A New Year, A New Covenant, and A Feast of Trumpets!

shofarguy

Today in Israel, and around the world, people are celebrating Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which also coincides with the Biblical Feast of Trumpets, hence the blowing of shofars in synagogues and homes world-wide.

You may be wondering about a New Year in the middle of the ‘regular’ year: how’s that work? A Jewish friend and I were talking about that recently, how the different calendars function, etc. Some folks may object that Rosh Hashana really is not a Biblical feast day, but is observed along with the Feast of Trumpets (see Lev. 23:23-24), which is true. The way Rosha Hashana came about was when the Jewish people who returned to Israel from Babylonian captivity in the 6th century BCE, they brought some cultural baggage with them, part of which is the adaptation of the Babylonian calendar.

According to Exodus 12 the actual Biblical calendar puts the beginning of the year in the Spring (an obviously logical place to begin new things). So, what do we do? Well, many people celebrate the modern civil Western New Year on January 1, which isn’t biblical either, but is based on the Gregorian calendar, the original goal of which was to change the date of Easter. In 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII introduced his Gregorian calendar, Europe adhered to the Julian calendar, first implemented by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.E.

So, to interact with people in the world we live in today, some accommodations are regularly made. Suffice to say, every day is a new day, and as the prophet Jeremiah wrote: “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23). May we keep this in mind as we go through our days and years, whenever we may begin them.

A Trumpet… for you!

One significant aspect of the Feats of Trumpets is its prophetic meaning, but to explain that, a little back story is required here. A few years ago I wrote a research paper for a class at SES on this topic entitled A Case for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, which I have excerpted here. I hope you enjoy it, and if you would like a copy of the full paper click here.

What about The Last Trumpet?

The question regarding the last trumpet from 1 Corinthians 15:51 is often used to support the Post-Trib view: “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” Which trumpet is this ‘last trumpet’? There are seven trumpet judgments in Revelation (9:2-11:15), as well as other references to trumpets in the same book (1:10; 4:1). Often the reference is made to Revelation 11:15 as the last trumpet in 1 Corinthians 15. However, one must remember that at the time Paul wrote to the Corinthians, John would not receive and write the Revelation for another thirty or forty years, which would likely be a different generation. While it is possible that the Spirit of God could prophetically inspire Paul to write verse 51 for a future referent, Paul’s immediate audience in Corinth would have no way to interpret what it meant, which would not explain the very mystery he claimed to be revealing.

So, what is the last trumpet? The answer may be found in the mysterious, prophetic nature of the seven feasts that God gave to Israel in Leviticus 23. In the same letter to the Corinthians, Paul references Passover/Unleavened Bread, where he exhorts the Jewish and Gentile believers to celebrate Passover in light of the New Covenant, “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened, for Christ [Messiah] our Passover also has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7); also First Fruits fulfilled in the Resurrection:

“Now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming (1 Cor. 15:20-23).

The Corinthians were apparently familiar with the feast days God gave to Israel, thus a quick overview of the feasts will be helpful for us here.

In Leviticus 23 God lays out seven annual feasts that Israel was to keep perpetually: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles. Many recognize these as a framework for God’s overall program for the redemption of Israel, and the world. In the New Covenant we recognize that four of seven have already been fulfilled:

  • Passover, with the death of Messiah as the Passover Lamb without spot or blemish;
  • Unleavened Bread, with the sinless (unleavened) ‘Bread of Life’ placed in the ground;
  • Firstfruits, with the resurrection of Messiah as ‘the firstfruits of the resurrection’;
  • Pentecost, fifty days after Passover when God gave Israel the Law, fulfilled in the New Covenant by God giving Israel His Spirit.

Take special note that each of these feasts were fulfilled in the New Covenant on their exact day. This is no coincidence with a sovereign God. Is it presumptuous to expect that the remaining three feasts will also be fulfilled on their respective days? We shall let that question lie for now, since no man knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return. However, regarding the last trumpet, let us consider the next feast day on God’s prophetic calendar: The Feast of Trumpets.

There were several purposes for the trumpets to be sounded: a call to assembly or announcement, a call to mobilize, to war, or to judgment, and a call to worship and celebration.[1] In light of the overall prophetic scenario revealed for the last days, all of these purposes are fulfilled at the sounding of the trumpet and Messiah’s return: 1) He calls the assembly (ekklesia, or church) to mobilize and meet Him in the air; 2) the trumpet of war and judgment is sounded for the last battle between God and Satan revealed in Revelation 4 through 19; and 3) the trumpet of celebration and worship, as we will be reunited with loved ones and worship God as never before when we see Him face to face!

Also, bear in mind that at Pentecost, the giving of the Law was introduced with a series of trumpet blasts (see Ex. 19) similar to the Feast of Trumpets. Thus we see that the Feasts of Pentecost and Trumpets serve the church age as bookends—initiated and consummated with trumpet blasts, with a season of harvest between them (see Lev. 23:22). This idea the Corinthians would very likely have understood. It is also important to realize that during the Feast of Trumpets (known today as Rosh Hashana) there was not only one trumpet blast, but an entire series of trumpet blasts. It may well be that it is not just the literal final trumpet blast at Rosh Hashana that we are anticipating, but the last one at the moment of the Rapture that will matter to the believing remnant at that time. That remains to be seen.

For the complete paper on this topic, click here.The PreTribulation Rapture[2018] You are free to download.

May G-d bless you on this Rosh Hashana with a sweetest New Year yet, and may we live expectantly as we await to meet our G-d and Savior! Chag Sameach!

PC

[1] Sam Nadler, Messiah in the Feasts of Israel: God’s Appointed Times in History and Prophecy (Charlotte, NC: Word of Messiah Ministries, 2002), 95.

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