Rosh Hashanah means head of the year, it is a one or two day celebration of the beginning of the Jewish civil New Year. It falls in September or October on the first day of Tishri. This festival is considered the anniversary of the creation of the universe & mankind.
The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), ten days later, represents God's redemption of mankind. which Ganeida will teach on next week.
The days from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur are called ten days of repentance, the Days Awe or Holy Days. These ten days are a time of introspection, a time to recognise & confess failures to others, to ourselves, & to God. This self-examination is not meant to cause self-condemnation but to motivate us to seek forgiveness & to start the New Year older, wiser, & determined to have a deeper, more intimate & loving relationship with God & fellow man.
The first day of the Jewish civil New Year is the biblical Yom Teruah, that is the day to sound the trumpets which are called shofars (Num 29:1) This day has four themes & names in addition to New Years Day – Rosh Hashanah.
1.Yom Teruah- A day of Trumpets. This day was established by God during the time of Moses.
Num 29:1-6 NKJ
And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. For you it is a day of blowing the trumpets. You shall offer a burnt offering as a sweet aroma to the Lord: one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year, without blemish. Their grain offering shall be fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the ram, and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs; also one kid of the goats as a sin offering, to make atonement for you; besides the burnt offering with its grain offering for the New Moon, the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their drink offerings, according to their ordinance, as a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord.
The Hebrew for grain offering is minchah means an offering, gift, tribute, present, sacrifice, portion, or donation. Although the offering of Cain & Able are termed minchah in Gen 4:4-5, minchah is usually translated grain offering (Lev 6:14). Elsewhere it is translated gifts, presents or tribute as seen in 1Kin 4:21. The minchah is primarily a religious offering, but may also be a personal gift that one gives to his ruler.
Trumpets or shofars play an important part in this festival with there sound & their symbolism. They are sounded one hundred times of each of the ten days of Awe & symbolise some of God's actions & ways.
The rams horn (shofar) that sounded at Mount Sinai when God made His covenant with the Israelites reminds us that God always works toward having a permanent relationship with mankind.
The ram caught by his horn (shofar) in the story of Isaac reminds us that God is merciful. He provided a ram to die in Isaac place, & a Saviour to die for the sins of the world.
2. Yom Hazikkaron – Day of remembering. This is a time to reflect on the past. It is traditional to remember loved ones who have died. People visit the graves of family members & reminisce before moving on & celebrating a new beginning in a New Year.
3 Birthday of the world. Rosh Hashanah is considered the anniversary of the creation of the world with an emphasis on God's ongoing relationship with man. He is the King who created our world& continues to renew it, & who created man & continues to pursue a relationship with us.
We celebrate God's loving interaction with mankind, with its many new beginnings or creations. The first was on the sixth day of creation when God created man & began a relationship with him. Next was Noah when God remembered him on the ark & dried up the flood waters to start the world over again. The third creation was of languages at the tower of Babel, languages still baffle us today. How often our words have caused misunderstanding even in our own language.
We also study Sarah & Hanna who were barren & had nothing to look forward to but death. Then God remembered them & gave them sons & new beginning. Each of theses sons would change the world. Also there is the story of God telling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. But it was not the end for Isaac. He was given back to his father – in a real way it was a new beginning.
4 Yom Hadin – Day of Judgement. In the Jewish tradition, a person's good deeds & bad deeds are weighed on a scale. if the good outweigh the bad the person's name is written by God in the Book of Life, ensuring life & health for the next year. People believe they are to repent & make amends before God seals their fate for the year. Each year people face judgement with dread, wondering if their good deeds (mitzvot) will tip the scales in their favour.
Jesus stated that people will be judged, not by balancing good & bad deeds, but simply by their response to Him. This is what He said in (Jn 5:19-46 abridged) Jesus gave them this answer: The Father loves the Son & shows Him all He does for just as the Father raises the dead & gives them life, even so the Son gives life Whom He is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgement to the Son, You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life. But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.
For the whole month before the festival, the rams horn (shofar) is sounded every morning in the synagogue. it is to stir our slumbering spirits, waking them up to reflect on the past year. During each of the two days of Rosh Hashanah, a total of one hundred blasts of the shofar is sounded.
The rams horn (shofar) has four different sounds:
Tekiah. one long beginning blast, a call to wake up & search our hearts.
Shevarim. three short blasts, our heart groaning as we realise our wrong ways.
Teru'ah. nine staccato blasts, our sobs as we seek God's forgiveness.
Tekiah Gedolah. one final blast sustained as long as possible, God calling us back to Him.
A pattern made from these different sounds is sometimes called a "prayer without words." In the same manner, our comforter The Holy Spirit (Ruah Hakodesh), helps us when we don't have words for prayer Rom 8:26.
