Richard Agee

Leviticus 23: Shabbat and the moedim (appointments with God)

Richard AgeeAn appointment can be a place, a time or an event. When we use the Hebrew word מוֹעֲדִים mo’edim (Strong’s lexicon No. H4150), it’s an appointment or an assignment. The “Tabernacle of Meeting” could also be called the “Tabernacle of Appointments.” These appointed times are מוֹעֲדֵי יְהוָה mo’adey YHWH, God’s appointed times (Lev. 23:1) — not Moshe’s, Israel’s or the Jews’. The tabernacle is God’s appointed place, His dwelling place. All of these “feasts” are appointed times. When we “proclaim” His holy days, God can work in us to sanctify us.

God invites the people to come to His house on certain occasions for worship and fellowship. He is telling us the precise time when to do them.

Sabbath

The first appointment mentioned is the Shabbat:

“‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings.” (Leviticus 23:3 NASB)

What does it mean to “proclaim” an appointed time? How do you proclaim it? You proclaim it by what you do on that day. You either do it or don’t do it. If you do it, you are proclaiming it. If you ignore it and don’t do it, you aren’t proclaiming it.

Ex. 20:8-11 gives more detail on how we “proclaim” the Shabbat:

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8–11 NASB)

Proclaiming is an active verb, not a passive verb. It’s not something we say, it’s something we do. God proclaims His holiness in His actions. When we work for six days and rest on the seventh day, our work on the six days is holy and our Shabbat rest is also holy because we are acting in obedience to God’s command. 

On the Shabbat, God rested from His work, not from His service to mankind. He stopped creating on the Shabbat. After the six days, He is not working, He is serving His creation. His ultimate service to His creation is His gift of Yeshua’s sacrifice for our sin. 

On the Shabbat, the priests did not repair their roofs, clean chicken coops, etc., because that would be work that would break the Shabbat. 

However, the priests were not breaking the Shabbat when they were in the Tabernacle or Temple sacrificing animals because in the Tabernacle and Temple they were performing acts of service. 

Passover/Unleavened Bread

“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD’S Passover.” (Leviticus 23:5 NASB)

The word “twilight” does not mean in Hebrew what it means in English. The evening actually starts at noon, not at sunset. Twilight in English is translated from the Hebrew phrase בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם beyn ha-‘arbayim, or between the evenings. That actually means afternoon, between noon and sunset. Yeshua was crucified between the evenings, which is 3 p.m. 

This is not the time of eating it but the time of offering it, when it’s to be killed. You don’t partake of it until the evening. 

They left their homes at midnight on the 14th of the month. The children of Israel then traveled to a town called Sukkot on the 15th. On the 15th day, the first day of Unleavened Bread, the children of Israel were to present and sanctify their first born. 

God did not make this complicated for us. The Messiah Yeshua taught and proclaimed the word simple enough for children to understand. We proclaim God’s holiness when we act in the way that God says is holy. Everything is possible with God. 

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.” (Leviticus 23:9–10 NASB)

The land that the children of Israel were traveling to, Canaan, was not a holy land. God repeatedly warns the children of Israel that the people of Canaan are not holy and they have made the land unholy with their horrible deeds. He is sending the children of Israel to kick the Canaanites out and to practice and live the holy culture He is teaching them. 

It became holy when the children of Israel conquered it and performed the holy culture God gave them to perform. 

Firstfruits

“Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the LORD for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine.” (Leviticus 23:13 NASB)

The oil that was given with the grain offering of First Fruits was frankincense oil. The fact that the Wise Men gave Yeshua a gift of frankincense was very important, connected to Yeshua’s future role as a sacrifice and His resurrection. An ephah is a unit of measure equivalent to a bushel, which is 2.3 liters or a little more than 2 quarts.

Shavuot

“You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:17 NASB)

This was the day of another holy convocation. These two loaves of bread, with the leaven, are very pleasing to God. Why? 

“When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 23:22 NASB)

Why isn’t the harvest completely harvested? Why isn’t the threshing floor completely cleaned? It says that the poor and the strangers are to be allowed to glean the edges of the field and the remnants of the threshing floor. Leave it for those who have nothing so they can partake of the blessing and make bread. 

Trumpets

What are the trumpets for? Assembling the people to move. 

Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement

“On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD. … If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. “As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people.” (Leviticus 23:27, 29–30 NASB)

When we “afflict” our souls by fasting, we are acknowledging the weakness of our נַפְשֶׁ nephesh (H5315), literally, breath, i.e., the part that can die. The breath that God gave to us, He will take back and when He takes it back, our bodies will die. The one who afflicted His breath and His body was Yeshua, our Messiah. This is not a bad day but a happy day for mankind. God is looking for a broken and contrite spirit. 

Tabernacles/Sukkot

This is the mo’ed of eight, of a brand new start. The temporary booths are up for seven days and taken down on the eighth, when everything is made new. 

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.


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