The Appointed Times of YHVH in the Millennial Kingdom
It is believed that only one of the appointed times of the Creator will remain for observance during the Millennial Kingdom and all others will be annulled. The proof for this is taken from Zech 14:16-19 where only Chag Sukkot (the Festival of the Booths) of all appointed times of YHVH is mentioned for observance in the Millennial Kingdom that will be established with the coming of the long-awaited Messiah of Israel.
The argument for this claim is that the prophecy speaks only of Sukkot and remains silent on the absence of the other appointed times of YHVH. And this is the whole point which we will make here: the argument from silence is not an argument at all.
Therefore, in order to properly understand the prophecy in Zechariah 14, we first need to understand what it does say and more importantly — what it does not say.
Sukkot in the Millennial Kingdom
We read thus from Zechariah,
And it shall be that all who are left from all the nations which came up against Yerushalayim, shall go up from year to year to bow themselves to the King, Yehovah of hosts, and to celebrate Chag Sukkot. And it shall be, that if anyone of the clans of the earth does not come up to Yerushalayim to bow himself to the King, Yehovah of hosts, on them there is to be no rain. And if the clan of Egypt does not come up and enter in, then there is no rain. On them is the plague with which Yehovah plagues the nations who do not come up to celebrate Chag Sukkot. This is the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to celebrate Chag Sukkot. (Zec 14:16-19)
The context of Zechariah 14 is as follows: all nations will be gathered together by Elohim against Jerusalem for the Last War of this world. The city will be taken and plundered (Zec 14:1-2), but the Elohim of Israel will appear with His heavenly armies to defeat those nations (Zec 14:3-5, Zec 14:12-15) and establish His Millennial Kingdom here on the earth. From Jerusalem a stream of salvation and blessing will pour over the whole land of Israel (Zec 14:6-11). But those nations will not be utterly destroyed. A remnant of the nations that had come up against Jerusalem will be required to come every year to Jerusalem to observe the Festival of the Booths (Zec 14:16-19), and Jerusalem and Israel will become thoroughly set-apart to YHVH (Zec 14:20-21).
The possible three scenarios concerning the Last War of the world, aka the Third World War, or as the Scripture has called it the War of Gog of Magog, we studied in the series of articles concerning the prophecy in Ezekiel and Zechariah: The Two Scenarios for the War of Gog of Magog, A Third Scenario for the War of Gog of Magog, The War of Gog of Magog and the Burden of Damascus, and Which War of Gog of Magog will Israel Choose?
So, what does the prophecy say and what it does not say?
The prophecy indeed says that Chag Sukkot (the Festival of the Booths) will be observed by Israel and the nations in the Millennial Kingdom and indeed it is the only appointed time of YHVH mentioned in the prophecy among all others.
And the reason for this is that Chag Sukkot (the Festival of the Booths) is the greatest festival of rejoicing among all appointed times of YHVH on account of its internal significance as a festival of thanksgiving for the gracious protection of Israel in the Exodus from Egypt and the nation’s introduction into the Promised Land with blessings, by which it foreshadowed the blessings in the Millennial Kingdom of YHVH.
Chag Sukkot (the Festival of the Booths) will be observed by the nations not because they have come to believe in the living Elohim of Israel and thank him for His grace, but as an obligation to come up before the Lord and bow down to Him as an act of respect. The punishment for neglecting to present themselves before the King in Jerusalem will be the withholding of rain.
Moreover, we must not derive that at the time of the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom of Elohim all nations that will remain after the war will worship the true Creator YHVH Elohim, but the thought is simply this: there will then be no longer room for heathenism in the Kingdom of Elohim.
The Egyptians are mentioned, by way of example, as those on whom the punishment will fall. The prophecy mentions Egypt particularly, not because of the fact that this land owes its fertility to the rain, because its fertility comes from the overflowing of the Nile, but because this nation was the first that showed hostility to His people.
