Passover and Human Birth
SEVEN FEAST DAYS OF ISRAEL
New Creature (Fetus)
HANUKKAH — Feast of Dedication
1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: These are My appointed times, the times of the Lord that you will proclaim as sacred assemblies. 3 “Work may be done for six days, but on the seventh day there must be a Sabbath of complete rest, a sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; it is a Sabbath to the Lord wherever you live. 4 “These are the Lord’s appointed times, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times. 5 The Passover to the Lord comes in the first month, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the month. 6 The Festival of Unleavened Bread to the Lord is on the fifteenth day of the same month. For seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you are to hold a sacred assembly; you are not to do any daily work. 8 You are to present a fire offering to the Lord for seven days. On the seventh day there will be a sacred assembly; you must not do any daily work.” 9 The Lord spoke to Moses: 10 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you enter the land I am giving you and reap its harvest, you are to bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the priest. 11 He will wave the sheaf before the Lord so that you may be accepted; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. 12 On the day you wave the sheaf, you are to offer a year-old male lamb without blemish as a burnt offering to the Lord. 13 Its grain offering is to be four quarts of fine flour mixed with oil as a fire offering to the Lord, a pleasing aroma, and its drink offering will be one quart of wine. 14 You must not eat bread, roasted grain, or any new grain until this very day, and until you have brought the offering to your God. This is to be a permanent statute throughout your generations wherever you live. 15 “You are to count seven complete weeks starting from the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the presentation offering. 16 You are to count 50 days until the day after the seventh Sabbath and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. 17 Bring two loaves of bread from your settlements as a presentation offering, each of them made from four quarts of fine flour, baked with yeast, as firstfruits to the Lord. 18 You are to present with the bread seven unblemished male lambs a year old, one young bull, and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the Lord, with their grain offerings and drink offerings, a fire offering of a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 19 You are also to prepare one male goat as a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a fellowship sacrifice. 20 The priest will wave the lambs with the bread of firstfruits as a presentation offering before the Lord; the bread and the two lambs will be holy to the Lord for the priest. 21 On that same day you are to make a proclamation and hold a sacred assembly. You are not to do any daily work. This is to be a permanent statute wherever you live throughout your generations. 22 When you reap the harvest of your land, you are not to reap all the way to the edge of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the foreign resident; I am Yahweh your God.” 23 The Lord spoke to Moses: 24 “Tell the Israelites: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you are to have a day of complete rest, commemoration, and joyful shouting —a sacred assembly. 25 You must not do any daily work, but you must present a fire offering to the Lord.” 26 The Lord again spoke to Moses: 27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. You are to hold a sacred assembly and practice self-denial; you are to present a fire offering to the Lord. 28 On this particular day you are not to do any work, for it is a Day of Atonement to make atonement for yourselves before the Lord your God. 29 If any person does not practice self-denial on this particular day, he must be cut off from his people. 30 I will destroy among his people anyone who does any work on this same day. 31 You are not to do any work. This is a permanent statute throughout your generations wherever you live. 32 It will be a Sabbath of complete rest for you, and you must practice self-denial. You are to observe your Sabbath from the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening.” 33 The Lord spoke to Moses: 34 “Tell the Israelites: The Festival of Booths to the Lord begins on the fifteenth day of this seventh month and continues for seven days. 35 There is to be a sacred assembly on the first day; you are not to do any daily work. 36 You are to present a fire offering to the Lord for seven days. On the eighth day you are to hold a sacred assembly and present a fire offering to the Lord. It is a solemn gathering; you are not to do any daily work. 37 “These are the Lord’s appointed times that you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for presenting fire offerings to the Lord, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its designated day. 38 These are in addition to the offerings for the Lord’s Sabbaths, your gifts, all your vow offerings, and all your freewill offerings that you give to the Lord. 39 “You are to celebrate the Lord’s festival on the fifteenth day of the seventh month for seven days after you have gathered the produce of the land. There will be complete rest on the first day and complete rest on the eighth day. 40 On the first day you are to take the product of majestic trees—palm fronds, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook —and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. 41 You are to celebrate it as a festival to the Lord seven days each year. This is a permanent statute for you throughout your generations; you must celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You are to live in booths for seven days. All the native-born of Israel must live in booths, 43 so that your generations may know that I made the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am Yahweh your God.” 44 So Moses declared the Lord’s appointed times to the Israelites.
