At the Sound of the Trumpet

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“Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of YHWH is coming; it is near,”

Joel 2:1

 

The Day of Trumpets, Yom Teruah, is almost here!

It is with great excitement that our family prepares for the first of the three fall times appointed by God. The food. The friends. The sounding of the trumpets. The glorious story! We anticipate the deep symbolism and the joy in encouraging each other in the return of the Messiah!

It is with equally strong emotions that I mourn this day. And all the other festivals.

I am torn as the world, as well as followers of God, rush quickly past these incredible days. I am distraught that the Church pushes aside the sacred times that God has asked his people to remember. I am concerned that leaders label it legalism to encourage believers to celebrate God’s holy days. I am burdened by an urgency to proclaim the truth!

“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Matthew 24:31

These Appointed Times are the reflections of things to come! They tell God’s story and our participation in them is a rehearsal for their future fulfillment. Not only did God command His people to keep these Appointed Times for every generation, but we should desire them…with our whole heart. This is who God is and how His great plan is going to come to fruition!

Why would a faithful follower not want to celebrate?

Many times people mistakenly call these days “Jewish Holidays”. They are not Jewish, even though the Jews keep them. Really, the Bible says they are God’s Appointed Times. In fact, we are told that when the Messiah returns, the faithful will celebrate Sukkot, Feast of Booths, in Jerusalem! These are God’s special days for His people.

“Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the YHWH that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts.”

Leviticus 23:2 (bolding added for easy identification)

So, what exactly are the Appointed Times, and what is Yom Teruah?

feasts

God gives Israel seven Appointed Times, in Hebrew moedim, to keep. These are special days where His people are instructed to gather together and meet with God. You can read a short overview of these Biblical festivals. In Genesis and the Psalms God shows us that the sun, moon and stars were created for telling the seasons, in Hebrew moedim. They were made for the very purpose of signaling these Appointed Times! Even back at creation God set this plan in place.

The Appointed Times can be broken in to spring and fall festivals. The four in the spring are Passover (Pesach), Unleavened Bread , First Fruits and Shavuot (Pentecost). Then the fall festivals are Day of Trumpets (Yom Teruah), Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and Sukkot (Feast of Booths).

There is so much wrapped up in these amazing days. I’m going to be brief here, but if you are interested start reading through Scripture to see the connections of past, present and future. Each Appointed Time has a historical significance and a future fulfillment. God is so phenomenal at weaving His story into our everyday cycle of life!

If Christians are aware of any of the Appointed Times it is likely Passover. They understand that Jesus fulfilled it and that’s it. People think there is no benefit in continuing to celebrate it. This could not be further from the truth. Do we not see value in commemorating many other days that occurred in the past? Even though we do not look forward in anticipation, we celebrate in remembrance of the Messiah. In fact, He instructed his disciples to remember Him as they celebrate Passover.

You can read more about Passover, the Appointed Time when the Lamb was slain. Directly connected to Passover is Unleavened Bread, the day the Messiah’s sinless body was buried. Next, on the morning of First Fruits, the Messiah became the first fruit from the dead through the resurrection! After many week we celebrate Shavuot, the sending of the Holy Spirit.

Imagine the confirmation of the Messiah’s followers when they saw the connection of Yeshua to God’s plan. He must be the Messiah, because it happened just as God said it would be!

As Christians, we need to remember these days and rejoice in the Messiah and the beauty of God’s plan. Aside from the fact that God asks His people to remember these days, it seems absurd that faithful believers would not jump at the opportunity to immerse themselves and their families in the rich beauty that teaches us about God’s plan!

In the same way, and maybe even more so, we should not forget that the fall Appointed Times have not yet been fulfilled.

Is it possible that God would continue the story in the same manner as He began? Could it be that these three celebrations correspond to the second coming of our Messiah? Should we not seek to understand these Appointed Times, seek to rehearse them as God instructed, so that we would be prepared for the day of His return?

The Bible does not indicate the specific future fulfillment of the Appointment Times. It does seem logical, though, to look at the pattern Godhas established with the first set of Appointed Times correlating with the Messiah’s first coming. By then searching the words of Scriptures on these latter days, we can extend the same pattern.

“Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation.”

Leviticus 23:24

The Day of Trumpets is the first of the three fall feasts. It comes with very little instruction. It is to be celebrated at the end of the harvest of dates, figs, pomegranates, olives and grapes. God’s people are to gather and have a special Sabbath rest. And, the trumpet is to be blown. This is likely foreshadowing the angels’ trumpet call as the Messiah returns and gathers the harvest of His people.

