An Explanation from the Hebrew Texts


The Book of Leviticus is about holiness. This chapter is about times that Yahweh has declared to be holy - days that He has instructed His people to keep holy.


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


“Yahweh” is the unique proper Holy Name of God, meaning “The Eternal Gracious One.” It is used 36 times in this chapter, and about 7,000 times in the Bible. Most English translations substitute “LORD.”

Praising or blessing the Name “Yahweh” may be the most repeated commandment and example in all of the Bible. In the Scriptures, multitudes of people of many backgrounds over many centuries used God’s Name, without God ever recording a complaint about varied pronunciations. No absolute singular pronunciation is being promoted here, only meaningful obedience.



While these instructions were for “the sons of Israel,” the Apostolic Scriptures pointedly show that followers of Messiah Yeshua are partakers (e.g. Ephesians 2-3, Galatians 3:29).


Yahweh’s appointed times are His people’s appointments to meet with Him at His designated times and places – His sacred assemblies; this is repeated three times in this chapter (vs. 2, 4, & 37). The first appointment (moed) is the Holy Sabbath – the seventh day of each week. The next seven appointments (moadim) are annual, each on a specified day. Each of these eight appointed times requires a meeting with our Creator – a sacred assembly (miqra kodesh). At each appointed time, the entire day, from sunset to sunset, must be kept holy – dedicated to Him, most work being forbidden. Thus they are called Holy Days. The ordinances of these days are seen as applicable to us today, with exceptions such as things to be performed only at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem (e.g. animal offerings).


As a time dedicated to our Savior, we are to abstain from all unnecessary labor in order to keep the entire day holy. It is a day to be free from common work, from buying and selling, from seeking our own pleasure.


A Holy Day is for worship – in Biblical usage that means on our face before the Holy One. It is a day for praise – think of standing with raised hands and extolling the Almighty for His attributes and acts. It is a day for thanksgiving and prayer and singing Psalms. It is a day for studying God’s Holy Word for ourselves, and taking it to those who are confined. It is a day to consider the needy and children, to make it special for them.


A Holy Day includes a time to meet with our God at a place of sacred assembly; the Apostle Paul said that we should not forsake this assembling (Hebrews 10:25). The order of events (seder) for the sacred assemblies was defined by Yahweh, not left up to leaders’ or congregants’ feelings, and was specifically distinct from contemporary culture.


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


The weekly Sabbath is called “the Holy Day of Yahweh;” we are blessed for taking delight in it and calling it a pleasure (Isaiah 58:13-14).


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


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 a purge with fire (Isaiah 65:17,
2 Peter 3:12-13, Revelation 21:1). For that millennial Sabbath, Temple services will resume by God’s design, as outlined in Ezekiel.



We may see a prophetic hint of the resurrection of the Lamb of God on a Sabbath in Yeshua’s words: “What man of you having a sheep, if it fall into a pit, on the Sabbath day will not take hold of it and lift it out? (Matthew 12:11).


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


In addition to the weekly Sabbath, these are seven annual days to be set aside as holy. They are related to the three Feasts of Yahweh (Exodus 23:14-16). The first two occur during the Feast of Unleavened Breads (Hag HaMatzot), the third on the Feast of Weeks (Hag Shavuot), and the last four relate to the Feast of Tabernacles (Hag HaSukkot).

The seven appointments (moadim) are specifically identified with “sacred assemblies.” Though there is a relationship, “feasts” or “festivals” are neither Biblical nor appropriate terms for these appointments; four occur during feasts, and three outside of the feast to which they are related – one of them being a solemn fast, all feasting and festivities being forbidden.


5 “ ‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between the evenings (bein haarbaim), is the time for the Passover-offering to Yahweh (pesach l’Yahweh).  6 'Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Breads to Yahweh (Hag HaMatzot l’Yahweh); for seven days you shall eat unleavened breads (matzot).  7 'On the first day you shall have a sacred assembly (miqra kodesh); 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 sacred assembly (miqra kodesh); you shall not do any laborious work.’ ”   


In the Torah, the term “Passover” (pesach) refers to the lamb (or kid goat) offering, not to a feast or a day. Later, the term came to be used referring to the Passover seder on the first day of Unleavened Breads (when the lamb was eaten), and sometimes that entire week.

Confusing translations of some Scriptures (e.g. Numbers 9:2-14, 28:16) have caused some to misconstrue Nisan 14 as a feast day called “Passover.”


For the tenth day of the month of Nisan, each family was instructed to choose a lamb as their Passover (Exodus 12:3).


For the fourteenth day of the month of 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 instruction was for the Passover (the lamb) to be slain and roasted. This Passover-offering day is called “Preparation Day” (John 19:31); it is neither a feast day nor a Holy Day – not one of the appointments with Yahweh, but an instruction to prepare for the feast which begins at sunset.


