(a.k.a. Rosh Hashanah)
"Day of the Awakening Blast"
By David M Rogers
Second Edition: May 2011
The first of the autumn appointments on the Hebrew calendar has long been shrouded in mystery. Called by Scripture Yom Teruah, but also known in Jewish circles as Rosh HaShanah, this day of appointment has very little information to clue us in as to its primary meaning and function. For this reason, it became known as the Unknown Day. The Jews typically regard it as the beginning of a time of reflection and repentance as the Day of Atonement fast approaches.
But Messiah Yahusha brought a better understanding of much that was revealed in the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. For example, the set-apart days on the Hebrew calendar as detailed in Vayiqra [Leviticus] 23 which were initially remembrances of the redemption from Egypt are also prophetic pictures of the redemptive acts of the Messiah.
The set-apart appointment days during the spring and early summer were all fulfilled by Messiah in his first coming. The Passover (Hebrew, Pesach) was a picture of the Lamb of Elohim who was to take away the sins of the world. Yahusha fulfilled this picture as he died on the tree at the same time the Passover lambs were slaughtered in Jerusalem. Then, the festival of Pentecost (Hebrew, Shavuot) was fulfilled when he sent the Holy Spirit to fill his disciples to guide them in walking in all his commandments.
Yet, the redemptive acts of the Messiah associated with the autumn moadim have not yet found their primary fulfillment in Messiah Yahusha. The set-apart Day of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement and the Festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles) depict the redemptive acts of Yahusha which he will perform when he returns from heaven. Though these appointed times had a significant meaning in the life of Israel during the Egyptian redemption, their prophetic meaning and fulfillment will be realized in the redemptive work of Yahusha, which is to be performed for all who place their trust in Him at the time of his return.
Yahuwah gave a full summary of these appointments, which picture the acts of salvation which He was to perform, in the 23rd chapter of Vayikra (Leviticus). He speaks specifically about Yom Teru'ah - the Day of Trumpets in the following words:
Again Yahuwah spoke to Mosheh, saying, "Speak to the sons of Yisrael, saying, 'In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a remembrance by blowing [of trumpets], a set-apart assembly. You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to Yahuwah.'" (Vayikra 23:23-25)
Let's focus in on the underlined phrase, which in the Hebrew is: vd<qo-ar"q.mi h['WrT. !Ark.zI !AtB'v; Here is what those words mean:
!AtB'v; shabbaton – cessation, rest, sabbath observance
!Ark.zI zichron - memorial, remembrance
h['WrT teruah - shout or blast of war, alarm, or joy, trumpet blast.vd<qo-ar"q.mi miqra qodesh - qodesh means "set-apart" or "separated," sometimes translated "holy." And miqra means "a called assembly, convocation, convoking, reading, proclamation."
This first day of the seventh month is to be observed as a miqra qodesh - a set-apart convocation. The word miqra comes from the Hebrew root qarah, which means to call, to read. Thus, a miqra is an assembly which is gathered for the purpose of reading. The Scriptures are to be read and studied and proclaimed on this holy day. Yom Teru'ah is the prophetic picture of an important event in the redemption provided by Messiah - a gathering at the end of this age at the blasting of the trumpets. For more about the meaning of "miqra qodesh" see our study on What is a Miqra.
The first day of the seventh month is to be a shabbaton, which is a complete cessation from labor. The word shabbaton as found in the Torah is used of the Sabbath day, the day of Trumpets, the day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, the Sabbatical year and to the year of Jubilee. But, interestingly, it is not used with reference to the spring time appointment days.
The opening and closing days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread are NOT days on which a Shabbaton is called. No work is permitted on the first and seventh days of Unleavened Bread, except for the preparation of food. Thus they are not "complete rests" and are appropriately NOT designated Shabbatons. So, the term shabbaton is used only of those appointment days when no work at all may be done, including preparation of food.
The book written to the Hebrews discusses at some length the "rest" which will be granted to those who enter into Messiah's kingdom at his coming (see Hebrews 4). The spring appointment days do not picture this rest which will find its fulfillment in Messiah's kingdom, but instead, they picture the redemption which was accomplished by Messiah by his death on the tree. However, the fall appointment days, the Sabbath day and the Sabbatical years do picture prophetically the activities of the Messianic kingdom. From this we conclude that Shabbaton is used with reference to the ultimate rest which will be granted at the time of Yahusha's kingdom, and is therefore used to describe each of those set-apart days which depict the same.
