christianity's Jewish roots
Rosh Hashanah and The Days of Awe
By Intercessors Network
-- Tishri, the seventh month in the Jewish calendar, contains three major
holidays. Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.
Tishri begins sometime
during the last three weeks of September or the first week of October. The first
day of Tishri is the Jewish New Year or Rosh Hashanah which means "head of the
year." If you read Exodus 12:2, you will discover that the Torah teaches that
the month of Nisan when Passover is celebrated, is to be the first month.
then did the first of Tishri come to be celebrated as New Year's day? Probably
because the letters of the words "the first of Tishri" in Hebrew can be rearranged
to form the words "in the beginning". This was probably understood as being a
hidden indication that the world was created on the first of Tishri, according
to a certain method of Rabbinic interpretation, and, therefore, the year begins
on this day.
There is a Biblical holiday, however, on this day, the Feast
of Trumpets (see Lev. 23:23 and Nu. 29:1- 6).
Rosh Hashanah, also known
as Yom ha-Din (Day of Judgement), begins the "Ten Days of Awe" (Yomin Noraim),
the "Ten Days of Turning or Repentance" or "the High Holy Days" which conclude
with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. During this period, it is customary to
greet one another with the phrase, "L'Shanah Tovah Tikateyvu" meaning "May you
be inscribed in the Book of Life."
This holiday is both solemn and joyous
since it is both the Day of Repentance or Day of Judgement and the birthday of
the world. It is celebrated for two days. On the first day, some Orthodox Jews
practice a custom called "tashlich", which involves going to a body of water and
emptying one's pockets or casting bread crumbs into the water. This is symbolic
of Micah 7:19, "And you will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea." A
family meal is celebrated which includes honey cake, wine, and apples dipped in
honey to symbolize hope for a sweet and happy year. On the second night, a fruit
not yet eaten that season is served. Hallah bread, in a round loaf, symbolizing
a crown, is another traditional food.
In the synagogue, the major focuses
are introspection and repentance. It is a time for recognizing one's sins and
turning from them. The blowing of the shofar (trumpet) is a central feature and
calls the worshippers to turn to God. It also announces that a great event is
about to take place. Genesis 22, which tells of God's command to Abraham to sacrifice
his son Isaac, is read on the second day.
The Biblical holiday of the Feast
of Trumpets is described most fully in Numbers 29:1-6. The central elements are
the number 7 (7th month, 7 male lambs offered), the abstaining from regular work,
the sounding of the ram's horn trumpets, various burnt offerings, and the sin
offering of one male goat to make atonement for sin.
Notice that this holiday,
which focuses on sin and repentance, is followed by the Day of Atonement or Yom
Kippur on the 10th of Tishri, and then Sukkot or the Feast of Booths on the 15th
of the month, which focuses on God's providential care of his people. We must
acknowledge our sin, repent and receive God's atonement for sin before we can
experience God's providential care over our lives.
The New Covenant
Fulfillment Rosh Hashanah
God has provided the ultimate Sabbath rest
through Jesus the Messiah. We can rest from our own efforts to be accepted by
God. Our own good works cannot save us, as even the traditional Jewish song from
the liturgy, Avinu Malkeynu says: "We have no good works of our own; deal with
us in mercy and kindness and save us." Messiah is our sin offering. If we recognize
our sin, turn away from it, and return to God in faith, we can be sure our names
are inscribed in the Book of Life (Phil. 4:3 and Rev. 3:5). The ultimate Day of
Judgment of sin will come. Jesus' death demonstrated that sin must be judged.
He received the judgement in our place. His resurrection shows that God has appointed
Him the Judge (see John 5:21-27; 12:31; and Acts 17:31).
The Ultimate Day
of Judgement will come when the trumpet shall sound and Jesus the Messiah returns
to judge the earth (I Thess. 4:16; I Cor. 15:52). He will preside over the heavenly
court. We are called to repent and celebrate the New Creation that has begun in
the Messiah (2 Cor. 5:17; Romans 5:12-19; and I Cor. 15:45) and will come in fullness
when he returns (Romans 9:19-22).
The Amidah Prayer
Christianity's Jewish Roots
More from Spiritual Life
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