Let’s go to the Mishnah, Rosh Ha Shannah 1.3, where it says, “Because of six New Moons do messengers go forth to proclaim the time of their appearing: because of Nisan, to determine the time of Passover, because of Av to determine the time of the Fast; because of Elul, to determine the New Year; because of Tishri, to determine aright the set feasts; because of Adar, to determine the time of Purim. And while the Temple still stood they went forth also because of Iyar, to determine the time of the Lesser Passover.”
Now, why do they send messengers out? People who live in Lebanon (Yeshua went into Lebanon) needed to know when the month started in order to set holy days and festivals, when to come to Jerusalem and the Temple, etc. If one has seen the New Moon, he can travel on the Sabbath (Mishnah, Rosh Ha Shannah 1.9). It “overrides” the Sabbath. They used to light fires, but the Samaritans would do things like kindle misleading flares. After that, they decided to send messengers (Mishnah, Rosh Ha Shannah 2.1-2).
There was a procedure to make sure the moon was sighted, and this can be found in Rosh Ha Shannah 1.1 to 3.1. They even had pictures of the shapes of the moon on a tablet and on the wall of the chamber of the Nasi of the Sanhedrin in the southeastern chamber called Beit Avtinas. They were very calculating in getting the correct dates. They didn’t do “what was right in their own eyes.” The Nasi (president) of the Sanhedrin was the one accountable if there was a mistake. If the people rebelled against what he said, then the sin and accountability was on their own heads.
The phrase, “end of the year” or “turning of the year” shows the religious calendar and Sukkot being at the “end” or “turning” of the civil year. Both the religious and civil calendars were in use. Joel 2.23 says, “So rejoice, O sons of Zion, and be glad in the Lord your God; for he has given you the early rain for your vindication, and he has poured down for you the rain, the early and latter rain ‘in the first month.'” Now, the phrase “early rain for your vindication” is Moray Tzedekah in Hebrew, meaning “teacher of righteousness.” This is a term for the Messiah. The early rain was in the fall, in Tishri, the first month of the civil year. The “latter rain” is in the spring, in Nisan, the first month of the religious year. Both of those months are “in the first month.” This alludes to the two calendars and the coming of the Messiah. Messiah will come like the rain in Nisan (first coming) and the rain in Tishri (second coming). Hos 6.3 and James 5.7 also speaks of very same thing.
Let’s go to Gen 50.24, where it says, “God will surely take care of you” in the NASB, and “visit you” in the KJV. In Hebrew, it is “surely visit you” and it is “Pakod Yifkod.” In Exo 3.16, Moses is given instruction for when he goes to Egypt. He is told by the Lord to tell the elders of Israel that the Lord has “surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt.” In Hebrew it is “Pakod Pakadti.” Exo 13.19 is quoting Joseph and it says, “God will surely visit you and you shall carry my bones from here with you.” Moses will fulfill what Joseph had asked. In Hebrew it is “Pakod Yifkod. It has been 144 years.
Every time we have seen this, we have what is called a “double.” In English, to best translate it you would say, “God will surely visit, will visit you.” In the peshat (literal level) he visits them when Moses comes to take them out of Egypt, But, we have a future “visit” that is being implied here. Taking it a step further, we have the First, or Egyptian, Redemption. But then we have the Second, or Messianic, Redemption. The Second Redemption is seen as the greater redemption (Jer 16.14-15). This Messianic Redemption started 2000 years ago but it is not over yet, or totally fulfilled. That won’t happen till we enter into the Olam Haba at the end of the 7000 years (“here now, but not yet”).
So, what we want to know is “How does all this develop.” Luke 1.5-17 tells us about a miraculous birth to Zechariah. His son will come in the spirit and power of Elijah. Mal 3.1 speaks about the “messenger of the covenant” and we know this is “Elijah” based on Mal 4.5-6. The coming of Elijah before the Messiah is a prominent concept in Hebrew thought. In the Messianic Redemption, Yochanon Ha Matvil (John the Baptist) fulfilled that role (Matt 11.12-14). In other words, Elijah himself is not coming, but someone who is “cut out of the same cloth” as Elijah is coming at the beginning of the Messianic Redemption, and that was Yochanon Ha Matvil.
