“You shall have a holy convocation”

Written by Schalk_and_Elsa on. Posted in Appointed times, Sabbath

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people assembling togetherThis may seem like a strange title for an article, but it is not so strange after all. Do you know what it means to have a holy convocation? I thought I did, until I did this study. This study was prompted by a dear friend who asked the question: are we commanded to assemble on the Sabbath? This is a good question, with an unexpected answer. Assembling on the Sabbath and Feast days with like minded believers is a huge blessing, but is this what is commanded with the words “you shall have a holy convocation?

What can we learn from Scripture? Scripture teaches that we are commanded to have a holy convocation on the Sabbath and the other appointed times. We shall, with this study, explore what this means.

We, by no means, have this all figured out! What we are presenting here is our understanding of the Scriptures in its context. However, consider this prayerfully and feel free to share your understanding with us.

“You shall have a holy convocation”

As we said before, we are commanded to have a holy convocation on Sabbath and almost all the other appointed times. There are exactly eight commanded holy convocations in Scripture: the Sabbath, the Feast of Unleavened bread – first and seventh day, Shavuot, Yom T’ruah, Yom Kippurim, and Sukkot – first day and eighth day. The Hebrew word “miqra” is translated as convocation. This word “miqra” is used 23 times in Scripture and is, almost always except for two references, used in the context of the Sabbath and the feasts. As “miqra” is predominantly used with the word “moed” or appointed time, we shall first look at the meaning of this word for context.

What does the word “moed” mean?

A holy convocation is commanded on the appointed times (moedim) of YHVH. We need to know exactly what this word “moed” means in order to understand “holy convocation” as these words seem to be connected.

4595 מוֹעֵד (mô·ʿēḏ): n.masc.; ≡ Str 4150;TWOT 878b—

1. LN 67.17–67.64 appointed time, designated time, i.e., a particular point of time related to other points of time, with a focus that this time has a purpose designated by an authority (Lev 23:4);

2. LN 67.163–67.200 seasons, i.e., a single unit of a yearly cycle, with distinguishing weather and plant growth patterns that are unique (Ge 1:14; Ps 104:19);

3. LN 67.163–67.200 unit of time, i.e., a specific unit of time, but not necessarily related to a yearly or lunar cycle (Da 12:7);

4. LN 51 feast, i.e., a festival of celebration and/or worship, with a focus that this is a time appointed by an authority, which may include festive meals and offerings to God (Hos 9:5);

5. LN 15.123–15.134 assembly, i.e., a group of persons that meet, usually as a council for a specific purpose or occasion (Isa 14:13), note: in context, this can be natural or supernatural beings who gather;

6. LN 55.7–55.13 army, i.e., a group of soldiers that are assembled together (La 1:15);

7. LN 7.2–7.25 unit: אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד (ʾō·hěl mô·ʿēḏ) Tent of Meeting, i.e., another name for the Tabernacle, the official portable worship tent, with a focus that this tent was only used by appointment, located in a certain place, and authorized persons (Ex 27:21)1

From this, we understand that a “moed” is a set time in YHVH’s calendar. A special appointment with YHVH, made by Him.

So why do we say these two words are connected? The reason is that we are commanded to have a holy convocation on these set times.

What does the word “miqra” mean?

To shed some more light on the word “miqra,” we need to first look at the word, it originates from: “Qara.”

“Qara,” to call out

The word “miqra” is a derivative from the root “qara.” This is from the Theological wordbook of the Old Testament:

2063 קָרָא (qārāʾ)I, call, call out, recite (read).

Derivatives

2063a קֹרֵא (qōrēʾ) partridge (I Sam 26:20; Jer 17:11; Jud 15:19).

2063b קָרִיא (qārîʾ) called one, summoned (Num 1:16; 16:2; 26:9).

2063c קְ רִיא ָה (qĕ rîʾ â) proclamation (Jon 3:2, only).

2063d מִקְרָא (miqrāʾ) convocation.

