“The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest; a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present a food offering to the Lord.” Leviticus 23:23-25
This day opens a series of Jewish autumnal feasts established by God for His people. In Scripture, it is called The Day of Memory of the Trumpet Sound or The Festival of Trumpets; Yom Teruah (Numbers 29:1). This day calls for the blasting of the ram's horn; or, the shofar. The sound of the shofar reminds one more of a cry of alarm than the sound of a wind instrument. The sounds of the shofar accompanied many important events in Jewish history and will accompany even more amazing events in the future.
Let's see what the Lord reminds us about in His Word about the shofar …
First of all, the sound of the shofar reminds us of the trial that Abraham, the forefather of the Jewish people, was subjected to by the Most High. According to the word of God, he was ready to sacrifice his only son Isaac, but at the last moment Isaac was replaced by a sacrificial ram which was caught in a thicket by its horns. There, in the "land of Moriah", which is identified with Mount Moriah in Jerusalem (where the king Solomon built the Temple - 2 Chronicles 3:1), God swore to bless Abraham in a special way (Genesis 22:1-18). This story has a remarkable parallel in the New Testament, where it is said that God did not spare His only begotten Son Yeshua for the redemption of the sins of all mankind, showing His amazing love and mercy.
Exodus.19:16-19 describes the Lord coming down on Mount Sinai and giving the Torah to Israel which was accompanied by a very loud trumpet blast of the shofar. The Lord invited the people to approach the mountain "when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast" (verse 13), although at that time people were afraid.
Israel defeated Jericho with the shofar blast (Joshua 6:20). The blowing of trumpet gathered the people of Israel for the war (Judges 3:27). Watchmen at the gates of Jerusalem warned people about danger with the sound of the shofar (Amos 3:6; Jeremiah 6:1). The shofar reminded the Jews of God’s domination over all the nations of the earth: "For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth... God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets" (Psalm 47:2-5).
Isaiah considered the great trumpeting of the shofar as the proclamation of the last gathering of the remnant of Israel from the places of scattering to worship the Lord "on the holy mountain in Jerusalem" (Isaiah 27:13).
During the second coming of Yeshua, the Messiah will be trumpeting sound of the shofar: "For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God..." (1 Thessalonians 3:16). Sounds of the shofar will go along with the coming resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
After the Babylonian exile in the 6th century B. C., when the months of the Jewish calendar were changed, the 1st day of the seventh month (1st of Tishrei) began to be called Rosh Hashanah; the head (beginning) of the year. Adam was created on this day, according to the tradition, and like him, we have all sinned. This is the same day, according to Jewish tradition, that the God of Israel annually judges all people. On this day, according to the tradition, heavenly books are open and the Most High delivers a “sentence” for every person for the whole upcoming year; for life or death, for good or suffering. The last month of the Jewish calendar, Elul (from the Aramaic "veelilu", which means to explore, consider, analyze") is a month of meditating over the previous year. To enter the next year without the burden of old problems, sins and mistakes, you need to make repentance ("tshuva"), ask for forgiveness and in turn, forgive. Prophet Jeremiah calls, "Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord" (Lamentations 3:40)
According to the Jewish tradition, at the festival of Rosh Hashanah people need to hear the trumpeting of the shofar, which reminds us of the God of Israel and His Word and which awakens hearts sounding like a call to repentance and turning to God.
On the festival of Rosh Hashanah it is customary for all to greet each other with wishes for a good and sweet year, "L'shanah tovah Umetukah". Round challah, apples and honey, fish or a ram's head are always on the festive table (Deuteronomy 28:13, 44). Traditional Prayers are spoken: "y'hi ratzon mil'fanekha Adonai eloheinu vei'lohei avoteinu sh't'chadeish aleinu shanah tovah um'tukah." ("May it be Your will, Lord our God and God of our ancestors that you renew for us a good and sweet year"), "Yehi Ratzon lefanzha Adonai Elohim Eloheynu avoteynu shenahe lerosh le lezanav" ("May it be Your will, God and the God of our ancestors, that we be a head and not a tail"). We need to keep in mind that we can only "be the head" by fulfilling God's will in our lives. If not, you are a tail.
PS. It is widely thought that the name of the month before Rosh Hashanah, Elul, is an abbreviation for the 3rd verse of the 6th chapter of Song of Songs (Song of Songs 6: 3), "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine". Our Beloved (Yeshua) belongs to us. Wouldn’t it be so good if we fully belonged to Him in our lives?