The Jewish Roots of Christianity

The exile of the Jews to the Babylonian Empire was a result of God’s punishment for their idolatry. King Cyrus, three years after conquering Babylon, allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem – which was seventy years after they were taken into captivity. From the Written Law, Moses obtained interpretation from God about what it meant. After this, Moses handed down this interpretation, which was called the Oral Law to the Priests and Levites. Therefore, the Oral Law was an interpretation of the Written Law.

Even though Alexander & his armies won over the Jews from the Persian control, it is believed that he treated the Jews kindly. It seemed Alexander treated the Jews, compared to all the other nations, kindly. Rather than Hellenize the Jews, he seemed to have left them alone according to the text. The text doesn’t give many more details, but it seems like God was protecting the Jews from much of the reign of Alexander the Great.

Chanukah (Feast of Dedication)

The Feast of Chanukah, also known as the Feast of Dedication was a feast celebrated every year on the 25th of Kislev – which is around the month of December or Christmas Time. In our time, it is usually referred to as Chanukah or Hanukkah. Although it is a Jewish National Holiday, it is not one of the seven feasts required, as we see in the Bible. It is a holiday that teaches Jews about God’s faithfulness and love for His People. It is also a remembrance day for God’s miracles toward Israel. This was part of the Scriptural observance.

As for the common Jewish observance, through all the trouble that occurred, candelabra would be used to burn the Holy Oil – for they would offer up their prayers and apologies to the Lord. The oil would continue to burn for eight days, which was the Miracle of Chanukah. The candelabra would be used to symbolize this miracle. One candle is lit every night for eight nights to remember the kindness of God. A ninth candle would be lit, which was above all others called the Shammos Candle or the Servant Candle. The goal of this candle was to bring light to all the other candles and serve them. A prayer would be said as the Mother light the Shammos Candle.

The Messianic Significance regards that the Jews celebrate the Miracle of the Eternal Light burning for eight days. If Jews celebrate the lights, then Jesus Himself celebrated the rededication of the Temple. Jesus refers to Himself as the Light, to which some relate to the Shammos Candle as symbolic of Jesus (The Light). Jesus, then, would be a symbol of Chanukah!

Roman rule

We see it start in 63 BC, where Aristobulus II wants to forcibly take over as King and High Priest of Judea, but Hyrcanus II attempts to resist him doing so – therefore, he enlists Antipater to help him keep his spot. Antipater obtains aid as well, which was from the Roman General Pompey, which caused a besiege of Jerusalem. Because of this, Rome takes charge of Jerusalem and Judea. All three of them joined forces to overthrow Aristobulus II. This would have Pompey give Hyrcanus II rule over Jerusalem as King and High Priest, but subject to Roman rule and Antipater’s influence.

Herod the Great ruled Judea from 37 BC to 4 BC and was a very ruthless ruler. He was the one who decreed the murder of all male children under two years of age in Bethlehem and all its borders. Jesus was born around the time of this decree, therefore, we see that Mary and Joseph had to take Jesus and flee. They had done so until Herod the Great had died and it was safe to return to His homeland.

The Jewish exiles turned their faith from what they lost to what they retained. Therefore, they had the Law of Moses and the fact that they were God’s Chosen People. They concentrated on the Law rather than on nationhood, on personal piety rather than religious ritual, and on prayer as an acceptable substitute for the sacrificial system. The sacrificial system vanished when the First Temple was destroyed. After the exile, we see the Jews form into different religious sects. From Scribes and Priests in the Post-Exilic Period, to Hasidim and Hellenistic Jews in the Maccabeeb & Hasmonean Periods, then Pharisees and Sadducees during the Roman Period, and finally into Orthodox/Rabbinical after the Destruction of the Second Temple and unto this day. (Pharisees developed into the Orthodox/Rabbinical Judaism, while the Sadducees dissipated.)

Pharisees and Sadducees

The Pharisees were the Separated Ones, because they wouldn’t have anything to do with those who did not believe and practice the Jewish religion as they did. They were of the common people – not wealthy. Anyone could become a Pharisee as long as they met the requirements of their belief system.

The Pharisees beliefs about the Temple and Synagogue aligned with Jesus’ beliefs, as well as their beliefs on the Written and Oral Law. They believed in a Messiah and in Proselytizing. They believed that the soul was imperishable and that it would be reunited one day in resurrection with their physical body. They also believed in a final judgment day for all people for how they lived their lives. They believed in angels and demons. Lastly, they believed that God and Man controlled Man’s future and destiny. Jesus also believed in Providence and Predestination, rather than mankind’s free will. What Jesus didn’t like about the Pharisees is that they didn’t always practice what they preached. There were many leaders that Jesus disregarded, who were Pharisees, because they appeared to be trying to destroy His Ministry.

