What is “The Last Great Day of the Feast”?

John 7:37–41, On the last day. Haggai 2:1 is occurred on Hoshana Rabbah, the Last Great Day. In Haggai 2:7, the coming Messiah is referred to as the “Desire of All Nations,” and the prophet assures the Jews of his time that who were building the second temple, that though it was inferior in physical glory to Solomon’s Temple, it would experience a greater glory than even the previous temple. This is because the promised Messiah would be coming to that second temple.

Indeed, Yeshua come to the second temple and glorified it with his presence, but that temple is now long gone. The Testimony of Yeshua teaches us that the saints are now the temple of Elohim, since they are the temple of the Set-Apart Spirit (1 Cor 3:16; 2 Cor 6:16). The saints become that temple when the Spirit fell on them on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2, and when the Spirit falls on and inhabits each saint subsequently. This is the glory of Elohim coming on individuals—Yeshua inhabiting the temple of his body. And this is only the beginning of the heavenly glory that the saints can hope to experience as 1 Cor 2:9 tells us, for a greater, and incomprehensible glory is yet coming to the overcoming saint (see also Isa 4:3–6 and 1 John 3:1–3).

In verse 37, Yeshua invites those who thirst spiritually to come to him. How thirsty are we for the spiritual waters of salvation that he has to offer? As Ps 118:24, the Hoshana Rabbah psalm, notes, we must cry out to the Messiah for salvation by declaring, “Hoshianah!” or “Save us now O Great One!” Similarly, we must come to the wells of salvation (Heb. Yeshua) and drink deeply (Isa 12:3) if we are to experience heaven’s blessing.

In verse 38, Yeshua declares that only those who believe in him will experience heaven’s outpouring of spiritual water for the thirsty soul. Each saint needs the glory of YHVH to fill his temple, so that the rivers of living water can flow out of us onto others. When we are baptized in the Set-Apart Spirit, our spiritual cup will be filled and will run over onto others, and we will become a river of life to those around us.

In verse 39, Yeshua explains that this river of life will flow once he has been glorified and the Spirit of Elohim has been poured out. Yeshua has been glorified and the Spirit poured out on the saints. This is what the second temple water pouring ceremony prophetically prefigured and hoped for—something that has already occurred. Therefore, at Sukkot, when we do the water pouring ceremony, we also need to realize that the Spirit has already been given. Therefore, it behooves the saint on the Last Great Day to present himself as an empty vessel to YHVH and let him fill us anew so that we can be a river of life to those around us.

Interestingly and related to verses 37 to 39, in verses 40 to 41, the gospel records that there was theological division and strife among the people pertaining the work and person of Yeshua. This juxtaposition of concepts implies that division and strife in the body of Yeshua prevents the outpouring of the Spirit. The glory of Elohim can’t fall on the body or temple of Yeshua’s body unless it is together in one place and in one accord as the saints were on the Day of Pentecost. This is a serious warning and a call for saints to put away strife and division and to come together in one accord, so that YHVH may glorify his temple by the outpouring of his Spirit thus empowering the saints to be a river of life to those around them.

John 7:37–38, On the last day. This was the last day of the seven-day long Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) celebration known as “the Last Great Day” (in Heb. Hoshana Rabbah). On this day, a joyous festival occurred called the Water Pouring Ceremony, where the Jews prayed for rain for the upcoming agricultural season resulting in a bountiful harvest. These rains were referred to as the former (fall) and latter (spring) rains, and were necessary to bring the crops to fruition. The Jewish people also believed that these rains were prophetic of a great outpouring of the Set-Apart Spirit that would occur during the Messianic Age (or Millennium), to which Sukkot was a prophetic allusion resulting in a great harvest of souls (again relating to the fall harvest season during which the feast of Sukkot occurred each year). During the Water Pouring Ceremony, the Jews would joyously sing Isaiah 12:2.

Behold, God (Heb. El) is my salvation [Heb. Yeshua]; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD [Heb. Yah] JEHOVAH [Heb. Yehovah] is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation [Heb. Yeshua].

Here, in typical Jewish poetic style using encrypted Hebraisms, Yeshua is claiming to be deity and the Messiah, and to be source of salvation or living waters without overtly saying it.

 

Davidic Dance—An Expression of Joy and Praise

Psalm 149:1, 3, In the assembly of the saints…dance. (On the dance, see Ps 150:1, 4.) Hebraic worship dance should be an aspect of praise and worship in the congregation of the saints according to the Psalms. Certainly, at the very least, dancing should be occurring on the three pilgrimage feasts or chagim: the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. The Torah refers to each of these three appointed times (Heb. moedim) as chag meaning “festival.” The root word of chag is chagag meaning “to celebrate, keep a solemn feast or holy day, to move or go around in a circle, march in a sacred procession, to reel to and fro in a giddy manner.” Indeed Davidic dancing at joyous celebrations such as the biblical feasts has been a Hebraic tradition since time immemorial.