The root qrʾ denotes primarily the enunciation of a specific vocable or message. In the case of the latter usage it is customarily addressed to a specific recipient and is intended to elicit a specific response (hence, it may be translated “proclaim, invite”). Infrequently, qārāʾ denotes just an outcry (e.g. Ps 147:9; Isa 34:14).2

Here are two very interesting verses where both words “qara” and “miqra” are used together with the word “moed.” It is,what is called in literary terms, a chiasmus, where you find inverted parallelism in a A B B A format. This is the pattern: appointed times (A), “miqra”(B), qara (B) and times appointed (A).

In rhetoric, chiasmus (from the Greek: χιάζω, chiázō, “to shape like the letter Χ“) is the figure of speech in which two or more clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point; that is, the clauses display inverted parallelism…

The elements of simple chiasmus are often labelled in the form A B B A, where the letters correspond to grammar, words, or meaning. 3

Leviticus 23:2
2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘YHVH’s appointed times (moed) which you shall proclaim(qara) as holy convocations (miqra)—My appointed times (moed) are these:

Leviticus 23:4
4 ‘These are the appointed times (moed) of YHVH, holy convocations (miqra) which you shall proclaim (qara) at the times appointed (moed) for them.

Something is being pointed out to us here! As we said before, there seems to be a special relationship between these words, they seem to be intrinsically connected. Let us continue our study…

We shall now look at the definitions of the Hebrew word “miqra” in some lexicons. The first quote is from the Dictionary of Biblical Languages and is based upon the context of the word in Scripture.

5246 מִקְרָא (miq·rā(ʾ)): n.masc.; ≡ Str 4744; TWOT 2063d—

1. LN 11.12–11.54 assembly, group, convocation, i.e., a collective of people gathered for a purpose (Ex 12:16; Lev 23:2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 21, 24, 27, 35, 36, 37; Nu 28:18, 25, 26; 29:1, 7, 12; Isa 1:13; 4:5+), note: in each context for a religious purpose;

2. LN 33.35–33.68 a reading, i.e., the content of a written communication that is publicly uttered aloud (Ne 8:8+);

3. LN 33.307–33.314 calling, i.e., the act. of publicly making a signal or sign for the purpose of community coming together (Nu 10:2+)1

These possible meanings were interpretations of the translators, based upon the context, but can we assume that these are always perfectly right? To say yes, would be saying that the translators were infallible. We are not saying this is wrong, but this interpretation may be based on their bias. You shall understand when you continue to read.

A holy proclamation!

Here is a quote from the Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Take note of this one, he calls it a holy proclamation or a proclamation of a holy time.

CONVOCATION

A solemn assembly, mentioned in connection with the festivals of Israel and always followed by the command to do no work. Heb. miqrāʾ-qōḏeš means lit., “a holy proclamation” or “a proclamation of a holy time” (2 Kgs. 10:20; Lev. 23:36; Num. 29:35; Deut. 16:8).

Seven days are associated with this term in Lev. 23: the first and seventh days of Unleavened Bread (vv. 4–8); Weeks (v. 21); the feast of Trumpets, the first day of the seventh month (v. 24); the Day of Atonement (v. 27); and the first and eighth days of Booths (vv. 35, 36). The sabbath is also associated with this term (Lev. 23:3).

MICHAEL D. HILDENBRAND4

We have learned before, that the word “holy” means “set apart for a special purpose.” Here is a quote from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.

(qōdeš). Apartness, holiness, sacredness, hallowed, holy (ASV, RSV, similar). The noun qōdeš connotes the concept of “holiness,” i.e. the essential nature of that which belongs to the sphere of the sacred and which is thus distinct from the common or profane. This distinction is evident in Lev 10:10 and Ezk 22:26 where qōdeš occurs as the antithesis of ḥôl (“profane,” “common”). 5

Thus far, we have learned that, not only is holy convocation connected to appointed time, but it is a special appointment with YHVH, a set apart proclamation or reading. Let us continue…

A rehearsal!

The New Strong’s Dictionary translates convocation also as a rehearsal. Could it be that we have always looked at this word from a perspective to only mean an assembly of people?

