Compiled by Marita Brokenshaw
(Used by Permission)
Zechariah 14:16: Then all the survivors from the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of Hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
One of the "appointed feasts of the LORD" given to Israel in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is known today as Rosh Hashanah, literally means "Head of the Year"? We read about Rosh Hashanah in the Torah, the Jewish Law found in the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. "And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the LORD" (Leviticus 23:23-25).
Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year, is also known as Yom Teruah or the Day of Trumpets. The word teruah means "to shout or make a noise," this holiday is marked by the blowing of the shofar or ram's horn in Jewish synagogues around the world. Rosh Hashanah falls on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishri on the Jewish calendar, which usually corresponds to September or October. It always falls on the seventh new moon of the Jewish year. After the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem in AD 70, even though this feast day falls on the seventh month of the Jewish religious calendar, it began to be called Rosh Hashanah and became the beginning of the Jewish civil calendar.
Rosh Hashanah begins a ten-day period leading up to the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. These ten days are called the Days of Awe in modern Judaism. The sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah is a wake-up blast and a sobering reminder that the time is near for the Day of Atonement. It is a call to teshuvah, which is repentance and turning back to the LORD. These ten days are ones of heart-searching and self-examination. The sound of the shofar for the Jew was, and still continues to be, a call to examine one's life, to make amends with all those one may have wronged in the previous year, and to ask forgiveness for any vows one may have broken. So the primary theme of Rosh Hashanah is one of repentance.
During Rosh Hashanah a common greeting/blessing is "May your name be inscribed" a wish for one's name to be written in the book of life. Jewish people enjoy sweets on Rosh Hashanah: treats made with apples, honey, raisins, figs, and pomegranates. Eating sweet things symbolizes the desire for a "sweet" year.
Like all of the Lord's appointed days in the Hebrew Bible, Rosh Hashanah points Christians to an even greater reality. For those who have placed their faith in the Jewish Messiah, Jesus, Yeshua, we understand the true meaning of the call to repentance and of turning our hearts toward God. The God of the Bible indeed has a Book of Life and a Book of Death.
For those who have placed their trust in the atoning work of Jesus, Yeshua, through His life, death, burial, and resurrection (2 Corinthians 5:21), their names are already written in the Lamb's Book of Life. And now, even we believers in Jesus listen for that trumpet call, "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).