jay dockins’ rock of israel newsletter- special fall feasts edition, september 2013

(The material shared in this special edition was originally shared in this forum in September and October of 2011, but I thought it timely enough to share again as we approach the Fall Feasts of the LORD!) 

Rosh HaShana (Jewish New Year),
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles)

The Fall Feasts of the Lord occur very early this year. (At sundown on September 4th, 13th and 18th, respectively.) I will be publishing my regular newsletter around the middle of September, but I felt the need to share some additional things about Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. The  things which I share will hopefully help everyone to better understand the implications of these days in the light of Christian/Messianic thought.


Rosh HaShana (Leviticus 23:23-26)

Rosh HaShanah (Feast of Trumpets) occurs during the time of Teshuva (repentance) in the Fall of the Year. It is the first of the Fall feasts and begins on the first day of the month of Tishrei. It begins the final ten days of repentance which culminates on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), on the 10th of Tishrei. During this ten day period it is believed that the fate of each person for the coming year is determined. It is believed that on Rosh HaShanah three books are opened: one containing the names of the righteous, another containing the names of the wicked and a third containing the names of those who are not wholly righteous or wicked. It is the fate of those in the third book which is believed to be determined by their repentance during the 10 day period from Rosh HaShanah to Yom Kippur.

There are several names or idioms which are attached to Rosh HaShanah which indicate what it represents to believers in Yeshua (Jesus):

1.  Rosh HaShanah- the Head of the Year, Birthday of the World
2. Yom Teruah- the Day of the Awakening Blast (heard by those who are listening for it!)
3. Yom HaDin- the Day of Judgment (the day when believers are judged)
4. HaMelech- (the Coronation of the Messiah!)
5. The time of Ya’akov’s (Jacob’s) trouble
6. Kiddushin/Nesu’in (the wedding ceremony)- the day when the Messiah takes His bride!
7. The last trump- (1 Corinthians 15: 51, 52 “Behold , I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep , but we shall all be changed , In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound , and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed .”
8. Yom Hakeseh (the hidden day)- this feast is celebrated over two days. (Matthew 25:1-13)

There is obviously a lot going on with this feast, but for believers the event which this day points to is the Rapture or the catching away of the Bride of Messiah! (Refer to the list above as I explain!)

Rosh HaShanah brings about a whole new world for the believer! It begins with the Awakening Blast which is heard by those who are listening for it! (If you aren’t listening for it, you won’t hear it!) At the sounding of the God’s trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:16), the dead in Messiah (Christ) rise first, then “we which are alive and remain” are caught up to meet the Lord in the air to be with Him forever! In the Feasts of the Lord, there are three occasions on which trumpets are sounded. The “first trump” is sounded at Shavout (Pentecost), symbolizing the voice of God which sounded like a trumpet as He gave the Law. The “last trump” is sounded at Rosh HaShanah and symbolizes all of the things listed above! The “great trump” is sounded at Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and symbolizes the regathering of Israel so that Yeshua can rule over them on David’s throne! (Isaiah 27:13 and Matthew 24:31)

Here is the good news for believers, at the sounding of the trumpet, we are judged and our eternal destiny has been settled! (“…And so shall we ever be with the Lord!” 1 Thessalonians 4:17)  Hence, it is the day when our eternal destiny is made sure!  This day also starts the “time of Jacob’s trouble” or the Tribulation Period.

And finally, Rosh HaShanah symbolizes the Coronation of the Messiah, the Wedding Ceremony when He takes His bride and our (those who are in Christ) gathering to Him to be with Him forever! This occurs in an hour and a day which no man knows (symbolized by the feast occurring over two days)!

Now, if you want to celebrate the event which the Rosh HaShanah symbolizes and speaks of then you should do two things!

1. Eat apples dipped in honey so that you will have a sweet and fruitful year! Hey, it really beats the tradition of  eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day to bring “good luck” for the coming year! (Yuck!)

2. Be listening for the trumpet of God and be living for Him!

Yom Kippur (Leviticus 23:27-32)

The date of Yom Kippur is the tenth of Tishrei, occurring in Sept./Oct. each year. It is a day of prayer and fasting and not of celebration or work. In fact, the proper greeting for the day is, “Have an easy fast.”, and never “Happy Yom Kippur”. It is certainly not a happy day and no secular activity is permitted on the day.

On Yom Kippur, the High Priest of Israel would be the center of attention and the main participant in the ceremonies of the day. He was to wash himself and dress in the clothes in which he would carry out his duties of the day.

The priest’s main and most obvious duties of the day were the sacrifice and offering of a bull and two goats unto the LORD. The sacrifice of the bull was to purge any defilement of the high priest or his family. The two goats served one offering and as a two-fold picture of the future Messiah and what He would accomplish through His sacrifice!

The two goats were brought before the High Priest and their role individual roles were determined by lot. The two goats were brought before the High Priest and two lots were placed in a container and drawn out. One was marked “for the LORD” and the goat for whom that lot was chosen was to serve as a sacrifice for the sins of the people. The other was marked “to Azazel” and would be the scapegoat. (If the lot for “the LORD” came up in the right hand of the High Priest, it was considered a good omen. But if the lot “to Azazel” came up in the right hand, it was considered an evil omen. For forty consecutive years immediately prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E., the lots came up in indication of a bad omen, i.e.: the sacrifice had not been accepted by God as atonement for the sins of the people! Why? Because the sacrifice for the sins of the people of Israel had already been offered one Pesach (Passover) when Yeshua became the Great High Priest and was offered for the sins of the world!)

The High Priest’s ministry on Yom Kippur was as follows. He would offer the blood of the bull upon the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies. He would then offer the blood of the goat chosen for sacrifice as a sin offering upon the Mercy Seat for the sins of Israel. After that, he would confess the sins of the people upon the head of the goat that had been determined to be the Scapegoat and that goat was led out into the wilderness, taken to the edge of a cliff and thrown off so that it would not wander back into the camp, bearing the sins of the people.

