FESTIVALS IN THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM?
The Gentile nations along with the Jews will be coming up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (aka Booths), (Zechariah 14:16) because the spiritual completion of this festival, which is, yet unfulfilled, will finally be completed in the Millennium. In other words at no other time in the past was this Feast’s spiritual completion fulfilled. It will take place in the Millennial Kingdom.
Tabernacles had characteristics, which other feasts did not have. For example it was the harvest festival of joy and thanksgiving. It was a celebration not only of the full ingathering of the harvest work of the Israelis in the field, but also of the fruit and of the vintage. It is interestingly therefore the only one characterized as “the Feast of Ingatherings” (Exodus 23:16; 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:13).
It does appear that from Ezekiel Chapters 44-46 there is some confusion of exactly which Festivals of the original seven will be carried out in the Millennium. In fact this obscurity has caused some exegetes to completely avoid it including Rashi. Some think that since Passover and Booths are specifically cited in Ezekiel and Zechariah that they are the only ones to be performed during the Millennial Kingdom. Others believe that the command to use unleavened bread which is mentioned in Ezekiel 45:21 will be held as a Millennial Feast. Still others hold that the mere mention of any feasts in the Millennium passages assures that all seven will be observed.
Those seven are:
2. Feast of unleavened Bread
3. First Fruits
6. Day of Atonement
7. Feast of Tabernacles
The only two Millennial Festivals listed in the Bible passages regarding the Millennium are in the Zechariah 14:16 passage (Tabernacles) and the Ezekiel 45:21 passage (Passover and the use of unleavened bread). The rest do not have any mention but some commentators seem to see all of them in those passages.
The Millennial passage which seems to cause the confusion is Ezekiel 46:9a which the American Standard of 1901 states: But when the people of the land shall come before Jehovah in the appointed feasts, The words translated as appointed feasts in the Hebrew only say “Appointed Times.” Translators and commentators add feasts to it thinking it is referencing the feasts from Exodus 23:15 or Deuteronomy 16:16. The actual Hebrew words are “bahmoadeem“, which just means at the appointed times and that can mean any calling to an event for which there is to be an assembly. This word and its morphology appears 223 times in the Old Testament and is not used exclusively to refer to the feasts.
This is Strongs 4150
[mowʿed, moʿed, mowʿadah /mo·ade/] n m. From 3259; TWOT 878b; GK 4595; 223 occurrences; AV translates as “congregation” 150 times, “feast” 23 times, “season” 13 times, “appointed” 12 times, “time” 12 times, “assembly” four times, “solemnity” four times, “solemn” twice, “days” once, “sign” once, and “synagogues” once. 1 appointed place, appointed time, meeting. 1a appointed time. 1a1 appointed time (general). 1a2 sacred season, set feast, appointed season. 1b appointed meeting. 1c appointed place. 1d appointed sign or signal. 1e tent of meeting.
Booths is the not the only agrarian festival of the seven, which will clearly be carried out in the Millennium. Passover will be celebrated and is clearly cited. Passover is not an agrarian feast like the other six. All the others will have been fulfilled and will not need to be completed. Therefore it is subject to some speculation to affirm that all the seven festivals will be carried out during the Millennial Kingdom. I think a strong case can be made for three at best, but this is not an issue to be dogmatic about because it is dependent upon much contextual interpretation.
1. Passover was fulfilled in the death of Christ the Redeemer, but clearly continues to the Millennium as a ceremony. (I Corinthians 5:7; I Peter 1:9)
2. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is being fulfilled in the holy separate walk of the believer who fellowships with our Savior (I Corinthians 5:6-8; II Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 5:7-9)
3. The Feast of Firstfruits was fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ (I Corinthians 15:23)
4. The Feast of Pentecost was fulfilled in the establishment of the Church at Pentecost fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus (I Corinthians 10:16; 12:12-13)
5. The Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled in the future regathering of Israel at the beginning of the Kingdom (Isaiah 18:3, 7; 27:12-13; Ezekiel 37:1-14)
6. The day of Atonement will be fulfilled in its prophetic features in the final conversion of “all Israel” at the Second Coming Zechariah 12:10-13; 13:1 Romans 11:26)
Why does the Bible in Millennium passages omit explicit discussion of the other agrarian feasts? Those are the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, and the Day of Atonement & Firstfruits. It is possible with the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34) fully implemented the others will be unnecessary, as they have been already fulfilled. It is also possible that the Lord Jesus our Messiah will command a new version.
We must remember that the Jews will finally be the head of the world instead of the tail (Deuteronomy 28:13). The theocratic governmental system under King Jesus will be strongly Jewish in nature. So we can expect to have celebrations strongly influenced by the Jewish feasts. So even though only two of the six annual feasts under the Levitical system (cf. Leviticus 23:4–44) are explicitly stated in the Millennial passages of Scripture possibly more will be carried out. The Feast of Passover which celebrates national cleansing clearly continues, which ceremonially will point back to Christ’s death, and the Feast of Tabernacles that will finally be fulfilled pointing to Israel’s new position in God’s Millennial Kingdom. Secondly, Ezekiel might have employed a figure of speech known as a merism, which is a type of synecdoche which means that by simply mentioning two festivals the author actually refers to all of them. For example when referencing the Law in the Scriptures as a single unit it is referencing all 613 commandments. By naming in Scripture the Passover and the last one Tabernacles, Ezekiel may have by implication written that all Israel’s feasts would be re instituted. To be sure there will be festivals in the Millennium. Scripture does not clearly define which of the seven except for Tabernacles and Passover will be celebrated. Perhaps the Lord wants to surprize us with this gift of celebration to Him for all He has done! What a glorious future all of God’s children have to look forward to.
Daniel E. Woodhead PhD.