Chapter 9:

The Moedim (the Appointed Times)

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A moed is a time Yahweh has set apart for worship. (The plural of moed is moedim.) We might think of these as dates when our Husband wants us to meet with Him. If we want Him to be pleased with us, and take us as His bride, then we should show up when He says. We show how to determine the moedim in The Torah Calendar.

However, assuming we show up at the right times, how does He want us to worship Him? The Levitical rituals and sacrifices are not valid in the Melchizedekian order, and Scripture does not say what to do instead. Because of this, we will try to extrapolate what we should do based on the requirements of Scripture and Yeshua’s example in the Second Temple period.

Structure and Order vs. Intentionality and the Spirit

Earlier we saw that the Men of the Great Synagogue had either composed or compiled certain prayers that were used during the Second Temple period.

It has also been stated: R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: The Men of the Great Synagogue instituted for Israel blessings and prayers, sanctifications and habdalahs.
[Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 33a, Soncino]

However, we also saw that while some rabbis and other leaders felt these prayers were obligatory and should be performed by rote, the majority felt that these prayers were best taken as guidelines, and that too much rigidity or uniformity in worship stifled intentionality (meaning it was fake). Yeshua was among the majority who felt that most prayers should come straight from the heart.

With larger groups, you need a little bit of structure and order. However, that structure and order should also remain flexible, so that it does not stifle (or quench) the Spirit. That is why we find the balance that was used in Yeshua’s day to be exemplary, is that they had a very loose framework that incorporated intentionality and heartfelt prayer.

Basic Set Rituals: the Shema and Amidah, Plus

As a general rule, whenever Yahweh tells us not to work, we are to assemble. And because Yeshua is our example, when we assemble, we want to pray the same two prayers that were said in Yeshua’s time. First we pray the Shema with Ve’ahavta (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). After that, the worship leader should pray from his heart about the eighteen points of the Amidah, or alternately, the Disciple’s Prayer.

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 14:26
26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

You want to treat this as if these were your own children. You want to encourage them to participate as they feel led. You want to encourage them to develop their gifts.

Hebrew and Goy Tongues

There is a perennial debate as to whether we should pray and sing in Hebrew, or in our native tongues. Clearly it would be best if we all knew Hebrew, and all prayed and sang in it. However, the reality is that not everyone does, and there is also a benefit to singing and praying in our native tongues, because it makes it easier for others to join in.

If you are fluent in Hebrew and have time and support, you may want to host the main service in Hebrew, and also have an outreach service in your local tongue. However, if you are not yet fluent in Hebrew or do not yet have the time or support, you can try to incorporate as much Hebrew as your people can absorb (and the priesthood is working to make as many Hebrew prayers and song materials available for your use as we can.)

No matter whether you pray in Hebrew or in your native tongue, in this chapter we want to look at each of the appointed times of worship, and see what each day requires.

Appointed Times and Set-apart Rehearsals

A moed is a time Yahweh has appointed for worship.

Additionally, a miqra qodesh is a set-apart rehearsal (which requires gathering).

Usually we assemble on those moedim that are also commanded rest days. (However, the faithful will also find ways to gather for prayer and fellowship on the moedim that are not commanded rest days.)

The Tamid (Eternal, Daily)

In the tabernacle, Yahweh commanded offerings to be brought twice daily (Numbers 28:1-8). These were not commanded rest days, so there was no command to assemble (although some people did). If you have a demand for it in your area, and there is enough support, you can hypothetically have prayer gatherings twice a day. However, this is not your top priority unless Yahweh says. (It all depends on how Yahweh leads you, and the level of support.)

Because the Tamid is neither a commanded rest day not a commanded assembly, you do not need to recite the Shema or the Amidah (although you can.)

Shabbat (Sabbath)

We covered the Shabbat in the last two chapters. The Sabbath is a day of commanded rest and assembly. Therefore you should recite the Shema and the Amidah (or the Disciple’s Prayer). Also schedule time for the people’s participation (as led of the Spirit), and singing, as mentioned above.

