This time of year has always been one of my favorites. I love the turning of the leaves, the change in the air, the snow on the mountains… we light candles and have a merry fire burning in the wood stove. We have the house decorated with autumn colors, a special tablecloth, pumpkins (not carved), and a string of lights by the front door. It’s very cozy. =) However, the past two years it has had special significance due to the addition of several days to our remembrance.
The first of those days was last week on the first of Tishri, which fell on the 5th day of the week beginning in the evening, which translated into Wednesday night. This was the Feast of Trumpets or Yom Teruah. Traditionally, Judaism also calls this day Rosh Hoshanna, or the head of the year. It is believed to be the anniversary of the day of Creation. There are no specifics in Scripture as to how we are to celebrate the day other than blowing the shofar, or trumpet. In our home, since we do not yet own a shofar, we ate a special meal, played a shofar recording and then talked about what this day could mean and what it traditionally means.
Today is the second of the days mentioned in Scripture. Today is the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. On this day for thousands of years, the high priest would prepare himself and enter the Holy of Holies to perform the annual sacrifice of atonement for sin. If you are not familiar with this, it makes a very interesting read, especially the part about the two goats. You will find one of the passages in Leviticus 16. The tradition for Yom Kippur is to fast from food, water and comforts. Scripture does say to afflict yourself, but in Hebrew, the translation does not specify fasting. I think fasting can be a very powerful thing to do if it is done for the right reason, but I don’t see that it is specifically commanded for this day. Here is the Strong’s definition of the word anah, used in verse 31:
A primitive root (possibly rather ident. With anah through the idea of looking down or browbeating); to depress literally or figuratively, transitive or intransitive (in various applications, as follows) — abase self, afflict(-ion, self), answer (by mistake for anah), chasten self, deal hardly with, defile, exercise, force, gentleness, humble (self), hurt, ravish, sing (by mistake for anah), speak (by mistake for anah), submit self, weaken, X in any wise.
Fasting seems like it would accomplish all of these things, but any serious introspection and humility followed by repentance and confession would be very useful as well. At any rate, this is a wonderful day set aside specifically to make your heart right with YHWH and your fellow man. (hopefully this is not the only day this takes place!) As a believer, this is also a perfect day to dwell on and be thankful for the perfect atonement sacrifice of the spotless Lamb, the Messiah.
Next week begins the week-long feast of Tabernacles, which is known as the Season of Rejoicing. I will talk more about that as it draws near.
One of the beautiful things about these days is their significance historically as well as prophetically. The Feast of Trumpets can easily be seen as the trumpet sound for the return of the Messiah. The Day of Atonement could represent The Day of the Lord (YHWH), also called The Lord’s (YHWH’s) Day, spoken of throughout the prophets and in Revelation 1:10. The Feast of Tabernacles as the Millennium. There are several views on each of these and I do not have a solid view on any particular one, but I can definitely see how they all point to the second coming of Messiah in some form.