So far over the past couple of programs we’ve learned that the fifth mandatory feast of the Lord is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, or the Head of the year to be more precise, because there are actually four different new year’s within the Hebrew calendar. Rosh Hashana is also known as the Feast of Trumpets because this particular feast is denoted by the blowing of the shofar…and it’s blown a lot.
There are different kinds of shofar blowing and they are symbolic of different things. The long single blast, called the Tekiah is what is blown at the coronation of the king; the Shevarim are three short wail-like blasts are for repentance of the people; the Teru’ah is a series of nine staccato blasts of alarm which are supposed to awaken each human soul to respond correctly with repentance toward God and finally, there’s the Tekiah ha-Gadol which is a final long blast, held as long as possible and this blast is known as the ‘Last Trump’.
We ended last time by reading from Psalm 47 and Colossians 1 about the Lord Most High, the King over all the earth being the creator of all things, be they seen or unseen, and that everything was created by Him and for Him and that the identity of this Creator King and Lord Most High is Jesus Christ our Messiah.
Now each Hebrew month in the Hebrew calendar has its own spiritual significance, just as each Hebrew letter and number has spiritual significance. The month of Elul which is before the month of Tishri and Rosh Hashana, is a month of preparation for Rosh Hashana and for honouring God. For the believer in Jesus, we are warned to be ready, prepared and watching, earnestly awaiting the return of our Messiah. Jesus spoke often of the need for repentance by individuals before God, and repentance is linked tightly with salvation and the blowing of the shofar (trumpet) is to awaken the conscience to be sensitive to sin and deal with it accordingly. (Mark 1:14-15; Rom 10:8-13)
Mark 1:14-15, ‘Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into the Galilee, preaching the Gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.”’
Romans 10:8-13, ‘But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” that is, the word of faith which we’re preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you’ll be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him won’t be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”’
It’s interesting to learn about Jewish feasts, but many Christians wonder what the point is…why should Gentiles learn about Jewish feasts…they’re not for us. We’re not Jewish! Well, they are for us, not necessarily because we as Gentiles have been mandated to observe them the way the Jews are, but they’re extremely important for us to at the very least, understand because of the significance of them regarding Jesus our Messiah and the entire plan of redemption.
There’s prophetic significance for the Christian in Rosh Hashana. First of all, Jesus is the King of the Jews and He’s going to return to establish His eternal kingdom, a kingdom that will never, ever end.
Luke 1:31-33, the angel Gabriel said to Mary, ‘”And behold, you’ll conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He’ll be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He’ll reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”’
During His earthly ministry years, Jesus never ruled on the throne of David, but He’ll rule from that throne when He returns, and when He returns, He’ll experience what all kings and queens experience…their coronation. Rosh Hashana, the Feast of Trumpets will blow the shofar, the Tekiah blast, the long single blast that will announce the coronation of Israel’s long awaited Messiah King.
Not only that, but because this particular feast has such trouble with its starting point because of the issues regarding the new moon, no one really knows the exact hour or day of its beginning and this is the same characteristic of the return of Jesus.
He Himself said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matt 24:36; Mark 13:32) Jesus has promised to return and in fact, He’s promised that this event will occur ‘at the last trump’ and remember that the last blast of the shofar on Rosh Hashana is called the ‘Last Trump’.
We don’t know what day or hour Jesus will return, but we’re supposed to be watching and waiting and ready when He does. Listen to what Paul said…‘Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed.’ (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
The Talmud (not inspired Scripture by any means) states that on Rosh Hashana, the dead will be raised which corresponds with the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 that we just read.
The ‘Tashlikh’ (casting off of sin ceremony) is a reminder of the new beginnings we have through Jesus because He has cast our sins away from us and cleansed us from all of them. (1 Jn 1:9) Jesus became the bearer of our sin and we can know absolute forgiveness and newness of life because of His sacrifice. (1 Pet 2:24)
As believers, we rejoice that because of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross on our behalf, and our faith and trust in Him, our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and it is appropriate that we express and demonstrate gratitude and thankfulness. (Titus 3:5-6; Rev 20:12, 15, 21:27)
The Akedah Yitzchak – the ‘Binding of Isaac’, which is featured reading during Rosh Ha’Shana, and God’s subsequent provision of a ram to replace Isaac as an offering is of course a pre-cursor to God Himself providing His only begotten Son Jesus, to be the ultimate substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of man. We should be ever grateful and eager to celebrate this incredible sacrifice on our behalf by Jesus, the Creator of the Universe.
Prophetically, Rosh Hashana is a celebration of new beginnings and the beginning of the Days of Awe leading up to Yom Kippur – a national day of repentance and agony over sin – which pre-empts the ultimate and hopefully near future repentance of national Israel and her subsequent belief in and salvation in Jesus their Messiah. Rosh Hashana is the celebration of this momentous prophetic future of the nation of Israel and her destiny with her Messiah. (Rom 11:26)
The Feasts of the Lord are not obsolete, insignificant holidays that have no importance or relevance for Christians, in fact the opposite is true. We can learn an enormous amount about God’s nature and character, His love and faithfulness to all people and most especially to His people Israel, and we can learn a phenomenal amount about the future, not to prognosticate – which is sinful – but to prepare and eagerly await God’s promises and His return. In fact, God has promised a very special blessing to those watching and waiting for His return.
2 Timothy 2:7-8, Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
When celebrating the new year we typically say ‘Happy New Year’ and for those celebrating Rosh Hashana we say ‘Shanah Tovah’ – a good new year or ‘L’Shanah Tovah’ – to a good new year!