Bread and wine are traditionally a part of all Sabbaths, new moons, and feasts. Traditionally this bread is a braided challah loaf, although challah is not required. It is more important to see if you can find organic or chemical-free bread. Also, because Celiac disease and other modern sensitivities to gluten are so common, if it is possible to find ancient grains such as spelt or einkorn, these do not have as much gluten. Further, in ancient times most bread was sourdough, which is easier to digest. Wine should be organic if possible, and pesticide-free if not.

Rosh Chodesh and Rosh Hashanah

Yahweh commanded special offerings to be brought on the new moon days (Numbers 28:11-15). However, since the new moon days are not commanded days of rest, there is no commandment to gather. However, it is traditional for the faithful to take the opportunity to gather for prayer, praise, worship, music, and a festive meal.

Shemuel Aleph (1 Samuel) 20:5
5 And David said to Jonathan, “Indeed tomorrow is the New Moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king to eat. But let me go, that I may hide in the field until the third day at evening.”

Also:

Melachim Bet (2 Kings) 4:22-23
22 Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of Elohim and come back.”
3 So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.” And she said, “Shalom.”

We should also blow the shofar on the new moons, based on Psalms 81:3.

Tehillim (Psalms) 81:3
3 Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon,
At the [plump] moon, on our solemn [pilgrimage] feast day.

[This verse is often mistranslated. The word “full” means “plump.” We explain this in more detail in the chapter on “The New Moon Days” in The Torah Calendar.]

If we were in the land of Israel, the faithful would gather to physically sight the first crescent sliver of the new moon, and perhaps share a fellowship meal afterward. [In the dispersion we do not always physically sight the new moon, as it is more important to follow the sightings from Israel, so as to stay in sync with Jerusalem time).

Our Orthodox brethren have rote prayers for blessing the new moon, but we ignore them. Since the new moons are a time of renewing, we pray from the heart, asking for renewal in any aspect of our lives that needs renewing (devotion, relationships, etc.).

Because it is neither a commanded day of rest nor a commanded gathering, you do not need to pray the Shema or the Amidah. It is traditional to sing one of the Hallel Psalms (Psalms 113-118), but this is not commanded. You may also sing a new song.

Tehillim (Psalms) 149:1
1 Praise Yahweh!
Sing to Yahweh a new song,
And His praise in the assembly of saints.

If you have talented musicians, musical instruments can make for pleasant atmosphere, and create a more worshipful experience.

Pesach (Passover)

Pesach and Unleavened Bread are two separate feasts, but because they run together they are often thought of as one long feast. Yet Pesach is not technically a feast, but an event. That is because we only kill the Pesach on the afternoon of the Pesach, while the meal is eaten that night, on the start of the First Day of Unleavened Bread.

Sometimes Christians want to keep the Passover after they realize the Last Supper was Pesach. However, the Torah specifies that only those families in which all of the males are physically circumcised should attend.

Shemote (Exodus) 12:48-49
48 “And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to Yahweh, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it.
49 One torah shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.”

You may get questions as to why physical circumcision is still required after Yeshua’s sacrifice. The answer is that Yeshua said not to think that He came to do away with the Torah or the Prophets (Matthew 5:17-21), and Ezekiel 44:9 tells us that the gentile Ephraimite converts will still need to be physically circumcised in Ezekiel’s Temple (which is a future temple).

Yehezqel (Ezekiel) 44:9
9 Thus says Yahweh Elohim: “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel.”

Psalm 81:3 tells us to blow the shofar when the moon is plump, on the day of our pilgrimage feast day. In addition to the new moons, this refers to Pesach / the first day of Unleavened Bread, and also Sukkot.

Tehillim (Psalms) 81:3
3 Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon,
At the [plump] moon, on our solemn [pilgrimage] feast day.

[This verse is often mistranslated. The word “full” is correctly translated as “plump.” We explain this in “The New Moon Days” in The Torah Calendar.]

Pesach in the Land vs. Pesach in the Dispersion

How to keep the Passover in the dispersion is a complex issue. We cover how to keep it in The Nazarene Israel Passover Study, but we will cover the basics here.

When Israel was in Egypt, Yahweh told each man to take a lamb for his house, and to cook and eat the Passover in his own house. He and his family were also to eat it in haste, and dress as if they were preparing to leave (which they were).

