Jewish Traditions in the Fall Feasts

Jewish traditions do not carry the weight of scripture, but they can lend interesting insights into the cultural understanding surrounding how future prophecy might be fulfilled.

Days of Teshuvah (Repentance) – Elul 1 – Tishrei 10 (40 Days)

This 40 day season is a time of repentance before the Day of Judgment, in Jewish Tradition. This year (2017), the first day was marked by a Total Solar Eclipse over America.  As a human tradition, it does not carry the weight of one of the Feasts of God.  However, when we dive into a study of the month of Elul and the Season of Teshuvah, we start to uncover some interesting facts.

The month of Elul precedes the month of Tishrei, wherein we find the Fall Feasts which are next to be fulfilled prophetically.  From Jewish FAQ, an orthodox Jewish site (bolding mine):

The month of Elul is a time of repentance in preparation for the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Tradition teaches that the month of Elul is a particularly propitious time for repentance. This mood of repentance builds through the month of Elul to the period of Selichot, to Rosh Hashanah, and finally to Yom Kippur.  During the month of Elul, from the second day of Elul to the 28th day, the shofar (a hollowed out ram’s horn) is blown after morning services every weekday. The shofar is not blown on Shabbat. It is also not blown on the day before Rosh Hashanah to make a clear distinction between the rabbinical rule of blowing the shofar in Elul and the biblical mitzvah to blow the shofar on Rosh Hashanah. Four blasts are blown: tekiah, shevarim-teruah, tekiah.  Rambam explained the custom of blowing shofar as a wake-up call to sleepers, designed to rouse us from our complacency. It is a call to repentance. The blast of the shofar is a very piercing sound when done properly.

(source: JewFAQ http://www.jewfaq.org/elul.htm)

At Hebrew4Christians, a Messianic Jewish site, we learn some more interesting information.  According to Jewish historians, Moses actually ascended on Mount Sinai THREE times for forty days and forty nights.  His first ascent was on Shavuot (Pentecost), 50 days after the Exodus (Passover).  This is when Moses received the 10 Commandments and the Torah.  He descended, saw the Israelites worshiping the golden calf, and smashed the tablets.  The next day, he burned the golden calf and made them drink it.  He then re-ascended Mount Sinai the following day and interceded for God’s mercy on Israel for 40 days.  He descended without an answer from God.  God called Moses the following day to ascend Mount Sinai a third time, where the second set of tablets was completed along with the Torah.  Moses then descended on Yom Kippur (Tishrei 10) with God’s assurance of forgiveness.

God’s timing is never arbitrary.

The last 40-day period of Moses on Mount Sinai is what is commemorated as the Forty Days of Teshuvah.  This is a season of repentance and “soul-searching”.  The theme verse is Isaiah 55:6 – Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near (ESV).   The 40 days includes the entire month of Elul, then culminates in the first 10 Days of Tishrei.

10 Days of Awe – Tishrei 1 – 10 (between Feast of Trumpets and Yom Kippur)

The 10 Days between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement are somber and reflective, during which one’s eternal fate is believed to be “sealed”.  It is said in Jewish tradition that books are opened on the day of Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets).  The righteous are written in the Book of Life, the wicked are written in the Book of Death, and those in limbo have ten days to repent before their fate is sealed in one book or the other.  These 10 days are known as the Days of Awe, or the Ten Days of Repentance.  Many prayers during this time are centered around being made worthy to be written in the Book of Life (reference: Hebrew4Christians http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Fall_Holidays/Rosh_Hashannah/rosh_hashannah.html).  This reminds me of a passage in Luke which is strongly suggestive of the rapture of the church:

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.  (Luke 21:36 KJV)

The overall atmosphere of the Days of Awe is one of REPENTANCE.  Could this be a reference to 2 Peter 3:9?

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (ESV).

God is merciful and patient towards us.

Conclusion

Repentance is a major theme in Jewish tradition as the fall feasts of Israel draw near.  Could this season of repentance point to God’s merciful offer of salvation right up until His second coming?

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
    “return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
     and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
    and he relents over disaster.”  Joel 2:12-13 ESV

I wonder if there might be a dual fulfillment of these days of Awe, and the season of Teshuvah.  Perhaps the rapture will occur on a Yom Kippur, with the second coming of Christ occurring on a future Yom Kippur (approximately 7 years later)?  We just do not know, which is why it is so important to repent while the window is yet open.

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

 The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  Be a Berean – examine the scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so!

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