Now, we are going to talk about the festivals. In Lev 23.1-2 we come across two very important terms. The “appointed times” is the word “moedim” in Hebrew and the word for “holy convocations” is “mikrah” and it means “rehearsals.” So, the biblical festivals are “rehearsals” for something that will happen in the future. This is a very important concept to remember. These festivals will be divided into spring and fall festivals. Shabbat (Sabbath) is the first one. We are to proclaim them in their appropriate time. Sunday is not the appropriate time. A study of the calendars will go hand in hand with the festivals.
The “appointments” not only applied to the people, but to the Messiah because he kept them. They were prophetic and were his appointments. The moedim should be studied and understood in three basic area’s. There is the historical, agricultural and messianic (eschatological) applications that need to be understood when looking and studying the Scriptures. We need to build a “festival” vocabulary to understand the New Testament. Some of these “festival” words include mikrah, shabbaton, hag and many more.
Obtaining good sources is critical. It is like good water versus bad water. The Mishnah tractate “Moedim” talks about this subject. There are many books about them. Artscroll has several, and the Tosefta and Talmud have whole tractates about the festivals. You not only will learn about them, but you will pick up a vocabulary that you will recognize in the New Testament. We need to look at these sources to get an ancient Jewish understanding of the festivals. Why should we do this? Because so much has been changed over the years by Replacement Theology Christianity to where it has bee “Christianized” to the point where the New Testament translations we read can’t be totally relied on, so we have to put them back into their Hebraic setting, thoughts and understandings.
The Temple Institute has books that illustrate what these festivals looked like in the Temple. When you have done all of these things (gone to the Tanach, gone to the above sources) then you can look at the Gospels and Epistles and then see the festivals. Only when we understand the historical and agricultural aspects of the festivals will we be able to grasp the eschatological implications.
The two calendars is another concept that needs to be understood in order to fully understand the Gospels and Epistles. Gen 1.1-5 talks about the first day of creation. This is Tishri 1, the beginning of time. The second day the water divides, this is Tishri 2. The third day the plants and vegetation are created, Tishri 3. The fourth day has the sun, moon and stars being created. This alone disproves evolution because how can you have plants and vegetation without the sun? This is Tishri 4. The fifth day sees the creation of the animal kingdom, Tishri 5. The sixth day has the creation of man, Tishri 6. The seventh day was the first Sabbath, Tishri 7. According to some opinions, Tishri 10 was the day that Adam sinned, and it would become the day called Yom Kippur. This is the civil calendar.
The creation week is an eschatological picture of the 7000 year plan of God, which we will touch on later. Wew also have more detail on this subject in or Eschatology/Prophecy section on this site. Gen 7.6,11-12, 8.4 proves there was a calendar since the beginning. Now, why did God create everything in six days, then rest on the seventh? Was he tired? He could have done it all in less, or more, time. The answer is he was instructing us about something (2 Pet 3.9). His plan is revealed in Genesis 1. For example, let’s look at the redempption. The “sun” is the Messiah, the “moon” the believers. The false messiah is symbolized by the “tannim” or “Lev’yi’tan” the twisted sea serpent (Isa 27). The word “sign” in Gen 1.14 is the word “owt” in Hebrerw, spelled with an aleph, vav, tav. The “vav” is number 6 in Hebrew, the number of man. We know that the aleph and the tav is a name for God, the first and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The word “owt” (aleph, vav, tav) alludes to the virgin birth and the coming of the Messiah. It also alludes to his death, bringing redemption. In ancient Hebrew, the letters were pictures. Aleph was an ox, meaning “leader, strength.” The vav was a “nail or peg.” The tav was a cross, meaning covenant or finished. If you take the letters of the word “owt” (aleph, vav, tav) means “a leader nailed to the cross.” This is just one word in Hebrew that can be done, and by looking at the individual letters of a word we can get further instruction. This is why Yeshua said that not one letter or decoration on a letter would disappear until all ha been given its proper meaning.
All dates from Genesis 1 to Exodus 12 will be according to the civil calendar. In Exo 12.1-2, we have the institution of the religious calendar. All dates after Exodus 12 will be according to the religious calendar. The civil calendar begins with the month of Tishri, then Chesvan, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, Adar, Nisan (Aviv), Iyar, Sivan, Tammuz, Av and the 12th month is Elul. The religious calendar begins with the month of Nisan (Aviv), then Iyar, Sivan, Tammuz, Av, Elul, Tishri, Chesvan, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, and the 12th month is Adar. Knowing these months will be very important when figuring out what is happening when. They will also realte the the coming of Yeshua. In Part 9, we will pick up here and get into more detail on the calebars and give an example of how this vital knowledge plays a role in the coming of Yeshua how this relates to eschatology.