Shmini Azteret &
Immediately following the last day of Sukkot, Hoshana Rabbah, is Shemini Atzeret- the eighth day of assembly. Shemini Atzeret a long with Simchat Torah are celebrated together on Tishrei 22 and 23.
As it is written, "On the eighth day you shall hold a solemn gathering -Atzeret; you shall not work at your occupations" (Numbers 29:35).
To understand Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, we must review a few things. First, the seven days of Passover are followed by a 49-day period of counting the omer, which climaxes with the fiftieth day of Pentecost.
The liberation of Passover is linked with the revelation and giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and the pouring of the RUACH HAKODESH, known as Shavuot . If we look at the festival cycle, Shemini Atzeret is analogous to Shavuot, which is understood to be the conclusion or atzeret to Passover . Just like Shavuot, a one-day festival, is the conclusion to Pesach, a seven-day festival, so Shemini Atzeret, a one-day festival, is the conclusion to Sukkot, a seven-day festival.
Therefore, we see that Shemini Atzeret is the eighth day -- that is the day after "seven." Seven, being a perfect number in the Bible, signifies a complete unit of time as each week ends with the seventh day called the Shabbat.
The eighth day is the day after time. It is the end of both kinds of time. It is not just the promise of redemption, but the actual moment of it. YAHUVEH said, "Remain with Me -atzeret an extra day," a time beyond time
Simchat Torah: Rejoicing in the Torah
At last comes the most joyous day of all, the day of Simchat Torah, rejoicing in the Torah. Simchat Torah is celebrated on the twenty-third of Tishrei, or the day following Shemini Atzeret. Once again, it should be noted that the Hebrew word Torah means "teaching -or instruction," for it teaches us our way of life, the kind of life YAHUVEH wants us to lead. The Torah is the foundation for understanding the entire Bible.
The Cyclical Reading of the Torah
Until the early Middle Ages, there was more than one cycle with regard to the reading of the Torah. In fact, the most widespread cycle was the triennial one, in which the reading of the Torah took three years and ended before Passover.
In modern times, the annual reading cycle became predominant. Therefore, Simchat Torah became the end of the reading cycle and thus its own festival day. As just stated, the Torah reading cycle is concluded on Simchat Torah. However, at this time, it is immediately started again from the beginning.
This shows that there is no end to the Torah, and that it must be read and studied constantly, over and over again. The Torah, like YAHUVEH Himself who gave it, is everlasting (Matthew 5:17-18).
Simchat Torah celebrates a Torah of joy, a Torah without restrictions or a sense of burden.
YAHUSHUA and Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah
Tishrei 22, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah, in ancient times were considered one long day and celebrated on Tishrei 22. Simchat Torah is a celebration of rejoicing in the Torah.
As it is written in John 7:37, "In the last day, that great day of the feast of Sukkot...."
This day would be known as Hoshana Rabbah, or Tishrei 21. In John 8:1-2, it is written, “ YAHUSHUA went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down, and taught them."
This is the next day after Hoshana Rabbah, the day attached to Sukkot called Shemini Atzeret. Once again, in ancient times that day was also called Simchat Torah, the rejoicing in the Torah. So, in John 8:5, we see YAHUSHUA, the author of the Torah, is questioned about the Torah on the day referred to as "the rejoicing in the Torah".
The Spiritual Understanding of Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah
In Deuteronomy 31:9-13, at the Feast of Sukkot , you are to read the Torah. The seventh year is called the year of release (Deuteronomy 31:10); all debts are to be forgiven at this time (Exodus 21:2; Leviticus 25:1-4; Deuteronomy 15:1-12; Jeremiah 34:8-22).
The seven years are a picture of the 7,000-year plan of YAHUVEH (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8).
The seventh year is the year of release and is a picture of the seventh day the Messianic age, the Millennium, or the Ated Lavo. YAHUSHUA referred to this in both Isaiah 61:1-3 and Luke 4:16-21. The phrase, "liberty to the captives" in Isaiah 61:1, speaks of the year of release. YAHUSHUA is saying, in essence, "I am that release. Trust in Me and you will be free.” AMEN
In the days of YAHUSHUA, there was a seven-year cycle of reading the Torah. In years one through three, the people would read from the Torah, the prophets and the writings. In years three through six, they would start over. In year seven, they would read from them all. While reading, the priest would stand on a bema and give the understanding and teaching (Nehemiah 8:1-12).
