Rosh Hashanah: A Time of Awe to Repent & Turn Back to God

Rosh Hashanah: A Time of Awe to Repent & Turn Back to God

Rosh Hashanah is the first of the 3 Jewish Fall Festivals. Also called the Feast of Trumpets, it signifies a call to repentance. It’s a wake-up call for not just Jews, but for Halfway Christians to repent and turn back to God now! Why? Let’s dig in…

Rosh Hashanah: The Festival of Trumpets

23 The Lord said to Moses, 24 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. On the first day of the appointed month in early autumn, you are to observe a day of complete rest. It will be an official day for holy assembly, a day commemorated with loud blasts of a trumpet. 25 You must do no ordinary work on that day. Instead, you are to present special gifts to the Lord.”

Leviticus 23:23-25 NLT

Let’s listen to the sound of the shofar…

What is the Meaning of Rosh Hashanah?

This is an excerpt from “A Season Of Repentance” a Bible study plan in the Free YouVersion Bible app

According to Jewish tradition, on the first Rosh Hashanah of the world, Adam was created, sinned, and judged. It was on that day that God asked, “Where are you?” and it is on this day, every year, that God asks us the same question – and we need to provide an answer. We need to take a good look at where we have been and where we plan on going. We need to answer for the wrong turns we may have made and get back on track to where we want to be. 

God already knows where we are – physically and spiritually. On Rosh Hashanah, we are the ones who need to take notice where we are, and most importantly, determine where we are headed.

A Season Of Repentance

Rosh Hashanah literally means “the head of the year”. Consequently, it’s a time of new beginnings. It’s very much like how the western world celebrates on December 31 – New Year’s Eve. We make New Year’s resolutions — which we break before the end of January, right?

According to Jewish tradition, 5,782 years have passed since the creation of the world, and at sundown on September 25, 2022, the year 5,783 will begin. The Jews pray…

“May the old year and its curses be gone.”

Jewish Rosh Hashanah prayer

They welcome a new year and all its blessings. Shana tovah. May you have a sweet new year!

What Do the Particular Shofar Sounds Signify?

The shofar is a ram’s horn. It is blown as an announcement or a special call. Consequently, the Rosh Hashanah shofar blasts has special significance.

The long singular tekiah blast reminds us of royalty. When a king enters a place, trumpets sound to signal his presence. Similarly, on Rosh Hashanah, the King of the world is present. Every year, on Rosh Hashanah, we crown our King all over again. We recognize that the Lord, our God, is King, and we acknowledge His dominion over the world. Message number one is that God, and God alone, rules the world.

Message number two is represented by the three-part shevarim sound, closely resembling the sound of weeping. This distinct blast reminds us that our lives, and everything that we hold dear to us, hang by a single thread held by the Master of the universe. In the blink of an eye, it could all disappear. That’s why we cry. Yet our brokenness leads to wholeness when we pray to God, asking that He bless us for yet another year. We remember that He is our loving Father and that He will answer our prayers.

The final message, the nine, short teruah blasts, are reminiscent of an alarm clock, and their purpose is to awake us from our slumber. All year long, we are caught up in the humdrum of life. We begin to forget the purpose of it all. Once a year we make it a point to wake up and remember that we are here for a specific purpose. During the High Holy Days, we reassess our lives and make any necessary changes.

A Season Of Repentance — this was a Jewish “bible plan” which did not mention Messiah at all.

Recently, the UK announced the new king, King Charles III. The Royal Heralds sounded their trumpets as part of the ceremony.

The First Shofar Goes Back to Abraham

When God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Issac, faithful Abraham complied. However, before Abraham could kill Issac, God stopped him and provided as the sacrifice, a ram, whose horns were stuck in a bush. (Genesis 22) We don’t see it used again until the Fall of Jericho.

The greatest Feast of Trumpets is yet to come as we born-again believers anxiously await Jesus, the Bridegroom, to come for His Bride. Only His true believers will hear the trumpet sound of Jesus calling us to be with Him in His Father’s House.

As Jesus said…

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”

John 14:1-4 NLT

Paul wrote…

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NLT

That is the Rapture!

Therefore, here’s where Repentance comes in…

What is Repentance?

Psalm 139:1-3 God sees everything

The word “repentance” in Hebrew is teshuvah. That’s just one of its meanings. Teshuvah also means “to return” and “answer”. Interestingly, this goes back to when God asked Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” It’s not like God didn’t know where they were! God sees, hears, and knows EVERYTHING! This question, in Genesis 3, is a spiritual one. Adam and Eve, after disobeying a direct command, felt shame. They felt their nakedness. They had the ultimate guilt trip and actually thought that they could hide from God!

Thus, the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are days of repentance. These are days when we should look inside ourselves and repent of our sins. By the way, humans are the only ones of God’s creatures who have the ability to reflect and contemplate their lives. The idea is to realize that we are all sinners! Though God is a loving God, He is also a just and fair God. He judges every person based on their sins. Each of us has to atone for our sins. We are as guilty as Adam and Eve were! That’s where the 2nd of the Fall Feasts comes in… Yom Kippur…

But first, there is a Sabbath that falls between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. It’s called Shabbat Shuva or the Sabbath of Return. This echoes the words of the prophet Hosea…

Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord.
    Say to him,
“Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us,
    so that we may offer you our praises.”