The first day of the seventh month is also to be a zichron, or a memorial and remembrance of something. But the Torah nowhere tells us what is to be remembered on this day by the blowing of trumpets. The only thing that might be remembered by the blowing of trumpets is the experience at Mount Sinai where Yahuwah appeared before all Yisrael. The account in Shemot tells us of the loud trumpet blasts on the morning the nation of Israel was to gather around the mountain:
And on the third day in the morning there was thunder and lightning and a dense cloud on the mountain, and the sound of a very loud horn; all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Mosheh brought the people out of the camp to meet Elohim, and they took their place at the lower end of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely covered with smoke because Yahuwah had descended on it in fire; and its smoke went up like the smoke of a great furnace, and the whole mountain shook greatly. When the sound of the horn grew louder and louder, Mosheh was speaking and Elohim was answering him with a voice. And Yahuwah came down on Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain; and Yahuwah summoned Mosheh to the top of the mountain, and Mosheh went up (Shemot 19:16-20).
The letter to the Hebrews amplifies about this event. The sound of the trumpet blasts was so loud that not only the people were trembling at the presence of Yahuwah, even Mosheh himself trembled:
For you have not drawn near to a mountain touched and scorched with fire, and to blackness, and darkness and storm, and a sound of a trumpet, and a voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that no further Word should be spoken to them, for they could not bear what was commanded, "If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot through with an arrow." And so fearsome was the sight that Mosheh said, "I exceedingly fear and tremble" (Hebrews 12:18-21).
The appearance of Yahuwah was with the exceedingly loud sounding of trumpet blasts. It was so awesome that all who witnessed it shook and trembled.
Thus it seems that the substance which Yah's people were to "remember" (zichron) on the day of Teru'ah, was the appearance of our mighty Elohim Yahuwah. The trumpet blasts were to recall that monumental event at Sinai. So it stands to reason that another appearing of Yahuwah on earth is what Yom Teru'ah is foreshadowing. The trumpet blasts are to announce, in our future, the presence of Yahuwah.
But Yom Teru'ah is also a day of remembering for Yahuwah! The term remember is often used of Yahuwah acting on his promises. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament suggests other meanings for our word besides to remember or to be reminded:
Numerous passages add to the above meanings the additional implication of taking appropriate action. God's remembrance of his covenant results in delivering his people (Exo 2:24) or in preserving them (Lev 26:44, 45). Conversely, remembering sin may be tantamount to withholding favor (Hos 7:1-2). Remembering Hezekiah's past faithfulness resulted in healing (2Kings 20:3), and remembering Noah was to make the waters to subside (Gen 8:1). For God not to remember iniquity was to forgive and to withhold further judgment (Psa 79:8-9).
Looking at just a couple of these instances bears out the meaning. Noach was floating on the seas of the earth after the great flood, with nothing but water on the earth. It was then that Yahuwah remembered Noah:
But Elohim remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. (Bereshith 8:1)
When Yahuwah "remembered" Noah, he acted on his behalf. He brought a wind to dry the surface of the earth so that Noach would have a place to settle and come off the ark.
As the Israelites were suffering from bondage by a wicked Pharaoh, the text tells us that Yahuwah remembered his people:
Elohim heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Avraham, with Yitzchak and with Ya'acov. So Elohim looked on the sons of Yisrael and was concerned about them. (Shemot 2:24-25)
It was from that time that Yahuwah acted on behalf of his people to brings the plagues on Egypt and to rescue them with a great deliverance.
It is in this context that the word zichron is used of Yom Teru'ah. This is the appointed day for Yahuwah to remember his people, to remember his covenant and to remember his promises. And the remembering of these things moves Yahuwah to act and to rescue his people. Yom Teru'ah is the day when Yahuwah remembers and acts to fulfill his promise to send the Messiah back to rule and to reign on the earth, and to deliver his people into the Messianic Age.
