Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, & Sukkot
By: Joyce Picker (with excerpts from Harlon’s new book; “The Biblical Feasts and Festivals of the LORD” -- coming out soon --)
This time of year is extraordinary for us as Believers in Messiah. It is a time to vividly see through spiritual eyes and understand the depths of our Father’s love for us in Yeshua the Messiah. It is a time for reflection, forgiveness, anticipation, and great HOPE.
I’m referring to the Fall Feasts of the Lord and the significance they have for everyone who puts their trust in Yeshua. These appointed times are exciting, magnificent and show us that we serve a God who keeps His promises. The Bible says that our Father always answers YES and AMEN.
I’m sharing a brief teaching on the Fall Feasts for you to review. Harlon is almost finished with his book on The Biblical Feasts and Festivals of the LORD, for both Christians and Jews. Leviticus 23: 1-44 is where we find the most comprehensive accounting of the Biblical Feasts. Here is when they occur on the Hebrew Calendar:
Major Feasts and Feast Dates
Passover – Pesach – Nisan 14
Unleavened Bread – Hag Matzah – Nissan 15
First Fruits – Yom HaBikkurim – Sunday after Pesach
Pentecost – Shavu’ot – 50 Days after Yom HaBikkurim
Feast of Trumpets – Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah – Tishri 1
Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur – Tishri 10
Feast of Tabernacles – Sukkot – Tishri 15
Feast of Esther – Purim
Feast of Dedication – Chanukah
Fast of the 5th Month – Tisha B’Av
Elul, the Hebrew month on the calendar, is when we enter the Fall Feasts. Elul usually coincides with September-October on the Gregorian calendar and is associated with “A Time of Repentance.”
Not only does Yeshua give us times to repent every day or whenever we desire to, but we are also given an entire month to repent. In this appointed time of reflection, it is crucial to stay connected to the Spirit of God, not the flesh. Our soulish nature (the flesh) wants to rebel at all times! When we are closer to God and operating out of His Spirit and strength, this is when we are truly victorious.
We just celebrated Yom Teruah or The Feast of Trumpets, also known as the Jewish New Year. In between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur are the Ten Days of Awe, when we reflect and forgive. Then comes Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and afterward, Sukkot, or The Feast of Tabernacles.
The Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) is probably the most exciting of the Biblical Feasts and Festivals. For Believers, this is the appointed time when Yeshua is coming back for His bride! Directed by His Father in Heaven and the sounding of a Shofar, Yeshua will return to consummate the marriage to His betrothed. At this time, we will experience the Marriage Supper of the Lamb with our groom and King, Yeshua!
The sounding of the Shofar is a type of spiritual wake-up call. Each sound has a meaning and serves a specific purpose.
To gather an assembly before ADONAI.
To sound a battle alarm.
To remind us of the ram that God provided to be sacrificed in Isaac’s place.
To give us direction/instruction when it is sounded.
To announce the coronation of a new king.
The four trumpet calls that are commonly sounded are:
Tekiah - which means "blast." It is intended to cause the worshipper to pay attention. This call could have been what was sounded before the shout that brought down the walls of Jericho.
Shevarim - which means "broken." This blast could be the one that sounded for the call-to-repentance when the children of Israel sinned before ADONAI. (Isaiah 58:1).
Teruah - which means "alarm" or "shatter." This call might have been what was sounded by Gideon's army when the 300 Israelites attacked the Midianites. They sounded the 'alarm' with their Shofars and 'shattered" the clay pots
Tekiah Ga’dolah - which means "long blast." This extended blast could have been played at Mt. Sinai to assemble the Israelites to receive the Torah from God. It is also what we might hear when the "Last Trumpet" is sounded, and we are caught up in the air to meet the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus)!
Here are eleven of the 100 traditional Shofar blasts sounded in a Jewish Synagogue on Rosh Hashanah. They are usually sounded by a 'Baal Tekiah' or Master Blower.
Tekiah, Shevarim, Teruah, Tekiah
Tekiah, Shevarim, Tekiah
Tekiah, Teruah, Tekiah
In a spiritual sense, the sequence in which the Shofar calls are blown symbolizes the fall of mankind. It reminds us of our sinful nature and that we need a savior and His blood sacrifice to make us whole again. The final call that is blown is encouraging as it announces to us that the broken world is restored.
Each series of Shofar blasts begins and ends with a Tekiah (the long continuous note). These are like parentheses to the broken blasts. The symbolic order echoes the theme of Rosh Hashanah, "We were whole, we became broken, but we shall be whole again."[i]
This Feast is very significant for Believers today. The dead will rise with “a trump of God…” as in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, so it’s a plus to be familiar with the Shofar and the calls!
