What will you be doing on the day Jesus returns? Will you recognize the sound of His triumphal entry before you see His splendor? Will you welcome His arrival like one waving palm branches and staccato shouting, Ho-san-na! Ho-san-na! Or will you hide in fear to cover yourself from the shame of being uncovered by the precious blood of Christ?
It is easy for us to go about our lives, busy and burdened, and forget the fact that Jesus is coming back one day as prophesied. This will be a literal and physical return that will enable our senses to taste, see, smell, feel and hear the unveiled glory of God.
While no one knows the day or hour the Lord will return, God gave us significant signs in Scripture.
“For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night … But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day” (I Thessalonians 5:2,4-5).
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of the signs that illuminates the path of the Lord’s return. Rosh Hashanah began at sundown on Sunday and will end at sundown Tuesday. In Scripture, this holiday is known as the Feast of Trumpets or Judgement Day.
“In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with a blast of trumpets, a holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:24).
While the modern-day observance of Rosh Hashanah is more traditional than Biblical, Christians can still seek meaning and understanding from this feast through Scripture.
God’s redemptive timeline
After God led the Israelites from Egyptian captivity into the wilderness some 3,500 years ago, He set aside specific times during the year for the Israelites to enter into these sacred assemblies with Him, including the Feast of Trumpets.
“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying,“Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: ‘These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts’” (Leviticus 23:1-2).
Here is why it's so important to know and understand these feasts, even if you aren't Jewish: These seven feasts depict the entire redemptive mission of the Messiah.
Through the ordained feasts God gave to Moses, we can see the timeline for God’s rescue plan for His children. The sequence and timing of these feasts were carefully orchestrated by God Himself to bring His people into relationship with Him and to offer a blessed assurance of eternity with God.
Because Gentiles (non-Jews) have been “brought near to God through the blood of Christ,” Christians are now members of God’s holy family, grafted into all the promises and sharing equally in the riches inherited by God’s chosen people (Ephesians 2:13,19, 3:6, Romans 11:17).
So these feasts are also for those who have confessed Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9).
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
The first four feasts mirror events associated with the first coming of Jesus. Jesus’ death, resurrection, the giving of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church occurred precisely on the corresponding dates of the first four feasts that had been celebrated by the Israelites for more than 1,500 years.
This was not a coincidence but clearly the providence of God.
The last three feasts - known in Jewish culture as Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot - have yet to be fulfilled but predict with certainty that they will occur based on what God has already accomplished.
The fifth appointed feast, the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), is the sounding horn for when Jesus will rapture the Church and judge those who have not been ransomed by His blood.
What kind of trumpet?
The musical instrument most used for the Feast of Trumpets and to celebrate Rosh Hashanah is the shofar. The shofar is made from a ram’s horn signifying when Abraham showed his willingness to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, God provided a ram in his place (Genesis 22:13).
Jesus, God’s only Son, is the perfect Lamb who took our place as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (John 1:29). We should never stop shouting our praises or sharing this Good News!
God has always been the great Deliverer, Redeemer and Rescuer.
For more than 3,500 years, the sound of the shofar has been calling Israel to repentance. The piercing blast of the shofar is meant to remind the hearer to repent for his sins and reconcile with God and his brothers and sisters.
We are all called to repent, to turn from sin and turn toward God. Let the sound of the shofar be a reminder to us all.
The shofar was blown in Hebrew culture for three reasons: to call a sacred assembly, to go to war, or to coronate a king. Only twice in Scripture is it noted that God Himself sounds the trumpet. The first is when He descended on Mount Sinai before giving the law to Moses.
“On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God” (Exodus 19:16-17).
The second time God will sound the trumpet is when Jesus returns.
“For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet call of God … And so we will be with the Lord forever” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
The sound of the Lord’s return will echo like the wedding march of the Bridegroom gathering His bride, God’s people, to Him.
“Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace” (2 Peter 3:14).
The sound of the Lord’s return will thunder like a Warrior going to war against those who have remained His enemy.
“The Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet.” (Zechariah 9:14)
The sound of the Lord’s return will ring like the coronation of a King coming to establish His Kingdom forever.
“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever'” (Revelation 11:15).
Because the Feast of Trumpets coincided with the New Moon when only a sliver of a crescent was visible, cloud coverage could make it difficult to know when exactly the feast would begin. Watchfulness was critical.
Likewise, because we don’t know the exact time of the Lord’s return, we also are called to be watchful, sober minded, self-controlled and not morally lethargic.
We are called to come to Jesus.
“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near” (Revelation 1:3).
Let the Holy Spirit be like a shofar, a spiritual alarm calling you to fresh repentance every day as you abide in the Bridegroom, the Warrior and the King, Jesus.
*data sourced from The Feasts of the Lord by Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal