Keith Hunt - The Feast of Tabernacles #2   Restitution of All Things
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The Feast of Tabernacles #2

Last Day and the Last Great Feast

                 From the book "The Temple"
                      Alfred Edersheim


On the day before the Feast of Tabernacles - the 14th Tishri -
the festive pilgrims had all arrived in Jerusalem. The 'booths'
on the roofs, in the courtyards, in streets and squares, as well
as roads and gardens, within a Sabbath day's journey, must have
given the city and neighbourhood an unusually picturesque
appearance. The preparation of all that was needed for the
festival - purification, the care of the offerings that each
would bring, and friendly communications between those who were
to be invited to the sacrificial meal - no doubt sufficiently
occupied their time. When the early autumn evening set in, the
blasts of the priests' trumpets on the Temple Mount announced to
Israel the advent of the feast.

As at the Passover and at Pentecost, the altar of burnt-offering
was cleansed during the first night-watch, and the gates of the
Temple were thrown open immediately after midnight. The time till
the beginning of the ordinary morning sacrifice was occupied in
examining the various sacrifices and offerings that were to be
brought during the day. While the morning sacrifice was being
prepared, a priest, accompanied by a joyous procession with
music, went down to the Pool of Siloam, whence he drew water into
a golden pitcher, capable of holding three log (rather more than
two pints). But on the Sabbaths they fetched the water from a
golden vessel in the Temple itself, into which it had been
carried from Siloam on the preceding day. At the same time that
the procession started for Siloam, another went to a place in the
Kedron valley, close by, called Motza, whence they brought willow
branches, which, amidst the blasts of the priests' trumpets, they
stuck on either side of the altar of burnt-offering, bending them
over towards it, so as to form a kind of leafy canopy. Then the
ordinary sacrifice proceeded, the priest who had gone to Siloam
so timing it, that he returned just as his brethren carried up
the pieces of the sacrifice to lay them on the altar. As he
entered by the 'Watergate,' which obtained its name from this
ceremony, he was received by a threefold blast from the priests'
trumpets. The priest then went up the rise of the altar and
turned to the left, where there were two silver basins with
narrow holes - the eastern a little wider for the wine, and the
western somewhat narrower for the water. Into these the wine of
the drink-offering was poured, and at the same time the water
from Siloam, the people shouting to the priest, 'Raise thy hand,'
to show that he really poured the water into the basin which led
to the base of the altar. For, sharing the objections of the
Sadducees, Alexander Jannaeus, the Maccabean king-priest (about
95 B.C.), had shown his contempt for the Pharisees by pouring the
water at this feast upon the ground, on which the people pelted
him with their aethrogs, and would have murdered him, if his
foreign body-guard had not interfered, on which occasion no less
than six thousand Jews were killed in the Temple.

As soon as the wine and the water were being poured out, the
Temple music began, and the 'Hallel' was sung in the manner
previously prescribed, and to the accompaniment of flutes, except
on the Sabbath and on the first day of the feast, when flute
playing was not allowed, on account of the sanctity of the days.
When the choir came to these words, 'O give thanks to the Lord,'
and again when they sang, 'O work then now salvation, Jehovah;'
and once more at the close, 'O give thanks unto the Lord,' all
the worshippers shook their lulavs towards the altar. When,
therefore, the multitudes from Jerusalem, on meeting Jesus, 'cut
down branches from the trees, and strewed them in the way, and
... cried, saying, O then, work now salvation to the Son of
David,' they applied, in reference to Christ, what was regarded
as one of the chief ceremonies of the Feast of Tabernacles,
praying that God would now from 'the highest' heavens manifest
and send that salvation in connection with the Son of David,
which was symbolised by the pouring out of water. For though that
ceremony was considered by the Rabbis as bearing a subordinate
reference to the dispensation of the rain, the annual fall of
which they imagined was determined by God at that feast, its main
and real application was to the future outpouring of the Holy
Spirit, as predicted - probably in allusion to this very rite -
by Isaiah the prophet (Isa.12:3). Thus the Talmud says
distinctly: 'Why is the name of it called, The drawing out of
water? Because of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, according
to what is said: "With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells
of salvation."' Hence, also, the feast and the peculiar
joyousness of it are alike designated as those of 'the drawing
out of water;' for, according to the same Rabbinical authorities,
the Holy Spirit dwells in man only through joy.