4744. מִקְרָא miqrâ˒, mik-raw’; from 7121; something called out, i.e. a public meeting (the act, the persons, or the place); also a rehearsal:— assembly, calling, convocation, reading.6

This is what Wayne Blank has to say about this

Another literal meaning of the original Hebrew word is a rehearsal – rehearsal meaning to “re-hear” what has been taught, but the modern-day accepted meaning of rehearsal,a practice session for a later event is also very appropriate because all of the so-called “Old Testament” Holy Days are prophetic in intent (they are not an end or purpose in themselves), until they are fulfilled, and are then memorials forever thereafter. The “spring” Holy Days (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost – see below) have been largely fulfilled (the Sacrifice of the “Lamb of God” and the founding of the Christian Church), while the “autumn” Holy Days (The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, The Festival of Tabernacles and the Eighth Day – see below) portray events awaiting to happen, beginning with The Return Of Jesus Christ.7

It has been taught in both Christian and Jewish circles, that a “miqra” is predominantly a commanded assembly. Every congregational leader will tell you that a holy convocation is an assembly, and that fellowship with other believers is essential. We are not saying that assembling on these days is wrong, or that we should not fellowship with other believers, but if we were to understand this only to mean “to assemble,” we miss the purpose of these days, a special appointment with our Heavenly Father to read, rehearse and recount. To interpret it as only to have an assembly, detracts from the original meaning.

These days are not primarily intended as days of fellowship with each other. Fellowship is important, but this was not the purpose of these days. The focus should not be us, but YHVH! Whenever this topic comes up for discussion, we want to make it about the importance of fellowshipping with other believers, but we need to see it differently.

We shall now look at the specific references in Scripture where a “holy convocation” was commanded to see what else we can learn. The first two references are in the book of Exodus. This passage is about the Feast of Unleavened bread.

Exodus 12:16
16 ‘On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you.

The word “miqra” was translated here as “assembly.” Do you know that there are eight words in the Tanach alone, that could be translated as “assembly?” Why didn’t YHVH choose “qahal” or “asarah” or “asap” or any of the other words? All these words mean to assemble… He might have chosen “miqra” because He wanted to convey the purpose of these days.

The next eleven references are in Leviticus 23. Here, YHVH tells Israel (us) what He considers to be His appointed times. This is how He starts this passage:

Leviticus 23:2
2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘YHVH’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these:

YHVH then continues to list these days: the Sabbath, Pesach and Unleavened bread, First fruits, Shavuot, Yom T’ruah, Yom Kippurim and Sukkot. A holy convocation is commanded for every one of these days, for some feasts twice, one for each high Sabbath, except for the feast of First fruits.

We find seven more references in the book of Numbers; the first reference in Numbers 10:2, is about the silver trumpets that were to be used to summon the community and for having the camps set out. The word “miqra” is translated as “summon. ” According to Numbers 10:10, the trumpets were blown over the offerings at the feasts.

The other six references are in the context of the commanded offerings at the appointed times. The next reference is an interesting one.

“Miqra,” a reading?

The next reference is in the book of Nehemiah, chapter 8 verse 8 and it is translated as a “reading.” We shall just back up a little to verse two of this passage.reading bible

Nehemiah 8:2
2 Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly (qahal) of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month.

This is what was done on Yom T’ruah, a reading of the law of YHVH, it is called a “miqra” in verse 8.

Nehemiah 8:8
8 They read from the book, from the law of Elohim, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.

Our last two references are from the book of Isaiah. The first one is a very interesting reference as we find both “miqra” and “asarah” in this verse. If the word “convocation” was only intended to mean an assembly, why would two different words be used here and in Leviticus, where it refers to the eighth day? It seems redundant. By the way, the word “solemn” was added by the translators.

Isaiah 1:13
13 “Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies (miqra)— I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly(aserah).

Here is the last reference, this is a prophecy for the end time:

Isaiah 4:5
5 then YHVH will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy.

