, , , , , ,

The Shofar Blasts on the Feast of Trumpets Marks the Jewish New Year

The LORD said to Moses,”Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the LORD by fire.'” Leviticus 23:23-25

     Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our Feast; this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.   Psalm 81:3-4

    In biblical times on the first day of every month (at the New Moon), the ram’s horn (shofar) was sounded. By the decree of God, the first day of the seventh month (Tishri) was to be as a Sabbath day (a sacred assembly and a day of rest) commemorated with the sounding of the shofar.

     This holiday, The Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah), is popularly known as Rosh Hashanah meaning the “Head of the Year” or Jewish New Year. Although, according to the ceremonial calendar, it is the first day of the seventh month, it is the day that the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity and marks the beginning of the Jewish civil calendar. Much the same way in our culture, though January marks the first month of the year, some businesses and government agencies calculate the fiscal year beginning in April.

     The liturgy in synagogues around the world not only includes the reading of the same biblical accounts on each Sabbath, but the same passages are read each year on each of the Festivals of the LORD. On Shavuot (The Feast of Weeks/Day of Firstfruits), the Book of Ruth is read because it concerns the harvest. On Rosh Hashanah, the Binding of Isaac  

is the Torah passage that is read in every synagogue throughout the world because it concerns a ram’s horn.

     Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

     Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

     Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

     When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.

     “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.

     So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”  Genesis 22: 1-14

     The future lamb that was promised to be provided by God himself and would serve as an atonement offering was the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29b).

     By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him,”It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.Hebrews 11:17-19

     When the shofar sounds in the synagogue on Rosh Hashanah, it announces the raising of Isaac from the dead (figuratively speaking, Abraham did receive his son back from death). The Babylonian captivity lasted seventy years. The Jews that returned to the Promised Land had been dead as a nation for a lifetime (three score and ten years). When they returned on the Feast of Trumpets, the sound of the shofar blast announced the resurrection of a nation.

     Also at your times of rejoicing-your appointed feasts and New Moon festivals-you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, and they will be a memorial for you before your God. I am the LORD your God.”  Numbers 10:10

     At the New Moon festivals and appointed feasts, trumpets were sounded. According to God’s command (Numbers 10:2), two silver trumpets were to be fashioned. They were to be used for calling the community together and for announcing that the camps set out.

     On the Feast of Trumpets, which occurs on the first day of the seventh month (a New Moon Festival), both silver trumpets are blown which announces that the whole camp gather together in the presence of the LORD and the shofar is blown which is a reminder of the resurrection of the dead.

     I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed– in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”1Corinthians 15:50-54

   According to the Law of Moses, trumpets are sounded to gather God’s people into His presence. They were sounded to announce the setting out of the camps as each of the Israelite tribes followed the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night. Trumpets herald the approaching of a king. They are sounded when a battle is to take place.

     According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. 1Thessalonians 4:15-18

     At the Feast of Trumpets, God’s elect will be translated in the blinking of an eye and gathered into His presence to be forever with the Lord.