I just love it when the Lord leads me into greater understanding of His Word. After reading the account of Jacob and Esau in light of what I have been learning recently, I now see Rebekah and Jacob’s plan to prevent Isaac from blessing Esau with a new set of eyes. What appears to be deception in the physical realm was actually the work of the Holy Spirit to preserve Yah’s people, land, and covenant.
It is official. And it is exciting. Mark your calendars for April 1st and 2nd, 2016. Coastlands Congregation of Messiah is hosting a conference with some amazing speakers and an amazing children’s ministry. Did we mention that we are excited?! It’s going to be great!
For additional details please visit our Conference page here
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present a food offering to the Lord. And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whoever is not afflicted on that very day shall be cut off from his people. And whoever does any work on that very day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall not do any work. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves. On the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your Sabbath.”
As a mother of a seven and ten-year-old, it is my heart’s desire that my children understand the significance of this appointed time. It’s the holiest day of the year and one of the most somber. Yom Kippur is a Shabbat, but in addition to it being a day to rest, it is a day to afflict our souls. This day is about our flesh feeling uncomfortable, and our hearts, minds, and souls focused on our Great High Priest and the atonement He makes on our behalf.
As a parent, we have a difficult time seeing our children afflicted in any way. However, that is the very instruction that YHWH gives His people. And I don’t believe that children are exempt from it. Children are an important part of the covenant relationship with our King. It is our duty to instruct them in the ways of the Torah and teach them to walk as Messiah walked.
With that being said, I would like to offer some suggestions for how children can participate in Yom Kippur. We will be putting most if not all, of these into effect in our home.
In the New Testament, Yom Kippur is referred to as the Great Fast. It is custom to fast during Yom Kippur and break the fast at sundown after the appointment is over by sharing in a lovely meal together. I do not recommend children under the age of 5 fast meals. For those over the age of 5, you may consider having them fast one meal of the day and encourage them to spend that time in prayer. If your child is a pre-teen or teenager, and they would like to participate in a day fast with you, do not discourage them from doing so. Just be sure to monitor them throughout the day. You may encourage them to drink water or juice.
There are many conveniences in our homes, as well as electronic gadgets that keep all of us young at heart occupied. Banning use of iPods, iPads, smartphones, and the like is recommended for the 24 hour period. This is a good idea for everyone in the home. Moms and Dads, yes, I am talking to you as well. We will all survive without checking our email or Facebook accounts, or posting on Twitter, etc. Unfortunately, these items can distract us from personal time with God. There may be other activities that your children enjoy on a daily basis, use good judgment and if you feel led, have your child refrain from participating in those things as well. Furthermore, you may choose not to have your children bathe or use hair products or makeup. The focus is not on us today.
Spend time praying with your children and offering forgiveness for past hurts. Read the Torah portion for Yom Kippur together, Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9, or one of King David’s prayers in the Psalms. Use this time as a family to draw close to the Lord. You many also want to allow your children their own personal time of prayer and Bible reading in their rooms or a quiet place in the house or outdoors.
Enjoy the day of rest, YHWH has provided. Take a nap. Relax and listen to worship music. Cuddle with your kids. If you children attend school, take them out for the day. As a student, they are required to work hard in their studies. Yom Kippur is a Sabbath rest for all ages.
If possible, make plans to attend a Yom Kippur service or gather in the home with friends and family. As a body, spend time in study, worship, prayer, and fellowship.
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It is our sin, our transgressions of the Torah, and our uncleanness that stains the altar. It is the atonement needs made for our sins. The blood of Y‘shua acts as a detergent, soap, stain remover, and makes clean our transgressions. To teach your children about Yom Kippur and what Y’shua has done for us, take an old white t-shirt and dirty it with grass, mud, ketchup…you get the idea! All of the stains represent our sin. Next, take some stain remover, such as OxiClean, and apply to the stained areas. Rub until the stain disappears or at least is minimally visible.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
At the close of Yom Kippur, as mentioned above, enjoy a meal together and celebrate. Our past sins are forgiven and remembered no more! And we look forward to a day coming soon, when our names are to be found inscribed in the Book of Life, and we will get to tabernacle with our King for eternity. That is certainly a reason to rejoice!
