From Death to Life
Leviticus 23:24: “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation’”
The 12th August marked the beginning of a 40 day period of repentance called ‘Teshuvah’ (to turn and go the opposite direction). And in Orthodox synagogues, the ‘shofar’ is blown daily during this 40 day period to call Jewish hearts to “Wake up”.
The period of ‘Teshuvah’ intensifies as the days of ‘Rosh Hashanah’ and ‘Yom Kippur’ draw near. And at this time of ‘teshuvah’, Jewish people make a point of putting ‘HaShem’ first so that their name will be written and established in the ‘Book of Life’ for another year.
At sunset on the 9th September, Jewish people all over the world began celebrating ‘Rosh Hashanah’, the Jewish New Year which is also known as the ‘Feast of Trumpets.’
‘Rosh Hashanah’ is the beginning of the most solemn days of the Jewish year which conclude with ‘Yom Kippur’ (Day of Atonement).
On the first day of ‘Rosh Hashanah’ after the afternoon service, Jewish people perform ‘tashlich’ (you will cast) when they visit a body of water or a pond. They then throw bread crumbs or pebbles into the water to symbolically “cast away” their sins.
Jewish people believe that on ‘Rosh Hashanah’ the destiny of all mankind is recorded by G-d in the “Book of Life”. Jewish tradition holds that the Books in Heaven are open as G-d then watches the hearts of men over the next ten days, deciding their fate, and on ‘Yom Kippur’, the Books are closed and their fate is sealed for the year.
‘ASERET YEMEI TESHUVAH’ (TEN DAYS OF PENITENCE)
This time is also known as the ‘Yamim Noraim’ (Days of Awe), and during this time it is considered appropriate for Jews to practice ‘teshuvah’ (returning or repentance) in which one examines one's ways; engages in repentance; and improves one’s ways in anticipation of ‘Yom Kippur’.
In contemporary Judaism, many congregations hold a special service near midnight on the Saturday night preceding the “Ten Days of Repentance”. This short prayer service, which comprises prayers of atonement serves as a preamble to the “High Holy Days”, ‘Yom Kippur’ in particular.
The tenth day is biblically mandated ‘Yom Kippur’ (Day of Atonement): Leviticus 23:26-28: “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God.””
Three of the main observances are themes that are repeated in both the ‘Rosh Hashanah’ and ‘Yom Kippur’ prayer services: ‘Teshuva’, ‘tefila’, ‘tzedaka’ (“Repentance, Prayer and Charity”) which removes the severe decree.
Sadly, no amount of “bread thrown into water” and no amount of prayer, petitioning, penance, fasting or spending the day in synagogue will grant Jewish people (or any people) forgiveness of sin and everlasting life in heaven.
There is only one way to forgiveness of sin and everlasting life in heaven for Jewish people and that is through Yeshua and the work of the cross.
Nothing that Jewish people do on the 40 days preceding ‘Rosh Hashanah’, on ‘Rosh Hashanah’ itself, during the ‘Ten Days of Awe’, or on ‘Yom Kippur’ will get them written into the “Book of Life” - not even for a year; never mind for eternity.
Revelations 21:27 declares: “But there shall by no means enter it (Heaven) anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.”
I echo the words written by the Apostle Paul in Romans 10:1: “My heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”
And the cry of my heart for all Jewish people is: This year, through Yeshua, may you truly be inscribed in the “Lamb’s Book of Life” for eternity.
However, for this to happen, my people (and all people) have to hear the gospel message for their eternal destiny to be changed from death to life.
In Romans 10:13-15 we read: “For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!””.
Will you pick up your G-d-given mandate to take the gospel to Jewish people you know and be G-d’s instruments to change the eternal future of the flesh-and-blood brothers and sisters of Yeshua from death to life?
And if you don’t know any Jewish people, fervently and frequently pray for their salvation as this, too, will change the eternal future of the flesh-and-blood brothers and sisters of Yeshua from death to life.