Hosea 14:2 NLT

What is Yom Kippur?

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement — the Day of Judgment. Atonement means covering the sin. God detailed how the Israelites were supposed to do this every year in the Book of Leviticus. First celebrated in the tabernacle, then later in the temple, the Yom Kippur service was rather elaborate.

The Day of Atonement

The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron’s two sons, who died after they entered the Lord’s presence and burned the wrong kind of fire before him. The Lord said to Moses, “Warn your brother, Aaron, not to enter the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain whenever he chooses; if he does, he will die. For the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—is there, and I myself am present in the cloud above the atonement cover.

“When Aaron enters the sanctuary area, he must follow these instructions fully. He must bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He must put on his linen tunic and the linen undergarments worn next to his body. He must tie the linen sash around his waist and put the linen turban on his head. These are sacred garments, so he must bathe himself in water before he puts them on. Aaron must take from the community of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.

“Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the Lord. Then he must take the two male goats and present them to the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle. He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the Lord and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the Lord. 10 The other goat, the scapegoat chosen by lot to be sent away, will be kept alive, standing before the Lord. When it is sent away to Azazel in the wilderness, the people will be purified and made right with the Lord.

Leviticus 16:1-10 NLT

Nevertheless, there’s a problem here. The Israelites back in Old Testament, the Jews in the New Testament, and Jews today have to go through this ritual year after year, after year, after year. Considering that God gave Moses the Laws of Purity in Leviticus c. 1445 BC, that’s over 3000 years of this endless cycle of sinning, repentance, and atonement. Repeat! Doesn’t God know that we are human and that we’ll stumble and fall far from His Grace?

That’s just it. We are not perfect like JESUS was perfect. He was sinless. Which is why we need Him. He carried our sins to the cross and took them away forever. Through His Grace, His Sacrifice, and His Blood, we are cleansed, purified, and sanctified once and for all time. Jesus became our scapegoat!

Psalm 139:23-24

In Hebrew, the first words of Hosea 14:2 literally say: “ . . . return until the LORD.”

We must return to JESUS, surrender our whole lives to Him, with repentance, and follow Him until He returns for us, His Bride.

Yom Kippur is a time to come clean. We need to take an honest look inside the places that only we can see in our lives, in our hearts.

Then, ask JESUS to forgive you.

A traditional Yom Kippur greeting is…

“May you be sealed in the Book of Life.”

Is YOUR Name Written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?

Moreover, Paul wrote…

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Romans 5: 6-11 NLT

The Feast of Tabernacles (Shelters) — Sukkot — God with Us

Finally, the last of the Jewish Fall Feasts is Sukkot or Tabernacles.

39 “Remember that this seven-day festival to the Lord—the Festival of Shelters—begins on the fifteenth day of the appointed month, after you have harvested all the produce of the land. The first day and the eighth day of the festival will be days of complete rest. 40 On the first day gather branches from magnificent trees—palm fronds, boughs from leafy trees, and willows that grow by the streams. Then celebrate with joy before the Lord your God for seven days. 41 You must observe this festival to the Lord for seven days every year. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed in the appointed month from generation to generation. 42 For seven days you must live outside in little shelters. All native-born Israelites must live in shelters. 43 This will remind each new generation of Israelites that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I rescued them from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”

Leviticus 23:39-43 NLT

It was a party! A party with God! What’s great is that Jesus Christ — Yeshua Hamashiach — the Messiah — is also Emmanuel — God with Us! When you surrender your life to Him, when you trust Jesus and Jesus ONLY for your salvation, you are guaranteed a room in God’s House in Heaven!

From Leviticus 23 to Revelation 21…

Just so you know, the New Testament doesn’t make sense without the Old Testament! We read parts of Leviticus 23. In Revelation 21, Jesus fulfills Leviticus 23!

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

Revelation 21:1-4 NLT

Praise God! This is our Confident Hope! Obviously, it’s our assurance that this evil, wicked and corrupt world is NOT all there is! Thank God!

Do YOU have this Assurance?

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…

Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.

  • Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
  • Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180-degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him. When you ask Jesus to forgive you He will. ALL your sins will be wiped clean — past, present, and future! And All means ALL!
  • Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
  • Receive the gift of Holy Spirit in your heart.

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Here are some videos so you can dig deeper into the meaning of the Fall Festivals….

Rosh HaShanah part 1, a Messianic Jewish explainer. Is it New Years or 7th month? Mottel Baleston

Rosh HaShanah part 2, a Messianic Jewish understanding, Mottel Baleston

The Spring Festivals with Olivier Melnick

The Levitical Fall Feasts of the Lord – Part 2: The Rapture Connection

The appointed times of the Messiah’s Return found in ancient Jewish festivals

The Book of Leviticus by the Bible Project

The True Meaning of Rosh Hashanah with Amir Tsarfati

Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be The Glory!

Top image by מינוזיג – MinoZig, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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