GODS PLAN FOR THE CHURCH AND THE JEWISH PEOPLE
By Susan Nikirk
MOADIM - THE APPOINTED TIMES
God was designing and creating His divine calendar on the fourth day of creation. The purpose was and is to teach us about His plan of redemption through Yeshua the Messiah. "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". (Gen.1:14) Gods calendar is based on the moon, lunar time. Today, we observe the Babylonian calendar, which is based on the sun, solar time, but Gods calendar hasnt changed. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. A key word that we must understand in Genesis 1:14 is seasons. This word has been translated and interpreted incorrectly for centuries. The root meaning of the word season is the Hebrew word "moade or moadim", it means "an appointed time, a festival." In the Hebrew Stones Edition Tanach, (O.T.) Genesis 1:14 translates " and they shall serve as signs, and for festivals, and for days and years." Psalm 104:9 "God appointed the moon for seasons" the word seasons again is "moadim" which is "appointed times, festivals." Therefore, we can say God appointed the moon to determine the appointed times and festivals. In the ancient times the prophets and the apostles looked to the moon to determine the time of the month. They understood that the new moon marks the beginning of a month, and a full moon the middle of a month. This was the ancient and God inspired method of counting months.
We need to realize that these "moadim-appointed times" were set in the earth prior to the creation of any living being. God had already created a timetable for His children to meet with Him. God does not make mistakes, nor does He change His mind. In the Amplified Bible Genesis 1:14 says, "Let them be signs, and tokens (these lights) of Gods provident care". Provident care points to a sign of Gods covenant. These appointed times are signs of Gods agreement with us, that He is our God and we are His people.
It says in the book of Hosea, "My people perish for lack of knowledge". For centuries, there has been a veil over the Church producing an ignorance of the Lords calendar. This has continued to keep the division between the Christian and the Jew, and also has made Christianity to look like a new religion with new holy days. The solar calendar (Julian/Gregorian) and pagan inspired feast days have been substituted for Gods divine calendar and holy days. Much of the pagan holy days came from the Roman Church, and again the reason was to separate the Church and its followers from the Jewish people.
As I mentioned in my previous article "In The Fullness Of Times", it says in Acts 3:21, the heavens have received The Messiah Yeshua, and are retaining Him until the times of complete restoration of all things that God spoke by the mouth of all His holy prophets from ages past. One area that the Holy Spirit is trying to restore in the Church is the Festivals of the Lord. In most Bibles festivals is translated feasts. "And God spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons." (Lev. 23:1-2, 4) We need to take special note that these feasts are not called Jewish holy days; but God calls them "My feasts", "The Feasts of The Lord". The word seasons again, is the Hebrew word "moadim", which is "the appointed times, and festivals." They are intended for all the followers of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, both the natural branches and those who have been grafted in (Rom. 11). These appointed times and festivals were given to Israel and were commanded to be observed throughout their generations forever. (Ex. 12:14,17; Lev. 23) When the children of Israel left Egypt many Gentile people left with them. They were called foreigners or sojourners, and also observed the appointed times and festivals/feasts. When a Gentile believer observes the feasts, that person is exercising their rights of citizenship (Eph. 2:19) as well as obeying Gods commands. When you learn these feasts, you learn of Gods ways, and His covenant. Remember, a covenant is an agreement between two people; therefore in each feast there is a promise from God establishing His covenant with us. If we dont understand or have a knowledge of the feasts, then we dont know the promise that God has given us.
Most of us lead very busy lives, and we carry appointment books so that we do not forget our scheduled appointments. In a way God has His own appointment book in heaven, in which He schedules special appointed times with sacred assemblies to meet with Him in anointed times of praise, worship, and fellowship with Him. On these special appointed times His presence will be especially revealed to us. Of course, God wants to meet with us every day, and when we take time to fellowship with Him He is always there. But, there is a special blessing that comes when His children meet Him on the appointed times and feasts that He perpetually set in His word.
