Leviticus 23: This chapter covers the seven appointed times that were to be celebrated by Elohim’s people. These are all times of great joy and celebration, except for the Day of Atonement. The six others are a time of rejoicing.
The Sabbath day is covered here as the first appointed time because it gives us a unit of time with which we can measure the other feasts. The number seven is very prominent in Scripture and denotes completeness. The number seven is especially prominent in the Revelation and in this chapter of Leviticus where seven(th) is used 18 times..
These Appointed Days served two specific purposes: a practical purpose and a prophetic purpose. In a very practical way, they were days of fellowship and worship. All males were required to go to Jerusalem and worship on the three feasts: on the feasts of Unleavened Bread, Weeks, and Tabernacles (Deut 16:16). This would knit together the people in fellowship toward their Creator and Redeemer.
This chapter that focuses on the appointed times of the Yahweh, begins with a delineation of of the basis for time to be used for man. The workweek and the Sabbath.
The Sabbath is the first Feast mentioned and it is the one that is most often celebrated by His people.
(Lev 23:1 NASB) The LORD spoke again to Moses, saying,
(Lev 23:2 NASB) “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:
Lev 23:2: These days are called “Yahweh’s Appointed TImes.” They are not “Jewish Feasts” or anything like that according to Elohim. They are the times when His people are to have “appointments” with Him.
On these days, we are told to proclaim them as “holy convocations.” A “convocation” is the Hebrew word “miqra.” 4744. miqra’, mik-raw’; from H7121; something called out, i.e. a public meeting (the act, the persons, or the place); also a rehearsal:–assembly, calling, convocation, reading.
They are a time when we are to be set-apart and meet together in His name.
(Lev 23:3 NASB) ‘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.
Lev 23:3: When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, they worked every day. The Sabbath day is tied to deliverance (Deut. 5:15). The Sabbath Day is a symbol of the covenant between Elohim and His people, Israel.
The Sabbath is mentioned 138 times in 116 verses. There is not one verse in Scripture that says we are not to honor the Sabbath. There is not one righteous example in Scripture where it is broken. The Sabbath Day was implemented at creation and was never eradicated or changed to a different day.
(Lev 23:4 NASB) ‘These are the appointed times of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them.
(Lev 23:5 NASB) ‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD’S Passover.
Lev 23:5: After we are told that every seventh day is the Sabbath, we find that the timing of the rest of the appointed times in Scripture are governed by the new moons, which mark the beginning of each month. There is controversy as to when the year starts in Scripture, but the preponderance of the evidence tells us it is governed by the first new moon after the spring equinox. Others say it is governed by the first new moon after the appearance of barley sprouting in Israel. However, that method of determining the new year has numerous Scriptural difficulties.
This feast is given to Israel just before they left Egypt in Exodus 12. This holy season represents the sacrificial death of Yeshua Messiah and the value of His blood. Paul tells us to celebrate this feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Cor. 5:7-8).
Passover is not a separate Feast Day. It is the preparation day for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
(Lev 23:6 NASB) ‘Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
(Lev 23:7 NASB) ‘On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.
(Lev 23:8 NASB) ‘But for seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.'”
Lev 23:8: Leaven speaks of sin. Leaven is to be out of the house and lives of His people during that feast. As mentioned earlier, Passover speaks of the death of Yeshua and the sacrifice He made on our behalf. With Passover being the preparation day for the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, this speaks of the righteous lives we are to lead after we come to know Him as Messiah.
Knowing Yeshua as our Messiah prepares us to lead a righteous life following Torah and to live our lives without sin.
(Lev 23:9 NASB) Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
(Lev 23:10 NASB) “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.
(Lev 23:11 NASB) ‘And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
Lev 23:11: The Feast of the First Fruits points to the resurrection of Yeshua Messiah. The first day of the week after the day of Passover, a portion of the first harvest is to be offered to Elohim.
This feast speaks of new life and it is celebrated on the first day of the week. Paul tells us that the Feast of the First Fruits speaks of the resurrection of Messiah (1 Cor. 15:20-23).
On Elohim’s calendar, this Feast falls exactly on the day of the resurrection of Messiah. It is the first day after the Sabbath following Passover. On the other hand, Easter (celebrating the fertility goddess “Ishtar,”) follows an equation that usually intentionally misses the day after Sabbath following Passover. (See explanation…)
(Lev 23:12 NASB) ‘Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the LORD.
Lev 23:12: The fact that a lamb is presented as a burnt offering indicates that this Feast points to Yeshua Messiah.
(Lev 23:13 NASB) ‘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 libation, a fourth of a hin of wine.
(Lev 23:14 NASB) ‘Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.
Lev 23:14: Most people think that following Torah means that we must do sacrifices. That’s not true. To do that in our circumstances today would violate Torah. We cannot bring sacrifices to Elohim because He has not designated a place for us to do so in this day (Deut. 12:10-14).
The place He had designated for offerings is the site that is now occupied by the Dome of the Rock, the Abomination of Desolation. Therefore, it would be an abomination to do sacrifices or offerings at this time.
(Lev 23:15 NASB) ‘You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths.
