29th of the 5th month 2021/2022
The favour and shalom of our Master Yahushua Messiah be with you all,
Each year as we come to the end of the 5th month and look expectantly for the new moon that begins the 6th month, we certainly get excited to think that we are just a month away from the wonderful Feasts of the 7th month!!!
In terms of the 6th month about to begin, I wanted to send a brief message of encouragement in the Master, as well as a loving warning against the dangers of following man-made traditions that bear no Scriptural basis..
The 6th month is also known as the month of ‘elul’ and unfortunately there have been various traditions that have been established regarding this month, by teaching that this is a month of repentance, or rather the beginning of a 40-day period of repentance which leads up to Yom Kippur. While this may, at surface level, seem like a wonderful idea and an inspiring thing to do, what we MUST be cautious of, is the danger of simply following such traditions and teachings without being able to test it against the validity of Scripture and what YAHWEH commands us in His Word. .
The word ‘elul’ is only used once in Scripture, in the following verse:
Neḥemyah/Nehemiah 6:15 “And the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month of Elul, in fifty-two days.”
This word אֱלוּל elul – Strong’s H435 is a word that is believed to be of foreign derivation which carries the meaning of, ‘nothingness, worthlessness, no value’.
According to Jewish traditions, based on Talmudic and kabbalah sources and teachings, this month begins a period of 40 days of repentance, known as ‘teshuvah’, which means, ‘repentance’. .
The Hebrew word תְּשׁוּבָה teshuḇah – Strong’s H8666 is used in Scripture 8 times and means, ‘a recurrence, an answer, return’ and comes from the root word שׁוּב shuḇ – Strong’s H7725 which means, ‘to turn back, return, repent, recover’, which is the word that we get the idea and term for ‘repentance’, which implies a turning back to Elohim from all ways of falsehood and wickedness and lawlessness! .
Repentance is certainly one of the major themes in Scripture, as we are called to repent and be immersed in The Name of Yahushua Messiah for the forgiveness of sins.
Our Master also told us that we are to bear fruits worthy of repentance, which implies the proper bearing of the fruit of righteousness, having turned away from all sin and lawlessness, which He has redeemed us from!
The fruit of our lives will reveal if we have repented or not!
Of the 8 occurrences of the word תְּשׁוּבָה teshuvah – Strong’s H8666, we do not see any use of it being that which identifies a repentance of sins, but is primarily used to describe the turn of the year or a returning home or answering. .
I can certainly understand how many will utilise this word to reflect a proper returning to the Master, with the answer of a confession and repentant heart, and I do not, in any way, want to detract from the idea of repentance at all, as I rather proclaim the clear need for repentance and our need to be proclaiming a repentance to all who are still bound by sin and lawlessness, as the faithful remnant Bride, together with the Spirit, says ‘Come out of her!’.
The main point that I want to highlight, is that when looking at the terms ‘elul’ and ‘teshuḇah’, we find no Scriptural basis for there being a proclamation of a 40-day period of repentance that leads to Yom Kippur!!!.
I say again, NOWHERE in Scripture do we find this instruction being given.
If one wants to seek a time, or period of days, that can be counted and used to reflect on one’s life, then certainly the time from the waving of the sheaf of the first to Shaḇuoth would and is a better period to consider – as the command is clear for us to count 50 days until Shaḇuoth!
This period of counting teaches us the vital lessons of how our Master Yahushua has died for our sins and cleansed us from all lawlessness and as we rid ourselves of the leaven of this world, we are able to be a counting people who can be permeated with the good leaven of the kingdom, who daily count the cost of serving in Spirit and Truth, with Shabuoth signifying for us the release and betrothal as a set-apart Bride!.
This theme and heart of bearing fruit worthy of repentance and being able to count, we are to certainly do every day of our lives, as we work out of deliverance with fear and trembling, however we must, in the process, be on guard against falling prey to traditions that do not find their basis or instruction in the Word of Elohim, but are rather teachings of men, that have used various passages of the Word to construct their teaching as teachings, the erroneous commands of men..
According to the Talmud and the Zohar, which is a classical text of the Kabbalah which was compiled in the 2nd century, the traditions of elul and teshuḇah in the 6th month are taught! .
It is according to traditions, and NOT Scripture, that Mosheh was believed to have gone up the mountain for the second time of 40 days and 40 nights at the beginning of Elul!
As mystical as this may sound, there is NO Scriptural reference or evidence of such assumptions!!!
According to Jewish tradition this month ends the Jewish civil year, while being the 6th month of the biblical year and the Jewish traditions teach that with this being the end of the civil year, it becomes a time of introspection and teaches that this time becomes the important liturgical season of Return and Repentance, culminating in Yom Kippur.
