Shemini Atzeret, the eighth day immediately after the seven days of Sukkot, is commonly thought to be part of Sukkot, but it is a moed in its own right that does not involve the special observances of Sukkot.
“For seven days you bring an offering made by fire to YaHuWaH. On the eighth day there shall be a set-apart gathering for you, and you shall bring an offering made by fire to YaHuWaH. It is a closing festival, you do no servile work.” Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:36
Scripture refers to the Last Great Day as an “assembly”.
“On the eighth day you have an assembly, you do no servile work,” Bemidbar/Numbers 29:35
From H6113; an assembly, especially on a festival or holiday: – (solemn) assembly (meeting).
1) assembly, solemn assembly
1a) assembly (sacred or festive meeting)
1b) assemblage, company, group
AHLB#: 2570 (N1) (עֲצֶרֶת AhTs-RH) – Assembly: A special occasion as a temporary ceasing of normal activity. [freq. 11] |kjv: assembly, meeting|
A primitive root; to inclose; by analogy to hold back; also to maintain, rule, assemble: – X be able, close up, detain, fast, keep (self close, still), prevail, recover, refrain, X reign, restrain, retain, shut (up), slack, stay, stop, withhold (self).
1) to restrain, retain, close up, shut, withhold, refrain, stay, detain
1a1) to restrain, halt, stop
1a2) to retain
1b) (Niphal) to be restrained, be stayed, be under restraint
AHLB#: 2570 (V) (עָצַר Ah-TsR) – Stop: To stop from occurring in the sense of halting, shutting or restraining. [freq. 46] (vf: Paal, Niphal) |kjv: shut, stay, retain, detain, able, withhold, keep, prevail, recover, refrain, reign|
From H8083; eight: – eight.
- eighth (ordinal number)
AHLB#: 2850 (bf) (שְׁמִינִיSh-MY-NY) – Eighth: [freq. 28] |kjv: eighth|
“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, Yoḥanan, saw the set-apart city, renewed Yerushalayim, coming down out of the heaven from Elohim, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the heaven saying, “See, the Booth of Elohim is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and Elohim Himself shall be with them and be their Elohim. “And Elohim shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying. And there shall be no more pain, for the former matters have passed away.” Hazon/Revelation 21:1-4
For those judged worthy to spend eternity in Elohim’s new creation, this day is indeed a joyous occasion. Being amongst YaHuWaH’s chosen ones; privileged to “atzar” with Yahusha is a true blessing. At times, it seems like an impossible dream. The concept of eternity often is incomprehensible to humans. Nonetheless, let us wait expectantly for YaHuWaH’s unsearchable riches, seeking to trust and obey Him faithfully until our end.
“But as it has been written, “Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, nor have entered into the heart of man what Elohim has prepared for those who love Him.” Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 2:9
Won’t it be totally awesome to “atzar” to YaHuWaH? What prevents us from being Yahusha’s close friend now? Is it selfishness, fear, or anger that hinders us from becoming echad with Him? Are we too busy with worldly details to “atzar” with Yahusha with a free and loving mind, heart, soul?
“Who shall separate us from the love of the Messiah? Shall pressure, or distress, or persecution, or scarcity of food, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” Romiyim/Romans 8:35
“And as He was setting out on the way, one came running, and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit everlasting life?” And Yahusha said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except One – Elohim. You know the commands, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not rob,’ ‘Respect your father and your mother.’ And he answering, said to Him, “Teacher, all these I have watched over from my youth.” And Yahusha, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One matter you lack: Go, sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven. And come, follow Me, taking up the stake.” But he, being sad at this word, went away grieved, for he had many possessions. And Yahusha, looking around, said to His taught ones, “How hard it is for those who have money to enter into the reign of Elohim!” Marqos/Mark 10:17-23
Shemini Atzeret is a one day festival occurring directly after Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) on the twenty-second day of the seventh month of the biblical calendar. It is a solemn assembly when YaHuWaH expects his people to gather together for instruction. It is also a high Sabbath day when no work is allowed.
