Feast: John 7:37 Examined (Part Two)
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 30-Sep-10; 52 minutes
I want to remind you just very briefly of the things we covered this morning, that nothing we have said this morning makes any change at all whatever in the Holy Days, and the way we understand them has not changed at all. The only thing that has changed is now we know for sure that John 7:37 was not the Last Great Day, as we called it. It was "that great day of the Feast." It was the seventh day of the Feast; the next day is what we call the Last Great Day.
What Jesus said there in John 7:37-39 was appropriate to the Jews' understanding, but it is more appropriate to our understanding because we have a true understanding of what the Last Great Day represents or symbolizes in God's purpose. So John 7:37 cannot be what we have traditionally called "the Last Great Day." It is rather the last day—the 7th day—of the Feast of Tabernacles.
At the close of Part 1 we had just started into John 7:53 to about John 8:1-2. We saw in John 7:53 that, "Everyone went to his own house." Probably those in Jerusalem began breaking down their booths. They were to stay in them seven days, and then break them up, and return to their own houses. That is why is says, "Everyone returned to his own house." "So then, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives" [John 8:1]. And then John 8:2 says:
John 8:2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.
Even that phrase, "He came again into the temple," shows that there was no break. There was an over-night break. That was as far as it was, but when He left off speaking in chapter 7, He then came again the next day and began preaching once again.
There is nothing in John 8, as you will see when you begin to sit down and study it more closely, that indicates any kind of a location change other than leaving the Temple and going to another part of the city of Jerusalem. There is nothing there in those couple of verses that indicates anything in terms of a scene change. He went right back again to the place where He left off the day before, and of course that day's narrative began in John 7:37. Nothing changes until we get to the very last verse of John 8 where the Pharisees finally get so mad that they drag Him out of the Temple area, and He had to get out of there in order to protect His life. That is in verse 59 of chapter 8.
John 8:59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
He did all of the teaching in John 8, and it is one powerful sermon—all of this information about truth, about truth setting free, that their father was Satan, and Himself being the "I am." It is no wonder they got upset at Him and began to throw stones.
Then we go into chapter 9. There is a location change, but there is no indication anywhere that there is a change of a day at all. It just blends right in. As chapter 9 begins, we see:
John 9:1-7 Now as Jesus passed by [that is, He escaped from the attack of His persecutors], He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
This healing stirs up another heated controversy again with the Pharisees. Now this controversy, which we will not go into at this particular time, concludes in chapter 9, in verse 41, "If you were blind." All the way through chapter 9 the subject is still the same—the blind man that Jesus healed—and so at the end they were still arguing about this.
Then again, chapter 10 goes right on. You can read verse 41, and then John 10:1, and you see He goes right on teaching. The subject has changed, but there is no time change noted. This teaching here continues as John 10:1 begins. It continues with no interruptions or changes in either time or location all the way up to and including John 10:21. We will start with verse 19.
John 10:19-21 Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. And many of them said, "He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?" Others said, "These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"
I read that so you will see the subject of the blind man begins in chapter 9, and it goes right on through chapter 10, and finally it stops there in verse 21. All of this, beginning in John 8:1, is being held on what we now know as, "the Last Great Day."
We find in verse 22 a very definite and sharp break in time.
John 10:22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.
You know what the weather was like on the Last Great Day. It was the Fall / Autumn season. It was not in the winter, so there is a jump of about a little bit less than two month's time from verse 21 to verse 22. All this really emphasizes that from John 8:1 until this time right here in John 10:21, everything took place on the same day. The location changed a time or two, but it was still the same day.
The events we are looking at here occurred in the Fall before Christ's crucifixion. We are going to have to pay attention to time here. These events took place in the Fall prior to Jesus' crucifixion. What we have been reading of there in John 10, John 9, and John 8 took place during the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day, and so it was in the Fall, which was six months before Jesus was crucified. The year for the Jews had just begun on the Feast of Trumpets just a few weeks before those events there in John 8 through John 10:21 occurred.
Here we have to make a little bit of adjustment in our thinking. It is not all that hard. The events—if we were looking at this from a Hebrew point of view, from a Hebrew calendar—took place in the same year, in the same calendar year. The calendar year for the Hebrews began with the Feast of Trumpets, and so six months later it was still the same year. That is not too hard to figure out. However, we use a Roman calendar, so we have to make a little bit of a juggle here in order to get things lined up.
