The Incarnation on Rosh Hashanah?
Let’s lay aside the most obvious reason: The cold, rainy weather of winter in Jerusalem would have prevented the shepherds and their sheep from being in the fields. They would have been kept under shelter. Okay, so how did I come to this conclusion? By process of elimination. While every one of the Lord’s feasts commemorates an event in God’s redemptive plan in the history of Israel, they are fulfilled through the life and ministry of His Messiah – Jesus. The spring feasts are fulfilled through the death, burial and resurrection:
- Passover commemorates the redemption of Israel as they sacrificed the lamb and applied its blood on the door-posts of their homes. The Angel of Death, seeing the sign of the blood passed over the home
- Jesus is the Passover Lamb whose blood, when applied to our hearts redeems us from death. Furthermore He was crucified on Passover.
- Unleavened Bread commemorates Israel’s deliverance from Egypt when they actually departed their bondage in the sin pots of Egypt.
- Jesus was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, separating our sins from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103).
- First sheaf of the harvest commemorates Israel’s arrival in the Promised Land and is observed by the bringing the first fruits of the spring harvest to the Lord.
- Jesus rose from the dead on the this feast, therefore He is called “The firstfruits from the dead.”
The summer feast of Weeks commemorates the first harvest that Israel both sowed and reaped.
- The Jewish men were to bring the first fruits of the summer harvest to offer thanksgiving to the Lord.
- The Greek name for this holiday is Pentecost, the day when Jesus gave the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit. You might have noticed that this is the second first fruits holiday and I suggest this holidays is can also be applied to us, the believers in Christ. As the Bible says, “we are the first fruits of Christ.”
The fall feasts are fulfilled by the birth and ministries of Jesus. Let’s start with the second and third of the fall feasts and then come back to the holiday under consideration.
- The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). On this day the High Priest made atonement for the sins of the nation. This was the only time he went into the Holy of Holies. Two goats were offered to the Lord for atonement. Upon both goats, the High Priest put the sins of the nation. One goat was sacrificed and its blood was brought into the Holy of Holies. The other goat was released into the wilderness.
- Jesus fulfilled both aspects of this holy day. His first ministry was that of the sacrificed goats, bearing and carrying away the sins of the people. Jesus’ current ministry is that of our High Priest who continuously makes intercession for His own.
- The final of the fall feasts, and the last of the annual cycle of all the feasts is the Feast of Tabernacles. This feast commemorates God’s provision and protection during the wilderness journey of Israel. It is the final first fruits holiday as the people brought the first fruits of the fall harvest to offer to the Lord. It is the most prophetic of all the feasts as it looks forward to the final ingathering of the nations and the Messiah’s rule and reign from Jerusalem.
- This is the one holiday that will be fulfilled as it points to the future ministry of Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords.
To review: The feasts of the spring:
Death Burial Resurrection
The feast of the summer:
Giving of the Spirit
The feasts of the fall:
Jesus’ first and current ministry
Jesus’ future ministry
Did you notice the one event in God’s redemptive plan? Of course, the Incarnation…the birth of Jesus! Now let’s consider what the Bible says about this holiday.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.'” Lev 23:23-24
There were two Biblical mandates on this holiday:
- They were to blow silver trumpets (Numbers 10:2, 10)
- It was to be a memorial of shouting or blowing
By now you should be asking the question, “Memorial of what?” The Bible is silent. Now consider what Jesus expected of Israel:
Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44
There were a few who were expectantly looking: Anna and Simeon. We hear the understanding of God’s visitation in the words of Zacharias and Mary. How did they know? Probably the words of Daniel 9:25-26. Based on the historical fact of the return of the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem in 445 BC, they could do the math bringing them to the year and perhaps the very day when Messiah would be executed for the sins of the world. Yes they were expecting the Messiah in fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. Imagine the drama of that night in Jerusalem on the first day of the seventh month, the day of the Feast of the Memorial Blowing: As the priests were blowing the silver trumpets, suddenly there was with the angel a multitude praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” —Luke 2:13-14 If the appearance of one angel is frightening, can you imagine what this sight was like? The awesomeness of the most spectacular sunset or the northern lights cannot compare with a multitude of heavenly hosts proclaiming, singing and shouting the news that God Himself was born! Glory to God in the highest, indeed! Can you imagine a better time to blow every trumpet in the Land? Could there be a better accompaniment to the angels’ voices? Bethlehem is just a few kilometers from Jerusalem. Imagine the perfection of this orchestration—trumpets blasting in Jerusalem and angels praising overhead.  You probably have two more questions, “Why is this holiday called ‘Rosh Hashanah?” and “What about the traditional teaching of the ‘Days of Awe?’” My answer is simple: TRADITION. Friends, there is only one New Year on God’s calendar and that is in the spring, fourteen days before Passover. So the nomenclature of “Rosh Hashanah is biblically incorrect. As regarding the Days of Awe, while there are valuable aspects of this tradition, it remains a rabbinic tradition without a solid biblical foundation. In conclusion, the challenge and decision before us is, “Will be continue to put tradition above the Bible?” As for me, I prefer to celebrate the Incarnation on the day when it probably happened…God’s feast on the first day of the seventh month…the Feast of the Memorial Shout/Blowing!
Jesus the Savior is Born!!!
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