Archive for the ‘Appointed Times’ Category


By Beth PiepenburgLazarus by Bonnat


In late December, Jesus had walked in the Temple in Solomon’s Porch during Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication). When the questioning crowd asked who He was, He replied that “I and my Father are one.” Angry, the Jews took up stones and sought to take Jesus by force, but he escaped across the Jordan in the area of Perea and dwelt there for two months. Soon Purim would be celebrated during the month of Adar, that is, from the evening of March 3rd to the evening of March 6th in the year 33 A.D[1].

John 11 has two parts: The raising of Lazarus, and the outcome of this event. Both parts are each arranged in a chiastic fashion. While the central theme for the first part is Jesus being the Resurrection and the Life, the central theme for the second part is Jesus residing at the location where Abraham encamped (Khirbet el-Maqatir)[2] between Bethel and Hai (possibly et-Tell).


KABOD (1-4)

From historical tradition, Lazarus is thirty years old when he became sick. His name means God is my helper, and he certainly would need God’s help. Along with his sisters, Mary and Martha, they live in the town of Date House, known as Bethany. By the way, the date palm is an Israeli symbol of praise. His sister Mary would become known for anointing Jesus in a few weeks to come. Desperate, his sisters send a message to Jesus about Lazarus being sick. By substituting the words, he whom you love, for their brother’s name, they are reminding Jesus of the strong relational friendship of love he has with Lazarus. Can you imagine the surprise when they hear from the messenger that Jesus had replieds, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the son of God might be glorified thereby.” Lazarus is now dead! However, this fourth verse is a Kabod = glory verse for two reasons. Not only is the word glory used twice for emphasis, but it is represented by twenty-six Greek words, which the numerical value of twenty-six in the Hebrew refers to both YHWH and glory.

LOVE (5-16)

Jesus has a strong brotherly love for this family. Although Mary is an important character in a previous narrative and a later narrative, Martha is the key person here who has interaction with Jesus. Then Jesus delays for two days before leaving the Jordan. Sometimes, our timing is not God’s timing. Fearing the enemies of the Lord, the disciples are concerned about Jesus being stoned if He should return to Jerusalem. Sensing their fear not only for Him but for themselves, His allegorical answer conveys not only that spring was approaching by the equal number of hours in a day, but that tension existed between day and night. While the twelve hours represent the disciples, the day represents Christ and the night represents Satan. Therefore, one cannot stumble in the daylight because he walks in the Light of Christ, unless he chooses to walk in the night because he walks not in the light. As his disciples are thinking upon his figurative answer, He explains in the following Kabod = glory verse of seventeen Greek words that He intends to awaken the sleeping Lazarus. Missing his point about sleep, they respond that Lazarus will be saved or will be well. Because they misunderstood what He had meant, He plainly tells them that Lazarus is dead. Evidently, Jesus sees this loss of a friend as an opportunity for spiritual growth of his disciples in the area of belief. They will need this object lesson for strength in next month’s event.  Is Thomas expressing his cowardice by sarcasm, or is he expressing his braveness and love for the Lord?


By the time Jesus had arrived, Lazarus had been in the tomb four days, which also means that Lazarus had died four days ago. In fact, the messenger had left on the day that Lazarus had died. While Bethany is about two miles from Jerusalem, the distance is short climb for friends from Jerusalem to pay their condolences. Martha approaches Jesus, leaving Mary at the house. Addressing Jesus as Lord, she shares that if He had arrived in time, Lazarus would not have died. Yet, she maintains that Jesus has a direct connection with the Father. She is really posing an oxymoron by saying, if your presence had been here, then everything would be fine; however, I do believe that God answers your requests. In reality, her faith is limited to His presence.


When Jesus tells Martha that her brother will rise again, Martha acknowledges that her brother will rise at the Resurrection. Emphasized in the Greek are the two words I AM, which is equivalent to saying [3]אהיה in the Hebrew. “I AM the Resurrection and the Life” is the theme of the story of Lazarus. Yet, Jesus states that those believers who die will live, and they will not die in eternity. When He asks if she believes these truths, she professes that He is the Messiah, the Son of God.