A similar symbolism was expressed by another ceremony which took
place at the CLOSE, not of the daily, but of the festive

On every one of the seven days the priests formed procession, and
made the circuit of the Altar, singing: 'O then, now work
salvation, Jehovah! O Jehovah, give prosperity.' But on the
SEVENTH, 'that great day of the feast,' they made the circuit of
the altar seven times, remembering how the walls of Jericho had
fallen in similar circumstances, and anticipating how, by the
direct interposition of God, the walls of heathenism would fall
before Jehovah, and the land lie open for His people to go in and
possess it.

We can now in some measure realize the event recorded in John


The festivities of the Week of Tabernacles were drawing to a
close. 'It was the last day, that great day of the feast.'It
obtained this name, although it was not one of 'holy
convocation,' partly because it closed the feast, and partly from
the circumstances which procured it in Rabbinical writings the
designations of ' Day of the Great Hosannah,' on account of the
sevenfold circuit of the altar with 'Hosannah;' and 'Day of
Willows,' and 'Day of Beating the Branches,' because all the
leaves were shaken off the willow boughs, and the palm branches
beaten in pieces by the side of the altar. It was on that day,
after the priest had returned from Siloam with his golden
pitcher, and for the last time poured its contents to the base of
the altar; after the 'Hallel' had been sung to the sound of the
flute, the people responding and worshipping as the priests three
times drew the threefold blasts from their silver trumpets - just
when the interest of the people had been raised to its highest
pitch, that, from amidst the mass of worshippers, who were waving
towards the altar quite a forest of leafy branches as the last
words of Psa.118 were chanted - a voice was raised which
resounded through the Temple, startled the multitude, and carried
fear and hatred to the hearts of their leaders. It was Jesus, who
stood and cried, saying, 'If any man thirst, let him come unto
Me, and drink.' Then by faith in Him should each one truly become
like the Pool of Siloam, and from his inmost being 'rivers of
living waters flow' (John 7:38). 'This spake He of the Spirit,
which they that believe on Him should receive.' Thus the
significance of the rite, in which they had just taken part, was
not only fully explained, but the mode of its fulfilment pointed
out. The effect was instantaneous. It could not but be, that in
that vast assembly, so suddenly roused by being brought face to
face with Him in whom every type and prophecy is fulfilled, there
would be many who, 'when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth
this is the Prophet.' Others said, 'This is the Christ' Even the
Temple-guard, whose duty it would have been in such circumstances
to arrest one who had so interrupted the services of the day, and
presented himself to the people in such a light, owned the spell
of His words, and dared not to lay hands on Him. 'Never man spake
like this man,' was the only account they could give of their
unusual weakness, in answer to the reproaches of the chief
priests and Pharisees. 
The rebuke of the Jewish authorities, which followed, is too
characteristic to require comment. One only of their number had
been deeply moved by the scene just witnessed in the Temple.     
Yet, timid as usually, Nicodemus only laid hold of this one
point, that the Pharisees had traced the popular confession of
Jesus to their ignorance of the law, to which he replied, in the
genuine Rabbinical manner of arguing, without meeting one's
opponent face to face 'Doth our law judge any man before it hear
him, and know what he doeth?'

But matters were not to end with the wrangling of priests and
Pharisees. The proof which Nicodemus had invited them to seek
from the teaching and the miracles of Christ was about to be
displayed both before the people and their rulers in the healing
of the blind man..... 

