“Forever, HaShem, Your Word stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness endures from generation to generation, You established the earth and it endures. To fulfill Your judgment they stand each day, for ALL are Your servants.” Psalms 119:89-91
As I put this Op together, it is 6 September 2021, the eve of Rosh HaShanah which begins at sundown tonight. Yes, I am aware there are those who are on separate calendars and thus for them Rosh HaShanah is on a completely different point on the calendar. I am NOT going to debate the calendar issue at all…period! Everyone is entitled to their opinions on the topic, but I do NOT want this Op to be buried under arguments about the calendar issue.
For those who are going ahead with observing HaShem’s Feast of Rosh HaShanah, some may be asking what is the significance of this Feast and why it is so important to the eschatological narrative? I will, in my very limited understanding attempt to answer some of these questions.
But, before we jump into this, always remember the following eternal characteristics of HaShem and never forget them, especially now in our day and time:
- HaShem never changes per Num 23:19/Mal 3:6/Hebrews 13:8/James 1:17
- His Word is firmly established per Psalm 119:89
- He reveals the end out of the beginning per Is 46:10
- He does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets per Amos 3:7
- He says there is nothing new under the sun per Ecclesiastes 1:9
- He says His Torah is the ONLY truth there is per Psalms 119:142
- He says His Torah is a tree of life and eternal per Proverbs 3:18-19 and Psalm 119:160
- He says His Torah is perfect and restores the soul per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah makes the simple one wise per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah Is freedom and liberty per Psalm 119:45 and James 1:25
- He says His Torah is the only good doctrine there is Proverbs 4:2
- He says His Torah will add length of days and years of life and peace per Proverbs 3:2
- He says all of the ways of His Torah are ways of pleasantness and peace per Proverbs 3:17
- He says His Torah is for our good and well-being per Deuteronomy 6:24
- He says His Torah is health for our lives per Proverbs 3:8
- He says His Torah is life to our soul and a graceful ornament for our neck per Prov 3:22
- He says His Torah is better than pearls and all desires cannot compare to it per Prov 8:11
- He says those who walk with His Torah are praiseworthy per Psalms 119:1
- He says observing His Torah is how we purify our path per Psalms 119:9
- He says His Torah is better than thousands in gold and silver per Psalms 119:72
- He says His Torah brings abundant peace to those who love Him and His Torah per Psalms 119:165
- He says there is one Torah for all per Exodus 12:49/Leviticus 24:22
- He says those who hate His Torah love death per Proverbs 8:36
- He says His Torah is the way of faith per Psalms 119:29-30
- He says His Torah makes us wiser than our enemies per Psalms 119:98
- He says His Torah is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path per Psalms 119:105
- He says one who finds His Torah has found life per Proverbs 8:35
- He says one who finds His Torah has found favor from HaShem per Proverbs 8:35
- He says Messiah Yeshua is the GOAL of His Torah, meaning without His Torah, Messiah cannot be known per Romans 10:4
- He says if we had believed Moshe/Torah, we would have believed Messiah per John 5:46
- He says His Torah makes us wiser than our enemies per Psalms 119:98
- He says His salvation is far from the wicked for they sought not His Torah per Psalms 119:155
- He says to hold fast to and guard His Torah, for it is our life per Proverbs 4:13
There is SO much associated with HaShem’s Feasts and Rosh HaShanah is no different. Trying to encapsulate all that is contained in His Feast is going to be very challenging.
Rosh HaShanah, it not just solely about blowing a shofar and lighting candles, it far, far supersedes these important elements! As, we will shortly see, Rosh HaShanah is about recognizing not just our place in the world, but to Whom we choose to submit too. Will we submit to our own understanding according to our own desires or will we strive to submit to HaShem?
One quick side statement I want to insert. When I left Christendom almost 20 years ago now, at HaShem’s gentle guidance and direction, it was the absolute best decision thus far in my life. Has it been difficult…that’s an understatement! In doing so, one thing I was shocked to see, striving to walk in His Torah, HaShem is put in His rightful place in our lives i.e. He is front and center. What I guess I am trying to convey is walking in His Torah, keeps HaShem front and center as opposed to when I was in Christendom in which the message was always about me, myself and I i.e. the focus was about me and I never saw it until I got away from it and then could see it when I looked back. This is important because it ties directly into the theme of Rosh HaShanah. Keep this in mind. Now back on point.