This section is similar to the earlier one (17-22), moving from the arrival of Jesus, to the crowd, and then to the first sister of Lazarus. Not only has Jesus arrived, but he is calling now for Mary. Their comforters, who follow Mary toward the grave, will become witnesses of this event. Although Mary expresses the same words as her sister, she does so from a spirit of worship.

LOVE (29-37)

Jesus identifies with their suffering by his own groaning and weeping. Thus, the Jews recognize the strong relational friendship of love Jesus has for Lazarus, but fail to recognize the greater bond of brotherly love He has for Lazarus. Knowing that Jesus had opened the eyes of the blind man at Hanukkah (Jn. 9), could He not have the foresight to know the condition of Lazarus? Could He not have prevented Lazarus’ death?

KABOD (38-44)

Groaning again, Jesus comes to the closed cave, and asks for the stone to be taken away. Aghast, Martha reminds Him that the body is in decay due to being dead for four days. You see, the Jews had a belief that the soul could not return to the body once it was in decay[4]. Obviously, Lazarus was good and dead! For Martha to see the glory of God, a key phrase here, Jesus reminds her “if you would believe”. Because of the people standing by Jesus gives thanks to the Father who hears Him. Then Jesus calls Lazarus to come forth! Lazarus, bound hand and foot with grave clothes and his face bound by a towel (soudarion). Jesus says for them to loose Lazarus and let him go.



While many believed, some did not and reported to the Pharisees about what Jesus has done. His miracles bothered many of the members of the Sanhedrin. Two things bothered them: People would believe on Him, and their corrupt power was at risk with the Roman government. Joseph Caiaphas, the high priest from 18-36 A.D., suggested that it was best for one man to die for the people so the nation be spared. From that point on, most of the Sanhedrin sought for the death of Christ.

JESUS (54)

Jesus went northerly to Ephraim (Ai – Khirbet el-Maqitir)[5] with his disciples, an area located next to the wilderness. This is an important statement, because Jesus was staying at the spiritual location where Abraham had built an altar to the Lord.


Soon Passover would be observed with many coming to Jerusalem to purify themselves, and hoping to see Jesus. Would He dare to appear in person? However, the Jewish leaders had commanded that if anyone knew of Jesus’ whereabouts, they were to report it to them.


Not only does this miraculous event link the previous healing of the blind man at Hanukkah, but it will link the chain of events to come during Passion Week.


[1] According to my astronomical calculations.
[2] At the time of Joshua conquest, Ai had already moved to the location of Khirbet el-Maqatir.
[3] Ex. 3:14 And God saith unto Moses, `I AM THAT WHICH I AM;’
[4] “Bar Kappara taught: Until three days the soul keeps on returning to the grave, thinking that it will go back; but when it sees that the facial features have become disfigured, it departs and abandons it” (Genesis Rabbah 100:7; cf. Leviticus Rabbah 18:1; Ecclesiastes Rabbah 12:6).

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2018. All rights reserved.



by Beth Piepenburg8th_Night_of_Chanukkah_in_Meah_Shearim

Hanukkah is a religious and cultural holiday celebrated by Jews. One of the main themes is the lighting of candles and blessings for eight days. Introduced during the “400 Years of Silence”, what connection does it have to Scripture or to the Messiah? Was God really silent or was He moving in the Jewish nation? Was Hanukkah a manmade holiday or was it inspired? Is Scripture silent about Hanukkah? As an inspired eight day feast, Hanukkah has much to do with prophecy, history, astronomy, Scripture, and the Messiah.

In the sixth century B.C., Daniel the prophet, received several visions about four nations that would appear in the destiny of the Jewish nation. The first vision described an image of four elements which was smashed by a stone. In the second vision, four winds came forth over a great sea, with four beasts coming up from the sea, and then the Ancient of Days appeared. In the third vision, Daniel saw himself in the Elami palace by a stream and saw a ram with two horns, one higher than the other. As this ram pushed himself in every direction over those around him, then a he-goat with a conspicuous horn between its eyes arose from the West, and smote the ram. The table below summarizes the three visions. (Dan. 2:31-45; Dan. 7:1-9; Dan. 8:1-8, 15-22)