When we look at it on a Roman calendar, we are dealing with two different years. This is because the Roman calendar begins in January and ends at the end of December, whereas the Hebrew calendar begins in September and goes to the following September. Therefore the year that the events of John 8 through John 11:21 occur on our calendar in 30 AD, or sometimes 30 C.E. (C.E. just means Common Era.) We say "A.D." meaning "after Christ," or "Anno Domini," which is Latin for, "Year of our Lord." So we are dealing here with two years in terms of the Roman calendar, but really only one year (actually 6 months worth) on the Hebrew calendar.
Let me read this once again.
The events of John 7, John 8, John 9, and up to verse 22 of John 10 took place in the Roman year AD 30. Jesus was crucified in AD 31 according to the Roman calendar.
Let us go to John 11:1 so we can pick up the time element here.
John 11:1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
Now you know, and you should know, but if you do not know, I am going to tell you that this event here occurred just before Christ's crucifixion. He raised Lazarus from the dead.
Drop down to verses 7 and 8.
John 11:7 Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."
Now notice the response.
John 11:8-9 The disciples said to Him, "Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You [that was John 8], and are You going there again?" Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.
So this was His justification. He said, "I have to keep on going. I have work to do, and I have to do it while I have time to do it. Yes, they tried to kill Me, but let's go anyway." That is basically what He said.
Let us go to John 11:43.
John 11:43-44 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!" And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."
We have gotten to the place now where Lazarus was resurrected, and we are moving closer and closer to Christ's crucifixion there in 31 AD
We are going to go now to John 11:53. Let us start with verse 51 so we get a little bit better feel.
John 11:51-55 Now this he [Caiaphas, the high priest] did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples. And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves.
We are getting very close to His crucifixion at this time.
Now let us go to John 12:1.
John 12:1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead.
Now we are within six days of Christ's death. Drop down to verse 23.
John 12:23 But Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.
So we are right on top of it. We are, on a Roman calendar, on Passover AD 31. We now have everything in place to understand the implication of a verse that we jumped over many times in my dissertation here back in John 9. This verse will prove, as you study the charts that I gave to you, that John 7:37 is referring to the 7th and last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. What does John 9:13-14 say?
John 9:13-14 They brought him [the man who was healed] who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes.
The day that the blind man was healed was a Sabbath. That ought to be very clear, because that was the Last Great Day, and that was a Sabbath. Now what day was that? It was the day after the 7th day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It was the Last Great Day, which was the day after the Feast of Tabernacles. Now we have a choice. That day was either a weekly Sabbath, or it was a double Sabbath. Which was it? The answer is, it was a double Sabbath. It was a weekly Sabbath, and it was the Last Great Day as well.
We are going to go to a verse we used before. Go to John 19:31. This is where Jesus said, "It is finished." (That is, His life.)
John 19:31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
Now why did John not say in John 9:4 that it was a high day like he did in John 19:31? Actually, there is a very obvious reason, that obvious reason being that anybody who was unfamiliar with Judaism, (and there are pretty strong thoughts that John, in a way, wrote the book of John for Gentiles), would not have had a great deal of knowledge of the Hebrew calendar, and would have to be told that that particular day was a high day. They might know about the weekly Sabbath, but they might not know at all about the Holy Day Sabbath. So in order to be clear, God inspired John in John 19:31 to make sure that everybody understood that that day, which was the day after Passover, was a high Holy Day. We have no problem at all with that because we know about the Holy Days.
Now what day of the week did that Passover fall on? It fell on a Wednesday. So the day in John 19:31 was a high Holy Day. It was the 15th of Nisan. It was Thursday. Thursday was not the kind of day you would expect to be a Sabbath unless you really knew about the holy days, and you could say, "Yeah, that's right. It was a high holy day." If a Jew would read that, he would understand it, but if a Greek would read it, he would not understand, and so John put parentheses around that phrase in John 19:31—"(that Sabbath was a high day)"—to draw attention to the fact that we are talking about something that they probably would not know. In John 9, he did not have to do that because that day was a weekly Sabbath. It already was a holy day. That is just very simple to understand.
