THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS 2017
Wednesday at sunset on September 20th we begin this year’s observance of Rosh Hashanah, or The Feast of Trumpets.
Rosh Hashanah is the first of the three Fall Holy Days that God established through Moses to be kept throughout all generations.
A PERMANENT ORDINANCE
This is one of the scripture references I use to back up that statement:
“Now this day will be a memorial to you and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD, throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. (Exodus 12:14 NAS)
ADOPTED INTO THE FAMILY AND FAITHFULLY KEEPING THE FAMILY TRADITIONS
I was not born Jewish. I am a Christian. Does it seem strange to you that I observe this day?
What seems strange to me is that almost all Christians have been tricked and deceived by the enemy of God into forgetting this important day.
THE MYSTERY OF ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH
As a Child of God and a born-again baptized Christian, I have every right to observe this day. My Christian Bible tells me that I have been adopted into the family of God. I love that biblical illustration that is often used to symbolize this fact; where the example is given of the wild olive branch being grafted into that strong old natural Olive Tree which symbolizes Israel.
In Romans 11:25-31 the Apostle Paul (the Apostle to The Gentiles) speaks of the way we (Jews and Gentiles) should all relate to one another:
“Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers; a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.” (Romans 11:25-31 (ESV))
The day is coming when we ALL will unite under the Headship of Christ. That will be a wonderful day indeed!
THE WILD OLIVE TREE HAS BEEN GRAFTED IN
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. (Romans 11:17-18)
In the meantime; Christians are that wild olive tree that has been grafted in and the nation of Israel was the pattern that was used to bring about Christianity. Best of all this great nation was used to give us Messiah.
REMEMBER THE STORY OF RUTH
During this fall harvest festival called The Feast of Trumpets I always love to remember the stories of the bloodline of Ruth.
God used a faithful Moabite Gentile woman to bring about the bloodline of Messiah.
Boaz was as Jewish as one could get, and Ruth was as Gentile as one could be; but when they united in love; a Messiah came from their bloodline.
WE ARE ALL ONE IN CHRIST
We are all one in Christ. This fact is still hidden from many of the Israelite culture; but that doesn’t make it any less truth. We share a Father who sent His son to save us. One day every eye will be opened to this fact.
I’ve come into the family through the blood of Jesus Christ (the only perfect Jewish man who ever lived.) He was also the Son of God.
The covering He has placed over me; that of His own blood, makes me a blood relative as well as an adopted, grafted in child. The blood of Christ sealed the deal and made things official for more people than those who were born with Israelite heritage to be a part of the family that belongs to God The Father.
THE BLOOD OF SEVENTY NATIONS
This family of God is truly made up of the genes and blood lines of all 70 nations that cover the earth.
God created each of us for a specific purpose in His Kingdom. We all are given the opportunity of becoming a member of God’s family. Nationality or race are irrelevant. God is color-blind. Christ died for all people, and His spiritual blood runs red through all veins. This is His Father’s Holy Day. It belongs to God; the One and Only True God of Every Nation of The Earth. He invites us to join Him in this sacred time. He issued a formal invitation through his servant Moses and on a more personal note; His Son Jesus Christ has extended His welcome to you.
KEEPING THE FAMILY TRADITIONS
In the meantime; we have inherited certain family traditions handed down to Moses by God Our Father. Rosh Hashanah/The Feast of Trumpets is one of those family traditions.
Family traditions are usually passed down from generation to generation and kept for important reasons to the family. If you are of God’s family; He will speak to you of such things when you come through faith to help Him continue to keep the family traditions.
FORMS OF OBSERVANCES
I’ve kept these Fall Holy Days right along with my Jewish brothers and sisters, for many years now. I usually like to keep them quietly in my home with my family, (this year our gathering will only be two people; my husband and I.) Hopefully our grown children will be celebrating with their children wherever they are on this day and whatever they are doing.
I like it better when we all can gather together under one roof; but with everyone so scattered and on different schedules this year it has been hard to plan Nonetheless; my husband and I will observe Rosh Hashanah in our home. We may also join in observances with some of the local congregations in our area who understand the meaning of Rosh Hashanah and keep the day in the light of the fact that Christ has come.
We do not go to a Jewish congregation to observe this day because we know Christ as Savior, and wish to include the Messiah in our celebrations. We observe this time in light of the fact that Jesus Christ is The Messiah; so some of our observances might be slightly different from our Jewish Brothers and Sisters who are still seeking Messiah; yet we have the same Father, so many of our observances are also the same.
I cherish the fact that my Jewish brothers and sisters have been so true to God’s word, and have kept the traditions that God gave to them for all these thousands and thousands of years. Their teachings and practices are so wonderful and helpful to me as I go through this season. Ironically; they help me to see clearly and this better sight serves to confirm the fact that Jesus Christ is Messiah.
These devout Jewish observers who have taught us to celebrate the festival belong to the people who God favored to show us the patterns of life that He desired for us to live. They heard it first from God; and generations have now passed the observance of this sacred time on to us and the rest of the world.
This is just as Jesus told us it would happen.
KEEPING THE FEAST FROM THE HEART INSTEAD OF THE LAW
All of that explanation aside; as a Christian believer in Messiah, I have learned to keep the feast days from my heart, simply as a way to honor God, and not as a legality of the law.
My choice of keeping the Holy Days is simply out of love, honor and thanks to a God who is merciful and forgiving and deserves to be worshiped in the way He has chosen.
God spelled out His choice of how to be worshipped and how He wanted to be relating to mankind on certain days up on that mountain with Moses long ago. I choose to honor His wishes.
PERFECTED AND FULFILLED THROUGH CHRIST
The law given to Moses has now been perfected through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It is now a fulfilled pattern for us to follow, and an example of how we all can best love God and our fellow man. Jesus lived out every letter of this law with perfection. He never broke a single law. We are to follow His example as best we can.
Besides the above facts; I have truly found that the observance of these Holy Days, especially in light of the fulfillment of Christ, makes life rich and has a way of drawing God’s people closer to God. The Holy Days bring joy and balance each year to the busy and hectic seasons of our life.
PREPARING THE HEART TO BE READY
Like any other worthwhile pursuit, the key to this day is preparation. There should be much time before the day of Rosh Hashanah arrives that are spent in prayer, meditation and worship.
Those who observe this season, spend the weeks before the holy days of Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) meditating and examining the days of their lives in the light of God’s Word. Getting prepared is a very important part of the time leading up to these holy days. This happens during the Hebraic month of Elul, while waiting on Rosh Hashanah to arrive.
When the day of Rosh Hashanah comes it is a solemn, yet celebratory time. This holy day has certain elements that are serious and somber. The loud blast of the shofar, if unfamiliar to you, might even sound a bit frightening to you. At the same time these days might also inspire you. The elements of the day will surely stir you, yet intimidate you. Getting our hearts right with God to begin a new year is always refreshing and relieving. Rosh Hashanah is a day like no other.
LISTENING FOR THE SOUND OF THE SHOFAR
As the shofar sounds you realize it is the set-time to come closer to God.
The sound of the shofar is a very important part of the day. We are commanded to be waiting and listening for it to happen.
The shofar has a beautiful, haunting sound and each blast calls us to awaken to our real reason for living; simply to give glory to God with the days and times of our lives.
PUTTING FEET TO WORSHIP
As well as listening for the shofar, gathering to eat certain festive foods together, and participating in a service with one another; it is also good to DO something in the spirit of Rosh Hashanah.
This could come in the form of giving to others, or performing good deeds, or seeking forgiveness from anyone you have wronged this year, and/or telling those around you how much you love and cherish them. These are things we should be doing each and every day of our lives without neglect; but the time of Rosh Hashanah is a call to remember.
These acts should never become rote actions though. They should come from a kind and willing heart. They are done expecting nothing in return; simply out of love. God knows the condition of our hearts. If we are just going through the motions, He will know the truth; even if no one else does.
If you find yourself in the mode of just going through the motions and not performing these good deeds with a pure heart from love, the thing you should do first in this season is to seek God’s help and forgiveness for this state of the heart. Pour your heart out to God and He will hear you, show mercy, help you and honor your prayers.
RECOGNIZING THE TURNING OF THE SACRED YEAR
This is the time of the turning of the sacred year. The old times pass away and all things come into a new sacred year.
As the end of the Hebrew calendar arrives and the last day of the last month occurs, in our minds and hearts, we turn the page of the sacred calendar to a new year of life before God.
