The seventh month of the Jewish calendar clearly stood out above the others in the eyes of Moses and Israel. As God announced the order of the Hebrew calendar, He instructed the people to punctuate the arrival of each new month with a celebration and a blowing of trumpets. But He emphasized the seventh month when from the foot of Mount Sinai He said through Moses the lawgiver: “In the seventh month on the first of the month, you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:24)

So a feast was decreed on the first of the seventh month. But what was it to be called? When He gave the calendar, God Himself named the appointed feasts – the Sabbath, the Passover, the Day of Atonement. But this feast received no title. IT was simply “Yom T’ruah” – the day of blowing. So it became the feast of Trumpets. And the blowing of the trumpets became the distinguishing characteristic of the day, calling the people’s attention to the awesome festival that was to follow – the Day of Atonement.

The shofar (trumpet) has always held a prominent role in the history of God’s ancient people. Rabbis have delighted in quoting its long history of biblical usage: “The shofar was created for the welfare of Israel. The Torah was given to Israel with the sound of the shofar (Exodus 19:19). Israel conquered in the battle of Jericho with the blast of the shofar (Joshua 6:20). Israel will be advised of the advent of the Messiah with the sound of the shofar (Zechariah 9:14). And the Holy One, blessed by He, will sound the shofar at the time of the ingathering of the exiles of Israel to their place (Isaiah 27:13)” [Eliyahu Auta 2]

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is not ushered in with parties and revelry like the civil new years of secular societies. According to Jewish tradition, the New Year is a time of solemn self-evaluation.  Tradition holds that on Rosh Hashanah, those who are found wholly righteous are written in the Book of Life, the wholly wicked in the Book of Death, and the undetermined ones, most of mankind, are held in the balance for the next ten days, until the Day of Atonement. Then the Books of Judgment are sealed, and the sentence decreed for the year cannot be changed.

As the fond hopes for a sweet new year again turn the Jewish people to introspection, let us join them by examining ourselves in the light of God’s Word and keep an attentive ear to hear the trump of God.

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  (14)  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  (15)  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  (16)  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  (17)  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  (18)  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

 

L'shanah tovah