The Feast of Trumpets Leviticus 23:23-25 23 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. 25 Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. The Feast of Trumpets is the first of the fall feasts on the Levitical calendar. Just as the spring feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost) portray the events surrounding the first advent of Christ, the fall feasts portray the events surrounding the second advent of Christ. The Feast of Trumpets is celebrated on the first day of Tishri, the first month of the year on the civil calendar. Thus, the Jews refer to this holiday as 'Rosh Hashanah', meaning 'the head of the year'. Tishri corresponds to September-October on our modern calendar. Tishri was the seventh month of the sacred calendar. (September means 'seventh month'.) The sacred calendar began on the first of Nisan, which corresponds roughly to our March-April. There were special sacrifices connected with this holiday. Numbers 29:1-6 1 And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you. 2 And ye shall offer a burnt offering for a sweet savour unto the LORD; one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of the first year without blemish: 3 And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram, 4 And one tenth deal for one lamb, throughout the seven lambs: 5 And one kid of the goats for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you: 6 Beside the burnt offering of the month, and his meat offering, and the daily burnt offering, and his meat offering, and their drink offerings, according unto their manner, for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD. Jewish beliefs concerning Rosh Hashanah 1. It was believed by some of the Rabbis that the world was created on the first day of Tishri. The Babylonian Talmud says in relation to the Feast of Trumpets: We have learned R. Eliezer says: In Tishri the world was created, the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob were born and died; Isaac was born on the passover; on New Year's day Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah were visited with the blessing of children, Joseph was released from prison, and the bondage of our fathers in Egypt ceased; in Nisan our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt, and in Tishri we shall again be redeemed. 2. It was believed by the Rabbis that man was judged on Rosh Hashanah, and the sentence was confirmed 9 days later on the Day of Atonement. We read in the Babylonian Talmud: At four periods is the world judged; at Passover, in respect to grain; on Pentecost, in regard to the fruit of trees; on Tabernacles, in respect to rain; and on New Year's day man is judged, but the sentence passed upon him is confirmed on the Day of Atonement, and our Mishna speaks of the opening of judgement only (and not of the final verdict). In another place we read: on New Year's day all human beings pass before Him (God) as sheep before a shepherd, as it is written [Psalms xxx. 9] "He who hath fashioned all their hearts understandeth all their works." It was said that there were three classes of men judged each year at Rosh Hashanah: the utterly wicked, the wholly good, and the average class of men in between. The Babylonian Talmud explains: The wholly righteous are at once inscribed, and life is decreed for them; the entirely wicked are at once inscribed, and destruction destined for them; the average class are held in the balance from New Year's day till the Day of Atonement; if they prove themselves worthy, they are inscribed for life; if not, they are inscribed for destruction. The Rabbis believed that the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur was a time of repentance that one may obtain life in the coming year. We read in the Babylonian Talmud: He who repents between (New Year's day and the Day of Atonement) is forgiven; but if he does not repent, even though he offered the choicest sacrafice, he is not pardoned. According to the Babylonian Talmud, charity, prayer, change of name, and improvement averted God's evil decree at this time. Iniquity was removed from him who was willing to forgive his neighbor's transgressions against himself. (see Jesus' teaching in Matthew 18:35) Hence, forgiving others was essential to being forgiven one's self. 3. The Rabbis believed that the shofar, or ram's horn, was the trumpet that Jehovah intended to be blown on the Feast of Trumpets. The scriptures containing the commands regarding the Feast of Trumpets do not specify whether the silver trumpets or the ram's horns were to the used. But, the Rabbis believed the shofar to be the correct trumpet because of Leviticus 25:9. 9 Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet (hebrew: shofar) sound throughout all your land. Since the Jubilee occurred in Tishri, and the shofar was specified for that, the Rabbis believed the shofar to be the correct instrument for Rosh Hashanah. The Feast of Trumpets was unique among the feasts in that it occurred on the new moon. As soon as the new moon was spotted, witnesses would rush to the Beth Din to report that they had sighted the new moon. When two lawful witnesses could be found who had seen the new moon the feast was proclaimed and the trumpets were blown. The feast would never be proclaimed until two acceptable witnesses had seen the new moon. The scriptural significance of the Feast of Trumpets A study of the Bible reveals that God comes with the sound of the shofar. In many Jewish communities, Psalm 47 is recited 7 times on Rosh Hashanah. Psalm 47:5-8: 5 God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. 6 Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. 7 For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding. 8 God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. We see the scriptural significance of the Feast of Trumpets in this passage. Rosh Hashanah represents the return of Messiah to reign upon the Earth. God's first appearance to the nation of Israel as a whole occurred when God descended down to Mt. Sinai with the sound of a shofar. Exodus 19:16-20 16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the shofar exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. 18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. 19 And when the voice of the shofar sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. 