In The Beginning, Part 4
Biblical Feast Days
Leviticus 23 speaks of the Appointed Times of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles, as well as the seventh day of rest, the Sabbath. All of God’s times begin at sundown and go till the following sundown.
These feast days also tell of the gospel. Passover is the day that our Messiah became our Passover Lamb, unleavened, without sin, as 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 says,
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Regarding First Fruits, Messiah is the first fruits from the dead, which we celebrate as the “Resurrection Day”—not Easter, which is named after a pagan god—as written in 1 Corinthians 15:20, “But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.”
The Messiah tells us that He will send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, in John 14:16, “And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever.” And in Acts 2 we see Him come with tongues of fire on Pentecost (Shavuot). All of these have been fulfilled. They are called the Spring Feasts.
But the Fall Feasts are about Messiah’s second coming. The Feast of Trumpets is about the Messiah coming back as King of His Kingdom, with the sound of the trumpet. He will gather His people, as Matthew 24:31 tells us: “And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
The Day of Atonement is about the day of judgement, when all the books will be opened, as Revelation 20:12 tells us,
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
Is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? If it is, then your eternal dwelling will be God Himself:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)
The theme of the Feast of Tabernacles is “God with us,” Immanuel. This is why they believe that Yeshua was born on the first day of the feast and circumcised on the eighth day, which is called “Rejoicing in the word,” Simchat Torah.
The last Appointed Time is the Sabbath. The Sabbath represents eternity with God.
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done. (Genesis 2:1-2)
As we see, the Sabbath was created for mankind as a whole, not just for a single group of people, as the Scriptures tell us in Mark 2:27-28, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” The Sabbath was made for man, and our Messiah is its Lord. As we saw in Isaiah 66, all of God’s people will be celebrating the seventh day Sabbath that was set apart from the beginning of creation.
Hebrews 4:9-11 says,
There remains, then, a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For whoever enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following the same pattern of disobedience.
The Sabbath was the crown jewel of all creation. It was here that God and His creation became one. So we see that when God saw that all was good, He rested on the seventh day and blessed the seventh day and made it holy (or you could say, He set it apart from all the other days). And so all mankind must also consider this day holy. The seventh day is not Sunday or Friday, but the seventh day to us today is Saturday, and it must be remembered and kept holy, for it is the Sabbath.
Many people believe that creation took place in 6 actual days, and others believe that each day equaled a thousand years. Psalm 90:4 tells us, “A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”
And 2 Peter 3:8 also tells us, “A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” So if one day to God is a thousand years, then you could say that creation took God 6,000 years to create.
Albert Einstein, with his Theory of Relativity, discovered that the further you travel in the universe, time becomes irrelevant. He also discovered that there is a point where the past, present, and future are all at the same time. Did Einstein discover the mystery of God? I’m not sure, but one thing we have learned from creation is that we must be people of light and not darkness. We must be people of the day and not night.
Einstein, who did not believe in God, wrote the following statement about death. It comes from a letter to the family of Michele Besso, his life-long collaborator and closest friend, and was written a few days after Einstein learned of his death:
Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
Einstein did not reject the existence of time. Instead, he rejected the distinction between past, present, and future. This may seem like a minor difference, but it is not. Albert Einstein was closer to believing in God than he realized.
Psalm 19:1-6 tells us,
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.
So let’s continue. Genesis 1:20-23 goes on to say that on the fifth day, God filled the waters with living creatures and He filled the sky with birds:
And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
Life began on Earth as early as the third day. On the third day, God created vegetation and trees, all bearing seeds so that His creation could continue to multiply on the earth.
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
It is very interesting that in between creating the birds and fish and vegetation, He created the sun, moon, and stars. As we saw, the sun and moon and stars were not only created to separate day from night, but to mark the sacred times and days and years. Many of God’s Appointed Times reflect the different growing seasons, and so it makes sense that God placed the timing of His creation of these so-called “markers” right after He created the vegetation. It all falls in line with the timing of the harvests.
So now this takes us to the sixth day. Genesis 1:24-25 tells us this:
“Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Now that there was grass upon the earth, God created the animals, but God needed someone to take care of His creation.