 

The Significance of Table Fellowship

Luke 24:30, He sat at the table. (See also vv. 41–43; John 21:12–13). In Bible times, when a covenant of friendship had been broken, as had occurred when the disciples forsook Yeshua prior to his apprehension, the broken relationship would be restored by eating together. After his resurrection, Yeshua had at least three meals with his disciples in order to renew loving covenantal relationship with them (Manners and Customs, pp. 78–79). 

In Hebraic thought, one’s table is a sort of sacred altar where familial and spiritual communion occurs. You don’t just break bread with anyone—only your close friends. Additionally, when a prayer of thanksgiving is made over a meal, YHVH’s Presence is invoked making the meal a sort of spiritual act where heaven and earth commune together. This is one reason why the Passover seder meal is of such serious significance. Only those of one’s spiritual family are to gather together at the seder where together they meet with Elohim. Furthermore, this is why Paul states in 1 Cor 5:9–11,

I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. (emphasis added)

 

Tabernacle of Moses Resources

If I didn’t post anything more on this blog until we’re finished with Exodus, the resources posted below would be sufficient to keep most people busy for a while. That’s how much there is to learn about the Tabernacle of Moses!

Written teachings by Natan: https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/teaching.html#tabernacle

See my video play list on the Tabernacle of Moses on my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/HoshanaRabbah

Happy studying. There’s enough to keep you busy here for a few days. The Tabernacle of Moses is one of my most popular video series on our YouTube channel.

Please enjoy and be blessed!

 

Why gather together for the three pilgrimage feasts?

Exodus 23:14–19, Three times you shall keep a feast. The Scriptures teach us that during the three biblical pilgrimage festivals of Passover/Unleavened Bread, Pentecost and Tabernacles all Israelites were to leave their places of individual isolation and were to go up to where the presence of Elohim of Israel was. This sacred rendezvous was to occur according to the festival cycle or circle (Heb. chag) around the common sanctuary (where YHVH had chosen to place his name, Deut 16:2, 11, 15). 

In fulfilling this command,each Israelite would become conscious in a real way that he was connected to all the other members of the nation of Israel, with YHVH Elohim, and with the Torah (The Pentateuch—Deuteronomy, p. 310, by S. R. Hirsch). 

In biblical times, the Israelites would gather wherever the tabernacle had been placed. When the temple was built in Jerusalem, this city became the destination point for the Israelite pilgrims during these three biblical feasts. 

For the saints who celebrate the biblical feasts now, there is no temple in Jerusalem to gather around. The saints are now the spiritual temple of the Spirit of Elohim (1 Cor 3:16). Moreover, Yeshua has promised to be in the midst of his people when they gather together (Matt 18:20). In light of these spiritual realities, YHVH’s people need to pray and seek his face to find out where he wants them to gather for his feasts, and then obey him in faith believing that he will be with them.

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When does a biblical month and new year start and why is it important for YOU to know?

Why is it important to know when the biblical month and new year start? Because as more people are leaving the non-biblical traditions of man that they have been taught in their churches (including the non-biblical Christian holidays) and return to the truths of the Bible (including the biblical holidays), they need to know when to celebrate YHVH’s appointed times or feasts. This means that one needs to have a basic understanding of the biblical calendar, which is different from the world’s calendar in use today. The article below (along with other articles that I’ve written on the subject which you can find at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/teaching.html#feast) will help to explain this.

Exodus 12:2, Month. It is the Hebrew word chodesh (Strong’s H2320/TWOT 613b) meaning “the new moon, month, monthly, the first day of the month, the lunar month.” It is found in the Tanakh (Old Testament) 276 times and is translated in the King James Version as “month” 254 times, “new moon” (20 times), and “monthly” (1 time). We see that from these definitions that the terms “month” and “new moon” are synonymous. It has been understood for millennia that ancient Israelites began their month with the new moon.

Why was it important for the Israelites to know when the new moon occurred and when the month began? The dates of the annual biblical festivals that YHVH gave to Israel and instructed them to observe were determined based on when the new moon occurred (Lev 23:5, 6, 24, 27, 34).

The next question to answer is this: when does the biblical month begin? As we noted above, for modern astronomers the term “new moon” means something different than it did to the ancients, including those who YHVH inspired to write the Bible. Ancient calendars were determined by the moon, while modern ones are not. Some biblical expositors teach that the new moon begins when the moon is in conjunction or in line with the earth and the sun and is in its dark phase. Others believe that the month begins just after the moon has moved out of its dark phase and begins to show a sliver of light, which is called the visible or crescent new moon. Who is right?

Some Bible teachers claim that there is no place in the Scriptures that specifically states that the new moon begins at the first visible sliver after being dark for several days. Therefore, they reason, it is an assumption to say that it does (even though, as we will see below, this was the understanding of the ancient Israelites), and therefore, the new moon should be determined from its conjunction with the earth and sun while it is in its dark phase. While on the surface, this may seem like a valid argument, one important verse in the Scriptures, however, and some simple logic quickly disproves this notion. It is Genesis 1:14.