(Lev 23:16 NASB) ‘You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD.
Lev 23:16: The Feast of the Weeks falls upon the first day of the week following the seventh Sabbath. That means it falls on the fiftieth day starting on the day of the Feast of First Fruits. That is why it is sometimes called Pentecost.
(Lev 23:17 NASB) ‘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.
Lev 23:17: This offering contains leaven, but it is not presented on the altar, it is presented as a wave offering and given to the priests. Leaven is never presented on the altar (Lev. 2:11).
(Lev 23:18 NASB) ‘Along with the bread, you shall present seven one year old male lambs without defect, and a bull of the herd, and two rams; they are to be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their libations, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.
(Lev 23:19 NASB) ‘You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering and two male lambs one year old for a sacrifice of peace offerings.
(Lev 23:20 NASB) ‘The priest shall then wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering with two lambs before the LORD; they are to be holy to the LORD for the priest.
Lev 23:20: Notice again that the offering which contains leaven in the bread is for the priest and not presented by fire to Elohim. All the offerings were to be made at on the Feast of Weeks.
(Lev 23:21 NASB) ‘On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a holy convocation. You shall do no laborious work. It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.
Lev 23:21: We are to assemble on that day and rest and not do any work.
(Lev 23:22 NASB) ‘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.'”
Lev 23:22: This shows the practical side of the work of His people. We are to feed the needy and the stranger as well as minister to them (Lev. 19:9-10). This is one of the main commands in Torah that Yeshua emphasized. We are to love and care for one another. This is a primary and paramount part of serving Elohim and observing His Torah.
(Lev 23:23 NASB) Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
(Lev 23:24 NASB) “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month, you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.
(Lev 23:25 NASB) ‘You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD.'”
Lev 23:25: The Feast of the Trumpets signifies the resoration of Israel. It is traditionally the day of the crowning of a new king and could be the day of the return of Messiah very soon.
(Lev 23:26 NASB) And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
(Lev 23:27 NASB) “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.
Lev 23:27: In Leviticus 16, we are told of the offerings and rituals performed on the Day of Atonement. In this section, the sorrow and repentance of His people is stressed.
Much discussion has occurred concerning what it means to “humble our souls.” This has been interpreted to mean fasting. The Day of Atonement is a day to reflect on the forgiveness of sin (Lev. 16:34).
In many parts of Scripture when forgiveness of sin was desired, men would fast and humble themselves (Judges 20:26, 1 Sam. 7:6) Psalms tells us that humbling our souls means fasting (Psalm 35:13). Daniel took this even further and humbled himself in other ways such as not bathing when he was praying for forgiveness of the sins of Israel (Dan. 10:1-3). We are also told that Paul called the Day of Atonement “the fast” (Acts 27:9).
(Lev 23:28 NASB) “Neither shall you do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God.
(Lev 23:29 NASB) “If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people.
Lev 23:29: For one to not honor this day is for one to reject atonement with Elohim.
(Lev 23:30 NASB) “As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people.
(Lev 23:31 NASB) “You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.
Lev 23:31: We are to do no work at all on this day. No cooking. No nothing. It is a day to reflect on our sins and to meditate on the grace and mercy of Elohim.
(Lev 23:32 NASB) “It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath.”
Lev 23:32: The great Day of Atonement speaks of the work of Yeshua Messiah when He laid His life down for us. This day is referred to by James in the Brit Hadashah (James 4:8-10).
(Lev 23:33 NASB) Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
(Lev 23:34 NASB) “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD.
(Lev 23:35 NASB) ‘On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind.
(Lev 23:36 NASB) ‘For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work.
Lev 23:36: This feast speaks of the day when Israel will be fully restored and will dwell safely in the Land of Israel (Zech 14:16-19).
(Lev 23:37 NASB) ‘These are the appointed times of the LORD which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, to present offerings by fire to the LORD– burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and libations, each day’s matter on its own day–
(Lev 23:38 NASB) besides those of the sabbaths of the LORD, and besides your gifts, and besides all your votive and freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD.
Lev 23:38: These are the days which are to be set-apart days to assemble in His honor and in His presence.
(Lev 23:39 NASB) ‘On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day.
(Lev 23:40 NASB) ‘Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.
Lev 23:40: On the Feast of Booths, the first day and the eighth day are to be special days of no work.
(Lev 23:41 NASB) ‘You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
(Lev 23:42 NASB) ‘You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths,
(Lev 23:43 NASB) so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.'”
Lev 23:43: All of Israel is to celebrate the Feast of Booths. Native born Israelites are mentioned here, but it says the stranger is to do it as well (Deut. 16:13-14).
The Feast of Booths is a great time for an assembly to camp outside in temporary dwellings and live among one another in food, drink, and fellowship.
(Lev 23:44 NASB) So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the LORD.
Lev 23:44: The Feast of the Tabernacles points to eternity (Rev. 21:3). That will be the fulfillment of the great Feast of the Tabernacles.
These are the Appointed Times of Yahweh. They are times for His people to assemble, gather around His Word, express their love for the Father and for each other, and display obedience as one that is truly a son or daughter of the Father.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas