The Fall Feasts of the Lord – Israel’s High Holy Days
ROSH HASHANAH – The Feast of Trumpets
Rosh Hashanah is the first Fall Festival.The rabbis designated it as the New Year from the tradition that this was the day Adam was created, the completion of the created world.
The main theme of this Festival is the regathering of the dispersed of Israel from the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). “He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:31). This is why the shofar (ram’s horn) is blown in the synagogues. It points to the time when the Bridegroom, the King Messiah, the Son of David will be coming to take His Bride for Himself.
Rosh Hashanah is a time to seek reconciliation with others and return to God in repentance.It is a time to rededicate our lives to the Lord, acknowledging His everlasting covenant with the fathers – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
In the Hebrew Bible (TANACH), Yom Kippur is called ‘Yom Hakippurim’ – literally ‘The Day of Atonements or Coverings’ (Leviticus 23:27-32). It is the only day for which the Lord commanded His people to fast. It is another opportunity to return to God and obey the Torah, the instructions of God.
During the Temple period, the focus of ‘Yom Hakippurim’ was to cleanse the Sanctuary from the people’s sins and the contamination accumulated there by means of the substitute animals that were sacrificed. This contamination was taken away by the Azazel (the scapegoat) to the wilderness.“Behold! The Lamb of God, taking away the sin of the world! (John 1:29).This is the day we come to God to be reconciled with Him through Jesus, Mediator and Sacrifice (Kaphar). Because of Messiah, our names can be inscribed in the Book of Life.
The Hebrew Bible calls it“Chag HaSukkot,” “Festival of the Booths” (Leviticus 23:34-36). This Festival is concluded after eight days, known in Hebrew as Shemini Atzeret. God commanded His people to build booths and live in these temporary dwellings during Sukkot to remind us of our humble beginnings in the wilderness.“You shall dwell in booths for seven days”(Leviticus 23:42-43).Also see Nehemiah. 8:17.
Prophetically, Sukkot is celebrated in anticipation of when King Messiah will come again and establish His Kingdom in Jerusalem, throughout Israel and the whole world.All nations will come to worship Him and celebrate Sukkot. “…Who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Festival of Tabernacles…” (Zechariah 14:16-21).
This is the honeymoon week of the Bridegroom and the Bride followed by the New Beginning of the eighth day, Shemini Atzeret.
“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God’” (Revelation 21:3).