THE BIBLICAL FALL FEASTS – PART 4
FEAST OF TRUMPETS/ROSH HA SHANAH
Today is the full day (until sundown) of Rosh Ha Shanah, better known to us as Feast of Trumpets. It is the Jewish civil New Year’s Day. While we celebrate January 1 (New Year’s Day) as a joyous occasion, it is quite the opposite for them, a very somber time.
Everyone desires to start out a new year “on the right foot.” For those of us in Western culture, we traditionally make resolutions to change something for the better or we set new goals. For the Jews, it is a time for introspection, a time to evaluate your standing with God, a time for repentance and good works. It is the first day of the “ten days of awe” that culminates with the Day of Atonement on the 10th of the month of Tishri.
On Rosh Ha Shanah, various animals are sacrificed (in the former times) as a burnt offering to God including a young goat (kid) as a sin offering. They hold religious services (assemblies summoned by the shofar). During the lengthy services, the shofar is blown 100 times in a sequence that uses four distinctly different blast patterns. Their focus is on repentance.
The next eight days (Tishri 2-9) between the two feast days is a period where they focus on making things “right” to gain God’s favor so that He will inscribe their name in His Book of Life for one more year.
The orthodox view is that on the Day of Atonement (Tishri 10) God will weigh them on the balance scale of good versus bad. If good, their name will be written down for a favorable year of health, prosperity, and the “good graces” of God. If it balances bad, their name will not be written in the Book for the new year. They will be outside God’s graces.
A messianic Jew in ministry who lives today in Israel wrote this about what it is like during the eight-day interval called “The days of Awe” or “the days of admitting”:
"Everyone you know will most likely call you and make sure everything is all right with you and them. They will ask you to forgive them for anything they may have done during the year that may have offended you. There seems to be more nice people in Israel during these days.”
We should also be attentive in this way…year round. The big difference for us as Christians is that we are forgiven by God’s grace of all our sins based on Messiah’s (Jesus’) shed blood. We are not “weighed on the scales of balance” to determine our destiny. We are clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
Because of their “need” for good works to balance the scales, the Jews as a whole, tend to be one of the most benevolent cultures in the world. They send aid wherever it is needed in the world. They also help their fellow Jews in ways not seen in our own country. This is one reason they have survived 3,500 years which is much longer than any other ethnic group in the world. Although they have not yet accepted Jesus, they are still God’s covenant “chosen” people.
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