Let's dig into the Scriptures to find out the meaning of the day of Trumpets. Let's first take a gander at the use of trumpets as recorded in the Tanak (Old Testament). In the Torah, trumpets were used as a signal to move:
When you blow an alarm (Heb "teruah"), then the camps that are located on the east parts must begin to travel. And when you blow an alarm (Heb "teruah") the second time, then the camps that are located on the south side must begin to travel. An alarm (Heb "teruah") must be sounded for their journeys. But when you assemble the community, you must blow, but you must not sound an alarm. The sons of Aharon, the priests, must blow the trumpets; and they will be to you for an eternal right-ruling throughout your generations. If you go to war in your land against the adversary who opposes you, then you must sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before Yahuwah your Elohim, and you will be saved from your enemies. "Also in the time of your rejoicing, such as in your appointed festivals or at the beginnings of your months, you must blow with your trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings, that they may become a memorial for you before your Elohim: I am Yahuwah your Elohim." (Bemidbar 10:5-10)
The Hebrew word "teruah" h['WrT. means a shout or blast of war, alarm, or shout of joy. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) describes this word:
The primary meaning is "to raise a noise" by shouting or with an instrument, especially a horn (Num 10:7) or the traditional ram's horn, the "shofar" (Josh 6:5). It is used in this sense in rituals of the Israelite tabernacle (1Sam 4:5) to describe the exaltation of the people of Israel when the ark of the covenant was brought to the camp. Later in Israel's history in the First Commonwealth, the same root is used to describe the exaltation of the people when David brings the ark to Jerusalem. The poetic description of this in the Psalms (Psa 45:7) and the later glorification of the king at his enthronement by acclamation (1Sam 10:24) has been selected by some scholars as evidence of an enthronement ritual similar to that found in contemporary societies.
So, in the Scripture cited above, teruah refers to the signal for the sons of Yisrael to pick up their tent poles and travel or to go to war.
In the story of the fall of Yericho, the teruah is the "shout" on the seventh day which resulted in the crumbling of the walls of the city:
When you hear the signal from the ram's horn, have the whole army give a loud battle cry (Heb "teruah" - shout). Then the city wall will collapse and the warriors should charge straight ahead" (Yahusha 6:5).
The rams' horns sounded and when the army heard the signal, they gave a loud battle cry (Heb "teruah"- shout). The wall collapsed and the warriors charged straight ahead into the city and captured it (6:20)
In the Psalms, the word teruah depicts "shouts" of praise to Yahuwah:
Now I will triumph over my enemies who surround me! I will offer sacrifices in his dwelling place and shout (Heb "teruah") for joy! I will sing praises to Yahuwah! (27:6).
Blessed are the people who know the shout (Heb "teruah") of Yahuwah. In the light of your face they walk (89:16).
Praise him with loud cymbals! Praise him with clanging cymbals! (literally, "the buzzing of the shout [Heb 'teruah']") (150:5).
The teruah is also associated with the shout of announcement of the year of Yoval (Jubilee):
You must sound loud horn blasts (literally "shofar blast" - "blast" is the Heb. teruah)--in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, on the Day of Atonement--you must sound the horn in your entire land. So you must consecrate the fiftieth year, and you must proclaim a release in the land for all its inhabitants. That year will be your jubilee; each one of you must return to his property and each one of you must return to his clan (Vayiqra 25:9,10).
To summarize, teruah is used of a war cry, an announcement to move, a shout of praise, and a shout to announce a joyous occasion, the sound made by cymbals or the sound made by the blowing of the shofar (ram's horn). Thus, Yom Teruah is a day which remembers or depicts a great day which will elicit a shout of joy from those who worship Yahuwah and the announcement of a joyous occasion by the blowing of the shofar.
Though the word teruah does not have to refer to the blast of a trumpet (it can refer to the shout of people or the sounding of a cymbal), frequently it is associated with the shofar or trumpet.
If you go to war in your land against the adversary who opposes you, then you must sound an alarm with the trumpets (Bemidbar 10:7).
In this verse, teruah is not used, but its verbal synonym takah ([q;T' to thrust, clap, give a blow, blast) is to be done with trumpets. Typically, the teruah, shout or sounding of alarm is done with trumpets - either a shofar or a silver trumpet.
The prophet Yeshayahu [Isaiah] depicts the gathering of the lost house of Yisrael at the sounding of a great trumpet:
At that time a great trumpet (shofar) will be blown (takah), and the ones lost in the land of Asshur will come, as well as the refugees in the land of Egypt. They will worship Yahuwah on the set-apart mountain in Yerushalayim (Yeshayahu 27:13)
Yirmyahu also sees the gathering of Yisrael at the time of the sounding of the trumpet. This is accompanied by a loud cry and the announcement of the destruction of the wicked:
Yahuwah said, "Announce this in Yehudah and proclaim it in Yerushalayim: 'Sound the trumpet throughout the land!' Shout out loudly, 'Gather together! Let us flee into the fortified cities!' Raise a signal flag that tells people to go to Zion. Run for safety! Do not delay! For I am about to bring disaster out of the north. It will bring great destruction (4:5,6).
