The Jewish Civil New Year begins on the first day of the month of Tishri on the Jewish calendar. This month equates to our calendar months of September/October. It was during this one month time frame that the Jews were instructed to observe three New Year related celebrations: Feast of Trumpets (1st), Day of Atonement(10th), and the Feast of Tabernacles(15th-21st).
As we study these three celebrations, we can learn much about preparing for our new year as well.
Lev 23:23-44; Nums 29:1-40
The Feast of Trumpets (Lev 23:23-25, Nums 29:1-6)
This feast centered upon the ritualistic sounding of trumpets used to call men to assemble before God. Besides calling men to attention or assembly, in the Bible, the blowing of trumpets emphasizes a new beginning, with new responsibilities, brought about by God’s intervention:
- Giving of 10 commandments – Exo 19:16
- Day of Atonement – forgiveness of national sin – Lev 25:9
- Fall of Wall of Jericho – Josh 6:20
- Defeat of Midianties – Judg 7:18
- Ark restored to city of David – 2 Sam 6:15
- New moon beginning of new lunar cycle, new time of worship and service – Psa 81:3
- Israel’s deliverance from bondage of Assyria and Egypt – Isa 27:13
- Taking Of His people to Heaven at Rapture – Matt 24:31, 1 Cor 15:52
- The Lord’s judgments during Tribulation period – Rev 8:13
The Feast of Trumpets helps to remind us that:
It is by the Lord’s grace that we are entering into a New Year which can be a new beginning for us all. This includes putting past failures behind us and looking forward to a new set of opportunities and responsibilities and victories in our service to Him.
The Day of Atonement (Lev 23:26-32, Num 29:7-11)
This was a day set aside for the Jewish people to “afflict” their souls. In other words, it was a time set aside for coming to the Lord in humility asking for forgiveness for sins and a renewal of dedication for His service, putting Him first in their lives.
Just as in the Feast of Trumpets, there was a series of offerings that were to be made:
- Burnt – picturing His death on the cross accepted by God – Lev 1:1-17
- Meat – picturing His blessings given to us – Lev 2:1-16
- Sin – Picturing forgiveness of our transgressions against Him – Lev 4:1-35
- Drink – Picturing His shed blood on our behalf – Nums 15:5-7
- Peace – Picturing His work brings about peace (rest, comfort, forgiveness) for us – Lev 3:1-5
- Taken together, these represent His death, and shed blood, resulting in our forgiveness, peace and other blessings.
This was perhaps the most important observance for the Jewish celebrations. If anyone refused to observe this Day of Atonement they were to be cut off from the people, alienated from all areas of worship and service.
The Day of Atonement reminds us that:
We have a great need to deal with our past sins, putting them behind us, and securing our communion with the Lord. We are to enter into a New Year of service humbly and in submission to the Lord’s will and way for our lives.
The motive for both of these should be His great sacrifice on our behalf. When we consider what He has done for us shouldn’t we desire a close walk with Him, not hindered by unconfessed sin? Shouldn’t we desire to be in submissive to His desires for us? After all, aren’t both of these “our duty to do”?
We cannot over emphasize the absolute importance of communion and submission for the coming year ahead. To deal with sin in our lives and then be submissive to will for the future is essential to living a victorious life in the coming year.
The Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 23:34-44, Nums 29:12-40)
The Feast of Tabernacles was an eight day observance (beginning on the 15th of the month and concluding on the 22nd day of the month). During this eight day celebration, the Israelites were to give sacrifices unto the Lord and dwell in booths (tents). It was observed to remind the Israelites of their dwelling in tents during their wilderness journeys following their release from Egyptian slavery.
The Feast of Tabernacles helps us to remind us that:
We are currently on a pilgrimage here on earth. This is not our permanent home, like the Israelites who were traveling through the wilderness waiting for the Promised Land. We are only strangers and pilgrims on this earth, waiting for our permanent, heavenly home.
When trials enter our lives this coming year we need to always keep in mind, our heavenly home awaits… our greatest need is to rely on our Lord and keep looking for our heavenly home.
Please note in all of these three celebrations, no work was to be done on these days, emphasizing the need to concentrate solely on the things of God. We should take a break from all the distractions the world has to offer and take time to simply commune with our Lord. What better way is there to start the New Year?
Also, in all three celebrations we find a command to convene (assemble) was issued, this would allow for a time of worship and also a time of encouragement to be passed from one Israelite to another as they prepared to face their New Year.
We, as well, should learn from this principle. Take time to worship at a Bible- believing church and try to encourage other Christians to prepare for the coming year.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION
For the Christian….
To summarize our preparation for the New Year:
- It is by the Lord’s grace that we are entering into a New Year which can be a new beginning for us all. (Phil 3:13-14)
- putting past failures behind us
- looking forward to a new set of opportunities and responsibilities and victories in our service to Him.
- Entering into a New Year of service humbly and submitting to the Lord’s will and way for our lives. (James 4:7-8)
- Recognize His great sacrifice on our behalf. (Luke 17:10)
- When we consider all He has done for us shouldn’t we desire a close walk with Him, not hindered by unconfessed sin?
- Shouldn’t we desire to be in submissive to His desires for us?
- After all, aren’t both of these “our duty to do”?
- Realize we are currently on a pilgrimage here on earth. We are waiting for our permanent, heavenly home. (Heb 11:13-16)
- When trials enter our lives this coming year we need to always keep in mind, our heavenly home awaits, our trials will only last for a season.
- We should take a break from all the distractions the world has to offer and take time to simply commune with our Lord. What better way is there to start the New Year? (Psa 63:1-7)
- Take time to attend a Bible- believing church (Heb 10:24-25)
- We can worship the Lord
- We can encourage other Christians to prepare for the coming year.
For those who have never trusted in Christ…
Now is the time for you to put your life of rebellion against God and His Word behind you and begin the New Year as a new creature in Christ (2 Cor 5:14-21). None of us know what the New Year will bring into our lives, however, the greatest insurance for the future is being a child of God (Gal 4:4-7). He promises to His children that He will never leave nor forsake His children (Heb 13:5-6) . If adopted into His family, you can be assured of His love, care, communion and intervention in your life, as well as a glorious eternity awaiting you. (Matt 6:25-24)
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