We saw earlier how the Head of the Year should be declared when the first crescent sliver of the new moon is physically sighted from the Land of Israel, after the barley in the Land of Israel has become Aviv.
The declaration of the Head of the Year establishes the timing of all the Spring Festivals, including Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Wave Sheaf and even the Pentecost. All of these festival dates can be determined just as soon as the Head of the Year is known. However, until the first crescent sliver of the new moon of the seventh month has been physically sighted the Fall Festival dates cannot be known, because Yahweh is ultimately in control of the weather.
The New Moon Day of the seventh month is called ‘Yom Teruah’ (יוֹם תְּרוּעָה). This is oftentimes translated as the ‘Day of Trumpets’, although it actually translates more like the ‘Day of Blowing,’ or the ‘Day of Shouting.’ Strong’s Concordance tells us that the word ‘Teruah’ (תְּרוּעָה) refers to an acclamation of joy, especially of trumpets, and also as a cry of battle, or an alarm.
OT:8643 teruw`ah (ter-oo-aw’); from OT:7321; clamor, i.e. acclamation of joy or a battle-cry; especially clangor of trumpets, as an alarum [sic]:
When we look up the reference to OT:7321, we find that the idea is one of ‘splitting the ears’ with sound, particularly with shouts of joy or alarm.
OT: 7321 ruwa` (roo-ah’); a primitive root; to mar (especially by breaking); figuratively, to split the ears (with sound), i.e. shout (for alarm or joy):
In this light, let us consider Numbers 10:8-9, which tells us that whenever Israel went out to battle, the priests would blow the silver trumpets (חֲצֹצְרוֹת), sounding an alarm so that Yahweh would remember Israel, and save her from her enemies.
8 The sons of Aharon, the priests, shall blow the trumpets; and these shall be to you as an ordinance forever throughout your generations.
9 “When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before Yahweh your Elohim, and you will be saved from your enemies.
|(8) וּבְנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים יִתְקְעוּ בַּחֲצֹצְרוֹת | וְהָיוּ לָכֶם לְחֻקַּת עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם:
(9) וְכִי תָבֹאוּ מִלְחָמָה בְּאַרְצְכֶם עַל הַצַּר הַצֹּרֵר אֶתְכֶם וַהֲרֵעֹתֶם בַּחֲצֹצְרוֹת | וֲנִזְכַּרְתֶּם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וְנוֹשַׁעְתֶּם מֵאֹיְבֵיכֶם:
Israel was also commanded to blow the silver trumpets in their appointed feasts, in the beginnings of their months, over the sacrifices of their peace offerings and in their ‘day of gladness.’ Scholars differ as to whether this ‘day of gladness’ is a reference to the Sabbath, the Feast of Tabernacles, or some other day.
10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be a memorial for you before your Elohim: I am Yahweh your Elohim.”
|(10) וּבְיוֹם שִׂמְחַתְכֶם וּבְמוֹעֲדֵיכֶם וּבְרָאשֵׁי חָדְשֵׁיכֶם וּתְקַעְתֶּם בַּחֲצֹצְרֹת עַל עֹלֹתֵיכֶם וְעַל זִבְחֵי שַׁלְמֵיכֶם | וְהָיוּ לָכֶם לְזִכָּרוֹן לִפְנֵי אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם|
But if we are commanded to blow the silver trumpets at the beginning of each of our months, then what makes Yom Teruah any different from any other new moon day? One thing that sets it apart is how Israel is not supposed to work on that day, but is commanded to have a set-apart day of rest.
1 ‘And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a set-apart gathering. You shall do no customary work. For you it is a day of blowing.
|(1) וּבַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם כָּל מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ | יוֹם תְּרוּעָה יִהְיֶה לָכֶם:|
In the next five verses, Yahweh prescribes the offerings we are to bring Him on this day.
Bemidbar (Numbers) 29:2-6
2 You shall offer a burnt offering as a sweet aroma to Yahweh: one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year, without blemish.
3 Their grain offering shall be fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the ram,
4 and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs;
5 also one kid of the goats as a sin offering, to make atonement for you;
6 besides the burnt offering with its grain offering for the New Moon, the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their drink offerings, according to their ordinance, as a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to Yahweh.
Some liken Yahweh’s offerings to an outdoor barbecue, and a barbecue always smells good to the human nose. However, since Yahweh is Spirit, could it be that the reason He says these things are a ‘sweet aroma’ is that it pleases Him whenever we willingly give up what we want, in order to follow His word?
