By Bob Barney
Six is preparation day for the Sabbath Rest – a day of man and the double blessing of manna. Nisan, the month of Passover, is the first month and Elul is the sixth month of “preparation” for the high holy days in the seventh month of Tishri. This 6th month is placed between the two great sins past and the coming judgment future. The 6th month Elul follows the Golden Calf incident (Idolatry) in 4th month of Tammuz and the 12 Spies evil report in the 5th month of Av. (Faithless Unbelief) The future Trumpets and Atonement follow in 7th month of Tishri when judgment comes.
One derivation of the word “Elul” means “search” or “inspect”, alluding to the nature of our task during this month. Another rabbinical interpretation of “Elul”: “Elul” means “returned with,” specifically with those Jews who returned to Israel after the 70-year Exile in Babylonia/Repentance. It is this meaning that ties to the Temple rebuilding of the month of Elul, as well as Gods commands to Haggai during the month of Elul.
This month Elul, whose constellation is the Maiden, commonly called Virgo, is set aside for Repentance or spiritual return. Rebecca is the first one called in scripture as a “Betulah” a virgin – whom no man had known. In Genesis 24:16. The First mention in scripture of anything defines its use and meaning. This first mention of a future bride of Isaac, a type of Messiah, holds huge significance for the church today. Our theology was written in Genesis and the Gentile bride of the Messiah was no mystery.
The scripture that the sages related to the Maiden is “…Return, O Maiden of Israel, return to these cities of yours!” (Jeremiah 31:20) The call to the virgin is Go back – the road markers will point out where she left the path and guide her back to her beloved. Jer 31 v 21 Set up for yourself road marks, Place for yourself guideposts; Direct your mind to the highway, the way by which you went. Return, O virgin of Israel, Return to these your cities.
Repentance and Selichot
This ritual for the new moon (month) of Elul incorporates the practice of blowing the shofar (ram’s horn) during Elul. The blowing shofar is a wake-up call to sleepers, designed to rouse us from our complacency. It is a call to repentance. As the month of Elul draws to a close, the mood of repentance becomes more urgent. Prayers for forgiveness called Selichot are added to religious services. The entire community, including men, women and older children, attend the first Selichot service, and the rabbi gives a sermon.
A fundamental part of the Selichot service is the recitation of the “Thirteen Attributes,” a list of God’s thirteen attributes of mercy that were revealed to Moses after the sin of the golden calf (Ex 34:6-7): Lord , The Lord , God , merciful , and gracious , long-suffering , abundant in goodness  and truth , keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation , forgiving iniquity  and transgression  and sin , who cleanses .
Occurrences of the A-L-V-L (Elul) in Scripture
The letters are Aleph – Lamed -Vav– Lamed Occur 4x as acrostics and 1x as a named month. What starts out as a lesson in Repentance in Torah ends with union and restoration with the King in Song of Songs.
Repentance/deliverance from sin nature
1) Deut 30:6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. Those 4 words start with E-L-U-L and the context is of a time after God drove Israel into the nations. A new nature is promised them and we are partakers through Yeshua of that promise when we are given a new heart. He did not come to make bad men good but make dead men live.
Repentance/deliverance for unintentional sin
2) Ex 21:13 And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hand; then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee. E-L-U-L spelt again. (A reference to the cities of refuge established for the unintentional man slaughterer – forgiveness for unintentional sin. The Cities of refuge are an escape of the coming wrath and judgment, so repentance is an escape of judgment. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” …. are the words that transform the murder of our Savior into manslaughter. So, we have the opportunity to repent and flee to Him our City of refuge, for He is our refuge. Soon He is to return as the Avenger of blood.
Reconciliation between an errant Bride and the King of the Harvest
3) The name of the month (spelled ELUL = Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed) is said to be an acronym of “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li,” “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine,” a quote from Song of Songs 6:3. In Aramaic (the vernacular of the Jewish people at the time that the month names were adopted), the word “Elul” means “search,” which is appropriate, because this is a time of year we should seek Him, while He may be found.
The whole book of the Song of Songs is about the King in the field//harvest and a sleepy bride who needs to repent and come to work with Him in a summer harvest. This is the month that the “King is in His field” and can be approached before He is on His throne and court is in session. For too soon comes the fall judgments – The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. Jer.8v20. Notice the summer is the grain harvest and, in the fall, God will turn His attention to Israel, that vineyard and the fig tree which He planted.
This is the time when the Eternal King leaves the heavenly throne and descends to inspect this world. This is the period when we are closest to God, and God is most receptive to our prayers. We look to the words of the prophet Isaiah, who said, “Seek God when He is at hand; Call upon Him when He is near” (Is 55:6).
The King is in His field – The month is described as preparation for the divine coronation on the Feast of Trumpets: It is like a king who, before he enters the city, the people of the city go out to greet him in the field. There, everyone who so desires is permitted to meet him; he receives them all with a cheerful countenance and shows a smiling face to them all. And when he goes to the city, they follow him there. Later, however, after he enters his royal palace, none can enter into his presence except by appointment, and only special people and select individuals. So, too, by analogy, the month of Elul is when we meet God in the field.
Also, during Elul, Psalm 27 is recited after prayers in the synagogue. “A psalm of David – the Lord is my light and my salvation… for he will hide me in his tent.” ((During up the coming judgment)) By implication we need to have already found light and salvation to be hidden in His tent during judgment.
4) Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord. They said: I will sing = E L UL in the Hebrew. (Exodus 15:1) Purpose for Israel’s deliverance was to worship God! (Ex. 7:16; 8:1; 8:20; 9:1; 9:13) So after the Baptism//Repentance of Israel into the sea and coming out of and the separation from Egypt (the world) they broke out in song and worship.
I often mention that God's calendar is NOT like any other calendar on earth today. It is not the Roman calendar that we follow, or the equally pagan Jewish calendar that many churches believe is the calendar of God. To read more about God's Calendar click here . There is a mistake that those who follow a Jewish calendar has made, and that refers to the word for new moon. That is a mistranslation, as the proper rendering should be NEW MONTH, as I did in The Plain Truth's Red Letter Bible.
The Hebrew word 'chodesh', which is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance simply means "new" or to "rebuild." Chodesh does not mean "new moon". It means 'new' with an implication that a month is about to begin again.
Originally, when the earth had a perfect 360-day rotation around the sun, and the moon's journey around the earth was exactly 30 days (today it is 29.5 days), new moons where on the new months. The calendar was in balance. However, probably after the flood, the weight of water slowed the earth rotational spin (this is NOT mentioned in the Bible) to 365.25 days a year and the moon's rotation to the present one of 29.5 days.
The ancients noticed that the months were no longer 30 days, and the years were not 360 days, but now over 365. A calendar needed to be made to reflect this. Egypt made the first perfect calendar, one Moses was very familiar with, which had 12 - 30-day months and then 5 days at the end of the year that did not count. This is also seen in Enoch's calendar (see illustration on left). God's calendar was like the Egyptian one except that year no longer started on the first day of summer, but on the first day of spring. Springtime is the birth of the new year in nature, as morning is the start of the day as well. The term for new moon became "new month" as the new moons and new months no longer matched up. This is not hard to conceive as the English word for month comes from moon! Yet our months have nothing to do with new moons! The same applies to God's calendar.