Jewish holiday Sukkot

The Jewish High Holidays

3 September 2021

5.9 MINS

A Fresh Focus

Brothers and Sisters, today let us explore together through this article, the High Holy Days and perhaps receive a fresh focus on this season.

Some of you may have read my previous article on the High Holy Days, but today I would like to view this festival in a slightly different way.

It was May 2013 when I made my first trip to Israel. I attended the conference in Kehilat Ha Carmel, Haifa.

In 2012, the founder of this ministry, David Davis, and Peter Tsukahira, co-founder, came to my city of Adelaide for a conference focussed on Israel. It was at this conference that the Lord asked me to go to their conference in Israel the following year.

One of the messages that impacted me in the Kehilat Ha Carmel conference was from Peter Tsukahira, when he spoke on the concept of the ‘one new man’.

Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.
~ Ephesians 2:15 (NKJV)

Peter Tsukahira painted a picture for us of the believers of the world and the Messianic Jewish believers coming together and forming a new identity, which will look different from what we currently understand.

When Jews believe in Jesus and become completed or fulfilled Jews in Messiah Yeshua, many already come from a cultural background of Judaism where Biblical feasts and customs are a way of life, either in the Holy Land or in the Diaspora.

Those of us who come to faith in Jesus who are not Jews, but Gentiles, come to the Lord with a different cultural background where Biblical feasts and traditions are not woven into our way of life.

We are coming into a time when the Body of Messiah will not have disparate parts, but we will come together in oneness, as it says in John 17:22.

And the glory which You gave Me I have given them,
that they may be one just as We are one.
~ John 17:22 (NKJV)

Different groups and congregations have different cultural contexts, but ultimately, we are to adopt biblical Kingdom culture, and a considerable portion of this relates to our Jewish heritage, and we are not exactly sure what this will look like yet.

Yeshua was and is Jewish. There is a song called “There’s a Man in the Glory, and a poem, “The Man in the Glory“, but for some believers it may be a shock to realise that there is a JEWISH man in the glory and His name is Yeshua, for that is His Jewish name.


When the Messianic believers and the Gentile believers come together to form the ‘one new man’, the expression of our faith may shift to reflect, in a greater way, our Jewish heritage. After all, we are an Abrahamic faith. Abraham believed God and was accounted righteous because of his faith.

For what does the Scripture say?
“Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
~ Romans 4:3

We are children of Abraham because of our faith in Yeshua and His sacrifice, and Israel is our inheritance also.

We are now in the preparation time for the High Holy Days.

Yom Teruah/Rosh Ha Shanah

Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets, is 6th-8th September this year. Some call it Rosh Ha Shanah, the New Year, but it is based on the biblical Feast of Trumpets. (Leviticus 23:23-25)

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, 15th – 16th September, known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. (Leviticus 16:29-31 and 23:27-32)

SukkotJewish Sukkot blessing

The seven-day Sukkot Feast, 20th – 27th September, has a double meaning as “Festival of Ingathering” and “Festival of Booths”.

The first is a harvest festival, and the second is that of commemorating the Exodus and the dependence of the People of Israel on the will of God. (Exodus 34:22, Leviticus 23:42-43)


Currently we are in the month of Elul, which is a time of preparation and repentance in Judaism before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

We know that the work of Yeshua is finished, but the Feasts seem to be times when we see Him move in significant ways.

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!”
And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
~ John 19:30 (NKJV)

The feasts continue, even in the book of Zechariah —

And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
~ Zechariah 14:16 (NKJV)

Personally, I am not “Torah Observant”, because Yeshua Ha Mashiach is the reality, and what happened before is only a shadow.

Therefore, let no one judge you in matters of food and drink or with respect to a festival, a New Moon, or Sabbath days.
These are a shadow of the things to come, but the reality belongs to the Messiah.
~ Colossians 2:16-17 (ISV)

Paul says that these examples were for our teaching and edification.

1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,

6a Now these things became our examples…

11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
~ 1 Corinthians 10 (NKJV)

Daily throughout the month of the Elul, one can hear the shofar blast in the Jewish community, every day except for Shabbat. Due to coronavirus at this time in Israel and the Jews not being able to meet in the Synagogues, they are planning to blow the shofar in the streets.

Let us try and hear what the Lord is saying to us in this season.

May we be ready for the final trump —

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
~ 1 Corinthians 15: 52 – 52

When the Jews come to faith in Yeshua, and fellowship in a Messianic congregation, it is different from our meetings, because the feasts are already celebrated in the land and part of their culture.

In most congregations, we do not celebrate these feasts so much, but because of my love for Israel, I have taught myself about the feasts to learn about their Biblical celebrations and traditions.

Some beautiful aspects of the Biblical feasts are that the family is important, the coming together of families and congregations to commemorate the feasts together is valuable, beneficial and God-glorifying.

May we be His Bride, prepared for her Bridegroom without spot and wrinkle. (Ephesians 5:27)

As we learn about the Feasts of the Lord, let us not cut ourselves off from our Jewish roots. May we see with new eyes the richness that the Lord has woven into His calendar.

One reflection says that when we look at the time of Elul — the month preceding the High Holy Days of Tishrei, it is said that the King is in the field and not in the palace and hence, He is very accessible.

Let us use this season to draw close to the Lord and prepare ourselves for the season ahead, the new year that is about to be celebrated. I believe that by entering into these Feasts of the Lord, in our own way, we are flowing in what the Holy Spirit is doing in this season.

Let us be led by the spirit of God as we enter this season focussing on Yeshua and honouring our Jewish roots.

Some believers understand the importance of the Feasts in the Father’s purposes, and others not so much. Let us be mindful about our Jewish heritage because —

16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,

18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

~ Romans 11:16-18 NKJV

We are not just a Western church or a Protestant church or an Orthodox church — we are believers in the Messiah of Israel and following in His footsteps.

Let us remember Yeshua’s words when He said “…Follow Me…” (Matthew 4:19)


Heavenly Father! (Matthew 6:14, Matthew 6:26, Matthew 6:32, Matthew 15:13 Matthew 15:13, Matthew 18:35, Luke 11:13)

These feasts are important to You, and You have appointed these times for Your people to encounter You, (Zechariah 14:16) even during the time of the Messiah’s reign on earth.

In our hearts, we wish to honour You and hear Your voice, so that we will be Your people and the sheep of Your pasture.

Ba Shem Yeshua (In Jesus’ name), Amen. (Numbers 5:22 — truly, so be it)

[Photo: kavram/BigStock]

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