Bullocks and the
Feast of Tabernacles

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In Numbers 29:12 - 39 we find that for the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles there is a daily sacrifice of bulls (the KJV calls them bullocks). Thirteen bullocks are offered on the first day (which is a high sabbath), twelve bullocks on the second day and so on, decreasing daily in number until seven bullocks on the seventh day for a total of seventy. On the eighth day, called the Last Great Day (a high sabbath), only one bullock is offered.

God's plan for mankind is symbolized by the Holy Days. The Feast of Tabernacles represents the thousand year reign of Christ and the saints on the earth. What do these bullocks symbolize?

Jewish Tradition

The seventy bullocks of Tabernacles did not go unnoticed by some Jewish rabbis who had opined that they represent the seventy nations or peoples of Genesis 10 (also known as the table of nations). Under Jewish thinking, Jews will someday rule the world (the gentiles) under the Messiah. Daniel 7:18, 22 shows, however, that the saints - the church (where race does not matter) - shall rule the world under the Messiah.

The Bullocks

We know that the Bible almost always interprets its own symbols. Where can we find the symbolism of the thirteen bullocks (bulls or oxes) offered on the Feast of Tabernacles first day? Jeremiah 31:18 shows the half tribe of Ephraim represented as a bullock. In Numbers 7 we find each of the thirteen tribes represented by a bullock (bull or ox) for a burnt offering.

And it came to pass on the day that Moses had made an end of setting up the tabernacle . . . that the princes of Israel, the heads of their fathers' houses, offered.

These were the princes of the tribes, these are they that were over them that were numbered: and they brought their oblation before Jehovah, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for every two of the princes, and for each one an ox . . . (Numbers 7:1 - 3, NKJV).

Thirteen bullocks for the thirteen tribes. Levi was special and one bullock was for a burnt offering (Numbers 8:12) like the other tribes. A second bullock was for a sin offering for Levi's cleansing before the tabernacle service. The tribe of Joseph is represented by the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. This was for the initial setting up of the tabernacle (Numbers 7:1).

The first day of Tabernacles is a Sabbath that pictures Christ and those "born of God" beginning their millennial rule. The day symbolizes the beginning of the kingdom on earth when Christ establishes Jerusalem as his capital and has the saints rule with him. It portrays the beginning of a much needed rest for the earth. But who are the initial nations that are subjects of the kingdom?

The Second Day

The second day of the Feast of Tabernacles has twelve bullocks offered on it. We have seen that a bullock represents a large tribe or nation. Zechariah 14:18 implies that Egypt as a whole will not immediately want to keep a "Jewish" Feast of Tabernacles.

Egypt today is at least 90% Muslim (CIA Factbook). Muslims (Islam) trace their history back to Abraham through his son Ishmael. Born of Abraham and Sarah's handmaid Hagar, Ishmael had twelve prophesied sons (1Chronicles 1:29 - 31). The twelve bullocks represent the twelve tribes of Ishmael that will exist during the Millennium.

The Third Day

During the third day of the feast 11 bullocks were offered. They symbolize, in part, the six sons of Abraham he produced through Keturah after the death of his beloved Sarah (1Chronicles 1:32 - 33). Esau, a grandson of Abraham, produced five sons (1Chronicles 1:34 - 35). Together, the bullocks on the feast's third day represent additional descendants of Abraham existing during Jesus' millennial reign on earth.

Day Four to Seven

In days four to seven of the Feast of Tabernacles the number of bullocks goes from 10 to 9 to 8 to 7 for a total of 34 (Numbers 29:23 - 32). They represent the remaining nations that will exist when Christ brings God's Kingdom to the earth.

The Greatest Day!

The Last Great Day, a separate Feast day in its own right, is sometimes referred to as the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles. On this day only one bullock is offered (Numbers 29:36).

This high Holy Day represents the period immediately after the millennium known as the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11 - 13). It is a wonderful time when all the humans who lived, before the Second Coming, who never had a full chance to be saved are resurrected. The bullock offered on this day symbolizes this large mass of people, this single "nation," living in the earth's millennial setting to build the character necessary to live forever.

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