Genesis 1:26-27 says,
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.
When God created man, He created him in His image. What does that mean? It means that God is a Spirit, and we too have an eternal spirit. He also made man with the ability to have knowledge and understanding. He gave us the capability of making decisions and having certain of God’s characteristics, like love. The rabbis interpret the statement, “Let us make man in our image” as a reference to God and the angels. They say that God consulted the angels in His creation of man as a sign of respect towards them. Rashi says in his commentary on Genesis 1:26, “From here we learn the humility of the Holy One, blessed be He. Since man was created in the likeness of the angels, and they would envy him, He consulted them.” Another interpretation says that the “us” is God and His Torah. “The Holy One, blessed be He, spake to the Torah: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’” Interestingly, in this story the Torah responds with an objection:
(The Torah) spake before Him: Sovereign of all the worlds! The man whom Thou wouldst create will be limited in days and full of anger; and he will come into the power of sin. Unless Thou wilt be long-suffering with him, it would be well for him not to have come into the world. The Holy One, blessed be He, rejoined: And is it for nought that I am called ‘slow to anger’ and ‘abounding in love’?” (Pirkei de Rabbi Eliezer 11:5)
In no way does or should man be compared to an animal just because they were created on the same day. God cannot be compared to an animal, and if we are made in His image then we ought not be compared to an animal either—which also means that we did not evolve from one. Psalm 8 speaks of man and his place in creation:
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants You have established a stronghold against Your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of Your hands; You put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!
We see clearly that man was made just a little lower than the angels and that man has the authority over all of God’s creation. There is an interesting rabbinic story about Adam and the angels. According to a passage in Bereshit Rabbah, a group of angels objected to the creation of mankind, seeing that humans would bring evil into the world:
R. Simon said: When the time came for the Holy Blessed One to make the first human being, The Ministering Angels made themselves into competing counsels, with one group opposing the other. Some of them said, “Don’t create humans,” and the others said “Create them.” So it is written: “Kindness and Truth met against one another, Righteousness and Peace faced each other.” The angel of Kindness said, “Create them, for they will do acts of loving kindness.” Then the angel of Truth said, “Do not create them, for they will be full of lies.” The angel of Righteousness said, “Create them, for they will establish justice.” The angel of Peace said, “Do not create them, for they will be in constant strife!” . . . R. Huna of Tzipori said: While the Ministering Angels were occupying one another with litigation and debate, The Holy Blessed One created them and turned to the angels saying, “What are you arguing about? Humans have already been created.” (Bereshit Rabbah 8:5)
Although through this parable the rabbis acknowledged these negative traits in humanity and our potential for wickedness, they also recognized the glory and authority that God gave humanity. They understood that we must use this gift correctly. One story says that when Adam was created, he had such a glorious appearance that the animals all tried to worship him.
All the creatures saw him and became afraid of him, thinking that he was their Creator, and they came to prostrate themselves before him. Adam said to them: What (is this), ye creatures! Why are ye come to prostrate yourselves before me? Come, I and you, let us go and adorn in majesty and might, and acclaim as King over us the One who created us. If there be no people to acclaim the king as king, the king acclaims himself. If there be no people to praise the king, the king praises himself. In that hour Adam opened his mouth and all the creatures answered after him, and they adorned in majesty and might and acclaimed their Creator as King over themselves, and they said, “The Lord reigneth, he is apparelled with majesty” (Pirkei de Rabbi Eliezer 11:9-10).
Part of man’s dominion over the earth includes the consequence of his sin: that the earth was cursed:
Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, “You shall not eat of it,” cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.(Genesis 3:17-18)
Creation now longs for the redemption that will come in the Messianic Era when it will be restored again to the way it was in Eden, before the earth was cursed due to man’s disobedience:
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Romans 8:19-22)
In the Kingdom, Messiah, as the second Adam, will then have the dominion over a restored creation. Isaiah 55:12-13 says,
For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
And Leviticus 26:4-5 likewise says,
Then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely.
