Summary: Rosh Hashanah
The Feast of Trumpets - Leviticus 23 - 10/2/16
L’Shanah Tovah Tik-e-tay-voo! That is a Jewish greeting that is especially significant for us today. To find out why, I’d invite you to turn to the book of Leviticus, chapter 23. That greeting - L’Shanah Tovah Tik-e-tay-voo - means “May your name be inscribed for a good year”. It is a greeting the Jews use on Rosh Hashanah. TODAY is Rosh Hashanah, which literally means “the head of the year.” It is like saying “Happy New Year” on January 1st for us. The Jews celebrate with apples dipped in honey and with Challah bread to celebrate the sweetness of a new year.
But today isn’t January 1st - so why celebrate a new year now? Let’s remember that there are several “starts” to the year. We celebrate the civil year on January 1st - but we celebrate the Academic year when school starts in the beginning of September or end of August. In fact, if you go to Staples, you can buy an academic calendar where the first month on the calendar is September. And then there are financial years - when you file your taxes, you will notice on the 1040 form there is the option of when you start your fiscal year - because many companies run from July 1 to June 30 for tax reasons.
So in the Jewish calendar, the religious year actually starts with Passover. In Exodus 12:2 God tells Moses, This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. But the civil year started with the first day of the seventh month.
You might say, Why focus on all this “Jewish stuff”? And the answer is because the BIBLE is written about “Jewish stuff” - Jesus was a Jew, Moses was a Jew, Abraham was a Jew, Paul was a Jew. And as we learn about the Jews, we learn lessons for how WE - white, anglo-saxon Protestants that we are - should worship.
Now in the Bible we never find Rosh Hashanah mentioned - but it is in the bible under another name. And that’s what we find here in Leviticus 23. Look down in verse 24: “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. So this is our Rosh Hashanah, the head of the year. It’s also mentioned in Numbers 29:1 - On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets. We often call it the Feast of Trumpets. And it is one of the seven feasts of Israel.
Today, think for a moment - what do you know about ANY of the feasts of Israel? Probably not nearly enough. So let’s learn a little bit together this morning. And as we do, let’s ask God’s help in teaching us. Let’s PRAY!
The Jewish feasts are broken down into four Spring feasts and three Fall feasts. The first is the
Feast of Passover - to commemorate the death angel “passing over” the homes of the Jews during the Exodus account. Every home where the blood was applied was safe. We understand from studying the NT - 1 Corinthians 5:7 - For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Christ died as our perfect sacrifice, the only one who could take away our sin. For thousands of years Jews sacrificed bulls and goats to atone for their sins - but Hebrews 10 tells us, But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. The sacrifices never took away the people’s sin - it merely covered them until Jesus could come and die as the perfect sacrifice, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
The next feast - the Feast of Unleavened Bread - celebrates the bread eaten at Passover - it was made without yeast. And we celebrate Jesus who lived without sin. He was tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.
The third feast, the Feast of Firstfruits, celebrated the Jews offering the first fruit in hope of a coming harvest. When Jesus is raised from the dead on the third day, He rises in fulfillment of the wave offering in the OT. On the day after the sabbath of Passover, Sunday, the priest would wave a sheaf of grain up in the air, as the firstfruit offering. 1 Corinthians 15 tells us, Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Christ is the firstfruit - in the OT, the Jews would bring an offering to God of the first fruit that came on the trees. This was an offering that showed their faith. They were saying, God, I thank you that you are providing fruit, so I give the first fruit to you in the hope and confidence that you will continue to provide MORE fruit. On Sunday, early in the morning the first day of the week, Christ is raised as a firstfruit offering - because HE rose from the dead, we have a confident assurance that WE ALSO will rise one day too! And so we rely on the power of God to bring us through every difficulty we might face.