feast of Tabernacles, we remember that we associated this day – this last great day – with the time of judgment and resurrection, pictured at the end of the thousand years. And our former view – or our – maybe for some people – still view – of this festival season really didn’t have anything to do with the new heavens and the earth.
And to talk about this is a little bit confusing for people that don’t observe these days, or who are new to it. So I’m just going to kind of quickly recap that the Feast of Trumpets – in our way of looking at things – pictures the return of Christ. We talked about that earlier. The next thing that happens, after Christ’s return, is that Satan is bound and begins to draw humankind back into relationship, because they’re no longer deceived about God by the devil. And that was pictured by Atonement, which means to be at one with God. Then we saw the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. And that was pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles.
Now, you know, there are some people that say, even though we can connect Passover, Unleavened Bread and Pentecost with distinct events that occurred in the salvation plan, that Trumpets, Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles and The Eighth Day can’t really be connected. And the reason they say that is all you’ve got is pictures. But I personally believe that the entire Bible is filled with all kinds of messages for us that aren’t spelled out clearly. They’re pictures. And you think about how the human mind develops. They now know that babies think in images before they think in language. So God, really, is communicating with us at the fundamental human level when He paints these word pictures for us. So that doesn’t really prove anything, but it is interesting to think about.
The seventh trumpet of the year in ancient Israel was on the seventh month, on the first day and Christ returns at the sound of a trumpet. It all just fits together there – then all these other things in trip-hammer fashion, one after another, in the book of Revelation. And they all very much easily correspond with what we believe about the plan of salvation and how God is working. In fact, they help us understand that plan, because we can’t get too confused if we keep those things every year in that way.
So, we believe that, at the end of the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth, which lasts for a thousand years, there is going to be a resurrection to physical life for all those who never learned about God and Christ. I heard a man say once, “We know God is fair. We just don’t know how, because there are so many people that don’t know about Christ, who are going to lose salvation, according to the way most people think about it.” Well, this is how we see god as being fair. He isn’t going to leave people out because the guy from the seminary had a flat tire on the way to his village. Everybody’s going to have a chance. And then, after that period of judgment for those people who are resurrected to life – who never heard about Christ – then there is going to come fire. And those who have not surrendered to God will die in that fire.
All of these things actually prove the point that I’m attempting to make today, but with just one bit of information, we see a different picture of it. So we’ll get to that in a minute.
There is no such terminology in the Bible as the last great day, though that term, certainly always did seem to fit to me what was happening. The fact is that God calls it The Eighth Day in the scriptures. Now, is that important? I think it’s very important. Every time I call something in the Bible something else, I get confused about it. God always names things the things He names them for a reason.
There’s a scripture in Mark 7, verse 5 through 8, that we’ve quoted a lot to peole over the years. It says:
Mark 7:5-8 – The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And He said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy to you, hypocrites! As it is written, ‘This people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. In vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
“You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” So I believe, from my past experience with other things, that going with my names for things causes me to lose something that God gives us. So let’s go with God’s name – The Eighth Day – okay? Just for a minute. Just think about it with me, even if you’re sitting there with your arms crossed and you’re resistant. Just think about it with me.
Where does that take you? If you call it The Eighth Day and you don’t know anything about it – you’re curious about it? What does that do? Well, you start looking for any kind of clue you can get, don’t you? So what’s the big clue in the name? Eight. Right? So what does eight mean in the Bible? Where is that used in other places?
Well, probably the big one – that everybody thinks of right off – is circumcision. Babies were born, and then on the eighth day, they were brought to the priest, or the rabbi, and circumcised. And that was to picture a dedication to God, wasn’t it – to become a part of the covenant.
Any other examples? Well, you can look in Leviticus 14, and you can read about the law of cleansing lepers. When did that happen? There was a certain thing that people who had leprosy had to do to be considered clean. Well, for seven days they were supposed to make offerings, and then, on the eighth day, another offering, and then they were now cleansed. So there’s another example of, on the eighth day, purification and consecration taking place. I mean, you can look those up. It’s in Leviticus 14. In the interest of not boring everybody to death, I’m not going to read every word of that chapter to you.
