Archive for September, 2013

CHAG HaSUKKOT – Feast of Tabernacles by Beth Piepenburg

moedim S

During the year every man was required to attend three Holy Convocations (blue flags):  The Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles. At the close of the summer-autumn harvest season, the sounding of the trumpets on Yom Teruah (Trumpets) and the atoning of the Tabernacle on Yom Kippur (Atonement) were preparatory days for the Feast of Ingathering known as the Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Booths.  Celebrated for seven days, this Feast began with a special Sabbath, the sixth of seven special Sabbaths. Then on the eighth day, the seventh special Sabbath called Shemini Atzeret, known as the Eighth Day of Assembly, was celebrated as a grand finale. Thus, in the seventh month, the Day of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement introduced the Feast of Tabernacles, and then the last special Sabbath concluded this harvest Feast. Likewise, the Feast of Tabernacles completed the trio of Holy Convocations.

Celebrated at the end of harvest was the Feast of Ingathering or the Feast of Tabernacles, which concluded the end of the season. Beginning with a special Sabbath when a multitude of sacrifices were offered, each subsequent day of the seven day Feast saw a reduction of animal offerings from the previous day. By celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, the Israelites were acknowledging the LORD during their earthly pilgrimage and remembering what He had done for their ancestors. Known also as the Feast of Booths or Succoth, the Israelites celebrated this event by dwelling in temporary shelters called booths or sukkah as they had during the Exodus. Besides acknowledging the LORD for his provision, this dual celebration of final harvest and booths is symbolic of the end of the age and our earthly pilgrimage.

While the materials for the booths suggested in Leviticus differ somewhat to the post-exilic material list of Nehemiah, Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, lists only three of them with the addition of the pome- citron.

Lev Neh

a) Known as the beautiful tree in Leviticus, the word הדר (hâdâr) actually means honor. Nehemiah identified the tree as the olive. Indeed, the honorable anointing oil is derived from the olive tree.

olive tree

b) Recognized in Leviticus and later by Nehemiah, the palm tree תּמר (tâmâr) symbolizes praise. The date palm became the national symbol of Israel.


c) Often praised for its strength was the oak tree, because of its thick עבת (‛âbôth) ropelike appearance.


d) Although Leviticus used the generic term, willows, Nehemiah identified the tree as the myrtle הדס (hădas). Myrtles symbolized blessings of peace and joy.


e) We don’t know what the oil tree was, but it was translated into the Greek as the chaste tree.

After observing seven days of the Feast, then came the concluding special Sabbath, Shemini Atzeret, the Eighth Day of Assembly, culminating on the twenty-second day of the seventh month called Shebiy’iyBesides the many sacrifices offered and the cessation of work, the day pointed to the future Resurrection. For New Testament times, Christ was resurrected on the eighth day of the week from the day He entered into Jerusalem, with the eighth day symbolizing the final Resurrection.

While the Israelites camped outside under the stars, the drama of this particular Feast was painted in the skies.

a) Beginning on the first night of Chag Sukkah, the moon is located in HaDagim (the Fishes), also known as Pisces or Ichthues, which represent the Priest and the King!

Pisces Dagim

b) On the second or third night, the moon is located in Aries the Ram or in the Hebrew constellation HaTaleh, the Lamb, also known as Aries the Ram, which represents the Lamb of God.

Aries Taleh

c) On the third or fourth night, the moon is located in Taurus the bullock or in the Hebrew constellation HaRimu, the wild ox, representing the great Judge.

Taurus Rem

d) On the sixth or seventh night, the moon is located in Orion or in the Hebrew constellation HaChesil, a strong one or a hero, representing the Triumph and Brightness of His Coming.

Orion Kesiyl

e) On the last night, the moon is moving into Gemini, the twins, but in the Hebrew it is HaThaumim meaning United. The twofold representation of Christ as the Ruling Judge (Castor) and Laboring Sufferer (Pollux) are expounded by its two major stars.


Dramatized during the autumn months were five constellations representing the themes of the Feast of Tabernacles. Not only are the sacrificial animals depicted in the heavens, the symbols of the Resurrection are depicted as well. Every celebrant who looked up into the heavens would see the purposes of God while spending the night outdoors in the family sukkah or booth.

