The Significance of
The Eighth Day
For [the] seven days [of Sukkot] you shall bring a fire offering to Adonai.. On the eighth day, it shall be a holy convocation for you and you are to bring an offering by fire to Adonai. It is a solemn assembly—you should do no laborious work. Leviticus 23:36
The seven days of Sukkot
(refer to our article Sukkot: Feast of Tabernacles
) prophetically point to the thousand year reign of Messiah as does the Sabbath
in Genesis 2. The seventh day precedes the six days of creation where a day is like a thousand years. So one can speak of the six thousand years from the creation of Adam and a thousand years of Sabbath Rest Millennial reign of Messiah. Now on the last day of the Sukkot, Hoshana Rabba, Yeshua
stood and cried out,
“If anyone one is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drinking! Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture says, ‘out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water."
John (7:37 -38)
The Great Supplication can be related to the day when the verdict that was issued on Rosh Hashanah
(Day of Trumpets) and Yom Kippur
(Day of Atonement) is finalized. This will be the last opportunity for the nations to receive Messiah before judgement. As given in Revelation 20, Satan is released from prison where he has been locked for the 1000 year reign of Messiah (the seven days of Sukkot
) to deceive the nations to go to battle together with Gog and Magog (v 8) against Israel and Jerusalem. They are destroyed by fire from Heaven and The Adversary is hurled into the Lake of Fire. This is followed by the Great White Throne Judgement (v 11). This Judgement is linked to the Second Resurrection of the dead who had received the mark of the Beast.
So how does the Eighth Day relate to the above?
To answer this we need to continue with Revelation 21 which is about the New Jerusalem. But before going there, we need to consider what the Torah and the Jewish sages have to say about this Eighth Day.
(שְׁמִינִי עֲצֶרֶת – "Eighth [day of] Assembly" is a Sabbath, a day of 'Atzeret
' solemn, sacred assembly, a feminine noun. The word atzeret
is derived from atzar,
to collect, to store. “The sense of the word is that the Jew should remain behind after the festival of Succos, to absorb its teaching and dedicate himself to the service of God, study of His Word, and a sojourn in His Sanctuary (Sforno)”i
. It is honoured with the lighting of candles and reciting the festival kiddush
as an independent festival from Sukkot
. Also celebrated on this eighth day and extended into the next day outside Israel is Simcha Torah (the Rejoicing of the Law)
. It signals the end of the annual reading of the Torah with the end of Devarim
(Deuteronomy) and the start of the readings with Bereshit
(Genesis). Hence the purpose of this festival is to recapitulate and to store in our memories the Torah and everything we experienced and gained during the preceding Yamim Tovim (
More detail is given about the offering of fire to Adonai in Numbers 29:35 – 38 where only one bull, one ram and seven lambs were to be offered. The Sages comment on this as follows: “During Succos
festival, seventy bulls are offered on behalf of the gentile nations. After the festival God says to Israel, as it were, 'Make a small banquet for Me so that I can enjoy your exclusive company.' (Rashi)ii
Jonathan Cahn in his Book of Mysteries for Day 89 gives:
[G-d says to Israel,] "I have detained you [to remain] with Me." This is analogous to a king who invited his sons to feast with him for a certain number of days, and when the time came for them to leave, he said: "My sons! Please, stay with me just one more day; it is difficult for me to part with you!"iii
"Rabbi Noach of Lechowitz expounded the theme of Shemini Atzeret
saying it may be better understood if we think of it in terms of a BRIDE AND GROOM.
During the wedding, they are both decked out in a wardrobe of exquisite, elegant clothes and jewellery. However, when they come together in their private chamber, they remove their garments and jewellery.” It is a time of intimacy between Bride and Groom!
"Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi said, Shemini Atzeret is a Yom Tov that is not identified with any specific symbol or mitzvah. It is not celebrated with either matzah, shofar, or lulav. The reason is that on Shemini Atzeret we reach a stage of TRUE AND PURE JOY, a state of happiness that requires no external symbolic stimuli. It is a joy that stems from the depth of man's inner self. Comparing the symbolism of this Holy Day with the imagery of a Bride and Bridegroom, and their intimate togetherness, by themselves, after all the guests and party-goers depart, gives us a special insight into the real spiritual implications of Shemini Atzeret.”
