Cycles – Millennial Types

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

 


In Bereshit 1

Two Great Luminaries. 2

Torah Cycles. 4

The Calendar. 4

Many Cycles. 5

The Binding of Isaac. 5

Allusions. 6

Revival 6

In Daniel 7

The Transfiguration. 7

Conclusion. 7

 

 

In this paper I would like to examine the cycles found in Jewish life and in the Torah. HaShem created this world to resonate to a cyclic nature.

 

His Majesty King Shlomo ben David stated this concept wisely:

 

Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 3:1-8 To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

 

Let us, therefore probe the wisdom of His Majesty King Shlomo ben David as we examine the concept of cycles.

 

Time is often conceived of as a linear sequence of events; each moment, although connected to the past, represents a new response to reality.

 

In Jewish thought, however, time is seen as a spiral.

 

Its forward progression is modulated by set patterns, recurring cycles that help determine the varying tone and pitch of our weeks, months, and years.

 

The dual nature of time is echoed in the Hebrew word for "year" - "shanah", which is related semantically to the root meaning "repeat", but also to the root meaning "change".

 

In other words, the cycle of recurring spiritual influences that constitutes a Jewish year is modified from year to year, as new dimensions of those spiritual influences are heard - familiar themes with novel rhythms.

 

In Bereshit

 

HaShem has divided time into seven, 1000 year intervals, that correspond to the seven days of creation found in Genesis 1. There are many relationships that can be discerned from the story of creation. First, let me list the basics of each creation day:


 

Day 1

Light and darkness

Day 2

Waters separated above and below

Day 3

Dry land and plants

Day 4

Sun, moon, and stars

Day 5

Fish and birds

Day 6

Animals and man

Day 7

Sabbath, HaShem rested

 

One obvious relationship is:

 

Day 1 HaShem created light and darkness

Day 4 HaShem created the things which give light

Day 2 HaShem created the skies and oceans

Day 5 HaShem created those creatures that use the skies and oceans

Day 3 HaShem created the land and plants

Day 6 HaShem created those creatures that use the land and plants

Day 7 HaShem rested. Nothing else...

 

The above “day + 3” relationship relates the days to three. If you examine the Torah carefully (look for the HaShem “speaking”) you will note that two things were created on the third and the sixth day, while on all other days only one thing was created. Again, we see this “day + 3” relationship.

 

Some other interesting creation facts:          

 

1. HaShem says that each thing created was either good or very good, except on the second day or second millennium, the “day” (millennium) HaShem un-separated the waters above from the waters below and created the flood in the days of Noah.

 

2. The Torah says: “One day”, “a second day”, “a third day”, “a fourth day”, “a fifth day”, “the sixth day”, “the seventh day”.

 

The sixth day alludes to Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), which is the only festival which occurs on day six of a month, the sixth of Sivan. The seventh day also alludes to the Sabbath, the first of the festivals to be listed in Vayikra (Leviticus) chapter 23.

 

3. The twenty-fifth Hebrew word in the Torah is translated “light”, which alludes to the Feast of Lights (Chanukah), which falls on Kislev 25.

 

4. If one were to count the number of times, in Hebrew, that HaShem referred to “land” or “heaven” you would also discover that HaShem considers certain numbers important.

 

I hope I have intrigued you with these relationships. Now, its time to examine how the rest of Torah refers to the days of creation.

 

Time is like a spiral, like a coiled spring. Every day of the year has events of a similar nature which are appointed to that day. This is why, for example, both Temples were destroyed on the same Hebrew date. This hint helps us to understand the nature of a cycle.

 

At the same time every year, the very same spiritual forces which brought about the event commemorated by a holiday are again potently expressed.

 

Thus the Fifteenth of Nisan, the date of our Exodus from Egypt, remains eternally "the season of our freedom," and the Tenth of Tishri, the day on which HaShem forgave the sin of the Golden Calf, is "the Day of Atonement" for all time.

 

Although each of the festivals conveys a unique message, the fragrance of each one lingers on and flavors those which follow, because they represent patterns within a greater cycle.

 

As HaShem’s people travel through the year, we encounter the entire spectrum of human character and behavior. The key is to focus on the particular opportunity, incorporate the lessons, and move on to a new level. In this way, the year is a spiral extending ever upwards.

 

Two Great Luminaries

 

On the fourth day of the week, God created the two great luminaries:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 1:14-19 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: 15  And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16  And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17  And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18  And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19  And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

 

Chazal teach that the seven days of creation are the ‘genes’ that will affect the corresponding millennium. Thus the creation of the luminaries will be reflected in the events of the fourth millennium.

 

To see how this played out, in one example, lets look at the most significant events of the fourth day.

