Priest blowing the Shofar
Rosh Hashanah - The New Year
The Feasts of Trumpets
“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” (Leviticus 23:24)
The first three feasts are in Nisan (April) which is the first month of the Jewish New Year. Then Pentecost fifty days later and occurred in the early part of summer usually in late May or early June. We now go to the first day of Tishrel on the Jewish calendar which is the seventh month occurring in the Fall or in September.
The Feast of the Trumpets is the second Jewish New Year. This second Jewish New Year of Judaism begins on Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the seventh month Tishri. The ancient rabbis believed that God began Creation on the first day of the seventh month which is Tishri. This year Rosh Hashanah falls on September 16th (2004). Being the seventh month of the Jewish lunar calendar, it is the sabbatical month. What the seventh day of the week is to the week, Tishri is to the year. It signals a rest with the blowing of the trumpet, with a holy convocation (a large assembling of people).
In Nehemiah 8:1-2, after the Jews had returned from the Babylonian captivity the Old Testament Law was read to them. They were overcome with grief at having neglected the God and the sabbatical years so long they broke down and cried in repentance. Ezra, the prophet, comforted them and reminded them that it was a time of rejoicing and thanksgiving to the Lord.
God used the sounding of the trumpet in various ways with Israel. It was used to call the people to repentance, to awake from sin. It was used to remind them of the covenants He had with His people which showed His mercy and grace toward them. On blowing the horn on New Year’s Day it was to remind them of their short comings and sin.
This trumpet was made from a ram’s horn, called a “shofar”, and remembered the ram that God had provided when Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord. God provided the ram instead of Isaac, to show that salvation was the gift of God and that man could not atone for his own sins.
Rosh Hashanah is also a day of repentance, because the Day of Atonement ( Yom Kippur) follows ten days later. (This year on September 25) Israel was called to repent of their sin and make ready for the Day of Atonement when the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle (later Temple) and sprinkle the blood of a lamb on the Mercy Seat which as atop the Ark of the Covenant between to the two Cherubim.
Numbers 28:11-15 record the sacrifices offered to the Lord. We must remember that these sacrifices were not to actually atone from sin, but were offered in faith, looking to the future when the Messiah, would come and take away the sins of the world. (See Isa. 53)
The trumpet was the signal for the field workers to come into the Temple. The high priest actually stood on the southwestern parapet of the Temple and blew the trumpet so it could be heard in the surrounding fields. The Old Testament saints who faithfully followed the Lord would immediately stop the harvest even if it was not finished and leave for the Temple to worship God.
Picture this: A Jew and an Arab are in the field side by side working and they hear the trumpet blown. The Jew would drop what he was doing and immediately leave the field. Can we not see the parallel in God’s plan for the future? Clearly the rapture of believers at the end on the Church Age is in view.
Note the two passages that tell us about the coming rapture:
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” ( 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
“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 Cor. 15:51-52)
This will be an amazing miracle as Jesus Christ comes in the air (not to the surface of the earth), and at the commanding voice of an archangel and the trumpet of God the dead in Christ since Pentecost will arise from their graves. The voice that speaks will be Christ as He commands the dead saints to ARISE! At the same time to announce this resurrection the trumpet of God will sound. At that instant the dead saints will be resurrected and receive their new immortal bodies.
Next, in a split second, all living believers will instantly be changed in the “twinkling of the eye” and will be mysteriously changed and given glorified their glorified bodies. Then both the dead and alive in Christ will arise to the heavens to meet the Lord in the air and be taken to heaven.
In the Feast of the Trumpets, the faithful devout Jews, went up to the Temple to worship. The unbelieving Jews continued at work gathering their crops along with the Gentiles around them. For the unbelieving they saw the believers leave, but they remained behind. Jeremiah’s words ring a solemn and sad warning. “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” ( Jer. 8:20)
After the rapture the Tribulation begins as the Anti-christ is revealed. However, God will continue to seek after Israel to win them to Himself and restore them to the Promised Land. Today we have seen a small portion of the Jews return to the land of Israel, but God promised through Isaiah that in the coming Millennium (1000 years) which follows the seven-year Tribulation when all the Jews will return to their land.
“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.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet 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” (Isa. 27:12-13).
At the end of the seven-year Tribulation the Lord will return to the earth, literally touching down on the Mount of Olives across from the Temple Mound in Jerusalem. He will instantly destroy all the armies gathered to fight at the Jezreel Valley in what is referred to as the “Battle of Armageddon.” At His return there will be a second rapture as described in Matthew 24:38-42:
“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”
This is the rapture of the unsaved who will be taken off the earth and cast into Hades to await the final judgment. (See Rev. 20:15-18). All left on the earth will be believers who God preserved through the Great Tribulation and will be made up of Jews and people from all the nations of the Earth.
At Pentecost God began the present age we call the Church Age. He began the institution of the local church and began working with a people who would believe and by faith receive Him, Jesus the Christ as Lord and Savior. His plan was that for a time these people, who make up the Bride of Christ (Rev. 21:9) would be His witnesses on earth. However, He has not forsaken Israel and will once again, beginning with Daniel’s Seventh Week (the Seven Year Tribulation) begin to work with them. He will call 144,000 Jews, 12,000 of each of the 12 tribes of Israel in the beginning of the Tribulation to be His witnesses and at the end of these terrible seven years will preserve a remnant of the Jews who will enter the Millennium and be given all the promises that God made to His people.