A big meal is planned for tonight, and all over Israel kitchens are buzzing with activity and festive tables are being set up in most homes as families prepare to get together all across the country to celebrate Rosh Hashanah together, the “Jewish New Year,” on the first day of the seventh month of the biblical calendar. Yet, while our mailboxes are being filled with electronic holiday greeting cards and our calendars recognize the occasion, many Israelis don’t really know what they are celebrating at all during Rosh Hashanah on this first day of the month of Tishrei.

In fact, our Hebraic ancestors in biblical times not only DID NOT observe the date the way we do it today, but probably had no clear idea regarding any New Year’s celebration at all other than recognizing that the Passover month was the first month of the year as recorded in Exodus 12. The rest of the months were simply named second, third, fifth, seventh and so on, and the only biblical observance of a “New” anything was the “New Moon” cycle, announcing the start of a new lunar month to the population of ancient Israel.

Nowhere in the bible were our ancestors commanded to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. And while extra biblical traditions conceived and placed this holiday on the first day of the month of Tishrei, the seventh biblical month, this date was actually assigned by God much earlier, through Moses, for a different biblical feast all together: the “Feast of Trumpets.” The historical fact is that Rosh Hashanah’s traditions originated during our Babylonian exile and following centuries, when Israel was distant from the land and from God, yet this made-up modern holiday nearly replaced the biblical commandment regarding the observance of the fifth feast God commanded Israel to keep, Tabernacles, incorporating the blowing of the trumpets among the new, man-made traditions.

As all students of the Bible know, there are seven feasts God commanded Israel to observe: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles, all pointing to (1) God’s plan of world redemption and (2) His Anointed Servant, our Messiah (Leviticus 23). Bottom of Form

Concerning the fifth feast, Trumpets, the book of Leviticus 23:24-25 says “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 of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.’”

Blowing of trumpets and keeping a Sabbath rest are the only instructions given us for this fifth feast of God, and the blowing was for a remembrance. A remembrance of what? Perhaps Trumpets is a call to remember the true state of our being, humanity’s great need of divine help and mercy, and set our hearts and minds in preparation toward the two upcoming and final feasts of God. As the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles soon arrive, carrying in their wings the prophetic weight of the divine plan and purpose, all God’s children must seek to comprehend their message and examine our hearts in light of their severity and eternal impact.

Many in the Messianic community today believe that the Day of Atonement (sixth feast) points toward Israel’s national repentance and redemption (Zechariah 12), and that the Feast of Tabernacles (seventh feast) speaks of Messiah’s reign on earth (Zechariah 14). These feasts arrive in fast succession following the blowing of the Trumpets, and the entire prophetic season lasts only 21 days from beginning to end, culminating in the fulfillment of all of God’s seven feasts; the unfolding of the mystery of Messiah; and the coming of His Kingdom to earth.

Thank God that He gave us the Feast of Trumpets to celebrate today, providing a needed reminder and a wake-up call urging all who have ears to hear to prepare and look expectantly for these promised world changing events.

God bless you from Jerusalem and Shana Tova!
Samuel Smadja