The word here could refer to YHVH’s called-out ones as “miqra” could also mean to call out.

We have now looked at all the references containing the word “miqra.”

Why did the translators translate “miqra” in Neh 8:8 as “reading”? Because this is what it was, a holy convocation was a reading, a rehearsal or recounting, if you would. The Israelites would have assembled for this reading. However, they did not assemble for the sake of assembling; the focus was YHVH’s Word. We find a confirmation in the Scripture of this. We are commanded to recount the events of the Exodus at the Feast of Unleavened bread. We are also commanded to remember YHVH’s redemption, on the Sabbath and on the feast of Shavuot.

Remember

We are to observe these days, remembering His redemption. YHVH’s redemption makes it possible for us to observe His appointed times.

Deuteronomy 5:15
15 ‘You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and YHVH your Elohim brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore YHVH your Elohim commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

One of the instructions given for the feast of Shavuot is to remember that we were slaves in Egypt.

Deuteronomy 16:12
12 “You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.

At Pesach, we are also to observe the feast for YHVH, because He brought Israel out of Egypt.

Exodus 12:42
42 It is a night to be observed for YHVH for having brought them out from the land of Egypt; this night is for YHVH, to be observed by all the sons of Israel throughout their generations.

From this, we learn that the focus of the feasts, including the weekly Sabbath, was a recounting of events, remembering what YHVH did for us and also a rehearsal of what is coming. We know that YHVH’s appointed times are prophetic events, some have been fulfilled once, some twice and some not yet. To celebrate these appointed times is to learn about YHVH and His plan of redemption for mankind. It glorifies Him and Him alone. We do this by reading and studying His Word.

The Pilgrimage feasts

We know from Scripture that Israel is commanded to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the feast of Unleavened bread, Shavuot and Sukkot (Ex23:14-17.) The people would all be in Jerusalem, naturally assembling together.

We find a reference of Israel assembling together on the day the Ten Commandments were given. We have discussed before, in the article about Shavuot how there is a great possibility for this day to have been on Shavuot.

Deuteronomy 4:10
10Remember the day you stood before YHVH your Elohim at Horeb, when YHVH said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’

Another reference of believers assembling on Shavuot is in Acts on the day the Holy Spirit was poured out.

Acts 2:1
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

Here is a reference of people commanded to assemble on the feast of Sukkot, this was specifically during the Sabbatical year.

Deuteronomy 31:12
12 “Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear YHVH your Elohim, and be careful to observe all the words of this law.

It is interesting to note that a “miqra” was commanded on the seventh day of the feast of unleavened bread (Lev 23:8,) however in Deut 16:8 an “asarah” is commanded. In Leviticus 23:36, we also find a “miqra” being commanded and an “asarah.” This is the eighth day of the feast of Sukkot. What does this mean?

Asarah” is from the root “asar” which means hold back or retain. Some say this gives us a better idea of the real meaning behind the use of this word specifically when the last days of the feasts are concerned. It is to make sure that people indeed celebrated the entire feast, including the last day. They can’t go home early. Who would want to? :) Anyway, let us look at the scriptural references.

Leviticus 23:36
36 ‘For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to YHVH. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation (miqra) and present an offering by fire to YHVH; it is an assembly (asarah). You shall do no laborious work.

We see this repeated in the book of Numbers:

Numbers 29:35
35 ‘On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly; you shall do no laborious work.

Here, the ordinance was repeated to assemble; using the Hebrew word “asarah.” This word, “asarah” is used eleven times in scripture, always in the context of a religious assembly. At least three times in the context of calling the people together to fast, and repent (the three last references of the following quote.)

6809 עֲצָרָה (ʿǎṣā·rā(h)): n.fem.; ≡ Str 6116; TWOT 1675c—LN 11.1–11.11 assembly, congregation, i.e., a crowd or group of persons that meet together (Lev 23:36; Nu 29:35; Dt 16:8; 2Ki 10:20; 2Ch 7:9; Ne 8:18; Isa 1:13; Jer 9:1[EB 2]; Joel 1:14; 2:15; Am 5:21+)1

We see this ordinance, to have an assembly, on the eighth day being observed in 2 Chron 7:9 and in Noah 8:18.

