Hebrew Roots/Holy Days/Trumpets/Overview of the Feast
OVERVIEW OF THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS
The Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) falls on the first day of the seventh month (the month of Tishrei) and commences the final segment of the religious calendar in Yahweh God's prophetic redemptive purposes which is concluded in the typology of the following feasts of Atonement and Tabernacles.
The preparation for this feast commences at the beginning of the preceding month of Elul, a period of thirty days that commences a forty-day season of repentance (teshuvah) which climaxes and ends on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) which falls ten days after the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah). It is the second most solemn day of the religious calendar, being surpassed in importance only by the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) on the 10th Tishri which it announces and ushers in.
THE NAMING OF THE FEAST
While the other appointed feasts are given a name, this feast has no real title. It is simply "Yom Teruah" – the Day of Blowing (Numbers 29:1). It is actually a festival centred on the blowing of the shofar as the distinguishing feature of the day, which calls us to attention in fear and reverence of God’s holiness and sovereignty in preparation and warning of His coming judgment, which is on Yom Kippur. As such it is a yearly "trumpet call", an awakening blast of the shofar which foreshadows the call to His elect to prepare themselves so that they will not come into judgment with the rest of the world when He comes to establish His kingdom upon this earth.
It is also called “Yom Ha Zikkaron” (the day of remembrance - Leviticus 23:24). It is a memorial of the day of creation when the morning stars sang together and shouted for joy at His handiwork in creation (Job 38: 7). In Genesis 1: 1, the word Bereishit, “in the beginning,” when changed around, reads Aleph b’ Tishri, or “on the first of Tishri.” Therefore it is also known as the birthday of the world, Yom HaDat Olam (Birth-Day of the World - E. Chumney).
It is also the memorial of the inauguration of the plan of redemption when, after Adam sinned, Yahweh God revealed to him the sacrificial lamb as an atonement. Therefore the rabbis understood that man would be judged also on this anniversary. Just as God forgave Adam, so He would forgive those who repent during the ten Days of Penitence before His final accounting and judgement of the world on Yom Kippur. (Tanchuma, Vayero 22:13)
It is also the memorial of God’s grace to Abraham when He substituted a ram to be sacrificed instead of Isaac (Genesis 22), which was a foreshadowing of the crucifixion of Yahweh's own beloved Son, offered as a sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16), who was the sacrificial Lamb in the plan of redemption revealed to Adam.
As there is an accounting made of each person's spiritual standing on this day as a preliminary determination of their eternal destiny and spiritual heritage, it is also called Yom HaDin (Day of Judgment).
It is also known as Yom HaKeseh (Day of Concealment), because it falls on the first day of the month and it's advent awaits the appearance of the new moon, so the 'hour and the day' of its arrival is not known in advance. In this manner it typifies the coming of the heavenly Bridegroom for His Bride who has spiritually prepared herself to be ready for the occasion, without spot or blemish. Matthew 24:36; 25: 1-13; Revelation 19: 6b-8
For His Bride-in-waiting, it is a pre-advent yearly celebration of the anticipated marriage union. John 14: 1-3
The present tradition is to make this the beginning of the civil year, calling it Rosh Hashanah as it is a time of new beginnings, but the scriptural new year was set by Yahweh God to be at Nisan/Abib, the month for Passover.
THE OBSERVANCE OF THE FEAST
The first reference to the Feast of the Trumpets is found in Leviticus 23:24 "In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest [shabbaton], a memorial proclamation with a blast of trumpets (ziccaron teruah), a holy convocation." The Hebrew phrase 'ziccaron teruah', can be literally translated as "a remembrance blast."
The second major reference is found in Numbers 29:1 "On the first day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. It is a day for you to blow the trumpets (yom teruah)."
The Hebrew word in both references is teruah, which is a term for the series of staccato sounds on a wind instrument with the purpose of sounding an alarm. This unique feature of the ritual of the Feast of Trumpets was the blowing of the shofar, the curved ram’s horn announcing the beginning of the heavenly trial each year during which God judged each person with mercy and compassion before the execution of His judgment on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) when the destiny of each Israelite was revealed for the coming year determined by his response or failure to respond, to the call to repentance and reconciliation. Those who had fully repented before or by the end of Yom Teruah, were exempt from the process of the heavenly court trial in the ten days which followed.