What we are heading for is this. This verse proves three things once we have calendar calculations that are available to us for these particular times of the year. (1) This will show that the seventh and last day of the Feast of Tabernacles cannot be the eighth day. (2) It is going to prove that Christ was crucified in AD 31, and (3), it also proves that the postponement rules were in effect at the time of Christ. All three of these together prove that we are using the correct calendar today in our time.
How can we prove that the day in John 7:37 was the seventh and last day of the Feast of Tabernacles?
Get out your handout sheet. I want you first to look at the side with all the writing on it. I want you to notice the shaded-in area at the top. The first column says "Year." The second column says "Festival," and then the third column says "Calculated with Postponements." We are going to give you dates. The fourth column says "Calculated without Postponements. That has to be included there because there are some who say that the postponement rules were not in effect. And then the last column says, "Observation." This is visual observation of the moon for the start of a new year. In this case it was for Trumpets.
Next I want you to notice the shaded-in part on the left side has a small number 5 right beside it. It is a footnote. It reads, "The day on which Trumpets occurs each year is the same day of the week on which the first day of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day will occur." This number varies. Every day on which Trumpets occurs, the first day that is the Holy Day in the Feast of Tabernacles will be on exactly the same day, and the Last Great Day will also be on exactly the same day.
Now turn the and-out sheet over to the other side, and you will see the calendar for September / October, using a Roman calendar for AD 30. This is when the events occurred in John 7, 8, 9, and 10. Also notice the heading shows "/Tishri" [September/October/Tishri]. The Roman dates are given in the upper left-hand corner of the block, representing the day, and the Tishri dates are given in the upper right-hand corner of the block.
What is the date for the Feast of Trumpets? It is always Tishri 1. That never varies. The new year begins with Tishri 1. It has Trumpets right in there. The Roman calendar day that corresponds to 30 AD is the 16th of September. What day is it on? It is a weekly Sabbath.
The first day of the Feast of Tabernacles is also on a weekly Sabbath. It has to fall on a weekly Sabbath because of the way God numbers. That is Tishri 15. When you came here [to CGG Feast site in Topeka, Kansas], the first day of the Feast was Tishri 15, but it was not on a weekly Sabbath. It was on a Thursday.
The Last Great Day in 30 AD is going to fall on a weekly Sabbath, and sure enough it does. It falls on a weekly Sabbath.
On Friday, Tishri 21, is the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, according to John 7:37. You will also see in the block of Tishri 22 that I have bolded in there "John 8:1-10:21." All the events of those chapters fell on that day—Tishri 22, which was the 7th of October in 30 AD
Turn once again to the other side of the handout sheet, which has all the writing on it. What do we see there? I see a couple of places that are grayed in with the corresponding years bolded in. You will notice in 30 C.E. (that would be AD 30, the Common Era) an arrow going from the word Trumpets pointing to the date on which Trumpets fell that year. It was Saturday, September 16, which corresponds to what we have here. Notice that this date appears with the heading, "Calculated with Postponements."
Now when we move to 31 AD, you will see that there is an arrow going off to the right from the word Passover. It [Passover] fell exactly on the right day—Wednesday. We have to have a Wednesday crucifixion for 3 days and 3 nights to occur, and to be completed by Sunday morning when Jesus astonished Mary by saying, "Hey Mary! How are you doing?" Do you see that? Everything lines up.
I challenge you. You can look at the dates for every other calendar that is available to us that we have any respect for at all, if it was calculated without postponements, and for these people who believe in a 30 AD crucifixion, at first it starts off pretty good because, sure enough, in 30 AD the Passover was on Wednesday, April 5. Now because we are using a Roman calendar, that means the events we just read of in John 7, 8, 9, and 10 have to be matched up with a 29 AD date because, remember, those events in John 7 through 10 occurred six months before the crucifixion.
You look at the date and the day in 29 C.E. by any calendar you want on there. It will not work.
According to the Scriptures, the calendar has to match both years. If it does not match both years, it does not match the Scriptures and therefore is false, which means that (1) Friday—John 7:37—was the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It was not the Last Great Day. It was the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. (2) The next day was a weekly Sabbath and a Holy Day, and it was the day on which all the events took place from John 8 right on through John 10. (3) I think personally that maybe this might be the most important thing in this whole bunch of information, for it proves we are using the right calendar, because the only calendar that will fit both the Fall of 30 AD and the Spring of 31 AD is the calculated calendar using postponements.
