Rosh Hashanah: The Feast of Trumpets
The LORD’s feasts (otherwise known as the Feasts of Israel) hold immense prophetic significance with great promise for God’s people. They reveal the promise of Israel’s Messiah (Christ Jesus), and they also bring insight and understanding to God’s calendar of appointed prophetic events. Yet despite this inherent spiritual wealth, they have been sadly disregarded among most lay Christians for simple lack of knowledge.
Introduction to the LORD’s Feasts
The biblical relevance of the LORD’s feasts is shrouded in mystery for most because they are given in the Law of Moses. My goal in this series is to remove that veil of mystery and shed Christ’s light of upon these beautiful and sacred celebrations God has given us.
There are seven annual feasts, which are celebrated in this order:
1.) Passover (Spring / Seedtime)
2.) The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Spring / Seedtime)
3.) The Feast of Firstfruits (Spring / Seedtime)
4.) Pentecost – The Feast of Weeks (Summer)
5.) Rosh Hashanah – The Feast of Trumpets (Fall / Harvest)
6.) Yom Kippur (Fall / Harvest)
7.) Sukkot – The Feast of Tabernacles (Fall / Harvest)
The ordination for the seven annual feasts can be found in Leviticus 23:4, which says:
These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons, (Leviticus 23:4, KJV).
Christ Jesus fulfilled the Law, of which the feasts are a part. It is important to note that the four Spring and Summer feasts have already been fulfilled by Him, and there are three Fall feasts outstanding upon which the world anxiously waits. Thus, the season of God’s eternal calendar is clearly marked.
As we progress through this series, we will discover each of these feasts with regard to their traditional observance and prophetic fulfillment. We will look at what God commanded in His word, discover their spiritual significance, and learn how Christ fulfills each one.
A New Beginning
We all love new beginnings. They evoke excitement and hope with a sense of promise. We get to leave the old behind and look forward to the new. Our vision expands. Our horizon clears. We make resolutions for genuine change as we begin making plans for our fresh start. Therefore, when we think of a new year, we naturally consider it to be a ‘new beginning’. Israel’s spiritual new year begins in the Spring with Passover. However, it’s interesting to note that Israel’s civic year begins in the Fall – at the time of harvest.
Rosh Hashanah holds enormous prophetic significance for the Body of Christ as we prepare for the LORD’s return.
We will begin this series with Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of Israel’s civic year, for the following reasons:
• Rosh Hashanah is the next feast to be prophetically fulfilled by Christ.
• It marks the second coming of our LORD for which the Body of Christ is actively preparing.
• It also marks a new beginning, hence it’s appropriate title.
Rosh Hashanah, being literally translated, means ‘Head of the Year’ in Hebrew. It is the Jewish New Year which is celebrated on the first day of the seventh month of Tishri (September – October). The Hebrew calendar follows lunar cycles, which are of key importance regarding the timing of these holy celebrations (see Genesis 1:14-19). The beginning of each month is therefore dictated by the new moon. Rosh Hashanah is the only feast which begins on the first day of the month when the moon is dark. All other feasts begin during their respective lunar cycles when the moon is bright.
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. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, (Leviticus 23:24-25, KJV).
The name “Rosh Hashanah” is not actually found in scripture. The name given in Leviticus is Zikhron Teruah, which means “Memorial of Blasting (blowing)”. It is observed by the blowing of trumpets, or shofars. The shofar is made of a hollowed ram’s horn, being chosen for it’s symbolism of deliverance when God brought a ram to Abraham which was caught in a thicket by its horns (see Genesis 22:13). It was by this very ram, which God so miraculously supplied, that the promised nation of Israel was saved. As Isaac laid there bound upon the altar, God loosed him from impending death through this substitute offering He provided. That is the significance of the shofar. If Isaac had died, there would have been no Israel, and the covenant promise God had given Abraham would have been broken. God cannot break His promises. Therefore, the ram’s horn is a sacred object of worship and warfare for the people of Israel in which God’s faithfulness and deliverance is symbolized.
