Psalms 119:8 “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.“
One of those wondrous things to behold are the Feasts of the Lord given to the Nation of Israel in Leviticus 23. The 7 feasts are Prophetic in nature and lay out the first and second comings of Christ and all that is in between pertaining to Israel and not to the church. The timing of these 7 feasts are based on the lunar calendar. Each of the feasts is a reminder of events in the Nation of Israel’s history and layout a prophetic timeline for Jesus, the Messiah.
God in his creation of our world established our events according to his time table, that is his calendar. Genesis 1:14. “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years“. (Just so you know, “the firmament”, is called “the expanse” in other versions, is in fact “the universe” and an interesting topic for another blog) God gave us in his creation all the makings for a calendar, sun, moon, stars, light, darkness, in order to establish signs, seasons, days, and years. The rotation or orbit of the moon around the earth and the earth orbit around the sun provide for seasons, days, and years. The reasons we have 24 hour days, 29-30 day months (Hebrew calendar) and 30-31 day months + a leap year (Gregorian calendar).
This chart shows the difference between the Hebrew and Gregorian Calendars. The chart breaks months into seasons by color, also giving the days each month has according to the Hebrew month, and listing the Jewish holidays in each month. This will be discussed in further detail later.
The Hebrew calendar is different from the Gregorian calendar, established by Pope Gregory. The following Google search reveals this information: Gregorian calendar is internationally the most widely used civil calendar. It is named after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October 1582. It was a refinement to the Julian calendar involving an approximately 0.002% correction in the length of the calendar year. Calendars, are another story for another blog.
The cover photo gives the names of 7 major feasts, found in Leviticus 23, that are divided into Spring and Fall feasts. The 4 Spring feasts are listed in different months while the 3 Fall feasts are all listed in the 7th month, Tishri, (Hebrew) or September – October, (Gregorian).
However, Leviticus 23 has 8 feasts listed, the very first one, The Sabbath, (discussed sooner than latter). The Hebrew definitions, according to Strong’s dictionary, for the words signs, seasons, days, and years are more of those “wondrous things” God give us to behold. When we think of the seasons, we would think of our 4 seasons, winter, spring, summer, and fall. We would, however, be wrong in doing so.
Genesis 1:14. “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years“
Leviticus 23:2, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.”
Leviticus 23:4 “These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.”
These feasts are the Lord’s and were woven into the very fabric of Israel’s history. The Bible demonstrates their significance by explaining their message and God having the Israelites celebrate them every year. The words translated Feasts and Seasons in these 3 verses are actually the same Hebrew word “moed”. This word can also be translated appointed, assembly, time, congregation. Strong”s Dictionary says, “an appointment, i.e. a fixed time or season; specifically, a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand): — appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn(-ity), synogogue, (set) time (appointed).” Therefore, These feasts are “divine appointments” set up as “dress rehearsals” at the specific dates established on the Hebrew calendar.
The first feast mentioned in Leviticus 23 is the “Sabbath Feast”, but not recognized by bible scholars, as part of the 7 feasts, Leviticus 23:3 “Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.” However, the Sabbath is often part of the 7 feasts because it happens every Friday night at 6:00 PM to Saturday night at 6:00 PM, I said, “sooner than latter.”
The Sabbath is a special event to be happening as noted above and is discussed beginning in Genesis 2: 2-3, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” However the word “sabbath” is translated 108 times and is first used in Exodus 16:23 and not here. Questions; When was the Sabbath set up to be followed or kept Genesis 2 or Exodus 20? Who first kept the sabbath, Adam and Eve or Nation of Israel? Well before getting into a plethora of questions. Let us try to understand what the Bible says about the sabbath!
What does the Bible say about Keeping the Sabbath?
Keeping the Sabbath is a covenant arrangement with the nation of Israel given in the 10 Commandments, Exodus 20:8-11, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” While, the word “sabbath” was not used, but the description and definition is used in Genesis 2: 1-3. Adam and Eve may have very well know of God’s sabbath day rest. Genesis 2: 1-3, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made”.
It may be inconsistent to think that God would sanctify the seventh day without Adam and Eve not being aware of it and God not instructing Adam and Eve how to observe the day and why. It may be inconsistent to think that way, however, it can argued that from Adam to Moses that no one kept the sabbath day rest observance. The silence of scripture is somewhat deafening in Genesis in how none of the patriarchs are told about the sabbath or how to observe the day. However, the fact remains that the patriarchs were told some things about their relationship with the great Almighty. Cain and Abel’s acts of worship, God’s conversations with Noah, Abraham, and/or Lot, we are not privy to all of their conversations. Therefore, we have no idea what they were told about observing the sabbath.
The deafening silence of scripture isn’t so deafening when considering the verbiage of Genesis 2: 2-3, Exodus 16:23-29, and Exodus 20:11. In Genesis 2:2 the declaration of the sabbath, without use of the word, “sabbath”, could be seen as an evidence that Adam knew of the practice.
In Exodus 16:23-29, the word sabbath is used 4 times in these 7 verses. In these verses the nation of Israel is instructed, on the to do’s and don’t dos, because of what the greatness of the day. The nation of Israel knew full well what the sabbath was all about, the feeding of the nation with manna since he pulled them from the bondage in Egypt.
In Exodus 20:11, This the formal giving of the Law of Moses. The key point here is the word “remember”, the very first word used in the giving of this commandment. Why would God be telling his people to remember something for them to do if they had no prior knowledge of it? This question gives way to the fact that the nation knew of the keeping of sabbath. Their need to to take the reminder serious could come from their 400 years making brick and their God bringing them out of bondage!
In the case of Noah, God observed his sabbath in his dealings with Noah and the flood You can tell he did by the number of times he uses the term “seven days” in Genesis 7 and 8. In those chapters God would cause an event and wait seven days or say “after seven days” cause an event. Genesis 7:4. For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. The old saying is true, “timing is everything.”
Personally, I think when it comes to the sabbath, it is much like a covenant that God declares at different times, like he did with Adam, announcing him King of the Kingdom of Heaven, Genesis 1:26-31. The observance of the sabbath would have been passed down from Adam to his sons in the same fashion they knew to bring offerings at times of worship as in the story of Cain and Abel.
However, the question arises as mentioned earlier, why is it not mentioned much before the giving of the Law of Moses? Since the scripture is quite silent on the particulars on the lives of the patriarchs, we too should remain quite.