This was done during the Feast of Sukkot (Nehemiah 8:2,13-14,18).
In the future, we will experience the real Simchat Torah during the time YAHUVEH judges the believers in the Messiah according to the lives they lived on this earth. At that time, when we hear the truth of the Bible and understand YAH's Word, we will cry when we see how we have failed to keep and follow the Bible and YAHUVEH's truths.
But ELOHIM will say, "Do not sorrow, for the joy of YAHUVEH is your strength" ( Nehemiah 8:9-10).
At this time, we will not be going through the rehearsal of the festival, but we will be experiencing the "season of our joy," the time of the Messianic kingdom on earth. The reading, teaching, and understanding of the Torah will be at its height during the Messianic age, the Millennium. In Isaiah 2:1-5 and Micah 4:1-5, YAHUSHUA, the Messiah, the author and teacher of the Torah, will teach all the peoples of the earth the ways of the Torah.
Rain and Dew: ( Geshem and Tal: A Prayer for Rain)
On the festival of Shemini Atzeret, begins with a special prayer for rain (geshem). The reason for these special prayers is understandable enough if you have lived in the land of Israel.
The winter months in israel are the rain season, and the entire life of the country depends on rain. If the rains come down in their due season and in sufficient quantity, the rich soil will produce abundant crops and fruits; if not, the country is doomed to famine and starvation. During the summer months, there is no rain; it's the dry season.
During these rainless months, the earth would have been completely parched, the top soil would have turned into dust and been blown away by the wind, and the land would have turned into barren desert -- were it not for the dew that settles on the cool soil during the hours of the night, drenching the ground with the soft moisture which we know as dew and which sparkles in the early rays of the sun like pearls.
Thus, the rain in the winter and the dew in the summer are vitally needed to sustain life.
Because this chapter concludes the festivals, we will review the spiritual significance of the festivals to the individual believer in YAHUSHUA the Messiah and how they relate to HIS life.
Therefore, at this time, we can conclude with the spiritual significance of the fall festivals, especially Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah.
YAHUVEH designed the agricultural and weather seasons in Israel to parallel the life of every believer in YAHUSHUA who seeks to love Him and serve Him with all his heart. With their mind, let us examine how this is true.
Every time a person receives YAHUSHUA the Messiah as his own Savior, he spiritually experiences Passover . He is to flee Egypt -Mitzrayim; the world's evil system and ways; trust YAHUSHUA the Messiah, the Lamb of GOD; and allow YAHUSHUA to be the door of his heart.
As believers, we are then to seek to live holy lives before THE HOLY TRINITY and experience Unleavened Bread . Just as YAHUSHUA rose from the dead, we are to consider our former ways dead to us and experience the newness of life in YAHUSHUA the Messiah.
Once we do this, we can be immersed in the RUACH HAKODESH and have the power of YAHUVEH the anointing in our lives. Spiritually, we have experienced the spring harvest of Israel in our lives. When we accept YAHUSHUA into our hearts and lives, YAHUSHUA begins to teach us the Torah and show us how much He loves us, and we begin to grow in the knowledge of Him.
At that time, YAHUVEH will begin to take us on a spiritual journey through the wilderness of life. Spiritually, we will begin to experience the dry summer season of Israel. Many things in our lives will not go the way we expect them to or how we trust YAHUVEH for them to go.
In the process of experiencing life's bitter disappointments and struggles, if we keep our eyes upon YAHUSHUA He will take us from Passover to Shavuot . There He will reveal His ways and His Word, the WORD, in a deeper and more progressive way.
By keeping our eyes on the Messiah YAHUSHUA through life's struggles, YAHUVEH will not only reveal His Word and he’s way, to us in a greater way, but He also will refine our faith like fine flour, just as was done to the wheat during the days of counting the omer between Passover and Shavuot .
