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The Anniversary of Creation

by Linda Gunderson

Anniversaries are important remembrances for us. But how could we possibly determine the anniversary of the creation of the universe? Although the Judeo/Christian scriptures do not say explicitly, there is a very ancient Jewish tradition that points to one day. Isreal meticulously kept the Lord's commandments to observe the Biblical feasts that the Lord had given them. Yet even when they were rebellious and were not observing the feasts, they still kept track of the days.

In Leviticus 23:24, they are instructed to remember the first day of the seventh month as a special Sabbath, and to blow the trumpets on that day. This then is Rosh Hashanah, or the Feast of Trumpets, the Jewish New Year. In 2003, it begins at sunset on Friday, September 26. Since the festival is usually celebrated for one extra day, it runs until sundown on Sunday, September 28. Being a Sabbath festival, it looks back to creation, since this was part of the purpose of the Sabbath.

In Exodus 20:8-11, we are reminded that we are to labor for six days but rest on the seventh, just as the Lord rested, or ceased working, on the seventh day after He had finished creating. This is our pattern for the weekly Sabbath. It begins at sunset on the sixth day, and runs from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. So every week as the sun is setting on Friday, we have the opportunity to pause and reflect on God's finished work of creation, as well as on Rosh Hashanah.

And why do the days start at sunset? In Gen. 1:5, we read that on the very first day there was evening and there was morning. The Romans changed the way we count days, but from the beginning the day originally started in the evening.

While we cannot be absolutely certain that this one day actually marks the anniversary of creation, there is a Jewish tradition that the Lord created either the world or man on Rosh Hashanah. So it is either the anniversary of the creation of the universe, or the creation of man, because man was the finishing touch of God's creation. Trumpets were blown in ancient Isreal as a remembrance of several things. Among them is the remembrance of the coronation of the Lord. Because the Feast of Trumpets remembers the creation of the first man, it also reminds us that this is when the Lord took His throne as King over all creation.

The day was so important that the calendar counting started over, and this became the New Year. In the Lord's economy, the fiscal year goes from Rosh Hashanah to Rosh Hashanah. Just as we use a yearly calendar and a fiscal calendar that sometimes runs from July to June, so the Isrealites had two calendars.

The Jewish New Year is a time of joy in remembering creation. It's a time to recall the greatness of the Lord and His deeds, His commandments, and our own responses to Him and our shortcomings. It is also a call to self-examination leading to repentance. Interestingly, it begins a period of 10 days of prayer and repentance, leading up to the Day of Atonement.

So if you would like a day to remember creation, this is the day. Mark your calendars now for September 26-28, 2003. But if you miss the celebration this year, there's always next year. Since the Isrealites used a lunar calendar, the dates will vary. Next year, Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on September 15, 2004 and runs until sundown on September 17, 2004. Shalom!