2 Corinthians 4:7-12
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
Leviticus 23:23-25 (ESV)
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the Lord.”
Yom Teruah (The Feast of Trumpets), is the fifth appointed time of YHWH. In Judaism, it has become known as Rosh Hashanah or the turn/head of the (civil) year. It is celebrated on the first day of the seventh month, the Biblical month of Tishri, at the time of a new moon. Yom Teruah is to be a Sabbath day of rest, a memorial, a day of blowing shofars, a day to assemble, and to present a food offering to the Lord. Unlike the preceding feasts, few instructions are given, and little insight is offered on what this time is to be a memorial for. Judaism has acknowledged this day as the birthday of creation and the day YHWH provided the ram for Abraham and spared his son, Isaac.
Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot, the fall feasts, are prophetic shadows of the final days. Y’shua is the substance of the feast days, and Yom Teruah is a rehearsal for His return! Marked as the holiest days of the year, Yom Teruah and the feasts to follow carry with them much emotion. There is certainly much to be eager for, as well as thankful for, but this time is also marked with serious reflection and repentance. The shortcomings of the past are brought to light and judged, forgiveness sought, and the heart prepared to walk in faithfulness in the New Year.
It is essential that we engage our children in these feast days. No matter our age, we must all learn to hear and understand the sound of the shofar, the sound of the Spirit. Numerous themes surround the Feast of Trumpets, and it is crucial that we instruct our kids of their significance, and together, apply what we have learned to our lives. It is never too late or too early to impress on our sons and daughters the ways of Elohim.
Following are the themes associated with Yom Teruah and a number of suggested activities that can assist you in teaching your children the importance of this holy day.
Yom Teruah falls within the 40 days of Teshuva/Repentance and marks the beginning of the 10 days of Awe. These 10 days are also days of repentance that come to an end at Yom Kippur when the books are closed, and one’s fate is sealed. This holy season puts much emphasis on the need to examine one’s life and restore relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and most importantly with God. It is a time to search one’s heart, a time to reflect on the deeds of the past year, a time to seek the forgiveness of both God and man.
Young and old alike are born of corruptible seed and all guilty of transgressing the Father’s instructions, His Torah. During this season of repentance make a special effort to take the time to explain what sin is (1 John 3:4). You may choose to engage your child in one of the object lessons below to help illustrate how sin separates us from God and how Y’shua makes atonement for our sins and is faithful and just to forgive us no matter what we have done. Be sure to explain how repentance is turning from our sinful ways back to Father and His Torah. Remind your son and daughter how Y’shua gave us the perfect example of how to live a life free from sin. Ask them to be honest with you and share about times they were disobedient this past year or times they treated someone unkindly. This is a good time to share your shortcomings as well. You are your child’s role model. Let them see you are not perfect and in need of forgiveness as well. Pray together.
- Stay Away Sin Object Lesson
- Confessing Sin and Receiving God’s Forgiveness Lesson
- Repentance Leads to Cleanliness Object Lesson
- What’s in our Heart, Object Lesson using Sponges
- Bullseye Toss: Y’shua is the Aim of the Torah, Sin is Missing the Mark
- Seventy Times Seven Activity Page for Young Children
- Forgiveness Tree
- Forgiveness Hidden Message Activity Page
- Steps of Repentance
“May your name be inscribed in the Book of Life” is a traditional greeting during this holy day. In the Talmud tractate on Rosh Hashanah, it states that three books of account are opened where the fate of the wicked and the righteous are recorded. The names of the righteous are immediately inscribed in the book of life and sealed to live. Those whose fate is not yet determined given 10 days until Yom Kippur to repent and the wicked are blotted out of the book of the living forever.