Shemote (Exodus) 12:11-12
11 “And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is Yahweh’s Passover.
12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am Yahweh.”

According to the Law of First Mention, the first time a thing is mentioned in Scripture, it sets the standard for that thing. Therefore, Exodus 12 sets the standard for the Pesach. Now consider that while the requirement to keep Passover has never changed, the manner of it has. In Deuteronomy 12, Yahweh begins a long monologue in which He tells us how to keep His statutes and judgments when we live in the land of Israel.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 12:1
1 “These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which Yahweh Elohim of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth.”

This monologue continues until Deuteronomy 16, where Yahweh tells us that when we live in the land of Israel, instead of killing and roasting the Pesach in our houses, we are to eat it in the place where Yahweh chooses to put His name. (Historically this was the tabernacle or temple, and today it is again Jerusalem, in keeping with Zechariah 2:12.)

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 16:1-7
1 “Observe the month of Aviv, and keep the Passover to Yahweh your Elohim, for in the month of Aviv Yahweh your Elohim brought you out of Egypt by night.
2 Therefore you shall sacrifice the Passover to Yahweh your Elohim, from the flock and the herd, in the place where Yahweh chooses to put His name.
3 You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life.
4 And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight remain overnight until morning.
5 “You may not sacrifice the Passover within any of your gates which Yahweh your Elohim gives you;
6 but at the place where Yahweh your Elohim chooses to make His name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight, at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt.
7 And you shall roast and eat it in the place which Yahweh your Elohim chooses, and in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents.”

Leviticus 23 tell us the Passover is a miqra qodesh. This is usually translated as a holy convocation, which means a set-apart gathering, but it also means a rehearsal for some future prophetic event or events. The word miqra is Strong’s Hebrew Concordance OT:4744.

OT:4744 miqra’ (mik-raw’); from OT:7121; something called out, i.e. a public meeting (the act, the persons, or the place); also a rehearsal:

So if the Passover is a rehearsal for a future prophetic event, what are we supposed to be rehearsing?

Because Yeshua was already dwelling in the land of Israel, He did not need to rehearse going there. For that reason He kept the Last Supper as a Deuteronomy 16 service, which can be celebrated sitting or lying down. However, in contrast, we are still in the dispersion, and Deuteronomy 16 does not apply to us. Rather, Exodus 12 applies in our case. Therefore, we should eat the Pesach in our homes, with our loins girded, and our shoes on our feet, ready to leave Egypt. And then the next day we should assemble at our synagogue for the First Day of Unleavened Bread (1ULB).

When we are back in the land after Armageddon, we will undoubtedly gather at the temple for Pesach, and we will probably again say the Shema and perhaps the Amidah or the Disciple’s Prayer as part of the public service. However, these are not mentioned in the Exodus 12 service.  We can pray them if we want, but the main requirement is to pray from the heart.

Some congregations may want to gather for Pesach as a spiritual family. Although this is not how Exodus 12 reads there is an argument to be made for this, since Yeshua held the Pesach with His spiritual family (i.e., the disciples). If you decide to gather as a spiritual family, in addition to the Shema and the Amidah (or the Disciple’s Prayer), it is traditional to sing one or more of the Hallel Psalms (Psalms 113-118).

Marqaus (Mark) 14:26
26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

If you decide to gather as a spiritual family, avoid the modern rabbinic Haggadah (seder booklets). The first Passover Haggadah was not written until two or three centuries after Yeshua (whether by Judah HaNasi, or probably someone else), and the ancient Haggadah was very different than the modern ones. Some of the basic elements existed in Yeshua’s time (such as a cup of wine), the modern services have changed all the ritual elements (and Yeshua did not do it that way). Rather than follow a modern Haggadah or seder service, read how it was in Scripture instead.

If you want a suggestion, read the Passover account starting in John 13, and then pray about it, and discuss it as a group. (We consider the foot-washing to be symbolic, rather than a literal command, but you can wash feet if you want.) Yet whatever you do, do not follow a rote formulaic service. Yeshua hated formulaic services, and there are no formulaic prayers or rituals in either Exodus 12 or Deuteronomy 16.