Leviticus 23 confirms that we are to observe Yom Teruah as a set-apart memorial of blowing, and to bring Him an offering made by fire.
23 Then Yahweh spoke to Moshe, saying,
24 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing (the trumpets), a set-apart gathering.
25 You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh.'”
|(23) וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר:
(24) דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר | בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם שַׁבָּתוֹן זִכְרוֹן תְּרוּעָה מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ:
(25) כָּל מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ | וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם אִשֶּׁה לַיהוָה
But what is the deeper significance of Yom Teruah? Yom Teruah is sometimes called ‘the feast of which no man knows the day or the hour’ because, like the Head of the Year, we cannot know in advance the day or the hour it will begin. Rather, we must wait until Yahweh shows us the first crescent sliver of His new moon.
As we will see in the chapters that follow, Yeshua was probably conceived during the Festival of Hanukkah, and was likely born on the first day of the fall Feast of Tabernacles. We have already seen that He was put to death in fulfillment of the Passover, and that He also fulfilled the Days of Unleavened Bread, the Omer, and the Pentecost. In like fashion, many scholars believe Yeshua will return in fulfillment of the Day of Trumpets, because just as no man knows the day or the hour of the Day of Trumpets before the first crescent sliver of the new moon is physically seen, Yeshua tells us that no man knows the day or the hour in which He will physically return, either.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 24:29-32
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, 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.
31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.
In the Parable of the Fig Tree, Yeshua seems to tell us that we can know the general season of His return in advance, yet we cannot know the exact time. This is in the same way as we can know when the Fall Festival Season approaches, but still we must wait for Yahweh to show us the first crescent sliver of the new moon.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 24:36-44
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.
41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Adon is coming.
43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
We are to know the general time when the Son of Man will appear, yet we cannot know the exact hour of His appearance until He actually arrives. Therefore, we are to be alert, wait, and watch.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 25:1-13
1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,
4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’
7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Master! Master! Open to us!’
12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
Judaism teaches that the ten days beginning with Yom Teruah and ending with Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) are called the ‘Ten Days of Awe.’ The last service on Yom Kippur is called ‘Neilah’, which means, literally, ‘locked’, the concept being that Yahweh locks the doors of heaven against us at that time, if we have not already repented and entered into His kingdom.
Qorintim Aleph (1st Cor.) 15:50-52
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Elohim; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed —
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Many scholars believe that this passage in First Corinthians implies that Yeshua will return on Yom Teruah, since we will be changed at His coming, which will occur at the last trumpet.
Trumpets are also mentioned many other places in Scripture, and trumpets are usually associated with judgment and the final redemption. This is consistent with the theme of the Fall Feasts in general.
While there are many rabbinical traditions associated with Yom Teruah, many of them contradict Scripture. It is not our purpose to detail those rabbinical traditions here, but one of these rabbinical customs has become recorded in Scripture, and therefore we need to discuss it.
Another term for the Head of Months is the Head of the Year, and in Hebrew, the term for the Head of the Year is ‘Rosh Hashanah.’ As we saw earlier, Yahweh tells us that Rosh Hashanah begins on the first day of the first month.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:2
2 “This month is the head of months for you; it is the first month of the year to you.”
The rabbis, however, have developed a ruling that Rosh Hashanah should be celebrated not on the first day of the first month, but on the first two days of the seventh month. The development of this tradition is complex, and it is not our purpose to detail it here, but it seems this rabbinical custom may have already been in place by the end of the Babylonian Exile, as evidenced by the fact that Ezra held a set-apart assembly on the first two days of the seventh month.
Nehemiah 8:2-3 shows us how Ezra assembled the people on the first day of the seventh month.
2 So Ezra the priest brought the Torah before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month.
3 Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Torah.
Then Nehemiah 8:13 shows us how Ezra led a second day of set-apart assembly on the second day of the seventh month.
13 Now on the second day the heads of the fathers’ houses of all the people, with the priests and Levites, were gathered to Ezra the scribe, in order to understand the words of the Torah.
The rabbis today celebrate Rosh Hashanah on the first two days of the seventh month, identical with how Ezra the priest did so.
There are many other rabbinical customs surrounding Yom Teruah which we will not attempt to explore here.