The Mystery in Shemini Atzeret: The Eighth Assembly

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In the fall of every year, Israel celebrates their last Feast day. This day is called Shemini Atzeret. What is this? Why is this day important and what can we learn from it? Will the pictographs in the Hebrew letters of this feast reveal anything of value to us and will anything direct us to Messiah? Let’s find out. 

In the book we call Leviticus which is the third book of the Torah, YHVH gave His people directions for a series of seven annual feasts. They were designed to be celebrated as a perpetual reminder of their deliverance from Egypt and His care for them.  

This seventh feast is described by YHVH and recorded for us in Leviticus Chapter 23 verses 34 through 36 by his servant Moses in the following fashion:

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.  

On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.  

Seven days shall ye offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD; it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. 

This seven-day feast or festival is known as Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, or the Feast of Booths. It marked the last of three pilgrimages that the faithful would undertake to celebrate in Jerusalem each year. During their stay in the city each family would construct a walled room or booth covered in palm branches and willows of the brook and then dwell there during this week. 

YHVH tells us in verse 43 why this feast was to be observed:

That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

As we just read in verse 36 the eighth day was separate yet celebrated with Sukkot. The word eighth is Shemini and the assembly is Atzeret. Literally, Shemini Atzeret is translated eighth assembly or eighth day of assembly. 

Let’s first investigate the Hebrew pictographs of the word Shemini and see what mystery we might discover. Shemini is spelled Sheen Mem Yood Noon Yood.  

Ancient Hebrew 

Modern Hebrew


Sheen   is the picture of teeth and means to consume, to press, or to destroy and is the one letter God uses to identify Himself; it is His signature.  

Mem is the picture of water chaotic like a tsunami on the ocean or peaceful  like a  stream in the desert that makes things bloom, and can also refer to the Word of God that brings life, or the living waters.  

Yood is the picture of the hand  and refers to a mighty work or deed.  

Noon is the picture of the fish and means life or activity.

Yood  again is the picture of the hand and refers to a mighty work or deed.  

The first mystery to be discovered in Shemini is that God is going to identify Himself by a mighty work that is first destructive like a tsunami, followed by a mighty work that will be like the peaceful stream that brings life. How can this be?

To understand this, we need to first remember that this is the 8th day. Why is that important? The number 7 is the number of Spiritual perfection. Sukkot was the 7th and final feast of the year and the feast was 7 days long, the seventh day – a day of rest, a picture of Spiritual perfection. Shemini is the 8th day, the day after the completion of God's festival and the first day of a new beginning. The number 8 in scripture always refers to a new beginning starting after the completion of something else.  

We just read that the feast of Shemini Atzeret began with fire consuming the offerings. This was also the day all the chaff from the fall harvest was burned, readying everything for a new season of planting and growing. It is a picture of both destruction of the old and also of new life to come. Now we need to put this together with Atzeret.   

Atzeret, or the assembly, is spelled Ayin Tsade Reysh Tav.  

Ancient Hebrew

Modern Hebrew

Ayin  is the picture of the eye  and means to see, to know, or to experience.  

Tsade  is the picture of the fishhook and means to catch, to need, or to have a strong desire.  

Reysh is the picture of the head  and refers to the leader or the prince. 

Tav  is the picture of crossed wooden sticks and means to seal, to covenant, or a sign.

This is the mystery that is found in the pictographs of Atzeret. Those who know or experience the Prince of the Cross will be caught up and gathered to Him.  

The pictographs of Shemini and Atzeret together provide an amazing picture of the future for us to contemplate. There will come a time when the old will be destroyed and things will be started over and made brand new. Those people who have put their trust and faith in the Prince of the Cross will enjoy the experience of being gathered to Him in this new beginning.  

In the writings of the Apostle Peter, we see him describe just such a time at the end of the Millennial reign of the Prince in Jerusalem. In 2 Peter Chapter 3 verse 7, he begins with this description of the end of this age:

But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgement and perdition of ungodly men. 

He continues in verse 10:  

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 

But in verse 13 Peter writes of a great hope for us:  

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.   

In verse 9 Peter describes the plan of YHVH for you:

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering towards us not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  

There will be as Shemini Atzeret shows us a future time when all things will pass away and become new. The plan of the Prince, Yeshua Ha-Meshiach, Jesus the Christ has never been that any should perish, but that all would share this new creation with Him. All you need to share in His promise is to make sure your faith and trust have been placed in Him. 

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Thelma jerden says:

    Wonderful! I have wanted to learn Hebrew for a long time.

  2. elaine sorrell says:

    This is great. When I get back to work I would love to invest in this and to learn more and more.

  3. Nancy Bradshaw says:

    These articles receive all stars from me .
    It is so wonderful to come to this site and be able to read such “good news ” .
    I pray some day l will be able to get the book .
    If it is written like your articles there will be much joy in my heart to read .
    May His face shine on you .
    May He bless and keep you in His presence .
    May His Shalom and Peace rest on You.
    Sincerely ,
    Nancy Bradshaw

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