Let’s look at another example in 2 Chronicles 7, verse 8 through 10. Did you know that, when Solomon built the temple of God, that he consecrated that at the Feast of Tabernacles? Did you know that? At that time, Solomon held the Feast for seven days. Well, what feast is seven days long? The Feast of Tabernacles.
2 Chronicles 7:8-10 – So Solomon held the feast at that time seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly, from Lebo-hamath to the Brook of Egypt. They sacrificed hundreds of thousands of animals at that festival. You talk about a massive spiritual demonstration of worship and consecration! And on the eighth day, they held a solemn assembly, for they had kept the dedication on the altar seven days and the feast seven days. Okay? They kept the eighth day – they held a solemn assembly, for they had kept the dedication on the altar seven days and the feast seven days. And on the twenty-third day of the seventh month, he sent the people away to their homes. Now when is the Feast of Tabernacles supposed to start? On the fifteenth, right? So, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, and then twenty-two would be The Eighth Day, and twenty-three is the ninth. So, they all observed that temple dedication for eight days. And there is a separation there in the thinking – seven days and then the eighth day is a solemn assembly – just like in Leviticus. And then they went home on the ninth day after the Feast started – just like I did this year. …he sent the people away to their homes, joyful and glad of heart for the prosperity that the LORD had granted to David, and to Solomon, and to Israel, His people.
So, by simply staying with the name that God gave that day, we can learn what it’s about. Just go to your bible program and type in the word eight and then eighth in the “Search” category and see what you learn. See what you learn about what that word eighth means.
There are many other instances where the number eight is used in the same way. Isn’t that pretty amazing? You know, if you think about that, there’s a really strong implication that this day has to do with consecration and purification. And that’s what it was used for.
I have some friends – they are good friends of mine – and they have been ministers for many years. Their attitude about what I’m saying about this is like this (physical posture). Why is that? Well, it’s because they’ve always thought differently about it. Do you suppose the Pharisees felt differently when Jesus told them what they’d always believed was wrong? Yes. They weren’t willing to take a look at it. What did Peter say? I think this probably got him in big trouble.
Acts 7:51 – You stiffnecked people – uncircumcised in heart and ears – you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you!
So what we have believed in the past is nothing unless it’s based on the word of god. So if we just call it what the Bible calls it, we’re good, right?
Okay, now let’s talk about what Jesus did on that day. We looked at the Old Testament. We read the scriptures already, but there are some things that we don’t know – two clues actually. I’ve heard this before, but it didn’t really strike me until the church that I used to be in actually published a paper on this and presented it like I’m going to explain it to you now.
They said that it’s pretty obvious that when, on the last day of the Feast – the great day – Jesus stood up and cried aloud, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink,” that that was on the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles, not the eighth. And the reason they said that is because, in Jesus’ day, they had a water ceremony every day of the Feast, which culminated on the seventh day. That was the big thing!
You also factor into that what Jesus said. He said, “If anybody is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink, and out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.” So He used the symbol of water, which is the Holy Spirit, to talk about something that nobody really talked about at the Feast before.
Jesus always took what was at hand to make His point. He took a little child to Himself to talk to the disciples about humility. He calls up to Zachaeus and says, “I’m spending the night with you,” so that everybody around Him would realize that He had come to save sinners, of whom Zachaeus was a public example. When Peter was sinking in the sea, that’s when He talked about faith.
So, when there’s a water ceremony at the Feast, He talks about the Holy Spirit, which is symbolized by water. And, by the way, for those who think that the Feast of Tabernacles and the last great day don’t have something to do with being a Christian, Jesus Christ preached a sermon on that day about the coming of the Holy Spirit – not only for the church, but for everyone later – not about Old Testament meaning. He didn’t preach a sermon about how to be thankful for all the blessings you’ve received in your harvest this year. He preached about the Holy Spirit – opening up a whole new world of meaning for Christians and the meaning of that day in the future.
