There are seven feasts that the Children of Israel were instructed to celebrate each year. There are three Spring feasts, three Fall feasts and Pentecost which falls between the two groups. The three Fall feasts (Trumpets, Atonement, Ingathering) begin on the first day of the secular year, which in the Hebrew calendar is Tishri 1. This day usually comes in late September or early October.
Tishri 1 is known as Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets. This is a time of trumpet blowing (what else?) and of celebration. No specific reason is given for the celebration. The trumpet used here is the shofar, or the Ram’s horn. Josephus tells of a Jewish tradition regarding the horns of the ram that was provided for Abraham to sacrifice instead of Isaac. (Genesis 22:13) The tradition is that the first horn of the ram was blown at Mount Sinai at the giving of the Law and the second ram’s horn will be the “final trumpet” and will be blown on the Day of the Lord. This reminds me of the day when Christians will hear a voice like a trumpet that says, “Come up here!” (Revelation 4:1) Hallelujah!
Ten days later, Tishri 10, is the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. This is considered to be the holiest of holy days by the Jews. It was on this day that the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies, where the Spirit of God dwelt, and sprinkle blood on the Ark of the Covenant. Only the High Priest performed this requirement and he only did it on one day a year, the Day of Atonement. This feast day is a picture, or foreshadow, of our atonement achieved by the blood of Jesus.
The priest wore special white linen robes for this ceremony. Normally, the priestly robes were a beautiful blue with scarlet and purple trim. (Exodus 28:31-33) The High Priest was required to sacrifice a bull, a ram, and a goat as specified by the Lord. He would collect the blood of the bull and sprinkle it on the Ark of the Covenant within the Holy of Holies. This was the only time a priest went into the Holy of Holies. The High Priest then sprinkled various articles within the Tabernacle or Temple with blood. (Leviticus 16:6-25) After all the sacrificing, and collecting of blood, and sprinkling of various articles, the High Priest’s robes must have been covered with blood. This reminds us of the robes of white promised to Christians (Revelation 19:8), that have been washed in the Blood of the Lamb. (Hebrews 9:13-14)
Part of the ceremony specified by the Lord involved the placing of the sins of the Children of Israel on the head of a goat, and then the release of the goat into the wilderness. This is the source of the term “scapegoat,” or one who receives the blame. I speak of this feast in past tense because it has not been performed since the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D.
The third Fall feast is the Feast of the Tabernacles or Booths. (Leviticus 23:42) It is also known as the Feast of the Ingathering. Whichever name is used, this feast begins on Tishri 15 and is about the Harvest. The Lord specified that this was to be joyful time. (Deuteronomy 16:14) And it was a time of feasting. On the first day thirteen bulls were sacrificed. The next day twelve were sacrificed until a total of seventy-one bulls were sacrificed. To a Christian this is clearly a picture of the great wedding banquet when the Lord gathers righteous souls to Him at the End of Time. As John said in Revelation 22:20, “Amen. Come Lord Jesus.”