For several years I met with like-minded friends and we studied Torah. As Christians we hungered to understand the Bible more deeply, especially gaining insight into the Old Testament from a Hebrew frame of reference.
We began to read and study the Jewish weekly sections of scripture known as parshas. Just as some Christians have discovered the One Year Bible where in daily scripture readings you read the entire Bible in a year, practicing Jews read the Torah in one year in weekly scripture readings.
We also found several teachers on line who contributed to our enlightenment as we dove into looking up Hebrew words and cultural references. One particular teacher who calls himself The Rabbi’s Son prepares 5 lessons plus an introduction to each week’s parsha. His lessons became the framework for many of our weekly discussion sessions.
In addition, my Precept Ministry Bible Studies had taken me through a deeper understanding of the Feasts of Israel.
Today ends the 10 days of the Jewish celebration of Rosh Hashanah – the New Year. Rosh means head and hashana means year. Instead of large parties and staying up till midnight, for practicing Jews it is a time of deep reflection.
It begins with a trumpet sounding, a blast from the shofar to call us to examine our lives and see if there are broken relationships which need to be mended. It also calls us to recognize and repent of any sin in our lives so we are right with God, to prepare for the 10th day, Yom Kippur.
In Hebrew yom means day and kippur means to cover or hide, to atone. In English it is the Day of Atonement. This is a most holy day in Judaism and Israel. All business close. It’s the one day when the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle and then later, the Temple in Jerusalem to make the offering to atone for the sin of the nation and all Israelites.
All their sin is forgiven and they start the new year with a clean slate.
For Christians and Messianic Jews, who are Jews who believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah, there is a prophetic meaning in each of the Feasts or Holy Days. The Feasts held in the Spring, we believe, have already been fulfilled by Jesus coming to earth. He was the Passover Lamb sacrificed on the cross for the sin of the world. He was the First Fruit, the first to be resurrected to eternal life.
The trumpet blown on Rosh Hashana is considered to be the “Last Trumpet.” Historically trumpets or blasts from the shofar, were used to announce that the people were to assemble into the presence of the Lord, or to sound the alarm for war or judgement. In the New Testament, it is said Jesus will return with a trumpet blast to call believers to Himself and the earth will be gathered for judgement day.
2020 has been quite a year. Are you ready for a new start? A clean slate?
Any time is a good time to come before the Lord in a time of reflection. Ask Him to search you and know you and show you any sin that needs to be recognized, and ask for forgiveness. For a guide in this area, click on my blog on confession called When Hearing is Blocked.
During this time we eat apples and honey to signify our desire for a sweet new year. We eat pomegranates as a way to say “may my good deeds multiply like the seeds of a pomegranate.” And round breads denoting the circular cycle of the year.
And speak a blessing: “May your name be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a good New Year.”
I also pray, Father, help us make time to be silent to hear Your voice. Let us hear with open ears and open spirits all You would say to us about this past year. As we confess any sin You bring to mind, forgive us and turn out hearts back to You.
Father, educate and direct us in this new year. Empower and enable us to act on all You show us to do or be. Where we are weak, make us strong. Where we are fearful, lead us to act boldly in faith. Cover us with Your protection and let us walk in the truth of Your entire Word, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Amen