In the meantime, mankind’s dominionship over nature does not mean he may rule as a tyrant. The rabbis emphasized that we are supposed to take care of the earth and be good stewards. Kohelet Rabbah 7:20 contains a short story that makes this point:
When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the first man, He took him and led him round all the trees of the Garden of Eden, and said to him, “Behold My works, how beautiful and praiseworthy they are! All that I have created, I have created for you. Pay heed that you do not damage and destroy My universe; for if you damage it there is no one to repair it after you.”
So let us stop here and let’s look at chapter 2 of Genesis, where we see that the creation account is retold. Why is that?
Genesis 2:1 begins by saying, “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.”
Genesis 2:2-3 goes on to tell us that God’s work was finished:
By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.
So God saw that all was good and He rested on the seventh day and blessed the seventh day and made it holy (or you could say, He set it apart from all the other days). This was God’s last Appointed Time that He created, and because God set the day apart, all mankind should also consider this day holy. Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel has famously referred to the Sabbath as a sanctuary in time. Just like the physical sanctuary of the temple was a holy place in physical space, the Sabbath functions as a holy place in time because it was set apart for that purpose by God. It is sanctified when we honor its boundaries. Since the Sabbath was inaugurated in Eden, it is an open invitation to all humanity.
We see now that God’s creation is finished, and we can say that this Great Architect, this Master Builder, this Great Artist, has designed and built and painted a beautiful picture of Himself, a picture of His love. And to that, we can say with Him, “It is good”. Let us join in with the Psalmist as he writes in Psalm 57:9-11,
I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of You among the peoples. For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth.
Genesis 2:4-6 continues,
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but a mist came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.
Because the Scripture tells us that no shrub or plant had sprung up yet since God had not yet sent rain, but mist came up from the earth, we can assume that this is referring to the beginning of the third day of creation, as it tells us in Genesis 1:9-13,
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
The passage in Genesis 2 means that in the days of Noah people had never seen rain before, thus it really was by faith that Noah built the ark, as Hebrews 11:7. tells us,
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
So how was the vegetation watered? Genesis 2:4-6 tells us: by the “mist”. Let’s stop here to look closer at this mist.
The Dew of Heaven
This mist is also called “the dew” (tal in Hebrew), referring to the morning dew and the night time dew. In times of heat and drought the dew is very important. The dew is often called “the dew of heaven.” It was a blessing from God.
When Isaac blessed Jacob, part of that blessing had to do with the dew. Genesis 27:28 says, “May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness—an abundance of grain and new wine.”
But to Esau we see there would be no blessing of dew, as in Genesis 27:39 it says, “Then Isaac his father answered and said to him, ‘Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, and away from the dew of heaven from above.’”
We see the manna came with the dew, as Exodus 16:13-14 tells us,
So it came about at evening that the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost on the ground.
Numbers 11:9 likewise says, “When the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.”
We know that Yeshua (the Word of God made flesh) is the true manna from heaven, as He tells us in John 6:48-51,
I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.
We continue to see dew as a blessing. Deuteronomy 33:28 says, “So Israel dwells in security, the fountain of Jacob secluded, in a land of grain and new wine; his heavens also drop down dew.”
What was a blessing from God could also become a judgment from God, as we see in 1 Kings 17:1, “Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.’”
And again in Haggai 1:9-10,
“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of My house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops.”
2 Samuel 1:21 likewise says, “O mountains of Gilboa, let not dew or rain be on you, nor fields of offerings; for there the shield of the mighty was defiled, the shield of Saul, not anointed with oil.”
Proverbs gives us another take on the word dew in Proverbs 19:12, “A king’s rage is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.”
Here we see the dew as God’s grace or mercy.
Micah 5:7 tells us that God’s people will be like the dew bringing a blessing as they go throughout the world: “Then the remnant of Jacob will be among many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on vegetation.”
Isaiah 26:19 speaks of the dew and relates it to the resurrection from the dead: “Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.”
So if the dew represents the redeemed of the Lord in the resurrection, then we can say that Romans 6:4 is also true, “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
We can say correctly that the dew of heaven is truly part of the covenant.