The Sadducees were called the Righteous Ones, because they carried out the Written Law. They originated as descendants of the Hellenistic Jews, the Priesthood, and were officiators of the Temple Services. (They arose from a wealthy aristocracy.)

The Sadducees believed that if something was not directly from The Torah, then they were not to believe it. They also believed in Temple worship only, which meant that any worship outside the Temple was either disallowed or not righteous in godly standards or Written Law standards. They also didn’t believe in Proselytizing (which I believe is close to evangelizing or preaching about the Law). They declined belief in the fact of the soul being imperishable, resurrection/reincarnation of the physical body being reunited with the soul, and the altogether judgment of everyone at a judgment day. They also didn’t believe in angels and demons. They lastly believed that Man controlled his own future and destiny, in which God had no intervention. Jesus had no agreement with the Sadducees.

Who is the Messiah?

The English word “Messiah” is taken from Psalm 2:2 and Daniel 9:25-26, where we see the Hebrew word, “Mashiach.” The Greek word for this would be “Christ,” in which all three mean literally, “The Anointed One.” The first clue of the Messiah is found in this Scripture, in which we see the prophecy of the future Spiritual Warfare between the Messiah and His followers and satan. Satan through history will attempt to cripple or destroy the Messiah and His People, however, in the end, the Seed of the Woman, her descendant known as Christ the Messiah will eventually overcome satan and deal him a fatal wound.

The Scripture that states that the Messiah will be Semitic is Genesis 9:26-27, because God chose Ham and his descendants from Canaan, as well as Japheth to be servants to Shem forever. The Semitic people descended from Shem, and it is through the Semitic people (that is through the line of Shem), that the Messiah would come one day!

The promises of the Abahamic Covenant

  1. One of them was in Genesis 12:1-3, as we see that he will be made a great nation and will be blessed so that the name is great. He shall be a blessing, and will bless them that bless him and curse them that curse him – and in this, all families of the earth will be blessed.
  2. The second one was in Genesis 13:15, where we see that all the land, which he sees, it will be given to him and his seed forever.
  3. A third one would be in Genesis 17:2-7, where we see that a covenant will be made that he will be a father of many nations, making them exceedingly fruitful.
  4. A fourth one would be in Genesis 22:18, which we see that by his seed that all the nations of the earth would be blessed.

Jews considered Messianic Jews to be Christian or a Gentile. However, a Jew is anyone who is a descendant from one of the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. It’s not by belief or practice, but by who one was born to. Gentiles are anyone but Jews. Christians are still Jewish Biblically speaking, as Jesus is a descendant from one of those patriarchs. Because the belief system isn’t followed, and people incorporate beliefs of Jesus, they’re considered by the Jews to be non-Jews. However, as we read, if you’re born of the family, you’re definitely a Jew – and also, in Jewish religious Law, it’s impossible for a born Jew to change their religion, as we see in the text. The tribe to which the Messiah will come is the Tribe of Judah, as we see in Genesis 49:10. This is a prelude to the foretelling of the Messiah, as He is explained to be “Shiloh” or “The one who brings peace.”

Davidic Covenant

We see the covenant outlined in 2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16… and this states that his seed will be set up after him and a kingdom will be established. Through his name will the throne of his kingdom (built in His House) be established forever. This is saying that God will set up the Davidic Dynasty, to which kings will descend from forever – which included not only future kings of Israel, but also The King to Come for the eternal Israel, Jesus.

Christ a prophet like Moses

Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19 states that the Messiah will be a prophet like Moses. The seven ways that He was like Moses was that He was a great founder of religion, revealer of God, a great Law giver, a great worker of miracles, a great redeemer of His People, a great mediator and intercessor between man and God, and a great prophet.

Coming from a virgin

We know the Messiah came from a virgin, not only because prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 is fulfilled as foretold, not only that “virgin” translates to “unmarried maiden of marriageable age,” but also that we see in Scripture Matthew 1:18, 21 – that before Mary was espoused to Joseph and came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. The New Testament claims that Jesus is the miraculous, virgin birth child. The prophecy says that the Lord will give a sign or miracle – and therefore, it is a miracle that Jesus came via conception of the Holy Ghost in the womb of Mary.