In Luke 19.40-44, we have the story of Yeshua riding into Jerusalem on Nisan 10, the day a lamb was selected to be given on Passover. Some of the Pharisees, probably from Beit Shammai, told Yeshua to rebuke his talmidim for crying out to God in praise, and calling Yeshua a king. Yeshua says that if these talmidim become silent, the stones will cry out. The “stones” he is referring to are the headstones of those who had died and were buried in the area. They were dead and they knew who Yeshua was (Luke 16.28-31). He then approached the city and saw Jerusalem, and he wept over the city. This was done by David in 2 Sam 15.30, and it was believed that when Messiah came he would weep over the city of Jerusalem like David did (Sukkot Machzor, “The Voice”. p. 802-805, by Artscroll).
Yeshua then says, “If you had known in this day” (v 42) and he alludes to a prophecy in Dan 9.24-27. From the decree to restore Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple (Neh 2.1-20) in Nisan, to the coming of the Messiah, there would be 483 years, or 173,880 days. Yeshua rides into Jerusalem on the 173,880th day exactly. It then says in Dan 9.26 that after this is over, the Messiah will be “cut off.” He was killed four days later, on Nisan 14.
Yeshua then goes to predict the fall of Jerusalem by Vespasian. The city was surrounded 40 years later on Nisan 12 and they would not leave “one stone upon another.” This included Jerusalem, but many buildings are still standing when then they found them after excavating in the city. The phrase “not one stone upon another” is not literal, but an idiom meaning a “massive destruction caused by war.” He then goes on to say “because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” The word “visitation” goes right back to our passages that we have been going over in Gen 50.24; Exo 3.16, 13.19, and “Pakod Yifkod” or “visit, and visit” you.
What we need to realize is that this is the week of Passover when the Egyptian Redemption is remembered. The people will be talking about all of this. But, “Pakod Yifkod” (visit, and visit) alludes to another visitation called the Messianic Redemption. That is what Yeshua is bringing here as the shaliach of God. Moses was the shaliach in the Egyptian Redemption, and Yeshua is the shaliach of the Messianic Redemption.
When Yochanon Ha Matvil was born, Zechariah has been deaf and dumb (Luke 1.62) since the visit of Gabriel in the Temple. He calls the baby “Yochanon” and at once his ears and mouth are opened. Zechariah begins to praise the Lord and says in Luke 1.68, “For he has visited us and accomplished his redemption for his people.” Miriam has been pregnant with Yeshua for three months now. We know Yochanon was born around Passover, based on Luke 1.5-24, and that means Yeshua was born around Sukkot, based on the birth of Yochanon and the death of Herod. He was conceived around Chanukah. This is the second fulfillment of “Pakod Yifkod.” So, Passover and this phrase is going to be something everyone would be talking about. We have seen how many times this phrase is mentioned back in the Torah.
Zechariah also says in 1.69 that he has “raised up a horn (“keren”) of salvation (“yeshua”) for us in the house of David his servant.” We have mentioned earlier that Zechariah was in the Temple officiating at the Golden Altar of Incense during the incense service. This can be found in Luke 1.5-23. Zechariah was praying the standing prayer called the Amidah, along with the people outside. Gabriel appears to him, standing to the right of the Golden Altar of Incense. Gabriel says, “For your petition has been heard, and your wife Elisheva will bear you a son, and you will give him the name Yochanon.”
What petition was heard? What was Zechariah praying? He was praying the Amidah, and number 15 says, “Speedily cause the offspring of David, thy servant, to flourish, and lift up his glory by thy divine help because we wait for they salvation all the day. Blessed are you, O Lord, who causes the strength of salvation to flourish.” This is the petition that was heard, a prayer for the Messiah. Gabriel tells him he will have a son that will be the forerunner of the Messiah. In Luke 1.68-69, Zechariah makes mention again of the “horn” and “salvation” (“yeshua” in Hebrew), and an offspring “in the house of David” in his blessing, right after he can talk again. This is right out of what he was praying in the Temple when Gabriel appeared. His son will be “the voice” of Isa 40.3, the “poretz” of “breachmaker” that will go before Messiah in the spirit and power of Elijah. His son will be the “messenger of the covenant” (Mal 3.1). Keep in mind, this is said around Passover, and the themes of the Egyptian Redemption are being discussed everywhere by the people.
We will pick up here in Part 14.