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Feast of Trumpets: Teruah and Remembrance

The Feast of Trumpets is nearly here. It is Rosh HaShanah, a holy Yom Teruah for hearing the blast of the shofar. It remembers the Exodus from Mitzrayim. But, it may be the bellwether of another exodus: the future resurrection of the dead, the coronation of the Messiah, and the unfolding of every related prophetic event in scripture.

It falls on the first day of the Hebrew month of Ethanim (1 Kings 8:2) or Tishri. A footnote in the Targum says, “the month that the ancient ones called the first month, but now it is called the seventh month.” While the religious year begins in the spring with Nisan, the civil year begins on Tishri 1. It is the New Year of Judgment or Yom HaDin, a day when God judges the souls of men to see who will live and who will die in the coming year. This day begins the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, ushers in the Coronation of Messiah as King, and announces a Kiddushin or the wedding of the Messiah and the Bride. So, the Feast of Trumpets is both inspiring and unsettling.

God’s only festival to occur on a Rosh Chodesh or New Moon. Amidst the flickering lights of ancient Yerushalayim, two witnesses searched the skies to see the first crescent of moonlight each month. They reported their sighting to the Beit Din or Sanhedrin. The Beit Din authorized the new month to begin and announced it with silver trumpet blasts from the southeast corner of the Temple courtyard. Men on nearby hilltops listened for the blasts and lit great signal fires. From hilltop to hilltop going out from Yerushalayim the fires signaled the new month. Finally, relay runners sprinted, carrying the news to all the distant enclaves where the Hebrews lived. With Rosh Chodesh, the Feast of Trumpets could begin. This ancient process of setting the calendar made the holiday two days long. It is a one-day celebration spread across two days long and a two-day celebration known as One Long Day.

The Feast of Trumpets hints at the difficult times ahead. As the Olam Hazeh transitions to Messiah’s return, our hope is established in the millennia-old words of Torah and the person of Torah – Yeshua HaMashiach. Deuteronomy 7:12 says, “Because you are listening to these rulings, keeping and obeying them, Adonai your God will keep with you the covenant and mercy that he swore to your ancestors.” The Hebrew word for “because” in this verse shows us that we are counted in the flock of the King and will be protected in that flock because God keeps his covenant with us. “Because” is the Hebrew word eqeb (Strongs # 6118). If we flip this word, it becomes beqe or beka, the word for half-shekel (Strongs # 1235).

The priests counted the Israelites who had been redeemed from bondage in Mitzrayim by collecting a half shekel from each one. So, a half shekel marks redeemed people and makes atonement for souls. Exodus 30:15 says, “The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less when giving Adonai’s offering to atone for your lives.”

When Abraham’s servant found a bride for Yitzchak, he gave her a gold nose ring weighing a half shekel and two gold bracelets weighing a half shekel. The Bride was chosen with a half shekel, and that is a pattern. The mark of her redemption was a half shekel.

In this season of coming judgments, if we follow the words of Torah and Yeshua HaMashiach, the person of Torah, we have redemption. We are redeemed as a bride for a future Kiddushin – the wedding of the Messiah with the people of God. Let’s celebrate this inspiring and unsettling holiday as a Yom HaZikaron, a Day of Remembrance when we remember the spiritual half shekel he paid for us. We remember the great deeds of a mighty God on Yom Teruah and he remembers us.

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