2 Chronicles 7:9
9 On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly, for the dedication of the altar they observed seven days and the feast seven days.

Nehemiah 8:18
18 He read from the book of the law of Elohim daily, from the first day to the last day. And they celebrated the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly according to the ordinance.

So, we see from all these references that the Israelites did go up to Jerusalem for these pilgrimage feasts and did assemble together while they were there. It is only natural that they would. When we go up to Jerusalem, we meet people from all over the world and we end up assembling on the Sabbaths to study and read Scripture.

Assembling on the Sabbath

If you were to search the Tanakh for references of Israelites assembling on the Sabbath you would not find any. I did this and my search included different words like to gather, assemble and congregate. If it was commanded for people to assemble on Shabbat, why don’t we find any references confirming this? We are not saying that assembling is wrong, not at all. Just that it is not commanded per se. There are some references in the Apostolic writings that show that believers did assemble on the Sabbath. How are we to understand that?

What did Y’shua do?

Did Y’shua always assemble on the Sabbath? We know He had a “custom” of doing that. However, there was a time in the beginning of His ministry when He went into the wilderness for forty days. If it was indeed commanded to assemble on the Sabbath, He would have been guilty of breaking the commandments, which we know He wasn’t. He was without sin (sin is breaking the commandments (1 John 3:4).

Once, on a Sabbath, He was in the fields with His apostles,plucking grain and eating it. As said before, another Scripture calls His going to the Synagogue on the Sabbath, His custom, a habit. Y’shua often went to the Synagogue on the Sabbath to teach the people.

Luke 4:16
16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.

The Greek word “eiotha” was translated as “custom

1665 εἴωθα (eiōtha): vb.; ≡ Str 1486—LN 41.26 be in habit of, have a custom (Mt 27:15; Mk 10:1; Lk 4:16; Ac 17:2+)1

What about Paul?

We find a similar reference in the book of Acts where it is written that it was also Paul’s custom to reason with people on the Sabbath.

Acts 17:1–2
1 Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

It was customary to assemble on the Sabbath in order to study the Word. There are many references that confirm that.

Here is another one. In this passage in Acts, Paul went to Antioch and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath and there he got the opportunity to share the message of Y’shua.

Acts 13:14-15
14 But going on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, “Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it.”

After the people heard this they asked to hear more, they begged them to speak more about Y’shua.

Acts 13:42
42 As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next Sabbath.

Acts 13:44
44 The next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of YHVH.

In this passage, the people assembled to hear the good news. Once again, the focus being, hearing the word of YHVH.

In Acts 15, the apostles were faced with the problem of what to do with new gentile believers. They decided on four things (Acts 15:20). If these gentiles were to continue in doing these things, it would prevent them from assembling together to learn the Word as it was customary for believers to go to the Synagogue to learn the Word.

Acts 15:21
21 “For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

In another reference, we see a group of women gathering together on the Sabbath, it would seem that they gathered together to pray.

Acts 16:13
13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.

From these Scriptures, we conclude that you can assemble on the Sabbath, but you don’t even have to assemble in a Synagogue or a congregation. The focus on Shabbat is rest and a special appointment with YHVH, a holy convocation, reading and studying of His Word.

Assembling with believers is not wrong, on the contrary. However, it could be done on the Sabbath or any day and should be done regularly. We need each other for support, fellowship and even to stretch each other to new growth. We also see Paul reasoning in the synagogue and marketplace ,every day, with those who happened to be present.

Acts 17:17
17 So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

So what would our conclusion be on the matter? Are we to assemble on the Sabbath?

Conclusion

The answer lies within the purpose of these days. It is an appointment with our Heavenly Father, a moed or appointed time. So, if we do assemble on the Sabbath or feast days, remember, the appointment is between us and YHVH. The purpose is not meeting with each other on these days, but an appointment with our Heavenly Father.