Would you like to have heard that sermon? Well, to do so, you would have had to observe the Feast of Tabernacles and learn what His followers, as Christians, would soon learn. And you would do this at the feet of your future Savior, as He preached about Himself on a holy day that teaches us about Him, that He observed as a man. You know, we called this Jesus and the Holy Days, not Jesus Christ and the Holy Days, because we wanted to emphasize what Jesus, the man, did. Because, as a man, He came and set an example about how we should live our lives. He kept it, we keep it. That’s the point. And He preached, on that day, a sermon about the coming of the Holy Spirit – a day which, by the way, prophesies that the whole world will observe when we all understand what Christianity really is.
Also, in John 8, verses 1 and 2 – this is following up right after the day that He preached this sermon. It says that they all went to their homes that night, after the seventh day:
John 8:1-2 – …but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. And early in the morning, He came again to the temple. All the people came to Him and sat down and He taught them. So they were all there at the temple again on The Eighth Day. So, if this were the seventh day, that wouldn’t have happened. I mean, if that was the last day – when He preached that sermon. So we believe this – when He came to the Mount of Olives in John 8 – is The Eighth Day and that the seventh day was when He preached about the coming of the Holy Spirit. So Jesus was in the temple on The Eighth Day.
For us as Christians, who believe in the holy days, that means that the things that we always thought were wrapped up in The Last Great Day now shift to the seventh day, right? (I guess for you looking at me, it goes like this, right?) So, if the seventh day of the Feast is about what we used to think of The Last Great Day, where does that put us? Well, Jesus preached about thirsting for the Holy Spirit – and all that meaning that we attached about the Holy Spirit on The Last Great Day – gets moved to the seventh. And what is that? Well, if you had been dead without knowing God, and you were suddenly resurrected back to life again, what would you want most of all – besides some clothes? I think everybody gets resurrected naked, right? Besides some clothes and something to drink, what would you want? Well, you’d want to know what was happening, wouldn’t you? “What’s going on here? Where am I? What’s happening?” You’d want to know what’s happening. So you’d be open to hearing what god has to say to you at that time, wouldn’t you? And what did we call that in the Beatitudes series? We called that poverty of spirit, right? And what is that? Well, that’s the starting place for a relationship with God, isn’t it? “Well, all you people who are thirsty, have I got something for you! I’ve got the kind of water that is really going to satisfy you. I’ve got information for you and I’m going to teach you about Me.” And so, on the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles, He was talking about a resurrection to life and masses of people finally receiving the Holy Spirit.
When does this happen in the Bible? Well, let’s look in Revelation 20:4-6.
Revelation 20:4 – Then I saw the thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of god, and those who had not worshipped the beast or it image, and who had not received its mark in their foreheads or on their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. So those people – who are those people? Well, those are people that have been committed to God – who were Christians – the saints. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
V-5 – The rest of the dead – oh…there were other people? – did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. Did you know that – that there’s another resurrection for all those people who didn’t know Christ? Did you know that? Pretty interesting.
So that’s how God is going to be fair. The missionary had a flat tire on his way to convert the tribes people of Africa. They’re not going to suffer eternal death because of it. Some people in modern Christianity think, “Well, if we believe that, then we wouldn’t work as hard to evangelize everybody.” Well, that would be our problem, right? Not God’s. We can’t play fast and loose with the word of God just because of our own shortcomings. It says what it says: The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. And that’s how God is going to be fair. And that resurrection is at the end, not the beginning, of the thousand year reign of Christ. Right? I mean, we just read it right there. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.
Okay, if that happens – symbolically, on the seventh day of the Feast – that leaves some other meaning for the eighth day – after Jesus’s sermon about the Holy Spirit. So let’s see what the Bible shows comes next. Revelation 20, verse 13:
Revelation 20:13-15 – And the sea gave up the dead who were in it. So we’re kind of going back to what we just read. And death and hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged – each one of them – according to what they had done. Then death and hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Okay? Keep reading…we’ll explain in a minute. And then, in chapter 21:
Revelation 21:1 – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city – New Jerusalem – coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
So the fire of the last judgment ushers in the new heavens and the new earth. All those people who are resurrected back to life…they have a chance to accept Christ – to look at what’s been done in God’s society and to decide whether or not they’re going to live that way. And I presume those people will then be changed to spirit. But if they’re still physical at that point, then they die – not suffer forever, but die. And how will they die? It’s a terrible thing to die in a fire, but let’s read what Peter says about what that fire is going to be like. It’s not like any fire you’ve ever thought of before or ever experienced. It’s the kind of fire that is going to go pphhhttt and that’ll be it. We just won’t exist anymore. It’s not like being cremated. It’s like pphhhttt – non-existent. And I don’t mean all your parts being spread around. I mean not having any parts anymore.
