Even though it is the seventh calendar month of the year the Israelites considered it the beginning of New Year. During this seventh month the Israelites would ask God to forgive them of their sins. (Verse 7)
On this special day the Israelites would sound their trumpets. On this day they did not work, they gathered together to worship God and to offer extra sacrifices.
The tenth day of this seventh month was another special day and a day in which the people did not eat anything. They did not eat to express their sorrow from their sins against God. They humbled themselves before the Lord and did nothing in order to please themselves. It was a day in which no work was done but they gathered together to worship God.
In these verses we see the special sacrifices that they made to the Lord. It also shows that on this day their ceremonies were also special. This ceremony happened annually and only on this day. This was the day that the High Priest would enter into the Most Holy Place alone to splash the blood that had been offered from the sacrifices. The High Priest would also splash the blood outside of God’s Tent and on the altar. He would then lay his hands on a live goat’s head. He then would tell God of all the sins that the people had done throughout the year. The sins of the people would be placed upon the goat. After that a man would take the goat out into the desert and leave him there. By this special ceremony and sacrifices God would be able to forgive their sins. (Leviticus 16)
The Jews today still consider this festival to be an important event. It is also a reminder for the Christians that Jesus died as our sacrifice for sin. Jesus offered His own blood before His Father in Heaven for our atonement. There is no need for any other sacrifice. (Hebrews 9 and 10) Jesus paid the price for all sin and to receive forgiveness we must confess our sin and trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior. God then will forgive us completely.
The Festival of Shelters was a time to celebrate the harvest of the grapes and olives. This is the greatest of the Jewish festivals and the instructions to the people can be found in Leviticus. (Leviticus 23:41) Also in Leviticus we find the instructions of how the Israelites were to live in shelters for the seven days of this festival. (Leviticus 23:39-43) This was a reminder to the people of their journey to the Promised Land when they had to live in tents and did not have structured buildings for houses.
During this Festival more male bulls and male sheep were sacrificed by the priest than all the other occasions. The most valuable animals that the Israelites had were the bulls and sheep. This was a time of great expense to the people because of the sacrifices but the people were happy to offer them to the Lord. The people want to express their gratefulness.
In addition to these offers the people could also give their own private offerings unto the Lord. They may be offerings for a particular reason or just to show their thankfulness for the blessing that the Lord had given to them.