We've all heard it before; Jesus is coming again! And then you hear the mockers: "Yeah, right. Yada yada yada. We've been hearing that for 2000 years."
But, it's true.
But, that's not the focus of this devotion. What is the focus is what we're supposed to do beforehand: Repent! The Hebrew month of Elul is a time of "Teshuvah", or "Repentance" (Hebrew: literally "return", pronounced "tshuva" or "teshuva". (It's actually similar to the Christian season of "Lent", except there is no abstinence from chocolate or coffee, praise God.) It is a 40-day period God himself put on His calendar (His calendar is my calendar) - a time for us to search our hearts. And, where our heart, mind, soul or strength has failed: Teshuvah.
Why did He call us to "Teshuvah" during Elul? What follows Elul?
Immediately following Elul is what's known as the Feast of Trumpets! This is also known as "Rosh Hashana" - but, the biblical name is Yom Teruah (The "Day of Blowing"). When Jesus came the first time, He fulfilled the first four "Spring" Jewish Feasts. These celebrations went from 'thousands of years of rehearsals' to an actual fulfillment -- a reality. He became our Passover Lamb and Unleavened Bread; He rose from the dead on First Fruits; He issued forth His Holy Spirit on Shavuot (which the Church knows as Pentecost).
The "Fall" Feasts have yet to be fulfilled, but will soon be! The first of the Fall Feasts happens to be Yom Teruah - the Feast of Trumpets. We know Jesus fulfills these Feasts in order, so the next Feast to be fulfilled - become a reality - will be the this feast. Here are a couple of interesting facts about the Feast of Trumpets that you might not know:
No Man Knows The Day Or Hour It Begins. The feast begins when two witnesses site the New Moon, in Israel, and it lasts for two days. (I can't help but wonder if the two witnesses mentioned in Revelation will be the two who site the new moon in the year this Feast is fulfilled!) All the Feasts began at sundown with a Full Moon, except this one - the only one which begins with a New Moon - which is completely dark. The Feast "announcement" changes every year - thus it was known in Jesus day by the phrase “no man can know the day or hour”. So, when Jesus tells us "no man knows the day or hour", He is actually telling us a clue to when it occurs. (Flashback to my son watching Blue's Clues - a clue, a clue!) We don't know the year or day, but we can know to look for it when "no man knows the day or hour" - Yom Teruah!
The Last Trump: This Feast consists of the shofar (trumpet) being blown a total of 100 times, with the last blast known as "The Last Trump". Paul, in speaking of the gathering together of the Body of Christ, says: 1 Cor. 15:51-52: Listen! I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, 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 will be changed. Thess. 4:16-17: For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will always be with the Lord.” Where these events fall on the Timeline is not the point. The point is: Yom Teruah is very clearly the next feast to be fulfilled, when we will be with the Lord. There is much debate on the timing of the these events. I'm not getting into that here because I want to focus on the reason why God might have placed this time of Teshuvah where He did on His calendar.
Which brings me back to my devotion!
Let's assume this is the year that the Archangel sounds the heavenly shofar on Yom Teruah and gathers the saints of God! Where is your heart? Are you ready? Would you really want to stand before His Majesty, not having done everything you could to love Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength up to the very moment of His appearing? Is there anything in your life that you [do, go, listen to, watch] that not only needs to be confessed as sin, but is also something you must turn away from, and return to Him?! The Hebrew month of Elul is a gift! We still have time. The Last Trump has yet to sound, but might, soon! He is at the door! Will you be ready? Teshuvah!
[In our world, Rosh Hashanah/Yom Teruah celebration begins world-wide at Sundown on on a specific date each year, to make it possible for Jews worldwide to celebrate at the same time. (It was difficult before cell phones and internet to get the word out that the moon had been cited!) The date for that corporate celebration this year is scheduled to begin at sundown on Sept. 20. However, as mentioned above, it does not "technically" begin until two witnesses in Israel actually site the New Moon.]
(This song was recorded during a worship service for Yom Teruah back in 2013. Hope you enjoy it!)