Rhythms and Patterns – God’s Big Plan
God has a ‘master plan’. Peter Sammons reflects on it.
Patterns are good ….
God works in rhythms and patterns. This is clear from as early as Genesis chapter 1. There are far too many patterns to share in this short article! But we want to briefly look at the most important of all, the Moedim.
The worshipful year can be usefully sub-divided into seven key meetings, or gatherings, each of which speaks about Jesus. If you want to get deeper into understanding this then there are books and videos we can recommend (see endnote*). But at its most basic, the worshipful year can be “plotted” in diagram form. This makes it easy to remember.
Our western year runs from January to December, so we “plot” the special gatherings on that western calendar. This illustration forms the basic “background”:
The year, above, logically moves from left to right.
A harvesting year ….
On this typical “year” we note that the biblical “harvesting year” or “agricultural year” begins in our March-April period. That’s represented by the vertical line in the diagram above. This was also the beginning of the ‘religious year’. There are seven “festivals” or “gatherings” which the Biblical Hebrew nation were required to observe. These seven festivals are, in reality, ‘shadows’ or ‘signposts’ to Jesus. First, let’s just consider what the festivals were, and when they occurred.
It is important to state that five of the seven are in fact day-only events, so they are “plotted” here in our diagram in a form that is “bigger” than they are in reality! No matter! This “pattern”, above, helps to lock these ideas into our mind’s eye.
Each festival in Hebrew is called a Moed (‘gathering’ is a suitable modern word). Collectively these seven Moeds are called, in plural, the Moedim. So how does the Moedim speak of Jesus?
This illustration helps to highlight:
Born to be sacrificed
What can we say in summary?
That Jesus was born to be sacrificed, at a time of annual sacrifice (Passover) is a spiritual and theological certainty. The Romans who crucified Jesus knew what they were doing. He was killed. And consequently He was buried, represented by the Moed of Unleavened Bread. But Jesus rose again as the ‘first fruit’ of the eternal harvest, represented above in First Fruits.
The time since Jesus’ return to His Father and the associated outpouring of the Holy Spirit (sometimes called “Pentecost”) has been a spiritual harvesting period. God is all about harvesting! As Jesus said “the fields are white unto harvest”. In other words the mission field is full of people who need to hear the good news of Salvation. Those who respond to the good news of Jesus become part of the international Jesus’ family! And that family keeps growing bigger and bigger. It has been growing bigger for the past 2000 years!
There will come a time, however, when the harvesting period draws to a close, and then ceases completely. That is when God’s family will be complete.
Most serious commentators see the return of Jesus as being symbolized by “Trumpets”. (To be fair some say it is symbolized by “Tabernacles”. We are not going to argue over this! We know that Jesus will return in the future and, in a very real sense, Jesus’ return is the “next thing” on God’s harvesting agenda).
How does this affect me today?
So what’s going on TODAY?! Today we live in the midst of a great eternal harvest. Jesus said so! Some have called this period “the church age” and there is some sense in this idea – although we think it is rather simplistic (and maybe a wee bit too convenient).
We repeat then, precisely what is going on today?
We can plot today’s world in precisely the same way, on a diagram. We see in the below that following after Pentecost (or Latter First Fruits) is the ‘main’ summer harvesting period. So although Latter First Fruits is a 50 day period, in reality it extends until Jesus returns. And most true believers will agree that Jesus’ return is the next big thing in God’s eternal plan.
Before Jesus will come back, this world will certainly get advanced warning that He is mobilising to return! The Bible likens these warnings to trumpet blasts (or shofar blasts, to give it its proper biblical name). So if we think of the current period as being the church age, then we can depict the idea in this way:
It can be seen that today we live in the era of harvesting, under the Cross. All those who place their trust and faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross are fully and effectively saved from the power, effects, presence and consequences of sin. But sadly this does not mean that we will not sin (or rebel) against God! What it does mean is that the appalling consequences of our continual rebellions is already dealt with. And it is dealt with eternally. Our debt is already paid.
Our debt was paid at Passover, when the consequences of our sin passed-over us and was laid to the account of Jesus our Saviour. He has paid our debt, in full. (By the way, that is the ultimate meaning of ‘Passover’. God named it ‘Passover’ for that very reason). He paid our debt – your debt, and mine – “on the nail”, quite literally.
Past, present and future
Three of the Moeds, above, lie in the past. The fourth is ongoing today, in the eternal harvesting period. The last three lie in the future, and we cannot know how soon they will come to pass in our day to day reality. But one day they will.
And today we are one day closer than we were yesterday ….
That is probably all we need to say at this point. But in associated articles we will explore each of the seven from both an Old Testament (Tanach) and New Testament perspective, or from a prophecy to fulfilment perspective.
If all this is new to you, please don’t worry! It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you are used to the “Jesus Pattern”, you will find it both easy to remember and hugely comforting.
The above is not just an academic truth, or an academic exercise. The above is God’s “seven point plan” for building His eternal family. It is not just good to know. It changes the way we live today. And it gives us hope for our tomorrow and for our eternity. God is in control and will work out His purposes. No if’s or buts or maybe’s. God knows the end from the beginning!
We end where we started! Our God works in rhythms and patterns, to our eternal blessing and comfort. Praise God indeed!
Look out for seven more detailed bible explorations, one for each Moed above.
If you’d like to dig into this at a deeper level then we can recommend “The Jesus Pattern” by Peter Sammons. This book has since been reissued as “The Messiah Pattern” (an improved edition), available here: https://christian-publications-int.com/default-23.html?ID=142