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LEVITICUS 23

An Explanation from the Hebrew Texts

 

1 Yahweh spoke again to Moses, saying,  2 "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, '(moadai Yahweh) Yahweh's appointed-times which you shall proclaim as (miqrei kodesh) My sacred assemblies – My appointed-times are these:

 

These are the weekly fifty-two (or fifty-three) days of each solar year to be set aside as holy.

 

3 'For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a (Shabbat Shabbaton) Sabbath of complete rest, a (miqra kodesh) sacred assembly. You shall not do any work; it is a Sabbath to Yahweh in all your dwellings. 

 

On the seventh day of every week we are to abstain from all unnecessary labor in order to keep the entire day holy – a day dedicated to worship (that’s on our face before the Holy One) and praise (that’s standing with raised hands and extolling the Almighty for His attributes and acts). We also have an appointment with our God at a place of sacred assembly. The Apostle Paul said that we should not forsake this assembling (Hebrews 10:25).

 

This is specifically (yom hashvi’i – Gen 2:2 & Lev 23:3) The Seventh Day – not just one day out of the seven. It is (erev and boqer – Gen 1:5) “evening and morning,” that is, nighttime and daytime – sunset to sunset.

 

The (seder) order of events for the sacred assemblies was defined by Yahweh, not left up to leaders’ or congregants’ feelings, and was specifically distinct from contemporary culture.

 

Yeshua was raised from a tomb late on a Sabbath Day. He is returning for a thousand-year Sabbath of Peace with us, before this world is renewed by fire. For that thousand year Sabbath, Temple services will be by His design, as outlined in Ezekiel.

 

4 'These are the (moadai Yahweh) appointed-times of Yahweh, (miqrei kodesh) sacred assemblies which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them.

 

These are seven additional days each year to be set aside as holy. They are related to the (Exod 23:14) three (Hag Yahweh – Lev 23:39) Feasts of Yahweh. However, “feasts” or “festivals” are neither Biblical nor appropriate terms for these seven Holy Days: one of them is a solemn fast – all feasting and festivities being forbidden.

 

5 'In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, (bein haarbaim) between the evenings is the time for the (pesach l’Yahweh) passover-offering to Yahweh.  6 'Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is (hag hamatzot l’Yahweh) the Feast of Unleavened Breads to Yahweh; for seven days you shall eat (matzot) unleavened breads.  7 'On the first day you shall have a (miqra kodesh) sacred assembly; you shall not do any laborious work.  8 'But for seven days you shall present an offering by fire to Yahweh. On the seventh day is a (miqra kodesh) sacred assembly; you shall not do any laborious work.'" 

 

On the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, between noon and sunset (between the time when the sun begins to set and the time when the sun goes below the horizon), the passover lamb was to be slain and roasted. In the Torah, the term “(pesach) passover” always refers to the lamb (or goat) offering, never to a feast or a day. This passover-offering day, is called “Preparation Day” (John 19:31); it is neither a feast day nor a Holy Day.

 

On the fourteenth of Nisan, when the passover lamb was to be prepared between noon and sunset, “Messiah, our passover (lamb), was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). He was buried just before the Holy Days began at sunset (Luke 23:53). Yeshua redeemed a slave-girl out of Egypt – His church out of the land of sin.

 

Then after sunset, the beginning of the fifteenth day of Nisan –the first feast began. The lamb was eaten before midnight with unleavened breads (from previous year’s crops) and bitter herbs. This is called the passover seder because there is a defined order of events. The lamb was eaten only on the first night of the feast, but the feast lasted seven full days.

 

For seven days, no leaven may be present (a negative commandment), and unleavened breads of barley, oats, rye, spelt, and/or wheat are to be eaten (a positive commandment) – with no new grains being used until after the omer is waved on the second day of the feast.

 

The (Yom Hashvi’i) seventh day of the feast is the second annual Holy Day, with a sacred assembly required. It is called “the Day of Faith,” because on this date Israel came up from the Red Sea bed and saw the Egyptian army drowned, and believed Yahweh and His servant Moses.

 

9 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,  10 "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 an (omer reshit) omer of the beginning of your harvest to the priest.  11 'He shall wave (haomer) the omer before Yahweh for you to be accepted; on the day after (hashabbat) the rest-day the priest shall wave it.  12 'Now on the day when you wave (haomer) the omer, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for an (olah l’Yahweh) elevation-offering to Yahweh.  13 'Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to Yahweh for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine.  14 'Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor plump kernels (of new crop). It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 

 

Barley is the first of the five grain crops to ripen. As soon as the first annual Holy Day is over, after sunset at the beginning of the sixteenth of Nisan, three seahs (about a bushel) of new barley were harvested. Then, in the morning of that day, it was winnowed, sifted, parched over a fire, ground, and sifted making one omer (about two liters) of flour. Then it was mixed with one log (about one-third liter) of olive oil. It was waved upon a lamb. Then a three-finger handful was taken from it, and with frankincense added was burned on the Altar with the lamb. The remainder was given to the priests. No grain of the new crops were allowed to be used until after this waving.

