Tomorrow, on the Jewish calendar, is the day commonly known as Rosh HaShanah, or the Feast of Trumpets. Here are four things about this special day that Messianics always get wrong:
#1 — It’s not the New Year.
The day traditionally celebrated in Judaism as “Rosh HaShanah” falls on the first day of the seventh month—not the first month—on the Hebrew calendar. “Rosh HaShanah” is not Scriptural, but an invention of Judaism.
“Rosh HaShanah,” which means “Head of the Year,” is traditionally celebrated in Judaism as the New Year, commemorating the alleged anniversary of Creation. Judaism actually teaches that there are four “new years” in any given year, and “Rosh HaShanah” is one of them. The problem is that not one thing in Scripture indicates this to be the case. On the contrary, the Scriptural New Year is in the springtime, not the fall (Exodus 12:2). “Rosh HaShanah”—correctly called in Scripture Yom T’ruah or Zikhron T’ruah (see Leviticus 23:23-25, Numbers 29:1)—is actually the first day of the seventh month of the Hebrew year, not the first month, as one would expect for the “New Year”.
(The Scriptures do speak about the “turn of the year” in Exodus 34:22, but this is referring to the end of the annual harvest cycle, which concludes with the Feast of Sukot, not three weeks earlier with Yom T’ruah. The phrase “Rosh HaShanah” actually does show up in Scripture one time in Ezekiel 40:1, but it has nothing to do with the day in question.)
#2 — It’s not a Feast (or Festival).
As far as God’s appointed times are concerned, there are only 3 (or 4) Biblical “Feasts”—not seven as is commonly taught—and Yom T’ruah is not one of them.
When speaking of the appointed times (mo’adiym) as outlined in Leviticus 23, the word “feast” is a very specific term—”chag“—referring only to the feasts that require a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. These feasts are Pesach/Matzah (Passover/Unleavened Bread), Shavuot (Weeks), and Sukot (Temporary Dwellings). That’s only three feasts, folks (or four, depending on how you count Pesach/Matzah), not the so-called “seven festivals” that Messianics so often tout.
So, Yom T’ruah is not a Feast (“chag“). Yes, it is a mo’ed (appointed time), and it is a day (yom), but it’s not a feast. There’s a difference.
So, not only is the “Feast of Trumpets” not a feast, but…
#3 — It has nothing to do with trumpets (or shofars).
What your English Bible says about the blowing “of trumpets” or “shofars” (ram’s horn) is not in the Hebrew text, but has been added to your Bible by translators. It comes from Jewish tradition.
When you read Leviticus 23:24 and Numbers 29:1 in your English-language Bible, it plainly says that Yom T’ruah is for the “blowing of trumpets” or similar. But “of trumpets” was added to your Bible! When you read it in the Hebrew, all it says is that it’s for t’ruah, which, in the Scriptures, can be everything from the loud sound of crashing cymbals (Psalm 150:5) to the thunderous shouting of people, as when the walls of Jericho fell down (Joshua 6:5,20)! Yes, there were shofars at Jericho, but according to the Scriptures, it was the voices of the people—not the shofars—that made the sound of t’ruah.
So why did your translators decide to add “of trumpets”? Because that’s the way Judaism observes Yom T’ruah. The fact that Yom T’ruah has come to be known as the Feast of Trumpets shows the influence of man’s tradition on our understanding of the Scriptures.
To be sure, when we consider Psalm 81:3 where it says, “Blow the trumpet (shofar) at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day,” this is very likely referring to Yom T’ruah (“at the new moon”) and Sukot (“our feast day”). But all this demonstrates is that shofars (ram’s horn) are welcome as noise-makers for Yom T’ruah. We need to note that the word “shofar” and “t’ruah” fail to appear together here as well, further showing that the Day of T’ruah is about the sound, not the instrument making it.
This being the case, the bad news for Messianics only gets worse, because if there is not an explicit connection between Yom T’ruah and the shofar, then…
#4 — Yom T’ruah is not fulfilled in Yeshua, and has nothing to do with “the rapture.”
The common Messianic teaching that says that Yeshua’s return fulfills Yom T’ruah is forced, and worse, based on words and concepts that aren’t even in the Scriptures!
The widespread prophetic teaching about Rosh HaShanah / the Feast of Trumpets / Yom T’ruah relies completely on the idea that it is connected explicitly to the blowing of the shofar. And once you have shofars blasting away, Messianics can make the leap to 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16, in which “the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”
The trumpet/shofar is the only thing connecting Yom T’ruah to the return of Yeshua. Take away this connection, and Messianics are hopeless to find a prophetic fulfillment of the “Feast” in Yeshua.
Why It Matters
The good news is that Yeshua is indeed coming back, and we will hear the sound of the shofar at His glorious return! What doesn’t matter is whether or not this is done in “fulfillment” of a “Biblical feast”—because nothing in Scripture indicates this to be so.
Why does this typical Messianic, prophetic teaching about Yom T’ruah need to be exposed for what it is? Because it’s bad theology that has been unquestioningly perpetuated, and demonstrates a grave mishandling of the Scriptures, based on the traditions and misunderstandings of man. Yeshua does indeed fulfill Passover and Yom Kippur, for example, as the Scriptures clearly teach. It would therefore be wonderful if we could tie all the mo’adiym up into a tidy prophetic package picturing Yeshua. The problem is that we have to take huge unscriptural leaps and bounds to do it—and that robs the Scripture of its truth and power, defiling the Word of God.
Yom T’ruah is Israel’s annual Memorial Day—it’s a day for remembering with loud blasts of sound (“t’ruah“). What does God want His people to remember? Scripture doesn’t say. But somehow all the t’ruah is supposed to jog our memory, and somewhere among the clanging cymbals, shouting, and, yes, even the blowing of the shofars, He expects certain things will come to mind. Perhaps the day’s proximity to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) is related to what we should recall. But regardless, one thing is sure: it is not a day to sit in a synagogue and listen to someone else blow the shofar 100 times! No, it’s a day for us all to participate in the making of t’ruah, and remember the greatness of our God.
What do you think? Sound off below!