Yom T’ruah: The Feast of Trumpets

This article has been reproduced with permission from Petah Tikvah (Door of Hope Ministries).

We are introduced to the so-called “Feasts of Israel” in Leviticus 23:2. This is really a misnomer, because in Scripture the Holy days are never called the “Feasts of Israel.” It might be more accurate to call them the “Feasts of YHWH,” however, one of the “Feasts” (Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement) is really a day of fasting. The Hebrew term is “Moedei[1] YHWH,” which would be more accurately translated, “appointed times of YHWH.”

The first mention of the “Moedim” is in the very first chapter of the Bible, in Beresheet (Genesis) 1:14: “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.’ ” Horrors! There is an error in the KJV! The word translated “seasons” is the Hebrew word moedim, which should be translated “appointed times.” All of the moedim are based on the Hebrew lunar calendar. The setting of the sun determines the beginning and end of each day, whereas the moon determines the first day of each month. The moon does not determine the seasons! The moon is used in the calculation of the “Appointed Times,” or moedim.

The very first of the moedim is Shabbat, the weekly Sabbath, which is on the seventh day of the week. This has been preserved since Creation, and has never been changed. Regretfully, even in Messianic circles, when discussing the “Feasts” of Leviticus 23, Shabbat isn’t even mentioned.

The second of the moedim (or “Feasts,” if you prefer) is Pesakh (Passover). “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Passover of YHWH. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread unto the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread.”[2] Many Christians divide Passover into three separate Feasts: Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Feast of First Fruits. In actuality, it is one feast with three separate parts. Scripturally, Passover and Unleavened Bread are the same thing, and are synonyms for each other. “First Fruits” occurs on Yom Rishon (“Sunday”) during the week of Passover.

Then we have Shavuot (Pentecost), occurring late in the springtime of the year. The Rabbis reckon that this is the day in which the Eser D’varim (“Ten Commandments”) were given on Mount Sinai, an opinion that I also share, although the Scriptures do not specify that Torah was indeed given that day.

Then there follows a long period of time without any Holy Days at all. Finally, in late September or early October, we have what is commonly called Rosh HaShanah or the “Feast of Trumpets.” Literally, Rosh HaShanah means “Head of the Year,” and today it is celebrated as the Jewish new year. However, Biblically, we read,

“And YHWH spoke unto Moses, saying, ‘Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no servile work therein: but you shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.’ ”[3]

The “Jewish New Year” is actually the first day of the seventh month! However, according to the Rabbis, this is the day on which Adam was created. Therefore, Rosh HaShanah is an annual celebration of Creation, sort of the “Birthday of the World,” and originally the month of Tishrei[4] was the first month of the year. Then in Exodus 12:2, YHWH told Moses, “This month[5] shall be the beginning of months for you.” In other words, the first of the months was originally in the early Fall, but it got changed to early Spring (unless you happen to live in the Southern Hemisphere, in which it is just the opposite!).

Leviticus 23: God’s Appointed Times

All of the Holy Days of Leviticus 23 are God’s Appointed Times. These are the divine appointments which God has designated to meet with His people. Each of these days are “to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places,” as we learn in Leviticus 23:3, 14, 21, 31, and 41. Nevertheless, Christianity has taken upon itself to replace the divine appointments and replace them with days of man’s own choosing. Each of the Holy Days has immense spiritual and even Messianic significance. It is a shame that Christianity made that unfortunate detour from the clear instructions of Scripture.

It is curious that many are so careful not to miss a doctor appointment, or even an appointment to have their car fixed, but seem to have so little concern about the appointments in which God wants to meet with us. God has set up appointments to meet with you on these days. Don’t forget! Keep your appointments with an assembly of believers.

Yom T’ruah—the Day of Blowing

The Biblical name for the first day of Tishrei is Yom T’ruah—the Day of Blowing (the shofar). In ancient times, the shofar was blown at the coronation of a king (1 Kings 1:34). When we hear the sound of the shofar, we remember that Yeshua is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and we are to be his obedient subjects. The Messianic Kingdom is called for each time we say Kaddish (“May He establish His Kingdom…”) and in the Lord’s Prayer (“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…”).

