Premillennialism and the Festival of Sukkot

There is abundant evidence that the early church was mostly Premillennial. An even better reason to read the bible’s end-time reality, as Premillennial, is that the N.T. strongly suggests it. Critics have cited the sparse overt mention of the 1000-year reign of Christ as contained in only one verse: He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years (Rev. 20.2 NIV). The logic for the rule of Jesus on earth during this time of the Devil’s imprisonment is that he is presently over the kingdoms of earth (see Lk. 4.5-7, Eph. 6.12).

There is much more evidence for a penultimate earthly reign of Christ (before His reign in the New Heavens and New Earth), namely, the Jewish feast of Sukkot. Jesus fulfilled the prophetic Feast of Passover (the Jewish Feasts, were both retrospective and prospective) and Shavuot (Pentecost). Sukkot is the last feast of the redemptive calendar, which looked back at God’s provision in the wilderness wanderings after the rescue from Egypt. The tribes were fed with Manna and water was also miraculously given. Their shoes and clothing did not wear out, nor did their feet swell (Dt. 8.4, Neh. 9.21).

Sukkot was also prospective, referring to a future earthly revival of Edenic conditions: The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Is.11.6-9 NIV).

The Sukkot Festival, suggesting Premillennialism (The Day of The Lord before a Millennium), is implicit when Jesus taught His disciples to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Mt. 6.9-10 NIV). Christians are to pray for the time when Jesus will rule on earth with the Devil bound.

The Transfiguration of Jesus is recorded in the Gospels at Mt.17.1-8, Mk. 9.2-8, Lk. 9.28-36. Simon Peter also referenced it as his personal witness: For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty (2Pet. 1.16 NIV). This prefigurement of Jesus gives a foretaste of the Millennium time of the revived Eden. Peter’s reference in 2Pet. 1.16, and his actions during this time of Jesus showing His 3 leading disciples the Kingdom’s majesty, strongly imply Premillennialism.

Notice what Peter asks Jesus: “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened) (Mk. 9.5-6 NIV). These words and commentary of what Peter said is the fullest account of the 3 instances recorded. The reason Mark has the most complete saying, is that it is thought that Mark wrote Peter’s later preaching as the basis of his gospel. What was Peter, in his fright, referring to when asking to put up 3 shelters? Obviously, he was thinking about Sukkot shelters of leafy branches: On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days (Lev. 23.40 NIV).

Therefore, while the explicit testimony for Premillennialism is sparse, abundant implicit evidence is found in the scriptures that reference this truth.