After a long, dry period of summer we come to the fall moedim. These fall festivals include Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. These moedim picture the second coming of Messiah.
Yom Teruah (the Day of Trumpet Blasts) marks the beginning of the fall festivals. Scripture records G-d's commandment of this festival in Leviticus 23:
"Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.'"
This moed begins with the new moon of the seventh month (known in today's Hebrew calendar as Tishrei. The day is celebrated with the blowing of trumpets (ram's horns known as shofarim). In the same way Messiah's future return will be heralded with the sound of the great trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16).
Traditionally this day is also known as the "day of judgment" when G-d judges all of mankind. We can see in Scripture the future prophecy that Messiah will judge mankind upon His return (Matthew 25:31-46, Acts 17:31, Romans 2:14-16, 2 Timothy 4:1, 1 Corinthians 11:32, Revelation 16:5, 19:11). Revelation provides some details regarding Judgment Day:
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
An important aspect of this moed is that it has been traditionally referred to as the day of which "no man knows the hour or the day". This festival is the only one that is dependant upon the sighting of the new moon. In Messiah's day nobody knew the day or the hour that the moon would be sighted. That should give us a clue regarding the expression He used in Matthew 24:36 when He spoke of His return.
Yom Kippur means "Day of Atonement". This moed falls nine days after Yom Teruah on the tenth of the month. The commandment for this moed is given in Exodus 30:
"Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once a year; he shall make atonement on it with the blood of the sin offering of atonement once a year throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD."
Atonement has two meanings: the first is "a covering" and the second is "reconciliation". When Messiah returns He will reconcile all the people of Isra'el (Jew and Gentile believers alike) with G-d. This reconciliation was destined from the beginning of time (Revelation 13:8 tells us that those whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will worship the beast).
Scripture refers to this moed as a chukat olam, an "eternal command". It is called an "eternal command" three times in the span of six verses (Leviticus 16:29, 31, 34). This moed must be of great significance if it is mentioned three times in quick succession like that. It has been suggested that this "day of atonement" is the culmination of the entire purpose of Creation: reconciliation with G-d.
Sukkot is the Hebrew word used to describe the temporary shelters that are erected during this moed. It is also known as the Feast of Tabernacles. The moed is commanded in Leviticus 23:
"Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths [Hebrew: sukkot] for seven days to the LORD.
Five days after Yom Kippur is when this moed begins. It serves as a reminder of the first redemption of G-d of his people Isra'el from the land of Egypt. It also serves as a picture of the future redemption of his people Isra'el (i.e. believers) and the period of time when He will dwell among us and reign and rule for a thousand years (see Revelation 20). It is also a picture of the future time when G-d will spread His tabernacle over us (Revelation 7:15).
This particular moed pictures the double blessing of both of Messiah's time with us on earth: it provides a picture of his birth when He tabernacled among us (John 1:14) and when we will tabernacle with Him once again (Revelation 21:3). Once again Scripture refers to this as a chukat olam, an "eternal command".
Believers in Messiah can consider all of these fall moedim as "dress rehearsals" for the actual events that we so longingly await... Messiah's return, the completed redemption, and our dwelling with him as He reigns and rules over all mankind.
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