By Ya’acov Natan Lawrence
Hoshana Rabbah Biblical Resources
This will be one of the most comprehensive articles you have ever read on this subject and contains revelation you will read nowhere else. Hopefully it will help to light your spiritual fires!— Nathan
Arise thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Messiah shall give thee light. (Eph 5:14, also 8–16)
Yom Teruah—The Beginning of the Fall (End-Time) Harvest
Yom Tom Teruah or the Day of Trumpets, Shouting or Shofar Blasts (commonly called “Rosh Hashana”) occurs at the end of the summer months and marked the beginning of the fall harvest or festival season for the ancient Israelites. But this biblical holiday is much more than a time to harvest the late summer and early fall fruits and vegetables from your garden or orchard. Rather, it is a time of the harvest of souls for the kingdom of heaven! Read on and discover how and when this will occur and how you can be part of this glorious event.
In the Creator’s larger plan of salvation for humankind, Yom Teruah is the fourth of seven of YHVH Elohim’s biblical holidays or holy days (colloquially referred to as “feasts”), where the Creator lays out his progressive plan of redemption or salvation. It all starts with Passover in the spring which symbolically and prophetically pictures a new believer coming to faith in Yeshua the Messiah and culminates with the Eighth Day which pictures the now glorified saint-bride of Yeshua living forever in the New Jerusalem in the spiritual dimension of the new heavens on the new earth. So how does the Day of Trumpets figure into this seven-step scenario? As we shall see below, like a puzzle piece, Yom Teruah fits perfectly into the larger panoramic, multidimensional picture of heaven’s plan to create a family of glorified and immortalized humans who will live in a heavenly paradise with their Maker forever. So buckle your seatbelts for a glorious preview of what is to come if you are an ardent follower and lover of Yeshua the Messiah and his word!
Before probing the profound spiritual and prophetic implications of Yom Teruah, consider this. For many believers, the biblical feasts are merely a quaint, interesting if not intriguing ancient biblical ritual worth studying about, but that’s where it ends. This, however, was not the Creator’s intention in his Word. No! He commanded his people to keep, and yes, to celebrate his holy days by stopping one’s daily routine and dedicating an entire set-apart time period to their observance. To be sure, YHVH’s biblical feasts are more than a head trip for Jewish wannabes. Indeed, YHVH intended his people annually, literally and experientially to walk through the seven steps of his glorious plan of salvation. Why? There are many reasons for this that we will discuss in more detail below, but their are several main reasons. Most notably, these steps are a way to transmit to our child key biblical truths relating to their eternal destiny with the hope that they will remain faithful to YHVH all the days of their lives. The feasts also serve to remind the saints about their past history, their present spiritual condition and what lies ahead for them in the future if they remain faithful to YHVH and his Word. Now consider this. Humans typically commemoratively celebrate past notable events in their lives annually such as birthdays, anniversaries, or national holidays. Notice the emphasis on the word past? This is because it is impossible for humans to commemorate future events, since no one can accurately predict the exact timing of any future event. Right? This is not the case with the Creator’s biblical feasts. They are unique in all of human experiences and men’s traditions in that they not only commemorate past historical events, but also present realities or expectations in the believer’s life, as well as, and note this well, future events that have yet to occur. Only YHVH can predict the future, and the fall feasts, at least, allow us mortals to peer into the future to see what the Creator has in store for the human race and, more specifically, the saints who have put their trusting faith in him.
So now let’s unpack the major ramifications of YHVH’s biblical feasts and then zoom in specifically on Yom Teruah to explore the depths and riches of this step in the Creator’s plan of salvation.
Prophetically, the summer months between the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (in Hebrew Chag haShavuot) in the late spring and the autumn feast of Yom Teruah is a spiritual picture of what is often called the “Church Age,” which is the period of time from the Feast of Pentecost in Acts chapter two until the return of Yeshua the Messiah at the end of the age and lasting for approximately 2000 years. For many people, especially those living in hotter climes, summer is a time of leisure, vacation, weariness and fatigue due to the excessive heat. Likewise, many Bible believers have fallen asleep growing spiritually weary while waiting for the return of the Messiah. Yeshua discusses this issue in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt 25) who all grew weary and fell asleep awaiting the coming of the Bridegroom (Yeshua).
This all changes on the first day of the seventh month of the biblical Hebrew calendar when off in the distance the sound of a shofar blast suddenly pierces the atmosphere and registers in the eardrums of those who have fallen asleep. Not only does this shofar blast signal the beginning of the seventh month when the new crescent moon is sighted, but it announces the return of the Bridegroom (Yeshua) coming for his bride (the virgin saints). As in the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the cry went forth that the bridegroom was coming and all awoke from their slumber to prepare for his arrival. In these end days, that cry is going forth even now for all to hear, to awake and to prepare for the arrival of Yeshua the Messiah.
In the biblical calendar, the visible sighting of the crescent new moon always marks the beginning of the month and is announced by the shofar blast (Ps 81:3). Likewise, on the first day of the seventh month of the biblical calendar, the arrival of the new moon (called Rosh Chodesh) when the shofar sounds marks the beginning of Yom Teruah. This is the first day of the fall (festival) harvest season and is the time when the call goes out for the spiritual drowsy to awake, and to hear the voice of YHVH, to be invigorated by the breath or voice of the shofar, which is symbolic of YHVH’s prophetic word or oracle going forth across the earth in the last days.
Furthermore, the ram’s horn shofar is bent into a curved shape to represent the contrite heart of both the blower and the hearer. This is the season for the righteous to bend their hearts in humility and contrition before YHVH and repent of spiritual lassitude and lukewarmness and to awake to spiritual action and preparation, for the fall feasts point to awesome end time events that will occur at some point in time in the near future. It is a time to be refreshed by the breath of YHVH, and a time of new beginnings. Let YHVH breathe on you, revive you and empower you as you enter into the fall biblical festival season, and as you prepare to meet your King and Redeemer, Yeshua, in the air.
Yom Teruah also begins a season that prophetically speaks of war and battle, for in ancient times the shofar was a weapon of warfare in Israel, and it will be used again as such in the end times. It was used to call Israel to battle, to defeat her enemies with the help of YHVH. The shofar was then used to proclaim victory after the battle was won and to worship YHVH who had given them the victory. The battle against Israel’s enemies still rages on—even in the end times. Today, the enemies of the redeemed Israelites are mostly spiritual. They are the world, the flesh and the devil (Jas 3:15; Eph 2:2–3). Through faith in Yeshua the Messiah who defeated death, hell and the grave, we can have victory over mortality, sin, the devil and this world (1 Cor 15:51–57; Rom 8:27; 1 John 4:4; 5:4; Rev 12:11). As we hear the sound of the shofar calling us to arise from spiritual slumber, YHVH is telling his people to become overcomers, so that they may be worthy to partake of the glories of his eternal kingdom (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).
Yom Teruah is also the time of the reaping of the summer harvest. Spiritually speaking, this period will be the time of the reaping of the righteous to their reward (Rev 14:4) and the harvest of the wicked to the great winepress of Elohim’s wrath (Rev 14:14–20). It is the time of the resurrection of the dead in Messiah Yeshua at the end of the tribulation (Matt 24:29) and the beginning of Elohim’s wrath being poured out upon the nations (see Joel 3:11–13). This begins the wrath of Elohim time pictured by Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement, which occurs ten days after Yom Teruah) before which time the dead saints will have been resurrected and given their spiritual, glorified, second Adam bodies.
The New Moon (Rosh Chodesh) and Yom Teruah—A Day of New Beginnings and Expectancy
In anticipation of Rosh Chodesh (the new moon sighted each month) and hence the beginning of Yom Teruah, there is a sense of expectancy and excitement among the saints. It is a time of watching and praying, for the renewal of the moon (the word new as in new moon [Col 2:16] in the Greek New Testament is kainen meaning “renewal or restoration of something which already exists”and is not the word neos which means “brand new”), which represents “new beginnings, good tidings, the renewal of the individual as well as the community.”
The sixth month on the biblical calendar is traditionally referred to by its non-biblical Aramaic name Elul. Some rabbinical sources see this word as an acronym of “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li,” “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine,” a quote from Song of Songs 6:3, where the Beloved is YHVH and the “I” are YHVH’s people. In Aramaic (the vernacular of the Jewish people at the time that the month names were adopted), the word Elul means “search,” which is appropriate, because this is a time of year when we search our hearts. (from the web site: http://www.jewfaq.org/elul.htm#Selichot).
During the month of Elul, our focus is to be on repentance, restoration and preparation for the coming of the Messiah. In order to repent one must understand that Scripture defines sins as the violation of YHVH’s Torah, or instructions or teachings in righteousness (1 John 3:4). Sin or chet in Hebrew, in a loose sense, means “a failure in our relationship with Elohim.” Our goal should be to continually move closer to Elohim, but “chet” is behavior that causes us to move away from Elohim.
