The Jewish new year is September 18h this year, and so begins the so-called High Holidays, a.k.a. the Ten Days of Awe, ending with Yom Kippur, when Jews traditionally believed that the heavenly court of God is in session, and that God decides who will live and will will die in the coming year.
1) The traditional synagogue greeting "May you be inscribed in the Book of Life") to Jews means "May you live another year." Yet the Bible treats this with eternal consequence.
"L'Shanah Tovah Tikateyvu" is how you say it in Hebrew, and it's popularly said during this time of year.The concepts of a Book of Life and a Day of Judgment, both strong themes in the Judaism of Scripture, are obscure and inconsistently taught in most modern synagogues today. Orthodox and Chasidic Jews, similar to the ancient Pharisees, take these themes more seriously. But they only comprise 12% of the Jewish population. Most modern Jews look upon born-again Christians as being obsessed with eternal life; Jews are more concerned with this life, and believe that the next life (if it exists at all), will take care of itself.
What Moses only briefly alluded to in Exodus 32, the New Testament majors on. Moses prayed that God would not strike the Israelites dead for their rebellion, and prayed " 'Yet now, if you will forgive their sin -- and if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which you have written.' And the Lord said to Moses, 'Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.' "
St. Paul spoke of such a book to the Greeks at Philippi, and said that their "names were in the Book of Life".
Jesus spoke of such a book: "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life" (Rev. 4:3) Also Rev. 13:8, 17:8, 20:12-15.
Clearly then, faith in the Messiah as our Atonement (lit: our "Kippura") is key to "L'Shanah Tovah Tikateyvu"!
2) Jews have been unable, for 2000 years, to keep these High Holy Days holidays in the way required by the Torah
Post-Biblical Jewish practices have had to "make due" and adapt to the destruction of their religious system by the Romans 2000 years ago. Scripture required a sacrificial system, an atoning sacrifice, a High Priest, an altar, a Holy of Holies, and the Temple: all of which were necessary at Rosh Hashana (lit: "Head of the Year"; i.e. "New Year") and Yom Kippur (lit: "Day of Atonement"). The Jewish religion underwent a massive change since the destruction of the Temple and its service in AD 70.
Today, Jews attend synagogue services, pray for God's yearly blessing upon their lives, listen to the blowing of the shofar, and fast on Yom Kippur. But they have no atoning sacrifice, as their Scriptures require.
3) The Talmud teaches that at Yom Kippur, 40 years before the Temple's destruction, God stopped forgiving Israel of sins.
The Jewish Talmud is the authoritative rabbinic commentary on the Hebrew Scriptures (The Hebrew Scriptures not include the New Testament). In "Seder Mo'ed: Rosh Hashana 31b", as well as in The Soncino Talmud, tractate ‘Yoma,’ 39b, mention is made of a yearly miracle that occurred on the door of the Temple court over 2000 years ago. It was customary to fasten a thick scarlet thread on that door. After the High Priest performed his Yom Kippur service, the thread would turn white, which the rabbis interpreted as a sign that the High Priest had performed his duties correctly and that the sins of the nation had been forgiven for that year. On or about the year AD 30, the scarlet thread never turned white again. This caused the rabbis great concern, but they refused to connect that with the death of Jesus. Read Christian Witness to Israel's website inclusion http://www.cwi.org.uk/library/articles/HAMOYK.htm
4) The commonly-used term "scapegoat" is taken from Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
People today use the term "scapegoat" often. It's become part of common speech. But just as with the phrase "handwriting on the wall", they rarely connect it with the Bible. A "scapegoat" was used at Yom Kippur in a detailed ceremony where the High Priest laid his hands upon a male goat, transferred the sins of Israel to the animal victim, and had it led out into the wilderness, far away from the community of Israel to fend for itself, presumably to die. This symbolized the separation of Israel from its sin, and the vicarious "blaming" of the innocent goat for the guilt of the people. Leviticus 16:8-26 details this ceremony. Hebrews 13:10-14 applies it to Jesus.
5) The N.T.'s Letter to the Hebrews devotes three entire chapters and 85 verses to "Yom Kippur" themes.
Yom Kippur is a major theme of Hebrews. We can't understand a large portion of the Bible without knowing something of this holy day. Hebrews 8 speaks of Jesus being a heavenly High Priest for Christians now; far better than the temporary high priests of the now-defunct Temple, whose priests had to yearly offer animal atonements for the nation's sins. Hebrews 9 and 10 details this intricate Temple service, emphasizing the once-and-final single sacrifice of Christ. Aside from Jews, this has ramifications for Roman Catholics, who are taught that the Mass is a repeatedly needed re-sacrifice of Christ. Hebrews 9 refutes this.
6) The three holidays: Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashana & Yom Kippur are all connected to "end of the world" events.
According to Jewish tradition, during the High Holy Days, (which include the entire ten days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, as well as the days in between) the Court of God is said to be in session. This is when God decides the fate of all Jews. Four series of blasts from the shofar (the ram's horn) are sounded in the synagogues, culminating with the "Tekiah Gedolah" (lit: the "Great Blast") which is the final trumpet sounding, when God renders His judgment.
The sounding of the final trumpet figures heavily in the New Testament, which uses the language of the High Holy Days to speak of events at the end of the world. Notice:
"For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." (I Thess. 4:16-18)
"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed -- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible. and we shall be changed." (I Cor. 15:51,52)
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