Most Christians don’t know about the Fall Holidays of ancient Israel; Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and Tabernacles (Sukkoth). If the spring festivals so clearly prophesied the first coming of Messiah, it stands to reason that the fall festivals are also prophetic of His second coming. The way these holidays are celebrated reveals specific information of the way they will be prophetically fulfilled.
Preparations for the Fall Holidays begin a full month in advance. On the Jewish calendar is a forty-day season called Teshuvah (return or repentance.) It begins on Elul 1 and ends on the Day of Atonement (Tishri 10). This forty-day season is a time for one to annually examine his life and restore relationships between God and man. The first thirty days of this season are the thirty days of the month of Elul. The last ten days of this forty-day season are the Feast of Trumpets and Day of Atonement, or the ten High Holy Days (Days of Awe).
The Jews start the celebration of the Fall Holidays thirty days prior to the Feast of Trumpets, which falls on the first day of the seventh month. For thirty days the shofar is blown every morning in the Synagogue to remind the people that the holy days are approaching, and that they should prepare themselves. Their preparation consists of confessing their sins and seeking forgiveness, and going back to fix mistakes made during the year. The ten days between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) are called the Days of Awe.
The long period between The Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Trumpets is symbolic of the long period between the formation of the church at the Feast of Weeks and the regathering of Israel to the trumpet blast calling all born again believers.
The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) is the Jewish New Year, and begins the high Holy Days in the seventh month (corresponding to September or October). It is a celebration of the spiritual birthday of the world or creation, and is celebrated with blowing of the trumpets (Lev. 23:23-25). The Feast of Trumpets is a powerful prophetic look at the final days and Messiah’s return. Jewish eschatology teaches that on the Day of Atonement after six thousand years are complete, the Day of the Lord will come. On that day the shofar will sound and the righteous will be resurrected (Rev. 3:7-11).
The holiest day in the Jewish year (a fast day not a feast day), the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), is spent in fasting, prayer, and confession. This was one gracious day a year given by God that each individual could receive forgiveness. The high priest enters the holy of holies to make atonement for the nation by sacrificing an animal (Lev. 23:26-32). Jesus has provided our atonement, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Rom. 3:23) and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Him.
Feast of Tabernacles / Sukkoth
Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth or Booths) is celebrated Tishri 15 as outlined in Leviticus 23:33-43. This seven-day harvest festival, during which the Jewish people are told to live in “booths,” or temporary shelters, is a reminder to future generations of how the Israelites had also lived in booths when God delivered them out of Egypt. A number of Christians believe this is the date of Christ’s birth when He came to “tabernacle among us.” We should look forward expectantly to the Feast of Tabernacles, just as we look forward to the coming of the Messiah to bring His government, His Kingdom, and His laws (Mic. 4:1).