20 And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. (The hebrew shofar has been substituted for the english translation of 'trumpet' to help the reader see what the Hebrew Bible is saying here.) It will be remembered that Israel was in the wilderness when she saw God descend to Mt. Sinai. So, Israel will again be in the wilderness when she sees her God descend before her. In Revelation 12, we find that the Jewish remnant in the Tribulation flees to the wilderness before the second advent of Christ. Revelation 12:6,14 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. Just as God came in fire over Mt. Sinai and burned it, so when Christ returns the mountains will melt under him. Micah 1:3,4 3 For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. 4 And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place. Psalm 144:5 5 Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. II Thessalonians 1:7-10 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Habakkuk 3:3-5 3 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. 4 And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. 5 Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. Psalm 18:7-10 7 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. 8 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. 9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. 10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. When we read these passages, it becomes obvious why the Christians must sound the gospel trumpet before God sounds his trumpet! The coming of the Lord will be a terrible, terrible event to those who do not know Christ! The nation of Israel heard the shofar sound when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:18 18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the shofar, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. We read in the scripture that the law of God will again go forth after the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah 2:3,4 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. At the return of Christ, the Lord will gather the Jewish people back to the land of Israel with the sound of the shofar. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 27:,12,13: 12 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. 13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great shofar shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem. Again, Jesus taught in Matthew 24:31: 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. The Jewish people will have a solemn assembly when the shofar is sounded. (Typified by Yom Kippur. see Leviticus 23:27) Joel 2 1 Blow ye the shofar in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Again we read in Zechariah 12: 10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. 11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. 12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; 14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. Israel will find her final deliverance from her enemies when God sounds his trumpet. Zechariah 9: 14 And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the shofar, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south. 15 The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar. 16 And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land. The Feast of Trumpets fell on the new moon. It was the only one of the feasts which occurred at a time when there was not a bright moon in the night sky. (Psalm 81:3 Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.) This, as well, points us toward the coming of our Lord. The Bible informs us that the day of our Lord's return will be a day of darkness. Zephaniah 1 14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. 15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, 16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. Isaiah 13 9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. 10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. Joel 2 10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: 11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: Matthew 24 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Another thing that we find connected to the shofar in the scriptures is the coronation of the King. The King of Israel was anointed with the sounding of the shofar. We read of Solomon's coronation in I Kings 1: 33 The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon: 34 And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the shofar, and say, God save king Solomon. 39 And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the shofar; and all the people said, God save king Solomon. It should be noted here that Solomon was the Son of David, as Christ is the Son of David. Our Son of David will be crowned with the sound of a trumpet as well. Revelation 11 15 And the seventh angel sounded; (The seventh trumpet) and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. You will remember that it was stated earlier that the Rabbis connected the Feast of Trumpets with sheep passing before a shepherd. We will find this in scripture in connection with the Lord's return. Ezekiel 34 12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 17 And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. 22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. 23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. 31 And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD. Zechariah 10 3 Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle. Matthew 25 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: The Rabbis also connected Rosh Hashanah to the idea of resurrection. Because of this, shofars have often been inscribed on Jewish gravestones. As Christians, we know that the dead will be raised at the sound of the Trumpet. I Corinthians 15 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 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. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? I Thessalonians 4 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. The next thing that we are waiting for is the sound of the trumpet. What should be our response t the imminent coming of our Lord? The Apostle John gives us the answser to that question. I John 3 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.