The Torah readings for Rosh HaShanah are found in Bereishis (Genesis) 21:1-24 and Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:1-6. The key point to focus on from Bereishis is at the very end of the readings where it says “And there he (Avraham) PROCLAIMED THE NAME OF HASHEM, Elohim of the universe.” In essence, Avraham was proclaiming his acknowledgement HaShem, the Elohim of the universe, IS the One and Only True Sovereign of all creation! In other words, Avraham was acknowledging HaShem is THE King!
Further, the verbiage of the wording of this verse is very interesting as Tractate Sotah 10a-b says from the Talmud Bavli: “And he (Avraham) caused others to call. This teaches that Avraham our forefather caused the Name of the Holy One, Blessed be He, to be called out in the mouth of all passerby. How so? After the guests of Avraham ate and drank, they arose to bless him. He said to them, ‘But did you eat from what is mine? Rather, you ate from the food of the Elohim of the world. Therefore, you should thank and praise and bless the One Who spoke and the world was created. In this way, Avraham caused everyone to call out to HaShem!'” Can you see, Avraham was teaching people to acknowledge HaShem as the King and Creator of all things!
Bamidbar 29:1-6 describes the korbonot (Offerings) which are required to be brought and offered in the Temple of HaShem. It says “In the seventh month (Tishrei), on the first day of the month, there shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall not do any laborious work, it shall be a day of shofar sounding for you. You shall make an olah offering (Burnt Offering) for a satisfying aroma to HaShem; one young bull, one ram, seven male lambs in their first year, unblemished. And their minchah offering (Bread Offering) of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenth ephah for the bull; two tenth ephah for the ram; and one tenth ephah for each lamb of the seven lambs. One male of the goats for chatat offering (Sin Offering) to provide you atonement. Aside from the olah offering of the New Moon and its minchah offering, the continual olah offering and its minchah offering, and their libations (Wine Libations) according to their instruction, for a satisfying aroma, a fire offering to HaShem.”
Per Tractate Rosh HaShanah 1.1 from the Mishnah it states : “There are FOUR New Years: On the first of Nisan, the New Year for Kings and Festivals (Establishing the years of a kings reign and when the annual Feasts begin). On the first of Elul the New Year for the tithe of animals; on the first of Tishrei the New Year for years and for the shemitin (Sabbatical years) and for the Yovalot (Yovel/Jubilee) years, for the planting and for the vegetables; and on the first of Shevat the New Year for the tree…”
I point this out because this is how HaShem can refer to the seventh month i.e. Tishrei as being the beginning of the year, because there are four different calendars in His Kingdom and Tishrei is the one which establishes the years. It can get very confusing. Let’s continue.
The Book of the Mitzvot #405 discusses the underlying purpose for the command to the shofar on Rosh HaShanah. It says “The Torah teaches we are commanded to HEAR the sound of the shofar on the first day of the month of Tishrei, which is Rosh HaShanah.” The underlying purpose is “Since man is a physical being, he is stirred toward things only through some impetus that motivates him to act, and the sounding of the shofar serves as such impetus. This is similar to what people do during times of war, when they shout and even roar so as to be well motivated to engage in warfare. So, too, on the day of Rosh HaShanah, which is the day that was designated from the beginning of Creation as the time for judging all people who have come to the world, it is important that we be well motivated to repent from sins. On Rosh HaShanah ALL who have come to the world pass before HaShem like bnei maron, meaning, that His Providence i.e. supervision is focused on the deeds of each and every one of them individually. If one’s merits are determined to be greater than his sins, he will emerge from this judgment meritorious. If, on the other hand, his sins are greater than his merits, such that it is appropriate to deem him liable, they i.e. the Heavenly Court condemns him to die, or to one of the other forms of punitive sentences according to his degree of liability.”
I should note, our righteousness comes from faith in Him! First Avraham believed and it was accounted to him as righteousness. Point is, our salvation is by HaShem Alone via His Agent, Yeshua and is brought about solely because of His decision to do so. However, our deeds do in fact effect what happens in our lives in this world today. If I go and rob a bank, I can fully expect to face justice and go to jail. Same concept is with HaShem and how we live today. If I engage in idolatry or some form of immorality, I can fully expect His judgment to fall on me, which is His way of getting me to repent and return to His Ways i.e. His Torah. Have I lost my salvation for doing so, not necessarily. If I truly belong to Him, I will want to repent and return to Him. Does this imply we will walk perfectly in His Torah? Not a chance unfortunately. Our walk with HaShem is likened to the phases of the moon…we go from a full, bright, shining, moon i.e. walk with Him and then we unfortunately let the affairs of life get the better of us and we begin to fade. Then we begin to brighten up again in our walk…its just the way life is and He understands that.
