Posts Tagged With: cycles

Moonthly Cycle

For the past five years, I’ve been very intentional about celebrating the new moon. One result was publishing my first book, The Biblical New Moon: A Guide for Celebrating in 2016. Another unexpected outcome was discovering patterns within the monthly cycle. I’ll get to that in moment, but first, I’ll give you a comparison.

Most of my readers have been following the weekly Torah portions through multiple years. Those first several years garner more questions than answers as one’s heart adjusts to the Creator’s paradigm. But, as the years pass by, the Words of the Torah become more and more familiar, a comfort to the soul rather than a contention. Those questions from the early years have long been satisfied by the Words of Life.

Each year, the Spirit highlights certain words, phrases, or sections in the portions as He leads one through the wilderness. It’s always the perfect instruction in due time. I often say that as I follow the Torah portions, they also follow me. It’s like the water giving Rock that followed the children of Israel in the desert. I can see the themes from the portions playing out in my life, testing and encouraging me each week. I can’t imagine walking through life without their guidance, as they are my daily bread, just as sure as Yeshua is the embodiment of the same.

I have had a similar experience on the larger cycle of the months. Much like the Torah portions, they each have a personality (so to speak) that thematically links to real life. And, just as the Ruach HaKodesh highlights certain words, phrases, and sections new every year in the weekly Torah portion, He does the same for the months. The first few years I didn’t notice these patterns because all the information was fresh and new. I had more questions than answers as I attuned myself to this greater cycle through practice.

In the fourth year of being intentional, something shifted, just as it did when I first committed to the Torah cycle. If you’ve read my book (linked above), then you know that I included a great deal of Jewish tradition.[1]For example, I used their assignments of the twelve tribes of Israel for each month, and I included the twelve constellations (mazel) that fall in the ecliptic with the sun and moon each month.[2]There are generally four Torah portions within the months, giving even more layers that make up the personality or theme for the month. Moreover, many months have Biblical and/or traditional feast or fast days. All of these things and more are quite fascinating to meditate upon, and will lead to more understanding.

I think of it as zooming out from the weekly cycle to get a fresh perspective. On an even larger scale, one could zoom out to the yearly festivals, then to the seven-year cycle (Shemittah), and even further to the Yovel (Jubilee) cycle. Wheels within wheels all powered by the Spirit of God. All these cycles are constantly moving around you, your family, your assembly, and the greater Body. And, all these cycles have an order. They are NOT random or arbitrary, they are part of what Adonai has revealed to His people. But, we must choose to either move with them, swim against their current (which gets you nowhere), or ignore them altogether. (Ignorance is not bliss in this case; the cycles are there and working in our lives regardless of whether we choose to follow Him or not.)

Dt. 29:29 (NASB) “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.

I had the privilege of reading Barry Miller’s book, Know the Time Change Your World: The Reappearance of the Seven- and Fifty-Year Biblical Cycles, during these intentional years of celebrating the new moon. His book is very helpful at explaining how the rhythms of these cycles affect not only our spiritual lives, but also our tangible lives in the market, workplace, and finances. After all, Adonai is concerned about the whole person, mind, body, and soul.

If you’ve been keeping the yearly feasts of Adonai for some time, you’ve probably noticed that things (good and bad) cycle around and around in the seasons. This is because judgment begins in the House of God. Feast days (including the weekly Sabbaths and new moons) are not just times of celebration. They are tests! We will be examined at the appointed times. As such, there are certain themes related to specific times. Perhaps you’ve already noticed this phenomenon on social media.

Every year, after the fall feasts, the identity of the Messiah is questioned, challenged, debated, and reimagined. Whether He is divine or not, Messiah or not, becomes explosive social media fare, destroying our witness regardless of how we view Him. Meanwhile, winter, Chanukah, and Purim are approaching. People in general begin to grow weary about their own identity. They question their purpose and struggle with foundational issues in life and in Bible study. Those that minister to others, really notice these patterns. It’s not chance.

Consider that after Sukkot, it is the “turn of the year.” It’s a type of new beginning. What’s at every beginning? A foundation must be built– whether physical or spiritual. If one has a shaky foundation, there is usually a great identity crisis. If one’s foundation was damaged in the previous year, they too, will struggle with a rebuild. What many consider “basic” or “foundational” issues will be challenged in this season. The Hebrew month’s that span this time frame are Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, and Adar.

Also consider the traditional winter festivals of Chanukah and Purim. They are all about the Jewish people fighting for their right to exist! Foreigners seek to wipe them off the map or conform them into an image of their making. The basic, foundational rights bestowed upon Israel by the Creator are being challenged. Is it a surprise that Messiah is challenged around this season? Or, that individuals search and struggle with who they are? I don’t believe so, because it’s part of the cycle. Sin and rebellion will exacerbate these issues.

That’s one example, I have many. I’ve been journaling about the monthly cycle for a while. I’ve written about my own struggles, and those that others have revealed to me at these seasons. I’ve also tried to pay attention to social media debates (in the Torah keeping world) and the months and seasons in which they occur. I have a dear friend that has given me more insight, and I hope to continue to collaborate with her. We hope to produce something more formal in the future.

Why would something like this be valuable? Testing and trials will not vanish, of course. They are part of our refinement. However, it would be encouraging to know that you are not alone, and that Adonai has good purposes and intentions towards us. It will also be a great resource for prayer! Many claim to be a watchman. A watchman can see what’s coming, sound the alarm, and prepare the army. If you are aware that certain issues in the natural or spiritual will be challenged or tested, then you know how to pray. You know how to stand. Your faith is built up to overcome. I believe the cycles of the Creator reveal these things to His people, so they can do just that: observe all His instruction. And, do so with a different heart, like Caleb, trusting that though there be giants, fortified cities, and Amalekites, we can overcome!

Num. 13:30 (NASB) Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.”

For now, I have a request for my readers. That is actually the point of this post! I wonder who would be willing to journal alongside me? I’d really like as much feedback as possible. I don’t need you to write a book, just notes about each month. What did you battle with? How did this compare to the weekly Torah portions that month? To the traditions from the Sages? To the feasts or fasts? What “blew-up” on social media? What did people need prayer for? What other patterns did you notice? To streamline what I’m looking for, I’ve devised the following chart. Feel free to print it out to use as journal pages or use it to create your own template.

Moonthly Cycle Chart

 


[1]If you are anti-Jewish, anti-tradition, or fear things that are mystical, you need read no further. I believe in balance and using good Bible hermeneutics. However, I also believe the Sages and Jewish sources are valuable and have great wisdom.

[2]This NOT astrology. It has nothing to do with divination or deciding one’s fortune. That’s the perversion. Pagans didn’t put the stars in the heavens, HaShem did. The luminaries declare the glory of Elohim, which is the Good News. (Ps. 19) They also govern His moedim, His calendar, His appointments, and give Light to the earth as a testament to His authority over all the earth. (Gen. 1:14-19)

Categories: Messianic Issues, Moedim, new moon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Moonbeams and the Moedim Part I

moon

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?[1] 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. (:

Cycles

grapicOne 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.[2] 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.[3] 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.

Moonbeams

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.[4] 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.

The moon:

  1. Sets boundaries for our months.
  2. Keeps or guards the moedim.
  3. Warns of things to come.
  4. 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.


[1] 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.

[2] The Hebrew calendar does take the solar cycle into account to maintain the seasons. For an interesting article about this, click here.

[3] See Lev. 23

[4] 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.

Categories: Moedim, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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