That is a blow to anybody who is using a different calendar because their calendar is not going to match the date. I will tell you, that is gratifying. I do not know about you, but it is really faith-building. Once you have got proof right in the Scriptures, you know that all these guys who are making all this noise about calendars are wrong. Sincerely wrong, yes, but their calendars, unless they line up exactly with what the Scriptures say, will not work.
The calculated calendar has taken a beating over the last twenty years. I give Mr. Armstrong the credit for holding fast to it regardless. He may not have known these things we have before us right now, but he had it figured out though that Christ's death was in 31 AD, and it fits the calculated calendar. Now we know that the events of John 7, 8, 9, and 10 also fit the calculated calendar, and one proves the other.
I have had so many frustrating conversations about the calendar, and have written so many letters about it that I got blue in the face. I finally threw up my hands and said that I was not going to write anymore about any calendars because I believed what Mr. Armstrong taught us was right. He may not have had all the information available to him like we have more here now, but he was on track, and he taught us the right thing, especially regarding those things that happened in 31 AD
Remember first that Trumpets, the first Holy Day of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day will always fall on the same day. That is a good thing to just keep in mind because it helps keep things lined up the way it should. So in John 7, the last day of the Feast was a Friday.
Let us look at something else here just a little bit more closely, and that is some of the things Jesus spoke about in John 8, 9, and 10.
John 8 begins with the woman taken in adultery.
John 8:3-7 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?"This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. [They really felt they had Him on the horns of a dilemma.] But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first."
I want you to picture something that is essential to proper judgment about these things. When those people are resurrected in the second resurrection—(I am talking here about the second resurrection because we are considering the Last Great Day)—they will come up out of their graves with the same kind of mind with which they went into the grave. They are going to have to be converted. They are going to have to accept Jesus Christ. They are going to have to repent of their sins. They are going to have to turn their lives around. They are going to have to quit sinning during that period of time because they are going to be judged according to their works, are they not? We read that earlier in the sermon.
When these people come out of the grave, I do not know whether they are going to be angry. I do not know whether they are going to be upset. I do not know whether they are going to think that they are in heaven. They might. "Oh! I made it!"
But God is going to create in them the same kind of things that we are having created in us. There is going to have to be a change of mind, of attitude and spirit. Let us feed that right back into this woman.
In Scripture a woman is almost always pictured as the Church, or as Israel. I will say, more broadly, "Israel." The reason I am saying it more broadly "Israel" is because, by this time—the time of the Last Great Day when the second resurrection occurs—the Church will have already been resurrected and will have had one thousand years with Christ.
But the Israel of the Old Testament—(and right on up into and through the Tribulation, and then they die)—was she not married to Christ, and did not God have to divorce her? What did He accuse her of all this time, beginning at least about the time of Jeremiah onward? Adultery.
So guess who the woman in John 8:1 represents. Tie that into the Last Great Day. God's wife, guilty of adultery, is brought up. Immediately she is beginning to receive the brunt of the accusations of the nations. I am talking nations in the Old Testament. (We are doing this symbolically.) They are accusing her of committing adultery before the Savior, Jesus Christ.
What does Christ do? The lesson is right here. He says to them, silently, "Oh, you guys, you are just as guilty of sin, and maybe worse than My people Israel." She represents Israel coming up in the second resurrection. The accusations in the Old Testament about Israel are very clear. So what did Jesus say? He told her to repent. He told her to go and sin no more. Is that not what He told us? You bet.
We are beginning to see in the things of which He spoke had to do with the Last Great Day. He of course was a couple of thousand years ahead of His time when He was doing that, but He knew what He was doing. I would imagine that those nations, those men, are going to have to repent as well.
Now look at verse 12. What does He do? Immediately He identifies Himself to these people who are symbolically coming up in a resurrection there, "I am the light of the world." What is He doing? He is introducing Himself to them as their Savior.
Actually, John 8 is almost too good to pass up, but before we get through John 8, in the earlier part of the chapter, John is talking, you might say, to the progeny of the adulteress. What is it He concentrates on in verse 31? We will start there.
John 8:31-32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
They never knew the truth. All the way through my first part of this sermon I was telling you they did not understand the Last Great Day at all. They thought that they were free. In their sincerity in what they were doing, in their misconception, they thought they were truly the sons, the children, the daughters of Abraham, and they were not because they did not have the fruit to prove that they were the children of Abraham.
