Moed: appointed times, meeting, feast, festival (Strong’s 4150)
Sounds like: mow’ed
This word moed has often been translated as festival or feast, which is not quite accurate. Although the term feast (of unleavened bread, for example) reflects the moed, truth be told there is another word entirely for feast or festival. That word is chag. Moed, instead, reflects the times that God has specifically appointed to honour and remember moments in history when God rescued his people.
These are the appointed times [mo’ed] of YHWH which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, to present offerings by fire to YHWH– burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each day’s matter on its own day.
According to Leviticus 23 there are seven moedim or times appointed by YHWH:
- PEASCH. Time of Passover (Leviticus 23:4-5).
- HA’MATZA’OT. Time of Unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:6-8).
- REHSHEET. Time of First fruits (Leviticus 23:9-11).
- SHAVUOT. Time of Weeks (Leviticus 23:15-18).
- TERUAH (ROSH HASHANAH). Time of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:23-25).
- YOM KIPPUR. Time of Atonement (Leviticus 23:26-28).
- SUKKOT. Time of Booths/Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-35, 39-44).
These appointed times are holy, or set aside, because they are also times when God meets with us. He connects with us, on our level, during these feast and festivals.
Before the Temple was built God’s people had the holy Tabernacle. It was known, in Hebrew, as the ohel moed (tent of meeting). It was the one place on earth where God and His people could physically connect.
“And with it you shall anoint the tent of meeting [ohel mo’ed] and the ark of the testimony, and the table and all its utensils, and the lamp-stand and its utensils, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the laver and its stand. You shall also consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them shall be holy. And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister as priests to Me.”
Aaron and his sons were of the tribe of Levi, God’s chosen tribe to be priests to the Hebrew nation:
1 Chronicles 23:30-32
They (Levites) were also to stand every morning to give thanks and praise to YHWH, and likewise in the evening. Whenever burnt offerings were presented to YHWH on the Sabbaths, New Moons, and appointed feasts [we’la’moed’im], they were to serve regularly before YHWH in the numbers prescribed for them. So the Levites were to carry out the responsibilities for the Tent of Meeting [ohel moed] and the Holy Place, and, under their brothers the descendants of Aaron, the service of the house of YHWH.
Once the Temple was built in a permanent location (Jerusalem) the people could celebrate the feasts (moedim) of YHWH continually in Jerusalem. Just like the Tabernacle (tent of meeting), the Temple festivals was where God would meet with His people at the appointed times that He announced in Leviticus 23. Those times included the three major pilgrim holidays:
2 Chronicles 8
At that time Solomon offered burnt offerings to YHWH on the altar of YHWH he had built in front of the portico. He observed the daily requirement for offerings according to the commandment of Moses for Sabbaths, New Moons, and the three annual appointed feasts—the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
There are other times in the Tenakh where the appointed times/meetings with God are discussed.
When the people turn away from God and bring Him insincere offerings, He takes note:
They will not pour out wine offerings to YHWH, and their sacrifices will not please Him,
but will be to them like the bread of mourners; all who eat it will be defiled.
For their bread will be for themselves; it will not enter the house of YHWH.
What will you do on the appointed day, on the Day of YHWH’s feast?
YHWH’s moedim (appointed times) are affected by the behaviour of His people. The people become so corrupt that they turn God’s appointed times into their own appointed times (YHWH calls them “your New Moons and your appointed feasts”). This is an abomination to YHWH:
Bring your worthless offerings no more; your incense is detestable to Me—
your New Moons, Sabbaths, and convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity in a solemn assembly.
I hate your New Moons and your appointed feasts;
they have become a burden to Me;
I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you;
even though you multiply your prayers, I will not listen.
Your hands are covered with blood. Wash and cleanse yourselves.
Remove your evil deeds from My sight. Stop doing evil!
Learn to do right, seek justice, correct the oppressor,
defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.”
