On Wednesday evening, September 8, 2010, Jews will begin to celebrate the passing of another year. It will all begin with sunset in Jerusalem and follow the various time zones around the globe. Rosh Hashanah will be observed for two days, simply because of the 24 time zones around the world. It will take two days for all Jews around the globe to observe the significance of that special day. Rosh Hashanah will mark the beginning of the year 5771, which Jews believe to be 5,771 years since Creation. Trumpets will be blown Thursday morning to observe the onset of a new year. Jews believe that the trumpet represents the time when God will be seated upon a judgment throne to dispense judgment upon a wicked world.
Whether it will happen this month, or on some future day, no one knows. One can only speculate how it will happen.
Between Rosh Hashanah (Tishri 1 and 2) and Yom Kippur (Tishri 10) there are seven intervening days called the Days of Awe. They are also referred to as the “days of penitence” and the “days of affliction.”
In his book, The Jewish Holidays, Michael Strassfeld writes, “It’s about time we dropped the Christian-sounding names for Rosh Hashanah and reverted to the Jewish name, yamim noraim — Awesome Days, or Days of Awe, Days of anxiety, trepidation, humility, soul-searching. These are the connotations we want” (p. 95).
The entire process (Tishri 1-10) reserve all ten days for the solemn occasion. There is no levity or laughter allowed during this time. Each Jew observes the time for reflection and repentance.
It is said that on some future Rosh Hashanah, God will take three books — a Book of Life into which the saints are written; a Book of Death into which the sinners are sealed; and a third book into which the people who are neither perfectly good nor completely bad are written. They will be given those ten days of penitence to repent. The rabbis say that the third group of people are comprised of Jews — the house of Israel.
In his book, Days of Awe, Rabbi Yosef Stern writes, “As it is well known, the righteous are written in the Book of Life on Rosh Hashanah. These worthy individuals can be vindicated on the basis of their own merit, they do not need to be saved. It is the intermediate category, the individuals who are neither totally virtuous nor totally evil, who are saved on Yom Kippur” (p. 279).
The Book of Life is reserved for the saints, who do not need to endure the days of affliction (i.e., the Tribulation Period). If you will consider this statement carefully, you will see that the rabbis envision a pre-Tribulation rapture of the saints. We are saved by grace through the shed blood of Christ. Therefore, we will not need to go through the days of affliction — the Tribulation.
Stern also wrote, “Whereas Rosh Hashanah is a day of judgment for all mankind, Yom Kippur’s atonement is reserved for the Jewish people” (p. 272).
As we have previously stated, those who are written in the third book — who will have to endure the Tribulation Period and are saved on Yom Kippur are the Jewish people. They are the people who are considered to be “neither totally virtuous nor totally evil.”
Rosh Hashanah is observed as the birthday of the world. It stands to reason, therefore, that God will begin to judge the world on that day.
The blowing of the shofar trumpet is reserved for the morning synagogue service. The people sit in silence awaiting the sound of the shofar. They don’t know just when it will come. Their waiting reminds us of the uncertainty of the timing for that future resurrection trumpet. At a time when we are not expecting it, the heavenly trumpet will sound and we will be taken to heaven in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
As we look around us, observing the tension between Israel and it’s Arab neighbors, we can feel the importance of these days. As we see a New Economic Order in the making, the betrayal of the American people by our politicians in Washington, DC, and the Moslem push for world domination, we all feel like praying, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).