The blowing of the shofar has four primary purposes for the nation of Israel:
1.) It gathers a solemn assembly unto the LORD
2.) It sounds an alarm for battle
3.) It announces the coronation of a king (It is interesting to note that King David was anointed with a horn filled with oil in 1 Samuel 16)
4.) It marks the beginning and ending of a sabbath
Rosh Hashanah is the first of two ‘high holy days’ in the year. The second is Yom Kippur which follows ten days thereafter. This ten day span is known as The Days of Awe. This ten day period is spent in solemn and deep reflection for the express purpose of repentance and preparation for the new year at hand. Therefore, the year prior is rehearsed with careful and deliberate recollection in preparation for God’s final judgment. During these ten days God’s Book of Life is opened, wherein each individual’s name is inscribed, and judgment is rendered based on those findings. These ten days are the very last opportunity granted for repentance prior to God’s final judgment for that coming year. Therefore it is common on Rosh Hashanah to hear the Jewish greeting, “Leshanah tovah tikatevu” which translated means, “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year!” Rosh Hashanah is therefore celebrated with apples and honey, which are a symbol of life’s sweetness yet to come.
Rosh Hashanah itself is celebrated in high spirits with much feasting. Yet the ten Days of Awe, which directly follow Rosh Hashanah, are incredibly solemn. Fasting and prayer is commonly practiced and secret sins are disclosed to God. During the Days of Awe any and all festivities officially cease. They are strictly forbidden for the purpose of purification of the heart. The final judgment is coming, which oficially falls upon Yom Kippur – the second and very highest and holiest day of the year. Yom Kippur is known as the Day of Atonement, when each individual meets God as their Judge. Let it be known that all judgment rendered on Yom Kippur is both swift and final.
Rosh Hashanah is therefore marked by great rejoicing coupled with great fear of the LORD.
Rosh Hashanah teaches us that to go forward we must also be willing to look back.
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: 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. 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, (Matthew 24:30-31, KJV, emphasis mine).
Here we see Christ’s perfect and most accurate description of His fulfillment of Rosh Hashanah. Seven trumpets will sound (see Revelation), but the seventh trumpet is not explicitly defined in scripture, hence its clandestine secrecy which the Father alone knows. The seventh trumpet, although directly referenced, is rather obscure. I believe this speaks clearly to the fact that we will not know the day or hour of His coming, although we see it clearly defined as an event which the Church will indeed experience, and for which it is commanded to diligently prepare. With this event we also see the four purposes of the shofar being fulfilled as well: a solemn gathering of His people, a call to battle, the King of kings being coronated, and the announcement of a new millennium, which is the seventh (sabbath) millennium. This millennium will mark the beginning of the thousand year reign of Christ. Paul the Apostle, who was a Pharisee, understood the prophetic fulfillment of this very sacred and high holy feast day, describing it in the following passages:
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. 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: 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 (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, KJV).
Behold, I shew 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 trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed, (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, KJV, emphasis mine).
And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound, (Revelation 8:6, KJV, emphasis mine).
Rosh Hashanah is prophetically fulfilled in the return of Christ.
His second coming clearly marks a new beginning. On this day we see a new moon, a holy convocation of His people, a millinneal sabbath, and the reign of Christ which is executed over the believing and unbelieving – all which will be gloriously fulfilled on Rosh Hashanah. This will be a time of great rejoicing for the people of God, yet great mourning for all the tribes of the earth when they see Him. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah will come to rule and reign in judgment with wrath: to bring eternal salvation and deliverance for His people, and to execute His eternal judgment and wrath upon the sin of the world which is not atoned for by the blood of the Lamb (see 2 Thessalonians 1:6-12). This is the time of the spiritual harvest when all souls will be resurrected either to life or death to face the impending judgment of God – which is final.
