"Holy Convocations"
Torah Teacher Ariel ben-Lyman HaNaviy

(Note: all quotations are taken from the Complete Jewish Bible, translation by David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., unless otherwise noted)

"ADONAI said to Moshe, "Tell the people of Isra’el: 'The designated times of ADONAI which you are to proclaim as holy convocations are my designated times.'"
(Leviticus 23:1)

"Pesach - Season of our Deliverance"

"In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between sundown and complete darkness, comes Pesach for ADONAI." 
- Leviticus 23:5

"Yeshua said to them, "This is what I meant when I was still alive with you and told you that everything written about me in the Torah of Moshe, the Prophets and the Psalms had to be fulfilled" (Luke 24:44, CJB)

     Next to Isaiah 53, nowhere else is this statement of Yeshua’s more vividly demonstrated than in the Holy Convocations of Leviticus Chapter 23. The opening few lines of that chapter clearly teach that the Biblical Feasts, including Pesach (Passover) to Sukkot (Tabernacles), are "designated times of ADONAI " (verse 4). Historically, the Nation of Isra’el was to act as a repository of the wisdom and Word of HaShem. With his Called-out Ones acting as a "fishbowl", the surrounding nations were to learn about the Creator, the One True God of the Universe, from the everyday activities of the offspring of Avraham. This is one of the primary reasons that the Torah was graciously given to Isra’el.

     In both Biblical and Modern Hebrew, the word for "appointed time" is "mo-eyd". Interestingly, this meaning conveys the sense of the "dress rehearsals" that occur before an actual play. In this way, HaShem masterfully designed the mikra’ey kodesh to act as dress rehearsals for his children. "Of what?" you might ask.

The Feasts of ADONAI are dress rehearsals of Messianic Redemption.

     Our LORD Yeshua has literally and prophetically fulfilled the first four of the seven feasts mentioned in Leviticus 23; it is my belief that the Torah teaches that he will, likewise, literally and prophetically fulfill the final three at his soon to be second arrival. As the children of Avraham willingly and faithfully lived out HaShem’s yearly cycle of "mo-eydeem", the Spirit of the Holy One graciously opened their hearts to understand that, as his treasured possession, they were responsible to actively pursue a genuine, loving relationship with their "husband". It is this type of personal relationship that HaShem desired from his children, and to this end, the surrounding nations might also see the goodness and mercy of ADONAI, and seek to become one of his treasured possessions. Today, our responsibilities to our Holy God have not changed any more than he himself has changed.

     History has demonstrated that in the fullness of HaShem’s timetable he sent his Only Begotten Son Yeshua into the world, to redeem fallen man, and make it possible to have a right relationship with our Heavenly Abba. This Messianic Redemption of ours, which was accomplished through the sacrificial death, burial, and miraculous resurrection of Yeshua our Savior, has been prophetically and historically displayed through the teachings of the Holy Convocations of Leviticus 23. It is, therefore, HaShem’s desire that these teachings become an integral part of our everyday lives, as we walk out the truths of our new identification in Messiah. To be sure, the Torah has demonstrated,

"Then he opened their minds, so that they could understand the TaNaKH"

(Luke 24:45)

     Shabbat notwithstanding, Pesach is the beginning of the biblical feasts of Leviticus chapter 23. The actual feast known as Pesach spans three separate, yet inextricably-inked feasts: Pesach ,observed on the fourteenth day of the Jewish month of Nissan, HaMatzah (Unleavened Bread), observed on the fifteenth day of Nissan, and Bikkurim (Firstfruits), observed the day after the Sabbath of HaMatzah.

     From this point on, a good friend of mine from South Africa has contributed directly to this particular commentary, and I wish to acknowledge his profound authorship. While he wishes to remain anonymous, my prayer is that the Holy One will continue to bless him abundantly as he seeks to be a blessing to others through his writings.

     Jeremiah 23:7, "See then, the days are coming - it is YAHVEH Who speaks - when people will no longer say: 'As YAHVEH lives Who brought the sons of Israel out of the Land of Egypt'‚ but, 'As YAHVEH lives Who led back and brought home the descendants of the House of Israel out of the Land of the north and from all the countries to which He had dispersed them', to live on their own soil."

     According to this prophecy, Jeremiah foresaw a time that the re-gathering and resettlement of Israel would be a great talking point - an even greater topic than the ancient Exodus. 