 

The first Temple was destroyed by Babylon on the ninth of Ab. II Kings 25:8-24 - 3338 AM.

 

The second Temple was also destroyed on the ninth of Ab in 70 C.E.  Mishna, Ta'an 29a - 3828 AM

 

Thus we see that both Temples were destroyed during the fourth millennium. How does the creation of the ‘two great lights’ reflect on the destruction of the two Temples? To answer this question we must examine what the Talmud says about these two great luminaries:

 

Chullin 60b And God made the two great lights, and immediately the verse continues: The greater light . . . and the lesser light. The moon said unto the Holy One, blessed be He, ‘Sovereign of the Universe! Is it possible for two kings to wear one crown’? He answered: ‘Go then and make thyself smaller’. ‘Sovereign of the Universe’! cried the moon, ‘Because I have suggested that which is proper must I then make myself smaller’? He replied: ‘Go and thou wilt rule by day and by night’. ‘But what is the value of this’? cried the moon; ‘Of what use is a lamp in broad daylight’? He replied: ‘Go. Israel shall reckon by thee the days and the years’.

 

From the Gemara’s account of the fourth day we learn that one of them was diminished on the fourth day; this was the moon.

 

Israel was compared to the moon in that the Jewish people wax and wane like the moon. Just as the moon returns every on every new moon, so also do the Jewish people return while the nations fade away. Just as the moon reflects the sun; so also were the Jewish people redeemed from Egypt to reflect the light (Torah) of HaShem.

 

Berachoth 44a When R. Dimi came, he said in the name of Rab: On New Moon one concludes, Blessed is He who sanctifies Israel and New Moons.

 

It is well known that the Temple  is a stone structure that represents Israel:

 

I Tzefet (Peter) 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3  If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Yeshua HaMashiach. 6  Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Tzion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

 

We can now understand that: 

Israel = the Moon = the Temple

 

From this we understand that the moon was diminished on the fourth day and both Temples were diminished on the fourth day.

 

To complete this picture, it is also noteworthy that Yeshua, the Messiah, was also destroyed (diminished) at the end of the fourth day. We know from a previous study that:

 

Yeshua = Mashiach = Israel = the Temple

 

 

Torah Cycles

 

There are two traditions for reading through the Torah. During Temple days, Jews always took three and a half years to read through the Torah in the synagogue. At home during the week, they studied from the annual cycle. This three and a half year cycle is known as the triennial or septennial cycle.

 

Today, Jews the world over read through the Torah is one year in the synagogue. There are only a handful of congregations that have returned to the triennial cycle. This one year cycle is known as the annual cycle. This cycle begins and ends on Simchat Torah.

 

The Hebrew word translated “generation”, in the following verses has the meaning of “cycles”:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 15:12-21 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then HaShem said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure." When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day HaShem made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates-- The land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites."

 

The word, above, translated “generation” is defined by Strong’s Concordance as:

 

1755 dowr, dore; or (short.) dor, dore; from 1752; prop. a revolution of time, i.e. an age or generation; also a dwelling:-age, X evermore, generation, [n-] ever, posterity.

 

--------------- Dictionary Trace -----------------

1752 duwr, dure; a prim. root; prop. to gyrate (or move in a circle), i.e. to remain:-dwell.

 

I would suggest that the four generations are literal. The literal four generations are: Levi came to Egypt. His son, Kohath had a son named Amram, who had a son named Moses. And Moses came out of Egypt. The four generations can also be thought of as millenniums. The fourth millennium, from Abram's time (about 1948 BCE - the second millennium), Israel will be gathered back to the land of Israel. Thus the sixth millennium, which is related to the sixth day of creation, is when HaShem’s people will be gathered, physically, back to the land of Israel with great wealth.

 

Another interesting fact from this passage: The ten peoples who are giving up their land to Abraham and his descendants are never again mentioned all together. Three of these peoples will never again be mentioned as being conquered. The peoples mentioned in connection with Moses and Joshua will never number more than seven. Mashiach will subdue these last three according to the sages.

 

The Calendar

 

The Biblical month is regulated by the cycle of the moon. A (lunar) month is, therefore, either twenty-nine or thirty days long.

A Biblical year is regulated by the sun and by the moon. A year is composed of either twelve or thirteen (lunar) months.

 

The Jewish calendar has an established system of "leap years." In a leap year, the Jewish year is composed of thirteen (lunar) months instead of twelve. This way, the difference between a year (twelve solar "months') and twelve lunar months is equalized, and the festivals will fall out in their proper seasons. This factor is what distinguishes the Jewish calendar from other calendar systems in use. The secular (Roman) calendar that we use is totally solar-based. A month in the secular calendar is 1/12 of the solar cycle, and has no connection to the lunar cycle. The Moslem calendar takes the opposite approach. A month is connected with a cycle of the moon. However, no attempt is made to reconcile the lunar cycles with the solar year. Therefore, the year is shorter than a solar year, and the months have no connection to seasons.

