The Feast of Trumpets

February 25, 2022

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).

On the first day of the seventh month (Tishri) Israel was to observe a sacred assembly with a special sacrifice (Leviticus 23:23-25; Numbers 29:1-6). Numbers 29:1 reads that it was to be a day of blowing the trumpets. Numbers 10:1-10, however, states that blowing the trumpets signaled the new moon. 

Because every new moon was a holiday in the Israelite calendar, the question is raised as to why the new moon of Tishri is so special. It is conjectured (but not substantiated) that since Tishri 1 became the New Year's Day (Rosh Hashanah) in post-biblical Judaism, many believe the Feast of Trumpets was the New Year’s Day of ancient Israel. Scholars who maintain that Israel observed the beginning of the New Year in autumn (Tishri) cite several lines of ‘evidence’, but none are conclusive.

Ancient Israel did not have a single, uniform calendar throughout its history, and problems in Israelite chronology are understood. For the purposes of the calendar of festivals, however, the Feast of Trumpets was not a New Year's festival. The two critical texts (Leviticus 23:23-25; Numbers 29:1-6) do not imply it had anything to do with the New Year.

The Feast of Trumpets did, however, celebrate the end of the agricultural and festival year. The seventh month was important for this and for having in it two major holy days, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Booths. The blasting of trumpets on the first day was therefore in celebration of the commencement of this special month. It was meant to signal to Israel that they were entering a sacred season. The agricultural year was coming to a close, there was to be a reckoning with the sins of the people (the Day of Atonement), and Israel was to reenact the time of sojourning prior to gaining the promised land (the Feast of Booths).

The New Testament associates trumpets with the end of the age. Revelation 8 - 9 describes the apocalyptic judgments as occurring in a series of trumpet blasts. Jesus said the last judgment would be inaugurated with a trumpet blast (Matthew 24:31), and Paul said that trumpets will sound on the day of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16 ). Don’t miss the point that trumpets initiate the end of one age in judgment (the Tribulation) and the beginning of another in resurrection (the Millennial Kingdom). For the Jews the Feast of Trumpets heralded the close of the festival year, a time of reckoning with God, and a reenactment of the days of longing for the promised land. For Christians it signals the 2nd coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and His great Kingdom on earth. Amen.


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