God gives us new beginnings weekly as in the Sabbath, monthly renewals as in Rosh Chodesh, and throughout the year as in the Biblical Feast and Festivals. He makes it clear He wants us to refresh, reflect, and be renewed constantly.
The biblical name for the Day of Atonement is Yom HaKippurim, meaning "The day of covering or concealing." We know it today as Yom Kippur. It is the second of the Fall Feasts and is the holiest day of the year on the Biblical Calendar.
The Hebrew word for 'Atonement' is Kaphar –it means:
To overlook or forgive: (Ps 78:38) – Everything shall be done that needs to be done to make the sinner at one with God. Sin will need to be forgiven, covered over, and the Father’s wrath neutralized by paying a fine.
To expiate an offense or a fault: (Dan 9:24) – In other words, a complete satisfaction shall be made to the offended. It should be noted: the sinner does not present Messiah’s sacrifice as payment (to "make the satisfaction”); God did this once and for all through Yeshua for those who believe!
Yom Kippur has four main elements.
Hold a Holy Convocation – it was a worship event.
Humble your Souls – fasting or denying yourself.
Present an Offering – central to the ritual.
Do not work – work was forbidden.
After completing the Ten Days of T’shuva (Repentance), we have searched our hearts for anything contrary to God’s Word or His will for our lives. God knows every hidden chamber and every secret place where we may try to hide our sins.
Hebrews 9:23-28 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Messiah has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another-- He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Messiah 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. (NKJV)
Yom Kippur is a day of grand celebration for the Messianic Believer (Jew and Gentile)as we remember that Yeshua died for us.[i]
The final fall festival to be celebrated is Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles), and it occurs on the 15th day of Tishri, precisely five days after Yom Kippur.
Sukkot is one of the three 'pilgrim' feasts. The other two are the Feasts of Unleavened Bread (Passover) and First Fruits (Shavu’ot). These feasts coincide with the time of year when the sons of Israel were to return to Jerusalem.
The Torah tells us to do four things for the Feast of Sukkot:
Live in a Sukkah for seven days
Make sacrifices to ADONAI for seven days
Rejoice before ADONAI
A Sukkah is nothing more than a temporary dwelling to remind us we are safe and secure because of God’s provision. It is by God’s Divine providence and not because of anything we have done in our own strength.
The seventh day of Sukkot has been given the significant title of Hoshana Rabbah. Hoshana means, please save us now. The people of Israel shouted "Hoshana!" as Yeshua rode (on the colt of a donkey) into Jerusalem before the Passover festival. As Yom Kippur concludes the Season of Judgment, Hoshana Rabbah gave the Jewish people one more opportunity to ask God to reverse His decision on placing their names in the Book of Death.
Yeshua declared that He was the fulfillment of Hoshana Rabbah –
John 7:37-38 On the last day (Hoshana Rabbah), that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." (NKJV)
Some Messianic Jewish Believers feel that this is when Yeshua was actually born. That this is what the Bible meant when it said that God would “Tabernacle” with man.[i]
I pray this brief blog has given you some idea of the Feasts and Festivals and that they are a true blessing to you in your walk with the Lord. I would like to end with another excerpt from chapter seven of Harlon’s upcoming book. It is My Persistent Prayer:
Father God, I’m going to ask you again. You have heard this same prayer many times before. I have asked it in every way I can imagine, and every time You have said nothing at all. But I’m back with the same request, and I’m not going to give up. If it takes ten thousand times or more, I will ask and ask. My persistence is not from a LACK of faith in You. It is the deepest expression of my faith in You. I believe You are God. I believe You can do anything. I believe You hear my prayers. I believe You want the very best for me. I believe You have answered my prayer with YES and will someday show me the physical manifestation of this. But those are not the biggest reasons I keep asking. I ask again and again because Yeshua, my Messiah Your Son, told me to. He said I should not give up, so I won’t. Until you tell me to quit, I won’t. I will ask every day! I am excited about You and what You will do on my behalf. (Now, make it personal and ask for what it is you need and have not received yet and believe HE will grant it because it is a righteous request and in alignment with His will.) I thank You Father God and I know I will receive it in Yeshua’s Holy Name. Amen
C’hag Sameach! (Happy Festival or Holiday)
Love in Yeshua,
[i] [Excerpts from The Biblical Feasts and Festivals of the Lord by Harlon Picker]
*Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Italics added)