The Eighth Day is unique in that it is the seventh of YaHuWaH’s seven annual festivals, yet it falls on the eighth day after the beginning of Sukkot, hence, its name. In biblical numerics, seven is the number of perfection or completion, while eight is the number of new beginnings or eternity. Even our number eight (8) when turned on its side is the generic symbol for eternity. Therefore, the Eighth Day is a prophetic shadow picture of the period of time that marks the conclusion of the one-thousand year long Millennium and of man’s seven thousand year tenure on this earth (of which the seven day week and the seven days of creation in Genesis one are a pattern).
YaHuWaH has given mortal man six days of six thousand years to do his own work; to do things his way. Both the seventh day and the seventh millennia (i.e., the Millennium) are Sabbaths when man ceases from all his labors to commune with YaHuWaH. During the millennial Sabbath, mortal man will have the opportunity to come to a saving knowledge of YaHuWaH Elohim and is Son, the Redeemer and Savior, Yahusha the Messiah. Those who accept Yahusha will be spared from eternal damnation (the lake of fire)—judgment against their sin—and will receive eternal life and a place in YaHuWaH’s eternal kingdom. Shemini Atzeret is a prophetic picture of YaHuWaH’s eternal kingdom that lasts forever. Scripture teaches that only those who have accepted Yahusha as their Master and Savior, have died physically and have been resurrected with glorified spiritual bodies will inhabit this spiritual kingdom.
We find this time period outlined in Revelation chapters 21 and 22 where Scripture gives us a description of the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven to a new and recreated earth. Here are some of the distinctive characteristics of this period of time that, for lack of a better term, we shall call eternity. This is a distinct and separate age that occurs after the one thousand year long Millennium. In YaHuWaH’s seven annual feasts, Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles is a prophetic shadow-picture of the Millennium, while the Eighth Day or Shemini Atzeret represents the age occurring after the close of the Millennium and will last into eternity.
Scripture gives us some characteristics of this age:
- The creation of the new heaven, new earth and the new Jerusalem is to occur at the end of the Millennium. (Hazon/Revelation 21:1–2)
- There will be no physical sun or moon there. YaHuWaH–Yahusha himself will be that light. (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 60:19–20; Hazon/Revelation 21:23; 22:5)
- There will be no more tears or mourning. (Hazon/Revelation 21:4)
- A heavenly Jerusalem will descend to the recreated earth. (Hazon/Revelation 21:2)
- New Jerusalem is approximately 1,200 hundred miles square. (Hazon/Revelation 21:16)
- A river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of Elohim and of the Lamb. (Hazon/Revelation 22:1)
- On either side of the river was the tree of life. (Hazon/Revelation 22:2)
- There is no physical temple in Jerusalem. YaHuWaH Elohim is the temple. (Hazon/Revelation 21:22)
- The streets are paved with translucent gold. (Hazon/Revelation 21:21)
The city walls contain twelve gates named after the twelve tribes of Yisra’El. (Please note, there is no Gentile gate!). (Hazon/Revelation 21:12)
It is ironic to note that considering the length of time that eternity is, Scripture has very little to say about it. Only enough details are given to cause the righteous to have a deep and longing hope for the day of its arrival. As the world continues to groan under the weight of man’s sin and depravity, and international leaders are unable to solve the world’s problems, the appeal and attraction of the New Earth and the New Jerusalem becomes greater for Believers who realize that this, in reality, is man’s only hope for the future.
A place is indeed reserved in the New Jerusalem for those believers who keep the commandments of YaHuWaH and have the faith of Yahusha (Hazon/Revelation 14:12), and who have not become spiritually defiled by false religious systems, but have stayed spiritually pure in a virginal state for Yahusha the Lamb of Elohim whom they follow wherever he goes (Hazon/Revelation 14:4–5).
None of us can really comprehend what the New Jerusalem will be like, but one things is certain: if we are redeemed from our sins by the blood of the Yahusha the Lamb and remain faithful to follow him wherever he leads, we are assured of a place in his glorious and radiant eternal kingdom.