A brief introduction to The Feasts of the LORD. In short God gave 7 feasts of His own choosing. These would be practices for the coming Messiah. Jesus the Messiah would fulfill 4 of the first 7 feasts exactly on the day God had His Feasts (Moedim). See other articles under Feasts of the LORD. So we can be confident the next 3 Feasts will all happen on the same days. But what are they… Below we have part 1 of 3 on a body of work done by Ed Chumney. I have personally been thrilled by the richness of the ancient Hebrew customs and culture that the scriptures where written in. For allot of you there will be lots of new terms taken out of the Hebraic understanding. This is crucial since we in the West have little understanding on these great feasts. Take your time and learn and the Old Testament scriptures will come alive in HD color as you build on your knowledge of the idioms used throughout scripture.
“Sound the Shofar in Zion and sound the alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the Land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, it is nigh at hand” (Joel 2:1)
Rosh HaShanah: The Season of Teshuvah
By Ed Chumney
A special season known as Teshuvah, which in Hebrew means “to return or repent,” begins on the first day of the month of Elul and continues 40 days, ending with Yom Kippur. Thirty days into Teshuvah, on Tishrei l, comes Rosh HaShanah. This begins a final ten-day period beginning on Rosh HaShanah and ending on Yom Kippur. These are known as the High Holy Days and as the Awesome Days (Yamim Nora’im, the days of awe). The sabbath that falls within this ten-day period is called Shabbat Shuvah, the Sabbath of Return. Five days after Yom Kippur is Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. Teshuvah begins on Elul 1 and concludes on Tishrei 10, Yom Kippur. Each morning during the 30 days of the month of Elul, the trumpet (shofar) or ram’s horn is blown to warn the people to repent and return to G-d.
Teshuvah (repentance) speaks to all people. Those who believe in the Messiah are called to examine their lives and see where they have departed from G-d. It is a call to examine the Scriptures and the evidence that the Messiah was who He said He was.
G-d has always had a heart to warn people before He proclaims judgment. G-d warned the people before the flood, and He warned Nineveh before it was ruined. He does not want anyone to receive the wrath of His judgment (Ezekiel [Yechezekel] 18:21-23,30-32; Zephaniah 2:1-3; 33:1-7; 2 Peter 3:9).
The whole month of Elul is a 30-day process of preparation through personal examination and repentance for the coming High Holy Days. The shofar is blown after every morning service. Psalm 27, which begins with “The Lord is my light and my salvation,” is also recited at the end of the morning and evening liturgy. The message from Elul 1 to Rosh HaShanah is clear: Repent before Rosh HaShanah. Don’t wait until after Rosh HaShanah, or you will find yourself in the Days of Awe.
There are idioms or phrases that help us identify the days in the season of Teshuvah (repentance). Just as unfamiliar foreigners may be confused when they hear Americans call Thanksgiving Day, “Turkey Day” or “Pilgrims’ Day,” non-Jewish believers in Yeshua can be confused by the different terms for the major feasts of the L-rd.
Rosh HaShanah: Names, Themes, and Idioms
- Teshuvah (repentance)
- Rosh HaShanah (Head of the Year, Birthday of the World)
- Yom Teruah (the Day of the Awakening Blast [Feast of Trumpets)
- Yom HaDin (the Day of Judgment)
- HaMelech (the Coronation of the Messiah)
- Yom HaZikkaron (the Day of Remembrance or memorial)
- The time of Jacob’s (Ya’akov) trouble (the birthpangs of the Messiah, Chevlai shel Mashiach)
- The opening of the gates
- Kiddushin/Nesu’in (the wedding ceremony)
- The resurrection of the dead (rapture, natza1)
- The last trump (shofar)
- Yom Hakeseh (the hidden day)
Rosh HaShanah: The Head of the Year
(Birthday of the World)
Rosh HaShanah marks the Jewish New Year and is a part of the season of repentance. Rosh in Hebrew means “chief or head” and shanah means “year.” Rosh HaShanah is the head of the year on the civil calendar, and is also known as the birthday of the world since the world was created on this day (Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 11a).
Jewish tradition believes that Adam was created on this day (Mishnah, San Hedrin 38b). How did they decide that this was the day of the year the world was created? Because the first words of the Book of Genesis (Bereishit), “in the beginning,” when changed around, read, Aleph b’Tishrei, or “on the first of Tishrei.” Therefore, Rosh HaShanah is known as the birthday of the world, for tradition tells us that the world was created then.
Note: There are four new years in the Jewish calendar. Nisan 1 is the New Year’s day of kings (the date for determining how many years a king has ruled) and for months (Nisan is the first month). Elul 1 is the new year for the tithing of animals. Shevat 15 (Tu Bishvat) is the new year for the trees, and Tishrei 1 is the new year of years. It also marks the anniversary of the creation of the world.