One interesting detail of the day was that of leather straps that had been dyed scarlet. One had been  tied around the neck of the goat that was offered as a sin offering and the other around the neck of the scapegoat. The leather straps were removed as each goat was dealt with. They were both tied to the posts of the Tabernacle, and later the Temple. The people would gather around and watch the straps to see if they miraculously turned white. If they did it was an indication that the LORD had accepted the sacrifice and that the sins of the people had been atoned for! This certainly reminds one of Isaiah 1:18 which states, “Come now, let us settle the matter, says the LORD. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (For forty years before the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E., the straps did not turn white, indicating that the sacrifice had not been sufficient to remove the sins of the people. Once again, it was an indication that the necessary offering had already been offered one Pesach (Passover) when Yeshua became the Great High Priest and was offered for the sins of the world!)

Just a few more points will help us to wrap up our supplemental discussion of what occurred on the Day of Atonement.

Jesus became our Great High Priest!

1. On Yom Kippur, the High Priest used a golden censer as He entered the most Holy Place to intercede for the people. Jesus, in His present ministry as our Great High Priest is our Mediator and Intecessor, living to make intercession for us!
1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
Hebrews 7:25 “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Hebrews 4:14-16 “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

2. On Yom Kippur, the High Priest carried out His ministry in holy linen garments. Jesus put on the garment of flesh to carry out His ministry of atoning for the sins of the world! These linen garments of the High Priest were stained with blood as the High Priest carried out his ministry.
As Jacob prophesied over his sons, he spoke, in Genesis 49:10, 11, of the ruler who would come from Judah with these words. “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.” Surely the garments of Jesus were washed in wine, the blood of grapes (symbolic of His own blood)! He came in the garment of human flesh and completed the bloody work of the High Priest in His own flesh!

Sukkot (Leviticus 23:33-44)

The Feast of Tabernacles is the final of the Seven Feast of the Lord and commences on the 15th of Tishrei each year. It is a time of joy and is as joyous a celebration as Yom Kippur is solemn! The whole theme of Tabernacles is that of God dwelling with man!

It just naturally follows that “The Season of Our Joy!”, as Tabernacles is known, follows the Days of Awe when repentance and atonement are the themes. Sukkot is all about celebrating and a reminder of the faithfulness of God as the Children of Israel wandered through the Wilderness with God as their constant Companion and Provider!

It is the Presence of the LORD dwelling with His people which is the theme of Sukkot! We will briefly look at His dwelling with the Children of Israel in the Wilderness, dwelling with man in an “earthly tabernacle” and the future dwelling with the Redeemed of the Ages throughout eternity!

The greatest miracle of the wandering of the Children of Israel in the Wilderness was God dwelling with His people. He abode with them night and day, by the pillar of fire and by the cloud, respectively. In His dwelling with Israel’s Children He provided for their every need! They were fed, their clothes and shoes did not wear out but simply lasted and grew with them, they were protected from their enemies and the LORD made His dwelling in the middle of their camp in the Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting! This is the central focus of the celebration at Sukkot, as I understand it!

God performed the miracle again when He sent His Son, Yeshua (Jesus), to dwell among men! It was a fulfillment of Sukkot when Jesus came unto His own! There are many interesting aspects suggested by Sukkot, namely that Jesus may have been born during the Feast of Tabernacles. Consider the following:
1. Jesus put on human flesh. Ephesians 2:7, 8 “He took on the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a
man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Paul refers to the body of man in interesting language, when in 2 Corinthians 5:1, he refers to the earthly body as the “earthly house of this tabernacle.”
2. John’s description of Jesus coming into the world was that  “the Word (Jesus) was made flesh and dwelt (to tent, encamp, tabernacle) with us, we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 Jesus came and camped out with humanity to be our Savior!

“I bring you tidings of Great Joy!”

3. The traditional greeting of Sukkot was, “I bring you tidings of great joy!” This is the same greeting with which the angel greeted the shepherds who were tending their flocks outside of Bethlehem.  Luke 2:10, 11 Why this joyous greeting? “For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
4. On the first night of Sukkot, four seventy-five foot high lampstands were set up in the Court of the Women in the Temple. The wicks of the lamps were made from the worn out garments of the priests which had been torn into strips (called swaddling cloths). The Mishnah (an ancient Jewish writing) states in Sukkah 5:3 that light emanating from the four lampstands was so bright that there was not any courtyard in Jerusalem which was not lit up with the light! (To the four directions of the compass from the Court of the Women in God’s Temple in Jerusalem, emanated a light which came from swaddling cloths, a light that reached every courtyard in Jerusalem and caused a great celebration of joy to erupt!)
5. When Jesus was born, there was no room for He, Joseph and Mary in any inn in Bethlehem. They were forced to take shelter in a temporary shelter built for animals called a “sukkah”, the singular form of sukkot!
(I have only provided this information as fodder for further study, if you wish. I do not believe, of course, that this is a matter which is vital to salvation or fellowship, just an interesting study!)

The LORD will perform one more miracle connected with the meaning of Sukkot. At the conclusion of end time events, He will dwell forever with all those who are His, His Bride! John describes this time in Revelation 21 and 22. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

What a great day that will be when we move into the Tabernacle of God which the LORD Himself has prepared for us to dwell with Him for eternity and have all tears wiped from our eyes! No more death! No more sorrow or crying! No more pain! Just eternity with Him! 

There are many more things which we could say about these three feasts, but these are some which I felt that I should share with you! I hope that they will be a blessing to you!

Be looking for the next issue of my newsletter coming out around the middle of September! Shalom!


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