By Mali Rosen
“…On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it.” Leviticus 23:36b
Simchat Torah (sim-haht to-ra) is a traditional holiday celebrated by Jewish people all over the world. Dating back to the first century, this wonderful tradition of taking the Torah scrolls out from the ark and having the entire congregation dance joyfully around them is really a celebration of the gift of God’s word. It also marks the conclusion of the yearly cycle of Torah readings in the synagogues, as well as the beginning of the new cycle. While this is not a biblically mandated holiday, it is no coincidence that it is celebrated on the 8th day of Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) because it actually points to Yeshua, who is the Word of God made flesh!
God commanded the Children of Israel to observe the 8th day of Sukkot – referred to as Shminei Atzeret – as a sacred gathering. It is akin to a Sabbath day where work is forbidden so that we may focus on the Lord and His word. This is the only biblical holy day that occurs on the 8th day, which is very significant! In the Scriptures, the number 8 can mean a new beginning, restoration, redemption, and kingdom. (for more on the biblical significance of numbers, please see our book, Foundations of the Faith) My personal understanding of the 8th day (Shminei Atzeret) is that it foretells of the Kingdom of Messiah Yeshua, which will be established during the millennial reign before the Ancient of Days appears to reign with Messiah eternally from the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21; Daniel 7:13-14).
So how does this connect to Yeshua and Simchat Torah? John tells us in the first chapter of his book that Messiah Yeshua is the Word made flesh and that the Word is God. (John 1:1) So it follows then that Yeshua is the embodiment of the Torah, which are the first five books of the Bible in which the story is told of God’s calling out of Israel as a people belonging to Him, and the establishment of His eternal covenant. He did not abolish the Torah, but actually fulfills it! (Matthew 5:17) Messiah Yeshua completes the covenant between God and Israel.
In essence, when we dance around the Torah on this special celebratory day, we are not worshiping the Torah scroll, but are instead joyfully acknowledging the Word that was made flesh and dwelled with us – Yeshua the Messiah! So, on the 8th day of Sukkot, we celebrate the amazing fulfillment of the Torah found in Yeshua and look forward to His eternal kingdom!
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