Meanwhile, if we put our entire trust in YAHUSHUA while on our spiritual journey in the wilderness of life as YAH refines our faith and reveals Himself to us in a greater way, then our spiritual journey will not end in the wilderness of life Hallelujah!
Instead YAHUVEH will take us forward to spiritually experience the fall festivals and our spiritual promised land.
It is when we spiritually experience the fall festivals -- especially the Feast of Tabernacles , Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah -- and enter into our spiritual promised land that YAHUVEH will anoint our lives for Him in an awesome way, as we live and serve Him, and we will then experience the greatest joy in our entire lives.
Joy unspeakable! But we will experience not only joy, but also dancing, praise, victory, peace, and the power of YAHUVEH in our lives. Spiritually, we will be experiencing the fall harvest of Israel. The rain in the bible speaks of two things: the great outpouring of precious RUACH HAKODESH and an in-depth understanding of YAHUSHUA and His Word, the Bible, in our lives.
Both the anointing of precious RUACH HAKODESH and great knowledge of spiritual truths will be present in our lives in order that we may accomplish the purpose YAHUVEH has for every one of our lives.
Therefore, we have the anointing of YAHUVEH in YAHUSHUA’s name upon our lives so we may help to do our part to build up the Body of Messiah to full maturity and to establish the Kingdom of YAHUVEH on earth until we come to that day when we will rule and reign with YAHUSHUA the Messiah, the KING OF KING's and LORD OF LORD's on earth during the Messianic age, the Millennium, and for all eternity.
The Messianic Fulfillment and Understanding
When THE HOLY TRINITY created man and put him in the Garden of Eden , the Garden of Eden was like paradise, Heaven, or the world to come, known in Hebrew as the olam haba.
However, man sinned and as a result, both man and the earth was diminished in comparison to the original glory and beauty in which it was created. As a result, YAHUVEH laid out a 7,000-year plan to restore both man and the earth back to the glory and majesty of the Garden of Eden . YAHUSHUA The Messiah was to play a central role in this redemption.
In Hosea 6:3 and Joel 2:23, the Scriptures tell us that the coming of the Messiah YAHUSHUA will be like the living rain. As previously discussed, in Israel there are the spring rains that are in the form of dew and showers, and the fall rains that make up the great rainy season. In His wisdom, YAHUVEH gave the weather season in Israel to teach about the coming of YAHUSHUA the Messiah.
Just as there are mainly spring rains and fall rains in Israel, YAHUVEH designed for two comings of the Messiah. During the first coming of the Messiah, the Messiah would fulfill the role of Messiah ben Joseph, the suffering Messiah. During His second coming, the Messiah would fulfill the role of Messiah ben David, the King Messiah. Those who would receive the Messiah in the season of His first coming would, spiritually, be like the spring rains in Israel and YAHUVEH would pour out His precious RUACH HAKODESH IMMAYAH upon all people at this time.
However, the greatest number of people who would accept YAHUSHUA the Messiah would be during the season of the fall rains in Israel, which speaks of the Messiah's second coming.
The greatest outpouring of precious RUACH HAKODESH IMMAYAH would be at this time as well.
This great outpouring of RUACH HAKODESH IMMAYAH and the knowledge of the Messiah on earth, will reach their greatest height during the Messianic age, the Millennium, and continuing into eternity.
This is what the fall rains in Israel are spiritually all about and are why YAHUVEH instructed the people to pray for rain during the festival season of Sukkot including Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.
After all, Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah were given to us by YAHUVEH to instruct us what life would be like during the Messianic age and all eternity when the knowledge of YAHUSHUA the Messiah and the Spirit of RUACH HAKODESH will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, as prophesied in the Book of Zechariah.
For YAHUSHUA the Messiah is both the Former and Latter Rain and the Teacher of Righteousness (Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23; Psalm 72:6; 84:5-6; John 3:2; Isaiah 55:10-12).
How glorious it will be to live with YAHUSHUA the Messiah during those days! This is the essence of the festivals of YAHUVEH! AMEN AMEN