So, the purpose of the shofar has several reasons, but one is to cause us to look inside ourselves and repent before Him as we approach Rosh HaShanah. Because, when Rosh HaShanah begins, the BOOKS ARE OPENED, i.e. HaShem begins to examine each and everyone of us for the next ten days and our fates are then sealed for the next year on Yom Kippur! I know this concept is completely foreign to Christendom, but that is because Christendom has tossed out just about everything left of Matthew and thus is completely ignorant of this reality, which is so very sad. I digress.
So, now that we have laid this foundation, let’s get to the heart of the meaning of Rosh HaShanah. Tractate Rosh HaShanah 16a from the Talmud Bavli, says it very well. It says “The Holy One, Blessed is He, said on Rosh HaShanah, ‘Recite before Me verses that speak of HaShem’s Sovereignty, Remembrance of all events and Shofar blasts – Sovereignty so that YOU SHOULD MAKE ME YOUR KING; Remembrance so that your remembrance should rise up before Me for your benefit. And through what? Through the shofar!'”
An excerpt from the Rosh HaShanah book published by Artscroll says it very well. It says “HaShem’s sovereignty is the PRIMARY theme of Rosh HaShanah and the Ten Days of Judgment (Between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur) it inaugurates. The service of the day is filled with references as HaShem as King and with prayers that His mastery be acknowledged by all human beings. The shofar service of the Mussaf Amidah begins with ten Scriptural verses speaking of HaShem’s Kingship and the Talmud teaches, we recite these verses so that we should proclaim Him as our King.”
Some may ask ‘Why would HaShem need to be proclaimed King? He is already Ruler over all His Creation!’ There is a difference between being a King and a Ruler. A Ruler refers to a sovereign who reigns against the wishes of his subjects, akin to being a dictator. A King on the other hand, rules with the consent and recognition of his subjects.
Further, excerpt from the Rosh HaShanah book, “HaShem lacked no power before the creation of man, but there was no one VOLUNTARILY to proclaim Him King. The key word being VOLUNTARILY. The angels had been created before man, and HaShem can create infinite numbers of them at will. But angels have no evil inclination. They are purely agents of HaShem’s will. To the angels, HaShem is a Ruler, a Creator, a Master, but not a King.”
“The purpose of Creation was so that there would be a species that was capable of freely choosing to recognize and obey HaShem. If this creature were so to choose, it would be worthy of Heavenly reward and HaShem wanted to confer His largesse on someone who had earned it by rising above temptation and choosing wisely. There had to be a being with the capacity to seek alternatives and be seduced, a being with physical drives and immoral temptations. That creature was man!”
“Everything in the universe, the sun, the moon and the stars, even the most sublime angels, had no value in the Divine scheme except as a PRELUDE to the creation of man. As the Sages put it, ‘The entire universe was created ONLY as a companionship for man’ because man could not survive alone without the entire infrastructure of the universe.”
“When was the world created? That depends what one considers its purpose. If it is an immense parcel of real estate whirling about its sun among untold galaxies, then it came into existence on the first day of creation and was shaped and filled in the succeeding days. But if the world exists in order to proclaim HaShem King, then it was created on the sixth day when Adam and Eve pointed and said, ‘This is our King!’ In this sense, Rosh HaShanah is the beginning of Your handiwork, and this is the only sense that really matters, for it is the reason for Creation.”
“This idea is expressed in the psalms chosen to be sung during the Temple Service. The Sages explain why the various psalms were chosen to be sung by the Levites on the respective days of the week. On the SIXTH DAY OF THE WEEK (Friday) they recite Psalms 93 ‘HaShem will have reigned, He will have donned grandeur, because He completed His labors and reigned over them.'”
“Clearly, HaShem’s power was no greater on day six than on day one, or in the infinity that existed before Creation. What happened on the sixth day was that man came into being; man with his free will and choice; man who can be blinded by his own intelligence; man who can respond to the grandeur of the sun, the vastness of space, and the promptings of his desires; man who can accept HaShem as his King or deny His existence; man who can even be fool enough to acknowledge that there is a G-d only on the condition that He is accommodating enough to be a mirror image of current fads in politics, morality, or progressive religious thought.”
