Mo’edim: YAH’s Appointed Times as Found in the Torah

Shalom, everyone! The mo’edim are appointed times our Heavenly Father, YAH, gave unto Bnei Yisrael to remember and observe as meetings between Yisrael and YAH. The mo’edim were to be times of thanksgiving, worship, and praise unto YAH, and times of rest and reflection for Bnei Yisrael. Each mo’ed had specific instructions from YAH on how they were to be observed including, time of occurrence, sacrifices that were to be performed, and permissible activities during these very special seasons. The mo’edim are the times when YAH draws closest to His Creation: They are divine appointments for us to stop and reflect upon our actions, repent of any wrongdoing, grow closer to Him through worshippraise, thanksgiving and prayer.

The mo’edim are so special to YAH that He created a specific ecclesiastical calendar for their observance. In Exodus 12:1-2, YAH commands Yisrael to start their ecclesiastical and regnal year with the month of Aviv (Nisan) in the Spring. Psalm 104:19 states that YAH made the moon to mark the mo’edim. The ecclesiastical calendar was actually a lunisolar calendar to be used by the priests, trained in astronomy, agriculture and the natural environment to determine when the mo’edim would occur during the solar year.

This ecclesiastical calendar would begin with the sighting of the first new moon of the Spring. The lunar year typically has twelve moons/lunar months. There are exceptions to this rule, however, in that the lunar year may have 13 moons. When this occurs, an intercalary month is added, causing the next new moon after the 13th moon to be counted as the first new moon of the new ecclesiastical year. This is so that the planting and harvest seasons, specifically Spring and Fall, remain in sync. With the process of intercalation, the ecclesiastical calendar becomes a lunisolar calendar.

The ancient Bnei Yisrael utilized two calendars: An ecclesiastical calendar for the mo’edim, and a civil calendar used by laymen to conduct their day-to-day affairsCivil business was also conducted according to a lunisolar calendar, beginning in the Fall when the year number was incremented by one.

The following is a list of the appointed times (mo’edim) commanded by YAH to Bnei Yisrael to observe as found in the Torah given to Moshe. Each of these mo’edim will be discussed in greater detail in later posts:

(English Translation)
Torah Reference Description
(The weekly Sabbath)
  • Genesis 2:1-3
  • Exodus 16:25-30
  • Exodus 20:8-12
  • Exodus 31:12-17
  • Exodus 35:1-3
  • Leviticus 19:3
  • Leviticus 19:30
  • Leviticus 23:3
  • Leviticus 24:5-8
  • Leviticus 26:2
  • Numbers 15:33-36
  • Deuteronomy 5:12-15
A weekly day of rest from melakhah (creative work) observed on the seventh and last day of the seven-day weekly cycle. The weekly Shabbat occurs from sunset Friday to nightfall Saturday, a period of 24 hours. This commandment was given in commemoration of YAH‘s day of rest after six days of creating the heavens and of the earth, and also as a memorial of the deliverance of the Bnei Yisrael from slavery in Mizraim (Egypt) where they were not permitted a day of rest.
Rosh Chodesh
(New Moon)
  • Genesis 1:14-18
  • Exodus 12:1-2
  • Numbers 10:10
  • Numbers 28:11-15
In ancient Yisra’el, the new moon was the first visible crescent (FVC) moon. The Bnei Yisrael are commanded to observe the sighting of the new moon as a joyous celebration with the blast of trumpets/horns.

Rosh Chodesh represents a new beginning. Once we accept Messiah Yeshua as our Lord and Savior, we are born again and have a new beginning through salvation and being reconciled to our Heavenly Father.

  • Exodus 12:6-14
  • Exodus 12:21-28
  • Exodus 12:43-49
  • Leviticus 23:5
  • Numbers 9:2-14
  • Deuteronomy 16:1-8
Observed annually on the 14th day of Nisan (Aviv), the first month, or on the 14th day of Iyyar (Ziv), the second month, if one could not observe it on the 14th day of Nisan (Aviv). This day is the last preparation day for the seven-day Chag HaMatzot (Festival of Unleavened Bread). On this day, all leaven is removed from among the Bnei Yisrael in all our habitations, the Pesach lamb/kid offering is sacrificed in the afternoon, but eaten later that evening after sunset, corresponding to the 15th day of Nisan (Aviv).

Pesach also commemorates the death of Messiah Yeshua, who died on the 14th of Nisan in c. 30/33 CE, via crucifixion, for the remission of our sins. He was crucified at 9:00 am, succumbing to His injuries at 3:00 pm. He was laid to rest in a tomb in the late afternoon, shortly before sundown and the beginning of Chag Matzot (Feast of Unleavened Bread).