2 Peter 3:1 – This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind, by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this, first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation” – one of the big tenets of evolution, isn’t it? For they deliberately overlook this fact – they deliberately overlook this fact! – that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water, and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged of water and perished. But by the same word, the heavens and the earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. I remember when I was about six years old, my parents told me that the earth was flooded, by the next time it would be destroyed, it would be by fire. I didn’t consider them particularly religious people, but they had learned that at church, I think, when they were kids. They don’t teach that at church anymore, I don’t think. Anyway….
V-8 – Do not overlook this one fact – verse 8 – beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. We judge time differently than God does. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you – not wishing that anyone should perish. So the reason things are dragging out is to help people, not to make them impatient. …not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief – what’s that like? Well, you don’t know when he’s coming – and then the heavens – not just the earth, but the heavens – of which the earth is a part – will pass away with a roar. And the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
V-11 – Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn. But, according to His promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
So what we’re talking about here is the dissolution of the creation. The physical creation is going to be no more at this point. They talk, in science, about the big bang and how everything started at one thing and it’s been expanding out, and then, at some point, it’s going to stop and go collapsing back in on itself. Well, it’s not quite going to be like that according to this. It is going to dissolve on itself, but not according to the clock that they see. They think that they can tell by radiation how long the earth has existed. So they think it’s going to take as much time for it to dissolve – or implode – as it did to explode. Well, I think something’s going to happen that’s unexpected there.
But that is going to happen. And, if you happen to be a physical being when that occurs, you will be impacted by it in a very quick and negative way. Now all those who are spirit are not. You can’t burn if you’re a spirit. You’re physical attributes – you know, your body – has already been changed into something that’s not physical anymore, so you’re no longer a part of the physical creation. You’re a part of the God family – part of God’s creation.
So this is a mysterious event that is going to occur. It doesn’t really tell us that much about what it’s going to be like. It’s says stuff like, “The temple doesn’t need any light, because God and Christ are the light of it.” So what does that tell you? There’s no more light as a symbol for God and for His presence. So that’s all going to be done away with. There’s really no way to talk about it in terms we can understand. So He tries to talk about it as best He can in terms that we can get. There’s a gate in the temple that’s made out of pearl and there are no oysters – and certainly there’s never been an oyster big enough to make a gate that big, right? So this is all symbolic stuff.
What’s going to happen at that time? And how long will it last? Well, even that question – how long will it last? – is a moot question, because there isn’t any more time at that point. We’re beyond the reach of time. We’re eternal. What’s going to happen? Well Paul said, “We see through a glass darkly,” but it is mysterious. It doesn’t really explain to us all about what we’re going to be doing in it. It’s like God’s goal is to get us there, but He hasn’t explained what’s going to happen from there on. It’s an inherently mysterious day – a mysterious day for a mysterious event and a mysterious name. We do know it’s going to be good, because we will be with God and Christ forever.
We’ve been pretty intense about not following the traditions of men – been pretty hard on those folks that keep Christmas and Easter. Perhaps, in our case, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. This way of looking at the scripture doesn’t really change what we believe, it just reorders it slightly. It shifts something a little bit to a more logical way – at least, in my mind – of aligning the holy days with the events of Revelation. And, if I could pass on one thing to you, maybe we should just call the day what God calls it, not what we have called it by tradition – even though we understand now that the reasons for our tradition really aren’t so biblical as we thought – and then just let that change our thinking to something more like what God thinks. He calls it The Eighth Day. When we look in the Bible to see how god uses the number eight, we see purification. The greatest purification of all is the new heavens and the new earth – the last revealed phase of the salvation plan of God and the beginning of something beyond that plan for us and for God.