     The Exodus depicts the great historic event of the liberation of the whole Nation of Israel, after four centuries of slavery in the Land of Egypt, in approximately the year 1250 BCE. After successive approaches and pleadings to let My people go, accompanied by Signs and Wonders‚ (the Ten Plagues), the ruling Farao still refused. God then intervened and led this nation out of Egypt by way of many natural disasters. Under miraculous Divine Guidance more than a million people, with their cattle and their sheep, wandered in the barren Sinai desert for 40 years on their way to the Promised Land, Israel. Their shoes and clothes never wore out and food, in the form of manna which rained from Heaven, was provided daily. 

     This great epic, to this day, is commemorated annually in the Jewish festival of Pesach, which to the Christians became Easter - the festival during which their Jewish-born Savior was crucified as a sacrificial Paschal Lamb Offering, to release them from the bondage and slavery of sin. 

     However great and universally popular the Exodus may be, Jeremiah, in the above quoted prophecy, predicts that it would be transcended by the re-gathering of Israel. And 3000 years after, we in our generation have witnessed the profound results which would define the course that Israel would tread in the aftermath of two devastating World Wars. These wars were the prelude to modern day Israel's Return from countries all over the world, and their resettlement and rebuilding of their ancient Homeland. 

     By comparison with the thousands of millions of people inhabiting planet earth today, those that acknowledge the profundity of the divine act of re-gathering Israel from its universal dispersion, are but few. This certainly does not diminish the immensity of this achievement. Daily we are still beholding the miraculous fulfillment of the above mentioned Prophecy of Jeremiah. Miracle upon miracle supersedes even that great historic miracle event of the liberation of the entire nation of Israel in the Exodus from Egypt to the 'Promised Land'. 

     The time has now come for "Israel" (the scattered Ten Tribes, who are starting to realize and discover their true Identity, as the "Lost Ten Tribes of Isra'el", in what is called the Hebraic Roots Restoration Movement across the earth) to testify to this modern-day miracle, so that many voices may be added to those who, in fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy, call out in wonder and admiration to "YAHVEH Who lives and led back and brought home the descendants of the House of Israel from all the countries to which He had dispersed them, to live on their own soil," As the realization spreads, worldwide exhilarating joy is expanding, as more and more voices join the extolling call: 

- For the miracle of the rebirth of Israel as a modern State in 1948 after 2000 years of dispersion of the Israeli nation to every corner of the earth. 

- For the miracle of a nation retaining its identity, traditions and religion notwithstanding the total loss of intercommunication during 20 centuries of being spread amongst the nations of the world, even to the extent of almost fully integrating with these, to them, alien nations. 

- For the miracle of such a small nation, living on such a small piece of land, surrounded by so many enemy nations, building up from scratch one of the most efficient and most powerful military machines in the entire world, chalking up victory after victory against almost impossible odds. And all this was achieved within one to two decades of entering the land of their forefathers, flocking back as castaways of the world. 

- For the miracle of creating a nation whose survival has proven it to be ineffaceable even in the face of mass persecutions, time after time, decade after decade, for almost 2000 years .... yet, within a few years after the Rebirth‚ of Israel, to become the center of controversy on the stage of modern world affairs.

- For the miracle of this tiny piece of wilderness land, without the proverbial milk and honey, and possessing no significant raw materials; with limited water resources and extremely harsh agricultural conditions, becoming the envy of many nations for reasons that would be quite baseless. In the two millennia of Israel's dispersion prior to 1948, the foreign nations that did rule this land, managed only in breaking it down in every aspect. 

- For the miracle of a barren land of rocks, deserts and swamps being transformed by a returning remnant of the ancient Israelites, to a country with blooming mountain forests, endless citrus orchards, cultivated fields with agricultural exports all over the globe - much of this produce having been raised in the barren desert! 

- For the miracle of a nation which in the Birth Pangs‚ of its Rebirth‚ in 1948, had to absorb, in one year, more than a million immigrants, virtually refugees, with very few skills and in poor health (from the death camps of Germany), with no accommodation facilities for them. At other times it had to absorb masses of underdeveloped brethren‚ from African or Eastern countries, while their own economy was groaning. After decades of Israel's calls to "Let My people go", Russia relented, and since 1993 hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews were being absorbed by Israel, each family requiring a government grant of thousands of dollars on their arrival. 