Therefore, by way of example, Egypt is a punishment that is on all nations that have done evil to Israel, but also, by way of example, is a blessing if that nation comes for the appointed time of YHVH — Sukkot.
With this we are coming to the conclusion of what the prophecy does and does not say. It does say that the festival of Sukkot will be observed in the Millennial Kingdom, but it does not say it will be the only appointed time that will be observed. The prophecy does not say that!
The prophecy does not say either that the nations will be converted to the Lord, otherwise why it would be even mentioned that the new converts might not come to worship Elohim, but simply that they will be required to come in Jerusalem for the festival. That these nations that will survive the War of Gog of Magog most likely are not converts is seen in the fact that they will come up again against Jerusalem at the end of the Millennial Kingdom when they will be this time utterly destroyed. This we too studied in the articles concerning the War of Gog of Magog.
Therefore, is Chag Sukkot (the Festival of the Booths) the only festival that will be observed in the Millennial Kingdom? To answer conclusively this question, we will need a second witness to establish the truth. This witness we find in the Book of Ezekiel and more particularly the last nine chapters regarding the building of the Third Temple and the reenactment of the Temple service with some new details, and the reestablishment of the Torah of YHVH. This we studied in the article “The Third Temple and the Messiah“.
The Third Temple in Ezekiel
The last nine chapters of Ezekiel contain a vision, in which the prophet is shown the Third Temple of YHVH and the service of Elohim, with the new division of the Land among the tribes of Israel and righteous converts.
The vision shown to the prophet commences with the description and measuring of the outer and inner courtyard of the Temple (Ezekiel 40) and the Temple and the most Set-apart place where the Ark of the Covenant is (Ezekiel 41).
The central portion of this vision is occupied by the new organization of the service of Elohim which the priesthood is to perform (Ezekiel 43:13-46:24) and concludes with the setting of the boundaries and the division of the Promised Land among the twelve tribes, and building of the new Jerusalem (Ezekiel 47:13-48:35).
Why is it important to consider the prophecy of the Millennial Temple in Ezekiel, but to see the truth that the Torah of YHVH and the Temple service have never been abolished, as so many people believe today contrary to the words of the Messiah in His first address to the nation of Israel in the Sermon on the Mount.
As we have stated in other occasions, the reason why we do not perform today the Torah to the fullest detail is not because it has been done away with, but because its observance can only be performed after the arrival of the Priest after the order of Malkitsedek (the righteous king), that is the Messiah, and the building of the Millennial Temple. When this comes to its fulfillment, then the Torah and the Temple will be restored for the worship of YHVH, which is the subject of the prophecy in Ezekiel.
This worship is described in the vision (Ezekiel 43:13-46:24) as the offering of sacrifice according to the Torah and in accordance with the leading instructions concerning the sacrifices in harmony with the new circumstances of the Millennial Kingdom.
As the Temple service after the building of the Tabernacle commenced with the consecration of the altar, so the description of the new worship commences with the consecration of the altar of burnt-offering. From a comparison of the Temple service in Ezekiel with that of the first five books of the Tanak (the Torah), we observe some distinctions. These distinctions will not be subject of this study.
According to the Christian scholars, as far as the distinctions are concerned, there are significant changes in the sacrifices in “the Mosaic law” that are abolished, diminished, or omitted in the Millennial Temple service in Ezekiel.
To do justice to the meaning of these changes, we must keep in mind the idea of the cycle of the appointed times of YHVH.
The Torah consists of a cycle of feast days and festal seasons regulated according to the number seven, which had its root in the weekly Sabbath established with the first week of the creation.
As Elohim created the universe in six days and ended the creation on the seventh day by blessing and set it apart for resting from His works, so also were His people to set apart every seventh day of the week to Him by resting from all work. (Read more)
And, like the seventh day of the week, so also was the seventh month of the year to be set apart for the autumnal appointed times, as a month of rest, and every seventh year to be a sabbatical year.
