THE EIGHTH DAY
For God’s people, the fall of the year ushers in the third and final Holy Day Season. The last, and also the seventh, of these annual Holy days had been commonly referred to as the ‘Last Great Day’. This has been an interpolation of Scripture that obscures the real meaning and purpose of this “Great Day”. Many in the Church refer to this day as the Last Great Day for three primary reasons, so let’s first review those reasons as we build a foundation for the true meaning of this very special day. The first reason is that we often thought of it as being the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. The second is because Christ, through the Apostle John, referred to the day as the “Great Day”. And the third reason is because the Church believed that this represented the last day of God’s salvation timetable for people of the earth. Now to set the record straight, let’s take the first reason listed above. A careful reading of Leviticus 23 reveals that at the Feast of Tabernacles, God’s people were to dwell in booths for seven days, beginning with a Holy Day. There is no instruction to dwell in booths on an eighth day, so that alone set this special day apart from the Feast of Tabernacles.
Mr. Armstrong certainly recognized this Eighth Day as a separate festival. The real meaning of the term “Last Day of the Feast” (John 7:37) is that the Eighth Day is the last of the seven Annual Feast Days, which happens to fall immediately after the seven day Feast of Tabernacles, hence simply the eighth day. It is also the “Great Day of the Feast” because it is the day that represents the culmination of the plan that is unfolding during the previous six Annual Feast Days of the year and not just because of its placement on the heels of the Feast of Tabernacles.
An important element of the real meaning of this Great Day is lost when we think of it as a time of temporary living arrangements, as at the Feast of tabernacles. Have you ever really considered the fact that we were still staying in the same motel on the Great Day as we were on the seven days of the Feast of tabernacles? When we come to understand the real meaning and purpose of the great Day, we will find a way to avoid that, since we are to dwell in ‘Booths’ for only seven days, not eight. Why is there no instruction to stay in booths on the Great Day? It is because the “Feast of Booths” is over and a separate more important festival has begun, whose meaning is far removed from anything temporary!
Now for a real eye opener, remember that the Church has consistently taught that the Eighth day’s events were a picture of resurrections here on earth. To understand the full truth, we must also add to our discussion the significance of the number eight itself. It was on the eighth day after being born that a male baby was circumcised, signifying the cutting off of sinful flesh. Thus if we add the aspect of cutting off sinful flesh on the eighth day after being born to the understanding that the Eighth Day was not celebrated in temporary dwellings, it is soon evident that this special Holy Day has something to do with a time when there will be no more temporary sinful flesh. Therefore the Eighth Day is not about a time of resurrections on this current earth, but something very different.
Using a center reference bible, we are led from Lev.23:36 directly to Jesus’ own words of John 7 and then to Rev. 22, where we find mankind dwelling with the Father and Christ at the new Heaven. Since no man can see the father and live, it is evident that these men are no longer fleshly beings, but something more permanent.
So the setting of the Eighth Day is that of a time when our earth has passed from the scene and a new Earth has arrived. Little is revealed about this “New Earth”, but since it does not yet have an ocean, it is quite apparent that it is a blank slate with no life, since it takes water to support life in all its forms.
At the same time, John sees a new Heaven in his vision, and since no fleshly beings can live there, it is obviously well beyond the time of any resurrection. It follows then that the Eighth Day has nothing to do with a time of resurrections or Judgment. This may explain why there are seven days of the feast of Tabernacles then. The first day of the feast, a Holy Day, could well represent the millennium all by itself, using the analogy of a day for a thousand years. Perhaps the other six days of the Feast are representative of an orderly set of resurrections with the seventh day of this Feast itself being symbolic of the final judgment.
The Eighth Day is the pinnacle event of all history, since there will be no more death, crying or tears in the presence of the Father and the Son. This alone makes the Eighth Day a truly great day. Some still call it the last day, yet it truly is the first great day of man’s journey as a spirit being, no longer subject to death!
So what about the new Earth? Perhaps it is a blank lifeless canvass that God will use to teach his new sons and daughters how to create an environment that can support life, and then fill it with wonderful living things. Maybe this is the training ground for us to then go out and reproduce the same thing in the ever expanding universe, thus permanent job security!
Mr. Armstrong understood that the Angels were placed on the earth to put the icing on the cake so to speak, yet failed to deliver according to God’s design. God then created man to fulfill the mission of putting the icing on the cake, the universe. This means then that the Eighth Day, the final holy Day of the year, truly is the first day of Man’s destiny, a truly great destiny of beautifying the entire universe over eons of time.
It is also significant that the Eighth Day is the seventh Holy Day of the annual festivals, placing it firmly as the final step in God’s supreme master plan when man is no longer just flesh that can die, but spirit that can live forever into the future. Since men will be in their permanent home, and in a permanent spirit body, this time very obviously has little to do with anything temporary, and a reason the Eighth Day is not part of the festival of temporary dwellings, but separate. The Eighth day is all about finally being home, truly home!