"Unto Us a Child is Born"
A most intriguing and almost startling application of the system of the seven feasts came my way recently during some research for a book. Perhaps this whimsical little section will serve as an example of how God's formulas pervade this earthly, human life.
I was asked by one of my publishers to look into writing a book about the birth of a baby from a biblical perspective. The book was to be a gift book to be presented to Christian couples at arrival of blessed events.
This pleasant assignment led me to the many fascinating birth stories in the Bible, including, of course, the wondrous birth of our Lord. But I preferred to do more than just celebrate a new arrival; there are many adequate books for such purposes. Rather I wanted to find some theological principle, perhaps some hidden truth in the Scriptures, about how each of us are born. I wanted to know if the Scriptures held some secret as to how God makes us.
To that end I contacted Dr. Margaret Matheson, a Bible- reading friend, and a very good obstetrician who has delivered over ten thousand babies. I questioned Margaret about pregnancy in general, how it is calculated, and how the baby develops within the mother. I learned that the average pregnancy is 280 days and is counted from the first day of the last menstrual cycle before conception. Making calculations on the Jewish calendar is rather a hobby of mine, and I placed this 280 days on an "ideal Jewish year." The ideal Jewish year would start exactly at the spring equinox, with the first day of Nisan, the new moon of the first month, occurring on the first day of spring, March 21st. Interesting, I found that a pregnancy of 280 days, begun on March 21, would end on a very interesting date, December 25. We don't know if Christmas Day was actually the date of the birth of our Lord, but we do know that Kislev is the accurate date of Chanukah, the Feast of Dedication, which our Lord did commemorate (). That discovery led me to think that there must be something very biblical indeed about the pregnancy term, and I asked Margaret for more details.
Then the Festival of Dedication took place in Jerusalem, and it was winter.
It was really Margaret's first statement that turned me on to the whole system I'm about to disclose. I asked Margaret to tell me in some detail just how the baby is made and how it grows, and she began with this statement: "On the fourteenth day of the first month, the egg appears." I couldn't help hearing that familiar ring of : "In the fourteenth day of the first month ...", God's original instruction for the observance of Passover. The Jews use an egg on the Passover table as symbolic of the new life they were granted by the sacrifice of the lamb in Egypt. The egg, of course, appears in the Easter celebration as well, symbolic of the same thing, although not from biblical sources, as we have seen. The egg is an appropriate enough man-made symbol of a new life, and I was fascinated that the fourteenth day of a pregnancy does the same thing as the fourteenth day of God's festival year: It brings the chance of new life. I was already thinking in my mind that the baby must develop along the schedule of the seven feasts, but I concealed my excitement from Margaret. I didn't want to encourage her to slant the facts in any way, just to prove a biblical point. I questioned her carefully, keeping in mind that the next feast, Unleavened Bread, must occur the very next night, the fifteenth day of the first month, according to . I asked Margaret how soon fertilization of the mother's egg must occur if pregnancy is to happen.
The Passover to the Lord comes in the first month, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the month.
Her answer was very clear and very definite. "Fertilization must occur within twenty-four hours or the egg will pass on."
Now I was getting excited. Not only did the two momentous prenatal events occur on the right days, but they were also the appropriate events. The egg, of course, for Passover, and the idea of fertilization—the planting of the seed—for Unleavened Bread, the burial of our Lord. His crucifixion on Passover gave each of us the chance for life everlasting. His burial in the earth, prepared for each of us, the glorious resurrection to come.
I almost held my breath as I inquired about First Fruits. I realized that this third feast is not on a definite time cycle. It simply occurs on the Sunday during the week of Unleavened Bread. It could be the day after, or it could be almost a week away. I asked Margaret cautiously what happened next in the birth process.
