The Messianic Mo’adiym Devotional offers devotionals from a Messianic Jewish perspective for all of the Appointed Times (mo’adiym) in the Torah, including all 49 days of Counting the Omer leading up to Shavuot. This is a great resource for beginning this year’s Feast cycle, or you can pick up at any point during the year. Traditionally we have a Siddur for the weekdays and Shabbat, and we have a Siddur for the Feasts. This devotional fits that same pattern.
The Messianic Mo’adiym Devotional is part of a series by author Kevin Geoffrey of Perfect Word Ministries. He has also published the Messianic Torah Devotional, which has readings for each of the 54 Torah portions, and the Messianic Daily Devotional.
Messianic Mo’adiym Devotional
Perfect Word Publishing 2007
Devotions for the Biblical Feasts (Mo’adiym)
Author Kevin Geoffrey states that “the Messianic Mo’adiym Devotional has a very specific focus: Israel’s annual feasts, fasts, and appointed times.” In covering this focus, he limits his focus to the Appointed Times outlined in Leviticus 23 in the Torah. These are the observances commanded by God. Not included are the additional festivals from Jewish Biblical history, Purim and Hanukkah, or other Jewish fasts or traditional observances.
There are several ways in which this devotional recognizes things I have found very important but often neglected by other Feast-related books. These are things thoughts I have held to for some time, and it is nice to find confirmation from someone more schooled in the subject than me. One of those is that Geoffrey offers a devotional for Shemini Atzeret, the Eighth Day Assembly, as a distinct and separate Feast. I think too often it just gets lumped in with the Feast of Tabernacles.
In short, the Eighth Day is a time to say “good-bye” to Sukkot and the past year’s mo’adiym It’s a time to rest and reflect, but also a time to look forward to the future – because in just six short months, it all starts over again.
That quote is from the Appendix of the Messianic Mo’adiym Devotional, which gives a great overview of all of the Appointed Times. There author also points out that “the elements of the Pesach [Passover] are simple and few…” the Pesach sacrifice itself, matzah (unleavened bread), and maror (bitter herbs). (Yeshua added wine to the celebration, which is not mentioned in the Torah.) This is an example of how accurate yet simple Geoffrey has chosen to make his presentation. I highlighted these same points in my Messianic Passover Haggadah.
And one of the most important points he makes regards the Sabbath. While many have a tendency to elevate the annual Feasts days above anything else on the calendar, Geoffrey recognizes Shabbat as the “holiest of all Mo’adiym on Israel’s calendar” (with the notable exception of Yom haKipuriym).” I could not agree more.
All too frequently, however, this holy day becomes relegated to a mere “day of worship” – itself often reduced to a religious service, a Torah study, and some food. As a result, our collective observance of the Shabbat can seem to illustrate the old adage, “familiarity breeds contempt.” Because we are apparently so familiar with this weekly Shabbat, we tend to view it as somehow less significant than the annual appointed times. Not only does this attitude conflict with the clear teaching of Scripture, but it also robs us of a significant meeting-time with Adonai.
This devotional is, however, focused on the Feasts, not the weekly Sabbath. For more on the preeminence of the weekly Sabbath, see my post Sabbath – First of the Feasts?
Counting The Omer
My initial interest in the Messianic Mo’adiym Devotional was to find a new devotional resource for the 50-day Counting of the Omer. It did not disappoint. For each of the 49 days leading up to Shavuot, the author gives a 2-page devotion. That’s 98 pages, more than half of this 168-page book.
Leviticus 23 does not specify exactly when the Counting of the Omer begins – and it isn’t mentioned anywhere else. But these are just a series of 49 relevant yet undated devotions that could start a seven-week period at any time. There is nothing controversial; the focus is on the Father and His Feasts from a Messianic perspective looking to Yeshua, not details or debates about the calendar.
In the Appendix, Kevin Geoffrey mentions the disagreement on the “day after the Sabbath” starting point. He explains three possibilities: the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread, the weekly Sabbath during the festival, or the day after the last day of Unleavened Bread. He presents no argument, except to say which he believes is most likely what is meant, and then simply states, “We have chosen not to be dogmatic about it with regard to the devotionals.”
Throughout this book there are lots of thought-provoking things in the footnotes – don’t skip them! One footnote in this section of the appendix notes “Another possible interpretation is the day after the seventh-day Shabbat after the Feast of Matzah, although this view is not in practice today.” Actually, I have been leaning toward that view myself – but, as Geoffrey says in this book, if you are part of a congregation that observes these mo’adiym, you should participate in your congregation’s celebration regardless of when it falls.
Scripture Quotes in the Messianic Mo’adiym Devotional
The choice of Bible translation can shape the character of a devotional. Sometimes an author will select from a variety of translations, choosing the one for each devotion that emphasizes the point the author wishes to highlight. The underlying drawback of that could be a “pick-and-choose” perception. On the other hand, sticking with the same translation might make it more difficult for the reader to always see the intended thought.
Kevin Geoffrey masterfully handles this by incorporating Young’s Literal Translation, a widely recognized word-for-word translation now in the public domain. This gives him the freedom to expand and modernize it for use in the Messianic Mo’adiym Devotional.
…we had the freedom to work with the text, bringing the language into 21st century North American English. We were also able to restore the Hebrew names of people and places, along with other words which we felt worked better in the original language. As we made these updates, we were constantly forced to go back to the original languages, as well as making comparisons with other English translations. In the end, we arrived at a fresh, meaningful and hopefully accurate translation.
There is limited use of Hebrew inserted in the English text, mostly for proper names. When that is done, it is with Hebrew characters followed by English transliteration. In the short passages printed in this devotional, it is effective. Geoffrey has also published a Messianic Jewish Literal Translation of the New Covenant Scriptures (the New Testament) based on this same idea. I’ve only sampled it, but I think this practice would be cumbersome to read in a longer text. He appropriately renders the Divine Name as ADONAI and it doesn’t look like he forces it into New Testament passages where it does not exist.
Features of the Messianic Mo’adiym Devotional
Each devotion begins with a passage of Scripture, sometimes from the Tanakh and sometimes from the New Testament. This is followed by an encouraging conversational-style devotional reading, concluding with a prayer. Geoffrey suggests this prayer be used as a “jump-start as you enter into a time of fellowship with ADONAI.”
Besides the devotions for every Feast day and the days of Counting the Omer, the author includes a brief glossary (four pages) in the back for the Hebrew words used. Again, this is not overwhelming and is mostly words that many of us would already find familiar.
As mentioned earlier, there is an Appendix that gives a clear but concise overview of all of the mo’adiym along with suggested usage of this devotional. He follows that with a chart/calendar of the annual Feast cycle. It is presented in a way that anyone using any of the many calendars in the Hebrew Roots movement could understand.
I was searching for another good devotional for Counting the Omer when I came across this one covering all the Feasts. The Messianic Mo’adiym Devotional is a great resource for the complete cycle of annual Appointed Time celebrations. You can use it in combination with Kevin Geoffrey’s other devotionals for a consistent and effective start to your daily time with Yah.
Get the Messianic Torah Devotional for the Torah portions on Shabbat. Use the Messianic Mo’adiym Devotional on the Feast days. And for the regular days in-between, you can pick up the Messianic Daily Devotional.