At sundown, we begin the Jewish month of Elul. About two years ago, the Lord began to speak to my heart about studying the Jewish Feast Days. Thus began a period of serious research on just the feasts.
The Jewish aspect of studying Scripture and theology has always been so important to me personally, especially during my undergrad seminary days. When I studied in Germany, one of the requirements to complete theological studies was a mandatory class with Hebrew University in Jerusalem. We had to complete three credits in Biblical Archeology; as well as, an extensive daily regiment from Dan to Beersheba and all parts around Israel. I realized then that studying the cultural aspects of Jesus’ life and Judaism was important. It made the words of the Bible come alive for me. Studying in this way allowed me to solidify my faith in a way beyond apologetics or philosophical argument. It helped me to realize in a very tangible way that the Word of God is never static but it is living and active (Hb. 4:12).
There is a lot more about Hebraic thinking that has shaped my faith but that’s not why I write today. I write because we are at Elul 1. During this time of study in the last two years, God has really changed me. One thing I’d like to share is that when I began this study the first thing the Lord told me to look at was the Shemitah. Now we hear about Shemitah quite a bit, but this was before the book and all the stuff we hear about now. So I began researching the Shemitah and I wrote a teaching about it. On a Sunday about two years ago, I began teaching about the Shemitah that was coming and how important it was because it’s ending would probably be major. What’s funny about it is that the Tuesday after that message, Jonathan Cahn’s book about the Mystery of the Shemitah was released. People that heard the teaching on the Sunday before were calling me and talking about TV shows where they were talking about the Shemitah and what the TV was saying was the same as the teaching we had done. For me, that was a major confirmation that God was definitely leading me to study this subject.
That leads me to today. We are at a crossroads. It is the time in a Christian’s life where the rubber meets the road. We are either all in or we are not. The month of Elul generally ushers in a season known as Teshuva. Teshuva in Hebrew simply means, “to return or repent.” The time of repentance is 40 days and begins on Elul 1 and continues through Yom Kippur. Thirty days into Teshuva we have Rosh HaShanah and this begins the final ten day period known as the “Awesome Days,” “The Days of Awe” or “The High Holy Days.” The Shabbat that happens during the Days of Awe is called “Shabbat Shuvah” or the Sabbath of Return. Now if you are a Christian that believes in the Rapture, that’s kind of exciting!
The month of Elul leads up to the Feast of Trumpets; which is significant because each morning during the month of Elul a shofar (trumpet) is sounded. The shofar is sounded to warn the people to repent and return to God. The shofar sound on each morning of Elul is a blast called Tekiah. The Tekiah blast is to awaken. It is one continuous sound that extends for several beats (musically speaking). The Tekiah is the blast that announces God’s intent to establish His righteous boundaries in an area He wants to occupy. Again, this is rather exciting to a follower of Jesus.
Remember, the whole month of Elul is a daily process of preparation through personal examination and repentance for the coming High Holy Days. If you were Jewish (which you are because you are grafted in), a shofar would sound each morning to awaken you and then you would read or recite Psalm 27: “
The Lord Is My Light and My Salvation
27 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
and each evening you would read or recite the same Psalm 27.
The important message that begins on Elul 1 is an alarm to repent before Yom Teruah (Rosh Ha Shanah, The Feast of Trumpets). Why? That is a subject for another post.
We have to examine our hearts and our lives and remove anything that is not of God. The day of the opening of the books is at hand and we want to be ready. Have a good Elul 1.