The first day of the New Year (Rosh Hashanah – 5776) on the Jewish calendar is on September 14. The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) comes 10 days later on September 23. There is a special Hebrew word for the 40 days preceding Yom Kippur, beginning on the first of Elul. It is called Teshuvah. The root of this Hebrew word is “shoov” which means return. It means turning from evil and turning toward good (both aspects of forgiveness).
In Biblical times the Shofar would have been blown every day. The sound was to warn God’s people to return to Him in repentance. In addition, Psalm27 was recited daily. Both of these practices are repeated today in some Jewish congregations.
The goal of Teshuvah is to rid oneself of guilt. It is my understanding that on the first 30 days of Teshuvah one would focus on receiving forgiveness from offenses committed against others by making restitution to those who were offended. During the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (called the Days of Awe) one should prepare to enter the Holy of Holies and would focus on repenting for transgressions committed against God.
Before Yeshua’s death and resurrection, only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. Since the death and resurrection of Yeshua our High Priest, who is the atonement cover for Believers in Him, we have “confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus.” (Hebrews 10:19) In addition, the Lord has made us to be priests before Him. (Revelation 1:6 and 5:10)
As I ponder all of this, I remember that the year of Jubilee begins on Yom Kippur, not Rosh Hashanah. (Leviticus 25:9) I thought this curious until I worked through it. Jubilee is a year of rest and freedom, return and redemption. The 10 Days of Awe become particularly important this year in order for one to prepare themselves for Jubilee. The word Jubilee means “productive” or “he will be made able.” How can one be productive unless they are right with God? He is the One who gives us time to contemplate our relationship with others and with Him so that we can repent of any sins, enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, receive empowerment to walk in His grace, and move out to shine His light to the rest of the world.
I see the convergence of many significant events occurring this fall. One is that this will be the 70th Jubilee since Joshua and Caleb crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Seventy is a meaningful number in the Bible. The number of Jacob’s family that went to Egypt was 70. (Genesis 46:27) There were 70 palm trees at the place of refreshing called Elim. (Exodus15:27) There were 70 elders in Israel. (Exodus 24:1) After 70 years in exile, Israel was restored. (Jeremiah 29:10) It is the number of disciples sent out by Jesus, two by two. (Luke 10:1 – KJ) It speaks of completion and perfection because of the multiplier of seven. It is a time prior to increase.
Let us use this time to consecrate ourselves before a Holy God and to prepare ourselves for a time of increase and return.This could be the finest hour for God’s people.I want to be ready for whatever the Lord has for me.How about you?