As Israel is about to ring in the new year, 5780, we are taking a closer look at the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, or the Feast of Trumpets, how it’s celebrated today, and its biblical significance.
Happy New Year! Sort of…
There’s just something about the fresh start of a new year. The hopes, the resolutions, the celebrations! I’ve been in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and even Kenya for New Year’s Eve, yet there is nothing quite like Rosh HaShanah in Jerusalem!
The whole city is filled with the smells of sweet foods, the sounds of the trumpets blasting, and the sight of Jewish families gathering together in their homes and synagogues.
Rosh HaShanah (literally “Head of the Year”) is the celebration of the traditional Jewish New Year. The Jewish people have a calendar that was created by God Himself, and their times and seasons follow His outline in Leviticus 23.
Rosh HaShanah begins on the first day of the seventh month—Eitanim (1 Kings 8:2) or Tishrei. It kicks off the high holidays, also called the ‘Ten Days of Awe’, which start with Rosh HaShanah and culminate on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). It is a solemn time of introspection in which many Jewish people seek to make amends with one another. Also, it is a time for repentance and seeking right standing with Elohim.
The festivities often include a large meal with sweet foods like apples, honey, and pomegranates to symbolize a sweet new year. However, the true centerpiece of Rosh HaShanah is actually the blowing of the shofar, the ceremonial ram’s horn!
The Feast of Trumpets
Biblically, this day is actually called the Feast of Trumpets. Leviticus 23:23-25 states: “And YHVH spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with the blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the YHVH.’”
The feasts of the Lord have prophetic significance, as well as literal meaning. For example, the Passover commemorates deliverance from slavery in Egypt on the one hand, but it also typifies the deliverance from the slavery of sin that believers in Jesus, the Passover Lamb, experience when they believe in Him.
Likewise, the Feast of Trumpets calls the people of Israel to prepare for the sacred month of the Hebrew calendar, and foreshadows the call to prepare for Jesus’ return at the End of Days. Jesus said that He would return at the sound of a trumpet,
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16
What does this mean?
We do not know the day or the hour of His return. However, we can celebrate this holy day knowing that God is regathering His people from the four winds even now and He will return at the sound of the trumpet, revealing Himself to the whole world!
“And He will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” Matthew 24:31
What a season of celebration and expectation! During this time the Jewish people are preparing their hearts for this Feast by spending time in contemplation and repentance.
What a perfect moment to share the message of the assurance of salvation through Jesus their Messiah, who will return to set up His Kingdom on earth at the sound of a trumpet!