 

This sixteenth of Nisan, when the omer mixture was waved, we call “Waving Day.” It should not be called “feast of first fruits” or “early first fruits”: no form of the word bikkur is ever used concerning it. It is the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Breads. It is the first of fifty days of “counting the omer.” These latter two details can help with understanding the gospel narratives of events surrounding the resurrection of Yeshua.

 

15 'You shall also count for yourselves from the day after (hashabbat) the rest-day, from the day when you brought in the omer of the wave offering; there shall be (sheva shabbatot) seven complete weeks.  16 'You shall count fifty days to the day after (hashabbat hashviyit) the seventh week; then you shall present a new grain offering to Yahweh.

 

From the sixteenth of Nisan, we are instructed to count fifty days. And we are instructed to count seven weeks and one day. A blessing is said for each day:

“Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who has sanctified us by His Word, and instructed us to count the omer.

Today is the {twentieth} day of the omer;
it is the {second} week and {sixth} day of the omer.”

 

Like the grain, the redeemed slave-girl is maturing for seven weeks, and being separated from the land of Egypt in preparation for betrothal.

 

17 'You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah (a tenth of an ephah is an omer – about two liters); they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as (bikkurim l’Yahweh) first fruits to Yahweh.  18 '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 an elevation offering to Yahweh, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to Yahweh.  19 'You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering and two male lambs one year old for a sacrifice of peace offerings.  20 'The priest shall then wave them with the (lechem habikkurim) bread of the first fruits for a wave offering with two lambs before Yahweh; they are to be holy to Yahweh for the priest.  21 'On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a sacred assembly. You shall do no laborious work. It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.  22 '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 Yahweh your God.'" 

 

The fiftieth day is the (Hag Shavuot – Exod 34:22) Feast of Weeks – the second of the three Feasts of Yahweh. It is also (Yom haBikkurim – Num 28:26) the Day of the First fruits – the third of the seven annual Holy Days. And it is called “Pentecost” – meaning fiftieth. By this date, wheat, the final and finest grain crop, is being harvested. Two omers of fine wheat flour are to be taken and baked into two large leavened loaves – about nine inches wide by thirty-six inches long. This “bread of the first fruits” is to be waved with two lambs. It is later eaten by the priests; nothing leavened may be placed on the Altar.

 

This is the betrothal feast. The church that was redeemed is ready to be betrothed to Yeshua. The betrothal contract is the Torah from Mount Sinai. The earnest is the Holy Spirit.

 

23 Again Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,  24 "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 sacred assembly.  25 'You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to Yahweh.'" 

 

The first day of the seventh month is known as “the day of which no man knows the day or the hour,” because its beginning is only determined after it has started. When it is announced from the Holy Temple by a representative of the Sanhedrin, after they have considered witness accounts concerning a new crescent moon, the Holy Day has already begun. Therefore, the Holy Day is observed from the earliest possible start time, though it may subsequently be found to start twenty-four hours later. In other words, it is observed as a two-day long Sabbath, because all of the day must be kept holy, though it cannot be known when it starts until after the fact.

 

This is the fourth of the seven annual Holy Days. It is a precursor to the Feast of Tabernacles.

 

The shofar (a ram’s horn trumpet) is sounded several times, with an announcement preceding each trump. Before the last and longest trump, the announcement is “Tekiah Gedolah!” – the Return of the Great One!

 

At the Last Trump, with the shout of the archangel, Yeshua will descend from heaven, and the dead in Messiah shall rise (1 Cor 15:52, 1 Thess 4:16). Of that day and hour no one knows (Matt 24:36, Mark 13:32). Messiah is returning for His bride.

 

26 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,  27 "On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is (Yom haKippurim) the Day of the Atonements; it shall be a sacred assembly for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to Yahweh.  28 "You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonements, to atone for you before Yahweh your God.  29 "If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people.  30 "As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people.  31 "You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.  32 "It is to be a (Shabbat Shabbaton) 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." 

 

On the tenth day of this seventh month, we come to the Day of the Atonements, the fifth of the seven annual Holy Days. It is a solemn day of fasting and repentance. A sacred assembly is required. [It may be noted that a Holy Day is herein called a Sabbath, even though it is not a seventh day.]