Dovetailed with the three Feasts were five of the seven special Sabbaths. Occurring in the seventh month before the Feast of Tabernacles were the other two special Sabbaths. The purpose of the last Feast was summed up with the LORD saying to the Israelites, “I AM the LORD your God.” While three special Sabbaths were observed in the spring, the four special Sabbaths were observed in the summer-autumn as a harvest finale. Interestingly, the three Feasts and the seven special Sabbaths combined into ten memorial times, with the number ten signifying divine perfection.

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2013. All rights reserved.



Moedim pic

The seventh moedim in the Torah is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The Feast of Trumpets announced in the beginning of the seventh month called Shebiy’iy, the coming of Yom Kippur and the Feast of Tabernacles. Celebrated on the tenth day of the seventh month, Yom Kippur was dedicated to afflicting one’s soul, confession, and prayer in the form of personal and national repentance. Although repentance played an important part of this special day, the main leitmotif of Yom Kippur was the atonement for the Tabernacle, in which a goat, gedi, was sacrificed for this purpose.

Yom Kippur was instituted after the two sons of Aaron had offered unconsecrated fire before the Lord, resulting in their deaths (Lev. 10). Chiastically structured like a dance movement, Leviticus 16 is choreographed so the central point of Leviticus 16 gives the purpose of the atonement, which is to atone for the Holy Sanctuary because of the sins of the Israelites.  Not only is the theme of Leviticus 16:16 depicted in literary style as the chiastic central point for the whole chapter, but the high priest physically entered the Holy of Holies, the central part of the Tabernacle, to make a yearly atonement.

Gedi – Capricornus
Yom Kippur

Because the heavens declare the glory of God and his righteousness, the central theme of Yom Kippur is about the atonement of the Holy Sanctuary by the atoning goat, which is offered as a sacrifice and is depicted in the heavens. WOW! Since the Israelites began the Chodesh, the new month, when the first sliver of the new moon was first sighted, then in the seventh month the evening when the ninth day ended and the tenth day began would inaugurate the Day of Atonement known as Yom Kippur.  What is amazing is the moon will be situated around the constellation of Capricornus on the tenth day of the seventh month. Wow! Capricornus is the constellation of the dying goat, and Gedi is the name of the the Hebrew constellation. In its announcement of Yom Kippur, the heavens display the moon in the constellation of the Gedi (Capricornus).

sackcloth and ashes 3Concerning repentance, Yom Kippur was a day of confession, of affliction of the soul, and of prayer. Crying, wearing sackcloth and ashes, and fasting were ways to afflict one’s soul. (Lev. 23:26-32 [1]; Num. 29:7-11 [2]) Repentance for personal and national sins were cried aloud in prayer (Est. 9:31, Neh. 9:2, Isa. 58.1). Crying was a form of intense prayer (Ps. 69:9-11, Joel 2:12). Wearing sackcloth and sitting in ashes was a sign of mourning (Dan. 9:3-4a, Neh. 9:1-2). Sackcloth was made from black goat hair and would be somewhat coarse to the skin, itchy, smelly, and hot.  Any perspiration or tears mixing with the ashes would form lye, which would irritate the skin. Along with repentance, rest from work was mandatory; if one did not afflict their souls, they were to be cut off from among the people (excommunication, shunning, etc.).

Repentance of the people coalesced with the priest atoning the Tabernacle because of their sins. Afterwards, the people were spiritually prepared to celebrate the soon coming Feast of Tabernacles with purity.

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2013 All rights reserved.

[1] Lev 23:26-32  And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.  And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a Sabbath of Sabbaths, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, you shall celebrate your Sabbath. (KJV modified)

[2] Num.29:7-11  And you shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month an holy convocation; and you shall afflict your souls: you shall not do any work therein: But you shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD for a sweet savor; one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of the first year; they shall be unto you without blemish: And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals to a bullock, and two tenth deals to one ram, A several tenth deal for one lamb, throughout the seven lambs: One kid of the goats for a sin offering; beside the sin offering of atonement, and the continual burnt offering, and the meat offering of it, and their drink offerings. (KJV modified)



If the Hebrew word, moed(im), is used in Gen 1:14[1] to mean appointed times, which is translated as seasons, then what are the appointed times that are mentioned in Scripture? By the way, the pictograph symbols for moed are the eye and the door. Together, they may mean “to see the door”. The word can mean to come and enter the tent of meeting, or it can mean a time that is to be repeated. So, what events bring us toward the tent of meeting or to a time that is repeated?