"Well, that's a little bit indeterminate," she said. "The fertilized egg travels down the tube at its own speed toward the uterus. It may take anywhere from two to six days before it implants."
I loved her word "implants" because it so suggested the festival of First Fruits, the spring planting, and it was the correct technical term, I found out. The medical term is "implantation." This marks the moment when the fertilized egg arrives safely in the uterus and begins its miraculous growth into a human being.
Needless to say, Margaret and I were very soon occupied with a pile of obstetrical textbooks, embryonic charts, and, of course, the Scriptures in several translations. I appealed to her to help me track this thing down, but I still did not disclose to her just what I was after. I was only going to ask her about how our little fertilized egg would develop, without telling her that I fully expected a very exact schedule in accordance with the feasts.
It's probably not necessary for me to say that I was holding my breath by this time, in hopes that something had really been uncovered. After all, it was so beautiful so far. Surely God designed the conception of each of us in accordance with those first three majestic feasts, so appropriately fulfilled by our Lord.
But would the system continue? The next one was the tough one. It seemed that things were happening fast on the pregnancy schedule, but the seven feasts' schedule now called for that long wait until Pentecost. I asked Margaret cautiously what the next development would be with our implanted egg.
"Well, of course, we have a slowly developing embryo here for a long time," she said. "It goes through stages, but there's really no dramatic change until it becomes an actual fetus. That's the next big event. You can see it all right here on the chart." And she turned her medical book toward me so that I could see a page divided like a calendar, showing the first few weeks of the embryonic development. I looked across the little pictures at what seemed like a little tadpole, which soon had flippers, and then began to look like a little man from Mars, and so on down to the very last picture on the page. There I saw a human baby, and beside that drawing, the very scriptural message, "Fifty days."
I looked up at Margaret, trying to conceal my excitement, and said carefully, "Is the fiftieth day important?"
"Well," said the obstetrician, "Up until the fiftieth day you wouldn't know if you're going to have a duck or a cocker spaniel. But at the fiftieth day of the embryo, it becomes a human fetus."
Scriptural phrases were flying through my head. "A new creature" seemed to be the appropriate one for the momentous event of the change from this indiscriminate life form, the embryo, to what was essentially a human being. Indeed, on that day of Pentecost, those as yet unregenerate Israelites at the Temple became truly "new creatures". They became spiritual. They received life eternal. They were not the same now as they were before (). They would now go on to another life outside the confines of the fleshy bodies they were in, in the manner that that fetus would go on to another life outside the body of its mother.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.
Margaret apprised me that every scheduled event in the birth of the baby varied somewhat with the particular case, just as the length of the entire pregnancy would vary from mother to mother. The medical book chart had measured its fifty days from fertilization, rather than from implantation (First Fruits in the Scriptures), but the variations among pregnancies would account for the difference. Substantially, after the seventh week, following conception, this embryo—this inhuman life form—would become that one creature created in God's own image. I next asked Margaret about the first day of the seventh month. I had hoped that there were no big events through what would be the long summer on the schedule of the feasts, and indeed, there were none. It seemed that the fetus, once started on its growth into a human being ready to be born, progressed in a rather general way with nothing momentous happening. The baby, I now realized, had developed very early and now was only gaining size and strength. But, of course, there were a few small perfections to be added by the hand of the Creator, and I was delighted to find that one of these coincided so exactly with the next feast.
The perfection that arrived just at the beginning of the seventh month, was the baby's hearing. Margaret's medical textbooks, including the definitive Williams Obstetrics, stated that the baby's hearing was now fully developed. At the first day of the seventh month, the baby could discriminate a sound for what it really was. For example, a trumpet was a trumpet! Just in time for the Lord to descend from heaven with a shout and with the sound of the trump of God, that baby could perceive the sounds!