James, the brother of Y’shua, tells us that faith without works is dead. Along with our testimony of Y’shua, we are to be obedient to the commandments, the instructions of the Torah. Our faithfulness will be our righteousness (James 1:22). To think of God as our Judge can make someone, especially a child, a little uneasy. Be sensitive in explaining the Judgment that will take place at the end of days. Reading the account of Noah found in Genesis chapters 6-9 may be quite beneficial. Noah and his family are examples of believers that walked in both faith and obedience, and they were rewarded with protection from the judgment, and their lives spared. Y’shua promises the same outcome to those that spiritually fit the description of the Assembly of Philadelphia in the book of Revelation.
In Israel’s history, a king’s coronation took place on the first of Tishri. The sound of the shofar marked this special occasion. One day soon, the shofar will be blown, and Y’shua will return as King. He will unite His Kingdom and establish His reign on earth. This is certainly something to celebrate. Y’shua will rule by justice and righteousness, the very foundations of His throne, and the Torah will be the constitution of His Kingdom.
Children are certainly familiar with the theme of royalty thanks to Disney. If you permit your child to watch Princess movies, you could use this as an opportunity to compare and contrast what Y’shua’s Kingdom and reign will look like compared to what they are accustomed to seeing on the screen. You can also complete this task using world leaders instead of Disney Princesses. Be sure to bookmark plenty of Scriptures in your Bible to read and discuss. Additionally, King David was a right and just king of his time. You may choose to study his life and kingship found in 1 Chronicles, 1 and 2 Samuel, and the Psalms.
As stated above, a tradition of Judaism is to celebrate and remember the birthday of the world during Rosh Hashanah, and during the synagogue service, the account of the binding of Isaac is read. Because much reflection takes place during these high holy days, families may choose to use this time to talk about the faithfulness of God, and to remember the covenant entered into through faith in Y’shua, the Living Torah. Cuddle up on the couch, sit around the dinner table, or find a comfortable spot outdoors and take turns reflecting on what God has done in your lives in this past year and what you have learned from His Word.
At Y’shua’s return, the dead that belong to Him will meet Him in the air. For this reason, Yom Teruah is a resurrection day. Furthermore, it is custom for some to wear white on Rosh Hashanah as a symbol of purity and in anticipation of favorable judgment. Those in Judaism are typically buried in white. Thus, their resurrection garments will be of this color.
You also may choose to observe the tradition of wearing white. Whether you choose to do so or not, taking the time to discuss the topic of resurrection with your children may lead to some interesting questions, at least it does in my house. You may not have all the answers to their questions, and that is okay. Just be honest and share what you do know according to what is written in the scriptures. Someday soon, our questions will be answered.
Y’shua is returning for a Bride, who has made herself ready. The parable of the 10 virgins along with the words spoken to the Assembly of Sardis are two passages that offer insight into the characteristics of the Bride and have much in common with the synagogue service of Rosh Hashanah. The shofar and Spirit are calling us to awake from our slumber and complete our deeds.
The Hebraic/Jewish wedding and its traditions are of great benefit in understanding Y’shua’s role as Bridegroom as well as the role of the Bride, guests, vows, and more. If you have not studied this, I would encourage you to do so.
To teach your children about the role of the Bride and Bridegroom, role playing would be an excellent tool. You may even want to act out the parable of the 10 virgins and make the oil lamp and veil crafts below.
- Homemade Clay Oil Lamps
- Bridal Veil Craft
- 10 Virgins Crossword Puzzle
- Parable of the 10 Virgins Coloring Pages
DAY AND HOUR UNKNOWN
Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashanah has become known as the day and hour which no man knows or the day that comes like a thief. Any student of the New Testament will quickly recognize these phrases. Messiah and the apostles use this language to describe His second coming. We fail to recognize and understand that these phrases are idioms for Yom Teruah. The first of Tishri begins once the new moon is sighted. The holy day is observed for two days because the day and the hour in which the moon is sighted can vary; it’s unknown. We certainly know the season of our Redeemer’s return, but we do not know the day or the hour.
