I drive through a Jewish neighborhood each day on the way to and from work. This week, I see many Jewish families walking to a neighborhood synagogue. That is not an unusual scene, except that it is currently happening every single day. What’s going on?
Jews worldwide celebrated Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets) last Sunday to Monday evenings. (According to the Jewish calendar, days begin at sundown.) That joyful celebration of a new civil year is similar to New Year celebrations around the world, but it is followed by some of the most somber, contemplative days on the Hebrew calendar.
The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) are called the Days of Awe, and are days in which Jews engage in repentance, prayer and acts of charity. According to Jewish tradition, the righteous (tzaddikim) are written into the Book of Life, while the wicked (resha’im) are written into the Book of Death. Most, though, are not yet written in either, thus, are given the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to repent. Thus, there is significant introspection among Jews during these 10 days.
As believers and followers of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, God’s Word tells us the sacrificial offering of Yeshua (Jesus) paid for our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), enabling us to trust and believe in Him to write our names in the Book of Life! Yes, we too must repent of our sin, but the moment we do and acknowledge that Jesus paid the price for it on the cross, our names are entered into that great Book of Life!
While we look to Jesus Christ as our atonement, those following Jewish law attempt to do enough (repent, pray, acts of charity) prior to Yom Kippur to appease the requirements of God. How much is enough?
Finally, understand that Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) are the final 3 of 7 major feasts in Israel. Each points to Jesus, and each has been or will be fulfilled by Jesus:
- Passover – Jesus was our Passover Lamb, shedding His innocent blood for our sin.
- Feast of Unleavened Bread – just as the unleavened bread (representing sin) appeared bruised, striped and pierced, Jesus Himself was bruised, striped and pierced as He fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
- Feast of First Fruits – offerings of first fruits of harvest was a guarantee of greater harvest, and so it was with Jesus and His resurrection. He was the First Fruit, defeating death and making as way for us all to enjoy eternity with Him!
- Pentecost – Jewish tradition says that God gave Moses the law on that day. God’s Word says He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within believers, and He birthed the church on that day!
- Feast of Trumpets – joyous sounds of Rosh Hashanah for the Jews, the trumpet call of God that calls us to meet Jesus in the air for believers! This is the first of the 3 final feasts yet to be fulfilled, but we will hear that trumpet sound soon!
- Yom Kippur – while we as believers enjoy the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in heaven during the tribulation, it is the tribulation that will draw the Jewish people to saving grace in Jesus. There will look upon the One they have pierced, will mourn for their sins (Zechariah 12:10-14), and ultimately, Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26)!
- Feast of Tabernacles – this is God’s ingathering! Jews will be saved, and believers in Jesus who celebrated in heaven will come back to earth with Jesus Himself, to rule and reign during the Millennial Kingdom! The Bible describes this as the only feast in which non-Jews are invited. Why? Because at that point, there is no distinction between Jew and Greek (Gentile), for the same Lord is Lord of all! (Romans 10:12) Hallelujah!
So, today most Jews you see observing Days of Awe are doing so with very heartfelt motives, but so tied to the law they cannot recognize their Messiah who has already paid for their sins! Pray for salvation in Israel, and for Jews around the world. They are super spiritually sensitive right now. (Read here for insight.)
So prayer warriors….do your thing! I’m praying diligently for Jewish people I see walking to synagogue. Will you join me in your own way? Now is the best time to pray for them!
PS: Yom Kippur falls on October 8 (sundown) through October 9 (sundown), then Jews will celebrate the grand feast, Feast of Tabernacles, October 13-20.