The Ultimate Wake-Up Call

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Shofar2

Is your home like mine?  In my house, there is one central focal point.  This focal point is in the kitchen on the refrigerator.  Prominently displayed, this item contains everything I need to know.  It lays out my life in a clear format.

Yes, the calendar.

The calendar that we have this year has some of the holidays already preprinted.  Many years you will have the ‘normal’ holidays and a few unfamiliar ones mixed in:  Boxing Day.  Various New Year’s days.  Administrative Professionals’ Days.

And today, Rosh Hashanah.

Do you know the significance of this day?  I certainly did not, until I was introduced to it by some good friends who celebrate it every year.

This holiday (Holy Day) is one of the key foundations to our faith.  In Leviticus 23, God tells Moses about the weekly Sabbath, and 7 important holidays:

  1. Passover (1 day)
  2. Feast of Unleavened Bread (7 days)
  3. First Harvest (1 day)
  4. Pentecost (1 day, after a 50 day countdown)
  5. Feast of Trumpets (1 or 2 days)
  6. Day of Atonement (1 day, after a 10 day countdown)
  7. Feast of Booths (7 days)

To avoid the confusion of a foreign language, I will call it the Feast of Trumpets or Trumpet Day.

The Bible does not give us too much detail about this day: 

…In the seventh month, on the first of the month, there shall be a sabbath for you, a remembrance with shofar blasts, a holy convocation.
Leviticus 16:24

Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “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.
Leviticus 23:23-24

On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets.
Numbers 29:1 

So what does this mean?  What does it symbolize?  Over the thousands of years that followed, many layers of beautiful traditions have been crafted.  This year I am focusing on two aspects of it: New Year and Wake-Up Call.

New Year

The Feast of Trumpets is on the first day of the original Hebrew calendar year.  It is very confusing for us now, because God reset the religious year when He instituted Passover.  However, the Jewish calendar year still starts on the Feast of Trumpets.  The Hebrews believed that God literally created Adam and Eve on this day, in 3,761 BC (approximately), and each year following they have celebrated the new year, right up through today.  Just like our New Year’s celebration, this is a time of joy and also a time of reflection over the past year and expectation for the year to come.

God is all about food, so eating sweet treats on this day is a common tradition.  Apples or sweet bread with honey is a good snack to remind you of the “good and sweet” year to come.

Wake Up Call

The second major theme of this day is that the trumpet serves as a wake-up call.  God is our Creator and King.  Not only that, but we must repent of our sins, because He is our Judge.  To truly understand the Feast of Trumpets, you have to understand the Day of Atonement (aka Yom Kippur).  This is the special day each year when the priest entered the Holy of Holies to atone for the sins of the entire nation.  Trumpet Day was a kind of wake-up call, announcing that the Day of Atonement was only 10 days away.  Those 10 days were spent in solemn meditation and repentance.  It was a time each year to focus on your sins and failures.  To stop and think about your relationship with God and others.

Here is the cool thing – just as the trumpets announced this feast, Jesus’ return will be announced with trumpets:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
1 Thessalonians 4:16

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God made ready as a bride adorned for her husband…and nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book life.
Revelation 21:1, 2, 27

Most references agree that Trumpet Day is partly joyful and partly serious.  Serious, because God is our Judge, and we must prepare ourselves for His service.  Joyful because a new year awaits, full of hope.  For Christians especially, this is a day of great joy – our Savior is coming back again!  When the trumpet sounds, it will be the ultimate wake-up call!  And it will signal the beginning of the ultimate New Year!

This Rosh Hashanah (Trumpet Day) I hope you take a few minutes to reflect on the fact that He is coming back again.  Maybe next year we will be celebrating in Heaven.  So be prepared! 

Printable:  |  PDF_Picture  Feast of Trumpets Guide|

References:

Book: A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays

Book: Walk With Y’Shua Through the Jewish Year

Sound the Trumpet

Shofar

Book of Life

Shofar Article

Test your Hearts

What Is Rosh Hashanah?

Blessings

Image Credit: Greg at da.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

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