The moedim(appointed times) that YHVH gave in His Scriptures form an annual cycle that was given to teach us at many different levels. You can read more about his in “Are you willing to be transformed?” This is why it is possible to read the Scriptures and several books on the topic, each one several hundred pages and still discover something new every year we celebrate these feasts.
Like most topics in Scripture, the feasts are very closely linked to the agricultural cycle in the land of Israel. The feasts can be divided into two distinct groupings, the Spring and the Fall feasts. The first group, the Spring feasts teach us of Y’shua’s first coming and the Fall feasts teach us of His second coming.
The Fall feasts consist of Yom T’ruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Yom T’ruah is the first feast after Pentecost (Shavout), the last Spring feast. The period between these two feasts is symbolic of the time that we are currently in. We are currently between the first and second coming of Y’shua. The Feast of Trumpets (Yom T’ruah) is symbolic of the announcement of the second coming of Y’shua the Messiah. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the next Fall feast, symbolizes the judgment that will take place after the second coming of Y’shua, and Sukkot (Feasts of Booths/Tabernacles) is the first feast that the Bridegroom will celebrate with His bride in the Millennial Kingdom.
The Commandment to celebrate this Appointed Time
Yom T’ruah, is the fifth moed(appointed time) in the annual cycle of moedim. We are given very little details on how to celebrate this feast: This feast is celebrated on the first day of Tishri – the seventh month. This day, being the first of the month is also Rosh Chodesh. Yom T’ruah is, for this reason, known as “the day no-one knows” for we only know when to celebrate the feast once the new month is declared. We know from the commandments in Leviticus 23 that this day is a Sabbath, we are therefor not to do any laborious work on this day. We are to have a holy convocation and make a lot of noise.
23Again the YHVH spoke to Moses, saying,24“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 YHVH.’ “
1 ‘Now in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall also have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. It will be to you a day for blowing trumpets.2 ‘You shall offer a burnt offering as a soothing aroma to YHVH: one bull, one ram, and seven male lambs one year old without defect; 3 also their grain offering, fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the ram, 4 and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs. 5‘Offer one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you,6 besides the burnt offering of the new moon and its grain offering, and the continual burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings, according to their ordinance, for a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to YHVH.
40 Days of repentance
The Scripture declares Yom T’ruah to be a day of blowing or shouting. It is a day when we should take stock of our spiritual condition and make the necessary changes. Yom T’ruah can thus be seen as a day of introspection and repentance. According to Jewish tradition, the entire preceding month of Elul takes on a significance of its own. They stressed that the forty day period from the first day of Elul through the 10th day of Tishri (Yom Kippur / Day of Atonement) was to be a time of special spiritual preparation. This is based on the belief that it was on the 1st of Elul that Moses ascended Mount Sinai in order to receive the 2nd set of stone tablets and that he descended on Yom Kippur. Is this a practice we should follow? There is no harm in doing introspection and repentance, but we are to remember that it is not commanded. We are not to add to the commandments or take away from it.
1 “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you to perform, so that you may live and go in and take possession of the land which YHVH, the Elohim of your fathers, is giving you.2 “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHVH your Elohim which I command you.
All of this said about repentance, we should consider the book of Nehemiah; we see Nehemiah giving the people instruction to be joyful on this day. The people were remorseful after hearing the Torah read to them and were crying because of their sin.
10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to YHVH. Do not be grieved, for the joy of YHVH is your strength.” 11 So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 All the people went away to eat, to drink, to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been made known to them.
For believers in Y’shua the Messiah, Yom T’ruah has become a festive time which is both celebratory and prophetic, pointing to Y’shua the Messiah’s return. The purpose of this moed can also be summed up in one word “regathering”. Since the fall holidays call us to regather to a pure faith in YHVH. The prophetic theme looks for the future day when the regathering will occur under Y’shua the Messiah. Prophetically, we are reminded of YHVH’s promise to regather and restore His chosen people, Israel, in the last day.
Types of Trumpets
Most English Bibles do not clearly distinguish the different types of Hebrew trumpets. The haTzotzerah was a straight metal trumpet that was flared at the end. YHVH commanded the sons of Israel to fashion two silver trumpets “of hammered work” (Num10:1-2) The priests sounded these silver trumpets as a memorial to YHVH on feast days, over burnt offerings.
10 “Also in the day of your gladness and in your appointed feasts, and on the first days of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be as a reminder of you before your Elohim. I am YHVH your Elohim.”
These silver trumpets were hammered from a single piece of silver. Silver is normally seen as a symbol of refinement and redemption. Hammered trumpets tell of YHVH moulding us through affliction (tribulation).