Time of Observance
Rosh HaShanah is observed for two days. It comes on the first and second days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei (usually in September or October), which is the first month of the biblical civil calendar. The month of Tishrei is the seventh month in the biblical religious calendar. This may seem strange that Rosh HaShanah, the New Year, is on the first and second day of Tishrei, the seventh month on the biblical religious calendar. The reason that Rosh HaShanah is the seventh month in the biblical religious calendar is that G-d made the month of Nisan the first month of the year in remembrance of Israel’s divine liberation from Egypt (Exodus [Shemot] 12:2; 13:4). However, according to tradition, the world was created on Tishrei, or more exactly, Adam and Eve were created on the first day of Tishrei and it is from Tishrei that the annual cycle began. Hence, Rosh HaShanah is celebrated at this time.
Why Is Rosh HaShanah Two Days Long?
Unlike other festivals that are celebrated in the Diaspora (the dispersion, referring to Jews who live outside of the Holy Land of Israel) Rosh HaShanah is celebrated for two days because of uncertainty about observing the festivals on the correct calendar day. Rosh HaShanah is the only holiday celebrated for two days in Israel. As with all other festivals, the uncertainty was involved in a calendar that depended on when the new moon was promulgated, designating the beginning of each new month by the rabbinical court in Jerusalem (Yerushalayim) in ancient times. The problem of Rosh HaShanah is heightened by the fact that it falls on Rosh Chodesh, the new moon itself. Therefore, even in Jerusalem (Yerushalayim), it would have been difficult to let everyone know in time that the New Year had begun. To solve this problem, a two-day Rosh HaShanah was practiced even in Israel. Creating a two-day Rosh HaShanah was also intended to strengthen observance of each day; in the rabbinic view, the two days are regarded as a yoma arikhta, one long day.
Yom Teruah: The Day of the Awakening Blast
In Psalm (Tehillim) 98:6 it is written, “With trumpets and the sound of the horn shout joyfully before the King, the Lord” (NAS). The blessing we receive from G-d when we understand the meaning of Rosh HaShanah and the blowing of the trumpet (shofar) is found in Psalm (Tehillim) 89:15, as it is written, “How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound [blast of the shofar]…” (NAS).
Rosh HaShanah is referred to in the Torah as Yom Teruah, the Day of the Sounding of the Shofar (or the Day of the Awakening Blast). On Yom Teruah, the Day of the Sounding of the Shofar, it is imperative for every person to hear (shema) the shofar. The mitzvah (or biblical commandment [John (Yochanan) 14:15]), of the shofar is to hear (shema) the shofar being blown, not actually blow it yourself, hence the blessing, “to hear the sound of the shofar.”
Teruah means “an awakening blast.” A theme associated with Rosh HaShanah is the theme “to awake.” Teruah is also translated as “shout.” The Book of Isaiah (Yeshayahu), chapter 12, puts the shouting in the context of the thousand-year reign of Messiah, the Athid Lavo. The Messianic era and shout is mentioned in Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 42:11; 44:23; Jeremiah (Yermiyahu) 31:7; and Zephaniah 3:14. The first coming of Yeshua is associated with a shout in Zechariah 9:9. The ultimate shout is the rapture (natzal) in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
Whether it is by the blast of a shofar or the force of a supernatural shout, G-d’s goal is to awaken us! For this reason it is written, “… Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14 NAS). The Book of Ephesians has many references to Rosh HaShanah and the High Holy Days. For example, in Ephesians 4:30, being sealed unto the day of redemption refers to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. G-d gave this festival to teach us that we will be judged on Rosh HaShanah and will be sealed unto the closing of the gates (neilah) on Yom Kippur.
Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 26:19 speaks of the resurrection. The word awake is associated with the resurrection, as it is written, “Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits” (Isaiah [Yeshayahu] 26:19 NAS).
The theme of awakening from sleep is used throughout the Bible. It is found in John (Yochanan) 11:11; Romans 13:11; Daniel 12:1-2; and Psalm (Tehillim) 78:65. In Isaiah 51:9 it is written, “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago…” (NAS). The arm of the L-rd is used as a term for the Messiah in Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 53:1. The word arm is the Hebrew word zeroah. During Passover (Pesach), a shankbone, known as the zeroah, is put on the plate. So, “awake” is a term or idiom for Rosh HaShanah. In Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 51:9 quoted earlier, the awakening is associated with the coming of the Messiah.
The shofar is the physical instrument that G-d instructed us to use to hear (shema) the sound of the shofar teaching us to awake from spiritual slumber (1 Corinthians 15:46).
In the days of old, the shofar was used on very solemn occasions. We first find the shofar mentioned in connection with the revelation on Mount Sinai, when the voice of the shofar was exceedingly strong and all the people who were in the camp trembled (Exodus [Shemot] 19:16b). Thus, the shofar we hear on Rosh HaShanah ought to remind us of our acceptance of the Torah (Bible) and our obligations to it. The shofar also used to be sounded when war was waged upon a dangerous enemy. Thus, the shofar we hear on Rosh HaShanah ought to also serve as a battle cry to wage war against our inner enemy — our evil inclinations and passions as well as the devil, Ha Satan, himself. The shofar was also sounded on the Jubilee Year, heralding freedom from slavery (Leviticus [Vayikra] 25:9-10).
