The LORD's Feasts and Holy Days

The Difference Between The Hebrew Word “Mô'êd” and “Châg”

blowing-shofarOne important factor that contributed to the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the Eternal’s Holy Days and Feast Days was the use of improper translations. This is also one reason why some people confused the Eighth Day feast with the last day, the “great day” of the feast (the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles).

Many bible scholars and translators used the English word “feast” to translate the Hebrew word Mô'êd in some Old Testament verses that they feel refer to God’s feast days.

Designating a holy day like the Day of Atonement as a feast day created the mixed-up in the minds of bible students and readers. The English word “feast” is generally understood and associated to a celebration, rejoicing, merriment and festivities. That is not what the Hebrew word Mô'êd” expressly meant.

Mô'êd, môw'êd or môw'âdâh (Strong’s #4150)  means an appointment, a fixed time or season, time appointed, set times, assemblies convened for a definite purpose, solemnity or solemn occasion or feast, festival, signal.

In about seventy-one instances that the Hebrew word Mô'êd” appeared in scriptures, it was translated to English purely as “feast” (in the KJV) only seven times.  Five (5) times, we read it as set feasts; and ten (10) times as solemn feast.  Solemn means grave, sober, serious, not smiling or cheerful, formal and dignified. So, how does one go about celebrating and enjoying a feast in a solemn environment? The more appropriate translation therefore should have been set times (for set feasts) and solemnity (for feast or solemn feast).

The Hebrew word that means “feast” in the true sense of the word is Châg (Strong’s #2282; a festival, a feast, a sacrifice) derived from Châgag(Strong’s #2287; to move in a circle, march in a procession, i.e. to observe a festival; by impl. to be giddy -  dance, celebrate, reel to and fro, [keep, hold] a feast).

God’s feast days (“Châg”) are always God’s appointed or set times (Mô'êd”). But, not all of God’s appointed or set times (Mô'êd”) are necessarily always a feast day (“Châg”).  The Eternal clearly differentiated between the two by inspiring the prophets to use the appropriate word as occasion or situation demands.

Only three feasts (“Châg”) in the real expression of the word were decreed and commanded by the Eternal for His people to keep. These are distinctly outlined in:

Exodus 23:14-16 (NKJV)

14Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year: 15 You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty); 16 and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.

Deuteronomy 16:16

16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.

Also, not all of God’s annual Sabbaths are categorized as “high day.” There are only four (4) “high days” in the year for the Jews. A “high day” occurs when a Sabbath is also a feast day.

These “high days” are: the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, last day of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and the first day of the Feast of Ingathering.

By classifying all of God’s appointments or set times (Mô'êd”) as feasts and circulating the idea, religious scholars and teachers subtly sowed confusion. Scriptural contradiction also came about as an offshoot. Seven or more feasts in a year jostled against the God ordained three.

Modern religious teachers superimposed their ideas over God’s command rendering it ineffective. They added to God’s word, unmindful of their wrongful interpretation!

The careless actions of these “authorities” engendered more problems and spread the misunderstanding about the Eternal’s feast days. Once merged with the Feast of Tabernacles, the Eighth Day Sabbath lost its purpose and meaning; and, in the process absorbed the meaning and symbolism of the seven days feast instead. Truth was covered up.

Having seven or more feasts in the year is a welcome delight to most organized religion. This doctrine pose a good advantage to their office, since they have seven or more occasions where they can impose mandatory demand for offerings, even though its plainly written in Scriptures that God unmistakably commands His people to appear before Him with an offering only three times in the year.

A number of churches who possess the capability, the facilities and machinery to search out and determine truth, in their desire to maintain the status quo, did not bother to look into this matter plainly. Others who knew about it were just reluctant to change and in some cases simply avoided disturbing the comfort of its followers and members.

How about us? Should we rather believe God when He said and commanded His people to keep three feasts in the year? Or do we still feel like it to have more that what God prescribed?

“By no means! Let God be true though every man be a liar. . . “ Romans 3:4

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