 

And so every few years a leap month is added (that month is called Adar II). In the 19-year cycle, leap months are added in years 3, 6, 8, 11, 17, and 19. Every 19-year cycle, then, contains exactly 235 months.

 

Many Cycles

 

The Torah contains many cycles:

 

The daily cycle centered around the dark and light.

The weekly cycles centered around Shabbat.

The monthly cycle centered around Rosh Chodesh.

The yearly cycle centered around Rosh HaShanah..

The Shmita (Sabbatical) cycle of seven years.

The Yovel cycle of seven Shmita cycles.

 

We have a cycle for: Trees, festivals, people, animals, tithes, and crops. There are cycles for prayer, fasting, Priests, the Temple, and marital relations. We have a cycle for Pesach, Succoth, and Chanukah. We can even see that the cycle of the spring festivals matches perfectly with the fall festivals, as we examined in our study titled: Rains.

 

The Binding of Isaac

 

The binding of Isaac and his subsequent marriage also allude to Mashiach and the days of creation:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 22:1-19 Some time later HaShem tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. Then HaShem said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place HaShem had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you." Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham answered, "HaShem himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place HaShem had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of HaShem called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear HaShem, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place HaShem Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of HaShem it will be provided." The angel of HaShem called to Abraham from heaven a second time And said, "I swear by myself, declares HaShem, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, And through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.

 

If you read the above passage carefully, you will notice that Isaac was bound on the altar at the end of the fourth day, even as Mashiach was bound on the altar on the mount of Olives, at the end of the fourth millennium. Notice also that the story shows Abraham and his servants returning, with no mention of Isaac. In fact, we will not see Isaac again until His bride is brought to him. This story is detailed in: Bereshit (Genesis) 24:1-67

 

So, Isaac (like Mashiach ben Yosef, but representing Israel) goes up to Moriah carrying his wood (cross) and he is bound on the altar, at the end of the fourth day (millennium) and is not seen again until Eliazer, Abraham’s servant (a picture of the Holy Spirit) whose name means “comforter”, brings Rebecca his bride (the Jews) to the land of Israel on ten camels (ten represents Mashiach).

 

Tehillim (Psalms) 2:8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

 

Allusions

 

The coronation of king Joash also alludes to the days of Mashiach:

 

II Melachim (Kings) 11:1-4 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed. He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of HaShem for six years while Athaliah ruled the land. In the seventh year Jehoiada sent for the commanders of units of a hundred, the Carites and the guards and had them brought to him at the temple of HaShem. He made a covenant with them and put them under oath at the temple of HaShem. Then he showed them the king's son.

 

Even as Joash remained hidden for six days, so also has Mashiach ben David remained hidden for six millennia. In the beginning of the seventh millennium Mashiach ben David will be crowned king.

 

Revival

 

When will we live in HaShem's presence?

 

Hosea 6:1-7 "Come, let us return to HaShem. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge HaShem; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth." "What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears. Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the words of my mouth; my judgments flashed like lightning upon you. For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of HaShem rather than burnt offerings. Like Adam , they have broken the covenant--they were unfaithful to me there.

 

Hosea lived during the fourth millennium. So, we will be revived on the sixth millennium and we will live in the presence of HaShem during the seventh millennium. Keep in mind that HaShem created man and animals on the sixth day of creation, and that HaShem rested on the seventh day. The seventh millennium is said to be a thousand years when all will be Sabbath.

 

In Daniel

 

Daniel saw this vision in the middle of the fourth millennium:

 

Daniel 7:23-27 "He gave me this explanation: 'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him until a time, times and half a time. "'But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.'

 

If a "time" is a millennium, then his power will be taken away at the end of the seventh millennium because Daniel lived in the middle of the fourth millennium.

 

The Transfiguration

 

The story of the transfiguration of Yeshua also alludes to the days of creation:

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 17:1-7 After six days Yeshua took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Yeshua. Peter said to Yeshua, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Yeshua came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid."

 

Conclusion

 

"To everything there is a season" – Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 3:1. The cycle of the Jewish year is at once ancient yet fresh and full of life. More than we keep the Torah, it keeps us. It brings a guide from the past, to the present, while giving hope for the future, because the cycle is not a circle but an upward spiral. It is therefore not a case of "Been there, seen it, done that" because in reality, we've never been at this very juncture in history before! Through the festivals one can "seize the moment" to enhance national, communal, and personal growth.

 

* * *

 



This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address:  gkilli@aol.com

Web page:  http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

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