“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” -Exodus 20:8
In modern times, we as Christians for the most part remember the first Sabbath, the Sabbath of the Seventh Day. However, we typically reject the other four Sabbaths: Passover, Yom Teruah (today called Rosh Hashanah), Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. Three of these Sabbaths, sometimes called Holy Days, are in the Hebrew month of Tishrei, September-October in the Gregorian calendar. These are eternal Holy Days given to us to celebrate Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, and meet together as families and as Saints.
This year, 2021, all of these Holy Days fall in the month of September. These will be the focus of this article:
- Yom Teruah begins on the evening of Elul 29, Monday, September 6, 2021 and ends in the evening of Tishrei 2, September 8, 2021
- Yom Kippur begins on the evening of Tishrei 9, Wednesday September 15, 2021 and ends in the evening of Tishrei 10, Thursday September 16, 2021
- Sukkot will begin on the evening of Tishrei 14, Monday, September 20, 2021 and ends in the evening of Tishrei 21, Monday, September 27
“Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.” -Leviticus 23:24
Yom Teruah is a two-day celebration that begins on the first day of Tishrei, which is the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year. Modern Jews have transformed this Sabbath, giving another name, Rosh Hashanah, literally meaning “head of the year.” Yom Teruah now marks the beginning of their civil year. The Hebrew calendar is unique in that it has two months, one in the spring and one in the fall, as as the first months, one ecclesiastical as found in the Torah, and one civil. The Biblical or ecclesiastical lunar new year is on the first day of the first month Nisan, the spring Passover month (See Exodus 20). The actual purpose of Yom Yeruah however is to awaken us to spiritual salvation, to teshuvah. Teshuvah is Hebrew for “repentance,” but it actually means “return” as in “return to God.” According to Judaism, Yom Teruah is the first day of the creation of the universe, and Adam and Eve’s birthday. And of course, it is a time of teshuvah.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying: Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.” -Leviticus 23:26-28
Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year. Falling on the tenth day of the seventh month, it is known as the “Sabbath of Sabbaths”. Yom Teruah is the first day of the seventh Hebrew month, Tishrei. The ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur represent the last ten days Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the second set of tablets for the Israelite people. While Yom Teruah is a time of teshuvah, Yom Kippur is the time of atonement. Today, we replace the animal sacrifices with the Sacrament of Communion, as the Lord asks us today only to come to Him with a broken heart and contrite spirit. This is a wonderful time for home worship.
“Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath… Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths.” -Leviticus 39, 42
Sukkot is a week long holy day that celebrates the the harvest and commemorates God gathering Israel to leave Egypt, nd their living in tents in the wilderness. The first day is a Sabbath, and the eighth day is a Sabbath, along with the seventh day Sabbath during this time. This Sabbath is like a harvest festiful (in the US, think Thanksgiving), a family reunion, and a camping trip all in one. As Christians, it is easy to see this eighth day Sabbath as similar to the Lord’s day, as Jesus rose on the eighth day. Though Jesus rose in the spring, remembering this again just after the Day of Atonement fits very well.
These Sabbaths Today
As Latter Day Saints, this month has many opportunities to celebrate and teach our children about God’s love for us. Yom Teruah is the Sabbath of repentance (teshuvah), Yom Kippur the Sabbath of the atonement, and Sikkot the Sabbath of family and the blessings God has bestowed upon us. And, some believe that it was during these Holy Days that Jesus was born. That said, there is no reason not to celebrate Christmas, any opportunity to worship should be enjoyed.