I was now out for blood—that is, the blood that would represent the sixth feast, the Day of Atonement. This was the outstanding day of blood sacrifice, and I specified to Margaret that I wanted to know if there was any development just ten days into the seventh month. I still was careful not to imply just what I was looking for. If Margaret had said, "The elbows are finished," then I suppose my system would have been finished. But somehow I was very confident by now, and the obstetrician didn't let me down. Half quoting from her textbook, and concentrating hard, Margaret stated that the important changes now indeed were in the blood. It was necessary for the fetal blood, which carried the mother's oxygen through the baby's system, to change in such a way that the baby could carry the oxygen that it, itself, would obtain upon birth.
Technically, the hemoglobin of the blood would have to change from that of the fetus to that of a self-respirating and circulating human being. The fetus does not breathe, but rather depends on the oxygen obtained through the mother's blood circulation. Naturally, this system must be changed before birth, and that change occurred, according to Margaret's textbooks, in the second week of the seventh month, and to be precise, on the tenth day!
"The blood acceptable" rang through my mind. "I have given you the blood for remission of sin" (), was God's statement. Indeed, each person of Israel had to present blood to the Lord through the high priest of Israel on the Day of Atonement. If that blood was acceptable, then there would be life. Likewise, in the fetus, when that blood was mature, there would be life.
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have appointed it to you to make atonement on the altar for your lives, since it is the lifeblood that makes atonement.
But, of course, the fetus is not ready to be born. There remained still another feast, and by this time I was quite confident that Margaret would come up with the appropriate fulfillment. I asked for the fifteenth day of the seventh month, and she immediately recognized the date as the beginning of the safe delivery period.
"You see, that's when the lungs are developed," she said, "And as long as they get their little lungs going, we can bring them along, even if they are born at that early time. I'm afraid if they decide to come before those lungs are finished, then they have very little chance. But by the fifteenth day of the seventh month, a normal baby has two healthy lungs, and if born at that point, can take in its own air and live on it."
The Feast of Tabernacles, I pondered, but, of course, the Tabernacle is the house of the spirit, the spirit is the air in the Bible! Didn't God blow breath into Adam to make him live? Didn't Christ breathe the Holy Spirit upon His disciples? And even more so, in Ezekiel's dry bones vision, () Ezekiel saw God make dead bones, sinews, and muscles come together into human beings, and then commanded the prophet, "Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." ()
He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man. Say to it: This is what the Lord God says: Breath, come from the four winds and breathe into these slain so that they may live!”
Tabernacles is the end of the road—the end of the feasts, the end of God's plan, the beginning of the kingdom. The baby would live if born at Tabernacles. The believer will live once he enters the kingdom.
THE ETERNAL LIGHT
I followed this system still further, even though I had seen in God's feasts on Mt. Sinai, the birth of each one of us. There is still the full 280-day period to consider, which leads to the actual normal birthtime. I now had such confidence in the logic of the Bible, that I took out my Jewish calendar again and worked with the added Festival of Dedication, Chanukah. It was not given by God on Mount Sinai, but was prophesied by Daniel (), and took place in 165 B.C. when the Temple was rededicated.
From one of them a little horn emerged and grew extensively toward the south and the east and toward the beautiful land. It grew as high as the heavenly host, made some of the stars and some of the host fall to the earth, and trampled them. It made itself great, even up to the Prince of the host; it removed His daily sacrifice and overthrew the place of His sanctuary. Because of rebellion, a host, together with the daily sacrifice, will be given over. The horn will throw truth to the ground and will be successful in whatever it does. Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the speaker, “How long will the events of this vision last —the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and of the host to be trampled?” He said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be restored.”
The nature of Chanukah has to do with the eternal light in the Temple (and in every synagogue today). God had made a great miracle on the occasion when Antiochus entered the Temple and sacrificed a sow on the altar. The Macabees threw him out but found only one precious can of consecrated oil—a day's supply—with which to maintain the eternal light. A great miracle answered their prayers, however. The oil lasted eight days and sustained the light until more was ready. And so the Jews still light a candle each night for eight nights on the Feast of Chanukah.