The blowing of the Shofar is an awakening call upon the people to examine their lives, mend their ways, and experience divine cleansing and restore their relationship with God. "In the trial imagery," writes Rabbi Irving Greenberg, "the shofar blast communicates: Oyez! Oyez! This court is in session! The Right Honorable Judge of the World is presiding!" (Rabbi Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way. Living the Holidays ( New York, 1988), p. 195)
God has always had a heart to warn people before He executes His judgment and this shofar ritual reflects Yahweh’s desire to alert and summon us to repentance so that He can vindicate us on His judgment day.
The blowing of trumpets begins one month before each morning in the synagogue, during the month of Elul (6th month) in preparation for Yom Teruah, and the final shofar blast of that day which is called the "last shofar" - i.e. the "last trumpet" - 1 Corinthians 15:52. This is to remind the people that the holy days are approaching, in order that they may begin to address areas of sin and seek forgiveness along with a change in life, as necessary.
The blowing of the shofar on this day has a dual function. On the one hand it calls the people to repent in view of the ten days of judgment that begins on that day, and on the other hand it reassures the people that they would be remembered with favor by Yahweh God if they did repent. This yearly practice for His covenant people ensures that they would be again inscribed in the Book of Life. The judgment process going on in heaven during the ten days preceding the Day of Atonement is taken very seriously as an existential reality lived out with real "trumpet-calls" to repentance, trusting in God’s mercy to vindicate them. The Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement are seen as universal and most personal celebrations for the individual to actually stand before the judgment seat of God. Both are observed in a spirit of intense moral and spiritual introspection, as befits a plaintiff coming before the Supreme Judge and Ruler of the universe, appealing for his life on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).
THE HEAVENLY COURT-ROOM
On Yom Teruah, there are a series of one hundred trumpet blasts sounded to announce the coronation of Y'shua and the setting up of the eternal court, with the trumpets heralding Yahweh as the all-seeing, all-knowing Judge of the Universe. Jewish tradition says that this court is set to find out who are righteous and have their names in the Book of Life, through the Messiah. All other people are a mixture of good and bad, and God in His mercy will delay their judgement until the second court date on Yom Kippur to allow them time to prepare a proper defense.
The central image underlying the intervening days is that of a court trial for one's life which is weighed in the balances. (Moses Maimonides, Mishnah Torah, Laws of Teshuvah 3:4, as cited by Irving Greenberg (n. 5), p. 119,186)
The Three sounds blown by the shofar on this day have by tradition been associated with the three books opened on Rosh Hashanah and sealed on Yom Kippur:
- - Tekiah, the sound of rejoicing for the book of life for the righteous;
- - Teruah, a trembling sound for the book of death for the wicked;
- - Shevarim, a mixture of joy and sadness, representing hope for most people who are somewhere in between and need to go through the judgement process to be purified -- i.e. the purifying fires of trials/tribulation. 1 Cor.3:13-15
The concept of three books comes from - Exodus 32:32-33; Psalm 69:28; Daniel 12: 1; Malachi 3:16; Rev. 21:27
Those who have made complete reconciliation for sin are written in the Book of the Righteous. All other people are divided into two other two groups. The wholly wicked and the other group considered intermediates. They are people who have not yet fully repented for their sins and have ten more days to complete their repentance before Yom Kippur. As the Mishnah puts it, "All [the human beings] are judged on Rosh Hashanah [Yom Teruah], and the [divine] sentence is sealed on Yom Kippur". (Balylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 16a)These books remain open for these seven days and are closed only at the Great Shofar blast on Yom Kippur.
There are three Shofar blasts in the prophetic plan of God. The first is associated with the proclamation of the covenant at Sinai which was confirmed in the new covenant at Shavuot in 30 AD. The second is the "Last Shofar" which will sound at Yom Teruah at Y'shua's coronation and ascension to the throne to rule and subdue his enemies. Judgement will begin first in the "House of God" at Yom Teruah and be finalised by Yom Kippur.
