The Jew's catechism is his calendar.
Samson Raphael Hirsch
There has been a great deal of interest in "Bible Codes." The main flurry of controversy has been about the equidistant letter sequences that seem to be hidden within the Biblical text. An example of this occurs in Genesis 1:14:
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
The word HaMoyadim (click for Hebrew text), here translated "seasons," means "the appointed times." When searched for as an equidistant letter sequence, the word appears only once in the Book of Genesis, at the interval of 70, clustering exactly where the word is spelled explicitly in the text, and where the calendar is established.
There are only 70 specially appointed times for holy days called HaMoyadim, in a year, as defined by Leviticus 23-52 sabbaths, seven days of Pesach (encompassing Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of First Fruits), one day for Hag Ha Shavuot (Feast of Pentecost), one day for Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets, which is coincident with Rosh Hoshana), one day for Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), 7 days for Sukkot (Feast of Booths), and one day of Shmini Atzeret (Eighth Day of Assembly).1 52 + 7 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 7 + 1 = 70, the very interval where HaMoyadim, "the appointed times," is encrypted in the text. Coincidence?
The longer the word, the smaller its chances to be found in the text at any given interval. Statistically, the word HaMoyadim would be expected to occur only five times in the 78,064 letters of Genesis.
In fact, it appears in this hidden form only once in Genesis; and on that one occasion its equidistant letter interval is exactly 70, and centered within the span of that hidden appearance is precisely its only open appearance in the text.2
The odds against this have been estimated at more than 70,000,000 to one.3
In addition to microcodes and the equidistant letter sequences, there are also macrocodes embracing the entire structure; they transcend the frame of reference of the individual document itself. They are similar to the "macros" that anticipate the formatting in our word processor programs.
Thus, macrocodes can be anticipatory: they look forward in time. These Biblical macrocodes, originating from outside our time domain, demonstrate their unique origin by presenting the structure of future events in advance, which is one of the properties of the Biblical record that establishes its uniqueness.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the use of the Jewish calendar ordained in the Bible.
The Seven Feasts of Israel
The Torah-the five books of Moses-details seven feasts during the Hebrew calendar:4 The first three feasts are celebrated in the spring, in the month of Nisan: Passover (Pesach), Feast of Unleavened Bread (Hag haMatzah), and the Feast of First Fruits. (Connotatively, these are all included in the celebration of Passover.)
Fifty days later there is the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot, also known as Pentecost ("50"). It was celebrated the day following the "counting of the omer" (49 days + 1), 50 days after the Feast of First Fruits. This year it will be observed on May 31.
There are three remaining feasts in the fall, in the month of Tishri: the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah); the Day of Atonement, (Yom Kippur); and the Feast of Tabernacles (Succoth).
While each of these feasts has an historical commemorative role, they also each have a prophetic role. When God set their feast times, the very terms He used are suggestive: mowed (click for Hebrew text), which means "to keep an appointment," and mikraw (click for Hebrew text), which means "rehearsal."5
Paul emphasized this6 and also highlighted their predictive role as "a shadow of things to come."7 Jesus also pointed to his personal role in their fulfillment:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law (Torah), or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Matthew 5:17
This is another of these instances in which "The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed, and the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed."
Shavuot, The Feast of Weeks
The first three feasts occur in the first month; they were also prophetic of the Christ's first advent. The final three feasts occur in the seventh month and appear to be prophetic of Christ's Second Coming. Between these two groups of feasts is Hag Ha Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, also called, Hag Ha Kazir, the Feast of Harvest ("the First Harvest").
This feast was to be observed on a strange formula: In other words, they were to begin counting on the day of the Feast of First Fruits ("the morrow after the Sabbath": always a Sunday!), seven weeks (49 days) and thus celebrate this unusual feast also on a Sunday.8
Counting these 49 days is also called "Counting the Omer." (This "50-day" formula also gives this celebration its alternate label, "the Feast of Pentecost.") It is interesting to notice the frequent intervals of 49 (72) in the Torah codes.
The Feast of Pentecost was also one of only three which were obligatory for all males.9 Historically, this feast is viewed as commemorating the birth of the nation and the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai.10 The observance of this feast is unique in that it includes two loaves of leavened bread-the only use of leavened bread in the Levitical specifications. This would seem to hint of a Gentile application, in contrast to the unleavened bread emphasized in the Passover. Two lambs were to be offered. (Jew + Gentile?)
There is a widespread recognition that the Feast of Weeks (or Feast of Pentecost) is prophetic of the mystery of the Church. And, indeed, the Church was "born" on the Feast of Pentecost.11
It is significant that each event which seems to be "macrocoded" by the calendar was actually fulfilled on the very day that the feast is observed: The Crucifixion on Passover; the Feast of First Fruits on the following Sunday; etc.
Therefore, the birth of the Church on the very day of the Feast of Pentecost in Acts 2 is extremely provocative. Yet it may prove to be myopic to assume that this feast has been completely fulfilled in the birth of the Church alone.
The sudden "gathering out" of the church (harpazo in the Greek;12 called the "rapture" from the Latin) may also be hidden behind this feast. The first three feasts, in the first month, appear predictive of the first "coming" of Jesus Christ. The last three feasts, in the seventh month, are viewed as predictive of the Second Coming.
(There are many who look to the Feast of Trumpets or the Feast of Tabernacles as predictive of the "rapture" of the Church. Yet, these views seem to fail to discriminate between the "rapture" of the Church and the Second Coming.)
There would also seem to be an intrinsic contradiction in attempting to apply the Jewish feasts to the Church. As we have noted in the Seventy Week prophecy13 and elsewhere, there is a clear distinction between Israel and the Church-a distinction that unfortunately has been blurred in views that fail to recognize the unconditional nature of the relevant commitments to Israel. Paul, in his definitive statement of Christian doctrine which we call the Epistle to the Romans, spends three chapters emphasizing that God is not through with Israel.14
In his Epistle to the Ephesians he also reveals that the mystery of the Church was hidden from the Old Testament.15 (This also is indicated in the parables of the Matthew 13.16 ) It appears that the church period occurs in a gap-or interval-in the Jewish timeline of the Old Testament. A provocative possibility is that the Feast of Weeks may prove predictive of both the birth and removal of the church in God's program.
Enoch as a Macrocode?
Enoch is one of the most interesting characters in the Bible. The first prophecy uttered by a prophet was a prophecy of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and it was proclaimed before the Flood of Noah!17 Enoch is also distinctive in that he did not suffer death; he was "raptured."18
There were three groups of people facing the flood: those that perished in the flood; those that were preserved through the flood; and those removed before the flood: namely, Enoch. There are some who view Enoch as a foreshadowing of the church being removed prior to the global ordeal known as the Great Tribulation.
It is interesting that there is a Jewish tradition that Enoch was born on the day that was later ordained as the Feast of Weeks. What makes this even more interesting is the associated tradition that he was "raptured" on his birthday.
Is it possible that this is a foreshadowing of the harpazo of the church?19
There would seem to be a logical consistency if the same feast that "stopped" the Jewish clock will be the same event that "restarts" it. We will just watch and see. Let's remember that He instructed us to "occupy until He comes."20 Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!