The Seventh Trumpet
The seventh trumpet sounds with a long blast unlike the others which sets it apart. It is both louder and longer than any other. There are three types of blasts for the shofar, which are as follows:
1.) Tekiah – a long unwavering blast, which is very loud and long
2.) Shevarim – three short, broken blasts
3.) Teruah – a nine-part staccato blast which is reminiscent of weeping
Let it be understood that the blowing of a shofar is not practiced casually. It is not to be done upon a whim or ‘spiritual tickle’, as some have foolishly demonstrated. To do so is dishonoring. The blowing of a shofar is a sacred act. Traditionally the shofar is blown by the priests at their appointed times – and with great reverence. Believers, who are indeed priests of God, should understand the special significance of the shofar and revere it accordingly.
A shofar is traditionally blown beginning with a tekiah followed by a shevarim, teruah, and then finalized with another tekiah. It is believed by most scholars that the seventh trumpet will sound with a tekiah blast. This blast which sounds will be reserved for the seventh trumpet upon which Christ suddenly appears. If you have ever heard a tekiah blast it resounds with extraordinary power. It resonates a great distance for a considerable length of time – however long the the one blowing it is able to do so until their breath expires. Those who are well-practiced in the blowing of a shofar are able to demonstrate a tekiah blast that will make your hair stand on end. It is well worth being heard at least once in your life.
It is no mistake that Rosh Hashanah is held on the first day of the seventh month at the time of harvest during the new moon. It is no mistake that seven trumpets are sounded. The last trumpet, of which Paul so clearly speaks, indelibly marks the glorious and triumphant return of our LORD – with the closing of one age and the beginning of another.
Your Personal Celebration
So how are we to celebrate Rosh Hashanah as believers in Christ? First, you must understand that this feast is part of your covenant with Christ as a child of God. Whether Gentile or Jew, you are a partaker of this covenant promise which is fulfilled in Christ. To neglect this feast is to neglect your promised salvation. As a believer you will escape the wrath to come, although persecution for believers throughout the world will be at its very peak when it occurs. So be ready to suffer for and with Christ. Christ made it clear that if those days were not shortened for the elect’s sake, there would be no flesh saved. Paul teaches on the fulfillment of Rosh Hashanah rather elaborately in 1 Corinthians 15, wherein death is swallowed up in victory. I encourage you to read this chapter when you have time.
For your reference, we are currently in the year 5775 – the sixth millennium. We will enter the seventh and final millennium in two hundred and fifty years if the Hebrew calendar is accurate. It is clear that we will NOT know the day or hour of Christ’s return – but we’d be fools to think it’s not in season. Christ makes it clear that we can and will know the season of His coming if we watch and pray, being attentive to His prophetic signs. It is for this express purpose that He explicitly commands us to do so, that we might be prepared. As believers we have an obligation to prepare for His coming, being found ready, regardless of the time in which we find ourselves. Whether He comes or we go, we never know when we will meet our LORD. This steadfast readiness of heart and mind is commanded in scripture by the LORD Himself, and by the apostles and prophets as well. Throughout the epistles we find a continual encouragement; a repeated urging; a strong exhortation to be ready for the LORD when He comes. The verdict is clear: When we read the parables of the LORD, those who are not found ready are cast out (see Matthew 25:1-46). Therefore, He tells us to pray that we are found worthy:
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and care of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on teh face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man, (Luke 21:33-36, KJV).
Christ’s command to watch and pray is not in vain, and He is faithful, having given us clear signs. As you prepare for Rosh Hashanah – The Feast of Trumpets, you can now understand its mysterious yet solemn purpose. When the seventh trumpet sounds we will see the following:
1.) He will gather His people in a solemn assembly (Matthew 24:31)
2.) There will be a clarion call to battle (Revelation 18:11-21)
3.) He will be coronated as KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 18:11-21)
4.) It will mark a new beginning – the millenial sabbath – the thousand year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:1-6)
This is your sneak preview: Rosh Hashanah is the next feast Christ will fulfill. Harvest is indeed drawing nigh, and the arid summer in which the wheat fields ripen is almost ended.
The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn, (Matthew 13:24-30, KJV).
God bless you as you prepare and celebrate! All those who are in Christ will reign with Him! We will never know the day or hour of His return, but the season is clearly evident. Let us ever be ready in Jesus’ name as we watch and pray!
Cheers & Shalom,