The Following are special dates for our serious consideration that we might take the time to honour theme. May these enrich your walk with the Creator of the Heavens.
YeshaYahu (Isaiah) 66: 22-23 “For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me,” says YHWH (the Lord), “So shall your descendants and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says YHWH (the Lord.) Shalom!
The Month of Elul- A time of Reflection & Repentance
The words of King David are very appropriate for this coming month as they highlight the need for reflection & repentance:
Search me, O God, and know my heart. Examine me, and know my anxious thoughts, and see if there be any offensive way within me and lead me in the way everlasting.
- Psalm 139:23-24 TLV
The Hebrew month of Elul falls in August/September. It lies between the months in which Israel committed its two great sins (worshipping the golden calf and the evil report by the 10 spies) and the High Holy Days during which Jewish people believe Elohim [God] makes and seals His judgment on them for the following year. Thus, Elul has become a month of accounting and repentance in preparation for Rosh Hashanah [the Head of the Year] and Yom Kippur [The Day of Atonement].
In this post-Temple era when sacrifices are no longer possible, Jewish people consider King David’s words from Psalm 51:
For You would not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it, nor be pleased by burnt offerings. The sacrifices of Elohim [God] are a broken spirit. A broken and a contrite heart, O EL [God], You will not despise.
― Psalm 51:18-19 TLV
Yahudim [Jews] reflect on their lives over the past year and focus on making amends and seeking the mercy of Elohim [God] for the coming New Year.
Elul contains 29 days. There are 40 days from the 1st of Elul to Yom Kippur. This is reminiscent of Moses’ time on Mount Sinai when he interceded for the Hebrew people who had fallen so quickly into idolatry. Because Elohim [God] was merciful and forgave His people, Elul is known as the month of divine mercy and forgiveness.
Customs of Elul
Traditions for the observance of Elul include an increase in gifts of charity, called tzedakah (tzeh-DAH-kah) in Hebrew, and reciting Psalm 27 twice a day throughout the season. An 18th-century rabbi added the ritual of reading through the book of Psalms with three psalms read each day between the 1st of Elul and Yom Kippur. The final 36 psalms are recited on Yom Kippur to complete the book.
The shofar is blown every morning except Shabbat during Elul. This call to worship serves as a reminder to examine one’s life and go before Elohim [God] in contrition. Selichot (s’lee-KHOHT) are special prayers of repentance spoken during Elul. Some Jewish sects begin adding selichot on the first day of the month while others start them closer to Rosh Hashanah.
Attaining right standing with EL [God]
For Jewish people, the focus of the month is to attain a right standing with Elohim [God] so that He will assign a favourable judgment. According to Jewish tradition, EL [God] makes this judgment for the coming year on Rosh Hashanah, the “head of the year,” and seals it on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The traditional greeting during Elul and these Holy Days is, “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”
Messianic Judaism and Yahshua’s atoning sacrifice
Messianic Judaism recognizes that Yeshua (Jesus) made eternal atonement when He laid down His life as the Lamb of Elohim [God]. For those who have placed their faith in Him, our position as adopted sons and daughters of EL YAH [God] is secured forever.
Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that we are not saved by our deeds, but by EL YAH’s [God’s] grace and faith in Yeshua’s/Yahshua’s sacrifice. The Ruach Ha Kodesh [the Holy Spirit] was given to Believers as a seal and promise of EL YAH’s [God’s] acceptance and our new relationship with Him.
Because Yahshua addressed our sin once and for all, we don’t have to wonder year after year if EL [God] will have mercy on us at Yom Kippur. We don’t have to scramble to get right for an annual judgment or ramp up our giving to charity to end the year in good standing.
What a gift! What a blessing to know we have been granted right standing with EL YAH [God] forever because Yahshua died for us on the executioner’s crossbeam. He took our sin upon Himself and paid the price for us.
Always room for repentance
However, as Believers, we know that we continually fall short of EL’s [God’s] desires for the way to live our lives. Though our eternal standing is secure, our fellowship with EL YAH [God] is affected by the sinful nature within us. So, there is always room for repentance. It is an ongoing need in our lives.
Just as the annual Thanksgiving holiday invites us to embrace gratitude each day of the year, so Elul is an opportunity for Messianic Jews and Goyim [Gentile] Believers to re-focus on repentance. It is a reminder to let Elohim [God] reign in our daily lives and seek to glorify Him more. Repentance – turning our hearts from sin and to EL YAH [God] in restored fellowship – is a habit to pursue. Elul reminds us of that.
Elul, in Messianic Judaism, encompasses thankfulness for Yahshua’s atoning sacrifice and the Holy Spirit’s sealing as well as examining our hearts to remain in close fellowship with Elohim [God]. As the shofar sounds in synagogues each day during Elul, let’s also use this period to pray that EL YAH [God] will lift the blindness from Jewish eyes and that they will receive their Messiah, Yahshua/Yeshua.
The Sixth month on the Scriptural calendar is the final month before the Fall Moadim start. (The last 4 Appointed times (Moadim) are the Fall Appointments that we have with YHVH ~ 'Fall' as in Yisrael's Fall season). This Sixth Month on the Scriptural calendar is also called Elul since Babylonian exile. The word "Elul" (aleph, lamed, vav, lamed), the after-captivity name of this month, forms the well- known acronym “Ani Ldodi Vdodi Li” which means "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine". (Song of Songs 6:3). Elul normally corresponds on the Gregorian calendar with August/September.
Some other interesting points
It was most likely (possibly) during the month of Elul that the ministry of Yochanan (John) the Immerser (Baptist) reached its peak. Possibly Yahshua was baptized on Elul 1 and he ended his 40 day fast on Yom HaKippurim. This is also the time that according to tradition, Moshe fasted 40 days the second time. It was on Yom Ha Kippurim (also known as Yom Kippur) that the Jubilee Year was announced every fifty years as stated in Vayiqra/Lev 25:8-10,
"Count off seven sabbaths of years — seven times seven years — so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan."
We read in Luke 4 what happened at the end of Yahshua's forty day fast (the fast possibly ended at Yom Kippur):
"When the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him until another time. Yahshua returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and news about him spread through all the surrounding area. He taught in their synagogues, being esteemed by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the scroll, and found the place where it was written, 'The Spirit of YHWH is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of YHWH.' He closed the scroll, gave it back to the shammash, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began to tell them, 'Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'" (Lk 4:13-21)
“The acceptable year of YHWH” speaks of a Jubilee year.
In light of the truth of what Yahshua fulfilled may the days of Elul cause us to intensity our sincere desire to reconsider our actions and formulate heartfelt resolutions to improve our conduct in the coming year.