- For the miracle of the indestructible national cohesion of a nation which is made up of 100 different Nations' and forged into one nation. It is as if there is a great melting pot of varying cultures and traditions, even varying physical appearance, features, dress and skin color - forging all into ONE cohesive nation! And that while the other nations of the earth are divided and at enmity with each other because of differences of color, race, culture or religion. 

- For the miracle of the continued existence of this controversial little land in the face of grotesque problems that would probably spell doom to any other nation under similar conditions; with a military budget which devours some 40% of the total national budget while the country had to be rebuilt from its foundations. It is a nation which promotes ultra democracy, freedom of thought and speech, thereby splitting itself into two extreme poles with a wide variety of political views in between, to the extent that its government can hardly find a majority or consensus on vital issues which confront the country and its continued existence. 

- For the miracle of an ancient language, Hebrew, having been restored and used as the Common denominator‚ in an attempt to, and as a solution to understanding each other among the many foreign languages spoken by the "ingathered ones". 

- And for the Miracle of the Paradox which makes this nation the target of the hate and condemnation of the earth - a hatred which will culminate in the War of all Wars, when all the nations of the world will draw up to Jerusalem, there to discover the timeless reality of the Living Creator God, the 'God of Israel' - and to receive the flaming wrath of the Protector of Israel, which will scourge and purify the earth, before He sets up His Universal Rule from Jerusalem. Then shall Peace and Justice be established throughout the world, when Divine Law will regulate the lives of the righteous from all nations, alongside the righteous in Israel - and all who dwell on earth will know God - and nations will be drawn together in friendship, and the world will be perfected under the unchallenged Rule of the Creator, for ever and ever - thus the claims by Prophetic Script. 

- For the Miracle that this hitherto despised nation will, through the culminating world Apocalypse, prove to be the Divinely Chosen conduit of Divine Blessing unto all nations, when through this nation and their capital, Jerusalem, the Creator God will establish the long sought after Peace and Joy for this strife-torn world. 

- And for the Miracle in process of fulfillment at this very time, when souls across the length and breadth of the world is following that inner spiritual drive within their souls and minds, to identify their Hebraic Roots and, in a mass Movement across the earth, embrace their Original Hebraic Roots and return to the Roots of the Original, True Faith, thereby fulfilling the Prophecy of the Divine Intent to "lead back and bring home the descendants of the House of Israel out of the Land of the North and from all the countries to which He had dispersed them, to live on their own soil". 

- And it shall certainly require a Divine Miracle to unify this 'Lost' 10/12ths of Israel with the core remnant of Israel, that is Judah, the Jews, according to Prophecy. 

     May this Pesach serve to confirm in the minds and spirits of those who seek their 'original Hebraic Roots', to contemplate and pray for ways and means in which they can physically return "to the Land", to assist Judah and Efrayim in retaining a foothold against the powers of evil which, at this time, wish to tear away the Promised Land from those to whom it was promised. May this be done, so that "people will no longer say: 'As YAHVEH lives Who brought the sons of Israel out of the Land of Egypt'‚ but, 'As YAHVEH lives Who led back and brought home the descendants of the House of Israel out of the Land of the North and from all the countries to which He had dispersed them', to live on their own soil."

     The list of miracles is endless - each of which unveils an inexplicable and intricate PARADOX - paradoxes which are unique to Israel only. 

     In this intricate and indisputable way of Paradox and Miracle, the Almighty God has procured unequivocal proof of His existence and of His infallible Promises to sustain the nation and country of Israel. It is His Divine Purpose, through this nation and this land, to display His Power, His Integrity, His Truthfulness and Compassion to and for all humanity, but also His righteous Judgment of the rebellious and unbelieving masses. 

     May the testimony of this Return to the Land of Promise, as in the Exodus from Egypt, contribute to the fulfillment of Jeremiah's Prophecy. 

     Blessed are those who acknowledge the Miracles which are taking place right before our eyes, but which though, are yet unseen and unbeknown to the majority of today's generally Godless, materialistic and unbelieving mankind.

"Chag Sah-meach Pesach!"
(Happy Festival of Passover!)

For further study, read: Ex. 12:21-51, Num. 28:16-25, Josh. 3:5-7, 5:2-6:1. 6:27; Is. 52:13-53:12; Mt. 26-28; Mk. 14-16; Luke 22-24; John 13-21; 1 Cor. 5:6-8