To actively involve your kids in learning about the sighting of the moon as well as it phases, I have included helpful links below to assist you in teaching this concept.
- Phases of the Moon Lesson with OREOS
- Lunar Observation Journal
- Telescope Tips for Viewing the Moon
- Phases of the Moon Explanation for Kids (YouTube)
SOUND OF THE SHOFAR
It is instructed that this appointed time include the blowing shofars. Four different sounds are associated traditionally with Yom Teruah: the Tekiah (a pure and unbroken sound calling mankind to search his heart and seek forgiveness), the Shevarim (a broken and staccato sound that signifies the sorrow that follows realizing one’s guilt and need to change), the Teruah (a series of nine staccato sounds of alarm to awaken the soul), and the Tekiah Gedolah (a prolonged unbroken sound offering mankind a final invitation to repent and have their sins atoned for). A total of 100 notes are sounded in all. Following these blasts, it is said: “Happy are the people who understand the meaning of the sound of the shofar; they walk in Your light, O God.” The shofar is a picture of the Spirit moving and speaking.
This will likely be your child’s favorite part of this holy day. Encourage their participation in the blowing of the shofar. You may choose to purchase a genuine shofar, a plastic one, or make one of your own using the link to the shofar craft below. Yom Teruah is all about the blowing of the trumpet and making a loud shout! In creating such beautiful and loud noise, be sure to heed what the Spirit is saying to you and your loved ones.
Following Judah’s return from Babylon, they adopted Tishri 1 as the head or turn of the civil year. It is a tradition that apples and honey are served as part of the celebration in expectation of a sweet new year.
There are plenty of apple and honey recipes, crafts, and more to be found online, especially on Pinterest. I’ve included some craft ideas below and coloring pages to get you started. Have your kids help select foods and prepare the foods for your feast and/or have them make New Year’s cards to pass out to friends and family.
Parents and children alike can look forward to a new year. Past failures are forgiven! A new beginning awaits all.
- Toilet Paper Roll Apple Craft
- Apple Stamping Craft
- Honey Plate Project
- Rosh Hashanah Mobile
- Honey Pot New Year’s Card
- Shanah Tovah Card
- New Year, Apple & Honey Coloring Page
- Honey Bear and Apple Coloring Page
Feel free to pick and choose the themes you prayerfully consider important to discuss with your children. It is impossible to address everything in a day, so I would encourage using the 40 days of Teshuva, and more specifically, the week before the Feast of Trumpets to start. If you are a homeschooling family, you may choose to pick a theme to explore in detail and complete a corresponding activity as part of your daily Bible curriculum leading up to the feast. If you are in disagreement with recognizing this appointed time as Rosh Hashanah and choose not engage in the traditions attached that is fine. There are plenty of other themes to address with your kids. Personally, if Messiah makes it a point to use the synagogue language of Rosh Hashanah in his prophetic message to the assembly of Sardis, I feel it’s worth understanding this day and the traditions attached. Humbly doing so will help us see this appointed time from the eyes of our brother Judah and may open up opportunities to share with them about Y’shua. Both of us need to heed the voice of the shofar, the sound of the Spirit, and teshuva.
CHAG SAMEACH YOM TERUAH!
(*Please note that Coastlands does not endorse or agree with all of the religious views held by the parties that we have borrowed ideas from.)
Guardrails, we’ve all seen them. Those silver shiny rails that extend the length of highways and roads that might be deemed a little dangerous. Their purpose is to keep you on the way that you should go, to prohibit you from wandering too far left or too far right, and to protect you and keep you from getting off course. Staying on the path will help you to arrive safely at your destination.
In the ancient Near East it was believed that the heart was the seat of emotion, will, where decisions are made. One of the intriguing things that follow this mindset is what the Egyptians believed happened once one died and also what they did during the mummification process.
Once an individual died it was believed that they would stand before the scales of Ma’at and have their heart weighed against a feather. Ma’at was the concept of truth, balance, order, law, morality and justice and was personified as a goddess which set order to the universe, taking it from a state of chaos to order, for one. (1)