The Hebrew month of Elul initiates a 40 day period called Teshuvah. This is the Hebrew word for “repent”. It is a time to turn toward God. People are called to turn away from their sin, repent, and change course. It is a time of inward reflection and sincere self-assessment. The goal is a change in lifestyle away from sin to obedience in God’s word. Return to God and His ways.
This is the season to prepare for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. The 40 day period of Teshuvah ends on Tishri 10 in the Hebrew calendar, Yom Kippur.
Elul is the last month of the civic calendar in Judaism. Elul is the sixth month of the religious calendar. Elul 1 marks the beginning of Teshuvah. On a Gregorian calendar in the year 2019, this would be Sunday, September 1st or Monday the 2nd depending on when the new moon is confirmed by two witnesses.
It is Jewish custom to blow a shofar (ram’s horn) one time every day during the season of Teshuvah. The trumpet is blown every day after the morning service except Shabbat or the Sabbath (Saturday for us in western culture) and the last day of month of Elul.
So what does Jesus and His ascension have to do with Teshuvah? Granted, Christ ascended in the spring, not in late summer or early fall.
There are some interesting similarities. For one, Christ traveled around the Jerusalem area for 40 days after His resurrection. 40 days is the length of Teshuvah. He proved He had overcome death to many. Jesus had dealt with sin. Jesus spent those 40 days preaching the Kingdom of God. He was turning others to the future in preparation to meet God.
Acts 1:3 He presented Himself alive to them after His suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
Yes, Jesus was sinless. He set the model for how we should repent and turn to our Heavenly Father. Christ completed His work on a sinful Earth and returned to His Father in a Holy Heaven. Even the perfect Son returned to His Father. Currently, He is face to face at the right hand of His Abba.
Acts 1:9 And when He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.
Two thousand years ago, the apostles were questioned for looking to Heaven. The Spirit was soon to come to Earth. There was and is work to complete.
Now is the time to return to Jesus. His cross work paid for the sins of the whole world. All one has to do is believe in Him and His effort. One way or another, the time is drawing near when we will all have the opportunity to return to Him.
Acts 1:11 …and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”
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