Chag HaMatzot
(Feast of Unleavened Bread)
  • Exodus 12:15-20
  • Exodus 12:21-28
  • Exodus 23:15
  • Exodus 34:18
  • Leviticus 23:6-8
  • Deuteronomy 16:1-8
Observed annually during the first month from the 15th through the 21st day of Nisan (Aviv). During this seven-day festival, the Bnei Yisrael are commanded to eat matzah (unleavened bread) and abstain from consuming any products containing chametz (leaven). The first day, 15th of Nisan (Aviv) and seventh day, 21st of Nisan (Aviv) of this festival are yom tov, (days of rest, Sabbaths) on which Bnei Yisrael are commanded to abstain from creative work (melakhah) and hold a sacred convocation.

Messiah Yeshua was resurrected and left the tomb on approximately the 17th day of Nisan, midway through the Chag HaMatzot.

Sefirat HaOmer
(Counting of the Omer)
  • Leviticus 23:15-16
  • Deuteronomy 16:9
The Counting of the Omer begins on the 16th of Nisan (Aviv), the day after the first yom tov of Chag HaMatzot in the first month, Nisan (Aviv), and lasts for 49 days or seven complete weeks until the 5th of Sivan, the eve of Shavuot.

On the 40th day after His Resurrection, Messiah Yeshua ascended to Heaven. This would have occurred during approximately the 42nd day of Sefirat HaOmer.

Shavuot/Yom Ha-Bikkurim
(Feast of Weeks/Day of First Fruits)
  • Exodus 23:16
  • Leviticus 23:9-14
  • Leviticus 23:16-21
  • Numbers 28:26-31
  • Deuteronomy 16:10-11
Observed on the 6th of Sivan, the 50th day of the Omer. It is a yom tov (day of rest, Sabbath) on which the Bnei Yisrael are commanded to abstain from creative work (melakhah) and hold a sacred convocation.

Shavuot commemorates the descent of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) upon the Apostles and followers of Messiah Yeshua who were gathered together in Jerusalem to celebrate the mo’ed.

Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah
(Day of Trumpets, Day of Blasts)
  • Leviticus 23:23-25
  • Numbers 29:1-6
Observed annually during the seventh month on 1st of Tishrei (Ethanim), commemorated with a sacred convocation with the loud blasts of trumpets/horns and/or beating of drums. This is a yom tov, (day of rest, Sabbath) on which the Bnei Yisrael are forbidden to do any creative work (melakhah).

Also known as “Rosh HaShanah” (“Head of the Year”), the 1st day of Tishrei (Ethanim) is the beginning of the civil year.

Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah will one day mark the return of Messiah Yeshua. It will be a great and terrible day, when He goes to war against the enemies of YAH and Bnei Yisrael.

Yom Ha-Kippurim
(Day of Atonement)
  • Leviticus 16:1-34
  • Leviticus 23:26-32
  • Numbers 29:7-11
A complete abstention from work, food, drink, and sexual relations observed annually during the seventh month from before sunset of the 9th day through the 10th of Tishrei (Ethanim), a period of about 25 hours. Yom HaKippurim is considered to be the holiest day of the year among the Bnei Yisrael.

Yom HaKippurim will one day mark the day of when the Book of Life and the Book of Death are sealed forever after Messiah Yeshua‘s return. All wars will have ceased after Messiah Yeshua defeats all the forces of darkness in this realm. This mo’ed will also mark the beginning of the Messianic Age.

(Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of Ingathering)
  • Exodus 23:16
  • Leviticus 23:33-44
  • Numbers 29:12-34
A seven-day festival observed annually from the 15th day to the 21st day of Tishrei (Ethanim), the seventh month. For seven days, the Bnei Yisra’el are commanded to live in booths/tents as a reminder of the sojourning of the ancestors in the wilderness after the exodus from Mizraim (Egypt). On the 15th day, the Bnei Yisrael are commanded to abstain from work and hold a sacred convocation. During this convocation, we are commanded to bring the four species (product of hadar trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook) and rejoice before YAH.

Sukkot will one day mark the coronation of Messiah Yeshua in Jerusalem as King and as the visible image of the Heavenly Father dwelling among His people, Bnei Yisrael. It is the opinion of many biblical scholars that Yeshua first coming, his birth as a human, occurred during Sukkot.

Shemini Atzeret
(Eighth Day of Assembly)
  • Leviticus 23:39
  • Numbers 29:35-38
Observed annually during the seventh month on the 22nd of Tishrei (Ethanim), immediately after Sukkot. Sometimes referred to as the eighth day of Sukkot. Shemini Atzeret is yom tov (day of rest), day of rest; melakhah (creative work) is forbidden. The Bnei Yisra’el are commanded to abstain from work and hold a sacred convocation.

Shemini Atzeret will one day commemorate unveiling of the new heaven and new earth, and the descent of the new Jerusalem from heaven.

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