Biblical Numerology: NUMBER SEVEN – Part 17

Spiritual Lessons for the Church Today from the Ceremonial Feasts and Festivals, Including the Added Rosh Hashanah

    “Festivals. Celebrations or observances recurring yearly, mostly connected with the ceremonial law [“the law” blotted out at Christ’s death, not the Decalogue]. Three times in the year all Hebrew men were required to gather at Jerusalem (Exo. 23: 14-17; Deut. 16: 16) to celebrate the three [annual] harvest festivals:

      (1)  (which immediately followed the Passover supper held the preceding night) in the middle of the first month, at the beginning of the barley harvest (Lev. 25:5-14); [the Passover was permanently replaced by Christ with the Lord’s Supper instituted on evening of the 4th and last Passover He participated in. John 13: 1-38; Matt. 26: 17-30; 1 Cor. 11: 23-26.]

     (2) the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), fifty days later, celebrating the season of the wheat harvest (Lev.23: 15-21); Exo. 34: 22); and,

     (3) the Feast of Ingathering, or the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles, in the middle of the seventh month, at the close of the olive and fruit harvest (Lev. 23: 24, 35) which was the civil New Year’s Day, and is still observed as such; and the Day of Atonement, on the tenth of the month (ch. 23: 27-32), on which the Israelites were to ‘afflict’ their souls (ch. 23: 27-29), even though they were not all required to assemble in Jerusalem.

      These festivals included 7 festival sabbaths in addition to and separate from the weekly Sabbath of the fourth commandment (Lev. 23: 38; Exo. 20: 8-11). These 7 annual festival sabbaths were on fixed days of the month and hence fell on various days of the week in different years [such as one’s birthday]. . . . The ‘new moons’ might also be considered monthly festivals (2 Kings 4: 23; Isa. 1: 13, 14, etc.).

      To these festivals others were later added [not by God through Moses]. The deliverance of the Jews from destruction by Esther was commemorated by the feast of *Purim in Adar (Est. 9: 21), 22, 26). Then the restoration and rededication of the Temple after its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes [alleged to be the “antichrist” by Futurism, a system of eschatology introduced by Spanish Jesuit priest Ribera, towards the end of the Reformation] was celebrated by the Feast of the *Dedication in Kislev (John 10: 22). See names of specific feasts, also tabulation under Year.

     The Jews observe these festivals to the present day, without, of course, the sacrificial rites. One change has taken place since the scattering of the Jews from Jerusalem: the sacred days are observed on two successive days instead of one.  This practice was adopted by the Jews of the Diaspora, or *Dispersion, so as to be sure of not missing the correct day. Originally the Jews of Syria and Babylonia were notified by fire signals from hilltop to hilltop from Jerusalem as to the time of the new moons preceding the important feasts, so that all could be sure of celebrating the same days. After enemies cause confusion by sending false fire signals, messengers were substituted, but the time came when Jerusalem could no longer be the headquarters for all the scattered Jews. It was then that the custom of two-day observance became established, a custom that is still retained even though it is unnecessary, for the Jewish calendar, long ago standardized, is no longer dependent on the observation of the moon at Jerusalem.”– SDA Bible Dictionary (Complete with Atlas) Commentary Reference Series, Vo.l 8, Review & Herald  Publishing Asso. Washington, D.C., 1960: art. ”Festivals,” pp. 347, 348.

The following is quoted from “Practical Lessons for the Church of Today” by F. C. Gilbert, “The Festivals and the Feasts,” chap. XV, 1914, pp 518-520, entered at Stationer’s Hall, London, England, 1902, 1914.  F.C. Gilbert was a Jewish scholar who converted to Christianity and thus eminently qualified to discuss these vital subjects:


     12. The next festival in order of time was “The Blowing of Trumpets” (Lev. 283: 23-25), sometimes called “The New Year.” (c)  This festival occurred the first day of the seventh Jewish month, Tishri [or Tishrei]. The day was to be regarded as a sabbath (Lev. 23: 24), in which no ordinary pursuit of labor must be performed; still certain permissions were granted which were forbidden on the Sabbath of the Lord. This was true of all [annual] festival sabbaths [different from the weekly seventh-day Sabbath the Creator rested on, sanctified, and hallowed as the one and only memorial day for all mankind  to worship the Creator before and after the fall in Eden]; certain kinds of labor were permissible, especially those in connection with home duties. Like many of the other festivals, tradition added another day, making the people observe the first two days of this month, instead of just one, as the Lord commanded Moses. 13.    The special feature of this festival or holy day, was the blowing of the trumpets.

      13. Here is the command: [Lev. 23: 23, 24 quoted. Please read].

      14. That this sabbath or holy day must have been made with some significance in view is self-evident; but especially do we notice this to be true, when we consider the monthin which it occurs.  First, it marks the beginning of the civil year. Second, it is just ten days prior to the Day of Atonementof all days in the year thmost sacred and solemn. Third, in this same month occurred the Feast of Tabernacles, one of the most joyful of the year, which was no doubt full of meaning, seeing that it pertained to the gathering of the final harvests. Fourth, in the seventh month, the trumpet was blown in the year of Jubilee, announcing to all the people that the year of liberty had come to every person who had been in bondage during the previous fifty years. (Lev. 25: 10). Fifth, the seventh month, a type of the seventh Sabbatic year, which was a year of rest.”-pp. 519, 520.


      15. When the trumpet therefore was blown on this first day of the seventh month, how much the Lord intended should be known by the people, if they would only ask the meaning of the blowing of the trumpets! In addition to the lessons the Lord intended them to learn, the people themselves have added certain features to this holy day, which make it additionally impressive.