We know that the Messiah is the Son of God by the couple of verses we see in the poetic Old Testament books… in Psalm 2:7, we see God saying, “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” Then, in Proverb 30:4, we see, “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” This leads us to believe that God is identifying His Son specifically in the psalm and people are trying to know His Son’s name as we see in the proverb.

Reformed Judaism and Liberal Christianity view the Messiah similarly

They have declined the idea that God inspires the Scriptures. Those who deny Scripture deny believing in the personal Messiah, that He isn’t necessary – for mankind through education and prosperity can bring itself an age of peace and love. They believe in a Messianic Age, but without a Messiah. They believe Christ is followed in error since He can’t be the Messiah (for there isn’t a Messiah or going to be a Messiah in their eyes).

But the Messiah will…

We see in Jeremiah 23:5-6 that from David will come a righteous Branch, which a King shall reign and prosper, execute judgment and justice on Earth, and He will be called “The Lord our Righteousness.” Jeremiah is saying here that the Messiah will be of God from the Line of David. Since we see the Davidic Covenant as being an eternal covenant, we see Jesus had come from the Line of David (especially detailed in Matthew’s Genealogy) to fulfill the finality of the Davidic Covenant…for no other king would be needed to continue the Davidic Line, since Jesus is the eternally reigning King!

The suffering servant: The first clue would be the consistent use of pronouns. We, us, and our must refer to the Prophet Isaiah and the people to whom he speaks to. The use of He, Him, and His must refer to the Suffering Servant. The second clue would be as we see in Isaiah 53:8, where it says that for the transgression of His People would He be stricken. The third clue is that the Suffering Servant is portrayed as a singular human personality. The fourth clue is found in Isaiah 53:9, we see He is the innocent sufferer – the one who did no violence nor was he a deceiver.

The fifth clue is found in Isaiah 53:7. We see that He goes to his death voluntarily, willingly, and silently – which is done for other people. The sixth clue is in Isaiah 53:8-10, as we see that He will be a guilt offering, meaning He will die. The seventh clue is found in Isaiah 52:13-14, as we see that He will be marred in His appearance, after he was so exalted from the people. The eighth and final clue is found in Isaiah 53:9 where it says that He was not a deceiver, which couldn’t refer to Isaiah or Israel. Even Isaiah admits in 6:5 that he is a man of unclean lips and dwell around people with unclean lips.

The Messiah’s Miracles

Jesus was conceived miraculously by Mary and the Holy Spirit – but Jesus did have a natural birth through Mary. We see His adolescence described only in Luke 2, as Scripture explained He continued to grow strong and increased in wisdom – in which the grace of God was upon Him. Around age twelve, He was taken to the Temple for a Passover Feast and stayed there learning from the teachers for three days. People were amazed at His knowledge/wisdom, because He had not had any prior schooling in Jewish Law.

The first Messianic Miracle was the cleansing of the leper, as we see in Matthew 8:2-4 (and parallels in Mark 1:40-45 and Luke 5:12-16). A leper had come and worshiped Jesus, asking for to be made clean from Jesus. Jesus laid His hand on him and declared him clean, to which the man was cleansed of his leprosy. He told the man not to brag about it, but to go to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded.

During the stages of investigation, Messianic movements were checked, according to Sanhedrin Law. The first stage, the Stage of Observation, involved just merely observing the situation. First, a delegation would be sent to only observe the movement or the person claiming to be the Messiah. A chosen number of Scribes and Pharisees would be sent out from the Sanhedrin to carry out the observance. They’d report back giving their opinion on the situation, and whether there was legitimacy in the situation or not. During this stage, they weren’t permitted to ask any question or raise objections.

During the Stage of Interrogation, what happened next was based upon the delegation of the first stage. If it was insignificant, then the case was dropped. However, if the case were significant, then the Second Stage would proceed. During this stage, the Jewish leaders would interrogate the person or group of the movement, asking questions, raising objections, and generally seeking information to discover whether the Messianic claims should be accepted or rejected.

Jesus’ Messianic Miracle involved casting out a dumb demon. This was in Matthew 12:22-37 (paralleled in Mark 3:22-30). There was someone brought unto Jesus who was possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb – and therefore, Christ healed him so that he spoke and was able to see again. The religious leaders were throwing up a problem about this, and they had the choice to accept Him as Messiah or reject Him. Instead of acknowledging His Power was from God, they accused Him of being demon-possessed and working with satan.