Not only is the sounding of a great trumpet and the loud shout associated with the gathering of the scattered tribes of Yisrael, it also announces the presence of Yahuwah:
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm signal on my set-apart mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land shake with fear, for the day of Yahuwah is about to come. Indeed, it is near! It will be a day of dreadful darkness, a day of foreboding storm-clouds, like blackness spread over the mountains. It is a huge and powerful army-- there has never been anything like it ever before, and there will not be anything like it for many generations to come! (Yoel 2:1,2).
With the day of Yahuwah comes the very presence of Yahuwah:
Then Yahuwah will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning. Adonai Yahuwah will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south, and Adonai Yahuwah will shield them. (Zecharyah 9:14,15)
The Tanak is clear about the association between the shout or war cry (teruah), the sounding of the trumpet and the presence of Yahuwah to bring judgment to the nations and provide a shield (safety, salvation) for his people.
When we come to the Messianic Scriptures (or "New Testament" as they are commonly called), we find these same elements featured on Yom Teru'ah in the description of the return of the Messiah:
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24:30,31)
The loud trumpet call in Mattityahu 24 corresponds to the "sound of the trumpet" in Zecharyah 9 (cited above) at which time Yahuwah will "appear over them." Could there be any doubt that this is what Yahusha is describing when he says the Son of Man will "appear in the sky" and will "come in the clouds of the sky"?
Paul further expounds on the details of Messiah's coming:
For the Master himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of Elohim, and the dead in Messiah will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Master in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17)
Here, Yahusha is again seen "coming down from heaven" - an obvious reference to Mattityahu 24 and Zecharyah 9. He is accompanied by a "loud command." The Greek word here, ke,leusma (pronounced "kelusma"), means "a shout, a command, a signal, a summons to carry out a procedure, e.g. battle engagement." This word corresponds perfectly with the Hebrew word teruah. This "shout" which is given at the time of Messiah's return is the "teruah" which occurs on Yom Teru'ah - the day of the shout.
With Messiah coming down out of heaven, and with the loud trumpet call, and with the teruah (the shout), there is a resurrection of those who have died in Messiah. Paul also describes this resurrection which takes place at this time:
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51,52).
The trumpet sound and the accompanying shout will be so loud that it will wake up the dead!
But didn't Messiah say that no one would know the day or the hour of his coming?
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Mattityahu 24:36).
If Jesus told his disciples that "no one can know" that day of his coming or the hour of his coming, then why are we saying that we can know that time?
Keep in mind that the Messiah, we are told, frequently spoke in parables. Why? you ask?
Then the disciples came to him and said, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" He replied, "You have been given the opportunity to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but they have not. For whoever has will be given more, and will have an abundance. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. For this reason I speak to them in parables: Although they see they do not see, and although they hear they do not hear nor do they understand. And concerning them the prophecy of Yesha'yahu is fulfilled that says: 'You will listen carefully yet will never understand, you will look closely yet will never comprehend. For the heart of this people has become dull; they are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes, so that they would not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.' But your eyes are blessed because they see, and your ears because they hear" (Mattityahu 13:10-16).
The reason Messiah spoke in parables is so that those who are wise and understanding, who keep the Torah and walk in his footsteps, will understand. But those who will not obey, who have hardened their hearts, will not understand.
In Mattityahu 24:36, he is speaking a parable so that those who do not listen to Torah will NOT understand. So theologians interpret Yahusha's saying on the surface to mean that we cannot know the day of his coming. But he was speaking a parable! What, then, is he talking about? What is the interpretation of the parable?
Yom Teru'ah came to be know as the "hidden day" or "a day that no one knows." There are two reasons for this. First, Yom Teru'ah is the only appointment day on the Hebrew calendar as given in Vayiqra [Leviticus] 23 which occurs on a new moon day. Thus, because it is at the sighting of the first sliver of the new moon that any month of the year is reckoned, and since Yom Teru'ah occurs on the new moon starting the seventh month, no one knew when that day would begin until they actually sighted the new moon!
