Focusing on the Hebrew months, Jewish festivals, and special days which continue to influence our lives.

The Splendor of Iyyar

Learn about the Hebrew month of Iyyar

On the biblical calendar, Iyyar can get overlooked. Couched between the festivals of Passover and Shavuot, Iyyar may seem like a period of waiting. However, to downgrade Iyyar to a second-class month would be a mistake.

Iyyar is derived from an Akkadian word that means "splendor" or "blossoming." It corresponds to the Hebrew "Ziv," the name given to the second month in the days of Solomon (1Kgs 6:1). Ziv likewise means "splendor."

By considering the historical events of Iyyar, we begin to get a picture of the splendor of this month. Not only does the sun's light shine with increasing intensity during this month, but also God's splendor has shone with increasing intensity.

Moses and Aaron took the first census of the tribes of Israel on the first of Iyyar (Num 1:1-2). This first step led to the organizing of the tribes around the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Then on the 20th of Iyyar, when the tribes had been instructed regarding their encampments, the Shechinah (God's Dwelling Presence) lifted from the Mishkan, signaling the Israelites to break camp and follow the cloud (Num 10:11). What once terrified the nation at Sinai, now dwelt in middle of their encampments. Throughout their wilderness journeys, Israel brought sacrifices to the altar and worshiped in God's Presence.

The Iyyar connection continues in the subsequent stages of Israelite worship. Four hundred and seventy-nine years after the construction of the Mishkan, King Solomon began the construction of the Temple (1Kgs 6:1; 2Chr 3:2). Several hundred years later, Zerubavel also began construction on the Second Temple in the month of Iyyar (Ez 3:8). Both occasions were times of increased splendor for the people of God. During these periods of construction, Israel rejoiced at the prospect of building the House of God and worshiping there.

In the first century CE, Israel saw yet another increased amount of splendor, though one very different from previous generations. During the Iyyar of approximately 30 CE, Israel witnessed the resurrected glory of Yeshua. For forty days after his resurrection, the Master appeared in Jerusalem and Israel. Many came to believe in him during this period, including his brother, Yaakov the Righteous (1Cor 15:7). On the 26 of Iyyar, he ascended to the heavenly mishkan of his Father (Ac 1:3; Heb 9:11).

In our day, Iyyar calls to mind the promise of our Master's imminent return. Just as God's splendor increased for Israel during Iyyar, so too on that great day, God's dwelling will be with man (Rev 21:3) and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor to him (Rev 21:24). We will draw near to God and behold His inexpressible splendor.

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(Tue) 7 February 2023 :: 16 Shevat 5783

Biblical Calendars

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