Rosh Hashanah – A Time of Remembrance and Renewal
Many of you might have wondered about a day on your calendar called Rosh Hashanah by the Jewish people. It is one of God’s Appointed Times, the first of the Fall Feast days, and it commemorates the Creation of the world by Adonai (God). The name of the holiday means, ‘The head of the year’ from the Hebrew language. It is known as the Jewish New Year, but it has other names, too. It can also be called Yom Teru’ah (‘The Day of Blowing’) from the Hebrew, or the ‘Feast of Trumpets.’ which means ‘The Day of Blowing.’ In a traditional Jewish synagogue the shofar (a ram’s horn trumpet) is blown one hundred times on this day. The blast of the shofar is symbolic of being jolted from our sleep and to announce that Adonai (God) is King of the Universe. The one hundredth blast is special, known as the ‘Last Trump.’ As I will explain later, this holds special significance to us as followers of Yeshua (Jesus).
One biblical reference for Rosh Hashanah is found in Leviticus 23:23-25. ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month, you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD.’
It is traditional at this time to greet one another with L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu! This unusual greeting means, “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year! Traditional Judaism teaches that on this day there will be an ‘Opening of the Books,’ as we read in Daniel 7:10. According to tradition, God opens the books and reads the account of what every individual has done for the previous year. This begins a period of self-examination and repentance known as ‘Ten Days of Awe’ leading to the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur. Tradition has it that on Yom Kippur God closes the books, and final judgment is made. Rosh Hashanah stands alongside Yom Kippur to comprise ‘the high holy days.’
As Messianic believers, or followers of Yeshua, we know that according to the Bible Israel and the Church are distinct entities. There are promises made to both. It is equally clear, however, that there is a contiguous relationship between Israel and the Church. Every blessing which the Church enjoys comes out of covenants and provisions which God made with Israel. That is why we choose to honor the LORD because of the blessings we enjoy every day. We believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is the perfect sacrificial offering for our sins (2 Cor. 5:21). Through His death and resurrection, our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 13:8). We do not believe that we are made acceptable in God’s sight by means of our own works of righteousness (Titus 3:5-6), but our love for God leads us to seek out these works daily through the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.
Rosh Hashanah is one of God’s Appointed Times; a reminder of God’s creative authority and Kingship over our lives at all times. Yeshua is called the Mashiach (Messiah), a title used to describe His Kingly dignity and royalty. He is coming to rule and reign from Jerusalem in the near future, and the heavenly shofar will sound from Zion (Isaiah 27:13). At that time those who call upon His Name will be judged according to their deeds (2 Cor. 5:10).
The Scriptures clearly warn that on the Day of Judgment yet to come (Matthew 25:34-46), anyone whose name is not found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15). Are you ready for that Day? We do not know the moment of His return, but we are commanded as His followers to watch and be ready for His soon appearance (Matt. 24:42). Therefore, let us humble ourselves, learn to walk in His ways, and be ready.
The word Teru’ah means ‘’shouting’ or ‘raising a noise,’ and therefore this day was to be marked by making a joyful noise to the the LORD (Psalm 81:1-4). The sound of the shofar is meant to awaken our hearts and to prepare for the coming judgment. It is our belief that upon the Last Trump Yeshua (Jesus) the Jewish Messiah will come on Rosh Hashanah, like a bridegroom coming for His bride. Believers in Yeshua look forward to His second coming at the time of the blowing of the shofar (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
In the Hebrew calendar, Rosh Hashanah falls on the first and second days of the seventh month, called Tishri. The difficulty in determining the exact time of the new moon is the reason for extending the holiday over two days. Although this holiday lasts two days, it is known as one long day. According to the Gregorian calendar that we commonly use, this biblical feast day occurs during September or October. Hebrew calendars are based upon the changing cycles of the moon, which accounts for the differing dates on which they occur each year. All days on the Hebrew calendar begin at sundown the night before, ending at sundown of that day.
In 2014 Rosh Hashanah begins the evening of Wednesday, September 24th, ending at sundown Thursday, September 25th. We hope you can join us for our Rosh Hashanah celebration this Shabbat. We will celebrate Rosh Hashanah this weekend, in preparation for the holiday.
Etz-Chayim B’Yeshua (Tree of Life in Yeshua) Messianic Congregation (ECBY) meets each Saturday morning beginning at 9:00 am for Torah blessings, with a brief liturgy and a summary of the weekly Torah portion from a Messianic perspective. We begin our main service and teaching time at 10:00 am. Afterward we will enjoy a special time of food and fellowship during oneg (a potluck luncheon). You are welcome to join us. We request that you bring a kosher dish to share with several others. (Kosher means no pork or shellfish please)