Last week (Wednesday evening to Friday evening) Jews around the world commemorated Rosh Hashanah…the civil new year in Israel. It was a time of celebration and blowing the shofar. Rosh Hashanah launches the fall feast season, leading up to Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Biblically speaking, those feasts are the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles.
This year, Yom Kippur falls on Friday at sundown (until Saturday at sundown), and the 10 days encompassing Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the 10 Days of Awe. Those 10 days are a time of reflection. Just as we tend to evaluate the year and set new resolutions each new year here in America, the Jews respond similarly to their new year. It is a time of reflection and determination to live better in the days ahead. So, for 10 days, Jews focus on that.
The culmination of those 10 days is Yom Kippur…the Day of Atonement. It is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar and, in Temple days, was the day the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies to sprinkle blood on the Ark of the Covenant and send out the scapegoat in ceremonial efforts to atone for sin.
But let’s consider the prophetic significance of the fall feasts. Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of something new…a new year. The Bible identifies that day as the Feast of Trumpets. Jesus, as the fulfillment of every Jewish feast, will one day fulfill this feast as well!
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
~1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
Yes, a trumpet will sound and we will celebrate something new! Jesus will descend from heaven at the trumpet sound and followers of Jesus Christ will be caught up together to meet Him in the air! That is the rapture! Next up on the prophetic calendar!
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is a solemn time. Why? Because, just as in Temple days, it is a day of repentance, when sin is forgiven. Prophetically, it is a day when Jewish eyes will be open to see the Messiah and all Israel will be saved, as prophesied in Romans 11:26. This speaks of national salvation for Israel!
Soon after Yom Kippur, the Jews will celebrate Sukkot, commemorating their release from Egyptian bondage and the ingathering within the Promised Land. Biblically, Sukkot is the Feast of Tabernacles, also a celebration of “ingathering.” This feast speaks of the ingathering of all believers, both Jew and Gentile, following Israel’s national salvation.
Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths [Tabernacles].
It is fall feast season and, just as Jesus fulfilled the spring and early-summer feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost), He will fulfill the fall feasts. The 7 major Jewish feasts are God’s calendar for world events. While we celebrate the “shadow” until Jesus’s return, we will soon celebrate the “substance” when King Jesus arrives to call His followers home!