Spiritually (halacha), this refers to freedom from the slavery of sin, the desires of this world, and serving the devil (Romans 6:12-13; James 4:4).
Another reason for sounding the shofar is that Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the birth of creation G-d began to rule over the world on this day. When a king begins to reign, he is heralded with trumpets. That is why Psalm 47 precedes the blowing of the shofar; it is a call to the nations: “….. Sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth…” (Psalm [Tehillim] 47:6-7 NAS). It also precedes because of the reference to the shofar in the previous verse (Psalm 47:5), as it is written “God has ascended with a shout, the Lord, with the sound of a trumpet” (NAS).
In Jewish tradition, many reasons have been offered for the sounding of the shofar: The ram’s horn is identified with the ram that became the substitute sacrifice for Isaac (Yitzchak) in Genesis (Bereishit) 22:1-19. The giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai was accompanied by the sounding of the shofar (Exodus [Shemot] 19:19). The proclamation of the Jubilee was heralded by the blast of the shofar (Leviticus [Vayikra] 25:9-11); and the commencement of the Messianic age is to be announced by the sound of the great shofar (Isaiah [Yeshayahu] 27:13). The book Gates of Repentance cites Maimonide’s call to awaken from spiritual slumber:
Awake, you sleepers, from your sleep! Rouse yourselves, you slumberers, out of your slumber! Examine your deeds, and turn to G-d in repentance. Remember your Creator, you who are caught up in the daily round, losing sight of eternal truth; you are wasting your years in vain pursuits that neither profit nor save. Look closely at yourselves; improve your ways and your deeds. Abandon your evil ways, your unworthy schemes, every one of you! (Yad Hichot Teshuva 3.4).
When the rabbis saw the phrase, “Awake, O Israel,” they would identify those verses with something concerning Rosh HaShanah. The blowing of the shofar took place at the temple (Beit HaMikdash) on Rosh HaShanah (Nehemiah 8:1-3).
The shofar was also blown at the temple to begin the sabbath each week. There are two types of trumpets used in the Bible:
- The silver trumpet, and
- The shofar, or ram’s horn.
On the sabbath, there was within the temple (Beit HaMikdash) a sign on the wall that said, “To the house of the blowing of the trumpet [shofar].” Each sabbath (shabbat), two men with silver trumpets and a man with a shofar made three trumpet blasts twice during the day. On Rosh HaShanah, it is different. The shofar is the primary trumpet. On Rosh HaShanah, a shofar delivers the first blast, a silver trumpet the second, and then a shofar the third. The silver trumpets and the gathering at the temple are specified in the Book of Numbers (Bamidbar) chapter 10.
According to Leviticus (Vayikra) 23:24 and Numbers (Bamidbar) 29:1, Rosh HaShanah is the day of the blowing of the trumpets. According to the Mishnah (Rosh HaShanah 16a; Rosh HaShanah 3:3), the trumpet used for this purpose is the ram’s horn, not trumpets made of metal as in Numbers (Bamidbar) Chapter 10.
The Use of the Shofar in the Bible
The shofar or ram’s horn, has always held a prominent role in the history of G-d’s people in the Bible:
- The Torah was given to Israel with the sound of the shofar (Exodus [Shemot] 19:19).
- Israel conquered in the battle of Jericho with the blast of the shofar (Joshua 6:20).
- Israel will be advised of the advent of the Messiah with the sound of the shofar (Zechariah 9:14,16).
- The shofar will be blown at the time of the ingathering of the exiles of Israel to their place (Isaiah [Yeshayahu] 27:13).
- The shofar was blown to signal the assembly of the Israelites during war (Judges [Shoftim] 3:27; 2 Samuel 20:1).
- The watchman who stood upon Jerusalem’s walls blew the shofar (Ezekiel [Yechezekel] 33:3-6).
- The shofar was blown at the start of the Jubilee year (Leviticus [Vayikra] 25:9).
- The shofar is a reminder that G-d is sovereign (Psalm [Tehillim] 47:5).
- The ram’s horn, the shofar, is a reminder of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac and God’s provision of a ram as a substitute (Genesis [Bereishit] 22:13).
- The shofar was blown to announce the beginning of festivals (Numbers [Bamidbar] 10:10). The shofar was blown to celebrate the new moon on Rosh HaShanah (Psalm 81:1-3).
- The blowing of the shofar is a signal for the call to repentance (Isaiah [Yeshayahu] 58:1).
- The blowing of the shofar ushers in the day of the L-rd (Joel 2:1).
- The blowing of the shofar is sounded at the rapture of the believers and the resurrection of the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
- John was taken up to Heaven in the Book of Revelation by the sound of the shofar (Revelation 4:1).
- Seven shofarim are sounded when G-d judges the earth during the tribulation (Revelation 8-9).
- The shofar was used for the coronation of kings (1 Kings [Melachim] 1:34,39).
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