Seventh month of God’s calendar: Beginning of the end of the beginning of the end

JeffThis is a 50,000-foot-high view of the fall “feasts to the LORD” (Lev. 23:2) — Yom Teruah (Trumpets, aka Rosh Hashanah), Yom haKippurim (Atonement) and Sukkot (Tabernacles). We’ll look at what they are and what meanings are stacked on top of each other as memorials of the actions of the Messiah past, present and future.

We frequently see the phrase “Day of the LORD” in regard to the final days (Isa. 13:6, 9; 58:13; Ezek. 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18, 20; Obad. 1:15; Zeph. 1:7, 14; Mal. 4:5; Acts 2:20; 1Cor. 5:5; 1Thess. 5:2; 2Thess. 2:2; 2Pet. 3:10). One of the key words we see in the seventh month is the Hebrew word שֶׁבַע sheba/shava (Strong’s lexicon No. H7651). It has a number of meanings, including the number 7 and oath. We see this in the seven wells Yitskhak (Isaac) dug as his oath to God and God’s oath to him (Gen. 21:31; 26:33), and the place was called Beer Sheba, well of oath/seven

We first see the word seven in Creation, when God blessed the seventh day of Creation and set it apart — hallowed it (Gen. 2:2-3). He hallowed it because He stopped creating on that day, He shabbatted. He set apart each seventh day as a memorial that God brought forth the world and everything into existence.

When you talk about an oath, what kind of certainty are we talking about? One certainty is that God is the creator. We see this repeated in the 10 Commandments (Ex. 20:8-11). and in Revelation 14. One of the three angels’ messages for the world leading up to the Day of the LORD is to remember the Creator (Rev. 14:6–7). This is a surety that underlies everything: “In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1) is foundational to our faith. 

The events of the seventh month are prophecies of how this age of rebellion against God will come to a completion. God’s appointments with mankind in the first to third months of His calendar are echoed in the holy days of the seventh month:

  • First day of the first month => Yom Teruah, the first day of the seventh month.
  • Lamb Selection Day, the 10th day of the first month => Yom haKippurim, the 10th of the seventh.
  • Pesakh (Passover), the 14th of the first month, the day before Matzot (Unleavened Bread) => Shmeni Atzeret (Eighth Day), the 22nd day of the seventh month, the day after Sukkot.
  • Matzot, 15th to 21st days of the first month => Sukkot on the 15th to 21st of the seventh month.

Yom Teruah

The first day of each month of the Biblical calendar are a holy day, called Rosh Chodesh (New Moon). Two silver trumpets are blown to signal a special message for the leaders and for the people. All New Moons are special, but the New Moon of the seventh month is even more special.

There is an announcement of a time of joy. The reason this day is also called Rosh Hashanah (New Year), even though we see in that the first month is the beginning of the year (Ex. 12:1), is the seventh month, in a sense, is the beginning of the end of the beginning of the end. But there also were beginnings on the date, such as the crowning of kings. King Solomon was declared king of Israel on Rosh Hashanah, which was a new beginning of the people of Israel.

Trumpets are one of the “calling cards” of God and His presence. They are foreshadowing of the return and restoration of the house of God after He tore down His own house, including in Shiloh, the destruction of the first temple by the Babylonians, the desecration of the second temple by the Greeks and the destruction of the second temple by the Romans. The destruction by the Romans was so complete that to this day, there is another building on top of it. 

Will the temple of Ezekiel literally be rebuilt in later times, or will there be spiritual temple built of the people of God? 

The passage in 1Corinthians 14 is full of the imagery of the blast of a trumpet. What does it mean for the word of the Lord to come? The Hebrew word דָּבָר davar/dabar (H1697) is used in a number of ways in Scripture. It’s sometimes just translated as word or thing. It’s used as a word for pestilence, plague or even an open pasture. When you talk about a pestilence or plague sent by God. God speaks and it happens.

Dabar comes from the root verb דָּבַר dabar (H1696), to speak. It also have a related meaning of an oracle or to clear away an area, as you have during a pestilence or plague. 

The name דְּבוֹרָה Deborah/Devorah (H1682/H1683) comes from this root word. This name means bee, like a honey bee. It seems a little odd that a bee would be associated with a spoken word. The Word is compared to honey in several places in the Bible (Psa. 19:10; 119:103), but you also see passages related to the day of the Lord where the word of the Lord is not sweet like honey but it has a bitterness or a sting to it (Rev. 10:9–10; cf. Ezek. 3:1–11). God’s word has sweetness but also judgment. Bees bring something sweet but they also have a business end that you have to be careful not to provoke. It’s a scary thing to get on the wrong side of the word of God. 

It’s not coincidental that honey and apples are a traditional part of the celebration of Yom Teruah.