Fellowship with one another is important, but this should not be our focus on the moedim. Yes, we are to encourage each other, we can learn from each other and should be built up by each other. We need each other for support and encouragement, but that can be done any time. We can do a whole study on the purpose and benefits of assembling together with believers, but as we said before, this should not be our focus on these days. It is not about us!

Assembling should also not be done at the expense of rest on the Sabbath. 

We know from Scripture that the Israelites did assemble on feast days, we also know that Y’shua went to the Synagogue on the Sabbath to teach the people. It was His custom to do so. Paul did the same, he often went to Synagogues on the Sabbath to discuss Scripture with those who were there.

However, can we say that it is commanded to go to an assembly on the Sabbath? No, as long as each of us keeps those special appointments with our Heavenly Father, proclaiming the day and reading His Word.

We have seen from the meaning of the word for “convocation” and from Biblical, historical accounts that these days were about learning and studying the Word of YHVH. It is not about us or our need to fellowship with other believers, it is about YHVH and His Word.

In a future article, we would like to look at how we are to assemble when we do assemble. Also, where assembling together, as we know it now, originates from. Please subscribe to our list if you want to make sure you don’t miss this. Prepare to be challenged!

References

  1. Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  2. Coppes, L. J. (1999). 2063 קָרָא. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (810). Chicago: Moody Press.
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiasmus
  4. Hildenbrand, M. D. (2000). Convocation. In D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers & A. B. Beck (Eds.), Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers & A. B. Beck, Ed.) (278). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.
  5. Mccomiskey, T. E. (1999). 1990 קָדַשׁ. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (787). Chicago: Moody Press.
  6. Strong, J. (1996). The New Strong’s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
  7. http://www.keyway.ca/htm2004/20040219.htm
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Comments (17)

  • Joseph F Dumond

    |

    Your references of Nehemiah 8 when they assembled was in fact because this was a Sabbatical Year and they were to gather together so that the word could be read to all the people. Not everyone had a Torah Scroll. So every 7th year they would all gather and the entire law would be read.
    Israel had just come back from the captivity. ANd they had learned this was to be done and then they learned about Sukkot and they kept like they had never kept it before.
    So in Nehemiah 8 they are gathering on the first day of the seventh month and began to read the TOrah to the people. They did this during the Feast also.

    Reply

    • Schalk Klee

      |

      Yes Joe, you are absolutely correct! It was a sabbatical year, we proved it when we did the article “When is the next Sabbatical year” It fits in perfectly with the chronology. Thanks for you comment!

      Reply

  • Gerhard Groenewald

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    I believe that the miqra kodesh refers to a assembly – if it was only the family you would not need to call anybody together, they would already be together.

    This is also confirmed by Lev 23:36 where the word “atzarah” is used in conjunction with “miqra”.

    The letters of Rav Sha’ul was addressed to congregations, and many of the instructions therein was relevant to congregations, not families (although you could apply many of them to families as well).

    shalom

    Reply

    • Schalk Klee

      |

      Shalom Gerard, Thank you for your comment.
      Where in Scripture is it commanded to call a convocation? I think you may be referring to the silver trumpets in Num 10. The trumpets were used for summoning the people, it is not specifically mentioned that is was to have an assembly on a feast day. The people were assembled for other purposes, like going to war, sounding an alarm. The trumpets were however, blown over the sacrifices
      Numbers 10:10
      10 “Also in the day of your gladness and in your appointed feasts, and on the first days of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be as a reminder of you before your God. I am YHVH your Elohim.”

      With regard to the use of the word “atzarah” that is explained in detail in the article.

      We are not denying that people assembled, we know they did, it is natural to do so. What we are saying is that fellowship is not the purpose of assembling, the sabbath and feast days are set apart appointments with YHVH. This should be the focus. Also, if it was commanded to assemble, what about Y’shua going into the wilderness for 40 days? He was without sin. But we have gone into detail about that in the article too.

      Shalom, and thanks again for your comment

      Reply

  • Cheri De Haro

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    Thank you for this article. I would like to be added to your list.

