Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah

Earlier this year, I had a bunch of different blogs, and I kept them separate. This was my writing/reading blog, I had a blog chronicling my Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I had a religious/spiritual blog. Well, I have difficult keeping them all up, and I figure this blog should just combine all of them. Although it's chiefly about writing and reading, I don't mind posting about other things that interest me.

I'm a Christian by definition -- I believe Jesus was the Son of God, and his crucifixion and resurrection takes away our sins. I also believe that the Torah isn't "obsolete" and it hasn't "passed away." As such, I celebrate the biblical feasts. It's the fall now, which means the Jewish High Holidays are upon us.

Rosh Hashanah is the feast of trumpets which marks the Jewish New Year. It's referenced in Leviticus 23 and Numbers 29 as a "holy convocation." The Israelites were to blow the trumpets and do no regular work. Some of the traditional foods of the holiday are apples and honey to symbolize a sweet new year.

One of my favorite customs for Rosh Hashanah is tashlikh. You take a collection of bread crumbs and cast them off into a body of water. It's symbolic for the previous year's sins, and references to Micah 7:18-19:

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. You will be faithful to Jacob, and show love to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our ancestors in days long ago.

If one looks at the life of Jesus, you can see that he was crucified on Passover, and he can be our Passover lamb. As the blood of the Passover lamb protected the Israelites, so the blood of Christ can protect us from death. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit was given on Shavuot (or Pentecost) which was the date when tradition says the Torah was given on Mt. Sinai.

Based on those events, some people believe that "The End Times" events will happen during the Fall Festivals. They predict the Rapture might happen on Rosh Hashanah because ome verses reference to the blowing of a trumpet with the rapture, including Matthew 24:31:

And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

I have no idea when that will be. There were plenty of people who thought the world was going to end May 21st. We'll always be surrounded by people pronouncing the end of the world, but can anyone really know when these things will happen? I don't think so. We can be ready, though, living our lives to love God and love others.

Rosh Hashanah starts tonight and ends Friday sundown. It's celebrated for two days because the actual position of the new moon (Rosh Hashanah is to be on the "first day of the seventh month") is hard to predict. I will be casting off my sins in the Willamette river, thanking God for forgiveness and for a new year!

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