Daniel 9:24f, Succot and Shemini Atzerat #1
Note: My appreciation to Dr. Dallas Burdette for inserting the Hebrew into the article, and for making some helpful editorial comments.
Also, my thanks to Robert Cruickshank, my “PDF Guy” for sending me some of the PDFs that I cite.
At the Preterist Pilgrim Weekend of 2013, I presented a lesson on the fulfillment of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 as the consummation of Israel’s festal calendar. I presented the idea that Daniel’s great prophecy is in fact based on the festal paradigm, and that this “solved” the conundrum of a “gap” in the prophetic countdown. It also proves that all prophecy, including the coming of the Lord, the judgment and resurrection had to take place no later than the destruction of Jerusalem that is set forth by Daniel 9:26-27 as the time of “the end” i.e. the end of the seventy weeks. (PPW 2013 is available in DVD, MP3, or for download from my websites).
In that presentation I presented the following thoughts:
Passover is alluded to when Daniel 9:26 says Messiah would be cut off.
Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement (י?וֹם הַכִּפֻּרִ?ים, yômʹ hak·kip·pu·rîmʹ ) – is clearly alluded to when we are told that “seventy weeks are determined…to make the atonement.”
Rosh Ha Shanah – This is the feast that anticipated the judgment. It is depicted in Daniel 9:26-27 in the prediction that the city and the sanctuary would be destroyed.
It is to be noted that in Colossians 2:16-17 Paul refers to the “new moons” festival as still, when he wrote, a shadow of “the good things about to come.” The “new moon” festival was distinctively Rosh Ha Shanah, since it alone had to start on the New Moon. Thus, Paul was clearly saying that Rosh Ha Shanah had not been fulfilled, and Daniel 9 was predicting the fulfillment of Rosh Ha Shanah– in AD 70.
Paul did NOT say that the Law had been nailed to the cross, and, he did NOT say that the ceremonial laws had been nailed to the cross, as is commonly claimed. In fact, the most common claim, that Colossians 2 says that the ceremonial laws were what was nailed to the cross, is emphatically and undeniably refuted! Paul said that the “New moons, feast days and Sabbaths” remained as valid shadows when he wrote! So, again, they had NOT been nailed to the cross. Those “ceremonial” laws of the feast days were still shadows of the coming better things when Paul wrote. They could not have been valid shadows of the coming better things if they had been abrogated, nailed to the cross!
In my presentation, I also demonstrated that the angel told Daniel that, “transgression will be completed” referred to the filling up of the measure of sin, and that this one element alone falsifies the idea that the seventy weeks ended circa AD 34-25– as claimed by Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar, and others. When Paul and Revelation – not to mention Jesus himself, posited the filling up of the measure of sin by the killing of the apostles and prophets of Jesus, (Matthew 23:29-37 / 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 / Revelation 17-18), which took place well after AD 34-35, then it is untenable to say that the seventy weeks ended in AD 34-35.
Not only that, but the fact that Daniel 9 foretold the arrival of everlasting righteousness within and no later than the end of the weeks proves that the seventy weeks did not end in AD 34-35. As we shall see, while Christ laid the foundation of that New Creation through his resurrection, nonetheless, the NT writers, writing well after AD 34-35 were still anticipating the arrival of the promised world of righteousness. And it would arrive at the parousia, (known as the Second Coming) the judgment and the resurrection. Very clearly therefore, the end of the seventy weeks is tied inextricably to the parousia, the judgment and the resurrection. It is specious therefore to claim that the seventy weeks ended in AD 34-35.
As a point of interest, although it is not probative as such, I have a friend in Israel who is considered a world class Hebrew scholar. His sons and sons in law are also chief rabbis in various synagogues in different cities. When I shared my thoughts on the relationship between Daniel 9 and the fulfillment of Israel’s feast days, he shared it with his sons, and several other leading rabbbis. He reported to me that none of them had ever heard or read of such a suggestion. However, he told me that some of them were very intrigued by the suggestion, stating that it is very plausible and has the appearance of being textually based.