    Reply

  • Pastor Lataunya G. King

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    Thank you for the confirmation of your article on assembling on the Sabbath. The focus is on Yahweh and his word, laws and statute/ordinances which brings about consecration, individual growth, fellowship with Yahweh in spirit and in truth.

    Reply

  • Abiyah Agard

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    Can all this be proven also from the Apocrypha? I am very interested to know.I may sound as if I am repeating myself but I am really interested in learning what the whole scriptures have to say on separate seating.

    Reply

    • Schalk_and_Elsa

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      Hi Abiyah,
      We have not studied the Apocrypha on this topic. We have found that the Scriptures are clear enough on this topic.
      If you do this study, please share your outcomes with us.
      Regards,
      Schalk

      Reply

  • Aleah Jordan

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    Correct, It is a Set Apart Day to meet with Him and there is no command to assemble on that Day. We observe the 7th Day Rest as it is His Day and not ours. If are children aren’t raised with this love for Him His Way from the beginning, it is hard for them to receive it, but we must live what we now know. Praise Abba, HalleluYAH~

    Reply

  • Brian

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    I have in no way arrived at conclusion to this very important topic…but due to some recent personal discoveries, I tend to agree with your point that “dictionaries” are not 100% free from errors and latter theological/doctrinal opinions being inserted to the understanding of words, which is to taint the truth.

    One very important example would be, though many might disagree with me, Yeshua’s command to “Return, for the kingdom of heaven is near/here.” Most likely Yeshua would have used the Hebrew word, “Teshuvah,” which really means to return [to Torah and the Way of the Father]. But because of the Judaic custom of mistranslating this word to “repent,” Christians adopted this corruption. Tragically we can repent all day long, but if do not return to that which He commanded us to return to we have not responded to His very first message/calling/command.

    Also we must keep in mind that all Jewish translation and most of Protestant translations of Tanakh is based on Mesoretic Text, which was hammered out by those Jewish scribes (Mesoretes) from 7th to 11th Century AD (not BC!), as the official text that will serve to perpetuate their faith in an increasingly anti-Semitic world. So changes in many verses that testify the Messiah-ship of Yeshua was brought in (i.e., “virgin” in Isa 7:14 into “young woman”, “They pierced my hands and my feet” in Ps 21:17 into “like a lion, my hands and my”, omitting “recovery of sight to the blind” in Isa 61:1 and so forth). And their faith being so intertwined with the central tenants of the 2nd Temple Judaism, where Rabbis seated themselves in the Moses’ seat and gave themselves the awesome monopoly of power to interpret the Scripture and even to add commandments to it. And their power center was the synagogue, from which Yeshua was rejected. (I am sorry to many Messianic Jewish people of today who believe Yeshua was a Pharisee and was correcting them as one of their own, not negating the central tenants of Pharisee-ism.)

    So either (1) interpreting ‘miqra’ to mean kind of formal gathering, like in a synagogue or (2) the word miqra being in Lev 23:3 was felt to be very important to Masoretes.

    I was so shock to find out about this recently. I thought that the Torah and Prophetic Writings we have is just as Moses and the Prophets had received it. So I wanted to ask about perhaps the ‘original’ Text and asked one of my customers who is a professor at a nearby Orthodox Yeshiva, and he did not have even a foggiest idea of the Mesoretic Text. (He wasn’t that familiar with Septuagint either.) He said as I believe before that the Scripture he has is as it was given to Moses!!! How blind does man-made “Religions” make us to be (either Christian or Jewish).

    Thus many New Testament quotation of Tanakh is much more in line with Septuagint, a Greek translation completed a few Centuries before Yeshua’s time. And Dead Sea Scrolls agree with Septuagint much more than the Mesoretic Text of 10th Century. So I bought an English translation of Septuagint from Oxford University Press and George M. Lamsa’s English translation of the Peshitta, which was a 2nd Century Syriac translation from the Hebrew text (which we don’t have any more), thinking that I must examine what other corrupting ideas we have adopted from the Rabbinical Judaism.

