“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’” (Leviticus 23:23-25, NKJV)
Rosh Hashanah literally means ‘Head of the Year’. It is the contemporary holiday, along with Yom Kippur, of what is also called the ‘High Holy Days’ of Israel. The Feast of Trumpets or the Feast of Ingathering (see Ex. 23:16) is one of seven appointed feasts of the year which Jeho
vah God called for all His people to celebrate and present themselves before the Lord. The Feast of Trumpets is a time for sounding the trumpet or shofar of God. Prophetically, this High Holy Day signifies a time for sacrifice, a time for worship, and a time for victory.
A Time for Sacrifice
“And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. For you it is a day of blowing the trumpets. You shall offer a burnt offering as a sweet aroma to the Lord: one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year, without blemish. Their grain offering shall be fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the ram, and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs; also one kid of the goats as a sin offering, to make atonement for you” (Numbers 29:1-5, NKJV)
On the Feast of Trumpets, Jehovah commanded His people to offer sacrifices as holy offering before the Lord. Under the New Covenant, we are no longer required to slaughter animals and burn them on altars to show our sacrifice of worship; however, these offerings can still be presented to the Lord by what they stand for. These four offerings each represent different types of worship and ways that we can give back to God on this most important holy day.
Sacrifice ought to not only be seen as a task of giving something but also of giving up certain things. Jehovah expected His people to rest from their “customary work” on the Feast of Trumpets. Rest is the first sacrifice listed to be offered up to God on this Holy day. To rest in God does not imply a lazy, do nothing, sleep all day, kind of rest. Instead, it involves separation, meditation, and prayer. Spiritual rest leaves the believer without anxiety and full of peace, without doubt and full of faith, without sorrow and full of joy, without contention and full of love. As we hear the sound of the trumpet may we be encouraged to offer up ourselves wholly and fully and take rest in Him.
The second sacrifice, during the Feast of Trumpets, offered up to God is the burnt offering. The burnt offering is “as a sweet aroma to the Lord”. This is our sacrifice of love. “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” (Eph. 5:2) The scriptures challenge us to love one another. In a world full of hate how easy it is to be succumbed to the life philosophy: You get what you give. The sacrifice of love however, practices the joy of rendering good for evil. Love can be the most difficult sacrifice with which to offer; especially unto those that have done wrong or caused pain. What a sacrifice indeed.
The greatest love of course is the love of God shown through the sending of His only son to be the propitiation for our sins. And we are called to carry forth the love of God in our hearts and to be the scent of His offering to the world: “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.” (2 Cor. 2:15-16) During Rosh Hashanah is a perfect time to be reminded of with what so great of love our salvation was purchased and dispose of our hate toward our brethren and seek to love another.
The third sacrifice on this High Holy Day is the “grain offering”. This is the sacrifice of our money. Often, the church does not like to hear the preacher talk on the subject of money giving. Yet, the scripture teaches the principle of the tithe and the tithe is the resource given to the church for the continuing work of its vocation. I have learned over the years that the faithfulness of our tithe giving reflects our commitment to His church and mission. When a believer’s steadfastness to tithe begins to dwindle their attendance, dedication, and worship are all affected. I believe that as we give above and beyond on this holy day, God will look down with great favor on our offering and return many times over. On Rosh Hashanah let us sacrifice a tithe worthy of Him who has set us free from sin.
The fourth offering mentioned in Numbers 29, for the Feast of Trumpets, is the sin offering. There is only one sacrifice that can take away our sins and remove them from our charge. That sacrifice is of the unblemished Lamb of God which “taketh away the sins of the world”; the only Son of God, our ransom and redeemer, Jesus Christ. When we receive Him and confess Him as Lord of our life we receive the precious gift of salvation from sin that He alone can give. So, what then does He want us to offer Him if He already has given us everything we need for atonement from sin?
To be and to declare thankfulness is what our Lord God wants from us. The Psalmist put it this way: “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” (Psalm 107:1-2) You never hear prisoners of war turn to their deliverers and say ‘I am so displeased to see you’. The Psalmist proceeded to say; “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, And declare His works with rejoicing.” (vs. 21-22) Sincere gratitude will take a believer farther than simple ignorance. Let us offer to God, on this feast day, the sacrifice of thanksgiving for the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.