The third Messianic Miracle was for a man whom was born blind. It was found in John 9:1-3, where we see that Jesus was walking and saw a man who was blind from his birth. His disciples questioned Jesus when He was healing the man, and wondered if the man sinned or his parents sinned to have caused this. Jesus declared that it was not because of sin, but rather that the works of God should be made manifest in the man.

The fourth Messianic Miracle involved raising the dead, as we see in John 11:1-44. Jesus showed, especially to Martha, that His Power to raise the dead was to be used immediately and that it wouldn’t wait until the time of the end. We see the remarkable story of the raising of Lazarus, which it stated in Scripture that the man was dead for four days. However, Jesus knew this wouldn’t stop Him, for He shouted to Lazarus to come forth, and therefore, Lazarus was resurrected from the dead. During the first three days, resuscitation might be possible, but usually people were sure the person was dead on the fourth day. Therefore, when Jesus had done this, it created problems.

The results of this Messianic Miracle were that many of the Jewish leaders believed in Him, but others ran to the Pharisees and created problems. The Sanhedrin’s conclusion was that if Jesus wasn’t stopped, all men would believe in Him. After this, plots began to form to kill Jesus.

Spring Feasts of Israel

Passover

Passover is the first feast in the spring. The Bible taught that during a great famine in the Land of Canaan, the sons of Israel would journey to Egypt to purchase food. They were reunited there with their brother Joseph, and because of his influence, they were allowed to dwell in Goshen among the fertile plains. The House of Israel grew large, and a new Pharaoh arose who knew not of Joseph. Pharaoh would then enslave the Israelites and inflict cruel labor upon them. After this, he ordered all the Hebrew midwives, to help slow multiplication of people, to kill all male infants at birth. The midwives refused, therefore, he ordered the parents to cast the male infants into the Nile and drown them. One of the Hebrew children that wasn’t killed was Moses, and therefore, he was sent by God as a deliverer and redeemer.

God spoke to Moses to have him go and charge Pharaoh to set the people free – to no avail, which caused many plagues to fall upon Egypt. However, in the tenth and final plague, the death of Egypt’s firstborn sons, Pharaoh finally released the Hebrew people. God kept His Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, to which He had curse those who cursed His People. Commemorating this event, God commanded that the Feast of Passover would be observed forever, as we see in Exodus 12:24.

The Scriptural Observance is found in Leviticus 23:4-5 and Exodus 12:1-36. God commanded Moses, Aaron, and the Hebrew people to observe the Passover. This month is called Nisan, which marks God’s deliverance of His People. It marks the beginning of the religious calendar or year for the Hebrew people. On the tenth day of the month, each household would choose a lamb for themselves, which had to be unblemished and one year old. The lamb was to live in the home for four day and be treated like a pet. After that, the lamb would be killed (which would be on the fourteenth day of Nisan).

The blood of the lamb would be taken from the basin and placed on two doorposts and the lintel of the house with a hyssop. It was a sign to protect the opening to the house and was a sign to the Lord that those who were in the house had, by faith, applied the blood of the lamb to the doorposts of their houses and also the doorposts of their hearts for protection – so that when the angel of death came around to kill the firstborn sons, it would know to skip over (or “Passover”) those houses who had the blood on their doorposts. There was also the temple Passover sacrifice, which involved a different lamb, and was to be a sin offering for the entire nation of Israel. The last aspect would be the Passover Meal, which would be on the fourteenth of Nisan, during a full moon – to which they would eat the lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs.

The Jews would celebrate this event by having their own meal called the Passover Seder. It commemorates God’s miracles and faithfulness in freeing His People. For those who believe in Jesus would see this as symbolic of Him: His life, death, and resurrection. However, in the traditional Jewish meal, there isn’t a mention of Jesus. The week before Passover, the Jewish household is cleansed by the wife to remove leaven from the home. Leaven was symbolic in the Bible for sin. The night before the feast, The Last Cleansing Ceremony would be done, so that it would cleanse the home of leaven – which would make the home clean and then the meal can begin.

The ritual begins with people receiving the Passover manual: Haggadah. The book would be read for the ritual prayers and order of the meal. After this, the woman of the household lights the candles and the blessing is recited. Four different cups of wine would then be consumed. Next would be the handwashing by each person at the table. Now, they received their Seder Plate, the Karpas (Parsley), and saltwater. The Karpas represent life and saltwater represents the tears of life. Then they have the Hazaret, which is the root of the bitter herb, the Maror (fresh ground horseradish), the Charoses (a mixture of apples, sugar, cinnamon, grape juice, or wine), Hagigah (hard-boiled egg with the shell peeled off and roasted brown), and the Zeroah (lamb shank bone). The Zeroah would be the sign of the Passover had already been done.

Since leaven was symbolic of sin, it was not added to the bread, because it was to have the idea that sin would be removed from our life. If leaven/sin couldn’t rise, it wouldn’t cause a puffing up/prideful affair. Then would come the Matzah Tosh, the four questions concerning the meaning of the Passover, recounting of the ten plagues on Egypt, and then the second cup of wine or the cup of plagues, would be consumed. After that, the Passover Meal would finally begin – and once it’s finished, the Afikomen would begin where children search for it and receive the reward for finding it in the Matzah Tosh. Two more cups of wine would be consumed, which were the cup or redemption and the cup of completion. Finally, the cup of Elijah is consumed, which children would open the door and invite in the Prophet Elijah, hoping that if Elijah would come, soon would follow the Messiah (to no avail, as Elijah wouldn’t show up).

John the Baptist saw in the Messiah, Jesus, the fulfillment of the Passover Lamb. He would have been found to be unblemished, and His shed blood, His death for us – would allow the angel of death to “pass over” every believer. Every aspect, then, of the Jewish meal would be symbolic to Christ. The Messianic significance of Passover is that it symbolizes redemption of those who believe.

For the Biblical/Scriptural observance, The Feast of Unleavened Bread is found in Leviticus 23:6-8, which it is celebrated for seven days from the fifteenth to the twenty-first day of Nisan. During this time, the Biblical practice would be that no leaven could be eaten for seven days.

For the Jewish observance, for seven days, only Matzah and specially prepared foods and pastries that don’t have any leaven/yeast could be eaten and also the wine that is drunk has to be naturally fermented (that is fermented without yeast).

When Jesus was offered up as a sacrifice and shed sinless blood, the moment His Blood was spilled outside His body, the Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled. This led to our sanctification and to our justification. It begins on the fifteenth day of Nisan, which was the very day that Jesus was killed on the Cross and shed His innocent blood. In addition, when a person accepts Jesus as his Passover Sacrifice, in fulfillment of the First Feast, at that point he is Born Again. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by the sinlessness of His Blood Sacrifice.

Feast of First Fruits

The third spring feast is the Feast of the First Fruits, which is found in Leviticus 23:9-14 – and it involves four parts Scripturally: spring barley and grain harvest, one sheath offering, the sheath offered the day after the Sabbath, and the mark of the beginning of the two month spring harvest. The Biblical and Jewish observance of such feast was identical. Since the destruction of the Temple of 70 AD, the feast was ignored because it was a feast of agriculture (where do the sacrifices/offerings go, if there isn’t any temple?). In the Messianic significance of this, we see that this feast was fulfilled by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to Paul, Jesus was the first fruits of the resurrection. Jesus was also resurrected the day after the Sabbath – which was Sunday.

Feast of Pentecost

The fourth feast is Pentecost. The Feast of Weeks as some call it occurs in seven weeks after the Passover Festival and exactly fifty days from the Feast of the First Fruits. Pentecost, in Greek, means “fifty.” It’s found in Leviticus 23:15-16. The origin, it seems, was when Moses went up to the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments from God, it was exactly fifty days for these events after the Exodus.

The Biblical practice involved taking two loaves of bread and offering them on the sixth day of the month of Sivan – which corresponds to seven weeks plus one day after the second day of Passover (Feast of Unleavened Bread). It is to be first fruits to the Lord, which was a first fruit of the summer harvest. Another practice involved keeping or adding the leaven in the bread, which was commanded to be used, for two loaves of bread and a goat would be used as a sin offering for the people. The two loaves of bread represent the people, who are sinful, and therefore, the bread should have the leaven (which is symbolic of sin). The last practice is a Holy Convocation, where no work is allowed – and that this day and feast will be practiced forever. The Scriptural observance is impossible these days, since there isn’t any temple, in which to make sacrifices/offerings.

Now, for the Jewish observance, it involves first reading the Book of Ruth, because the story took place during the Harvest. Second, the Jews would stay up all night ad read/study the Mosaic Law, its teachings, and also the Oral Law. The Law of Moses was given on Shavuot, which was fifty days from the Exodus. In memory of this event, the idea is to stay up all night and study the Torah/Law of Moses.

The Feast of Pentecost is quite symbolic of many Messianic fulfillment, especially as we see in Acts 2:1-4. This corresponds to God’s First Harvest of the Redeemed; His First Fruits of the Total Harvest. Next, they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Finally, it represents the birth of the Church, for spirit baptism and the birth of the Church are intertwined. Three-thousand souls were added to the First Fruits, the first redeemed, the apostles and so three thousand more were baptized, spirit filled, and they were added to the Church. By receiving Jesus, they were added to the Church. The Feast of Passover was fulfilled by the death of Jesus leading to redemption. It was the believer’s spirit baptism that led to the birth of the Church – which was composed of both Jews and Gentiles.

Fall Feasts of Israel

The Messianic significance of this interval of four-months between the feasts is because it represents the Church Age. It is the time of Church evangelism, where many people have come to know the Savior, Jesus Christ – where many souls have been redeemed.

Feast of Trumpets

The first Fall feast is called Rosh Hashanah, also called The Feast of Trumpets. Its Biblical name is the Day of the Blowing of the Trumpets. It is the day when the trumpet blast calls Jews to remember their sins – therefore, another name for it is the Day of Remembrance. It begins also the Days of Awe, the ten days before the next feast, which is Yom Kippur. People call this also the Day of Judgment. Jewish tradition says that on this day, all Jews will pass before God in judgment to see if their sins will be forgiven or not.

We see the Scriptural observance of this feast in Leviticus 23:23-25, where God instructs Moses about this. It was to be on the first day of the Seventh month of the Religious Calendar, which was the first of Tishri. This was to be a one-day festival where no labor was allowed (therefore a Day of Rest). It was to be celebrated by blowing of trumpets (which was why Scripture referred to it as the Day of the Blowing of the Trumpets), for over one hundred trumpets would be blown during the day. Jewish trumpets are called Shofars, which a shofar is a ram’s horn. The ram’s horn is used symbolically of the story of Isaac’s sacrifice by Abraham, to which God intervened and a ram was caught in the thicket as substitutionary for Isaac. Therefore, the shofar is blown in remembrance of God’s goodness!

The Jewish observance begins in the synagogue with the blowing of the shofar/trumpet. The blast of it symbolizes a call to remembrance and repentance for the Jewish people. It’s a reminder to also return to Judaism, for on this day, all Jews will pass under judgment before God. Another reason for it is to remind Jews of Israel’s covenant relationship with their God. We see a third reason for blowing the shofar, is to confuse satan on the day he accuses Israel of her sin, as we see in Zechariah 3:1-2.

It’s Jewish tradition on this day, that satan would stand before God to accuse Israel of her sin – to which the shofar would confuse him. It’s also worth noting that this blowing of the shofar is to remind the Jews of the re-gathering of Israel. The blowing of the Great Trumpet will signal the re-gather of the Jewish People from the Diaspora back to Israel and the Holy Mountain at Jerusalem. The trumpet blast is symbolic of what will actually occur when the dead are raised at the resurrection of the dead. The last meaning of the trumpet blow is that when it is blown on Earth, on the first of Tishri in Heaven, this causes three books to be opened. The three books to be opened include the Book of the Righteous, the Book of the Wicked, and the Book of the In Between.

Days of Awe: This explains, as we see in the text, that the majority of the Jewish People will be placed into the Book of the In Between on the Feast of Trumpets. Then, it is ten days from the Feast of Trumpets until the Day of Atonement when your name will be transferred from the Book of the In Between to the Book of Life or the Book of Dead. Those ten days are called the Days of Awe. It’s the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It was the Days of Repentance, for the sounding of the shofar was to remind the Jewish People to repent.

Teshuvah: In Hebrew, Teshuvah is the word for repentance. The desire of God is for all to repent and not face the penalty of sin. During the ten days of this feast/period, everyone is reminded to repent. In Judaism, there are two types of repentance. A distinction is made between repentance for sins committed against God and then against man. Therefore, there are two different sacrifices/offerings made for this repentance. The first is the sin offering, which is for repentance of sins against God. The second is the guilt offering, which is for repentance of sins against man. During this season of Teshuvah, each man had to restore his relationships between God and man/men. God allowed ten days for you to do this. The idea was restitution. After the ten days, God would determine which book your name would be written. This also determined your survival for the following year.

The Messianic significance of this involves several things. First, in Israel’s re-gathering, it’s done before the sound of the trumpet before the Great Tribulation, as we see in Isaiah 27:13 and Jeremiah 32:37. Second, in the “rapture” of the Church, this would apparently fulfill the Feast of Trumpets, as we see in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. On that day when Jesus returns to the clouds, He will shout and order to His Church to come up, to which the archangel would repeat it, and then a blast of the shofar occurs. The events include the resurrection of the dead saints when corruption puts on incorruption, and mortality puts on immortality. The last trumpet of Rosh Hashanah is a long and the most significant blow. Israel’s re-gathering in the Holy Land, Christ’s return to the clouds, and the catching up of the Church to Him fulfill the Feast of Trumpets.

Yom Kippur: Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, involves what’s found in Leviticus 23:27-28. God explains to Moses that Yom Kippur would be on the tenth of Tishri, which is ten days after Rosh Hashanah, which would be the end of the Days of Awe also. There were requirements on this day. Israel was to hold a Holy Convocation on that day. Israel as a nation, as well as each person, would have to atone by humbling or afflicting their souls. It’s didn’t involve just fasting, but also contrition (repentance). The idea was to humble your soul and feel terrible about your sinful condition, which would lead you to repentance. A burnt offering/sin offering was to be presented before the Lord. Lastly, it was a day without work…Sabbath in nature.

The Holy of Holies could be entered once yearly by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. This could be the only day to which he could ask for atonement for the people. He’d bring a sin offering for himself and his house before he brought the offerings for the people. Other requirements found in Leviticus 16:4. On this day, he could wear special clothing after bathing his entire body. If anything went wrong or God was displeased, then the High Priest would be killed. He was the only one allowed in the Holy of Holies. If the High Priest returned, the people would rejoice…if not, people would lament. If God accepted their atonement, they would be considered forgiven for the next year as a people. The way this offering worked out on the Day of Atonement is that one goat’s death (the sin offering), its shed blood had atoned for Israel’s sins, and then, it was these forgiven sins that were put on the scapegoat. The sins would be removed from Israel by the scapegoat, which was led away into the wilderness.

The Jewish observances involved several things. Kapporah, something that involved a substitutionary form of sacrifice: a chicken. Before it was sacrificed, it was raised over the head and a prayer is recited. Since no temple existed, it just had to be swung over their heads, hopefully being a good sacrifice acceptable to God. Modern, Orthodox Judaism, involved a teaching contemporarily that a man can achieve atonement for his sins by his own efforts. Through repentance, prayer, and charity, these acts can be valid substitutes for sacrifice. If a sacrifice were asked for, people would point to a temple – and since a temple is non-existent, they would say there is no need for sacrifices.

Then, there was the affliction of the body/soul, which contemporarily, this would be practiced through self-denials. The first denial is by fasting to enhance spirituality. This means absolutely no eating or drinking for twenty-four hours (total fast, as we would know it). This would hopefully bring a misery or “affliction” to realize how bad sin is, so it causes a [hopefully genuine] repentance. The third affliction involved no anointing with soothing (or essential) oils or creams; nothing that brought comfort. Fourth, there wasn’t to be a pleasure of cohabiting with your spouse. Fifth involved no wearing of leather shoes, for they needed soft shoes to walk on the ground that’s considered Holy on the Day of Atonement.

The last practice by them is to read the Book of Jonah, for it teaches that you cannot run away from God. It also teaches that no matter how sinful you may be, repentance will spare you as it did for the people of Nineveh. No sin is too terrible or great to not be forgiven by God – so repent!

The Messianic significance involved several things. It first involved the Great Tribulation, for this is a seven-year period that will be a period of affliction of the body and soul. It consists of both bodily affliction (in suffering/death), and also affliction of the soul, which caused sadness and mourning. It would result in Israel’s national regeneration.

Then, we would see Israel’s national regeneration, which involved that Israel would acknowledge her sins and confess Jesus as Messiah. Next, we see the Messiah Jesus return, which would be at the end of the Great Tribulation, and once Israel confessed of her sins and acknowledges Jesus as Messiah. There is a final event, to which the Jews who are still alive after the Tribulation would acknowledge their previous rejection of Jesus. Then, they accept that Jesus is their long-awaited Messiah and ask Him to return. When this happens, Jesus promised He would return.

We see Jesus as our Yom Kippur, for He is the ultimate fulfillment of the symbolism of Yom Kippur’s sacrifice. For we as believers have been forgiven forever by His one-time atonement on the Cross. He is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world so that the angel of death passes over us. He was also the ultimate, perfect, Yom Kippur atonement.