I found what I fully expected on the Jewish calendar. Chanukah lies just the right distance beyond Tabernacles to account for the actual birth of the baby. The 280 days, it occurred to me while working with the Jewish calendar, expressed exactly ten of those mysterious twenty-eight day cycles of the moon, a system more in keeping with the way God would plan things than our Western nine-month pregnancy estimate. In any case, the eight day period of Chanukah accounted for even the off-schedule births, for the most part, and this added festival clearly left a great symbol to the whole system. Beyond Tabernacles—beyond the Kingdom—we have eternity with God. This then is the fulfillment of the eternal light.
THE BIRTH OF A KING
All of the above conclusions are given just as I found them out, researching with a friend, the obstetrician. No attempt has been made in a book of this space to create precision medical charts on technical calendars and so forth. I hope to leave that to more scientific minds who could do it justice. But I doubt if a flaw would be found, since we are dealing here with God's Word, and that is the first important point about this interesting discovery.
It shows that the Bible is not just somebody's poetry or somebody's mythology. We don't have to shrink back, defensively claiming that we just "believe" in the Word on something like this. I watched with deep respect as the doctor carefully copied the dates of the seven feasts from the book of Leviticus into her own obstetrical textbooks, so that she might more carefully follow the pregnancies of her patients in the future. I saw that she totally believed some things she had not seen before in all of the time that she had monitored all of those pregnancies. I saw that what God said on Mount Sinai is effective today, useful in a scientific way. More than that, I also saw that each of us has fulfilled the seven feasts in a unique way, before we were actually born! Certainly, each of us developed along the schedule of the feasts, as explained above. In the theory of evolution, it is taught that the embryo and fetus describe some series of past development through other species, which finally produced the human being. But Margaret put into plain words that the explanation of the seven feasts was much better, and the other thing never appealed to her scientifically, in any case. Rather, we can see the Creator, efficient as He is, using certain structures from organism to organism, and with His masterpiece, Man, using this magnificent calendar of festival occasions and prophetic fulfillments, in the assembly and development of each of these special creatures.
Whether we know the feasts or not, we each accomplished every one of them!
And finally, in a great and cosmic way, we are watching Jesus "being born" as King. We saw Him born on earth as the Lamb of God, and His life was quickly snuffed out, but not before His grand purpose was accomplished. But in a greater way, we are to see Him come as King when the great Feast of Tabernacles arrives for all of the believers. Thus we have seen our Lord progress through Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost. We shall see Him, soon we pray, in that Feast of Trumpets, and we shall return with Him on the day of Atonement. But His complete birth cycle, as it were, will see Him crowned as the rightful King of this creation, when that final Tabernacles is reached.
Each of us will then begin that magnificent life with God that we are promised, and our Lord will begin the kingly reign He has so patiently forestalled while we work in His fields.
I thought all of the above would make a superb book, But surprisingly, the publisher turned it down. It had taken a long time to amass the material and present it in book publisher form and the company's interest had moved elsewhere. I tried it on a second and third publisher, with little effect.
I was confused by this. Why would God close a door through which so much light had come? I finally concluded that I would write the material as I have here, in one of these little study guides which I produce myself. However, as the year of 1978 went on, I kept putting off the task.
I kept feeling God's hints and proddings right along. Wasn't this one of those "perfect years" when Chanukah and Christmas arrived together? Wouldn't this be a fitting year for this book? But I stood around like the reluctant Gideon, seemingly waiting for more of a sign. Finally, God let me have it, and in His typically appropriate way.
My wife became pregnant!
God's will is God's will. I have finally sat down to write! And Baby Boy or Girl Levitt will arrive, if that is God's will, in February of 1979. And if I said these words very close to his secure home in his mother's tummy, he would hear them, I know, because he has just passed his first Feast of Trumpets. Next week God will change my baby's blood and make it acceptable, and the week after that, He will provide him those tabernacles of the Spirit, the lungs.
DEVELOPMENT OF A BABY
New Life (Egg)
New Creature (Fetus)