L’Chaim! To Life!
God is a God of order and He does everything in an orderly fashion. To maintain order in the universe, He built into it a timekeeping system when He created the sun ( שמש) she-mesh, moon (ירח ) ye-rey-ach and stars ( כוכבים) ko-kah-vim: “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years.” (Gen. 1:14)  In this verse, the English word “seasons” is translated from the Hebrew mo’edim – ( מועדים). (Strongs #4150)  In Leviticus 23:1, the word mo’edim appears again however, this time it is translated as “feasts” – referring to the seven feasts or appointments of the Lord. Leviticus 23:1-2: “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.” The Hebrew word mo’ed is defined in the Brown/Driver/Briggs (BDB) Hebrew Lexicon as “appointed time, place, meeting”. This helps us to see that the seven feasts listed in Leviticus 23 are seven appointments that the children of Israel were to keep with God.  However in a broader view, Leviticus 23 lays out God’s plan for the redemption of the world.  He has a plan and the plan will go by a specific order.  There are seven mo’edim. Seven is the number of completion. God put seven days into the week in Genesis 1 and seven mo’edim in the Hebrew calendar in Leviticus 23.
In last week’s Nugget, we studied the first feast, Passover, discussed in Leviticus 23:4-5.  It occurs on the 14th of Nisan (the first month of the Hebrew religious calendar). The second feast is discussed in verses 2-8.  On the next day after Passover, the 15th of Nisan, is the ‘feast of unleavened bread’  – Heb: חַ֥ג הַמַּצּ֖וֹת , Hag HaMatzot, which lasted seven days.  Matzah as we know is unleavened bread.  [Matzot is the plural form in Hebrew. For students, feminine nouns create a plural by adding the ‘ot’ ending.]  Together, the feast of unleavened bread and Passover are celebrated for 8 days. The third feast of Leviticus 23:9-14, is the feast of firstfruits – Hebrew: יום הבכורים- Yom HaBikurim. On Passover, a marked sheaf of grain was bundled and left standing in the field.   Leviticus 23:11 says the priest, “shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath…”.  Note the date for this 3rd mo’ed – the day after the Sabbath after Passover, or, Sunday.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” He literally fulfilled the first three feasts, or appointments, of Leviticus 23 when He was on this earth!  His death on the cross occurred on Passover according to all four of the Gospels. This was not an accident, but was God’s plan from the beginning of time that Jesus Christ was the “lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” – as the prophet, John the Baptizer pointed out the first time he saw him (John 1:29). Jesus told His disciples over and over that He was from Heaven – the incarnation of God Himself so that He could live with us, walk among us, experience our pain and sorrows. In John 6, Jesus said that He was the “Bread from heaven.”  The unleavened bread since He lived a sinless life.

Finally, the Lord Jesus also fulfilled the 3rd mo’ed – the feast of Firstfruits, when He resurrected three days after His death on Passover. The apostle Paul wrote, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” 1 Corinthians 15:20 Jesus Himself prophesied His resurrection after three days and three nights (72 hours) comparing it to Jonah’s deliverance from the whale: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40) Since all of the mo’edim of Leviticus 23 are based on the Hebrew, Lunar calendar, they occur on different days of the week which are based on the Gregorian solar calendar that we use. In the year of Christ’s death and resurrection, Passover Eve would have fallen on Tue. evening with Jesus death and burial on Wed. and thus three days and three nights until the first day, Sunday (which began at sundown on Shabbat). The Gospels are full of references to the resurrection and there were many witnesses.  One of the requirements of the Apostles was that they had to have seen the resurrected Lord. The resurrection of Christ is the heart of the New Testament and the Gospel message! (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) However every doctrine in the New Testament had it’s start in the T’nakh. Without the T’nakh, the NewTestament has no foundation. And without the New Testament, the T’nakh is unfulfilled.
The Hebrew word, לחַיִּים֙, l’chayim, means ‘to life’. In Hebrew, the noun ‘life’, חיים (chayim), is always in the plural. [Note: in Hebrew transliteration, pronounce the ‘ch’ sound as in ‘Bach’.] When you read the Bible, you notice that God is all about LIFE!  He is the Creator and giver of life. In Genesis 2:9, He placed the tree of life, ( עֵ֤ץ הַֽחַיִּים֙), etz chayim, in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 2:7, God breathed into Adam the ‘breath of life’ (Heb: נִשְׁמַ֣ת חַיִּ֑ים – nish-maht chayim) and Adam became a living soul.   In the New Testament Gospel of John, Jesus explained that He had this same power to give life: “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” (John 5:26)

The apostle John relates in his New Testament Gospel (John chapter 11) the amazing incident concerning Jesus and his three friends (all siblings) – Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick, but when Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead for four days.  Both Mary and Martha were grief stricken and told Jesus if He had only come sooner, He could have healed Lazarus. However, Jesus had a greater miracle in mind than healing Lazarus. He instructed them to roll the stone from the tomb cave, but Martha protested saying the body was already decomposing.  Jesus told Martha that Lazarus would live again.  Martha thought Jesus referred to the future resurrection at the end of the age.  Jesus then said to Martha (what is one of my favorite verses), “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25)  Year later, the now aged apostle John had been exiled by the Romans to the island of Patmos and had a personal encounter with the resurrected Christ. I am sure John remembered Lazarus resurrection when Jesus identified Himself by saying, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen.”(Rev. 1:18a)  In His resurrection, Jesus defeated our greatest enemy, which was death.   L’Chaim!  To Life!!