What are the Appointed Times, and Feasts, the Moedim?
The Feasts of YHVH – His appointed times are not just quaint, religious festivals of a bygone Biblical era. They are specific, appointed times/seasons (moed’im – Gen 1:14) when we pause to remember, celebrate, and rejoice on those very same special Hebrew calendar dates set out and detailed through Moses over 3500 years ago.
Each feast is a way-point and signpost in our understanding of the character of Yhvh, and what He will do and more importantly WHEN he will do it – a dress rehearsal if you will, for the first and second coming of Yeshua with each feast illustrating a certain essential truth relating to the the everlasting covenant as it unfolds into the history of this earth.
Many Hebrew Roots, Messianic and Messianic Jewish believers are under the impression that the modern Rabbinical calendar tabulated by Hillel II is the same as the Biblical calendar. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It is true that the modern Rabbinical calendar is very close, but since the two calendars are calculated using entirely different methods, minor and major variations do exist.
Why is this important? Yahweh has commanded us to follow His feasts according to His calendar, not a calendar that merely approximates it. The modern Rabbinical calendar rarely has feast days at the same time as the Biblical calendar, thereby leading even conscientious followers of Yeshua to observe days that have not been divinely ordained and neglecting days that have been divinely ordained.
The Feasts and the Appointed Times
In order to understand the advents of our Savior, we MUST understand the feast days and appointed times (mo’edim) as given to us in the Torah which are prophetic rehearsals of the first and second coming of Christ.
There are a total of seven feasts ordained by the Lord through Moses. The church, as a whole, does not celebrate these days but have mixed and blended them with pagan festivals using pagan names. Many reasons have been given by the church as to why it does not observe these days, but we’ll save that for another teaching.
1. Passover and First Day of Unleavened Bread (Pesach) – a High Sabbath
2. Last Day of Unleavened Bread – a High Sabbath
3. Pentecost (Shavu’ot) – a High Sabbath
4. Trumpets (Yom Teruah) – a High Sabbath
5. Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) – a High Sabbath
6. Tabernacles (Sukkot) – a High Sabbath
7. The Eight Day – a High Sabbath
It must be understood that though these are all referred to, in a broad sense, as feast days, only three (1, 3 and 6 above) are truly feast days where we are instructed to actually celebrate with a feast and go on up to Jerusalem, Deut 16:16-17. Ex 23:17 and Exo 34:23. Yet, they are ALL generally referred to as feast days.
But Whose Feasts are they? Are They Jewish Feasts? Do They Apply Today?
“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are MY appointed feasts, the appointed feasts OF the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.”
They were given to all twelve tribes of Israel and all those who left Egypt with the twelve tribes. The Scriptures tell us that they are always to be observed. Always. Zechariah tells us that Tabernacles is even observed in the Millennium.
“Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.”
Verse 4 of Leviticus 23 explains how these feast days are to be observed at their appointed times. The Hebrew word for appointed times is “mô‘êd.” Verse 4 says, “These are the LORD’s appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times:”
“Appointed times” – mo’ed. The singular of “Mo’edim” is used in Genesis 1:14.
“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,”
We have to ask ourselves, “Do we really need the sun, moon and the stars to tell us what season we are in?” Doesn’t Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall speak for themselves? Or do we need the sun, moon and the stars to inform us of when the leaves are falling from the trees? Doesn’t it make more sense that these are to be used in referring to the Lord’s appointed times and feasts as mentioned in Leviticus 23?
Verse 5 informs us of Passover (Pesach) and the First Day of Unleavened Bread.
Lev 23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover.
Passover recalls the deliverance from the plague of the first-born at midnight on the first day of unleavened bread. The feast of unleavened bread, which is part of the Passover recalls the Exodus from Egypt, and is celebrated by eating unleavened bread for seven days, from the 15th to the end of the 21st of Nisan/Aviv. No products with leaven are allowed in the home, nor are they to be seen in your land during Passover week.
The Passover meal is called a Seder, which means order, because there is a prescribed order or ritual to the service. Only unleavened bread may be eaten. Bitter herbs (onion, endive, radish, lettuce, horseradish) are also commanded to be consumed on account of the bitterness of slavery in the land of Egypt. Also, the story of the Exodus must be retold or read to all present (particularly the children).
There are two types of Passover celebrations, (1) in the Land, and (2) in the dispersion. Anyone living outside of Israel is in the dispersion, and until the Temple is rebuilt even in Israel the dispersion practice will be followed. In any case, even when the Temple is rebuilt, the sacrificial lamb component of the Seder may not be included in the dispersion Seder. Traditional Christianity will deny that the sacrificial laws have any validity now, however, they will be performed in the Age to Come (cf. Ezekiel 40-48).
In the traditional Passover Seder, there are four cups:
Kiddush (Sanctification or setting apart the occasion).
