Eighth Day pictures New Jerusalem and marriage of the Lamb
The writer is pastor of the Church of God Southern California and founder of Guardian Ministries. Write Mr. Antion at P.O. Box 50734, Pasadena, Calif. 91115, U.S.A., or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By David L. Antion
PASADENA, Calif.--The great-white-throne-judgment period of the second resurrection is a wonderful and awesome teaching that the whole world needs to know. It is plainly taught in the Bible, as can be seen from passages such as Revelation 20:4, 11-15; Matthew 12:41-42; and Daniel 12:2.
But is there more to the "eighth day" of the Feast of Tabernacles than we have understood up to now? Have we taught only the tip of the iceberg and left out something important in God's great plan?
I've always felt there was more to the meaning of the eighth day of the Feast than we have understood up to now. Let's take a look.
The eighth is different
There is something unusual about what the Bible calls the eighth day (Leviticus 23:36, 39; Numbers 29:35; 1 Kings 8:65-66). No other festival has an eighth day. Unleavened Bread has only seven days: The first is a high day, and the seventh is a high day.
But the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles it not a high day. Rather, the Bible specifies a separate festival called the Eighth Day.
The eighth day is unusual in other ways. Although God commanded the Israelites to stay in their tents (booths, or tabernacles) for seven days, He gave no command for the people to remain in their tents on the eighth day!
Further, the sacrifices commanded on the eighth day were greatly reduced from that done on any of the previous seven days.
For instance, on each of the seven days two rams, 14 lambs and at least seven bullocks were sacrificed. (The bullocks varied on each of the seven days. Actually, on the first day of the Feast the Israelites sacrificed 13 bullocks and, on each succeeding day, one fewer ram until on the last day of the Feast seven were sacrificed.)
But on the eighth day only one bullock was sacrificed and only half as many of the other animals: one ram, seven lambs (see Numbers 29:36).
Pattern of seven plus the eighth
The Bible uses nearly identical wording when it refers to doing something for seven days and then something else on the eighth day. Note:
"Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein" (Leviticus 23:36).
Now note this pattern: "Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it me" (Exodus 22:30).
A lamb is to be with its mother for seven days before it can be given to God on the eighth day. It becomes God's possession on the eighth day.
The same pattern follows for the circumcision command, the cleansing of the lepers, the cleansing from human male or female discharges and the cleansing of a Nazarite who became unclean because someone unexpectedly died in his presence. (See Leviticus 14:3-23; 15:13-29; Numbers 6:9-10.)
We see a definite, strong pattern that on the eighth day a person could come into God's presence or a thing could become God's possession.
This pattern is again stated powerfully in Ezekiel. In cleansing the altar and accepting the priests, the instructions are for them to prepare a goat for a sin offering for each day for seven days. During these seven days they were to cleanse the altar and purify it and consecrate themselves.
But, when the seven days were over, from the eighth day and onward "the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord God" (Ezekiel 43:25-27).
The greatest of events
"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37-39).
Jesus was here talking of the Spirit of God.
Scholars are divided on whether this "great day" was the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles or the "eighth day." We have always considered it the eighth day, which we have termed the Last Great Day. Frankly, there are good arguments either way.
But for a moment let us consider that Jesus is referring to the Jews' water ceremony and procession. When they walked to the pool of Siloam they sang this passage: "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee" (Isaiah 12:3-6).
What event will bring God into the midst of His people? What is the greatest event that will take place after the great-white-throne-judgment period?
The Bible talks about the "new heavens and new earth." Even Isaiah 65:17-25 is really talking about the new heavens and earth.
This event is also mentioned in 2 Peter 3:10-13. Notice verse 13: "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
Revelation 21 describes this picture in detail. It pictures a new heaven, new earth and New Jerusalem. In that new earth we once again find the tree of life and the river, which flows--the water that is so significant--from the throne of God (see Revelation 22).
People will see God's face and have God's name written on their foreheads (rather than the mark of the beast) (see Revelation 22:1-5).
Note the similarity of Revelation 7 to Isaiah 12. We read that those who had their robes washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb serve before the throne of God day and night.
"For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" (Revelation 7:17). This language is virtually identical to Revelation 21.
Jesus said He would go and prepare a place for us. He said in His Father's house were many resting places (John 14:1-2). He will come again and receive us to Himself. Then He will subdue all things and put them under His feet and in the end turn them over to God the Father that "God may be all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:22-28).
The last enemy to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26) forever is death (Revelation 21:4).
Have we sold the Eighth Day--that great day--short? The greatest of all events to come is the new heavens, new earth, marriage of the Lamb and New Jerusalem. The last enemy to be destroyed before God dwells with His people forever and wipes away all tears and sufferings is death.
The waters will flow from God's throne, and again His people will have a right to the tree of life (Revelation 22:14). "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (verse 17).
We see a pattern in the Bible: a period of seven days followed by an eighth day that brings us to the presence of God or to something owned by God, approved by God or sanctified by God.
We have a seven-day festival called the Feast of Tents, or Tabernacles. Then comes the Eighth Day, which, I believe, pictures our being part of the marriage of the Lamb in God's presence forever in the New Jerusalem, part of the new heavens and new earth.
I preached about the Eighth Day during the Feast of Tabernacles last year before 300 of the brethren. Those who heard it were thrilled to receive this new truth. No one found conflicts with any of our established or traditional doctrines in the Church of God.
Since that time hundreds of brethren have received a copy of this sermon so they can hear and study it for themselves.
If you would like to hear this entire message in detail, expounding all the passages above and more, please request the free tape titled "The Eighth Day." Write to Guardian Ministries at the address at the beginning of this article.
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