Scriptures

The Feast Of Trumpets

Introduction

On the Jewish calendar, is Erev Rosh Hashanah, the eve of Rosh Hashanah. In the evening at sundown the Jewish Holy Day of Rosh Hashanah begins, marking the start of a new year. Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration which begins on the first day of the Jewish month known as Tishrei.

On this day the people of Old Testament Israel turned aside from their work and gathered for a full day of sacrifice and worship, Numbers 29:1-6 / Leviticus 23:23-25.

The seventh month was important because it also included two major holy days-the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles. The blasting of trumpets, or shofar, announced the commencement of this special month. According to the Mosaic Law, the first month of the Israelite calendar is Nisan in the spring, Exodus 12:2.

However, in post-exilic Judaism, the first day of the seventh month, Tishrei, has become Rosh Hashanah, ‘New Year’. To look at it another way, the first day of Nisan begins the religious New Year, and Rosh Hashanah starts the civil New Year. Rosh Hashanah is marked by the sounding the shofar, a hollowed-out ram’s horn.

Although not taught in Scripture, Jews believe that on Rosh Hashanah God sits in judgment of the whole universe. Like sheep passing before a shepherd, who decides which ones will live and which ones will be slaughtered, on this Day of Judgment God evaluates the merits of people and nations. He rules which nations will have plenty and which will lack, which will have war, and which will know peace.

The judgment on Rosh Hashanah does not decide a person’s eternal destiny, it is for judgment concerning earthly matters. Jews believe that the judgment handed down on that day, with its subsequent recording in the Book of Life, decides a person’s fate in this life for the coming year.

In Israel, there is the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, it is located in the southwest corner of the Temple Mount. You can climb up the original steps of the 2,000 years old Hulda Gates that led to the Temple Mount during the Second Temple period. 300 feet north of the corner is the part of the Western Wall where locals and tourists pray. Here at this corner lies a reminder of something Jesus predicted 37 years before the Temple’s destruction.

Archaeology Points To Prophecy

The southwest corner of the Temple Mount is filled in with the rubble of the Second Temple’s destruction by the mighty Roman legions in A.D. 70. You can see a 33-foot-wide first-century street that was laid with thick stone slabs. Jesus predicted this destruction on His last visit to the Temple, Matthew 24:1-2.

In A.D. 70, four Roman legions surrounded Jerusalem and began to slowly squeeze the life out of the Jewish stronghold. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus claimed that Titus, the Roman general, did not want to destroy the Temple. Archaeologists have removed most of the rubble, but they left one pile of stones just as they found them, the street is still depressed from the force of the impact.

To The Place of Trumpeting

One of the reasons people like to return to this corner of the Temple Mount is because of one particular stone that lies on the street far below where it originally stood. Shaped as a corner piece, the stone bears the Hebrew inscription: ‘To the place of trumpeting.’

Flavius Josephus, the Jewish priest and historian, spoke about the very place where this stone used to stand. Josephus records that this is ‘where one of the priests stood of course, and gave a signal beforehand, with a trumpet, at the beginning of every seventh day, in the evening twilight, as also at the evening when the day was finished, as giving notice to the people when they were to leave off work, and when they were to go to work again’. War 4:582

This stone was at the pinnacle of the Temple Mount at the southwestern corner of the Temple. It was the place where priests would overlook Jerusalem as they blew trumpets to announce the Sabbath and the start of festival days. It was from here that Rosh Hashanah was announced.

Before it is sounded on those days, Psalm 47 was recited seven times.

God originally intended the trumpets to call God’s people together in preparation for the fall festival of Tom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, where the Lord would forgive sins on the basis of shed blood, Psalm 81:3.

Conclusion

The blowing the trumpets was a plea to God to remember Israel, Numbers 10:10. At His return, Jesus ‘will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God’. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Sometimes in Jerusalem today you can hear a shofar echo across the city. I think the Lord’s promise of His return when the Lord Jesus calls His people to Himself, 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 / 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

I consider the grace that the shofar’s call represents urging worshippers to come before the Lord who forgives sins on the basis of sacrifice, Leviticus 16:29-30.

We know that ultimate sacrifice was God’s own Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

John 1:1

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