Feast of Tabernacles

The Feast of Sukkoth, also called the Feast of Tabernacles, involved 70 bulls that were sacrificed annually, and, according to Jewish tradition, represents the seventy Gentile nations named in Genesis 10. People also called it the Feast of the Ingathering of the Fall Harvest. Anyway, Simchat Torah (or Simḥath Torah or Simkhes Torah) would be the Feast of Rejoicing over the Law, because at the end of the feast, on the fifteenth day of Tishri, the yearly reading of the Mosaic Law would be completed. All the Torah was read up to Deuteronomy 34, which was known as Simchat Torah. During the year, all five books would be divided into 52 sections, with one being read weekly. Once the fifty-second one is read, the time can begin to start over from the beginning. They would rejoice when they got to Simchat.

The Scriptural observance can be found in Leviticus 23:34, 39, 42-43, 39-40. It says that it shall be observed on the fifteenth of Tishri, five days after Yom Kippur, which would be a seven-day feast with a holy convocation, and a rest on the first and eighth days. All Jews during the feast were to live in booths or huts during the festival. This was purposely done to remind them that their ancestors lived in these temporary dwellings during the forty years of wandering through the desert – which was around the time after being brought out of Egypt by God. It would be a time of rejoicing or celebration after the end of the stress of the Days of Awe and the completion of the afflictions of the Day of Atonement. It was celebrated because you’ve been atoned for. With the sins forgiven and name in the Book of Life, there was much to celebrate about. It celebrated also the first fruits of the Fall Harvest – and many would celebrate with foliage of beautiful trees.

The Jewish observance centers on the symbol of the feast, which is the booth or tabernacle. The booths would be built flimsily, to make them temporary rather than permanent. It was to be constructed with the roof made of branches to keep the sun out but see the stars at night. It would be a symbol of wasted national hope of the past from disobedience, but also to symbolize the hope for a future national restoration.

The second symbol is the Lulav, which is the tying together of palm branches, myrtle branches, and willow branches. It would be waved during the prayers of the feast. The third symbol is the Citron, which is the citrus fruit that was symbolic of the Promised Land and its sweetness. Next, would be the pouring out of the water, which involved two key ceremonies. On the first one, the pouring out of the water was when the priests would march down from the Temple Mount, down to the pool of Siloam – fill up their pitchers, and poured the water into a large Lavor or Basin, and then they would rejoice greatly. The water was believed to be symbolic of the Holy Spirit of Israel, which would be poured out upon the Nation of Israel during the Last Days.

The second ceremony would be the kindling of the lights, for on the temple compound were some golden lamp stands, each having four golden cups willed with oil. They would be lit around sundown, and the light was so great that the Rabbis would speak that every house was lit. We see the next observance during the feast as the reading of the Book of Ecclesiastes. After that, would be the last part, which the people would pray for rain, since it was the beginning of the rainy season. They didn’t want drought, so they prayed for rain. Overall, the feast was to celebrate what God already did and what He will do in the future.

For the Messianic significance, there were a few things. The first was the Feast of Booths, which was observed by Jesus at one time while He was here on the earth (as we see in John 7). At the ceremony, Jesus said to the priests and the people that He was the True Living Water and His Spirit would be received later by anyone who believed in Him as the Messiah. The pouring out of the water at the Feast of Booths symbolizes the indwelling Holy Spirit, which Jewish and Gentile Believers in Christ presently now possess.

The second ceremony of the Feast of Booths, the lighting of the lampstands, the light of which symbolized the Shechinah Glory of God. Jesus is the Light of the World for He is the visible manifestation of the Shechinah Glory of God. Jesus symbolized two aspects of the ceremonies of the Feast, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the visible presence of God. However, the Feast of Booths itself symbolizes the last prophetic event on the Messianic timetable, the Messianic Kingdom itself. The seventy bulls sacrificed symbolizing the seventy Gentile nations. Those bulls were symbolic of the time of the Messianic Kingdom, when the seventy Gentile nations who had originally opposed Israel would now be worshiping the God of Israel at Jerusalem, at the Feast of Booths.

It’s to be fulfilled by the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom, where all people, both Jews and Gentiles, will be under the rule of Jesus Christ. Each year, these people will celebrate the Feast of Booths at His home, in Jerusalem, with Him as He lives on Earth. It is to be a time of rejoicing following the afflictions of the Great Tribulation.