There are many musical instruments far more “fancy” than the shofar. It has a primitive, soul-piercing sound not easily duplicated by any modern musical instrument. The shofar is a call to worship God. In fact, it leads all the other musical instruments listed in Psalm 150 which are used to worship YHWH.

“Praise Him with the shofar…”

The time between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur are called the “Days of Awe,” in which we are to remember our need to repent. Joel 2:1,12-13 reminds us of this. “Blow a shofar in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain… consecrate a fast, proclaim a holy assembly. Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping, and mourning, and rend your heart, and not your garments.” It is a time of T’shuvah, literally “turning around,” but interpreted as repentance.

This is a period of “mending fences,” both with God and with your fellow man (and woman!). Perhaps you have hard feelings against someone else, or perhaps someone else might have hard feelings against you. This is traditionally a time in the Jewish community when people go to each other for forgiveness. Before becoming a Believer, I remember all the hard feelings I had against others, and these hard feelings would almost consume me at times. Since becoming a Believer, I think of all the times I have offended others, some of whom are no longer in this world. I find myself repenting for the wrongs I have committed, both against God and against my fellow man.

Rosh HaShanah is also called Yom HaDin, or “The Day of Judgment.” The Talmud tells us that all the inhabitants of the earth pass before God in judgment on Rosh HaShanah like a flock of sheep. Many may merit being inscribed in the Sefer Chayim, or Book of Life. One of the sayings at this time of year is, “L’Shana tova tikatevu b’Sefer Chayim,” that is, “May you be inscribed for a good year in the Book of Life.” Often this is abbreviated to simply, “L’Shana tova,” meaning “To a Good Year,” but the rest is all implied.

Rosh HaShanah is also called Yom HaZicharon, that is, “The Day of Remembrance.” God remembers the past together with the merits of our ancestors, which serve to assure us of God’s continuing relationship with His creation. An example of this is the blessing YHWH gave to Isaac:

“Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for unto you, and unto your seed, I will give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore unto Abraham your father; And I will make your seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto your seed all these lands; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.[6]

Likewise, we learn in Deuteronomy 7:6-11 that the Jews are chosen on the basis of the merits of the Patriarchs. When we serve YHWH, He remembers and blesses our descendants.

Shofar Heralds Israel Regathering

There is coming a future time of deliverance for Israel, which I believe will occur on Rosh HaShanah:

“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.”[7]

We assume that most Jews have already “made aliyah”[8] from the various Arab countries. However, because of forced conversions, etc., there are probably far more descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob living in many countries than what we might realize. Isaiah 54:1-2 tells us: “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations: spare not, lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes; For you shall break forth on the right hand and on the left; and your seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.”

Today, the world wants Israel to give up the heartland of the Promised Land, that is, Judea and Samaria—known today as the “West Bank.” Eventually, Israel will grow to possess the “East Bank” of the Jordan River as well. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that YHWH shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.”[9] Yes, Gaza and even most of modern Jordan are part of the Promised Land, and it seems apparent that such will be the case in the future.

The Seventh Shofar & The Rapture

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show 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 trump: for the shofar shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 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. O death, where is your sting? O death, where is your victory?’”[10]

This is a reference to what is commonly known as the “Rapture.” We don’t happen to believe in any “Pre-Trib” Rapture, although we understand the appeal of such a concept. The “last trump” is the Seventh Angel in Revelation 10:7 and 11:15-18. We learn in Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 13:5 that the “saints” will endure 3 ½ years of tribulation before this blessed event known as the Rapture occurs. It may or may not happen in our lifetimes. Some of us might never need to purchase a gravesite!

L’Shana Tova to you all!

 

Endnotes:

[1] The singular term is “mo-ed.” The normal plural would be “moedim.” However, in the Hebrew possessive construct, “moedim” becomes “moedei.”

[2] Vayikra (Lev.) 23:5-6.

[3] Vayikra 23:23-25.

[4] Tishrei is the month in which Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot occur.

[5] That is, the month of Abib (or Nissan).

[6] Beresheet (Genesis) 26:3-5.

[7] Isaiah 27:13.

[8] That is, emigrated to Israel.

[9] Isaiah 11:11-14.

[10] 1 Cor. 15:50-55.

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