“Man’s importance is not in his physical strength, any number of animals can outfight him; even an ant is relatively stronger than man. Nor is man unique in his spiritual perception, which cannot compare to that of the angels. Man’s greatness is in his power of CHOICE. Because he can deny HaShem, man’s recognition of His sovereignty has value. THAT IS WHY THE SIXTH DAY WAS THE CLIMAX OF CREATION, AND WHY ITS ANNIVERSARY IS ROSH HASHANAH!”
Can you see then why the Torah of HaShem is so hated by the world and sadly much of Christendom today? The Torah of HaShem is the heart of Who He is and is the proof He has given each of us the opportunity of choice! Do I submit to HaShem and proclaim Him as King of my life or do I reject Him and embrace a fashioned idol which teaches freedom from the Torah and replaces HaShem as King? I can remember the very distinct moment in my life when HaShem finally confronted me about embracing His Torah or staying with Christendom. I was standing in my kitchen, with a stack of Torah commentaries in front of me and I stood there and verbally proclaimed to HaShem I had made my decision and had chosen Him and His Torah…in effect I proclaimed Him King and my life has never been the same since!
How does Yeshua fit into this you may be asking? Yeshua is the AGENT of HaShem and if you remember from past Op’s discussing the concept of an agent, the agent sent by the principle, is in effect the principle! Yeshua is NOT HaShem in the flesh (For the record I wholeheartedly believe in the virgin birth), He is the Agent of HaShem and thus per this legal concept of agency, if we see Yeshua we see HaShem! How many times was Yeshua asked a question and He flat out said and I paraphrase ‘I don’t know, only the Father knows!’ If He is HaShem in the flesh and yet doesn’t know the answer to a question and points to HaShem i.e. Himself for the answer, then by definition He is either psychotic or a liar. Point is, His Word tells no man has ever seen Him. Even the Apostolic Writings restate this over and over again. Reinforces my point that Yeshua is the Agent of HaShem and NOT HaShem in the flesh.
So, to sum up this Op, consider what we read in Revelation 4 and how it connects to Rosh HaShanah as being the Feast in the future when Yeshua, as the Agent of HaShem, will be crowned King! Revelation 4:1 which says “After this I looked and saw a door having been opened in the heaven (Idiom for Rosh HaShanah akin to the books were opened). And the first voice which I heard was like a TRUMPET (SHOFAR) speaking (BLOWING), saying, ‘Come up here and I shall show you what has to take place after this’ (Again, Rosh HaShanah, the Feast when the Gathering takes place and all those are resurrected and taken to the Heavenly Temple).”
Revelation 4:2-3 says “And immediately I came to be in the Spirit and saw a THRONE set in the Heaven, and One sat on the THRONE. And He Who sat there was like a jasper and a ruby stone in appearance. And there was a rainbow around the THRONE, like an emerald in appearance.”
Now lets jump to Revelation 19:11-13 says “And I saw the heaven OPENED (Rosh HaShanah), and there was a white horse. And He Who sat on him was called ‘Trustworthy and True’, and in righteousness He judges and fights. And His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were MANY CROWNS, having a name that had been written, which no one had perceived except Himself and having been dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His Name is called ‘The Word of HaShem.'”
Revelation 19:14-16 says “And the armies in the Heaven, dressed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it, He should smite the nations. And He shall shepherd them with a rod of iron (Quoting Psalms 2:9). And He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of HaShem. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a Name written – Sovereign of Sovereigns and Master of Masters.”
So, here we see Yeshua is coronated King on Rosh HaShanah, then He mobilizes the armies of Heaven and moves out on Yom Kippur, ten days later, to bring judgment to the nations i.e. the gentiles who fought against HaShem and Israel at the end of the seven year Birth Pangs and He utterly destroys them once and for all! Baruch HaShem!
In light of all this, I think we can say Rosh HaShanah IS a very, very important day of HaShem which should be observed, as best we can while in exile and no, this Feast nor the other Feasts of HaShem have been done away with, tossed aside and replaced as many in Christendom teach. I hope you can see how much is being lost by tossing out His Feasts! So, much to learn and apply to our lives!
Much to consider!
‘L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem’, which means ‘May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year!’.
- The Scriptures by the Institute for Scripture Research
- Tehillim (Psalms) by Artscroll
- The Book of the Mitzvot by Artscroll
- Tractate Berakhot from the Talmud Bavli by Steinsaltz
- Tractate Rosh HaShanah from the Talmud Bavli by Steinsaltz