barley The first one is Rosh HaShanah, which means “head of the year”. God had instituted that this New Year start after the aviv, the green barley, was seen in the fields. Once the new moon was sighted, then Rosh HaShanah would begin. Not only would the barley soon be harvested at this time, but springtime does represent the newness of life. Besides the beginning of the year, several important events began on Rosh HaShanah: Creation, Noah opened the ark because the waters were dried up from off the earth (Gen 8:13), and the Tabernacle was erected (Ex. 40:2). [Ex. 9:31, 12:2, 13:4; Num. 28:11-15; Deut. 16:1]


The Passover Lamb
Courtesy to C. Malcolm Powers

The second one is Pesach, which means to “pass over”. The Passover Lamb was sacrificed on the fourteenth day of the first month, and was eaten at twilight between the fourteenth and the fifteenth day of the month. Although the story in Exodus of the first Passover is about the death angel passing over the homes that had the lamb’s blood on the lintel and doorposts of their homes, the Passover is really centered upon the sacrifice. [Ex. 23:18, 34:25; Lev. 23:5; Num. 28:16]

matzahThe third one is the Chag HaMatzah, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Celebrated from the fifteenth day of the first month until the twenty-first day, the Israelites ate the first unleavened bread along with the Passover Lamb at twilight. Remember, the new day began at sunset for the Israelites. So, Passover was ending and the Feast of Unleavened Bread was beginning.  [Ex. 12:17, 13:6, 23:15, 34:18; Lev. 23:6; Num. 28:17-25; Deut. 16:16]

firstfruitsThe fourth one is the Reishit Katzir, the Firstfruits of Harvest. Celebrated on the day after the Sabbath during the week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the firstfruit of the barley harvest was dedicated and waved in praise to God. [Ex. 34:26; Lev. 23:9]

einkornThe fifth one is the Chag Shabua, the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of Harvest. The Hellenistic Jews called it Pentecost. Counting seven Sabbaths or fifty days from the Sabbath after Passover, the celebration pertained to the wheat harvest with the waving of two leavened loaves of bread before the Lord. [Ex. 23:16, 34:22; Lev. 23:15, 17, 20; Num. 28:26-31; Deut. 16:10, 16]


shofar smThe sixth one is Yom Teruah, the Day of Trumpets. Celebrated on the first day of the seventh month, the trumpet signaled for those working in the field to come to the Tabernacle to worship the Lord. [Lev. 23:23; Num. 29:1-6]

040_01_0009_BSTD scapegoat2The seventh one is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Celebrated on the tenth day of the seventh month, the day was dedicated to afflicting one’s soul, confession, and prayer in the form of personal and national repentance. Crying, wearing sackcloth and ashes, or fasting were ways to afflict one’s soul. [Lev. 23:26-32; Num. 29:7-11]

sukkahThe eighth one is Chag Sukkah, the Feast of Tents (Tabernacles or Booths) and is also known as the Feast of Ingathering. Celebrated from the fifteenth day of the seventh month for eight days, the Israelites lived in booths to remember how their ancestors had lived in booths after leaving Egypt. Not only was the Torah read, the feast was a time of rejoicing and thankfulness of the final harvests. [Ex. 23:16, 34:22; Lev. 23:33-36, 39-43; Num. 29:12-38; Deut. 16:13, 16:16, 31:10]


110_06_0208_BiblePaintings shewbread2Sabbath, is to stop activity to rest, and was observed on the seventh day every week. The purpose is to rest in the Lord, yet not to make the day an idol in itself. In Genesis 2:1-3 and Exodus 20:11, God gives us an example of God resting in Himself. From thence, God blessed and made holy the Sabbath. [Num. 28:9-10]

Rosh HaShanah - Chodesh Abib - 3/23/2012

Chodesh, is the new moon, and was observed once a month after the moon was barely sighted. Its purpose is to help keep the timing of the special appointed times on track. [Ex. 12:2; Num. 28:11-15; Ps. 81:3]


Although much more information is available and many questions to ask and discuss about each appointed time mentioned, this brief summary should give an overall idea of when each moed took place and its significance.

[1] Gen 1:14-19 14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (NKJV)

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