And Elohim said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons [moedim/biblical festivals], and for days, and years.”

In this verse we see that the sun and the moon are “signs” for seasons, days and years. The word “sign” is the ­Hebrew word owt (Strong’s H226; TWOT 41a) meaning “sign, signal, mark, token, emblem, signboard, standard.” In the Tanakh, owt describes such visible (not invisible) signs as Noah’s rainbow (Gen 9:12–13, 17), Cain’s mark (Gen 4:15), circumcision (Gen 17:11), and the Sabbath (Exod 31:13, 17; Ezek 20:12). In addition, owt is used some 80 times in the Tanakh to refer to miraculous signs. These include the plagues of Egypt (Exod 7:3; Deut 4:34, etc.), the sign of the virgin birth of the Messiah (Isa 7:11, 14); YHVH miraculous signs to Gideon (Judg 6:17) and King Hezekiah (2 Kgs 20:9; Isa 38:7). In addition, Aaron’s rod that budded was a sign or token (Num 17:25). Many more examples could be given.

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What is the significance of the abib barley as it relates to YOU?

Exodus 9:31, The barley was in the head. Barley was cultivated as a grain crop in ancient Egypt, as well as in Israel, and grows wild like a weed throughout the region to this day. Several passages in the Scriptures witness to the fact that the barley was the indicator of which month was to be the first month of the year for the Israelites, so that they could determine when the biblical feasts were to be observed.

Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto YHVH your Elohim: for in the month of Abib YHVH your Elohim brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. (Deut 16:1, emphasis added)

Please notice, the definite article the proceeding the phrase “month of Abib.” The state of the barley determined the name of a specific month in the spring on YHVH’s biblical calendar. Months in the biblical Hebrew calendar have always been determined by the first visible sliver of the new moon from antiquity. This specific month is to be the beginning the biblical new year (Exod 12:2). The state of the barley simply determines which month is to be the first month of the biblical year. The month of the Abib is not so much the name of a monthas it is a description of the month. Below are listed the other three places in the Scriptures where this phrase is found.

This day came you out in the month Abib. (Exod 13:4)

You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread: (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it you came out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty). (Exod 23:15)

The feast of unleavened bread shall you keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt. (Exod 34:18, emphasis added on all)

What does the word abib in the phrase “the month of the Abib (or Aviv)” mean? The Hebrew word abib is found only six times in the Bible and is transliterated into the English (in the KJV) as “abib,” meaning “in the ear,” or “green ears of grain.” The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, defines the word abib or aviv as follows:

This noun refers to barley that is already ripe, but still soft, the grains of which are eaten either rubbed or roasted. The ASV and RSV agree (but see Lev 2:14). The seventh plague brought ruinous hail upon Egypt’s barley crop at least two weeks before it was fully ripened and ready for harvest (Exod 9:31). Abib was also the early name (later, Nisan) of the first month of the Jewish calendar (the month of Passover). In that month the barley came to ear, but the usual time of harvest was the second month (Iyyar). According to Lev 2:14 the grain offering was to consist of the firstfruits of abib.

So the barley being in its abib state eliminates the guesswork of determining which new moon begins the new year. The Scriptures are clear. It is the new moon that immediately follows the abib barley that determines the beginning of the year. This is important to know, since knowing the start of the new year determines the dates for the biblical moedim or appoint times—namely the biblical holidays and feasts.

After the abib barley is found and the first visible sliver of the new moon is sighted marking the first day of the first month of YHVH’s biblical calendar, 14 days later is Passover (Pesach) with the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot) immediately following on the fifteenth day of the first month. Then on the day after the weekly Sabbath that occurred during the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, a sheaf of now-ripened barley was cut and waved heavenward by the high priest to be accepted by YHVH as the first of the first fruits offering of the upcoming barley harvest. I have written extensively on this subject in another teaching article relating to the spring feast days, which can be found on our website. Suffice it to say that the barley that was lifted heavenward and waved was a prophetic picture of Yeshua the Messiah’s ascension to heaven after his resurrection where he was accepted by the Father as the perfect sin offering covering the sins of mankind. Fifty days later to the day is the Feast of Pentecost (Heb. Shavuot) picturing the ripening of the larger wheat harvest, which was a prophetic picture of all Israel and the peoples of the nations coming to faith in Yeshua from the first century until the present time. As you can see, an understanding of the abib barley is essential not only in setting the biblical calendar for the year, but for knowing when to keep the biblical feasts, and for gaining a fuller understanding of the salvific implications of the death, burial and resurrection of our Master and Savior, Yeshua the Messiah from a Hebraic perspective.

For more information on the biblical calendar and the waving of the barley first fruits see http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/cal_demyst.pdf; http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/new_moons.pdf; http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/firstfruits.pdf.