A common question is if we will need a passport for the Second Exodus. The answer is that the Ingathering will take place after the Babylonian system falls at trumpet 7. Because of this, there will no longer be Babylonian governments, and so we should not need Babylonian government papers.

Another common question is, if we are to obey Exodus 12, should we not also slaughter a lamb, and paint the blood on our doorposts? The answer to this is that it could have been correct in the past, except that Yahweh has again chosen Jerusalem, and His name resides there now.

Zechariah 2:12
12 “And Yahweh will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Qodesh Land, and will again choose Jerusalem.”

Because of this we should not construct altars or make sacrifices outside of Jerusalem. Beyond this, we should add that by definition, the Melchizedekian order does not rely on blood sacrifices, or a blood altar. [For more details see The Nazarene Israel Passover Study.]

Chag Hamatzot (The Feast of Unleavened Bread)

Yahweh tells us to have a set-apart gathering on the first and the last days of Unleavened Bread. The first and last days are commonly called the high days, while the other days are called the intermediate days. There are no formal commandments for the intermediate days, but it is a good to coordinate times for prayer, study, music, and fellowship.

The gathering on the first day of Unleavened Bread is a rehearsal for the coming Second Exodus. You should blow the shofar. Explain that we are rehearsing leaving the world system (as an assembly) and going to dwell in the land (as a restored nation).

Because the first and last days of Unleavened Bread are both commanded days of rest and assembly, you should pray the Shema and the Amidah (or the Disciple’s Prayer). The bread should be unleavened.

Yom Hanafat Haomer (The Wave Sheaf)

The first day of the week after the Passover is Yom Hanafat Haomer, or the Day of the Wave Sheaf. This always falls on the first day of the week, and it begins a fifty day count up to Shavuot (Pentecost). Yom Hanafat Haomer is not a commanded rest day, so there is no commanded assembly. However, the faithful may want to gather.

If you have a local gathering, you do not need to pray the Shema or the Amidah (or the Disciples’ Prayer), although you can.

Shavuot (Pentecost)

Shavuot is a commanded day of rest with a commanded assembly. Pray the Shema and the Amidah (or the Disciple’s Prayer). The bread should contain leaven. The theme of teaching can be how to keep the wedding covenant (Torah) through the infilling of Yahweh-Yeshua’s Spirit, and how to make that a reality.

Ignore the Machzor

The siddur is a prayer and songbook for the Sabbath and spring feasts. Most of the prayers are taken straight from Scripture. (We use ours for a songbook, but never for formulaic prayer.)

For the fall feasts of Yom Teruah (which the rabbis incorrectly call Rosh Hashanah) and also Yom Kippur, the rabbis invented a separate prayer book called the machzor (although other rabbinic Jews use a machzor for the three pilgrimage feasts.) Because the machzor was not invented until the Middle Ages, Yeshua never heard of it (so we ignore it).

Yom Teruah (The Day of Trumpets)

Yom Teruah is the new moon day of the seventh month. Even though the day and the hour of Yom Teruah is not known in advance, it is nonetheless a commanded day of rest and assembly. We pray the Shema and the Amidah (or the Disciple’s Prayer), and blow the shofar.

Tehillim (Psalms) 81:3
3 Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon,
At the [plump] moon, on our solemn [pilgrimage] feast day.

Since the day and hour of the sighting is not known ahead of time, this is traditionally believed to be the day of Yeshua’s return.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 24:36-37
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
37 But as the days of Noach were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

Yom Teruah traditionally begins what are known as the Ten Days of Awe. These are the ten days that lead up to Yom Kippur. It is supposed to be a time of reflection and self-inspection. A good teaching theme is to help the people understand the need to see ourselves clearly, not thinking of ourselves more highly than we should think.

Romim (Romans) 12:3
3 For I say, through the favor given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as Elohim has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

When we see ourselves clearly, as Elohim sees us, then we can know how to improve.

Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement[s])

Yom Kippur is the most set-apart day of the year. It is a day of forgiveness and release of debts. The command is to afflict ourselves. It is traditional to fast, but if all we do is go hungry we miss the big point of forgiveness and release of debts.

Yahweh says we are to release everyone from all debt, including financial and emotional debt. We are to forgive and let go of past hurts and grudges. We are also to do good to the poor and needy (especially among the brotherhood). It is a day to remember that we are to be not only our brother’s keepers, but also our brother’s daughters’ keepers. That is, we are supposed to take care of the brothers and sisters who are in need.

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 58:6-8
6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of Yahweh shall be your rear guard.”

Because it is a commanded day of rest and assembly, we pray the Shema and the Amidah (or the Disciple’s Prayer). However, notice how Yeshua emphasizes that when we pray the Amidah (the Standing Prayer), we need to forgive others so that Yahweh may also forgive us. If we do not forgive from the heart, Yahweh will not forgive us.

Marqaus (Mark) 11:25-26
25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

The Disciple’s Prayer may be a condensed form of the Amidah, and Yeshua emphasizes this for the Disciple’s Prayer also.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 6:14-15
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Even though we fast and afflict ourselves, it is a time of great joy, knowing that we are His.

Sukkot (Tabernacles)

We are commanded to rest and assemble on the first and last days of Sukkot. We are also to blow the shofar on the first day, as it is a pilgrimage feast with a plump moon.

Tehillim (Psalms) 81:3
3 Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon,
At the [plump] moon, on our solemn [pilgrimage] feast day.

[For details on this passage, see “The New Moon Days” in The Torah Calendar.]

We are also commanded to put up our sukka on the first day of the feast. A sukka (סֻכָּה) is different than a tent, which is an ohel (אֹהֶל). The command is to dwell in sukkot, which are very flimsy structures that provide no real protection. This is to remind us that Yahweh is our shield, and He will protect us.

If you can take all eight days off from work and tent camp, it is best, as it serves as a rehearsal that we will again dwell with Yahweh in tents (and soon).

Hoshea (Hosea) 12:9
9 “But I am Yahweh your Elohim, Ever since the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, As in the days of the appointed feast.”

However, not everyone is able to get the intermediate days off, and in many cities there is also no safe place to tent camp, so in these cases a sukkah will have to do. If you can put it up outside it is better, but if you can only put it up inside, then it is good. It is ideal to sleep in the sukka (or in your tent). You do not want to sleep in your normal bed.

We want to spend as much time in our sukkot as we can, reading, praying, and generally reminding ourselves of His promise to protect us in times of great danger (such as the tribulation and Armageddon), if we will truly obey Him.

Since the first and last days are commanded days of rest and assembly, we should pray the Shema and the Amidah (or Yeshua’s Prayer).

Shemini Atzeret (The Eighth Day Assembly).

Just as the Pesach is a half-day event followed by seven days of unleavened bread, Sukkot is a seven-day feast followed by a half-day event known as Shemini Atzeret (the Assembly of the Eighth [Day]). On this day we break down the sukka, and break camp, and assemble for a message. Because Shemini Atzeret is a commanded day of rest and assembly we pray the Shema and the Amidah (or Yeshua’s Prayer). Then we usually also share a meal. Then we go home.

As we explain in The Torah Calendar, Shemini Atzeret deals with being “held over” by Yahweh. (Some see parallels with the Tarry service.) The message can have to do with tarrying for Yahweh, and His salvation. (For more parallels see “The Eighth Day Assembly” in The Torah Calendar.)

No Rote Services

Whatever you do for the moedim, remember that the synagogue services were not standardized in Yeshua’s day. Remember also that Yeshua was vehemently against rote prayers. Rather, He (and most other leaders and teachers in the Second Temple era) felt that it was vastly superior to pray from the heart.

Whatever you do needs to agree with Torah, the Spirit, and the doctrine, yet it should also be unique to you and custom tailored to the people Elohim has given to you to tend. This is just as sheep are all individual creatures, and living stones are all unique.

If you and your elder team will pray and ask Yahweh to show you what He wants you to do for your services, He will.

If these works have been a help to you and your walk with our Messiah, Yeshua, please consider donating. Give