The more I have studied Daniel 9 in light of Israel’s festal calendar the more convinced I have become that these connections are solid, sound and true. In this article I want to share with you a tiny bit more of my research into this fascinating – and highly significant idea. Let me just say that if what I propose is correct then the full preterist view of prophecy – Covenant Eschatology – is fully vindicated: the Lord’s coming, the New Creation, the resurrection and the kingdom all came in AD 70.
I want to focus on the last of Israel’s three end times feast days, the Feast of Succot (סֻכּוֹת sukkô?), known also as the Feast of Harvest, Feast of In-Gathering, and Feast of Tabernacles (חַ?ג הַסֻּכּ?וֹת , ?a?ʹ has·suk·kô?ʹ) etc. with an additional comment or two on Shemini Atzerat.
According to virtually all scholarship, both Jewish and historical, the Feast of Harvest not only celebrated God’s past provisions for Israel during her first Exodus, it foreshadowed her final deliverance at the end of the age, the time of the resurrection and the kingdom when the nations of the world would be invited into Israel’s salvation and with her, celebrate that salvation. (This is based in large part on several prophecies in Isaiah as well as Zechariah 14).
Succot thus anticipated the kingdom, the resurrection, the New Creation. And that means that it anticipated the coming in of everlasting righteousness which was foretold by Daniel 9:24– “Seventy weeks are determined….to bring in everlasting righteousness.” To express it as simply as possible:
The parousia of Christ, the judgment and resurrection would bring in the world of righteousness- the New Creation.
The last three feast days of Israel’s festal calendar – specifically Succot and Shemini – foreshadowed, i.e. foretold, the coming of the world of righteousness.
Daniel 9:24-27 anticipated the bringing in of everlasting righteousness.
Therefore, Daniel 9:24-27 in its anticipation of the coming of everlasting righteousness, looked to the final fulfillment of the last three feast days of Israel’s festal calendar.
Daniel 9:24-27 in its anticipation of the coming of everlasting righteousness, looked to the final fulfillment of the last three feast days of Israel’s festal calendar.
Since the terminus of Daniel 9:26-27 and the seventy weeks was the destruction of the city and the sanctuary of Jerusalem, this demands that the parousia, the judgment and resurrection to bring in the world of righteousness- the New Creation– was to be no later than the destruction of the city and the sanctuary of Jerusalem– in AD 70. We shall further vindicate this as we proceed.
Side Bar: Make no mistake: Christ is the righteousness of God (1 Corinthians 1:30) and in him alone we find and are made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21 – See Dr. Dallas Burdette’s excellent discussion of this in his Commentary on Daniel, (Xulon Press, 2016), 367+).
It is a mistake, however, to believe that the everlasting world of righteousness was fully revealed and established during the Lord’s incarnation, at the cross or at the Lord’s resurrection. Did Jesus begin the revelation of that coming world of righteousness and did the apostles proclaim that righteousness is found in Christ? Absolutely! Of this there is no question or doubt. The issue is, when would the everlasting righteousness foretold by Daniel be fully established? Daniel informs us that it would be within, no later than, the completion of the seventy weeks. (Note also that everlasting righteousness would be brought in, not terminated, not cease, CF. Isaiah 42:1-6)!
What we need to see is that while the NT writers affirm that with the preaching of the Gospel righteousness was being made available – see Paul’s extensive discussion in Romans 5 – that was a process begun, guaranteed by the gifts of the Spirit, to be perfected and completed at the parousia and resurrection. Notice Ephesians 1 & 4.
In Ephesians 1:7 Paul said:
“In whom we have redemption, EVEN the forgiveness of our sins” (Ephesians 1:7).
In 1:12-13 he said “You have received the Spirit the earnest (ἀρραβών, arrabōn, “guarantee” or, “a partial payment made at the time of purchase with the balance to be paid later”) of the redemption of the purchased possession.”