Into this cycle of appointed times, arranged according to the number seven, the annual days of the Creator are so fit that the number of these appointed times amount to seven:
- Chag HaMatzot (Feast of Unleavened Bread) — (Lev 23:6-8)
- Bikkurim (First-fruits) — (Lev 23:9-14)
- Chag Shavuot (Feast of the Weeks) — (Lev 23:15-22)
- Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpet) — (Lev 23:23-25)
- Yom Kippurim (Day of Atonements) — (Lev 23:26-32)
- Chag Sukkot (Feast of Booths) — (Lev 23:33-44)
- Yom HaShemini (The Eight Day) — (Lev 23:36-39).
Apart from this pattern is the weekly Shabbath (Lev 23:3) distinguished from the others in its own recognition as a special day of YHVH.
Therefore, we count seventy set-apart appointed times of YHVH in the Biblical year and they are:
- fifty-two weekly Shabbats,
- seven days of Unleavened Breads (First-fruits included)
- Yom Teruah,
- Yom Kippurim,
- seven days of Sukkot
- and Yom HaShemini.
This we studied in Introduction to the Appointed Times of YHVH.
The stumbling block before the Christian scholars is the presupposition that since the Torah was abolished once at the first coming of the Messiah, it must have been abolished again at His second coming (if that makes sense at all).
Hence, they see the detailed description of the Temple service in Ezekiel as a new law that has superseded “the law of Moses”.
In addition to this obstacle is the failure of so many scholars to see through the obvious truth that the Torah of YHVH is everlasting and it is a command and it is incumbent upon us to observe it throughout all our generations (unless someone says the generations will cease with the commencement of the Millennial Kingdom), or as the Messiah says it even more simply “utill the heaven and the earth pass away, one yud or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah until all be done (Mat 5:18)” (unless someone says the heaven and the earth will pass away with commencement of the Millennial Kingdom).
Our argument against this absurd is that this detailed description of the Temple service is just that: a description of the Temple service, not a law. The question why YHVH has made some changes in the Temple service in the Millennial Kingdom is actually out of question. He does what it pleases Him according to His will and plan.
We just must be sure we do not add to nor subtract from His Word, Deu 4:2: Do not add to the Word which I command you, and do not take away from it … See also Deu 12:32, Pro 30:6, and Rev 22:18-19.
Neither are we to subtract from His Torah because something that has been omitted, nor are we to add to His Torah our private interpretation into this omission. Simply put, just because a festival is not mentioned that does not mean it has been abolished.
In the Millennial Temple service, the weekly Sabbath does indeed form the foundation of all the appointed times, and the sighting of the new moon corresponds to this. The number of the annual appointed times is not reduced at all, although the nine chapters in Ezekiel do not explicitly list all of them.
Chag Shavuot (the Festival of the Weeks), Yom Teruah (the Day of Trumpets), Yom Kippurim (the Day of Atonement), and Yom HaShemini (The Eight Day) are not mentioned in Ezekiel. But does that mean they have been taken out from the Torah? Again, the argument from silence is not an argument at all.
But, has He indeed not mentioned them?
We keep on reading from Ezekiel,
And they are to stand as judges in a dispute, and judge it according to My judgments and they are to guard My instructions and My decrees in all My appointed times, and set apart My Sabbaths. (Eze 44:24)
And if this verse is not saying it convincingly enough, there is another one:
And on the prince are the burnt offerings, and the grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the festival, the new moons, the sabbaths in all the appointed times of the house of Israel. He is to prepare the sin offering, and the grain offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel. (Eze 45:17)
The command in the Millennial kingdom is still: they are to guard My instructions and My decrees in all My appointed times, and set apart My Sabbaths, as it has been since the revelation of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
This article is a part of series of articles dedicated to the Appointed Times of YHVH. For more knowledge of the set-apart days of the Creator and how His Messiah Yeshua has fulfilled them, please, visit The Appointed Times of YHVH.
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.