Today and tomorrow is the Jewish New Year, otherwise known as Rosh Hashana (The head of the year) This holy day is also called by the following names
The Feast of Trumpets
Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance)
Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar or the awakening blast).
Yom Harat Olam means "The Birthday of the World."
Yom Hazikaron means "The Day of Remembering."
Yom Hadin means "The Day of Judgment."
The holiday is instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25.
So what? you may say. I'm not Jewish. Yet, doesn't the Bible say that if we are believers in Yeusha (Jesus) that we have been grafted into the Jewish vine?
Does that mean we have to celebrate the Jewish holidays? I really don't know. I DO know, however, that God instituted these Holy Days for a reason, right? Certainly a study of what they mean and entail can only enhance our knowledge of God and His will for us.
So what is Rosh Hashana?It is part of a special season known as Teshuvah, which in Hebrew means "to return or repent," This season begins on the first day of the month of Elul and continues 40 days, ending with Yom Kippur. Thirty days into this time of repentance is Rosh Hashana, which celebrates the new year on the first day of the month, Tishri.
Rosh Hashana begins a final ten-day period that ends on Yom Kippur. These are known as the High Holy Days and as the Awesome Days (Yamim Nora'im, the days of awe). Each morning during the 30 days of the month of Elul, the trumpet (shofar) or ram's horn is blown to warn the people to repent and return to God
The Three Meanings of the Blowing of the Trumpets:(1) First, it was a symbol of the final regathering of Israel when the Messiah comes.
(2) Second, it was a symbol of the resurrection from the dead.
(3) Third, on this day (Feast of Trumpets) three different books will be open in Heaven. One is called the Book of Righteousness. Those who were perfectly righteous would have their names inscribed in the Book of Life and they would live another year. The second book is called the Book of the Wicked or the Book of the Dead and those whose names are inscribed in this book would die during the year. Most people are neither totally righteous nor totally wicked, so there is a third book call the Book of the In Between. Those inscribed in the third book are given ten days to repent – the ten days between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement.
What happens on Rosh Hashana?No work is to be done.
Symbolic foods include both bread and apples dipped in honey in order to signify the wish for a sweet new year.
Time was to be spent in prayer and repentance
Time spent in synagogue listening to Scriptures read
In the afternoon following the service, the Jewish people go out to a body of water and symbolically empty their pockets into the water. This symbolizes God casting their sins into the depths of the sea.
No man knows the day or the hour
Unlike our days which begin and end at midnight, Jewish days begin and end at sundown. Rosh Hashana is a rare holiday which only begins at the sighting of the new moon in the evening. Priests were sent out to watch the sky as it grew dark and as soon as they saw the first sliver of the moon, they would report back to the synagogue, where it was confirmed. From there a shofar was blown to announce the beginning of the holiday. If the new moon was not sighted, they waited until it was or until the next day. Hence, the phrase "No man knows the day or hour" was often used when referring to this holiday.
I hope that, like me, you are seeing some interesting things pop out at you in the descriptions and purpose of this wonderful Holy day. Certainly, whether we are Jewish or not or whether we join in this celebration, wouldn't it be a good thing for us all to stop what we are doing and spend some time in deep prayer and repentance?