In chapter 4:30 he said that they had been sealed by the Spirit UNTIL the Day of Redemption (εἰς ἡμέραν ἀπολυτρώσεως, eis hēmeran apolytrōseōs, “for or until a day of redemption”; the sense is “full redemption”).
They were given the earnest of the Spirit until the Day of Redemption– which was still future to them. And this meant that although they were being counted as righteous, because they had come into Christ, they had been given the charismatic gifts of the Spirit to guarantee the completion of the work of righteousness which the Lord had begun in them (Philippians 1:6, ἄχρι ἡμέρας Χριστο? ?ησο?, achri hēmeras Christou Iēsou, “until the day of Christ Jesus”).
Therefore, the full reception of forgiveness– which is redemption & righteousness– was still future, and would arrive at the Day of Redemption, i.e. the parousia of Christ.
Jesus told his disciples that when they saw the impending fall of the Temple and Jerusalem– “Look up, for your redemption draws nigh” (Luke 21:28, ἐγγίζει ἡ ἀπολύτρωσις ὑμ?ν, engizei hē apolytrōsis hymōn, the sense of ἐγγίζει is “to be moving toward and not be far distant from a moment in time,” see also 21:30). This citation links the end of the Old Covenant age with the coming of the everlasting world of righteousness! (See also Romans 13:11).
(Jesus could not have been speaking of physical redemption / deliverance, because they would have fled from the city before the destruction. Thus, they were to know that after they fled, in the fall of the City and Temple, redemption was at hand.
In addition to Ephesians notice Galatians 5:5– “We through the Spirit eagerly await the hope of righteousness.” The word “await” is from apekdekomai (ἀπεκδεχόμεθα – Strong’s #553) and means an eager, expectant looking / waiting. It is a word of expectation. You do not eagerly look for what you do not expect to see!
Now, unless one wishes to say that Paul was speaking of a different righteousness from what Daniel foretold, and different from what Paul discussed in Romans 5, then, just like Ephesians teaches that the early Christians were still, after the Cross, after Pentecost, still looking for the coming of “everlasting righteousness” this means they were looking for the fulfillment of Daniel 9. (Notice the correlation between “we through the Spirit” and Ephesians 1 where Paul said that the Ephesians had been given the Spirit as the guarantee of the coming salvation / redemption / righteousness).
Similarly, in 2 Peter 3:13, the inspired apostle said: “According to his promise we look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.” Keep in mind that Peter is clear that his prophetic discussion was a reminder of what the OT prophets had foretold (2 Peter 3:1-3). Thus, that world of righteousness that he was speaking of was nothing other than what Daniel (and other prophecies of course, e.g. Isaiah 65-66) foretold. If that is true, that means that 2 Peter 3 and the coming in of the new heavens and earth- the world of righteousness – had to be fulfilled no later than AD 70- the terminal point of the seventy weeks. After all, “seventy weeks are determined on your people and on your holy city….to bring in everlasting righteousness.”
This likewise means that the book of Revelation with its marvelous prophecy of the coming in of the New Heavens and Earth, the New Jerusalem, as foretold by the prophets (Isaiah 65-66 / Revelation 22:6), had to be fulfilled no later than the end of the seventy weeks.
And now consider the Feast of Harvest which confirms this.
In Jewish thought, Succot was the premiere feast that pointed to the resurrection, the kingdom, the New Creation. As Andrea Robinson says, citing Pseudo-Philo, (13:9, 10):
The blessings of paradise are actualized in the annual Feast of Tabernacles. Thus, events in the history provide a paradigm for eschatological restoration, which cannot take place until the sin that cause the temple’s destruction is removed.” (Andrea Robinson, Temple of Presence, (Eugene, Ore; Wipf and Stock, 2019), 92).
