My thoughts on Yom Teruah
Yom Teruah (Trumpets or Rosh HaShanah) is the fourth of seven annual appointments (feasts) which the Lord has set to intentionally meet with His people. During the Gregorian (Western) calendar year of 2016 the feast is celebrated beginning at sundown October 2. This is the first day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. Each annual celebration renews in me a desire to more fully understand and embrace this feast.
First I will make a brief observation that this is my Messianic sense of the feast. I say “my” Messianic sense to be sure it is understood as being my experience and not necessarily a belief of others who profess a Messianic understanding.
Next, just to be clear, as a self-proclaimed Messianic, I am saying I believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is God come in the flesh, the promised Messiah. His shed blood, death and resurrection are God’s provision (grace) which enables me to keep God’s Word-Torah. This standard of conduct was recorded by Moses and amplified by Yeshua and the Apostles. My keeping of Torah frees me from the curse which would otherwise result from my imperfect ability to keep the commands.
The instructions to keep this fall feast are sparse—we are told to keep it annually as a memorial observed as a Sabbath (Lev 23:24 and Num 29:1). In Judaism it is kept as a New Year observance. It also ushers in the Ten Days of Awe in preparation for the next feast, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).
The word “memorial” used in the scripture connotes something that has happened which you want to remember. It may call for a resolution to remember so that it will not happen again. My brief word study of scripture brought up the first mention of trumpet as being at Mt. Sinai (Ex19, especially verse 13 and following). This was the mighty sustained, ear-piercing, rock-splitting shofar blast, trumpet blast, to announce God descending onto the mountain to speak to those gathered at its base. It is His first tangible appearance since He indirectly manifested through His miracles in Egypt. This Egypt scenario had resulted in the Israelites being freed and brought to this location before the mountain. The outcome of God’s visit from the mountain is recorded in Exodus 20:19—the people speaking: “You (Moses) speak with us (those assembled), and we will hear; but let not God speak with us lest we die.” Thus began 1500 years of indirect communication through priests, prophets and others (donkeys, for example) before the appearance of God come in the flesh—Yeshua!
I believe that year after year I and my generations have been called by the shofar blast on Yom Teruah to personally embrace and reaffirm the indwelling presence of Creator God—a memorial, if you will, to remind me not to reject Father’s desire to live big in me.
This celebration becomes then an annual heart check for stoniness—yet at the same time a day of unbounded joy because my God wants, desires and has provided for this personal, indwelling relationship through Messiah Yeshua.
What a blend of introspection, repentance, joy and celebration—let the shofar sound!