And 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 lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:14-15 ESV)
The word translated as “seasons” in the Hebrew Masoretic Text (MT) is “moedim” (H4150), which means “appointed times”.
Let Them Be…For Feasts?
Many folks associate the word “seasons” in Genesis 1 with “the feasts” of YHVH outlined in Leviticus 23 because it is the same Hebrew word used in that text:
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts (H4150 “moedim”) of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts (H4150 “moedim”). (Leviticus 23:2)
However, this word “moedim” is used elsewhere, having nothing to do with “the feasts of YHVH”. For example,
- The set time Sarah will bring forth a son.
But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time (H4150) next year.” (Genesis 17:21)
- The time set for a plague to befall the livestock of Egypt.
And the LORD set a time (H4150), saying, “Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land.” (Exodus 9:5)
Nonetheless, many people link the moon, in particular, to the feasts of YHVH because of Psalm 104:19.
He appointed the moon for seasons (H4150 “moedim”): the sun knoweth his going down.
However, according to the Greek Septuagint, which is a Greek translation of an earlier Hebrew text (which came about centuries before Yeshua and was often cited in the New Testament), the word translated as “seasons” in Genesis 1:14 is “kairos” (G2540) in the Greek and means “due measure” or “measure of time”. This word is also used in Psalm 104:19.
He appointed the moon for seasons (G2540 “kairos”): the sun knows his going down.
But, when we go to Leviticus 23, this word is not used the same as its MT counterpart from Gen 1:14 and Psa 104:19 appears to be used.
Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say unto them, The feasts (G1859 “heorte”) of the Lord which ye shall call holy assemblies, these are my feasts (G1859 “heorte”). (Leviticus 23:2)
The word translated as “feasts” here in Greek is “heorte”, and specifically means “feast” or “festival”. It has a Hebrew counterpart of “chag” (H2282), which is used in verses 6 and 34 of the Masoretic Text.
And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast (H2282 “chag”) of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. (Leviticus 23:6)
“Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast (H2282 “chag”) of Booths to the LORD. (Leviticus 23:34)
“Heorte” is found in 83 verses of the Greek Septuagint and in at least 20 verses in the New Testament and they are clearly speaking of the “feasts of YHVH” (with a few exceptions where it is speaking about feasts or festivals in general).
It seems to me, a more proper understanding of the luminaries being “for seasons” is that they are for measures of time. The question is how?
Let Them Be…For Measures of Time
And God made the two great lights–the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night–and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:16-18 ESV)
When we look up to the heavens each day, we can see the sun move across the sky rising over the eastern horizon and setting in the west.
And in each night, the stars circle around the heavens.
The moon travels a similar course to the sun, gaining or losing light from one rising to the next. But unlike the sun who only appears in the day, and the stars who only appear in the night, the moon shows itself throughout the day and/or night at differing times.
Like the hour, minute and second hands on the face of a clock, or the gears behind it, all travel at their own rates in synchronized precision, I believe the sun, moon and stars move in similar fashion. With each and every movement, portions of time are measured.
We did a sundial project in 2014 tracking the path of the sun from one day to the next, and it was easy to determine a pattern over the course of many days. (We had clear sunny days leading up to the spring and fall equinoxes, making it real easy to see a change in the pattern.)
In 2015 we hope to do a similar project tracking the path of the moon from one full phase to the next for the purpose of seeing if an obvious pattern emerges.
While I don’t believe the moon is the determining factor for each of the 12 months (H2320 “chodeshim”) of the year, I do believe it helps distinguish from one year to the next.
I also want to better understand what the stars are doing. I suspect the stars are instrumental in determining the 12 months of the year, but I’m not certain how yet. As I learn more regarding this, I will share my findings.
For those who never paid much attention to the lights in the heavens firsthand, let me encourage you to go ahead and start taking notice. In a society with clocks and calendars on the wall and watches on our wrists, it’s easy to overlook the timepieces given to us by the Creator. Let’s not. Rather, let’s learn how to tell time by the lights in the heavens, since that is one of the reasons why they are there. 😉