Danil visions

In the third vision of the he-goat, the large horn was Alexander the Great who reigned between 336 B.C. and 323 B.C.  After leaving his homeland, Alexander conquered many lands. When the Levant fell in 333-332 B.C., he paid a visit to Jerusalem, but continued to conquer Egypt and Persia in 331 B.C. After Alexander’s death, his kingdom was divided among his four generals, denoted by the four smaller horns in the vision. From one of the four kingdoms comes forth a small horn that persecutes the Jews for 6.33 years and desecrates the Temple. (Dan. 8: 9-14, 23-27; Dan. 11)


Under the Seleucids, Antiochus IV Epiphanes began persecuting the Jews around 170 B.C. He appointed a Hellenistic High Priest to the Temple, prohibited the study of the Torah, and desecrated the altar with the sacrificing of a pig. Desiring to switch over to the rule of the Ptolemies, the Jews rebelled in 167 B.C., and Antiochus had 40,000 Jews murdered. In 165 B.C. a high priest named Matthias joined forces with his youngest son, Judah Maccabee (the hammer), against Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

Ousting the Seleucids, the Jews were able to rededicate the Temple on the 25th of Kislev, Dec. 13, 164 B.C. (148 SE). Kislev is the ninth month in the Hebrew calendar, and the feast began on the first day of the week of that particular year. While the Jews had enough undefiled oil to last one day, the oil miraculously lasted eight days. Although Hanukkah means dedication, the feast is also known as the Festival of Lights. How interesting that the number eight and oil symbolize the Resurrection and the Holy Spirit, respectfully.

From an astronomical view, a spiritual battle is portrayed in the skies. During this particular week, the sun is positioned in Keshet the archer, whose bow is directed at Akrab the scorpion. The moon will move into several constellations during the week. In five mornings, the moon has journeyed through three constellations: Moznayim the scales of justice, Ophiuchus the serpent bearer who attacks Akrab the scorpion, and Keshet the archer whose bow is directed at Akrab the scorpion. During the remaining evenings, the moon progressed through two constellations: Gedi the Atonement goat, and Deli the water bearer.

Mazz 164c


Where is Hanukkah mentioned in Scripture? In the Gospel of John, the theme of Hanukkah is introduced by demonstrating that Jesus forgives, heals blindness, and identifies Himself as the Light. When a woman is caught in adultery (Jn. 8), the scribes and Pharisees bring her to Jesus in an attempt to accuse Him. Although she deserved death, Jesus forgave her. Shortly afterwards, Jesus identifies Himself by declaring, “I AM the Light of the world…” On a following day (Jn. 9), Jesus expresses to his disciples, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world”; and proceeds to heal a blind man. Then Jesus leaves the Pharisees to ponder their own blindness.

There are several key words in the Hanukkah passage in John 10:22-30. On the Feast of Dedication, winter had arrived and Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Aha! The Feast of Dedication is Chag CHanukkah in the Hebrew! Although the Feast of Dedication had commenced on the evening of December 17, 32 A.D., winter arrived on December 22, which is on the 5th day of Hanukkah that year. Therefore, we know that Jesus was at the temple in Solomon’s porch between December 22nd and 25th.  Remarkably, the porch of Solomon was the original part of Solomon’s Temple. Is it any surprise that the Jews are full of suspense if Jesus is the Messiah? Yet, when he reveals, “I and the Father are one,” they are ready to stone Him.

As a result of the animosity, Jesus goes to the Jordan and many come to Him there. The beautiful story of Lazarus being raised from the dead (Jn. 11) foreshadows the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Likewise, the Hanukkah Menorah directs us to the eighth day, the Resurrection Day.

What was happening in the starry skies? A similar scene of the first Hanukkah was on display this year. The sun and the moon are the signs and moedim in the skies that are mentioned in Genesis 1:14. They are not to be worshiped, but only serve to point out specific themes. On the evening of December 21 and the morning of December 22, the moon was enveloped by the sun, testifying that “I and the Father are one.”  On the evening of December 22, two things had happened. First, the New Moon ushered in the tenth month called Tevet; second, the moon was in the constellation of Gedi, the Atonement goat which represents Christ.

Although Hanukkah is a traditional Jewish holiday, Christians can appreciate its spiritual significance, too.  Not only did the observance of Hanukkah preserve a memory of a historical and religious event that occurred during the 2nd century B.C., but it would be symbolic of the Light. The prophetic background seen by Daniel and the witness in the starry skies add further testimony to the story of Hanukkah and to the Messiah. Therefore, take the time during Hanukkah to reflect upon the significance of the holiday by lighting some candles or reading Scriptures pertaining to light and oil..