When God allowed Israel to be overthrown by the Babylonians, He did not completely abandon His people. They had lost everything. They had lost the Temple, the one place where the appointed times were to be celebrated.
The prophet Habakkuk questioned God. Why would He use such a corrupt nation as Babylon to take down His own chosen people?
Then YHWH answered me:
“Write down this vision and clearly inscribe it on tablets,
so that a herald may run with it.
For the vision awaits an appointed time;
it testifies of the end, and will not lie.
Though it lingers, wait for it,
since it will surely come and not delay.”
YHWH promised to avenge the Hebrew people at an appointed time. But it wouldn’t be immediate. It still would leave the people without a Temple, and without a Temple there were no true feasts. Their great joyous celebrations could only be remembered in grief. But YHWH promised to save His people:
YHWH your God is among you; He is mighty to save.
He will rejoice over you with gladness;
He will quiet you with His love;
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
“I will gather those among you who grieve over the appointed feasts,
so that you will no longer suffer reproach.
Behold, at that time, I will deal with all who afflict you.
I will save the lame and gather the scattered;
and I will appoint praise and fame for the disgraced throughout the earth.”
And so the people were redeemed. Eventually they were allowed to return to Israel. But before they even began to build the Temple, they built an altar to celebrate the appointed times of YHWH:
By the seventh month, the Israelites had settled in their towns, and the people assembled as one man in Jerusalem. Then Jeshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests, along with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates, began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the law of Moses, the man of God. They set up the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings upon it to YHWH—both the morning and evening burnt offerings—even though they feared the people of the land.
They also celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, as it is written, and offered burnt offerings daily, based on the number prescribed for each day.
After that, they presented the regular burnt offerings and those for New Moons and for all the appointed sacred feasts of YHWH, as well as all the freewill offerings brought to YHWH.
Only a few months later they begin to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. It is this second Temple that is standing when Yeshua (Jesus) comes onto the scene.
Yeshua as the Messiah presents himself as the Passover lamb. The Passover is the first appointed time mentioned in Leviticus 23. John the Baptist was the first to make the comparison:
So they said to him [John], “Who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet: “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
Then the Pharisees who had been sent asked him, “Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands One you do not know. He is the One who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
All this happened at Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’ I myself did not know Him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that He might be revealed to Israel.”
Yeshua saw the Passover as his own appointed time:
Matthew 26:17-18, 26-28
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’ ” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover…
…While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Yeshua claimed that his death would be an appointed time and it was. Yeshua died on Passover. He would be buried on the day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. He rose again on the Feast of First Fruits. Just as He said, it would be his blood that would fulfill the covenant promise that YHWH made with his people:
Behold, the days are coming, declares YHWH,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt—
a covenant they broke, though I was a husband to them, ” declares YHWH.
“But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares YHWH.
I will put My law in their minds and inscribe it on their hearts.
And I will be their God, and they will be My people.
No longer will each man teach his neighbour or his brother, saying, ‘Know YHWH,’
because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares YHWH.
For I will forgive their iniquity and will remember their sins no more.”
It is the claim of every Messiah follower that his death is a full atonement for our sins. That he took them on the cross with him, and that with his death we are fully forgiven.
On YHWH’s appointed time of Atonement (Yom Kippur) a priest would enter the Temple and go behind the great curtain to the holy of holies where God resided within the Temple. There the priest would present an offering that would cover the sins of all people. It was a sacrifice of atonement. Only the High Priest was allowed behind the curtain on this one sacred day of the year. But when Yeshua died, this sacrifice wasn’t necessary any more and God made that very clear the moment that Yeshua died:
When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He yielded up His spirit. At that moment the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split.
YHWH uses his divine appointed times to do miraculous things and to meet with us… to connect vividly with His creation.
If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to connect with your Creator. It’s time to have a relationship with the One who loves you. He appointed times for you, it’s time for you to set aside time for Him.
Next week: Sukkot- Booths