Charles Vernoff discusses the eschatological focus of Succot:
The Torah specifies seventy sacrifices that Israel is to offer of the entire course of the festival (Succot-DKP) corresponding to the seventy nations which according to tradition comprises the totality, the unified wholeness, of humankind; thus, as the rabbis remark, during Sukkot Israel, as ‘the priestly people’, offers sacrifice on behalf of universal humanity arrayed in its national families. These sacrifices look forward to the eschatological third temple, to which all nations will– according to Zekharya– make annual pilgrimage on Sukkot, as truly ‘a house of prayer for all nations’”. (Charles Vernoff, PDF, “Feast of Redemption,” Tradition, Vol. 33. No. 4, (Summer 1999), 6-26-Page 10– PDF. My sincere thanks to my friend Robert Cruickshank, who I call “the PDF guy” for sending this and a host of other PDFs to me).
Just from these brief quotes one can detect the importance and meaning of Succot. It pointed to the changing of the seasons. It typified the resurrection. It anticipated the New Creation, the New Creation wherein dwells righteousness.
As Charles Vernoff says, the completion of Succot Succot (סֻכּוֹת sukkô?) pointed to that New Creation. That is to say, “the initiation of another era, the time of the ‘new heavens and earth’, when creation has been completed and the world has embarked upon a fully redeemed existence.” (“Feast of Redemption,”1999, p. 12). So, the end of the Feast of Harvest pointed to the new beginning, the kingdom, the New Creation– the world of everlasting righteousness of Daniel 9:24. And that means that Succot pointed to Daniel 9 and the consummation of the seventy weeks!
This point is buttressed by the fact that at the end of the Feast of Harvest (חַ?ג הַסֻּכּ?וֹת, ?a?ʹ has·suk·kô?ʹ), there was another day, called “the Eighth Day” (שְÑמִינִי יָמִ?ים, šemî·nî yā·mîmʹ) feast. It was called Shemini Atzerat (there are alternate spellings). Some sources say it was a separate feast, and Leviticus 23 seems to support this. The problem is that it was not one of the three feast days for which the children of Israel were to travel to celebrate it. It was inseparably linked with Succot.
For our purposes it matters not if one considers Shemini Atzerat a part of the Feast of Harvest or a “stand alone” festival. This “Eighth Day” festival was consider one of the most important and joyous of all the festivals. Linked as it was with Succot, “the feast of our joy” this suggests that it was a continuation of that festival of celebration. It is highly important to grasp the importance of that Eighth Day festival.
In fact, it is important to note the concept of Sabbath (שַÑבָּת, š?b·bā?) linked with Succot (סֻכּוֹת sukkô?) and (שְÑמִינִי, [šemî·nî], “An adjective meaning eighth. It is an ordinal number that points out the eighth of something in a series: the eighth day”):
Note especially how the Lord prescribed a first and eighth day Sabbath during the Feast of Tabernacles. This alone ties together the point about them having identity in their theological significance”.
Thus, Succot began with a Sabbath and ended with a Sabbath on Shemini. Nothing was more highly typological, more prophetically significant than the concept of Sabbath. Gregory Beale points out that: “Judaism believed that the weekly Sabbath pointed to the eternal rest of the New Creation.” (Gregory Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, Grand Rapids, Baker Academic, 2011), 793, n. 38). On page 789 he cites Hippolytus and Barnabas who both say the Sabbath was typological of the final salvation and resurrection. So, when Succot / Shemini began and ended with Sabbath observances, we are clearly on safe ground to see the eschatological typology on full display.
Thus, Succot (סֻכּוֹת sukkô?) began with a Sabbath (שַÑבָּת, š?b·bā?) and ended with a Sabbath. When one considers what Paul had to say in Colossians 2:16-17 about the “Sabbaths” (σαββάτων, sabbatōn, plural) still being, when he wrote, “a shadow of good things about to come” [μελλόντων, mellontōn, “about to”] we are not far off the mark, to suggest that the double Sabbath of Succot and Shemini (שְÑמִינִי, šemî·nî) may have been in his mind. Of course, since those Sabbaths were still types and shadows of the good things about to come, that means that the Law of Moses, with all of its types and shadows, was still fully in force when Colossians was written (Matthew 5:17-18). Look closer at Shemini Atzerat, the “eighth day” Sabbath festival.
More on this in our second installment.