Sounding the Shofar 5778
INFORM: Rosh Hashanah
Known originally as Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets), blowing the shofar endures as a central feature of Rosh Hashanah as the celebration is known today. Yom Teruah marks the beginning of the New Year on the civil calendar.
Other traditions are associated with Rosh Hashanah, but the blowing of the shofar is by far the predominant feature. God’s directive to the nation of Israel is recorded in today’s text:
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’”
The Leviticus text is foundational for any espousing a Judeo-Christian worldview with regard to the Feast of Trumpets.
Here’s a modern day sample of what you might expect to hear:
ROSH HASHANAH SHOFAR (not compatible with iOS):
MORE THAN TRIVIAL PURSUIT
Rabbinical scholars cite at least four reasons for blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah that are more than interesting trivia. A minimum of one hundred shofar blasts are required for each day of the two-day celebration.
Unlike the blowing of noisemakers at our Gregorian calendar New Year’s Eve parties, the blowing of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah is infused with significance.
Uniquely associated with YHWH (Jehovah), the vibrant tone of a shofar blast is a reminder that God is sovereign in the affairs of His creation. Sounding the shofar both acknowledges and affirms submission to God’s sovereignty.
Giving of the Law
The Bible states that the giving of the Law on Shavuot (Pentecost) was accompanied by the sounding of a mighty shofar. The blast of the shofar is not only a sensory reminder of that momentous event, but also a call to renewed commitment in making study of Torah/Scripture a priority.
The Faith of the Patriarchs
Punctuated by shofar blasts, the Jewish community reads the account of Abraham’s willingness to offer Isaac as a sacrifice in obedience to the Lord. Sounding the shofar not only reminds of the faith demonstrated by both Abraham and his son Isaac, but also God’s provision of a ram as a substitute in Isaac’s place (Gen. 22:1-18).
God’s Covenant Relationship with Israel
Ultimately, the blowing of the shofar throughout successive generations is a reminder of God’s covenant promises to Israel. Sounding the shofar serves as a prophetic sign of the restoration and regathering of Israel’s descendants to their ancient ancestral homeland in accordance with God’s covenants.
If you need proof, the existence of the Jewish people and the resilience of the reborn nation of Israel provide amazing confirmation of God’s unfailing faithfulness.
When the Israeli army recaptured the Temple Mount on June 7, 1967 during the Six-Day War, Army Chief Chaplain Rabbi Shlomo Goren sounded the shofar on the Temple Mount surrounded by hardened soldiers of the IDF with tears streaming down their faces.
The prophetic implications of this simple act did not go unnoticed by the Jewish people causing many, “to believe that the day of redemption was near.” (1)
All who espouse a Judeo-Christian worldview must be aware of not just the traditional significance ascribed to the sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, but the biblical relevance to life in the 21st century. Use the holiday celebrated on the first and second of Tishri 5778 (September 20 – 21, 2017) to be reminded of God’s sovereignty over our lives, the importance of faith in His Word as it relates to our daily experience and His faithfulness as demonstrated in His unfailing relationship with Israel.
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. With 40 plus years of ministry experience, Rev. McCracken is known for authenticity in communicating biblical truth that makes his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added.)
1) Cashman, Greer Fay, “The man who sounded the shofar”, The Jerusalem Post website, May 10, 2017.
1) Blowing the Shofar for Rosh Hashanah. By מינוזיג – MinoZig [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios