Hebrew Roots/Holy Days/Trumpets/The Month of Elul
THE DAYS OF THE AWAKENING CALL
SEASON OF REPENTANCE
The beginning of the month of Elul, the sixth on the religious calendar, commences the thirty day season of preparation for the Day of Proclamation, Yom Teruah which is Hebrew for the "Day of Blowing".
The shofar is blown to call the people to attention, to sound a warning, to give an alarm and to announce the coronation of kings. Yahweh Himself blew a heavenly 'shofar' at Mt Sinai to call the people to attention and to announce His Presence for the inauguration of the covenant with them.
The blowing of the shofar at Yom Teruah is a rehearsal of the future announcement of the arrival of the King of all the earth for His coronation, when all the earth will come before Him to be accounted for.
As a rehearsal performed yearly, it gives the believer a window of opportunity to set their lives in order and find a place of repentance so as to be worthy to escape the coming judgement and, if Y'shua should tarry another year before He returns, enjoy Yahweh's grace, favour and blessing for that coming year.
The thirty days of Elul is set aside for this purpose in personal reflection and evaluation to examine our own lives and repent in those areas where we need improvement in our walk with Yahweh in Y'shua our Messiah. As such it becomes a yearly accounting and evaluation of our lives in the searching light of His holy Ruach (Spirit).
This season of preparation is known as Teshuvah which in Hebrew means "to repent or return". This season extends past the actual day of Teruah and includes the ten days up until Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, making forty days in all of spiritual preparation.
The thirty days of Elul are called the High Holy Days and are specifically to prepare for Yom Teruah and the last ten are to prepare for Yom Kippur the final day of judgement. Yom Kippur is the tenth day of the seventh month. These last ten days are known as the "Days of Awe" (Yamim Nora'im), preceding the final judgement which is a type of the final judgement day of all the earth. Five days after Yom Kippur is the Feast of Tabernacles.
In traditional Judaism, each morning during the 30 days of the month of Elul, the trumpet (shofar) or ram's horn is blown to warn Yahweh's people to return or repent. In a traditional synagogue, the shofar is blown after every morning service and Psalm 27 is included in the liturgy. In addition to the Shelosh Esrei Middot, the chanting of a number of psalms and prayerful poems (piyyutim) are recited during services throughout the month of Elul. The tone of a Selichot service is set in Psalm 130. The message from Elul 1 to Yom Teruah is clear: Repent before Yom Teruah. Don't wait until after Yom Teruah or you will find yourself in the Days of Awe.
Yahweh has always desired to warn people before He proclaims judgment, so that they may repent, as He does not want anyone to come under His judgment and/or lose their eternal reward.
"But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he has committed, that shall not be mentioned unto him: In his righteousness that he has done (repent) he shall live." Ezekiel 18:21-23
"Seek Yahweh, all you meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgement, seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be you shall be hid in the day of Yahweh's anger." Zephaniah 2: 1-3
"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with Yahweh as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Yahweh is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of Yahweh will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." 2 Peter 3: 8-10
The ten days from Yom Teruah to Yom Kippur are symbolic of the Tribulation period. Those who have overcome their fleshly nature are accounted worthy to escape that judgement. But to those who fail to completely overcome, those days and their events will purge the silver and gold, from the dross of their fleshly nature, so they will not be condemned with the world. If we judge ourselves, we will not be judged. (1 Corinthians 11:31; Luke 21:36)
CLEANSING THE TEMPLE
Just as the first day of the first month was significant for the cleansing of the Temple, so also the first day of the seventh month is relevant to a cleansing and restoration of His spiritual temple.
The Torah was read every seven years on Yom Teruah to the people (Deuteronomy 31:10-12 ; Nehemiah 8:18).
This Sabbath-year reading of the Law, as well as refreshing His people at that time in its edicts and bringing them to a return to the fullness of it, established a type and pattern which will be fulfilled at the beginning of the greater Sabbatical year of the millennium. It represents the establishment of His law in His people in preparation for His advent as King of Kings to the earth.
Y'shua gave the parable of this in Matthew 25, regarding the virgins awaiting the Bridegroom. The alarm was sounded for the Bridegrooms' return. The wise virgins were those who were able to do repentance and be ready for Him coming to take them to the wedding feast. They trimmed away the burnt wicks (sins) and restored the full light of their lamps (fullness of the Word & Spirit).
In Jewish wedding traditions, the virgins go with the Groom to the wedding ceremony, which occurs later. This call was to prepare them to be ready to go out to meet him in order to go to the wedding feast, which is the marriage supper of the Lamb (Matt.25: 1-13). The foolish virgins were unprepared and missed their calling.