It is also the beginning of a new rainy season in Israel, during which the earth is nourished by rain from the heavens. So water and the prayer for rain is a vital ingredient in the celebration of Shemini Atzeret
. Spiritually, then, it represents the pouring out anew of God's Holy Spirit and the continuation and expectation of a NEW HARVEST for the Kingdom of God! (Psalm 42:1-2 Isaiah 55:1 John 7:37-39)
So what is the significance of the number eight 'shemini'?
"In Hebrew the number eight is Sh'moneh
, from the root Shah'meyn
, 'to make fat,' 'cover with fat,' 'to super-abound.' As a participle it means 'one who abounds in strength,' etc. As a noun it is 'super-abundant fertility,' 'oil,' etc. So that as a numeral it is the super-abundant number. As seven was so called because the seventh day was the day of divine completion and rest; so eight, as the eighth day, was over and above this perfect completion, and was indeed the First of a new series, as well as being the Eighth. Thus it already represents two numbers in one, the first and eighth", clearly "A NEW BEGINNING" or RESURRECTION into a totally new order. There are numerous examples of "eight" used in this connection in the Scriptures:
- Ark of Noah eight souls were saved by water. (Gen 7:13 1 Peter 3:20 2 Pet.2:5)
- Future Temple of God described in Ezekiel even steps that led into the outer court (Ezek.40:22, 26); however, there were eight steps that led from the outer court to the inner court (Ezek.40:31, 34, 37) to intimate fellowship with God and pure worship!
- The consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests of God required seven days of being set apart (Lev.8:35), but it was on the "eighth day" that they were anointed as "priests," thus beginning a "new" ministry and office before God and the people.
- David was the "eighth" son of Jesse, thus also beginning a "new dynasty" in Israel when he became king (I Sam.16:10-11; II Sam.7:12).
- Circumcision was to be performed on the Eighth Day (Gen.17:12) . The first-born was to be given to Jehovah on the eighth day (Exo.22:29-30).
- "It is 7 plus 1. Hence it is the number specially associated with Resurrection and Regeneration, and the beginning of a new era or order.
Eight is the first “cubic” number 23
= 2 x 2 x 2 = 8. Whereas “3” is the symbol of the first plane figure (a triangle with 3 sides) with “4” as the first square 22
. So here in the first “cube” figure we see something of transcendent perfection, something in which length, breadth, and height are all equal! This significance of the cube is seen in the fact that the 'Holy of Holies,' both in the Tabernacle and in the Temple, were cubes. In the Tabernacle it was a cube of ten cubits. In the Temple it was a cube of twenty cubits. Could this be pointing to the ultimate New Beginning that John reveals in the Book of Revelation of Yeshua HaMashiach
, Jesus The Christ?
The apostle John records in Revelation 21:1-5: “And I saw a NEW HEAVEN and a NEW EARTH: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away: and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, NEW JERUSALEM, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW”
. This is the fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecy in Isaiah 65:17-25:
“For, behold, I create NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice forever (olam in Hebrew meaning forever, eternity, literally, “to the vanishing point” or “time out of sight”) in that which I CREATE: for, behold, I create JERUSALEM A REJOICING, and her people a joy.”
Does this give us the great significance of the number Eight 'Shemini'?
In Revelation 21:16, the New Jerusalem is to be a CUBE of 12,000 stadios
is the distance around a Greek stadium, 600 feet), approximately 1,500 miles to a side!
The city is laid out as a square—its length the same as its width. He measured the city with the rod—12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. (Rev 21:16)
So is this NEW JERUSALEM going to be the HOLY OF HOLIES where the God's Shekhinah
will dwell as indicated in Rev 21:22-23? Note that, “Outside this city, in the magnificent New Earth, will dwell all the nations of mankind that will be saved, and given immortality and eternal life”! (Rev.21:24-27)
Is “Shemini Atzeret
” in reality the “staging ground,” the threshold, the new beginning of the next phase of God’s Plan? Its very name identifies it as a “new beginning. God will create a “new beginning” when He creates new heavens and a new earth. Yeshua plainly told John in Revelation.21:5 sat upon the throne,
“ Behold, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW”.
Eighth Day is like the ultimate Sabbath. Just as the Sabbath is the first appointed time, the seventh day of creation pointing to the Millennial reign of Messiah. So does Shemini Atzeret
, the Eighth Day point to the ultimate Rest when the New Jerusalem comes from Heaven prepared like a Bride beautifully dressed for her Husband (Rev 21:2) where they come together in total intimacy and oneness, ECHAD
The Chumash, Stone Edition Lev23:36
The Chumash, Stone Edition Num 29:35
iii Bamidbar Rabbah