Today’s text is from Leviticus 23:24-25 (MSG): “God said to Moses, ‘Tell the people of Israel, on the first day of the seventh month, set aside a day of rest, a sacred assembly — mark it with loud blasts on the ram’s horn. Don’t do any ordinary work. Offer a fire-gift to God.’”
This weekend marks the beginning of the annual Jewish holidays known as “High Holy Days,” and it starts with the festival of Rosh Hashanah, which is also called the “Head of the Year.” When the children of Israel left Egypt, God gave them a new calendar that included appointed times to celebrate his goodness and mercy toward them. Jewish leaders say that Rosh Hashanah is when we should acknowledge that we are his creation and the flock of his pasture.
The Israelites begin this celebration with loud blasts from the ram’s horn, and 100 blasts are blown during the two-day festival. This signifies that God has sovereignty and kingship over his people. This holiday begins “Ten Days of Awe” or 10 days of repentance in preparation for Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year or the Day of Atonement in Scripture. In the Jewish community, this is a one-day fast to afflict the soul and pray for forgiveness.
As I study the Jewish festivals, I have discovered how to worship Christ in them. During this season, I am reflecting on the redemptive work of the cross of Calvary in my life. When I was growing up, the mothers in our church would always say, “Thank God for Jesus.” Today, I shout amen to that because when I realized when I accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, he became the atonement for my sin. Because of Christ, old things have passed away and, behold, all things have become new. Because of him, we have what I call “at-one-ment” with God. The Day of Atonement represents a clean slate and new beginning for the believer.
The culmination of Holy Days is Feast of Tabernacles. When I travel to Israel, my Jewish friends always say I should schedule a trip during this festival. This is 10 fun-filled days of barbecues, picnics and special parties. It would be like having a 10-day-long Fourth of July party. During this feast, they celebrate the freedom of their forefathers from slavery in Egypt. They have their meals outside in tents to remember the journey through the desert as God led them into the promised land of Canaan.
Hallelujah, sounds like Jesus leading the believer through the hardships of life into heaven and the marriage supper of the Lamb. Where he leads me, I will follow, no turning back, no turning back.
Deason is the senior pastor of Liberty Prayer Chapel and executive director of the Liberty County Manna House.