What is Elul?
Today, August 28, 2022, at sunset, the month of Av (pronounced Ahb) ends, and the sixth month of Elul begins. I know that sounds foreign to most of you, but the month of Elul is mentioned in the Bible. While most of us are dictated by the Gregorian Calendar, God has His own calendar. The month of Elul is found in the Book of Nehemiah in Chapter 6 and verse 15.
“So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Elul, in fifty-two days.” (Nehemiah 6:15 NASB ’95)
The sixth month is mentioned in the Bible on other occasions but is referred to as Elul by name only once. Other mentionings include 1st Chronicles 27:9, Ezekiel 8:1, Haggai 1:1 and 1:15, and Luke 1:26. 1st Chronicles mentions the lead divisions of 24,000 for the sixth month. All other mentionings are prophetic in nature or the fulfillment of prophecy. The sixth month is seldom mentioned but it is an important month on God’s timeline.
The name Elul itself is an acronym. It is taken from the book of Song of Solomon 6:3.
3 “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine, He who pastures his flock among the lilies.” Song of Solomon 6:3 (NASB95)
As I have mentioned previously, Elul is the sixth month of God’s Ecclesiastical Calendar and the eleventh month of the Jewish Civil Calendar. It is the time of teshuva. What is teshuva?
Teshuva translated in Hebrew means to simply repent. However, literally translated, teshuva means “return, as if looking back to something that you have strayed or looked away from.” In short it is a time of repentance and a turning back to God with every fiber of your being. By the way, repentance is not a prayer telling God how sorry you are for being sinful in your thoughts, words, or actions. God knows all about that already. Repentance is about turning away from those sinful thoughts, words, or actions and returning to God whole heartedly. We are not talking about salvation nor are we talking about increase or decrease in any degree of salvation. A sinful thought, word, or action is still a sinful thought, word, or act whether you are saved or not. Turn away from that and chase after God with all that you are. THAT is teshuva!
Is teshuva in the Bible? It certainly is! It is found in the Book of Joel 2:12-14.
“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting weeping, and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil. Who knows whether He will not turn and relent And leave a blessing behind Him, Even a grain offering and a drink offering. For the LORD your God? Joel 2:12-14 (NASB95)
By the way, God did turn and relent AND He left an offering. He left His offering, His Son, Jesus Christ, Yeshua Ha-mashiach, nailed to a cross in our rightful place to spare us.
That’s salvation! But is there more to repentance?
The Book of Hebrews tells us in 10:26—29.
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgement and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace. Hebrews 10:26-29 (NASB95)
So, you think there is no need to repent? Check that. “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” It’s Elul. It’s time to turn and repent. It’s time to turn back to God. Oh, you don’t HAVE TO do it. I do it. I’m saved. I know that I am. But I still repent of thoughts, words, and actions. Not because I feel like I HAVE TO because I don’t HAVE TO. I do so because I believe it pleases my heavenly Father to admit when I’m wrong and that I honestly want to do better. Not because I fear his wrath or fear losing my salvation, but because it pleases my Father. He blesses me in my obedience to His word when I joyfully obey just because I want to please my Father. To please my Father in Heaven, THAT gives me joy.
What does all this have to do with 40 Days of Awakening? The shofar is sounded everyday throughout the month of Elul to awaken those who are spiritually apathetic or slumbering to awaken, repent, and draw nearer to God, enjoying the blessings He has for them. It is preparation for Yom Teruah (Day of the Great Shout), Rosh Hoshana (Jewish New Year), the Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year), and the Feast of Tabernacles. I’ll explain all that when the month of Tishri comes around.
It’s the first day of Elul. It’s time for teshuva. It’s in God’s word. I’m stopping here. I’m turning back and shaking off some habits that I’ve acquired. I repent. I’m returning wholeheartedly to The Father. Will you not join me?
I am The Old Watchman, Ezekiel. Shalom!