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2017.


by Beth PiepenburgEcliptic

I have enjoyed watching in anticipation every year when the Aviv barley is ready in the land of Israel. On that day or soon after, the New Moon would be sighted and the New Year would begin. Two weeks later, Passover could be observed. As I studied and watched how the ancient Hebrew calendar functioned, it led to further research. I discovered how the Feasts also tied with the nighttime sky in conjunction with the appointed times of the work of Christ. What I found was an astronomical-agricultural based calendar. However, some of my original understanding of how the New Year was determined began to change. The sighting of the Aviv barley as an agricultural marker was now dovetailed by the Vernal Equinox as an astronomical marker.

A small sect of Jews, called the Karaites, have maintained for centuries that the Aviv barley had to be sighted on or before the New Moon, in order to start the New Year and for Passover to be observed fourteen days later. In Exodus, the barley was in the Aviv prior to Moses’ establishing the New Year. However, the Karaites have maintained that Rabbinical Judaism had changed the sighting of the Aviv barley for the Babylonian system of using the Vernal Equinox and also had changed the calendar in other ways. As a result of these differences, Passover could be celebrated a month apart by each group. Now if the Jews can’t seem to agree in determining the Passover date, the Western and Eastern Christians fair no better having two separate systems in determining Easter.

From the time of Moses, the Israelites have used the Aviv barley, the Vernal Equinox, and the New Moon to determine the New Year. As the Egyptian Sphinx was aligned to the Vernal Equinox, Moses, having been educated in the courts of Pharaoh, would have known about the Vernal Equinox. However, the ancient Egyptian calendar was based on the heliacal rising of Sirius, and the New Year began in July. When Moses commanded the Israelites to begin the New Year on the evening of Aviv 1, the moon was a New Moon and the Vernal Equinox was just beginning. This particular day in history, the calendar was naturally aligned to both the moon and the sun. Thus, the Israelite calendar is a lunisolar calendar, and begins in the spring. Passover and the other Feasts would be aligned to the proper constellations, which were pointing to the Savior.

Along with finding new insights of the importance of the nighttime sky, I also began to see problems with the Aviv method pointing to the New Moon to usher in the New Year. Sightings of the Aviv barley differed in respect to the grain, location, time, etc. Did ancient barley grown naturally ripen sooner or later than the modern methods of growing new strains of barley? Because of the micro climates in Israel, which micro-climate was more suited for maturation? If the Aviv barley was not quite ready when the New Moon appeared, then how could one preserve the Aviv barley during an intercalary month? The integrity of checking the Aviv barley was maintained by the Levitical priests, but how can one know now when one group claims they have found the Aviv a little too early for comfort? Does the Scripture say, one must see the Aviv first? In Egypt, the Aviv barley would have naturally occurred much earlier than in the land of Israel. As far as the nighttime sky, the importance of the sun and moon being in the right constellations during Passover was important for the Feasts to correlate with the sky.

Since I follow the ancient Israelite lunisolar calendar in my personal life, I look forward to starting the New Year in the Spring rather than in the dead of Winter. While I can follow the lunisolar calendar with ease, this ancient calendar should coincide fairly well with the Jewish Passover and the Western Church observance of Easter. Most important, I will view the nighttime sky with the Feasts in mind along with the significance of Christ. While the New Moon and the Vernal Equinox will determine the New Year, yet the sighting of the Aviv barley will add purpose to the meaning calendar. As I follow the lunar months throughout the year, I hope to understand further how astronomy worked in connection with the agricultural seasons in ancient Israel.


Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2017. All rights reserved.


by Beth Piepenburg

While the moedim, or appointed times, originally pointed back to the events of the Exodus, they served as foreshadows of events pertaining to the Messiah.