And then Jesus dropped the bombshell, "Guys, you have been worshipping Satan all this time. He's your Father." That is going to be a shock to those people when they come up in the second resurrection to learn all these things that they did not know when they lived before, and they are going to have to become converted.
So Jesus proved they were not the children of Abraham by the kind of works that they did. He is going to throw back in their face, "Hey, look! You've been murderers. You've been rapists. You have been breaking all the commandments. You are liars. You are thieves. You are disobedient to the Father in heaven." So that is what He does. And what is their reaction? This is kind of interesting. They got so upset at Him they wanted to kill Him.
Just by that teaching, I think those people are going to be hard to convince for awhile. They will get it. The overwhelming majority is going to be saved, but in John 8 Jesus is showing us what Israel is going to be like coming up out of the grave.
In chapter 9, what is the first thing Jesus does? He heals a blind man. Is there anybody here in this room who has been able to see spiritually from the time they were born? Jesus said, "Oh, nobody sinned. But God willed them to be blind as to what was going on." That is why it says there, "that the works of God should be revealed in him."
John 9:3 Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.
What do we have here? The blind man, in the largest, broadest sense represents the whole world. It represents Israel, but it also represents the whole world—all of the nations on earth. Whether male or female, or whatever, everybody has been blind. And what erupts?
Well, the guys who thought they knew all the answers (the Pharisees representing them) got all uptight, and tried to wiggle their way out of the accusations that Christ hurled at them. But they do not know what is going on, and the chapter ends in verse 41 with Jesus warning them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin." He even said that right at the beginning of the chapter. "Nobody sinned to make this man blind. This man is blind because God wants to reveal His glory. There was not a sin involved in this."
But now, here, these people who have been the leaders of the Jewish nation, especially the religious leaders, were saying, "Yes, we see." "We get it." "We understand." Jesus comes right back and tells them, "Well, if you say you understand, too bad, buddy, you're wrong. If you really had been ignorant, I could easily forgive you. Now you are going to have to repent."
John 9:41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains.
We will not go too much further in chapter 10, but once again He gets back on the scene that He is the Shepherd of the sheep. That is an important scene that will occur on the Last Great Day when Jesus reveals His real identity to the world, and He begins to reveal to them that He has been working with their parents, grandparents, and whatever, and He has been guiding and directing His work and the Father's work, and He concludes in verse 8.
John 10:8-9 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, [He is putting all false preachers in their place.], but the sheep [Christ's sheep] did not hear them. I am the door [of salvation]. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
One thing I just picked up from my notes here, especially about John 10 and "I am the good Shepherd," is He emphasizes that during that period of time—the Last Great Day in fulfillment—there will not be any shepherd but Him. There is going to be one Shepherd. There will be no competition whatever. That is not the way it is now. At the beginning of the Millennium that is not the way it is going to be either, because it will quickly progress from that, and all those who are other flocks will have to come to that understanding, and they will be put into, as Christ said there, one flock. There will not be a lot of churches of God. There will be one.
In conclusion, why might God have told us to only dwell in booths seven days? Why not on the eighth day? Now what I am going to give you is not said in the Bible. It is a speculation, but I think it has a little bit of merit.
When the resurrection of the rest of the dead takes place as the eighth day begins, . . . (I specifically said it that way because I do not want you to think the eighth day is going to last a thousand years like the seventh day is.) . . . it too is a time of salvation. Now consider this: Everybody who dies is going to be resurrected. They are going to be resurrected for judgment. Judgment can be either good or bad. The judgment is going to be on a person's works.
Now here is what I think the speculation is: From the beginning of the eighth day, as those people are resurrected, they have only eternity before them. That is all. They are either going to die eternally, or they are going to live eternally. It is either/or on the basis of their works and on the basis of Christ's judgment. For the people in the world today, it is not that way—yet. So listen to this. As these people enter life once again on that Last Great Day, they are either on the brink of eternal life, or eternal death. Got that?
How long were the booths to be erected? Only seven days. It does not include the eighth day. So on the seventh day, as that day was concluding, they destroyed what was temporary. The eighth day is signaling that after it begins there is nothing but eternity before them. There is no alternative—either eternal death, or eternal life. So the booths, representing that which is temporary, had to be destroyed, because as the eighth day begins there is nothing temporary left. Everything is permanent from that time on.