"And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold He is coming, says Yahweh of Hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to Yahweh an offering in righteousness." Malachi 3: 1-3
"Now if anyone builds on this foundation (new covenant revelation) with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is." 1 Corinthians 3:12-13
When the spiritual call of Yom Teruah comes, there will be no time for preparation, it needs to be done before hand. For He will come suddenly to His temple (spiritual) to dwell in it in His fullness and it will be to a people who have come to the fullness of the stature of Y'shua, the Messiah. (Ephesians 4:13, 16)
He will be coming to dwell IN His people at this time and they will be overcomers during the tribulation period. Those who are not ready when that day comes, who yet need to be purified, will go through the purging of the tribulation period, so that they also will be ready for the Day of Atonement - Yom Kippur.
The blowing of the ram's horn, the shofar, is a reminder of the voice of Yahweh God making provision for us by providing the ram (whose horns were caught in the thicket) which was then used as a sacrificial substitute for the offering of Isaac's life which Abraham was called to do on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22).
In doing this, Abraham was a type of Father God, Who made the supreme sacrifice in offering up His Son, that we might be spared the penalty of death and have eternal life. John 3:16-17
Therefore, on the basis of our heavenly Father's sacrifice, the Ruach says to us in His word, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12: 1
True repentance is an inner change of heart which leads the sinner to turn from evil and return to Yahweh. The desire to do good in the natural man is constantly opposed to the desire to do what Yahweh God calls evil. The evil inclination ("Yetzer Hara"), or the desires of the flesh can overtake us at times and we will need cleansing.
Paul expounds this in Romans 7:14-25.
Although we a re called to keep short accounts with Yahweh God on a daily basis, there is a place for a thorough examination of all within us which does not line up with the standard of His Word and the perfection of His nature which is displayed in the life of Y'shua the Messiah and this is the time of the year appointed for it.
The scriptures describes three levels of wrong-doing. These are: sins, transgressions and iniquity.
"And Yahweh passed by before him (Moses), and proclaimed, Yahweh, Yahweh Elohim merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgressions and sin ..." Exodus 34: 6-7
- The first level is sin which in Hebrew is "chattah" which means "missing the mark or any wayward action due to carelessness, ignorance or error"
- The second of these is iniquity which in Hebrew is "avon" and means crookedness or departure from right conduct by consciously departing from a commandment of Yahweh God - knowing to do good and not doing it.
- The third level is transgression. In Hebrew this is "peshah" which means "rebellion or deliberate persistence of rebellion".
"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom Yahweh imputes not iniquity and in whose spirit there is no guile ... I acknowledged my sin unto You, and my iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto Yahweh; and you forgave the iniquity of my sin." Psalm 32:1-2, 5
In the new covenant we are forgiven of our sins by the blood of Y'shua. (Hebrews 10:16-17) "In whom we have redemption through his (Y'shua's) blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." Ephesians 1: 7
There are also three levels of repentance --
- The first step is confession. As soon as a person acknowledges his sin and confess it as such, then the power of the flesh loses it's hold on him. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all iniquity." 1 John 1: 9
- The second step to repentance is remorse. This is a full realization of the seriousness of the sin before Yahweh God and heartfelt sorrow and remorse toward Him.
- The third step of repentance is corrective action. Confession and remorse is not real unless it is followed by a solemn resolve not to repeat the sin and restitution and reconciliation wherever and to whoever it is applicable.
"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto Yahweh, and he will have mercy upon him" Isaiah 55: 7
The whole season of repentance is based on the merciful and compassionate attributes of Yahweh God toward a genuinely repentant sinner.
“Out of the depths have I cried unto You, O Yahweh. Lord, hear my voice: let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If You, Yahweh, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.” Psalm 130: 1-4
The thirteen attributes of Yahweh God which are emulated in Jewish prayers at this time are from Exodus 34: 6-7
- The LORD (Yahweh)
- The LORD (the repetition of God's name emphasises His provision for all man's needs:
- El - God the Mighty
- Rachum: God the compassionate;
- Vechanun: God is gracious;
- Erech Apayim: God is slow to anger, patient in waiting for our repentance;
- Verav Chesed: God is abundant in kindness to both the righteous and the wicked;
- Ve'emet: God is truthful and faithful in carrying out promises;
- Notzer Chesed La'alafim: God extends kindness for a thousand generations, and blessings from our ancestors;
- Nosei Avon: God forgives iniquity, defined in the tradition as wrongful deeds committed with premeditation;
- Vafesha: God forgives transgression, defined as wrongful deeds committed in a rebellious spirit;
- Vechata'ah: God forgives sin, those wrongful deeds that were inadvertent;
- Venakeh: God will not cancel all punishment, only to those who are repentant.
Let us hear the awakening call of the shofar to our conscience and come humbly before the throne of His grace that we may obtain forgiveness and cleansing from a holy, yet merciful God.