Rosh HaShanah

Rosh HaShanah

The Feast of Trumpets

Today is the Jewish holiday of Rosh HaShanah - meaning “Head of the Year” and is traditionally the Jewish new year holiday. The biblical name for this holiday is Yom Teruah, literally "day of shouting or blasting" most often referred to as “The Feast of Trumpets”. It is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days specified by Leviticus 23:23–32 that occur in the early autumn - Trumpets, Day of Atonement & Tabernacles.

Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. 'You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD.'" 

(Lev 23:23-25)

Although generally recognised as the Jewish new year, biblically this was not it’s significance as the actual first month of the Jewish calendar is Nisan (Mar/Apr in our calendar). If it isn’t a new year celebration, then what is it?

Feast of Trumpets

If you were to visit Israel today you would expect to hear the sound of the Shofar blasting out across Jerusalem, a ram’s horn which when blown has a very distinctive sound. 

The bible doesn’t give us much by way of explanation for the purpose of this feast other than to say that it was “a reminder” or a memorial for Israel. But what were the Jews to be reminded of every year? This feast also marks what are called “the ten days of awe” leading up to the Day of Atonement, when the high priest would make an offering in the Holy of Holies for the sins of all the people. 

To solve the puzzle, we must ask ourselves what extremely significant event, involving the blowing of trumpets, took place in the national life of Israel? What spiritual event was of such great importance that God commanded the people to remember it every year?

And it happened on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain. And the voice of the trumpet was exceedingly loud, so that all the people in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God. And they stood at the lower part of the mountain. And Mount Sinai was smoking, all of it, because Jehovah came down upon it in fire. And the smoke of it went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and became very strong, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice.

(Exo 19:16-19)

Many believe that this feast of trumpets was to remind the Jewish people of the Mosaic covenant that they had entered into when the law was given and that they should prepare their hearts in repentance for the coming day of atonement when the high priest would offer sacrifices on their behalf. 

For us as Christians we are also called to a “a reminder” or a memorial but not of the old covenant but to Jesus' offer of the New Covenant to all who would receive it.

In the same way He took the cup, after having dined, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is being poured out for you.

(Luk 22:20)

We who have accepted the New Covenant remember this every time we take communion. The bread and the cup remind us of the events of the Lord's death and resurrection. They remind us of how our high priest entered once and for all into the heavenly temple to offer His own blood as a sacrifice for our sin.

Through faith in the shed blood of Jesus, we receive the full and final atonement provided by the New Covenant. Hallelujah!

Another Meaning...?

There was also another reason for the blowing of trumpets in Israel - as a warning!

Blow a ram's horn in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble. For the day of Jehovah comes, for it is near at hand;

(Joel 2:1)

In these days that we find ourselves living in, it is important that we remember and remind ourselves that The Lord Jesus will return - every day is a day closer to that glorious day. 

Let us not become complacent in our faith, let our hearing not be dulled by the clamour of this world, let us continue to sound the trumpet for the unsaved that they might come to know their saviour and let us comfort each other with these words.

For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord.

(1Th 4:16-17)

Come Lord Jesus


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