[Note: I am still working on Job, but I find sometimes God changes what I'm working on. Still want to finish Job but for the moment a local Methodist church has been asking me to do some presentations on the feasts of YHVH (the LORD) sometimes erroneously called the feasts of the Jews. So since I'm studying those, perhaps it would be of a benefit to some of you while you wait for more on Job.]
The Feasts of YHVH are a number of days and groups of days that YHVH delineated through Moses. You could say the definitive list is in Leviticus 23.
Lev 23:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
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.
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.
4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
Here YHVH says “the feasts which ye shall proclaim to be holy…these are my feasts.” The idea is quara (to call) is like to point out, but it’s like to accost and identify or to encounter. It’s like the day is coming along and we are taught to grab it by the shirt and say “This is a holy encounter!” I say that because the word convocation is “miqra” from the same word in noun form. What he’s saying is to latch on to these encounters. Why? Because these are YHVH’s feasts. In fact notice the construction “the feast which ye shall proclaim…are my feasts.”
That should be enough, I mean if I had a pen and said this is YHVH’s pen, how much would you give to hold it or even be near it? The days to proclaim as holy encounter’s are YHVH’s days. The word feasts here is Mo’ed (singular) Mo’edim (plural). I can’t remember all of these words in one sitting, and I’m not expecting anyone else too, but I think it’s good to get a sense of the word. So forget the word, just remember the idea.
Mo’ed means an appointment but not like one you make with your doctor. It comes from to fix upon, it’s like a summons to trial. God isn’t saying put this on your calendar right next to Boxer Day (in Canada). It’s this is the day! Seize it! Why? What is this talk of encounter?
I used to think this was a command to meet with people. The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to not forsake the assembling together of saints, but that isn’t what this is talking about. The first feast God talks about here is the Sabbath, but what did people do on the Sabbath?
Exo 16:29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
It seems at the most basic, if there was a command it was not “to go”, but to stay. Now, here the context has to do with gathering manna; so he forbids going to gather, but the only thing we are told to do on that day is to proclaim ‘holy convocation’ and to rest. The commands associated with Sabbath all have to do with abiding, or being within your gates. There is no command to go.
Granted again it does say a convocation, but if God wanted a large corporate meeting with the people, wouldn’t he have said where? And if he had, wouldn’t he have said how many? Suppose one is traveling, how many people do you need to be with on the Sabbath to obey? How long, what are the elements of it? It seems God is less concerned with the manner of the convocation, except that it does not interfere with rest.
Luk 4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.
15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
This passage is actually the most detailed we have on what a first century Sabbath service may have looked like and actually most of it as described is still followed today, the reading of the Haftorah (the prophets etc), etc. But notice that it says Yeshua’s “custom” was to go to the Synagogue. If this was meant to be a command as it often said "according to the commandment", Yeshua would have known and obeyed. But apparently, Yeshua while keeping Shabbat understood the convocation to mean something different.
Mat 12:1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
Mat 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
Yeshua and his disciples are apparently on their way to the synagogue and Yeshua allows them to rub ears of wheat for food and sees this as being in keeping with Shabbat.
Mat 12:10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
Mat 12:11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
It is lawful to do well he says, so then apparently if your ox falls into a pit and you miss synagogue to help it out of the pit or to heal, then God holds that to be doing well and lawful. So then we see that this ‘convocation’ does not interfere with rest, healing, or need.
Who then is this meeting with primarily? Who is the encounter with? While it is important to meet with the saints, the feasts are not for meeting with man, but with God. In fact, in the KJV, you will often find the phrase “tabernacle of the congregation…” as a place for offering to and seeking YHVH but the word rendered congregation 147 times is actually Mo’ed again. It is not the tent of congregating, it is the tent of appointment or meeting.
While God often summoned the congregation in the wilderness, and kings sometimes summoned the people to the temple, the purpose was never to meet with people but with God, meeting with people happens when you're already meeting with God. YHVH thought these Mo’edim were pretty important, so important that he cleared our schedules for them long before Moses day.
Gen 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
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:
From the fourth day of this Earth, YHVH had these days in mind. The lights in the Heaven; sun, moon, stars are to divide day from night, and to be for signs (‘oth’ meaning a signal or beacon probably descending from the word ‘ooth’ meaning appearing or ‘to come’). And for seasons: Mo’edim. So on day four, before there is a man to see them God scatters glowing shards across the universe for the express purpose of being signals and appointments, or as we now call them ‘feasts.’
That is something we forget about God. Nothing occurs to God. Man didn’t sin and God sat bolt upright on his throne going “oh, boy, he’s in a real pickle! How am I going to fix this!?!” He knew his plan of redemption before there was a man to fall. Likewise, he didn’t “come up” with the feasts in the time of Moses, these were already “fixed” before creation was ‘finished.’
When we realize this, and as we’ll see later, this is evidence of the eternality of God’s plan. What occurs in every instant happens with the knowledge and determination of God to bring about his plan of redemption and abundance. God does not have ‘afterthoughts.’