In Leviticus 23, God lists the appointed time of the weekly Sabbath and the seven Feasts of the Lord celebrated throughout the year. Each feast points to Yeshua past, present, and future, and is a picture of the redemptive work in our lives. The seven feasts are celebrated in two different seasons, which correspond to the two agricultural seasons. In Israel there is a time of rain in the spring (former rain) and a time of rain in the fall (latter rain). This division relates to the two appearances that Messiah is to make on the earth: " and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." (Hos. 6:3)
The four spring feasts are: Passover (Pesach), The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Matzot), The Feast of First Fruits (Bikkurim), The Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), also known as Pentecost. The work of Messiah Yeshua during His first coming is seen most clearly in these feasts, as related to the former rain. The three fall feasts are: The Day of Blowing The Trumpet or Shofar (Yom Teruah), more popularly known as Head of the Year (Rosh Hashanah), The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). These fall feasts take place in Gods seventh month, Tishri, which is the time of the latter rain, and contains revelation on Messiahs second coming. The rabbis according to the Talmud had two opinions on the Messiahs coming. One opinion was that Israel will be redeemed in the month of Tishri; another opinion is that they were redeemed from Egypt in Nisan, and in Nisan they will be redeemed. (Nisan is the first month in which the spring feast of Passover is observed). We know that both opinions of the rabbis are correct. God gave the Jewish people these appointed times and feasts to prepare them to recognize their Messiah when He came. As we all know, most of the Jewish people have not yet recognized Him.
Yeshua said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." In Matthew 24, the disciples asked Yeshua, "What will be the sign of your coming?" He tells them in verse 36 "But of that day and hour knows no man " In Deuteronomy 29:29 it says, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever " Paul writes in I Thessalonians 5:1 "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write to you." The Gentile believers of the first century were attending synagogues, observed the Sabbath, the Feasts, therefore knowing their prophetic significance. Yet, today most of the Church is in ignorance in this area.
Now I am sure many of you are thinking, but Paul wrote we no longer have to observe the appointed times and feasts or the law. This is a huge study in itself that I encourage you to search out. In my research, I have found that Paul observed the appointed times and feasts. Much of his writings have been misinterpreted due to wrong translations of words. For example, the word law in the New Testament in certain scriptures was referring to the legalism brought about by the added rabbinical laws, and not to the laws God set in the Old Testament. This misunderstanding has made Christians think that the Old Testament and its laws are obsolete. In the book of Galatians and Colossians it is often interpreted that the apostle Paul was condemning those believers who were celebrating the feasts. This is not true; actually he was saying that the feasts lead to Messiah. I am not saying that observing the appointed times and feasts is required for salvation; at the same time because of the way the Church has been taught, believers feel they no longer have to observe the appointed times and feasts. Basically, the nature of the human being is "If I dont have to do it, I am not going to." The appointed times and The Feasts of the Lord have a great deal to teach all believers who have made Yeshua the Messiah the Lord of their lives, bringing a new depth and fullness in our relationship with Him. In every appointed time and feast of Gods calendar we find Yeshua. Yeshua Himself being Jewish, observed all of Gods appointed times and feasts. Shouldnt we want to celebrate what our Lord celebrated?
In my first article "A Church Of Ruths", we saw a Gentile woman, Ruth, attaching herself to her Jewish mother in law Naomi, and to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Prophetically, this was a representation of the type of church and believer that joins themselves to Israel and the Jewish people. When Ruth joined herself to Naomi, all the appointed times and Feasts of the Lord were already set, and Ruth observed them, saying, "your God is my God, where you go, I will go, where you die, I will die." Ruth was saying the ways and laws of Israel are now going to be my ways and laws. We know that Ruths obedience brought forth the lineage of our Messiah, Yeshua. Another way that the true Ruths of the Church today can show their love, commitment, and faithfulness to the God of Israel and the Jewish people is by joining in the observance of the feasts. Just imagine what impact it would be on the Jewish people, if the entire Church worldwide were to keep and celebrate the appointed times and feasts. This would make the Jew jealous (Rom. 11:11); drawing them back to their God, bringing a final restoration of Israel, which in turn will usher in the return of the Messiah.
The last question that a rabbi asks a person who converts to Judaism is "Do you bind your personal destiny to the destiny of the Jewish people?" I am not saying you have to convert to Judaism, but I am asking you to search your own heart. We can say we love the Jewish people, but is their God our God? Are we willing to learn about Gods appointed times and feasts, or are we set in our traditional thinking? So I leave you with this question, do you bind your personal destiny to the destiny of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to Israel and the Jewish people, and to Gods ways?
Next In The Series: "The Spring Feasts" Go There >>