I’m working on a larger project in regards to one of the biblical holy days, and I want to capture my thoughts as I can before putting them all together. There are some misconceptions, I believe, when we look at the length of, say, the Feast of Tabernacles, and say that it is one week long because it represents a thousand years. However, there is no biblical basis for doing so.
We understand that the weekly cycle of six work days followed by a day of rest probably represents 6,000 years of the rule of mankind while rejecting God, followed by a 1,000 year period of rest during the Millennium. We get this idea from the Bible itself.
4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
~ Ps 90:4
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
~ 2Pe 3:8
So, the idea that a seven day week represents a period of a thousand years is not supported by Scripture. Furthermore, if it did, then what would the seven Days of Unleavened Bread represent? What thousand year period corresponds to it? Therefore, it is also illogical.
Number 7 in Scripture
According to BibleStudy.org “Meaning of Numbers in the Bible: The Number 7“:
Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). It derives much of its meaning from being tied directly to God’s creation of all things.
According to GotQuestions.org “What is the biblical significance of the number seven/7?“:
The first use of the number 7 in the Bible relates to the creation week in Genesis 1. God spends six days creating the heavens and the earth, and then rests on the seventh day….
Thus, right at the start of the Bible, the number 7 is identified with something being “finished” or “complete.” From then on, that association continues, as 7 is often found in contexts involving completeness or divine perfection.
According to BibleTools.org “Bible verses about Seven Thunders“:
One other detail remains: The child sneezed seven times. The number seven—used multiple times in the Bible—is notable for signifying completion, totality, perfection. The book of Revelation contains numerous groups of sevens: lampstands, stars, angels, churches, spirits, eyes, seals, trumpets, plagues, bowls, thunders, heads, crowns, mountains and kings. Solomon uses the number seven to show a complete list of things God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19). Sacrifices are often in groups of seven (Leviticus 23:18; I Chronicles 15:26). Scripture includes numerous other references to seven.
And, Bullinger states in his commentary on “Number in Scripture“:
It is seven, therefore, that stamps with perfection and completeness that in connection with which it is used. Of time, it tells of the Sabbath, and marks off the week of seven days, which, artificial as it may seem to be, is universal and immemorial in its observance amongst all nations and in all times. It tells of that eternal Sabbath-keeping which remains for the people of God in all its everlasting perfection….
Another meaning of the root (ba#$af (Shavagh) is to swear, or make an oath. It is clear from its first occurrence in Genesis 21:31, “They sware both of them,” that this oath was based upon the “seven ewe lambs” (vv 28,29,30), which point to the idea of satisfaction or fulness in an oath. It was the security, satisfaction, and fulness of the obligation, or completeness of the bond, which caused the same word to be used for both the number seven and an oath; and hence it is written, “an oath for confirmation is an end of all strife.” Beer-sheba, the well of the oath, is the standing witness of the spiritual perfection of the number seven.
I think you get the idea. The number seven is a number of a perfect cycle, of completion and of the entirety of a matter.
So, lending this to the meaning of the holy days, we see something that should be interesting. The DUB are about the putting out of sin in our lives. However, since it is seven days, it should picture the utter and complete putting out of sin from our lives! Our part is not filled, not complete, not perfect, during our entire lives. It takes us enduring until the end, until death.
Still, though, that falls short, for seven is not just completion but divine perfection. It is God’s plan during 7,000 years to rid all sin and evil from the earth. IOW, the week represents how God is working during the entire 7,000 year period of His plan!
This is important. Notice how Passover immediately precedes the DUB? What does that represent? If the 7 days represent the 7,000 years of God’s plan, then Passover precedes it because God’s plan was conceived before the age of man.
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
~ 1Pe 1:19-20
Likewise, the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles (FOT) does not represent a thousand year period, although the FOT itself does. The seven days represents the goal that God is working toward, which is re-establishing His rule over the earth and establishing His family. It will be the divine completion of the longest running portion of His plan and the establishing of His kingdom over Satan’s and man’s alike.
So, what does the “eighth day”, sometimes called the “Last Great Day”, following it mean? It is after the 7,000 years of man, and that fits well into the meaning of the day, the second resurrection, which will occur after Satan’s final rebellion.
The spring feasts look behind, and the fall feasts are forward-looking. We intuitively understand this, but it gets obscured when we don’t look at the placement of Passover and the LGD in accordance to the seven days representing the entire 7,000 rule of mankind.