 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Matthew 24:29-31

We see in the Bible that trumpets are used as a signal to the people. They can be used in calling to battle, heralding a king, anointing a High Priest, gathering the people for an event or announcing significant temple functions. We can see how as the trumpet sounds for the return of the Messiah, it will indeed fulfill all of these functions with one blast!

Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement, is not a feast, actually, but a fast. This is a day of great judgement, when, historically, the High Priest would make the yearly sacrifice for all the people. Most probably, this fearful and terrible day corresponds to the whole earth standing before the Judgment Seat. All will be judged according to their deeds. Those covered by the blood of the Lamb will stand without condemnation for their sins.

Finally, we come to the most joyous celebration of all! The last of the seven Appointed Times of God. Sukkot. This celebration commemorates the time after Israel had been redeemed from slavery in Egypt. They lived under the stars and God dwelt in His Tent in the middle of the camp.

God instructs His people to build a booth, a sukkah, open to the stars. God’s people are to celebrate by waving fruit, leafy branches, willow branches and palm fronds. Native born Israelites are to dwell in these booths for seven days. Keep in mind that Paul says Gentiles are also like native born sons and daughters. The seventh of God’s holy Appointed Times is to celebrated for seven days! How perfect is that?! After seven full days of celebration there is to be the Great Last Day. This is to be a solemn Sabbath and the most joyous celebration of the year.

The beauty of Sukkot very likely corresponds to the reign of the Messiah and then the final Sabbath as God’s people enter eternity. At that time, God will once again walk in the midst of His people. The relationship between God and man will be perfected, and they will dwell together and enjoy eternal Sabbath in each others’ presence.

I love this! It is astoundingly symbolic. My heart pounds at the thought of our God putting forth so much effort and beauty to bring us back to Himself. His plan is so intricately designed. This story is masterfully written. It is the most artistic composition, the most gracious act of love and the most mysterious fulfillment of prophecy.

But, amazingly, it has been forgotten. Or worse yet, it has been rejected as legalistic bondage and elemental principles of man! The irony is that Daniel prophesied that one with the spirit of the anti-Messiah will change these times and the law itself. Because of Constantine and rulers that followed, faithful followers shifted from keeping the Appointed Times of God, including Sabbath, to only celebrating renamed pagan days. God commanded his people to never celebrate Him in the same way as the pagans. And he never gave any instructions to change Sabbath or His Appointed Times.

Search the Bible, but you won’t ever find God redirecting His people away from His holy days. Instead, it can be seen that even the faithful in Thessalonica were well aware of God’s Appointed Times and the future fulfillment. To those who are in darkness, the Day of the Lord will come like a thief, surprising them. But the children of light will be awake, sober and alert, knowing and understanding God’s Appointed Times. The context of this passage comes directly following a passage concerning the sounding trumpets and the return of the Messiah. We can be certain that the “times and seasons” discussed below are referring to the Appointed Times of God.

“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.”

1 Thessalonians 5:1-6

So friends, don’t sleep! These Appointed Times are of God. They instruct us on His great plan of redemption and restoration to Himself. Not only should we be aware that they tell God’s story, but we should be rehearsing them yearly with our families. We are told to stay alert so we are not caught off-guard, like those who do not understand the Appointed Times. We are told to anticipate the joyous, although dreadful, day that the final trumpet sounds!

I mourn the rejection of God’s holy days, and I am discouraged by the lack of desire to understand and embrace this beautiful story. Sadly, unlike believers in Thessalonica, believers today do need to be instructed concerning the Appointed Times. I will passionately continue to encourage all who have ears to hear; search the Scripture and inquire of God about His holy days. They are not given by God to hold us captive, as some may have us believe, but to draw us to God Himself. Remembering His laws and His Appointed Times are life-giving. God tells us that!

We have so much to learn about God and His ways. We should be careful not to reject any means that He has provided to teach us and prepare us concerning our redemption and restoration! Yom Teruah, the Day of Trumpets, is the beginning of the story of the second coming of our Messiah. This is a critical element of God’s plan. As faithful followers of God, we should not only be participating in this celebration, we should yearn in anticipation of its fulfillment!

Let’s encourage each other to stay alert and sober while we wait for the trumpet call! As the ram-horn trumpets sound in homes around the world this Sunday evening, consider if God may be calling you to remember His holy day!

 

“On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:

“Fear not, O Zion;
    let not your hands grow weak.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival,
    so that you will no longer suffer reproach.
Behold, at that time I will deal
    with all your oppressors.
And I will save the lame
    and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
    and renown in all the earth.
At that time I will bring you in,
    at the time when I gather you together;
for I will make you renowned and praised
    among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
    before your eyes,” says the Lord.

Zephaniah 3:16-20

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