Women, Cycles, and Time
Have you ever considered why many of the families that have returned to the seventh day Sabbath and YHWH’s festivals began with the prompting of the woman or wife? Or have you ever wondered why there is so much physical preparation (domestic and relational requirements) that a woman must do in order for the family to keep Shabbat and the Feasts? What about the rabbinical ruling that women are “exempt” from certain time related commandments; what is this about? Why do women seem to be associated with TIME again and again? Hopefully, we will begin to answer these questions in this post.
I think I’ve figured out why I’ve struggled to start this next series of posts. They each deal with time. And time, like light, is still very much a mystery to mankind (and modern science). There are several ways that people try to understand time. Some think of it as a linear line with an infinite beginning and end. Each end of this line is constantly moving away from the other. Others view time as a circle with the beginning also being the end. And still others believe that while time is indeed cyclical, that it is much more akin to the double helix of our DNA. It is connected, but with rungs that progress upward on a twisted ladder. Lower parts touch higher rungs repeating the information in new and more dynamic ways with each cyclical step.
The latter view will be the way in which I present this material. This part will present the base line and it will spiral and spread throughout the following posts, but will twist back to touch this post again. To put it simply, I will present this in a “spiral” form of teaching. I just don’t see any other way to do it. (:
One thing that I really try to emphasize when teaching others about Hebraic Roots is the difference between Hebrew and Greek thought. We are so accustomed to linear thought that many treasures from the Bible and Creation falls on blind eyes. One thing is certain, the Word and Creation both declare CYCLES to us again and again. Thinking about a linear timeline that moves from the indefinite left and progresses to the indefinite right is not Biblical or logical; especially when we consider the largest and smallest things in the creation. Take a look at the graphic “Cycles in Nature”. Everything we can see moves in CYCLES. And the seen things are meant to teach us about the unseen (spiritual) things. (1 Cor. 15:46)
God’s calendar, His appointed times, are also cyclical. Before we delve into how women are connected to these cycles, let’s first look at how God has revealed time.
YHWH’s calendar is primarily based on the lunar cycle. New months begin with sighting the first sliver of a new moon and mark out the appropriate timing of our festivals, fasts, and harvests. In other words, the moon keeps or guards our weeks, months, and years. The passage below chronicles Day 4 of creation. Those of you that have been following my posts or that are Creation Gospel students will notice that as the fourth day, God is establishing His government or authority in the luminaries. (And in His calendar.)
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth“; and it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. (Gen. 1:14-19)
Verse 14 states that one of the governing actions of the luminaries is to serve as signs, seasons, days, and years. I believe “days” and “years” are pretty self-explanatory, so let’s look at the “signs” and “seasons”. The Hebrew word for signs is ot (aleph, vav, tav). It literally means a mark, signal, omen, or flag. The heavenly lights declare not only the glory of God, but give us signals or warnings of things to come. So while they may help us to keep track of time (past), they can also point to or warn us of future events (prophesy).
The Hebrew word for seasons in verse 14 is moedim. I expect that most of my readers will be familiar with this word. These are our feasts and festivals. Notice that in the very Beginning, YHWH established His calendar or His time clock on day four of creation. This is significant because our calendars govern our day to day lives. They dictate when we celebrate, when we rest, when we work, and when we gather together. If the Creator felt that His calendar required the actual sun, moon, and stars to guard, protect, keep, and mark His time, how much more should His people regard His calendar?
These appointments with the Creator give us LIGHT much in the same way that the sun, moon, and stars give us natural light. They truly separate the light from the darkness. If we ignore these appointments, we will have less light, less revelation. Remember, the natural things are meant to reveal spiritual truths. The guardians of God’s calendar speak to every creature on earth summoning us to come and meet with the King. David said it this way:
The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. (Ps. 19:1-3)
In the very Beginning, the Creator preordained that we meet with Him certain times of the year. You only need to look up at the majestic sun, moon, and stars to see and know the season. Notice that at night the heavens reveal “knowledge”. This is the Hebrew word da’at. This type of knowledge is an intimate knowing and carries with it the idea of sacrificial love. It is the “bone of my bone and flesh of flesh” that Adam experienced with Chavah (Eve) and she conceived and bore a son. It is the loving knowledge that provoked Yeshua to become the sacrifice for His people. Because of the intimate nature of da’at, it cannot be completed without a woman. This type of sacrificial love needs a vessel to pour itself into and women are the natural imagery of a receiving vessel. (Hopefully, you can see men too in this imagery as part of the Bride.)
There is a cycle at work here that is meant to be a guide to God’s people. For our purposes, we will limit our study to the lesser light of the moon. Both men and women as the people of Elohim can be compared to the moon. But women have a unique association that I’d like to focus on. Since both the male and the female are revealed in The Woman in Scripture, we will see some overlaps in the two sex roles.
He made the moon for the seasons (moedim)… (Ps. 104:19)
The moon has a special role to play in the guardianship role of the moedim (feasts). It is a master timekeeper of sorts. While the sun and stars also share in this responsibility, the moon beckons us to watch it a little more closely. As the nearest heavenly body to earth, the moon has mesmerized mankind since time immemorial. Sadly, many have fallen victim to the idolization of these heavenly bodies. They have failed to realize that these luminaries serve us, we are not meant to serve them.
The moon’s closeness and the fact that it governs our moedim make it quite mysterious. This becomes even more mystical when we consider that the brightest light in the night sky has no light of its own – it can only reflect the light of the sun. We will come back to this concept in a later post.
Since women’s bodies follow a lunar cycle (menses), the Sages have long concluded that women are uniquely associated with not only the moon and YHWH’s Festivals, but with time itself. Let’s review what we’ve covered so far. As you read through my enumerations, ask yourself if any of these remind you of the role of women.
- Sets boundaries for our months.
- Keeps or guards the moedim.
- Warns of things to come.
- Reflects the light of the sun.
I hope some of these facts caused you to think of the neqevah (female) and the ezer kenegdo from the Biblical Role of Women Part I and Part II. Or perhaps even the prophetic nature of women from Part V. One of the more obvious links between women and the moon is seen in the various PHASES in which both continually go through.
The regular arrival of the new moon and its growth to fullness, followed by its soon disappearance has long been a visible symbol of life, death, and rebirth. With every new moon, we see the necessity of being renewed (born again). This rhythmic clock sets our calendars with each cycle marked as a new month (moonth).
Like clockwork, women also go through phases each month. Similar to the moon, a woman’s phases are directly linked to life, death, and rebirth. Each month a woman’s womb prepares its “soil” for life and then sheds it (death) if no viable seed is planted — only to renew itself once again. This cycle repeats again and again. When a woman’s body is in the shedding stage of menses, blood appears. When the moon gives us a warning of judgment (death), it appears red. It’s not a coincidence that we call this a blood moon.
Not surprisingly, there are four primary phases of the moon with more elaborate depictions showing eight (a factor of 4). You can watch a quick video about these phases here. Due to the length, we will examine each of the four primary moon phases and their relationship to the feast days and women’s cycles in Part II.
 Obviously, this isn’t always the case. However, in most of the families I have met, this is true. Whether she was home schooling the children and discovered these truths through in-depth Biblical and historical studies or by the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit, it is usually the wife that first “sees” God’s calendar as relevant for the family.
 See Lev. 23
 These two articles speak to women and the moon. Women of the Wall and Aish. Women being associated with time in general is a two-fold concept. The first is simply what we’ve been discussing. Women are tied to time because YHWH made their bodies to mimic His time clock. Secondly, the rabbis ruled that women are exempt from certain TIME related mitzvot. We will explore this idea in a later post.