The Autumn Moedim played the chord of the major events of Christ: the Annunciation, Redemption, and the Grand Finale. Yom Teruah or Day of Trumpets played the first note of the Autumn Moedim, sung out by the announcement of Gabriel concerning the Son of God. Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement played the second note of the Autumn Moedim, pointing to the Supreme High Priest sacrificing himself for the people who would become the Temple of God. However, the details would happen during the time of the Spring Moedim. Chag Sukkah or Feast of Tabernacles played the final note of the Autumn Moedim, depicted by the Church living in temporary shelters until the Lord’s return, possibly the Eighth Day of Assembly.

moedim S


The Spring Moedim played the melody of the short time frame leading up to the events of Cavalry and Pentecost. Rosh HaShannah or New Year, originally held in the spring after the first sighting of the green ear of barley, was the opening note. Two weeks later was the Pesach or Passover note, with the crucifixion of the Lamb of God. Consecutively came the Chag HaMatzah note, with the breaking of the unleavened bread representing Christ, the Bread of Life. Three days later the Reishit Katzir or Firstfruits played the Resurrection note. Fifty days later was Chag Shabua or the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the first believers.


With a better understanding of historical documents and astronomy, we can understand the Scriptures much better than before. By dovetailing the Autumn Moedim with the Spring Moedim, the drama of Redemption comes to life.

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2014. All rights reserved.

YOM TERUAH – Day of Trumpets

by Beth Piepenburg

Yom Teruah DSC_0751

Yom Teruah, the Day of Trumpets, was the sixth moedim, or appointed time, and was established by Moses as commanded in the Torah. Once the new moon was sighted for the seventh month, Yom Teruah would begin. This seventh month, called Chodesh Shebiy’iy, opened with the sound of trumpets announcing the coming of Yom Kippur and the Feast of Tabernacles later in the month. Celebrated by the blowing of trumpets and shouts of praise, the purpose of Yom Teruah pointed to the signs in the heavens, to the future Messiah, and to the importance of the other appointed times of the Hebrew calendar.

Besides beginning this seventh month, the new moon is located in the constellation of Virgo. Who is Virgo, but the Virgin, and is known as Bethulah in the Hebrew tongue. She is described as having in her left hand a sheaf of barley, and in her right hand she holds the branch.  Both symbols represent the Messiah. But why Virgo?

Virgo Yom Teruah

In 3 BC, the angel Gabriel was sent to a young virgin named Mary. This same Gabriel had been sent to Daniel centuries before to announce the seventy sevens, the future year of the atonement of Christ. Now, Gabriel was being sent to Mary to announce the birth of the Messiah. Precisely, on this date of Yom Kippur, she conceived the Son of God by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. With Jesus being conceived in September, his birth would take place on an insignificant day during the next spring, and celebrated by the Wise Men on the 25th of December. These facts can be generally substantiated historically and astronomically.

While the moedim, or appointed times, pointed back to the events of the Exodus, they served as foreshadows of events pertaining to the Messiah. The spring moedim played the melody of the short time frame leading up to events of Cavalry and Pentecost. The autumn moedim played the chord of the major events of Christ: the Annunciation, Redemption, and the Grand Finale. Yom Teruah played the first note of the autumn moedim, sung out by the announcement of Gabriel concerning the Son of God.

Moses had established Yom Teruah as a special day for blowing the trumpets and the shouting of praise. Not only was Yom Teruah a day of rest, but every Jewish male was required to participate at the location of the Tabernacle. Because Yom Teruah lacked significance to anything particular in Jewish history or its importance had been lost, the day was replaced with Rosh HaShannah by the Rabbis during the Babylonian captivity. Rosh HaShannah was the first moedim, or appointed time, and was celebrated in early spring as the Hebrew New Year. By moving its date to autumn, the Jewish Rosh HaShannah could be consolidated with the timing of the Babylonian Araḫ Tišritum, producing a mild religious syncretism. However, this change overshadowed the importance of Yom Teruah.

Although the melding of Yom Teruah and Rosh HaShannah was influenced by Babylonian culture, the adjustment appears not to have influenced the Jews into pagan worship. To this day, Jews celebrating Rosh HaShannah in autumn do so in genuineness of heart towards God. However, the changing of the calendar was deceptive in itself. How? If each moedim or appointed time was an indicator of what God would be doing in respect with the Messiah, then tampering with the Mosaic calendar would hinder the Jewish people from knowing the purposes of the true times and seasons.

Celebrated on the first day of the seventh month, Yom Teruah was dedicated to blowing the trumpets to announce the important event of the Savior coming to Earth as seen in the heavens and prophesied in Scripture. Let us continue to rejoice as Mary did on this day.

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2014. All rights reserved.

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)

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