Men stole some of God’s original ideas when they decided to make up their own new year’s celebrations and put it on the secular calendar as January 1st. They also proceeded to do something similar to what God intends for us to do at Rosh Hashanah; men have taken the pattern of looking back over the past and looking forward to the future. They often call this setting new year’s resolutions; but in a sense it is looking for ways to have a better future based on the mistakes you have made and corrected from the past. This is man’s way of doing it. God has a different way; He calls it Rosh Hashanah.
That party you went to back in January was mankind’s own version of a new year’s celebration. Men stole some of God’s original ideas when they decided to made up their own new year’s celebrations. They changed times and seasons; which is something that does not please God.
This is different.
God has set aside appointments with mankind by the times and dates on the Hebrew calendar for millennium; actually ever since He created the world and put all of us here inside of time. God is the One who made the calendar that the Hebrews have always used. Within this sacred calendar He created time for all of mankind; and He set the days in motion by the patterns and cycles of the moon. He has declared that this day which some call Rosh Hashanah will be the beginning of the new sacred year for His people.
So we recognize the fact that we are coming into God’s annual marked-off time for us to begin a new and sacred spiritual year.
On Rosh Hashanah; God begins the task of looking over everything that has happened in the past year. During this Holy Season God is thinking about what we did the last year of our life and pondering what our destiny will be during the next year. We are free to decide this for ourselves; but God examines our decisions and decides whether they are good or bad for The Kingdom of Heaven that is coming. This process all begins every year on Rosh Hashanah. It lasts for ten days, ending on Yom Kippur and all of the ten days together are called The Days of Awe.
THE DOORS OF HEAVEN ARE OPEN
It is said that the doors of heaven are opened wide to show mercy and forgiveness on Rosh Hashanah, and God is deciding on His plans for mankind for the next year. He is also carefully listening to what men have to say to Him during this time period.
During this holy time God is hearing people offer their prayers and these conversations set the stage for God’s considering the destiny for the next year of their life. God will decide who will die and who will be born during the upcoming year. He will decide what fate is to befall every single individual of the earth. He is inscribing His notes about our lives as we discuss them with Him.
The Books are opened, and God begins writing His notes to Himself on Rosh Hashanah. He doesn’t stop observing and writing down the notes for 10 days. He is looking and judging.
GOD STILL JUDGES; THOUGH HE IS A LOVING AND MERCIFUL JUDGE
Yes, contrary to what a lot of people want to think; God still judges people.
However; He is a loving and merciful God. He allows us time to talk and reason with Him.
He is merciful when we repent and turn.
He wants to hear from each and every one of us, especially during this time of deliberation and decision-making about the future.
A day will come when God looks down and shuts His book forever and declares that time for men to come to Him in repentance is no more. Until that happens; we have the seasons of Elul and the Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to consider the affairs of our hearts and lives and bring them before God for mercy.
Because of Christ; there is much mercy to go around.
ALL SINS SHOULD BE REPENTED AND A TRANSFORMATION SHOULD HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN EACH HEART BY THE DAY OF ATONEMENT (YOM KIPPUR)
On Yom Kippur, ten days after Rosh Hashanah, God seals what He has inscribed.
That makes it all final.
The doors of heaven close on another year of God’s alloted time for mankind.
SHANA TOVA GREETINGS ABOUND
On Rosh Hashanah we say to each other:“Shana Tova!” It means “may you be inscribed for a good and sweet year.”
In greeting each other this way we are remembering the fact that God will be examining our lives and we are all hoping He inscribed a good year for us!
It is traditional to dip apples in honey to symbolize this as we symbolically taste the beginning of a sweet year on our tongues. Most people indulge in sweets in hopes of a “sweet” year to come.
A DAY OF RICHNESS AND FULLNESS
So in many ways, Rosh Hashanah serves to be like a big mile marker that is marking the progress of the days of our lives every year. We want to be ready and prepared to meet God by the time the day is here.
The whole experience is as much about the season of days leading up to Rosh Hashanah as the day itself.
As we carefully mark our time and try to transform to God’s will for our lives; we listen for the shofar and wonder when that last trumpet will sound and time will be no more.
We stand in awe and worship of our creator and celebrate His goodness and mercy toward us. We are thankful and offer up humble hearts for service.
We enjoy love and fellowship toward all of mankind.
We dip apples in honey and hope that the new sacred year will be one that is sweet with the presence of God’s Holy Spirit filling our hearts and souls up to the brim.
Rosh Hashanah is so rich and so full, and there are many other aspects of this Holy Day to ponder, but these are the ones I have on my heart to share today.