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Feast of Israel
The Feast of Trumpets
This upcoming Saturday begins the biblical feast, “Rosh Hashanah,” or “The Feast of Trumpets.” It marks the beginning of ten days of consecration and repentance to get a person ready for God’s Feast of “Yom Kippur,” or “The Day of Atonement.”
Rosh Hashanah is also known as the Jewish New Year. And Jews greet each other with the words, “Shana Tova,” or “Good Year,” which is the shortened form of the complete greeting, “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.” It is a greeting to wish one another good so that their names could be written in the Book of Life for the upcoming year. It is also customary to eat sweet foods, usually apples, honey, chocolate, and also to give gifts.
The feast is the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days, which is announced through the blowing of the ram’s horn, or the shofar, calling the people to repent from their sins.
This Holiday, or as I like to call it, a Holy Day, falls on the first day of Tishri, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, which corresponds to either September or October of our Gregorian Calendar.
All over the world, the Jewish people go to their synagogue, recite prayers, confess their sins and pray that God would inscribe them in His book for the coming year.
However, this is not the biblical New Year. The biblical New Year for Israel is the first day of the month called Nisan in the Jewish Calendar, which was commanded by God when He set them free from their Egyptian bondage, which has been celebrated ever since as Passover.
The Lord said, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” (Exodus 12:2 NKJV)
However, in Judaism there are two New Years Days, the biblical one, which is the month of Nisan, which is where the feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits are celebrated, and then what is known as the civil New Year, or the month of Tishri, which is where the feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles are celebrated.
Further, the Bible never refers to these months by name, like Nisan, or Tishri. These have their roots in the language of the Chaldeans, or from Babylon. The Bible merely refers to them as the first month, and the seventh month.
And while the biblical New Years Day is the first of Nisan, the Jews celebrate Tishri, and the Jewish feast of Rosh Hashanah as the New Years Day. This move to Tishri came around the tenth or eleventh century.
The reason for this change is that the rabbis believe the Lord God created the world during the month of Tishri. It was also on the first day of Tishri that Ezra gathered the people to hear the book of the Law being read (Nehemiah 8:2)
But, as I said earlier, this feast begins the Jewish High Holy Days through the blowing of the ram’s horn, or the shofar, calling the people to repent from their sins.
It is a solemn day of soul-searching, forgiveness, repentance, and remembering God’s judgment, as well as a joyful day of celebration, looking forward to God’s goodness and mercy in the coming New Year.
Rosh Hashanah provides God’s people with a time to reflect on their lives, to repent and turn away from sin, where they will then be considered to be righteous. The trumpet sound upon this day was therefore a call to repentance for the people of God. It is to awaken them to remember their Creator, forsaking their evil ways and returning to Him.
In Judaism it is often believed and promoted that a person’s good and bad deeds are weighed on the scales during this time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, in order to see if someone is good enough to be written in the Book of Life.
But there is a sad reality in this Jewish celebration in that it is believed that the people can turn away from their sins through doing good deeds. These good deeds are meant to give them a more favorable chance of having their names sealed in the Book of Life for another year.
I mean, how sad is that, they never have assurance that they are written in God’s book of life, and if they are lucky enough to have their names in God’s book of life, it is only for a year at a time.
In Luke 10:20, Jesus alluded to the Book of Life when he told the disciples to rejoice because “your names are written in heaven.” Whenever a person becomes a believer in Jesus Christ by accepting His sacrificial atonement for sin, Jesus fulfills for them personally, the Feast of Trumpets.
The Bible gives us this assurance.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
And so, at this time, those who believe in Jesus Christ can give this testimony that they are assured, no matter what, that their names are written in the Book of Life, because of what the Messiah did for them, as the prophet Isaiah proclaims how the Messiah “Poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12 NKJV)
And so, those who have accepted Jesus Christ, Yeshua Hamashiach, have entered the New Covenant, where their sins are forgiven through the death of Jesus upon the cross, as Isaiah said, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 NKJV)
The Feast of Trumpets is recorded in the book of Leviticus 23:23-25, and also in Numbers 29:1-6.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’’” (Leviticus 23:23-25 NKJV)
This day is also seen in Numbers 29:1-6, where it goes into further detail concerning the offerings that were to be made.
The term Rosh Hashanah, means “the Beginning of the Year,” or “the Head of the Year.”
Now, there are a lot of various meanings and names that are attached to this feast, but according to the text, the purpose of the feast was to be a memorial, and this memorial was to be to the blowing of trumpets. The word “memorial” indicates that the event to be remembered had taken place prior to this ordinance.
What spiritual event was of such great importance that God commanded the people to remember it every year through the blowing of the trumpet? It was when the people met and came into covenant with God.
Three months after their deliverance from their Egyptian bondage, the Jewish people found themselves before the mountain of God in the Wilderness Sinai. And the Lord said to Moses, “If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.” And then the Lord said, “When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain.” (Exodus 19:5, 13b NKJV)
And so today, the blowing of the trumpet on this feast day is to remind the Jewish people of the covenant they made with God, but also how they broke it and continue to break it. Therefore, at the Feast of Trumpets, the trumpet blasts reminds Israel how they were a people under covenant, a nation who had accepted the responsibilities of being God’s people.
And so, Rosh Hashanah is a day of remembrance. It is a day on which they remember God, but also, it is a day on which God is said to remember them.
We see this through the prophet Malachi where he said, “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.’ Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.” (Malachi 3:16-18 NKJV)
And so the blowing of the trumpet upon this feast day is a memorial of God’s grace to be extended during the next ten days, known as Days Of Awe, as they confessed and prayed for God to forgive their sins and write their names into the book of life for the coming year.
These ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, are known as the “Days of Awe,” as the people are encouraged to contemplate their position before God and humble themselves. This comes from the meaning of “Awe,” which means a mix of emotions from reverence and respect for God, along with dread and wonder.
But the blowing of the trumpet had another purpose, and that is to announce the coming of the Messiah. It was then the sound of the trumpet that would then gather the people of God, believers in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, Yeshua Hamashiach, to meet with Him.
We see this purpose of the trumpet in what the Apostle Paul stated.
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16 NKJV)
Paul also brings this out in his first letter to the church in Corinth.
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52 NKJV)
Now we see this within the Old Covenant, the Old Testament, as well, as the prophet Isaiah talked about this time being like a woman in labor pain, but then this glorious event will occur.
“Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isaiah 26:19 NKJV)
Why then the blowing of the trumpet? It is so that this day, which has been hidden throughout history will finally be revealed, and that all those who believe will be caught up in the air to be with the Lord forever whether they are dead or alive at the time.
And so, for all those who believe in Jesus, Yeshua, this trumpet, although it should spur us to examine ourselves and our walk with the Lord, isn’t to be one of dread and bewilderment, wondering if we are good enough for God, because the truth is, in ourselves we are not, as the Bible points out that there are none who are righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10; Psalm 14:1-3)
Instead this trumpet sound is one of joy, it is a joyful sound.
“Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long, and in Your righteousness they are exalted. For You are the glory of their strength, and in Your favor our horn is exalted. For our shield belongs to the Lord, and our king to the Holy One of Israel.” (Psalm 89:15-18 NKJV)
And so, on the Feast of Trumpets, the shofar or trumpet blowing represents the shout of God’s victory!
And can I just say, the signs of Jesus’s coming are upon us, so what I think is that we no longer need to be looking for signs, but with great expectation and anticipation we should be listening for the sound of the Trumpet.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study