The second reason Yom Teru'ah was known as the Hidden Day is because no one really understood its significance. Very little is revealed in the Torah about the purpose and meaning of Yom Teru'ah. We are only given instructions about which day it occurred on the calendar and what offerings to bring to the mikdash (the Holy Place).
With that in mind, the parable of Yahusha takes on new meaning. When he said that no one will know the day or the hour, he was alluding to Yom Teru'ah - the "day that no one knows"! So, Yahusha was identifying for his followers who "hear" his voice and "hear" the Torah, that Yom Teru'ah is the time of his return. But those who reject the Torah will continue to misunderstand his meaning. The wise will understand, but no one else will. Isn't that what Daniel wrote about the end time return of Messiah to raise the dead in Daniel 12?
He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand." (Daniel 12:9-10)
So, the purpose of Messiah's parables is accomplished. The understanding ones will perceive that he is alluding to Yom Teru'ah as the day of his coming, while the disobedient wicked ones will not understand but will insist on taking his words out of their context.
Paul confirms this interpretation (although theologians have missed what he said, too!):
Now on the topic of times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you know quite well that the day of Yahusha will come in the same way as a thief in the night. Now when they are saying, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would. For you all are sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness. So then we must not sleep as the rest, but must stay alert and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But since we are of the day, we must stay sober by putting on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet our hope for salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:1-8).
Paul's reference to "times and seasons" alludes to the appointed times of Yahuwah. He is saying "We don't have to tell you about the 'appointed time of Messiah's coming' because your already know...." And he explains that his coming will be as "a thief in the night."
But the metaphor of the "thief in the night" was a description of how those who don't understand when he will come will be caught off guard at his appearing. However, those who are wise, who understand these things, who are "sons of the light and sons of the day" will NOT be caught by surprise when he appears. This is because he will come at the Appointed Time - Yom Teru'ah.
Thus is completed the purpose of the parable. Those who will not obey the Scriptures believe that Messiah's coming can not be understood or calculated. But those with understanding and ears to hear and understand, know full well that Yahusha was clearly explaining the time of his coming. And Paul was alluding to the same. Messiah's return on the clouds with a trumpet call and a shout (teru'ah) will occur at the Appointed Time of Yom Teru'ah - the Day of the Awakening Blast. It is at this time that the dead in Messiah will rise.
In a well known but never understood prophesy in Daniel 12, we are told when the resurrection will take place:
At that time Michael, the great prince who watches over your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress unlike any other from the nation's beginning up to that time. But at that time your own people, all those whose names are found written in the book, will escape. Many of those who sleep in the dusty ground will awake-- some to everlasting life, and others to shame and everlasting abhorrence. But the wise will shine like the brightness of the heavenly expanse. And those bringing many to righteousness will be like the stars forever and ever (Daniel 12:1-3).
There is nothing hard to understand about these words spoken to Daniel. Very clearly, the resurrection of the righteous is described (and the 3rd resurrection is mentioned). Many "wise" will awake from their sleep in the grave and will shine because they brought many to righteousness on account of their testimony to the truth of the Torah and their witness of the Messiah.
This prophesy of Daniel 12 tells us exactly when the Messiah will fulfill Yom Teru'ah - the Day of the Awakening Shout. This time prophesy has been written for thousands of years. But the Spirit has hidden the meaning and interpretation from our eyes until now. Elohim is revealing the meaning of this Scripture in these last days to prepare his people, who listen to his voice, for Messiah's return.
Read about the correct interpretation of Daniel's prophesy of the resurrection by clicking on this link:
The appointed day of the teruah has been a mystery for centuries - yea - millennia. We have discovered that this day was to be a rehearsal or foreshadowing of the great day when, at the blowing of trumpets and with a loud shout (teruah), Yahusha the Messiah is to come down from heaven and resurrect all those who have died after faithfully serving him in covenant relationship.
Daniel told us that the wise would understand these things. Messiah told his disciples that his coming would be like a thief in the night to those who walk in darkness. And Paul further explains that for those who are walking in the light, his coming would be known and understood.
Daniel, in fact, tells us exactly when the resurrection which takes place at Messiah's return will happen. Only the wise will understand this, though. Naysayers and scoffers will ridicule this explanation and will continue to walk in darkness and have that day overtake them as a thief. But the wise are to understand that Messiah Yahusha will return soon - and his coming must be on that very day appointed for his coming - Yom Teru'ah.