the appointed times by Dr Chris Koster

The Hebrew word is mo’edim, and in the traditional versions of the Scriptures it was mistranslated as "festivals." The Hebrew for festival is chag. Although many a mo’ed is also a chag, this is by no means always the case.

Elohim legislated these Appointed Times to be just that: a time that He has appointed for them to draw near to Him to serve Him, to worship Him. In Wayyiqra / Lev. 23 we find these Appointed Times listed. The very first and most important one is the weekly Shabbat, of course. The weekly Shabbat, as well as the yearly Shabbat, the Day of Atonement, are mo’edim, but they are not festivals. However, the other Appointed Times in Wayyiqra 23 are also called "festivals."

If we turn our attention to these "Festivals of Yahuweh," we naturally ask two questions: What are their significance, and secondly, Why were they done away with by the Church? Before we discuss this, please note that the seven festivals are grouped in three groups (1) The festivals of the first month, Abib, (2) The Festival of Weeks (Shavu’oth), and (3) The festivals of the seventh month.

their significance

They were instituted "as a law forever," as we repeatedly read. In the first Scriptural month, Abib, we find the Passover - Pesach, also called Unleavened Bread, having certainly been fulfilled in the Messiah, our Passover Lamb slaughtered for us (1 Cor. 5:7). But why insist that we still keep it ? - you might ask. The Passover was instituted forever, but as Yahushua fulfilled it, His Body and His Blood took the place of the Passover Lamb and its blood. Therefore we still keep the Passover, but with its Messianic emblems, the unleavened bread and the cup of the vine. Write to us if you wish to have further details. Suffice it to say, the apostles kept on observing Unleavened Bread (Acts 12:3 and Acts 20:6), and Yahushua also promised that He will again drink of the fruit of the vine when the Reign of Elohim is physically set up, here on earth (Matt. 26:29).

The second group actually consists only of the Festival of Weeks - Shavu’oth. Traditionally this is thought to commemorate the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. But when the taught ones were assembled on Shavu’oth, as we read in Acts 2, the Set-apart Spirit was poured out on them. Nevertheless, they simply kept on keeping Shavu’oth year by year, e.g. Acts 20:16 and 1 Cor. 16:8.

The third group, those of the seventh Scriptural month, are most interesting, because they have never been fulfilled. The Appointed Times of the seventh month consist of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Festival of Booths, and the Eighth Day called Last (Great) Day in Yoch. 7. Interestingly, the Festival of Booths (some say it comprises all the Appointed Times of the seventh month) has another name: Festival of Ingathering, according to Wayyiqra 23:16 and 34:22, which we will discuss later on.

In Col. 2:16-17 we read that festival, new moon, Sabbaths "are a shadow of what is to come." Notice, it is not past tense "were," no, it is present tense "are." Some years ago the editor of "Midnight Cry," a well-known prophetic magazine, said. "The Church has been robbed of its festivals." He then went on and elaborated on the great prophetic significance of the festivals of the seventh month in particular.

What do these Appointed Times of the seventh month foreshadow? By the way, we all know that the weekly Shabbat is a shadow of the seventh millennium, yet to come. Nevertheless, we still keep the Shabbat for it is the sign of the Eternal Covenant (Shemoth / Exo. 31:13-17 and Yehezqel 20:12-20).

Trumpets - Yom Terua is generally interpreted as being a shadow of the Last Trumpet - 1 Cor. 15:52, Matt. 24:31, 1 Thes. 4:16, Rev. 11:15 - heralding the Second Coming of Messiah and the establishment of the Reign of Elohim here on earth!

Day of Atonement - Yom Kippur? Yahushua has certainly atoned for us as individuals when He died in our stead. However, as a nation Yisrael is still awaiting its national atonement. Yisrael is still to be reconciled to its Elohim, through Yahushua, the Sovereign of the Yehudim, the Shepherd of Yisrael.

Festival of Booths - Sukkot is a shadow of Elohim setting up His Booth as the New Yerushalayim comes from heaven. Among many passages, let us read Rev. 21:3, "See, the Booth of Elohim is with men, and He shall dwell with them and be their Elohim." But please note: In spite of Him dwelling among His people the Festival of Booths continues to be observed - read all of Zekaryah 14! Even those who are left from the Gentiles (v. 16), after Yahuweh had fought against all the Gentiles who came up to fight against Yerushalayim (vv. 2-3), shall be compelled to worship Yahuweh and to observe the Festival of Booths (vv. 16-18).

The Last Great Day is a shadow of what Yahushua will do in the Last Day, as we read of its fulfilment in Rev. 7:17, 21:6 and 22:1-2. As Messiah was observing the Festival of Booths in Yoch. 7, we read in Yoch. 7:37-39 how He, on the Last Day, promises that He will give us to drink from the fountain of the river of life, sometimes called the fountain of living waters. Already this has had a fulfilment in the lives of the True Believers, but the final consummation of this prophetic promise is still future!

The seventh Scriptural month is the time when the ingathering from the threshing-floor and from the winepress has been completed (read Devarim / Deut. 16:13). The Festival of Ingathering foreshadows the final ingathering of "the outcasts," "the remnant of Yisrael." Almost every prophetic book prophecies about this ingathering in the end-time (Write to us if you need a list of these texts). This ingathering includes those truly converted Gentiles who "joined themselves to Yahuweh," who have "joined Yisrael" (Yesh. 14:1, 56:6-8, Zekar. 2:11), "even all the Gentiles on whom My Name has been called, says Yahuweh" (Acts 15:17).

why did the church do away with these festivals?

The answer was given to us in Dan. 7:25 - the little horn (generally interpreted as Rome) "intends to change Appointed Times and Law." This is exactly what took place when the Roman Church was set up to lay waste the True Worship, to trample underfoot that which is set-apart. The Festivals of Yahuweh were done away with and they continued with their old Gentile customs and festivals - Christmas, Easter, Sunday etc.

But praise Yah, the times of the restoration of all matters are here (Acts 3:21), and the Last Trumpet will soon sound to usher in the Sovereign of the Yehudim, as the Booth of Elohim is among men, as He dwells among His people, as He sets up the Reign of Elohim.