This suggests the main difference between how we view things and how the ancients, especially ancient Israel, would have viewed things. We look at the holy days as an outline, but that outline is only generally in chronological order. We view them as events instead of looking at them as processes.
Modern English speakers have a similar issue when it comes to the idea of birth. We view conception and birth as events. In fact, ancient Hebrew thinking would not even have viewed death necessarily as a single event.
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
~ Ge 2:17
Did Adam literally die “in the day” he ate the fruit? No, but he and Eve began a process in which death became inevitable. Symbolically, however, Adam did die within the first “day”, as he died when he was “only” 930 years (Ge 5:8), 70 years short of 1,000 years, which is a prophetic “day”.
Evangelicals like to run around saying they are “born again”. However, HWA addressed that several times, pointing out that the event of being born again is the resurrection! We are only now begotten. However, in the Greek, these words are the same! That’s because conception, pregnancy and birth were considered a process.
The 7,000 year plan of God is a process. The meanings of the holy days remain the same, as we should focus upon certain aspects of the overall plan of God! However, we should not forget the larger plan when we do so!
That does not mean, of course, that events are not tied to the feast days, for that would make them meaningless. However, it should make us focus on the relationship of these events to the overall plan of God.
Most of the single holy days not tied to either seven day period actually do picture events. The Feast of Trumpets focuses upon the “last trump”, picturing the return of Christ. Christ is the central theme of this day. We should not take our eyes off of His return.
Likewise, the Day of Atonment pictures another event. It pictures the triumph of good over evil by putting away the author of sin before the 1,000 year period can begin.
Chronologically, these things make sense. Does that mean that Pentecost pictures an event? Actually, no, it does not. It is tied to the seven day period of the DUB by the very fact that we have to count from the wave sheaf offering during the DUB to come up with the correct date for it. There is, however, a more direct and intimate relationship between these feasts.
Pentecost pictures the process of the perfecting of the saints. The priest takes the barley from the wave sheaf offering and makes it into two loaves of bread. Interestingly, the loaves are leavened, which is not normally done for sacrifices (Lev 2:11). This is because only Christ was totally without sin. What is interesting, however, is that once a loaf of bread is baked, i.e., put through the fire, the yeast is killed.
Why two loaves? While outside of the scope of this article, it should be pointed out that there are two main thoughts about these, not necessarily exclusive. First, one is the OT “church”, that is Israel, and the other is the NT Church. The second theory is that one is Israel and the other gentile. However, since the OT “church” was Israel, these two ideas are not so far from each other.
What does Pentecost represent historically. We call it the birth of the Church, but even that was only possible through the of the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ disciples on Pentecost after His ascension.
Pentecost is the middle holy day, separated seven weeks on one side, and just a little longer on the other side. It is in the middle. The Holy Spirit is the key to whole plan. Without the Holy Spirit, we would never make it into the Kingdom! It is the lynch pin of the plan.
However, doesn’t Pentecost also represent a harvest? Yes, it does. However, it also represents the beginning of the harvest because the granting of the Holy Spirit is a beginning and not an end!
IOW, it is tied to the seven day feast before it, and it too represents a process. It is a time that we focus upon God’s giving of the seed of the Law, giving of the seeds of the Spirit and the final harvest alike. It represents the process, and we should not lose sight of the larger picture going on here.
The idea even that a harvest is an event shows our postmodern ignorance of agriculture. Farmers harvest various crops throughout the year. Many crops have a first, second and final harvest, such as green beans do not come in all at the same time. The entire thing is a process just like conception, pregnancy and birth is a process.
This is why insisting upon interpreting the Bible through a postmodern lens can lead to confusion. If Pentecost purely is viewed as an event, then we easily conclude that Christ would have to return on Pentecost. However, that ignores not only the fact that Christ’s return is accompanied by seven entire trumpets, and there is only one holy day that is devoted to trumpets, but it ignores the fact that more than one event is tied to Pentecost.
We need to focus upon what we should focus upon on the appropriate holy day, else there becomes a domino effect in misinterpreting other prophetic events.
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
~ 2Pe 1:20
Whenever someone rises up with some sort of “new truth” and a different interpretation of prophecy, we should carefully weigh Peter’s words. It is one thing to come up with deeper understanding over time on things we already know, but it is something else to become a heretic.