Today marks the first day of Rosh Hashanah. The literal meaning of this important Jewish Holiday is “Head of the Year” and it is observed as the start of the civil year (in comparison to the religious year which starts with Passover) on the Jewish calendar.
The Feast of Trumpets is the first of the fall feasts. It is very important in Jewish thinking to celebrate it alongside Yom Kippur ("Day of Atonement"). This makes up what Judaism calls "the high holy days" on the Jewish calendar.
It begins the "ten days of awe" before the Day of Atonement. According to Leviticus 23:24-27, this celebration was signified as a time of rest, "an offering that was made by fire," and the sounding of the trumpets.
Modern Rosh Hashanah (Ezekiel 40:1) is traced back to the Feast of Trumpets which is the blowing of the trumpets on the first day of the seventh month (Tishri) of the religious calendar year (Leviticus 23:24; Numbers 29:1). The trumpet mentioned here was the shofar, or a ram's horn.
This particular horn was unique from the silver trumpets that were blown on previous new moons. Silver trumpets were always sounded at the daily burnt offering and at the beginning of each new month (Numbers 10:10), but the shofar specifically was blown on the beginning of the month Tishri.
The time period between the last of the spring feasts (Pentecost or Weeks) and the first of the fall feasts (Trumpets) ties into our present Church Age.
We currently live between Israel's fourth and fifth feasts. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost started the Church Age, and the Trumpets signify Christ's second coming to rapture the Church and judge the wicked, which will be the beginning of the end of the Church Age.
The Feast of Trumpets occurs on the first day of the Hebrew month, Tishri. It would occur at the new moon. Only the slightest crescent would be visible. However, clouds could sometimes obscure the moon, and witnesses would be required.
Watchfulness was a critical ingredient of this feast. The rabbis later would include a second day to this feast to ensure that they didn't miss it. This need for watchfulness and preparedness in connection with the Feast of Trumpets is spoken of throughout the New Testament in relation to the Lord's coming:
"Watch, therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matthew 24:42).
"Therefore, let us not sleep, as do others, but let us watch and be sober-minded" (I Thessalonians 5:6).
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ" (II Timothy 2:13).
"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation"" (Hebrews 9:28).
"Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, in which the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, in which dwelleth righeousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless" (II Peter 3:11-14).
So brothers and sisters, you may ask what does Rosh Hashanah have to do with me? After all, isn’t it just another Jewish Holiday? The Jewish Feasts were given to Israel by God before they crossed the Jordan River into the land from the desert with Joshua. They have been observed since then, in observance of their covenant with God. Jesus observed these Feasts with his disciples and the first Christians did as well. God means for all Christians to continue to observe these Feasts, although they take on a different meaning for us.
Those of us who are called by His Name are admonished that during these High Holy Days of the celebration of the fall feast, we are to be ever watchful always looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For His coming draws ever so near!