    And the first thing I wanted to study happened to be Lev 23, since Yom Kippur was around the corner! And in the first several verses I read from KJV, JPS, Septuagint and Peshitta side by side, Lev 23:1-3, I already found remarkable differences! “Holy Convocation” is nowhere to found in Septuagint (though I found other translation of Septuagint using the phrase, which means definitely opinions in translating Greek words is in play as well)! And in Lamsa’s Peshitta, there are “Holy Convocation” on other verses but not in verse 3, which is specifically about the 7th day Sabbath. Also I found that out of 21 translations in biblehub.com only Douay-Rheims Bible do not have any inferences to such convocation (because most of other translations would be based on the Mesoretic Text). Douay-Rheims Bible is a Catholic Church’s English translation of the Latin Vulgate, which in turn was a late 4th Century Latin translation of the Bible from a Hebrew Text.

    So, pre-Mesoretic texts seem to give different reading, from which one might suspect the all-surmounting importance of Synagogue meeting on the Sabbath to Mesoretes being at play. This of course was adopted by Christians as the central importance of their going-to-church-on-Sunday.

    I shall continue to search… ^^

    Holy God, may we find an uncorrupted Hebrew Manuscripts someday soon! I believe He will!

    Reply

    • Netta

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      Brian please continue your study I find it very informative. For some reason why Judaism doesn’t sit well with my, but for some odd reason we follow some of their customs which appears to be wrong. Seems like the holy Scriptures has been changed and played with big time. I read the bible and at times am confused it seems wrong but you wanna believe the entire book because your seeking The Most High and you want to do what’s right but there’s so many books taking out from the bible so many writer’s, translations and meanings that one still have many questions. Please continue your study and share it, it’s very informative. Thank you Netta Peace.

      Reply

  • Brookie-Lee

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    Thank you for digging into this subject. Adonai led me to this blog post as confirmation after he answered me in prayer about Sabbath. He told us a month ago that we were to stop attending our Shabbat fellowship. We obeyed but didn’t understand why. I was accused of not hearing from Abba since the law required us to assemble on Shabbat. When there is conflict then that means there is something I’m not understanding properly. I prayed last night after the accusation and asked for wisdom. He told me Shabbat was a day to gather to him, to have a set apart convocation with him. I felt the love and truth of his response deep in my spirit. I accepted his truth. Then he led me to this article as confirmation on spending Shabbat gathered to him. I wasn’t even searching for confirmation. Our Shabbat fellowships had brought us closer to him in the past but recently it had become more about fellowship. He’s ever faithful and gentle as he corrects us in our walk with him. Praise Adonai Elohim!

    Reply

  • Cindy Parker

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    Oh my goodness!!! This is confirmation of what I felt in my spirit. It just didn’t make sense to me that the we were to spend four or five hours on the Sabbath in meeting, eating and fellowshipping with others. I DO realize we need the fellowship but I didn’t feel like it made sense on the Sabbath.

    This is an answer to prayer.

    Reply

  • Holy Convocations – the Holy Days of Judaism – Carol's Commentary

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    […] Here’s another word, found with miqra: H4595 מוֹעֵד (mô·ʿēḏ) – appointed time. This means that WE have an appointment with God, that is written in HIS “dayplanner!” “This is what Wayne Blank has to say about this:Another literal meaning of the original Hebrew word is a rehearsal – rehearsal meaning to “re-hear” what has been taught, but the modern-day accepted meaning of rehearsal, a practice session for a later event is also very appropriate because all of the so-called “Old Testament” Holy Days are prophetic in intent (they are not an end or purpose in themselves), until they are fulfilled, and are then memorials forever thereafter. The “spring” Holy Days (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost – see below) have been largely fulfilled (the Sacrifice of the “Lamb of God” and the founding of the Christian Church), while the “autumn” Holy Days (The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, The Festival of Tabernacles and the Eighth Day – see below) portray events awaiting to happen, beginning with The Return Of Jesus Christ.” Set Apart People […]

    Reply

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