Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Hebrew Roots of The Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah)

The Hebrew Roots of Yom Teruah
The Feast of Trumpets

As we approach the Fall Festivals, we begin to get excited as we anticipate each one and what it means to us. We all have our favorite and once we get past the anxiety of making travel arrangements and for time off from work, we begin to relax into the comfort of knowing that we are practicing that which is pleasing in God’s sight. There’s a sense of peace that comes as we rehearse the return of our Savior and a time when this world will be transformed into His Kingdom.  

Each feast is deeply rooted in the Hebrew culture of ancient times, however, that seems to get lost in translation to our modern day and age. Each one has its nuances and subtleties that when we understand them adds a richness to the word of God and to the overall meaning of the feast. I won’t take time today to cover them all but I will give you a taste of the richness of the first of the fall festivals – the Feast of Trumpets.
Let’s turn to Numbers chapter 29. We typically go to Leviticus 23 when discussing the feasts but Numbers 29 has a fascinating phrasing that brings out the richness of the Hebrew.
(Num 29:1)
And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you. 
The Hebrew word for "day" in this passage is Strongs -
H3117 יום yôm yome – meaning “day” 

The Hebrew word translated as "blowing the trumpets" is Strongs -
H8643 תּרוּעה terû‛âh  ter-oo-aw' 
From H7321; clamor, that is, acclamation of joy or a battle cry; especially clangor of trumpets, blow an alarm, rejoicing, shout(-ing)

It is a day of blowing the trumpets or as it’s called in Hebrew – Yom Teruah!

We see that the day of the Lord is a day of the blowing of trumpets.
(Joel 2:1) 
Blow ye the trumpet [shofar] in Zion, and sound an alarm [rua] in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; 
 One more place just to be sure -
The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day [yom] of the trumpet [shofar]  and alarm [teruah] against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. 

Now let’s go back to Numbers 29:1 take a quick look at the word, “convocation”. The Hebrew word is –

H4744 מקרא miqrâ' mik-raw'
From H7121; something called out, that is, a public meeting (the act, the persons, or the place); also a rehearsal: - assembly, calling, convocation, reading. 

So this convocation is a ‘migra’ or dress rehearsal of the day of blowing the trumpets!  

Isn’t that what we do each year? Rehearse the return of Christ and the setting up of the Kingdom of God? 

In fact, every one of the feasts is a dress rehearsal. The spring feasts were a dress rehearsal of His first coming and the establishment of His Church through the giving of the Holy Spirit. 

The fall feasts are a dress rehearsal of His second coming!

The Last Trump
During the day on Yom Teruah, they would blast the shofar all day long! A shofar is trumpet of sorts made from a ram’s horn.

There are four primary types of shofar blasts:

  1. Tekiah (תְּקִיעָה) - A long single blast (the sound of the King's coronation)
  2. Shevarim (שְׁבָרִים) - Three short wail-like blasts (signifying repentance)
  3. Teru'ah (תְּרוּעָה) - Nine quick staccato blasts of alarm (to awaken the soul)
  4. Tekiah ha-Gadol (תְּקִיעָה הַגָּדוֹל) - A great long blast (for as long as you can blow!)
Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound [teruah]: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.
Have a listen to this joyful sound! - [sound the shofar] 

On the Feast of Trumpets this series is blown throughout the day. 

The final blast is known as “The Last Trump” !

(1Cor 15:51-53) Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 

So when does this event occur? Yom Teruah!


No Man Knows the Day or the Hour

When does the Feast of Trumpets occur? The Feast of Trumpets always occurs on the 1st of Tishri on the Biblical calendar which typically corresponds to September/October on the Roman calendar.

(Psa 81:1-3)
Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.

The Feast of Trumpets is the only feast day that occurs on a New Moon. All the rest are on a full moon. A new moon occurs when the sky is dark and basically there is no moon.

So, how do you determine when there is a new moon? Without the aid of modern astronomical calculations, the only way to determine a new moon was to watch for the first appearance of just a sliver of the moon. Well, at the mouth of two or three witnesses shall a matter be established, right? Two men were chosen to stand out on a hill and watch for the beginning of a crescent to appear. They know about when it would occur but not exactly so they had to watch for it.

During the Diaspora (the scattering of the Jews from Jerusalem) it’s especially difficult to know when Yom Teruah begins. By the time the crescent moon is spotted and the word gets out to the rest of the people, half the festival could be over. So to compensate for this, they started celebrating it for two days but regarded it as “One Long Day”.

Because it’s the first day of the month, was 2 days long, and was based on the sighting of the New Moon by two witnesses it’s known as the Feast where no one knows “The Day or the Hour”!  Sound familiar?

(Mat 25:13)
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

It was to be a day symbolically hidden even from Satan so he would not be 100% aware of its arrival.

A Thief in the Night
To set this next one up we’re going to spend a little time in the book of Revelation. Turn to Revelation chapter 3 where it talks about the seven churches. We’ll take a look at the warnings given to two of them.

(Rev 3:1-3) 
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 
(Rev 3:17-18) 
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

One more reference to watching and keeping our garments –
(Rev 16:15)
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

We know that garments are symbolic of innocence and righteousness. We are warned here to take care to keep our garments lest we lose them. Similar to losing one’s crown, we would not want to lose our garments either.

Before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, 24 guards were stationed around the Temple on three different shifts or watches to guard the Temple grounds.

(Luke 12:37-41) 
Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?
A direct reference to the second and third watch at the Temple. Especially if He comes later than expected (in the 2nd or 3rd watch) … and finds them so, refers back to watching.
(Luke 12:42-46) 
And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

So who gets caught unawares and loses his garment? The dead church, the rich church, the unfaithful servant – all who are NOT watching and ready for His return!

Each night, the captain of the Temple, (Acts 4:1; 5:24) would patrol the Temple Mount, inspecting each and every station. Burning torches are borne before him in order for the guards to recognize that it is he and if perchance he encounters a watchman who does not rise up before him, the captain cries out to him, "Peace be unto you!". But if the captain receives no reply, it is obvious that the guard has been caught asleep. He could then, at his option, as a punishment for not carrying out his duty properly, either rap the sleeping Levite with his stick or could even set his robe on fire sending him running away naked without his garments. 

The guards were never quite sure when the captain of the Temple would come so he came to be known as “a thief in the night”.

(1Th 5:1-6)
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 

We may not know what year He is coming but we will not be overtaken as a thief in the night because we have been rehearsing the Hebrew roots of the times and the seasons and are listening for the sound of the trumpet and watching for His imminent return!


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