And the LORD 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 blast of trumpets, a holy convocation.”[Leviticus 23:23-24]
Having rediscovered the prophetic purposes of the spring Feasts of the LORD and the precision with which Christ has fulfilled them in His first coming, I now will turn my attention to the three remaining fall feasts. Although some authors have proposed a correlation between the fall feasts and the first coming of Christ [i.e. Yeshua most likely was born on or around the Feast of Tabernacles], my focus here will remain on the future fulfillment of the fall feasts in connection to His second coming.
The first of the fall feasts traditionally is known as Yom Teruah — the Day of Shouting. The Hebrew word, teruah, is associated with sounding an alarm, shouting the battle cry, making an announcement, and blowing the trumpets. The LORD declared the Feast of Trumpets to begin at the first sighting of the new moon on the seventh month, which means that the appointed time of this feast is unique from all other Feasts of the LORD.
Whereas all other feasts are designated on specific days of the Hebrew calendar, no one precisely knows “the day or the hour” of the Feast of Trumpets because it is determined each year by the appearance of the new moon. As the sixth month draws to a close, the people must wait and watch vigilantly in anticipation for the first sign of the moon’s sliver. Because of the uncertainty of knowing the “day or hour,” Yom Teruah traditionally became a two-day feast to ensure that the people did not miss it.
Once the new moon was sighted, the heralds were to report to the high priest, who validated the sighting on the testimony of two witnesses. Once validated, the high priest commanded the blowing of the shofar from the Temple Mount, which initiated a series of trumpet blasts and celebrations of shouting and praising God throughout the land of Israel. The longest and strongest trumpet blast finally would bring it all to a close, which was the “last trump.”
The LORD commanded His people to observe a special Sabbath, a solemn rest, on this holy day, specifically as a reminder of the greatest day in Israel’s history. The Feast of Trumpets was established as an annual memorial commemorating the day when the LORD descended from heaven in flaming fire onto the top of Mount Sinai to reveal Himself in glory to Moses and His people.
A Memorial for Sinai
The Feast of Trumpets corresponds to the greatest theophany, or divine appearance, that mankind had ever seen. It was at the base of Mount Sinai in the desert of Northwest Arabia that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was made manifest in power and great glory before the children of Israel. His presence at Sinai was so awesome to behold that the people begged of Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die” [Exodus 20:19].
The blowing of trumpets were to serve as a reminder of that most unique and unforgettable day. Let’s take another look at the Biblical account of God’s appearance at Sinai.
“On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.”[Exodus 19:16-20]
Notice that these trumpets blasts were of divine origin, sounding from heaven, to announce the coming of the LORD to the earth to meet with His people. The trumpet blasts grew more intense the closer God’s appearance became, causing the people to fear and tremble at His sight.
While the theophany at Sinai remains to be the primary event in connection to the Feast of Trumpets, other purposes later were prescribed for trumpets, all of which are interesting in their own right. As you will see, the blowing of trumpets retains significant purpose in Israel’s past and also prophetic fulfillment in the days to come.
The Silver Trumpets and the Shofar
In Numbers chapter 10 the LORD commanded Moses to fashion two silver trumpets for multiple purposes.
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Make two silver trumpets. Of hammered work you shall make them, and you shall use them for summoning the congregation and for breaking camp … And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets. The trumpets shall be to you for a perpetual statute throughout your generations.
And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the LORD your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am the LORD your God.”[Numbers 10:1-2, 8-10]
Numbers 10 provides the context for how trumpets were to be used among the children of Israel. Trumpets were to be sounded …
- To summon and gather God’s people together and also for breaking camp.
- For important public announcements (literally evangelism).
- To sound the alarm, or battle cry, for war.
- To summon God’s presence and power for battle to overcome the enemy.
- To initiate the joyous celebrations associated with the appointed feasts and new moon festivals.
Beyond the silver trumpets, the LORD also commanded Israel to use the shofar — or ram’s horn — in similar ways. Perhaps the most famous use of the shofar was during Joshua’s battle at Jericho.
“Have seven priests carry seven rams’ horns in front of the ark. Then on the seventh day, march around the city seven times, while the priests blow the horns. And when there is a long blast of the ram’s horn and you hear its sound, have all the people give a mighty shout. Then the wall of the city will collapse, and the people will go up, each man straight ahead.”[Joshua 6:4-5]
Other Days Associated with Trumpets
Beyond Sinai, the silver trumpets and shofars, other days traditionally are recognized by the Jews to correspond with the Feast of Trumpets. It is noteworthy to list them here.
- The Head of the Year — Rosh Hashanah — The Feast of Trumpets announces the beginning of a new year on the Jewish civil calendar.
- The Day of the Resurrection — The Feast of Trumpets is associated with the day of the awakening blast, as Isaiah says, “Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy …” [Isaiah 26:19].
- The Day of Judgment — Yom Hadin — Jewish tradition says that the Feast of Trumpets also will be the day the books are opened judgment is rendered prior to the age of the Messianic Kingdom.
- Day of Coronation of the King — Yom Hamelech – The trumpets were to be sounded at the coronation ceremony of a new king, as we read, “There Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, ‘Long live King Solomon!‘” [1 Kings 1:39]
As we will see next time, when one understands the purpose of the Feast of Trumpets in Israel’s past, he will be more likely to understand the greater fulfillment of this fascinating feast in the future, when the Lord Jesus returns in all His glory. The Feast of Trumpets will initiate the Day of the LORD — that great and dreadful Day — when the King returns home to claim what is rightfully His!
“Blow a trumpet in Zion;
sound an alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near!”[Joel 2:1-2]