Yeshua commanded us to remember His Redemption when drinking the third cup, because the Passover Lamb has in it a lesson illustrating Yeshua’s work. This cup has been corrupted by the Church in their “celebration” of the Last Supper with idolatrous associations, pagan philosophy, guilt producing heart searching, and false means of forgiveness. The keeping of communion or consumption of the Eucharist is a rejection of the Biblical Passover. Scripture commands that no law shall be added to nor subtracted from the Passover (Deut. 12:30), wherefore, inasmuch as the Church makes the communion ritual a religious duty, and it is plain the said “duty” is not according to Torah, it is clear that the faithful must not condone it by participation in it. More on Passover . . .
Verse 6 informs us of the WEEK of Unleavened Bread.
Lev 23:5 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.
The first and the last day of this feast is to be considered High-Sabbath days. The beginning of the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread is when the Passover lamb is eaten. This meal also includes bitter herbs and unleavened bread. In fact, all seven days one is to eat food without leaven as well as remove all leavened products from their house. More on Unleavened Bread . . .
Verse 10 gives us First Fruits. (But this NOT a Feast – it is the Wave Offering)
Lev 23:10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:
This day takes place on the first day after the High Sabbath of Passover and Unleavened Bread. This is the day when the first of the harvest is waved before, and offered up to, the Lord.
Verse 15 gives us Pentecost, Shavuot.
Lev 23:15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
Shavuot is the feast of Weeks or sevens, and is known to Christians by the name “Pentecost” or sadly Easter because 50 days are counted starting on the 16th of Aviv. The 50th day is Shavuot. The seven Sabbaths between Passover and Shavuot are also counted. The first Sabbath after Passover is the Resurrection Anniversary. The reason for counting the Sabbaths is that the Law was given on a Sabbath, 50 days after the Passover. Seven Sabbaths were counted, and then the Law was given on the eighth Sabbath.
Shavuot is therefore the Anniversary of the giving of the Law, particularly, the Ten Words. Each person is to give a gift according to his means on Shavuot. The substance of this gift may be saved up each one of the Sabbaths leading up to Shavuot.
The work of the Spirit of God in writing the Law on the heart, and in renewing the covenant by circumcising our hearts and the heart of our children is also a valid theme of Shavuot. For the Spirit was poured out in power on this feast day, and the covenant renewed to 3000 souls who repented and trusted the good news. Remember that 3000 fell at Sinai by the sword after the sin of the golden calf. More on Pentecost . . .
In verses 23-25 of Leviticus chapter 23, we find the Feast of Trumpets, Yom Teruah.
Lev 23:23-25 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. 25 Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD
This Feast day has been called Rosh Hashana (head of the year), but its proper name is “Trumpets,” because on it the shofar is sounded. A Shofar is a ram’s horn. The only important Trumpet not sounded is that for the Day of Atonement beginning in the year of Jubilee. That trumpet is called the “Great Trumpet.” Shofarim is a feast for recalling God’s Prophetic Utterances, and the things to come. It is also a time for remembering Yeshua’s Birth. For He was born on Shofarim. Therefore, the holy convocation should be in keeping with these themes.
A trumpet announces an important event. Therefore, we can dwell on Yeshua’s first coming (His birth) and his Second Coming, which will also be announced by trumpets.
It is a one day celebration that always falls on the first day of the seventh month (Tishrei/Ethanim). This is the only holy day that falls on the first day of a month; a new moon. It is to be considered a Sabbath day and is commemorated with trumpet blasts. More on Day of Trumpets, Yom Kippur . . .
Beginning in verse 26, we find the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.
Lev 23:26 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
The ten days from Shofarim to Yom Kippur are the “Days of Awe,” which is the traditional time of repentance and preparing the heart for Yom Kippur. The Church’s corruption of this feast is called “Lent.”. Yom Kippur itself is a fast day, a day to be somber, a day to pray and search the heart, a day to afflict one’s soul. It is a day to ask yourself what we need to make right with God and man. More on Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur
Lastly, beginning in verse 33, we have the Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot and the Last Great Day
Lev 33: 34-36 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall bethe feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. 35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 36 Seven days ye shall 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 begins on the fifteenth day of the seventh month and lasts seven days. The first day is to be considered a Sabbath day. The eighth day, after the seven, is to be for a closing assembly and to be considered a Sabbath day as well. During the seven days the people are to rejoice and celebrate while living in booths to remember that the Israelites lived in booths after they were freed from Egypt.
The eighth day is representative of the new beginnings in eternity AFTER the millennium. The millennium represents the seventh day Sabbath… The Day of the Lord.
It must be noted that these are not “Jewish” feasts. These are God’s feasts and appointed times. We must understand that it is God’s calendar that dictates, not ours. His calendar is the only one that truly counts. It should be noted that there are several differences of opinions in how to determine the exact days of the calendar of Leviticus 23. We encourage everyone to do their own due diligence in studying out the Father’s calendar according to the Scriptures.