Also known as Rosh Hashanah, meaning "Head of the Year," the Feast of Trumpets marked a 10-day period of consecration and repentance to God. The Feast of Trumpets was one of the seven original Jewish feasts mentioned in the Torah and served as the first of three feasts to take place in the fall of the year.
The name of the Feast of Trumpets is taken from the biblical teaching to blow trumpets found in Leviticus 23:24 and Numbers 29:1-6. During this period, no work was to be performed. Only burnt offerings and sin offerings could be offered to God.
There is some debate regarding the type of horn used in this holiday. The Hebrew word indicates a straight trumpet. However, Psalm 81:3 and other passages reveal that a shofar may likely have also been used at this time. Historically, both types of horns have been used in the celebration.
Why was the Feast of Trumpets important? One reason was its placement in the agricultural year. It was a time of rest near a time of harvest when work would have been more hectic than usual.
Second, the Day of Atonement also occurred on the tenth day of this month along with the Festival of Booths (or Tents) on the fifteenth day. The blowing of horns marked a serious time to prepare for the Day of Atonement. This is also why this time was called "Ten Days of Repentance."
The Feast of Trumpets and other celebrations of the Jewish people pointed toward certain aspects of Christ's work. Joel 2:1 predicted, "Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near."
In the New Testament, it is interesting to find that the second coming of Jesus will include the sound of a trumpet. First Corinthians 15:51-52 states, "Behold! I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed." First Thessalonians 4:16 likewise notes, "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first." Trumpets are also mentioned in the judgments of Revelation 8—9.
The Feast of Trumpets served as an important cultural and religious tradition in ancient Israel. Its call to repentance and reflection continue to hold value for our lives today, though we find our repentance through faith in Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. Today, believers look forward to the time when Christ will return and a different trumpet will sound, calling those who know Christ to be with Him forever.
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