       An entire tract, called, “Rosh-Ha-shona,” has been written on this Sabbatic day. In addition to the multitude of erroneous ideas entertained in this work, there are some things full of significance. Like the Passover, despite the traditions, many truths relating to the Christ can be drawn therefrom.


       16. The Talmud teaches that the blowing of the trumpets signifies God’s call to repentance.  Since this seventh month closes up the year’s work in connection with the sanctuary services and with the harvest, how appropriate for the trumpet to blow, that the people should turn their attention more to the things of God, and prepare for the final work. Hence this is made one of the most sacred days for the Jews. They also teach on this day three sets of books are opened,—the book of life to examine the good deeds of the people, the book of death to examine the evil deeds, and a sort of an intermediary book to examine into the accounts of those whose cases are to be decided at the Day of Atonement, ten days later. The ten days following this sabbath day are called, “The ten days of repentance.” The most careless and indifferent during these days devotes his time to the service of God, and seeks preparation of heart that when the Day of Atonement arrives he may receive a “seal” of life for the years to come.

       17. Thus the blowing of the trumpets was a sort of awakening of the people to examine into their condition, and to see that their sins were all forgiven, and that they repented sufficiently to have peace and pardon.   It was a call to prayer, a call to earnest seeking of the Lord; it was a sort of preparation for the judgment.  In the prayer for the New-year’s day we find the following:

         ‘On the New-year’s day it is written, and on the Day of Atonement it is sealed, who shall pass away from the world, and who shall be created into the world; who shall live, and who shall die; who shall live the length of his days, and who shall have his days shortened; who shall be given to the sword, who to the fire, who for drowning, who for hunger, who for thirst,’ etc.

       18. Hence the rabbis taught that repentance, prayer, and the giving of alms, would annul the evil decree. Thus this day and the succeeding ten days were days of heart searching and of turning to God, and that the Lord would bless and forgive them. Could the Jews only realize that this what the Savior came to the world for, how they would appreciate the meaning of the Lord’s purpose which they in a measure even placed upon this day. For we read: “Unto you first, God having raised up His Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities’ (Acts. 3: 25).

       It is thought by some that the apostle Paul evidently has this blowing of trumpets and its significance in mind, when writing to the Romans (Rom. 13: 11, 12), Corinthians (1 Cor. 15: 34), and Ephesians (Eph. 5: 14).

 19. The trumpet of God needs to be blown in Zion [the church] (Joel 2: 15-17; Zeph. 1: 14-16) and in the world to-day to call men to repentance, to prepare them for the great judgment day (Rev. 14: 6, 7) which the world will soon have to meet, when the antitypical Day of Atonement shall have been completed. The prophet says: ‘Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isa. 58: 1).


     20. As has already been mentioned, the next solemn day given to the Israelites, was the Day of Atonement (Lev. 23: 26-28). This was the most solemn of all days of the year.  Whatever the condition of the people during the year, if they would only come up to this day, and seek the Lord while the priest was ministering in the sanctuary, there was hope, pardon, salvation for them.  (Lev. 16: 30).  [But] If they did not come up to the Day of Atonement they were to be cut off from among the people (Lev. 23: 29, 30).  The original command for this day is given as follows: ‘[Lev. 23: 26-32 quoted. Please read!]

      21. In addition to the regular offerings for all occasions, the priest and the people were to have special sacrifices for this most solemn day (Num. 29: 7-11.) First, the priest was to offer sacrifices for himself and his family (Lev. 16: 3:6; Heb. 5: 3), then the offerings for the people were be rendered to the Lord (Lev. 16: 5; Heb. 9: 7).


     22. There were two goats to be selected for the people on that day, and to be brought to the high priest (Lev. 16: 7). Then lots were to be cast from them; one lot was to be for the Lord (Hebrew Go-rel Ec-hod La Ye-Ho-vah, Jehovah’s one lot), and the other for the Azazel (or scape-goat, Lev. 16: 7, 8), as rendered in our version. When the lots were cast, the goat which was for the Lord was offered by the high priest (Lev. 16: 9; Num. 29: 11). The blood of this animal was taken into the most holy place of the sanctuary, and sprinkled before the mercy-seat, and on the mercy seat seven times (Lev. 16: 14). He was also to take the censer and fill it with incense (Lev. 16: 12); and while he was making the atonement with the blood in the most holy place, the smoke from the incense would cover the mercy seat, and fill the sanctuary with the sweet fragrance (Lev. 16: 12, 13), while the glory of the Lord [Shekinah] would fill the place.

     23. While this was being done by the high priest, the people without were fasting, praying, and earnestly seeking the Lord for the pardon and obliteration of all their sins. This service was conducted in behalf of all the people.   When the high priest finished this work on this day, then the whole camp of Israel was clean, for the man who did not comply with the command of God by fasting, praying, and afflicting his soul on this day was to be cut off (Lev. 23: 28-30; Num. 29: 7).  The Day of Atonement for Israel, therefore, involved four things: The blotting out of sins, the cleansing of the sanctuarythe day of judgment, and the sealing work.”- Ibid, 523- 525.


Daniel 8: 14: Antitypical Day of Atonement Begins. — “In the typical service, only those who had come before God with confession and repentance, and whose sins, through the blood of the sin-offering, were transferred to the sanctuary, has a part in the service of the Day of Atonement. So in the great day of final atonement and investigative judgment [a period of time beginning October 1844], the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God. The judgment of the wicked is a distinct and separate work, and takes place at a later period [during the millenium]. ‘Judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel?’ 1 Pet. 4: 17?” – “Great Controversy,” Ellen G. White, 1911 ed., p. 48, Pacific Press Publishing Association.                                                                                                                                     (To be continued next week)