Under the New Covenant (Brit Hadashah), the sound of the shofar will announce the return of Jesus. 1 Thes 4:16-17
Kittel. A Kittel is a simple white outfit used as burial clothes. They are also worn during Rosh Hashanah to show that God in His mercy will forgive those who are sorry for their sins. The Lord promised in Isa 1:18
Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool
Scripture points out that there are different ways to be sorry 2 Cor 7:10
Being repentant isn't enough unless it leads to
Jesus our Salvation, for only by Him can we be forgiven & cleansed from sin is by His blood.
Heb 9:22 & 28 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood & there is no remission.
So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
In addition Jesus will give white clothing to His faithful followers. He promised "He who overcomes will be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before My Father & His angels. Rev 3:5
We learn from this that God is so merciful that He sent the Messiah to shed blood for our cleansing, to dress us in white & to write our names in the Book of Life for ever.
Tashlih – The symbolic casting away of Sin. In the afternoon of the first day, many people go to a nearby body of flowing water. they throw crumbs into the moving water, symbolically showing that God rids us of our sins. Some people write a list of their sins on white paper with washable ink. They pass a large bowel of water around. Each person must slip his paper into the water, & their sins are washed away.
But sins don't just wash away because we want them to. All through Scripture God has promised us, but these promises only come together & are filled in Jesus Christ. Ps 51:1-10 (Abridged) have mercy on me, O God according to your unfailing love; wash away all my iniquity & cleanse me from my Sin. Cleanse me with hyssop, & I will be clean; wash me, & I will be whiter than snow. Create in me a pure heart, O God, & renew a steadfast spirit with me. Micah 7:19
You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea. I Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful & just to forgive us our sins & cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
In Heaven John saw a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people & language, standing before the throne & in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes & were holding palm branches in their hands. (An elder explained) These are they that have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes & made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Rev 7:9-14 (abridged).
Day Of judgement & Book Of Life. all mankind will face the Final Judgement, not yearly but at Christ's return. we read about it in the New Testament in 2 Cor 5:10
Only those sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus the Lamb will have their names written in the Book of Life. 2 Cor 5:19
The Jewish New Year is about new beginnings. God remembered mankind when we were dying & barren of hope. He sent Jesus to bring a New & Eternal covenant to the world. As the old year ends a new one begins. So it is in the Spiritual realm the old nature dies, one gets a new lease on Life. (2Cor 5 :17)
I will now cover a little on repentance.
In Luke 18:11-14 Jesus tells a parable of two men praying to God. One will be forgiven & one won't. To be completely forgiven we must recognise & confess every sin in our life, no matter how small. We cannot seek to justify ourselves by comparing ourselves with other sinners.
Jesus has a lot to say about humility & no wonder since it was pride that caused man's downfall. As the new Adam, Jesus exemplified the aspect of righteous living. Man fell because he presumed to go his own way above God's, but godliness requires that man does the opposite & humble himself before God's will & way. Then true God gives exaltation & recognition to those who least expect it.
2 Cor 7:10 Shows that Godly sorrow, is a response of turning to God in repentance which brings salvation.
Act 2:38 WE see that Peter encourages unbelievers to change their attitude towards Christ & to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ as a public acknowledgement that they had accepted Jesus as Messiah & Lord. They will receive full forgiveness of their sins which will be also forgotten.
Paul says in Rom .2:4-6 That those who show contempt for God's riches of His kindness, tolerance & patience, are storing up for themselves God's wrath, when His righteous judgement will be revealed. God will give to each person according to what he has done.
Luke 15:7 Jesus teaches that there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents then over ninety nine righteous people who have no need to repent.
Acts 3: 19-21 Shows that your sins are forgiven & forgotten by being converted, there is a refreshing that comes from God's presence. & we are to believe steadfastly that God will produce & fulfil everything that He has promised.
Acts 3;3-9 explains that the delay for Jesus return is because of End-time false teachers ridicule the prophetic promise of the Lords coming.
A positive explanation of the temporary lack of fulfilment is found in the character of a merciful God. Although the wickedness of humankind call for immediate action, God withholds His righteous wrath & delays judgement.
Jesus is waiting for those who are not yet saved. Maybe that someone is you or someone you know! The very last person to be saved before Jesus' return will rejoice for all eternity for the long wait!
God wants us to be sold out completely to Him. In Revelation we read about a group of people who are doing a lot right, to whom God has something stern to say. Rev 2:4-5
Give your love to Jesus first place in your life. commit yourself both emotionally & intellectually. In v 5 where Jesus says "I will come to you," is not referring to the second coming but to a spiritual coming in blessing or judgement. The phrase "Remove your lamp stand means that a congregation may continue to exist without being a light in the darkness.