The final blast is the "Great Shofar" which is sounded at Yom Kippur when He returns to gather His elect and establish His kingdom upon earth. Matthew 24:31
THE FINAL JUDGEMENT
Yom Teruah heralds the Great Final Judgment of mankind as Joel wrote: "Blow the trumpet [shofar] in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of Yahweh is coming, it is near" (Joel 2:1).
Similarly Zephaniah announced "the great day of Yahweh" as "a day of trumpet [shofar] blast" (1:14,16).
In the New Testament also, trumpets (shofars) call people to repent in view of the final judgment (Revelation 9:20-21). There is a continuity in Scripture in the typological use of trumpets to announce Yahweh God’s final judgment.
As God called upon His people with the loud sounding of the shofar in Old Testament times on Yom Teruah to repent and prepare themselves to stand before His judgment seat, so He calls us today with a loud voice, saying: "Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come" (Revelation 14: 7).
The inauguration of the heavenly final judgment that lasted 10 days until the Day of Atonement when the verdict was issued, reminds us of the judgment scene and the imagery of books being opened in the heavenly court to ascertain the destiny of each person in Daniel 7: 9-10. In Daniel the heavenly court consists of the Ancient of Days who is surrounded by "ten thousand times ten thousand" of angels. They "sat in judgment and the books were opened"
The Feast of Trumpets is a very special time for believers in Messiah to anticipate and celebrate His return and to have an annual check upon their spiritual life, searching their heart to see if there be any "wicked way" that would incur His judgement. (Jeremiah 19: 7; Psalm 139:23-24; James 2:19) Y'shua told us to WATCH and to be SOBER at all times so that we are not found wanting in the balances when He measures our life against His holy standard. (Isaiah 26: 7; 1 Samuel 2: 3; Daniel 5:27)
As we search ourselves, and heed the call to repentance, we know that by faith in Messiah’s shed blood our sins are forgiven, and we can obtain “peace with God” (Romans 5: 1, 6-9; 1 John 1: 7-9).
We know also that we have fellowship with God the Father and Messiah the Son through His sacrifice and intercession as our High Priest in heaven. (I John 1:2-3; Hebrews 4:14-16).
In I Corinthians 15:52 we are told Messiah will come, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed." The "last shofar" is Yom Teruah's call to that "better resurrection" (Hebrews 11:35) for those who have judged and prepared themselves (Revelation 19:6-8).
In the description of His coming for His Bride, Paul speaks of the trumpet of God (I Thessalonians 4:16). This is the "last trumpet" (the last shofar blast of Yom Teruah), the awakening blast of the first resurrection.
Even the dead will hear the shofar when Messiah returns - “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the shofar blast of God, and the dead in Messiah will rise first.”
This is not a trumpet blown by a man or even by an angel. Like the trumpet which sounded at Mt Sinai, this one is the trumpet (shofar) of God, and Yahweh Himself will blow it. The sacred trumpets on high will unite with the yobel (ram's horn) trumpeters on earth at His return.
It is a day and an hour which we do not know, just as it is not possible to know beforehand when the new moon of Yom Teruah will be sighted, so it is with His return - the uncertainty of the day itself indicates we cannot know in advance exactly when or what day Y'shua the Messiah will return to commence His judgement of the world!
As He Himself said so clearly, “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." (Matthew 24:36, 42 ).
The actual return to earth of Messiah as told in Matthew 24:30-31 is to be announced with the Great Shofar blast (the shofar of Yom Kippur) - “...and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory, and He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet [shofar] and they will gather His elect from the four winds”
Let us keep this appointment with our Lord in faith – and diligently “WATCH” and keep our garments clean and spotless, not like the five foolish virgins who were awakened by the shofar call but were not spiritually ready to go out to meet Him. (Mark 13:37; Revelation 3:4-5; 19: 7-8)
Its advent is concealed until the very time of its arrival so that it will find us "as is"
- - either holy and righteous, or unjust and filthy. (Revelation 22:11)
Therefore we need to be always ready - lest that day overtake us as a thief! (1 Thessalonians 5: 4)
- “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5: 7).
And as we also know,
- “The just shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2: 4; Romans1:17; Galatians 3:11).