Leviticus 23:1-2; Who Announces The Start of HaShem’s Appointed Times?

Leviticus 23:1-2

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר.
  דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם, מוֹעֲדֵי יְהוָה, אֲשֶׁר-תִּקְרְאוּ אֹתָם, מִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ; אֵלֶּה הֵם מוֹעֲדָי.
  1. The L-rd spoke to Moshe saying,
  2. “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, “The Appointed Times of HaShem, which you all shall announce them, are sacred convocations; these are My Appointed Times.

This is my translation of the Hebrew text following the Masoretic cantillations. I apologize for being grammatical in this post, but this is important for the health of Messianic Judaism. The disunity over calendars is disturbing to me. I believe the Torah is absolutely clear here on what we should recognize as the Appointed Times of HaShem.

In verse 1, HaShem is speaking directly to Moshe. It is implied then, that no one else heard this. HaShem wanted His Prophet to clearly communicate His intention to the Nation of Israel. This saying was not a concoction in Moshe’s mind. Moshe did not make this up on his own, but simply communicates the exact Words of HaShem in what follows in Verse 2. HaShem tells Moshe the Words he is to say to the Nation of Israel, or benei Y’israel as it says in Hebrew. The announcement of the start of any of HaShem’s Festivals isn’t Moshe’s responsibility, it is the nation’s responsibility.

What is the Nation of Benei Y’israel to do? Moshe says to them, “The Appointed Times of HaShem, which you all shall announce them…”. We see in the restrictive relative clause, “…which you all shall announce them…”; the Appointed Times of HaShem are dependent on Israel’s proclamation. The conclusion is that HaShem’s Appointed Times are set by the Nation of Israel. To give you a grammatical analogy, consider this: “The capitol, which you establish…”, The relative clause, “which you establish,” makes very specific what is already a particular capitol. It is not just the capitol; people can assume anything about “the capitol” according to their own personal experience, be it Madison, or St. Paul, or Washington. But, “the capitol, which you establish…”, is quite specific to who “you” is, and is not negotiable to another’s experience.

Going forward, the Appointed Times, which the nation of Israel announces are sacred convocations. These are HaShem’s Words concerning their announcement! The announcement of Israel is a Sacred Convocation! Grammatically, let’s continue the analogy: “The capitol, which you all establish, is the seat of power…”, Is your head snapping back right now in offense? Think on it for a while.

Perhaps you are still not certain that it is the Nation of Israel’s responsibility to announce the feasts. Well, Let HaShem speak bluntly here at the end of the verse, “…these are My Appointed Times.” Let me restate it again by our analogy: “The capitol, which you all establish, is the seat of Power; it is my Capitol.” The Hebrew in Leviticus 23:1-2 clearly states National Israel’s role for setting the dates and times.

So, HaShem commanded Israel to prepare accordingly for His Divine Appointed Meeting. But He commanded the Nation of Israel to announce its start time to the rest of the world. Now go and ponder on all the implications of this truth in the Torah!

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