9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘YHVH is my Elohim.’ “
3 “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to YHVH offerings in righteousness.
The other Hebrew trumpet, a shofar was a curved trumpet fashioned from a ram’s horn. Trumpets constructed from cows’ horns were rejected due to it being a reminder of Israel’s idolatrous worship of the golden calf in the wilderness. The ram’s horn was seen as a much more pleasant reminder of YHVH delivering Isaac through the ram caught by its horns in the thicket. No specific instrument is mentioned in Scripture but historical observance and rabbinic tradition specified the shofar as the instrument intended by Scripture.
Do we have to sound a trumpet on Yom T’ruah?
Sounding a shofar or a trumpet on Yom T’ruah is a tradition. It is not commanded by Scripture. The word “trumpet” was inserted in the text. The literal translation would be to shout, thus Yom T’ruah is a day of shouting. It would however not be wrong to sound a shofar on this day. If it was a shofar blast, then the shofar blast would correspond to ” great sound of the shofar” in Matthew 24:31.
31 “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
Gen 22:13 speaks of the substitute, the ram caught in the thicket. It is a shadow of our Substitute, Y’shua, who was sacrificed instead of us. The horn of an animal speaks of strength and victory. When we blow on the horn of the Substitute, we declare His victory and His might. So when we blow on the shofar we declare His victory over haSatan and every plan of the kingdom of darkness.
Another Jewish tradition – not found in Scripture – is the ceremony known as Tashlikh (“cast off”). It symbolizes the shedding of one’s sins. On the afternoon of Yom T’ruah observant Jews congregate near a body of water to recite the Tashlikh prayer. The brief Tashlikh prayer is composed of several Hebrew scriptures: Micah 7:18-20, Psalm 118:5-9, Psalm 33, Psalm 130 and often Isaiah 11:9. Prov 1:10, Ps 103:12, Is 43:25 can also be read. The ceremony itself takes its name from the Hebrew scripture in the prayer “You will cast (tashlikh) all your sins into the depths of the sea – Micah 7:19. After the prayer, worshippers will often shake their pockets or cast bread crumbs into the water. This action symbolically rids them of clinging sins so that their sins may be carried away and remembered no more.
This is, however, a tradition, we need not do this!
Yom T’ruah is known among the Jewish people as Rosh haShanah. Rosh haShanah literally means “Head of the Year”. However, this designation was not applied to this feast until at least 1,500 years after the institution of the appointed day. It is never known by that name in Scripture. For more details, please refer to our previous post on this topic.
Israel’s repentance is one of the chief purposes of the “Day of YHVH“. Israel’s King will not return to her until she is ready to receive Him. Tragically, unrepentant Israel (along with the Gentiles) will suffer the fury of YHVH’s wrath before she is willing to say “Baruch haba haShem YHVH” (Blessed is he who comes in the name of YHVH – Psalm 118:26) But the concept of repentance is far more basic to YHVH’s Word than just its connection to prophecy. Repentance is required of all people. Repentance is the life and death principle in Scripture.
20 “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself. 21“But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
Rabbi Eliezer, one of Israel’s ancient rabbis, declared “Repent one day before your death.” His astonished disciples asked, “Does then one know on what he will die?” The rabbi replied: “Then all the more reason that he repent today.” The idea is, of course, that men do not know when they will die; thus, repentance is urgent.
We do not know the number of our days nor the day of His wrath. We must seek Him now while the gates of repentance remain open, as the prophet implored:
6 Seek YHVH while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.
Have you truly repented?
May our Loving Father, YHVH, bless you all in every way as you seek Him, are led into His truth in His Word by the Ruach haKodesh, celebrate His Yom Tov, and serve Him and His people. May YHVH bless you and your loved ones with true Shalom in Y’shua the Messiah. And may we all be prepared for the sounding of the Great Shofar announcing the return of Y’shua to gather us as His bride for the great wedding to the Eternal Bridegroom and the beginning of His loving reign over us in the Shabbat millennium. May it be soon and in our day and in our lifetimes.
- Israel’s feasts and their fullness, Batya Ruth Wootten, ISBN 1-886987-02-5
- God’s appointed times, Barney Kasdan, ISBN 1-880226-35-9
- The feasts of the Lord, Kevin Howard & Marvin Rosenthal, ISBN 0-78527518-5
- Yom Teruah, Day of the awakening blast, Ya’acov Natan Lawrence, Hoshana Rabbah Messianic Discipleship Resources, http://www.hoshanarabbah.org
- Rosh Hashana, Torah Family Magazine