Fall feasts: Blow a shofar in Zion! Redemption draws nigh

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Jerusalem, Israel
Jerusalem, Israel

“Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing [of shofars–rams’ horns], a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD'” (Leviticus 23:23-25; see also Numbers 29:1-6).

Thursday (Wednesday night) marks the beginning of the Biblical Fall Feasts — Yom T’ruah, the Day of Blowing (of Shofars) — the Feast of Trumpets. It has also come to be known as Rosh Hashanah, the “Head of the [civil] Year”.

Although Hebrew months are numbered beginning in the Spring (Exodus 12:2), the numbering for the Hebrew year changes on the first of the seventh month, Yom T’ruah [According to Hebrew tradition, the world was created on this day]. This week we enter the Hebrew year 5774.

Of first importance, it is to be a day of t’ruah as a memorial (see Scripture above). T’ruah means a shout, a cry, an alarm, a blast or series of blasts on the shofar (ram’s horn). Psalm 33:3 says that musicians are to make t’ruah skillfully on their instruments together with singers singing a new song! Suffice to say that it is a day on which a ‘sound’ is to go up memorializing the greatness and faithfulness of YHVH, the LORD!

The sound of the shofar also speaks of the Source of our redemption. It was through a ram caught in a thicket by its horn (from whence is made a shofar) that God “provided the lamb” to take the place of Isaac on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:13-14). We believe that it is this relation to the “Lamb of God who carries away the sin of the world”, who “defeated Death”, who came to “undo the works of the Evil One,” which gives the shofar its special authoritative power when blown in the timing and under the anointing of the Holy Spirit! The sound can be an alarm, a call to battle, a sound of victory, rejoicing and celebration. There were shofar blasts from heaven as the YHVH descended upon Mount Sinai to meet with Moses and deliver instruction regarding His Law and how His people could draw near to Him (Exodus 19:16, 19). I Corinthians 15:52 (Hebrew translation) speaks of one Final Shofar when the dead in Messiah will be raised and those remaining changed in the twinkling of an eye.

At left is a shofar, a trumpet fashioned from a ram's horn. The plate of apples and honey celebrate the hope for a sweet year. The pomegranate speaks of fruitfulness. (Credit: M. Sarvis)
At left is a shofar, a trumpet fashioned from a ram’s horn. The plate of apples and honey celebrate the hope for a sweet year. The pomegranate speaks of fruitfulness. (Credit: M. Sarvis)

It is a joyous holiday in Israel, beginning this year at sundown September 4, a family-and- friends time of wine and feasting, of giving gifts, of sounding the shofar, of eating apples dipped in honey and wishing each other “L’Shana Tova!” — a good year!

However, with the joy there is to be a certain sobriety. It is to be a sabbath for taking account, for becoming awake and alert, a day of remembrance but also for looking forward to the Day of Atonement nine days later. As such, it is sometimes referred to as Yom HaDin — the Day of Judgment. These ten days are considered “Days of Awe”. We take account of our sins.

Many devout Jews partake of an ancient custom called tashlikh –– the “casting” or “throwing”. They go to a body of water and empty their pockets or throw stones into the water, repeating the final three verses from the prophet Micah,

“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in lovingkindness. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob and lovingkindness to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old.”

PLEASE PRAY: For revelation to Jews during this holy season by the Spirit who was sent to convict of sin and righteousness and judgment — revelation of the One in whom “truth and lovingkindness” were realized (John 1:17) — in whose work God pardons our iniquity and passes over our transgression!

Thursday also begins the seventh Hebrew month — Tishri. In earlier times, the name Ethanim was used (I Kings 8:2). Ethanim is related to the word Ethan, which has to do with steadiness, as an “unwavering flame” or “a steady flow”. Brown-Driver-Briggs (P 250 #388) interprets it in this context as “a month of steady flow”.

There are presently many forces, both outside of and within Christendom which are working to fragment the Body of Messiah regarding its God-ordained call to bless and stand with Israel and to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.

PLEASE PRAY: that in this month of new beginnings the LORD bring our streams into a steady flow of constancy. That He focus the prayers of His watchmen and watchwomen into a steady truthful flame — until Jerusalem’s righteousness ignites and “goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a torch which burns” (Isaiah 62:1).

This week there are special readings in the synagogues on the first and second days of Rosh HaShanah:

  • Day I (5 September)
    TORAH: Genesis 21:1-34; Numbers 29:1-6
    HAFTARAH:  I Samuel 1:1-2:10 (Rosh Chodesh — Tishrei); Numbers 28:1-15
  • Day II  (6 September)
    TORAH: Genesis 22:1-24; Numbers 29:1-6
    HAFTARAH: Jeremiah 31:1-20

Genesis 22 relates the story of the binding of Isaac on Mount Moriah. “And Abraham said, ‘My son, God sees for Himself (or, “will Himself provide”) the lamb.” In the New Covenant (John 8:56), Yeshua declares, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad!”

PLEASE PRAY for the Holy Spirit to release revelation into the spirits of many who hear anew the story of Isaac and the “lamb”. Pray that with the sounding of the shofars, many will be quickened in their inner beings as to the identity of the Lamb which God provided!

Jeremiah 31:3: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel!”

Although in Messiah all may receive of these blessings, this message was and is first of all over the lost tribes of the House of Israel.

PLEASE PRAY for Jews throughout the world to hear this call of Love and allow themselves to be drawn. Pray for those both within and outside of Israel to realize that a work has been accomplished by God Himself whereby they may again be called “virgin” and what has been broken down may again be made whole!

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