 

Two goats (Lev 16:5-10) represent the two atonements of this day. It is final preparation for the coming third feast.

 

We must have two atonements to be fit for the soon coming Kingdom: the goat for Azazel representing our sins being accounted to Yeshua and taken away, and the goat for Yahweh representing Yeshua’s righteousness being imputed to us with the soothing aroma ascending to God.

 

33 Again Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,  34 "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the (Hag Sukkot) Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to Yahweh.  35 'On the first day is a sacred assembly; you shall do no laborious work of any kind.  36 'For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to Yahweh.

 

This third feast lasts seven days. The first day of this feast is the sixth of the seven annual Holy Days. For the seven days, we are to dwell – eat and sleep – in (sukkot) tabernacles / booths. These are temporary structures made of branches and leaves. We must keep the first day holy and have a sacred assembly, but we may leave for our normal daily work on the other six days.

 

On the first day, among other offerings, thirteen bullocks were offered at the Holy Temple. On the second day it was twelve bullocks. On the sixth day it was seven bullocks. The total was seventy bullocks, representing the fall of the seventy nations that were originally separated from Babel. All the nations of this world have fallen by the end.

 

This is a rehearsal for the wedding feast – “The marriage of the Lamb is come, and His bride has made herself ready!” – Rev 19:7-9. If we have come through the blood of the Passover-lamb, if we have accepted the betrothal contract, if we have heard the “Last Trump” and participated in the atonements, then we may be part of this glorious feast! The remainder of the world will be under devastation.

 

On the eighth day you shall have a sacred assembly and present an offering by fire to Yahweh; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work. 

 

This is known as (Yom Hashmini Atzeret – Num 29:35) the Eighth Day Assembly. It is the final Holy Day of the festival year, immediately following the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles.

 

On this day, among other offerings, one bullock was offered at the Holy Temple, representing the Kingdom of God. All seventy kingdoms of this world have become the one Kingdom of Our God.

 

Yeshua will reign in righteousness! He will dwell with His bride forever! There will be no more sin, no more of sin’s results, no more death.

 

37 'These are the appointed-times of Yahweh which you shall proclaim as sacred assemblies, to present offerings by fire to Yahweh – elevation offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each day's matter on its own day –   38 besides those of the Sabbaths of Yahweh, and besides your gifts and besides all your votive and freewill offerings, which you give to Yahweh. 

 

These are the seven Holy Days of each year when a sacred assembly is required with its own prescribed (seder) order of service. These are in addition to the weekly Sabbath assemblies, and the required times to bring various offerings (e.g.: sin offerings, thanksgiving offerings) to the Holy Temple.

 


Hebrew Vocabulary (in order of usage in text)

 

Yahweh – the unique proper Name of the Eternal Gracious One

Miqra (miqrei is possessive form) – assembly, calling together

Kodesh – to keep holy, sanctify, dedicate, consecrate

Moed (moadai is plural possessive form) – appointed-time

Shvi’i – seventh (hashvi’i is definite – the seventh)

Yom – day

Shabbat (shabbaton is plural form) – a rest, especially to dedicate time to God

Related to shevii – seventh (day or year or millennium)

Sometimes applied to other Holy Days (e.g.: Lev 23:32)

Also used meaning “week”:

In Talmud first day of the week is (Hebrew) “rishon bashabbat / first of the sabbath” – Sukkot

In Gospels first day of the week is (Greek) “mian sabbaton / first of sabbath” – Matthew 28:1

Erev – to be dark or darkening (afternoon, evening, or nighttime)

Boqer – morning (to break forth), daytime (by implication)

Bein – between

Haarbaim – definite plural form of erev – the evenings (noon and sunset)

Hag – feast; lots of food including foods of symbolic nature (e.g.: lamb, breads, fruit-of-the-vine, new fruits & nuts)

 

 

Units of Measure

 

Ephah – a basic unit of dry measure; about twenty-five liters or twenty-eight quarts by Jerusalem Hazon Ish measure, twelve liters by Wilderness Na’eh measure

 

Seah – a unit of dry measure (used for grain); one-third of an ephah; about eight liters by Jerusalem measure

 

Omer – a unit of dry measure (used for flour); one-tenth of an ephah; about two-and-a-half liters by Jerusalem measure

 

Log – a unit of liquid measure (used for olive oil); about one-third liter by Jerusalem measure

 

Hin – a unit of liquid measure (used for wine); a “fourth of a hin” is about one liter by Jerusalem measure

 

 

ddd 8-26-08

© 2006  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)

 

 

 

 

 

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