Q. Why are offerings taken up on each of the holy days, when the Bible clearly says, “Three times in a year shall all your males appear before Yahweh your Elohim in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before Yahweh empty,” Deuteronomy 16:16?
A. The word translated “times” in this verse is Strong’s No. 6471, “pa’am from No. 6470 a prime root meaning to tap, beat regularly. No. 6471 means a stroke, literally or physically. The Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Lexicon shows it is poetic, like a hoofbeat, footfall, footstep, occurence, time, as time on time, at this repetition (this time). Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies on pa’am says “Successive strokes of the foot; used also for successive turns or times.”
The meaning is that three seasons, three cycles or three revolutions in the year all the males were to appear before Yahweh where His name dwells. The three turns in the year are the Passover season, the Pentecost season and the harvest Feasts of the seventh month. There are a total of seven Annual High Days in addition to the weekly Sabbaths wherein all Yahweh’s people are expected to meet in convocation which Yahweh has set aside for the worship of Himself. We are not to appear before Yahweh empty (handed). These High Day gatherings anciently were times of agricultural harvest and were a time of giving thanks and rejoicing and gladness.
In His wisdom Yahweh has given us seven opportunities in the three seasons in which the seven High Sabbaths fall to show our devotion to Him. Each of the seven annual High Sabbaths gives us another occasion to meet with brethren of like faith and worship Yahweh as a body with our gifts.
Specific offerings are mentioned for the Days of Unleavened (also Exodus 34:20). “Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty,” Exodus 23:15.
Special offerings were commanded for the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost).
“And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto Yahweh your Elohim with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto Yahweh thy Elohim according as Yahweh thy Elohim hath blessed thee,” Deuteronomy 16:10.
It is clear from Deuteronomy 16:16 we are expected to bring a gift to Yahweh during these three harvest cycles: “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before Yahweh thy Elohim in the place which He shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before Yahweh empty.”
Special sacrificial offerings were expected of ancient Israel each of these High Sabbaths as we see in Numbers 28 and 29. These special offerings were on the High Sabbaths. During the Feast of Tabernacles a special offering was given on each of the eight days.