Tag: New Year
The three Fall Feasts of ancient Israel coincided with the end of the harvest season and were ushered in by the Feast of the Trumpet which fell on the first day of the seventh month. After the return from the Babylonian exile, the name Rosh Hashanah, which means “New Year” (literally, “head of the year”), was attached to the feast. Within the same seventh month, the last two important feasts were observed, namely, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) on the tenth day and the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) from the fifteenth to the twenty first day.
The end of the first century saw a time of severe persecution of the Jews in and around Rome. It was no wonder that the Roman Christians began to differentiate themselves from the Jews in every way they could. Many practices that were very common in the early church disappeared in the smoke of the persecution of the Jews. But why would the early church have paid any attention to what we know as Jewish holidays in the first place? For one thing, Christians and Jews shared the same God. In its earliest years, Christianity was viewed by the world, not as a separate religion, but as a sect of Judaism. The earliest Christians were Jewish, and they had no consciousness of starting a new religion. Many saw what they were doing as a restoration of a purer faith. Judaism, in their view, had gone astray from the faith of Abraham and Moses.
The first three festivals of the year, Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost, can be seen clearly enough in both Jewish and Christian history. But now the scene begins to change. Of all these appointed festivals of God, the one with the least obvious connection to Christianity is the day the Jews call Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year: "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. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD” (Leviticus 23:23-25).