A Time for Worship
“Praise him with the sound of the trumpet.” – Psalm 150:3 (KJV)
In this very familiar Scripture, notice that the first musical instrument mentioned is the trumpet. Yet, this is not just any trumpet. The Hebrew word used here is shofar – the ram’s horn. Another interesting tidbit we should point out is that the word “sound” is, in Hebrew, תקע teka . This is the root for תקיעה tekiah, (meaning “blast”), which is the first of four calls made with the shofar. Tekiah is a bright, piercing sound that stirs the soul. Most churches who blow the shofar in their worship services will usually sound tekiah, and I am sure that most would testify that there is just something about blowing the shofar during the worship. We should not be surprised to find this is true, for we are exhorted to “praise him with the tekiah of the shofar.”
The second sound made with the shofar is called shevarim, which means “broken.” Broken is a good way to describe this sound. It is intended to portray a person who is crying. Thus, rabbinic tradition states the purpose for shevarim is to remind people of the need for repentance. True repentance is only possible once someone is broken before God.
The third sound is called teruah, which means “alarm.” Teruah is made by sounding at least nine short staccato blasts on the shofar. This sound is intended to alert the hearer to impending danger or some other type of ominous event. This is sound that the Prophet Joel described when he called the people of God to “Blow the trumpet [shofar] in Zion, And sound an alarm [teruah] in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the Lord is coming, For it is at hand” (Joel 2:1, NKJV)
All three of these sounds are blown on Rosh Hashanah – a day when God is recognized as the Creator to be worshiped, the Father who forgives repentant children, and the Judge who is coming to judge the entire earth. Yet, what most people associate Rosh Hashanah with is the resurrection of the dead. This is where the fourth sound of the shofar comes in.
Rabbinic literature teaches that it is God who will resurrect the dead and redeem man with the sound of the shofar. I believe this to be an allusion to, what we refer to as, the Rapture. The Apostle Paul wrote unfolding the doctrine of the rapture saying: “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 trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:52; KJV). It is on that day that we will hear the “last trump,” but what exactly is that?
The fourth sound made upon the shofar sounds exactly as tekiah, except that it is sounded for as long as one can hold his breath. This is the sound that many believe will announce the resurrection. For that reason, it is called tekiah hagadolah, which means “the great blast,” or as some would refer to it – “the last trump.”
Over the past few years, the church has gone through seasons where a certain message was prevalent. For some time, there was a call to heart-felt worship (tekiah). Next, came the message to repent (shevarim). Now, we are hearing the word “Prepare” for what may lie ahead (teruah). That means that three of the four sounds have been “blown.” Therefore, it seems logical that the next word to the Church will correspond with the last shofar sound – the last trump. The next thing we hear may be the voice of the archangel and the trump of God!
A Time for Victory
“When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.” (Numbers 10:9)
As previously discussed; the sound of the shofar is connected with the coming rapture of the church. To the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul described how at the sound of the shofar our bodies will be changed (see 1 Cor. 15:52); to the church at Thessalonica he declared at the shofar’s call our bodies will be caught up into the clouds to forever be with the Lord (see 1 Thess. 4:16-17). Associated with the rapture of our bodies and our joining unto the Lord is the victory we will gain over this corruptible life and the sins of this world. At the sound of the trumpet our enemies are destroyed and “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” (1 Cor. 15:26)
The sound of the shofar is not only for our future victory but also our present day victories. At the sound of the trumpet fear will be silenced, demons will scatter, chains will be broken, and walls will come down. A look at the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho illustrates the power of the sound of the shofar. The Lord said to Joshua “It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.” (Joshua 6:5)
With the sound of the trumpet and a Joshua shout, the walls will come down. The Feast of Trumpets is a time of victory. God has appointed this time for His people to become overcomers and shine brightly in the world. This is our time of victory.
The Feast of Trumpets is our time to give unto the Lord the fruits of our sacrifice and worship and it is His time to remind us that He is coming back one day.