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


Then after sunset, the beginning of the fifteenth day of Nisan – the first feast begins. The lamb was eaten before midnight with unleavened breads (from previous year’s crops) and bitter herbs. The beginning of this feast, from sunset until midnight, 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 lasts seven full days – a great celebratory meal. Work is permitted during the intermediate (non-holy) days (not on the first day of the feast, the weekly Sabbath, or the seventh day of the feast).


For seven days, no leaven may be present (a negative commandment – Exodus 13:7), and unleavened breads of barley, oats, rye, spelt, and/or wheat are to be eaten (a positive commandment – Exodus 13:7) – with no new grains being used until after the first omer is waved.


The seventh day (Yom Hashvi’i) 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 (Exodus 14:31).


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 of the beginning (omer reshit) of your harvest to the priest.  11 'He shall wave the omer before Yahweh for you to be accepted; on the day after the rest-day (HaShabbat) the priest shall wave it.  12 'Now on the day when you wave the omer, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for an elevation-offering to Yahweh (olah l’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. 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 was over, after sunset at the beginning of the sixteenth of Nisan, three seahs (about a bushel) of new barley were reaped on Mount Zion by appointed priests. 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 placed in a sacred bowl and waved upon a lamb. Then three-fingers-full (kometz – Leviticus 6:15) 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 was allowed to be used until after this waving.


When Israel was camped at Gilgal, they ate of the new barley of the land of Canaan on Nisan 16, and the bread from heaven (manna) stopped the next day (Joshua 5:11-12).


This sixteenth of Nisan, when the omer mixture was waved, is a non-holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Breads. We call it “Waving Day.” It is the first of fifty days of “counting the omer.”


This is neither a “Feast of Firstfruits” nor a Holy Day (moed). If it were a Holy Day and resurrection day (as some maintain), women would not have come to the tomb for embalming, and there would have been no reaping.


Re: The day after the rest-day; “Shabbat” (in various forms) is a term used for the seventh day of the week, the sabbatical year (Leviticus 25:5), the seventh millennium, for rest, and for the week itself (e.g. the first day of the week is called “rishon bashabbat” in Hebrew, “mian shabbaton” in Greek of Matthew 28.)


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


We are instructed to count the time, from the sixteenth of Nisan, as fifty days, and as seven weeks and one day. A blessing is said 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 crops, the redeemed slave-girl is maturing for seven weeks, while she is being separated from the land of Egypt in preparation for betrothal. The details of counting the omer can help us with understanding of the gospel narratives of events surrounding the resurrection of Yeshua.


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 first fruits to Yahweh (bikkurim l’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 bread of the first fruits (lechem habikkurim) 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 Feast of Weeks (Hag Shavuot – Exodus 34:22) – the second of the three Feasts of Yahweh. It is also the Day of the Firstfruits (Yom HaBikkurim – Numbers 28:26) – the third of the seven annual Holy Days. The Greek term is Pentecost – meaning “fiftieth.” By this date, wheat, the final and finest grain crop, was being harvested. Two omers of fine wheat flour were to be taken and baked into two large leavened loaves – about nine inches wide by thirty-six inches long. This “bread of the firstfruits” was to be waved, along with two lambs, before Yahweh. Being leavened, it could not be placed on the altar. It was later eaten by the priests.


The fifty-day count beginning Nisan 16 might bring us to Sivan 5, 6, or 7 on the variable ancient Temple calendar: thus the date was not fixed. On today’s fixed calendar, it is always Sivan 6.


This is the betrothal feast. The bride 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, as seen at a Jerusalem Pentecost two millenniums ago.


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. This and the next Holy Day are preparatory 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 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16). Of that day and hour no one knows (Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32). Messiah is returning for His redeemed, believing, and betrothed bride.


26 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 27 “On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of the Atonements (Yom HaKippurim); 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 Sabbath of complete rest to you (Shabbat shabbaton), 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 the 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 – no feasting, no festivities. 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 kinds of atonements of this day. It Is a 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. This is the purification of the bride for the imminent marriage.


33 Again Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 34 “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Tabernacles (Hag HaSukkot) 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. For the seven days, we are to dwell – eat and sleep – in (sukkot) tabernacles / booths – temporary structures made of branches and leaves. It is also called the Feast of Ingathering (Hag HaAsik – Exodus 23:16); the tree fruits and nuts have been gathered, and are primary foods for the week-long feast.


The first day of this feast is the sixth annual Holy Day. 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, except the weekly Sabbath.


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 seventh day it was seven bullocks. The total was seventy bullocks, representing the fall of all the nations of this world, which have evolved from the seventy God separated at Babel.


This is a prophetic portrayal of the wedding feast – “The marriage of the Lamb is come, and His bride has made herself ready!” – Revelation 19:7-9. If we have come through the blood of the Passover-lamb and believed in Yeshua, 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 rest 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 the Eighth Day Assembly (Yom Hashmini Atzeret – Numbers 29:35). It is the final annual 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 order of service (seder). 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.


© 2018 Beikvot HaMashiach