Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Awe

The Days of Awe is a unique period of ten days that begins on Rosh Hashanah and ends with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah is the Hebrew New Year, meaning “Head of the Year.”

The Rosh Hashanah shofar is blown as a call to examine oneself and repent, which leads to revival and renewal of the covenant between a Believer and God.

It’s a sacred time to reflect and renew your relationship with God; it is also a time to reconcile differences with one another. Many use this time to forgive and restore relations in families, friends, and brethren in Christ if discord was present in the past year.

What is a Shofar?

A shofar is a ram’s horn trumpet used by ancient Jews in religious ceremonies and as a battle signal, now sounded at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Jewish tradition holds the belief that judgment is pronounced on each person on Rosh Hashanah, but it is not made absolute or “sealed” until Yom Kippur. Therefore, the ten Days of Awe are an appointed opportunity to mend one’s ways to alter the judgment in one’s favor.

The actions that can impact this decree are “Teshuvah, tefilah and tzedakah”—repentance, prayer, and good deeds.

Judgment and Mercy

God is a Just Judge. “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.”—Psalm 7:11

  • Judgment…The word carries much weight and negativity; however, when you choose to, you can rejoice in His righteous judgment. Here is the explanation…

Judgment is defined as, “a formal utterance of authoritative opinion.” God, being the ultimate authority, is the Righteous Judge.

The Hebrew word for judgment is “mishpat.” It is the act or procedure of deciding a verdict. In the Bible, it is associated with the justice and righteousness of a God who does not twist or corrupt His power.

God is merciful. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”—Ephesians 2:4-6

  • Mercy… The word reflects gentleness and compassion. In Hebrew, there is a combination of several words that translate as “mercy.” The words are ahavah, rachamin, and chesed. 

The word “ahavah,” refers to God’s unending love for Israel, similar to the love between husband and wife. The word “rachamim,” refers to the womb, such as a connection between a parent and child.

Another word, “chesed,” translates as mercy, which means steadfast loyalty.    In Psalm 85, it is also associated with the Hebrew word “emet,” which is associated with faithfulness to God’s will.

How Do Judgment and Mercy Come Together?

To rest in God’s authority means that you welcome His instruction and that judgment is your friend and teacher. His instruction turns you to Him, and His judgment is your justification! 

Rosh Hashanah is the Day of Judgment for all of humanity. On this day, man is judged for all of his actions, and all that will transpire and occur during the coming year is recorded.

As a Believer, you can view the Days of Awe as a beautiful picture of salvation. Is it not true of each of us that we deserve a judgment that is not in our favor?

Note from God saying Return to God.

And yet, through Jesus, we have the opportunity to repent, to “teshuvah,” to return to the Lord. Is it not also true that this life is but a vapor? The Days of Awe act as a reminder to us that our days to seek reconciliation with our family and friends are numbered.

We all experience broken relationships, either from our past or in the present. Take advantage of this appointed season as a reminder to seek to make amends with one another. Begin the New Year with purified hands, a clean heart, and healed relationships. Begin the New Year right with both God and man.

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Deepen Your Faith

As you can see, studying and understanding the Jewish roots of Christianity can supernaturally transform your faith. Understanding your spiritual heritage reveals more of God’s character. You carry that with you wherever you go, experiencing God on another level daily.

Many ask why they should celebrate the Feasts of the Lord. The reason is to deepen your faith and walk in the fullness of your salvation. It’s not about adhering to rules, regulations, and legalism; it’s about experiencing more of your Mighty God and Savior. It is about going through the gates, moving into a new season with new opportunities.

He set these instructions and observances in place for His chosen people years ago. You have been grafted into the family of God. Do you want to join Him in the feast?

Don’t miss the Rosh Hashanah New Year celebration! Check out our events page for details and register! 

Additional Rosh Hashanah observances include:

  • a) Eating apple dipped in honey, to symbolize our desire for a sweet year, and other special foods symbolic of the New Year’s blessings.
  • b) Blessing one another with the words, ‘Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim,’ ‘May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.’
  • c) Tashlich, a special prayer said near a body of water (an ocean, river, pond, etc.), in the evocation of the verse, ‘And You shall cast their sins into the depths of the sea.’ And as with every major Jewish holiday, after candle lighting and prayers we recite kiddush and make a blessing on the [i]

It is time to open the doors of new opportunities. Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of a new season and a new year. How did God awaken you to wholeness this past year? What new door is asking you to pass through? Anticipate in this new season that He will carry out His promises! What an exciting time to be alive!

Go through the gates and blow the shofar, anticipating the coming sweetness!


Click here to register to join us for Rosh Hashanah!