Yom haKippurim

The next holy day in the seventh month is Yom haKippurim, described in detail in Leviticus 16. The background for this appointment with God actually starts in Leviticus 10, with the two sons of Aaron being consumed by God’s fire after they approach the presence of God with “foreign fire.” In Leviticus 16, God tells Aaron that he is not to come into the Tabernacle casually or at any time he wants but only once a year — Yom haKippurim. 

Yom haKippur is on the 10th day of the seventh month. The 10th day of the first month is Lamb Selection day. Do they have a connection? John 1 shows you the connection. John the Baptist told us: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” On Yom Kippur, there are two goats — the “goat for the LORD” that dies and whose blood covers sins, transgressions and iniquiry and the “scapegoat” that is “covered” by the hands of the high priest after the blood of the first goat “covers” the Tabernacle. The second goat was led away outside the congregation to a far-away, desolate area, to a debar area.

The Hebrew word for scapegoat, עֲזָאזֵל azazel (H5799), has been translated goat of separation, based on עֵז ’ez (H5795, she-goat) and אָזַל ’azal (H235, to go away, hence, to disappear) (Strong’s Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary of the Old Testament). Bible critics have considered this scapegoat to be “a demon of the wilderness,” based on the Dead Sea Scrolls term עזזאל ’azaz’el, which is taken to mean God’s opponent, from ’azz (opponent in Arabic, a sister language to Hebrew) and אל ’el, a short generic term for God (The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands, 2000). Some Jewish and some Christian commentaries have considered the scapegoat to represent haSatan (the Adversary), the Devil.

Yet, Yokhanan the immerser (John the baptist) connected the Pesakh lamb to the Kippurim goats: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29, 36). The blood of original Pesakh lamb “covered” the entrance to a home and protected those inside from the Destroyer of the first-born of Egypt during the Exodus. Those lambs didn’t seem to have as much power as the Destroyer, but the Pesakh could block the Destroyer. Both the Destroyer and the Pesakh were God’s agents for justice and mercy, respectively.

Likewise, both goats on Yom haKippurim were agents of God. One goat was killed for the LORD, the other goat, the one for azazel, is sent away. The sins, transgressions and iniquities would be gone from the community.

Yeshua was crucified outside Yerushalayim; He carried away the sins, transgressions and iniquity of Israel and all the world who would trust in Him and died (Jn. 3:16-17). Yeshua is the Pesakh lamb and both of the goats of Yom haKippurim. Where there is overlap, there is a message. 

The goats of Kippurim are a shadow of a greater covering and removal to come. Yom Kippurim is a memorial of the past, present and future work of Yeshua. As you prepare for the fall feasts, especially Yom haKippur, I’d encourage you to meditate on Hebrews 7-10, on the importance now of having a High Priest Who knows what struggles we have and can cover our iniquity.

Sukkot and Shmeni Atzeret

The next holy days in the seventh month is Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret. You will see a connection between Passover and the Eighth day and between the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Sukkot. 

The conclusion of Yom Kippur is shalom — peace, at-one-ment with God — because God no longer holds that which was taken away against us. 

When we think about Sukkot, people are supposed to live in tents, in temporary dwellings (Lev. 23:39–43). This so we can remember where we came from. Paul refers to our bodies as “tents,” temporary dwellings that are subject to age, illnesses, etc. (2Cor. 5:1, 4). God also told Moses that He wanted to pitch His tent — the Tabernacle — in the middle of His people (Ex. 25:8; 29:45–46; Lev. 26:11; cf. Lev. 16:16). 

There’s this idea of covering everything before God moves in. The last few chapters of Revelation are full of judgement, cleaning everything up and then the city of God comes down. That is the great consummation of all things, picture in Sukkot. 

The Eight Day follows the seven days of Sukkot. The Bible doesn’t talk about it too much. It is not just God living with us, but the death of death itself (Rev. 20:14). The new “heavens and the new earth” begins (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; Rev. 21:1–2). 

Our spiritual forefathers traveled in tents under the cloud. Likewise, “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us” (Jn. 1:14). Just as God pitched his Tent in the middle of the people, Yeshua came and “pitched” Himself (Word became flesh) with us too. We are the temple of the Spirit of God (1Cor. 6:19; cp. Jn. 2:21). We are traveling temples; a memorial of this is Sukkot. In the interim, we can have a small deposit of this now (2Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 1:13-14). We are not left alone without the presence of God, such as when the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 and the Aaronic priesthood disbanded. That’s the point of Hebrews 7-10. The Aaronic priests had no way to read the hearts and minds of the sacrifices brought to them to offer, but Yeshua, the ultimate High Priest, can read hearts and minds and has walked many miles in our shoes.

Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Tammy.

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