Yom HaZikaron – Day of Remembrance
In today’s modern time in Israel, Yom HaZikaron is not so much associated with Yom Teruah as with Holocaust Memorial Day and falls on Iyar 5 unless it is a Shabbat; then in will fall two or three days preceeding Iyar 5 (April/May).
Leviticus 23:24 calls the day “a memorial” (zikkaron). Remembrance is a major theme in the Bible. God reminds Israel over and over to remember what He has done. We are reminded to remember what God has done as well. One way we remember what God has done is through thanking Him for His blessings to us. We can see by examining the following Scriptures that God remembers us and that we are to remember God in all of our ways.
There are two elements of remembrance:
- a) God remembers us(Genesis 8:1; 9:1, 5-16; 19:29; 30:22; Exodus 2:24-25; 3:1; 6:2,5; 32:1-3,7,11,13-14; Leviticus 26:14,31-33,38-45; Numbers 10:1-2,9; Psalm 105:7-8,42-43; 112:6). In fact, G-d has a book of remembrance (Exodus 32:32-33; Malachi 3:16-18; Revelation 3:5; 20:11-15; 21:1,27).
- b) We must remember God(Exodus 13:3; 20:8; Deuteronomy 7:17-19; 8:18; 16:3; Numbers 15:37-41).
In Daniel 7:9-10 it is written:
I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire. A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; the court sat, and the books were opened (Daniel 7:9-10 NAS).
Since the court was seated and the books were opened, it is understood to be Rosh HaShanah. Three books are opened on this day and one of the books is thought to be the Book of Remembrance. This is why the common greeting during Rosh HaShanah is, “May you be inscribed in the Book.”
In Romans 14:10 it is written, “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God [Christ]” (NAS). In Second Corinthians 5:10 it is written, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (NAS). This is also discussed in 1 Corinthians 3:9-15. The works of the believers in Messiah will be judged by God, but not their salvation. This is a judgment of the believers in Jesus only. All people in this judgment will be saved. This is not a judgment of our salvation, but a judgment of our rewards based upon our works. On this day, God will open the Book and hold a trial (Talmud, Rosh HaShanah 16b). This is known as the Bema or judgment.
Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.“On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.
The Book of the Living
The Book of Life
The Book of Tears
The Book of Works
The Book of Remembrance
The Book of Seven Seals
Malachi is the only place we find the Book of Remembrance specifically named. For now, we will just refer to the Book of Remembrance and how it relates to Yom Teruah and the Rapture.
The Hebrew word “Zikron” means recorded memento; a memorable day or writing. The Hebrew root “Zakar” means to mark, to mention, or to be noteworthy. So the Book of Remembrance is a book that records something to mark a person as noteworthy. We find several places in Scripture where God remembered someone:
Gen. 8:1 tells us that God remembered Noah. This doesn’t mean that God had forgotten Noah but that God had marked Him and it came up before the Lord that this is a marked man. God remembered Rachel and He opened her womb (Gen. 30:22). He heard Israel’s groaning and remembered His people (Ex. 2:24). He also remembered Hannah was barren and He gave her a son (1 Sam. 1:19).
These are examples of how God would see someone in intercession, prayer, or need and as they would cry out to God; He remembered them. He marked them for a miracle. He marked them as a memento to bless them. It has nothing to do with God forgetting someone; but rather, God marking someone.
God remembers His covenant with His people (Ex. 6:5); He remembers His children in time of need (Ps. 98:3); and He remembers and delivers in time of adversity (Num. 10:9). God also specifically remembers those who do certain things: He remembers those who fear Him (Acts 10:1-2; Ps. 27:5), He remembers those who testify to one another (Rev. 12:11), and He remembers those who meditate upon His name (Hb. 10:23), call on his name, or pray in his name.
God specifically remembers or marks people to deliver them before the day of trouble strikes the earth. If you look at Mal. 3:16, when the book is mentioned until the time Elijah appears in 4:5 before the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord; you find He is putting their name in the book to deliver them. As you read this passage in Malachi in context, it allows us to discover that God is going to spare His treasure from the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord.
In Malachi 4:1, the Tribulation is mentioned:
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.
If we continue reading to verse 5, we find that Elijah is sent, “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.” What do we know of Elijah? The Bible tells us:
- Elijah was translated up (2 Kings 2:1-11)
- Elijah is expected in the future, according to Jewish belief.
- Elijah will reappear in the tribulation, as one of the two witnesses (Rev. 11:1-2) – last 42 months is known as God’s wrath – the Greater Tribulation.
- Elijah is a Witness (11:3). In Hebrew, the word “witness” is mar-toos, meaning “judicial witness” and also a martyr.
It appears that Elijah is very much a part of the Last Days. In fact, in Jewish traditions at Passover a seat is always left empty for the Prophet Elijah because he is expected.
So we know from the above verses, that Malachi is speaking of the Tribulation. We also know that Elijah is a part of what will take place. The verses also let us know what God is sparing His treasured possession from the Tribulation and He does this by recording their name in the Book of Remembrance. We know of its existence because of Malachi’s reference to it but we know from the New Testament that it exists because of the example of Cornelius in Acts 10:1-4:
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.
Going back to Malachi 3, we find that God spares His treasured possession. But what does it mean? Who is the “peculiar teasure”? Lets see what the Bible says: Ex. 19:5, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,” and in Ps. 135:4, “For the Lord has chosen Jacob to be his own, Israel to be his treasured possession.”
The word “treasure” in Hebrew (seg-ool-law) is the same meaning as “special jewel.” In the OT, Israel was God’s jewel. As Christians, we are grafted in and according to 2 Cor. 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” and 1 Peter 2:9, But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” we are God’s treaure too.
In Ex. 19:5 God calls Israel His peculiar treasure and God calls the church a treasure and a peculiar people. We are a part of the “treasured possession” God will spare in the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord. God puts people in the Book of Remembrance to deliver them from trouble or to mark them for deliverance.
Another idiom for Yom Teruah is the Day of Remembrance. The Day of Remembrance seems to be linked with the Book of Remembrance because they are both linked to our relationship to God. The Day of Remembrance is called a memorial (a remembrance) for blowing trumpets (Lev. 23:24). The trumpet is blown over 100 times on this day and we know there are four different trumpet sounds on this day ending with the Last Trump (Tekiah Hagdoleh). The Rapture has trumpets associated with it. We know from Malachi 3:17 that God gathers His treasured possession to spare them from trouble and we know the Rapture is associated with gathering the Church to spare her from tribulation. Yom HaZikaron is yet another picture or foreshadow of what we know as the Rapture.
We have covered several names so far and each idiom seems to be a different aspect of what we know as the Rapture or the great catching away.
I hope all of this makes sense. Most of it is coming from my teaching notes. Sometimes I don’t have the time to write out everything the way I teach it, so I hope it is all coming together. Well, till tomorrow as the Day of Release and Yom Teruah draw closer still. Shalom.