Appointed Times (Leviticus 23:1-2)

  • “The LORD spoke again to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD’S appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations – My appointed times are these:’””  (Leviticus 23:1-2 NASB)

This is extremely powerful à the words “appointed times”are from the Hebrew word moed, which means:

fixed times, to meet at a stated time.”  This word first appears in Genesis 1:14:

  • “Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons (moed) and for days and years;”” (NASB)

The word “sign” is from the Hebrew word oth, which means “the sign” or “the seal.”  Ancient Hebrew, like Egyptian hieroglyphs, was originally a pictographic language.  Pictures symbolized words, and later sounds.  Examining the Hebrew letters of the word oth, when we look at the pictograph of this word, we get alef, meaning: “leader,” vav meaning “nail,” and tav meaning: “cross.”  The sun, moon, and stars were first and foremost a “sign” of “the Leader nail[ed] [to the] cross.”  How do the heavenly lights point to Messiah?  The word “season” is the Hebrew mow’ed, which means: “appointed times.”  The Feasts point to Messiah, and they are dependent upon the moon and sun.  So the sun, moon, and stars are placed where they are for the scriptural determination of the Feasts of Yahweh, which point to Messiah, the Leader nailed to the cross.  This shows us just how important these feasts are.

Additionally, when we look at the Hebrew pictographic name for God, Yahweh (or YHVH because Hebrew did not use vowels), we have: Yod + Hey + Vav + Hey = hand, behold! Nail, behold!  The word picture tells us that the redemptive name of God (Yahweh) is: The Hand – behold!  The nail – behold!  Amazing power depicting Christ’s work on the cross.  The study of the “Feasts of Yahweh” found in Leviticus 23 is a study in typology.  These Feasts of Yahweh were given to Israel by God, so His people could understand the coming of Christ and the role that Christ would play in redeeming man back to God following the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.  Although most non-Jewish Bible believers have heard of the feasts, the deep meaning and the importance of these feasts are almost universally not understood.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Gentile believers in Colossae that the Feasts of Yahweh, the New Moon, and the Sabbath Days were a shadow of things to come to teach us about Christ (Colossians 2:16-17).  Jesus was the substance or fulfillment of the greater plan that God revealed and foreshadowed in these seven important festivals.  These seven feasts represent and typify the general sequence, timing, and significance of the major events of the Lord’s redemptive history.

It is vital for us to understand the significance of these 7 Feasts listed in Leviticus chapter 23 as a complete connected picture of redemptive history.  They are all highly significant eschatologically, all were part of the law, and all were Sabbaths.  The completions of all were tied to the resurrection, the Kingdom, and the final fulfillment of Sabbath/salvation.  Yeshua emphatically stated in Matt. 5:17-18 that not one jot or tittle of the law would pass away until all was fulfilled.  Even though obsolete and empty at the cross, if that obsolete OC (Old Covenant) had been fully removed before the fulfillment of these last 3 Feasts –> Christ would be a false Prophet.  All Christians believe that Yeshua was not a false Prophet, but the only way to consistently and biblically claim that He was not, is to understand that these last 3 Feasts could not just be dismissed and left unfulfilled.  These were the Feasts of Yahweh, and Christ came to perfectly fulfill the work of His Father –> and this included the full fulfillment of the Feast calendar of Yahweh. 

Audience relevance and contextual satisfaction has to also be maintained, and was, as Yeshua did fulfill the entire 7 feast redemptive calendar “in His generation” with the completion of these last 3 Feast days by AD 70 à when the Old heavens and earth and OC animal sacrifice world of Judah passed away with the complete destruction of Jerusalem & the temple by the Romans armies.

The first four Spring Feasts –> Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost were a prophetic foreshadowing of the First Coming of the Lord Jesus the Christ.  They spoke of the fulfillment/anti-type of the Passover, which was the substitutionary sacrifice for sin by the literal shed blood and physical death of Christ on the cross at Calvary.  The anti-type of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was the deliverance from the condemnation of sin to eternal death He purchased in His blood.  The anti-type of First Fruits was the physical resurrection of Christ.  The anti-type of Pentecost was the official arrival/inauguration of the New Covenant Kingdom through His shed blood on the cross.

The remaining three feasts were the Fall Feasts, which were a prophetic foreshadowing of the Second Coming of Christ.  The Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles started about 4 months after the end of the Spring Festivals.  All three of these feasts took place in the month of Tishri on the Hebrew calendar, which would be September or October on our calendar.  These three feasts speak of the outpouring of God’s wrath, and the consummation of the New Heavens and Earth and eternal Kingdom, which is typified by the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths).

These seven feasts together represent and typify the general sequence, timing, and significance of the major events of the Lord’s redemptive history.  They commence at Calvary, where Jesus voluntarily gave Himself for the sins of the world (Passover), and climax at the consummation of the Messianic Kingdom at the Lord’s Second Coming (Tabernacles/Booths).

Between Pentecost and Trumpets there was an interval of time of about 4 months.  These months in between were historically the driest months of the year for Israel.  There were no holy convocations when the nation gathered before Yahweh and His sanctuary.

This gap can be seen as being as prophetic in a negative way, just as the rest of the feasts are positively prophetic.  The newly redeemed nation of Israel in the OT experienced Passover through Pentecost – from leaving Egypt, their place of bondage, up to receiving the covenant from God at Sinai.  However, through unbelief and stubbornness (except for Joshua and Caleb), they wandered in the wilderness for forty years, and it was a different generation that entered the Promised Land and celebrated Tabernacles.  Thus this four month gap can be seen to be a symbolic or typological reminder of this forty year exodus.

 

See also related “Topic Studies & Terms”:

Feasts of The Lord

Passover (Feast of)

Unleavened Bread (Feast of)

First Fruits (Feast of)

Pentecost (Feast of)

Trumpets (Feast of)

Day of Atonement (Feast of)

Tabernacle (Feast of)

 

For a more in-depth study see the related full “Study Series” (available upon request if not hyperlinked):

Study Series 8 Lesson 1 God’s Festal Calendar (Spring Feasts)

Study Series 8 Lesson 2 God’s Festal Calendar (Fall Feasts)