On God’s calendar, which is the Hebrew Calendar, Elul is a month of repentance as we get ready to celebrate the fall feasts of the Lord (Leviticus 23). The month of Elul starts on Sunday, September 4th (Elul 1) and ends on Sunday, October 2 (Elul 29). The first fall feast, the Feast of Trumpets, occurs on the following two days (Tishri 1-2). In the Gospels, we find the profound significance of Elul 1, as John the Baptist baptized Yeshua (Jesus) on this prophetic date.
Matthew 3:13-17, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Also See Mark 1, Luke 3)
John the Baptist not only baptized Yeshua, but he also proclaimed Him to be the Lamb of God, the Son of God, and the Messiah of the world!
John 1:29-34, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”
On the Hebrew calendar, forty days from Elul 1 is Tishri 10 (Yom Kippur), which is the sixth feast of the Lord (Leviticus 23:26-32), the Day of Atonement for the nation of Israel. Please note, the Feast of Passover is for our individual redemption (fulfilled), and the Feast of Yom Kippur is for Israel’s national redemption (unfulfilled). Elul 1 (September 4) begins what is known as the “time of testing,” and ends on Tishri 10 (Day of Atonement, October 12).
What is the prophetic significance of “the time of testing?”
After Messiah’s baptism (Elul 1), He immediately endured His “time of testing,” because He was tempted by Satan for forty days and forty nights.
Mark 1:12-13, “Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.”
Messiah’s “time of testing” started on Elul 1 and ended forty days later on Tishri 10, which is the Feast of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement (October 12)! Once Messiah had overcome Satan’s temptations in the wilderness, He returned in the power of the Holy Spirit to Galilee, and then to Nazareth, to fulfill biblical prophecy. Let us first review Isaiah’s prophecy of this First Coming event on Yom Kippur.
Isaiah 61:1-2, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn.”
Isaiah not only prophesied about Messiah’s First Coming, but also His Second Coming, as well! The underline portion of Isaiah 61:1-2 was fulfilled on Yom Kippur (Tishri 10-Day of Atonement) after Messiah was tempted for 40 days and 40 nights.
Luke 4:16-21, “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 61). And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Clearly, Messiah partially fulfilled Isaiah 61:1-2 at His first coming on Yom Kippur. However, did you see where Messiah ended His proclamation of Isaiah’s prophecy? He ended the First Coming fulfillment with “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” When we look at Isaiah 61:1-2, Isaiah continues to prophesy about “the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn.” The day of vengeance is certainly an eschatological term for Messiah’s Second Coming, which will occur on the final Yom Kippur of the age, Messiah’s Second Coming! On God’s appointed year, Messiah will fulfill the remaining prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-2 on the Feast of Yom Kippur (6th Feast). Please note, one comma in Isaiah’s prophecy separates 2,000 years!
Before we continue Luke’s account, let us understand one of the prophetic foreshadows of Yom Kippur, as it will give us further confirmation that Luke’s account occurred on Yom Kippur.
In the Torah, it was on the Feast of Yom Kippur that Aaron would take two goats and present them before the Lord (Lev. 16:6-11). He would cast two lots for the two goats: one for the scapegoat and one for the Lord. The goat that the Lord’s lot fell on was offered up as a sacrifice. The children of Israel believed it was a good omen if the lot for the Lord came up in the right hand of the priests. The other goat was presented alive to make atonement with him and was then thrown over the cliff. Now, let us continue Luke’s account.
Luke 4:28-30, “So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.”
On Yom Kippur, after Messiah proclaimed “the acceptable year of the Lord,” the people tried to throw Him over the cliff, just like the scapegoat! This confirms the prophetic foreshadows of the Yom Kippur service and that these events occurred on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
Furthermore, it is recorded in the Talmud that Israel would tie a red sash around the horns of the scapegoat, and another red sash around the doors of the Temple. It is recorded that when they threw the scapegoat over the cliff, the red sash of the Temple turned white (Isaiah 1:18), which meant that Israel’s sins as a nation were forgiven. Again, this ceremony only happens on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. However, the Talmud also records that four ominous events took place forty years before the destruction of the Temple (70AD).
- The lot for the Lord started coming up in the left hand instead of the right hand.
- The scarlet sash stopped turning white
- The westernmost light of the menorah would not stay lit
- The Temple doors would open by themselves (Josephus records that the doors we “made of brass, 75 feet tall, and it took 20 men to open them.”
What occurred forty years before the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem? The crucifixion and resurrection of Messiah! What is even more incredible, Josephus records that the timing of the event occurred at the “sixth hour,” during Passover week. This is exactly when Pilate said to the children of Israel, “Behold’ your King!,” and they responded, “Away with Him!, away with Him!, crucify him!” (John 19:14-15), and He became the scapegoat for all of mankind (you and me)! Hallelujah!
Nevertheless, during the Great Tribulation, when the nation of Israel cries out, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord/ Buruch Haba Beshem Adonai), Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah will come for His Second Coming and redeem the nation of Israel on the Feast of Yom Kippur!
In conclusion, the number forty has always been a “time for testing” throughout biblical history. For example, Noah and the flood (40 days and nights-Genesis 7), the Israelites after they worshipped the golden calf and Moses went back up for forty days to repent for Israel (Yom Kippur-Exodus 34), the twelve spies sent to the land of Canaan for 40 days (Numbers 13), and the 40 day warning of judgment to Ninevah (Jonah 3).
Elul 1 to Tishri 10 (Yom Kippur) is a set time for repentance. Obviously, we should repent everyday, but these forty days are specifically set aside for reflection, prayer, meditation, and repentance, as it coincides with Messiah’s “time of testing” in the wilderness. I pray that you will join us during this time of repentance, as we pray for all of mankind, Jews and Gentiles, to accept salvation through Yeshua (Jesus)! May God bless and protect all of you, Amen, Amen, and Amen.
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