I have come major issues with these false traditions, as they are attempting to change the calendar of Elohim, thinking that they can have a civil year that is counted differently to the biblical year!
There is one calendar that our Creator set forth and the 7th month cannot be the 1st month of a civil or any other kind of agricultural year…it is the 7th month and that is that!!!
I will not expand on the errors of Jewish tradition, calling the 7th month Rosh Hashanah…as Rosh Hashanah is the first month of the year, as confirmed in Scripture, when Yisra’ĕl came out of Mitsrayim. .
The purpose of this short message, is to caution against the man-made teachings in regards to the assumed practices that are to be observed from the start of 6th month.
There are various man-made traditions that have been taught as teachings from Jewish mystical sources around this month and we must be on guard not to stray from the clear witness of Scripture. .
According to Jewish mysticism the word אֱלוּל elul – Strong’s H435 is believed to be an acronym for the phrase which is found in the Song of Songs:
Shir HaShirim/Song of Songs 6:3 “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine. He feeds his flock among the lilies.”
The phrase ‘I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine’ is written in Hebrew as follows:
אֲנִ֤י לְדוֹדִי֙ וְדוֹדִ֣י לִ֔י
aniy leḏoḏiy veḏoḏiy liy .
The Hebrew word אֱלוּל elul – Strong’s H435, which is of foreign derivation, is, according to Jewish mystical tradition, taught to be an acronym for the phrase from this passage in Song of songs, with each letter being an acronym as follows:
Elul – אֱלוּל:
This word has been traditionally used to refer to the phrase from Song of Songs:
אֲנִ֤י לְדוֹדִי֙ וְדוֹדִ֣י לִ֔י .
As luring as this may sound, it has no Scriptural basis!
It is from this idea of the acronym, referring to the Song of Songs and the picture of the Bride and Bridegroom being in the field, that the traditional teaching of the King being in the field waiting for His Bride at this time of the 6th month, is being taught… and by asking the question: The King is in the field, where are you? With the call for a period of repentance and return! .
Once again, let me state that I am not diminishing, in any way, our need to be a people who are bearing fruit worthy of repentance, nor am I diminishing the urgency and importance of repentance, for it is vital for any believer who calls upon the Name of Elohim.
What I am cautioning against, is the idea of following a pattern of teaching that prescribes certain man-made instructions for which there is no Scriptural backing, to support any instruction of having a 40-day period of repentance prior to Yom Kippur!.
Liturgical customs during “Elul”, according to Jewish customs, include the recitation of “Selihot” – the what? The “Selihot” are prayers, mentioned in the Mishnah, which are prescribed as prayers to be recited during the 40 days of Teshuva, starting at the beginning of ‘Elul’..
Another Jewish tradition that is taught for this period, is that the shofar is to be blown every day of the 40 days, except on the Shabbat!
Now how ridiculous is that!
Scripture teaches us to blow the shofar on the new moon, on the day of our festival and in the day of rejoicing!
Here, in this rabbinic tradition, they are teaching to blow the shofar on the days that are taught to be days of repentance and sorrow and teach not to blow the shofar on the Shabbat during this repentance period!!!
Once again, this is a very dangerous trap to fall into, when following false traditions of man-made mysticisms!
The Jewish mystical traditions go on to teach that the word אֱלוּל elul – Strong’s H435 is also used as an acronym for various Scriptural phrases that include words associated with prayer, repentance, righteousness and redemption.
Not really sure how one can use an acronym of a foreign derived word that means “nothing, worthlessness, no value”, to promote these passages of Scripture!
Where does one stop! .
I could certainly go on and expose more of these empty and false traditions and teachings of Jewish mysticism, yet what I simply want to caution against, is the danger of being led astray but such teachings, as there are many well-known ‘Torah teachers’ who are teaching these things as being something to be adhered to and followed..
Please be on guard against the corrupted mystical traditions, that are often presented as something wonderful and good to hear, and be diligent in holding firm to the commands of Elohim, for NOWHERE in Scripture do we find any such commands from Elohim, that require us to repent for 40 days in the 6th month!
No matter how welcoming the Jewish traditions may sound, make the clear distinction between that which is set-apart and that which is profane!.
I will highlight the 8 verses where we see the use of the Hebrew word תְּשׁוּבָה – teshuvah – Strong’s H8666 being used:
Shemu’ěl Aleph/1 Samuel 7:17 “Then he returned to Ramah, for his home was there. And there he rightly ruled Yisra’ěl, and there he built a slaughter-place to יהוה.”
