The Fall Feasts Revisited
Isn't it funny how something you think you've known for your whole life can hit you anew and make you wonder how you've missed it for so long? I have that happen every once in a while. In fact, I had it happen to me last month while researching for our September 2002 issue.
Having grown up in the Jewish faith I figured I had a pretty good lock on the feasts. But as is true with so many areas of our lives after we accept the Lord, He winnows out the wheat from the chaff, the correct from the incorrect. One thing I had never heard mention of prior to my research last month were the Seven Days of Affliction that fall between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Tradition labels these days as the Days of Awe, a window in time when God opens the Book of Life. If a person is repentant enough during this time, his name will be written in the Book, and on Yom Kippur the Book is sealed and the person is set for another year. Again, this is tradition and not Biblical, born out of necessity after the Second Temple is Jerusalem was destroyed and the sacrificial system came to an end.
In Scripture the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the Seven Days of Affliction, a time of preparation before Yom Kippur. In light of the fact that these Fall Feasts have yet to be fulfilled, but will be fulfilled with Yeshua's second coming, when I saw the term Seven Days of Affliction I was struck by something that I feel should have been obvious before that moment, but hadn't been.
With regards to the rapture, there are many who believe that it will take place on Rosh Hashanah. Yes, Jesus said that no man knows the hour or the day when the trumpet will sound to call His bride, and because of this it has been widely accepted that the rapture could happen any day of the year - and that may be the case. But when you look at Scripture an dhow God has set His times and seasons, I have a bit of a problem believing that He would do something as significant as presenting Yeshua's bride to Him on just any old day. You also must remember that Rosh Hashanah lasts for two days and there are a number of times throughout those days that the shofar is blown. Could this possibly be what Yeshua meant when He said no one knows the Day (the first or second) or the hour (which appointed time for the blowing of the shofar)? Perhaps.
Now, after Rosh Hashanah come the Seven Days of Affliction. Seven days is one week, and one of the terms used to identify the tribulation is the 70th Week of Daniel (Daniel 9:20-27). The Seven Days of Affliction are a time of preparation, a time of examination and purging out of pride and sin prior to Yom Kippur. The tribulation will be a time of preparation and purging out of pride and sin for the nation of Israel - this prior to Israel's Day of Atonement (Zechariah 12:9-14).
Yom Kippur. The Day of Atonement. Unlike all other prescribed sacrifices, Yom Kippur is a day of national atonement. This is the only day that the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, and then only after following strictly prescribed rituals. Today, even if a Jew is fairly non-observant in other areas, he is almost sure to observe Yom Kippur. In Scripture we see that it will be a national Israeli outcry to God (Zechariah 12:9-14) that will precipitate the Messiah's second physical return (Isaiah 63:1-6). Could this national outcry take place on any given day considering the tremendous persecution and violence that will be unleashed against the Jews during the tribulation? Of course. But again, knowing that God has set His appointed times and seasons, wouldn't it make sense that Israel would cry out to God and as a nation accept the atonement that the Messiah has make on Yom Kippur, the national Day of Atonement? What day would be more appropriate? On what other day would Jews everywhere be observing a holy day of fasting and prayer?
So, with the Fall Feasts we not only see the beauty and grace of God and His Messiah, but we also may have a pattern for the culmination of this age. Why not search the Scriptures for yourself and discover the wondrous treasures that await you?