Only the first of the seven days of this feast was 'a holy
convocation;' the other six were 'minor festivals.' On each day,
besides the ordinary morning and evening sacrifices, the festive
offerings prescribed in Numb.29:12-38 were brought. The Psalms
sung at the drink-offering after the festive sacrifices (or
Musaph, as they are called), were, for the first day of the
feast,; for the second, Psa. xxix.; for the third, Psa.
1; from ver.16; for the fourth, Psa. xciv., from ver.16; for the
fifth, Psa. xciv., from ver.8; for the sixth, Psa. lxxxi., from
ver.6; for the last day of the feast, Psa. lxxxii., from ver.5.
As the people retired from the altar at the close of each day's
service, they exclaimed, 'How' beautiful art thou, O altar!' All
the four-and-twenty orders of the priesthood were engaged in the
festive offerings, which were apportioned among them according to
definite rules, which also fixed how the priestly dues were to be
divided among them. 
Lastly, on every sabbatical year the Law was to be publicly read
on the first day of the feast (Deut.31:10-13. In later times only
certain portions were read, the law as a whole being sufficiently
known from the weekly prelections in the synagogue).

On the AFTERNOON of the SEVENTH day of the FEAST the people began
to REMOVE from the 'booths.' For at the OCTAVE, on the 22nd of
Tishri, they LIVED NO LONGER IN BOOTHS, nor did they use the
lulav. But it was observed as 'a holy convocation ;' and the
festive sacrifices prescribed in Numb.29:36-38 were offered,
although no more by all the twenty-four courses of priests, and
finally the 'Hallel' sung at the drink-offering.

It will have been observed that the two most important ceremonies
of the Feast of Tabernacles - the pouring out of water and the
illumination of the Temple - were of post-Mosaic origin. and
According to Jewish tradition, the pillar of cloud by day and of
fire by night had first appeared to Israel on the 15th of Tishri,
the first day of the feast. On that day also Moses was said to
have come down from the Mount, and announced to the people that
the Tabernacle of God was to be reared among them. We know that
the dedication of Solomon's Temple and the descent of the
Shechinah took place at this feast (1 Kings 8; 2 Chron.7). Nor
can we greatly err finding an allusion to it in this description
of heavenly things: 'After this I beheld, and, lo, a great
multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and
kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and
before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their
hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God,
which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb' (Rev.7:9,10)...


End of quotes from Edersheim

What MOST MISS (including Edersheim) is John chapter 8 and verses
1 and 2. Jesus departed from the Temple, went to the mount of

Jesus came AGAIN back into the Temple the NEXT MORNING, which was
the EIGHTH day, or as Edersheim put it, the OCTAVE. This was a
DIFFERENT FEAST, and NOT part of the Feast of Tabernacles. The
BOOTHS were dismantled on the afternoon of the 7th day of the
feast of Tabernacles, the last "great day" of THAT feast, as
Edersheim has rightly explained from Jewish recorded history.

The NEXT day was ANOTHER Festival altogether. Edersheim in his
book "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah" gives Biblical and
Jewish proofs that this EIGHTH day or OCTAVE, was indeed ANOTHER
feast and NOT a part of the feast of Tabernacles.

Jesus made every effort to be there in the Temple to teach and
preach and do the works of God, the VERY NEXT DAY AFTER the feast
of Tabernacles. This shows, contrary to what some would have us
believe, He was observant in keeping the Festivals of the Lord.

From John 8:1 to through to John 10:21 was ALL on this OCTAVE
day, the day AFTER the seven day feast of Tabernacles. Notice
John 9:14. There is NO "the" in the Greek. It should read: "And
it was Sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his
Yes, it was Sabbath of the eighth or octave day, the day AFTER
the last or seventh day of the feast of Tabernacles. See Lev.23
and how that day was to be a Sabbath of rest.

The whole account of what took place and the words of Jesus on
this day is very significant. It is the wonderful truth that
Jesus will give LIGHT and people will SEE the words of the Bible,
the books will be opened, and those who were in spiritual
darkness, never having been granted an insight and calling to
salvation in their physical life time, will be raised from the
dead and will have the books of the Bible opened to them and the
book of Life also. It will be an age when the great white throne
judgment will be given to the vast majority of mankind, who never
were given spiritual sight before (Rev.20).

All of this is explained in detail under the study called "The
Great White Throne Judgment" - the Last Great Feast of the Lord.

Keith Hunt

Entered on this Website, October 2003

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