In the passage from Shemu’ěl Aleph/1 Samuel 7:17, the word תְּשׁוּבָה – teshuḇah – Strong’s H8666 is translated as ‘Then he returned’ and written in the Hebrew text as וּתְשֻׁבָתוֹ – ‘utheshuḇatho’ .
Shemu’ěl Bět/2 Samuel 11:1 “And it came to be at the turn of the year, at the time sovereigns go out to battle, that Dawiḏ sent Yo’aḇ and his servants with him, and all Yisra’ěl, and they destroyed the children of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But Dawiḏ remained at Yerushalayim. ”
Here, the word תְּשׁוּבָה – teshuḇah – Strong’s H8666 is translated as ‘at the turn’ and is written as לִתְשׁוּבַת – litheshuḇath and is highlighting for us the clear seasonal change of the year, marked by suns cycle and the equinoxes dividing the year into its seasons..
Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 20:22 “And the prophet came to the sovereign of Yisra’ěl and said to him, “Go, strengthen yourself. And know and see what you should do, for at the turn of the year the sovereign of Aram is coming up against you.”
Here, the word תְּשׁוּבָה – teshuḇah – Strong’s H8666 is once again translated as ‘at the turn’ and is also written as לִתְשׁוּבַת – litheshuḇath, giving us a second witness of this being used as a reference to the timing of the turn of the year..
Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 20:26 “And it came to be, at the turn of the year, that Ben-Haḏaḏ mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphěq to fight against Yisra’ěl.”
Here, the word תְּשׁוּבָה – teshuḇah – Strong’s H8666 is once again translated as ‘at the turn’ and is also written as לִתְשׁוּבַת – litheshuḇath, giving us a third witness of this being used as a reference to the timing of the turn of the year..
Diḇre haYamim Aleph/1 Chronicles 20:1 “And it came to be at the turn of the year, at the time sovereigns go out to battle, that Yo’aḇ led out the power of the army and destroyed the land of the children of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But Dawiḏ remained at Yerushalayim. And Yo’aḇ struck Rabbah and overthrew it.”
Here, the word תְּשׁוּבָה – teshuḇah – Strong’s H8666 is once again translated as ‘at the turn’ and is written as תְּשׁוּבַת – teshuḇath, with another witness of this being used in connection with the turning of the year’s season..
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 36:10 “And it came to be at the turn of the year, at the time sovereigns go out to battle, that Yo’aḇ led out the power of the army and destroyed the land of the children of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But Dawiḏ remained at Yerushalayim. And Yo’aḇ struck Rabbah and overthrew it.”
Here, the word תְּשׁוּבָה – teshuḇah – Strong’s H8666 is translated as ‘and at the turn’ and is written as וְלִתְשׁוּבַת – velitheshuḇath, with yet another witness for us, of this being used in connection with the turning of the year’s season..
Iyoḇ/Job 21:34 “How then do you comfort me in vain, seeing that perverseness remains in your answers?”
Here, the word תְּשׁוּבָה – teshuḇah – Strong’s H8666 is translated as ‘in your answers’ and is written as וּתְשׁוּבֹתֵיכֶם – utheshuḇotheyḵem, and is a text where we see how this word is identified with the worthlessness of empty answers..
Iyoḇ/Job 34:36 “Would that Iyoḇ be tried to the end, since his answers are like those of wicked men!”
Here, the word תְּשׁוּבָה – teshuḇah – Strong’s H8666 is translated as ‘since his answers’ and is written as עַל־תְּשֻׁבֹת – al-teshuḇoth, and is a text where we see how this word is identified with the accusation of Iyoḇ’s answers being licked to the answers of wicked men..
Ok, so that is the extent of the use of the Hebrew word תְּשׁוּבָה – teshuḇah – Strong’s H8666, giving us a clear witness that it is not being used in any form of instruction regarding a time of repentance and this is why I have highlighted each of these verses, as many people are erroneously being led astray by false traditions that tend to tickle the ear and sound appealing to those who lend their ears to falsified teachings of man without being able to rightly discern the set-apart from the profane and, as a result, many are unable to recognise the dangers of just following what may ‘sound nice’..
I do hope that you will be able to see how important it is to be on guard against rabbinic traditions that have been used to steer people in a ‘form of worship’ that does not line up with the clear set-apart standard that our Master teaches us in His Word.
As we do consider how important it is for us to bear fruit worthy of repentance, we are to watch out for the things that can often lead one astray and be on guard against the dangers of falling for worthless traditions that are adding or taking way from the Word..
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face upon you and give you shalom….