If YHVH requires his people to turn away from sin and turn to righteousness (the act of which is called repentance), then what is therefore involved in repentance? Repentance or teshuvah in Hebrew, means “to return.” In the biblical context, it means “to return to Elohim” and to behavior required of us by Elohim; in other words, return to obedience to his commandments. While we deeply regret our movement away from Elohim, we must not despair, for YHVH has provided the way for our return to him and he tells us that when we repent, he forgives without delay.
According to Scripture, there are, several basic steps to repentance:
- We must first recognize that we have a problem — that we are sinful to the core (Jer 17:9; Rom 8:7; Rom 3:10–18, 23; Isa 64:6). For this to happen, we have to come to grips with the fact that we have broken Elohim’s laws, which define sin (1 John 3:4). Human pride makes this step the hardest one to take.
- We must confess our sin before YHVH (Lev 5:5; Num 5:7).
- We must turn from our sins and resolve to stop sinning.
- We must manifest heartfelt regret for our wrong actions by evidencing remorse and contrition before YHVH and our fellow man, if applicable.
- An offering of the legally prescribed sacrifice must be made for the sin (Lev 5:1–20). Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, became that sacrifice for our sin once and for all when he died on the cross (Isa 53:5; Heb 4:14–5:10; 7:14–8:6; 9:11–10:22).
- When we have sinned against our fellow man, not only is confession and forsaking that sin required, but we must make restitution in full of whatever has been wrongfully obtained or withheld from one’s fellow man (Lev 5:14–19; Matt 5:23–25).
- We must then accept our Heavenly Father’s unconditional mercy and grace (Ps 103:3–4, 10–17).
The shofar’s blowing is a call to awaken out of spiritual sleep, lethargy, stagnation, slumber and to repent of sin. No man knows the day or the hour of the new moon’s arrival each month (though one who is alert certainly can know the season and year), so the human tendency is to grow weary in waiting, and to grow slack in one’s obedience to YHVH’s righteous commands. Yet when the new moon is sighted and the shofar sounds, this is the signal for the slumbering to awake, for hope to arise, renewal and spiritual revival to occur and action to be taken to put off sin and to draw closer spiritually to YHVH Elohim.
The awakening sound of the shofar blast is the Hebrew word teruah (see Lev 23:24 and Num 29:1 where the phrase “blowing of trumpets” is teruah), which means “the shout or blast of war, alarm, alarm of war, war cry, signal, and sound of tempest.” Teruah derives from the Hebrew root word ruah meaning “alarm, signal, sound or blast of the shofar, to raise a shout.” The name Yom Teruah could therefore have several literal meanings: “the day of the shout, the day of the war alarm or the day of the shofar blast.”
When we understand the significance of this day from a biblical understanding, we realize that Yom Teruah is a day of shouting (with exultant joy or as a shriek in alarm), or a day of shofar blowing. Shofars were blown in biblical times to rally the people together, to alert the people in time of war, to warn the people, or as an instrument (along with shouts) to express the people’s joy, or to praise YHVH.
As we shall see, Yom Teruah prophetically involves all these concepts, for it is a day when YHVH’s people will shout with joy as they gather to meet Yeshua in the air after having been bodily resurrected at the sound of the last shofar blast, but it is also a time of alarm and shrieking on the part of the wicked as a time of war and terror brought on by the judgments of YHVH are about to come upon the earth.
Additionally, Yom Teruah is a day of new beginnings or renewal, to wake up from lethargy and slumber, to be broken out of that sleepy, comfort zone state and to be awakened to action. Again, remember the ten virgins of Matthew 25 who slept in anticipation of the bridegroom’s arrival? When the shout went forth that he was coming they were all awakened. Some were prepared to go into the marriage supper of the bridegroom and some were not. Our Bridegroom is Yeshua.
Yom Teruah Versus Rosh Hashana
Nowhere in Scripture is this festival referred to as Rosh Hashana, which literally means “head of the year”—a reference to the extra-biblical Jewish tradition that the first day of the seventh month is the beginning of the new year. Scripture is very clear about when the biblical new year begins. In Exodus 12:2, YHVH instructs the children of Israel that the month of the abiv barley grain would be the beginning of the year for them. Fourteen days after the beginning of this month the Passover occurs. The beginning of the biblical year is in the early spring of the year when plant life is bursting forth from a long dead winter season. It is a picture of spiritual rebirth or redemption for YHVH’s people.
It is true that the Jewish sages recognize Abib (or Aviv) or Nisan in the spring as the first month of the biblical calendar and the beginning of civil or agricultural year for ancient Israel, now Judaism recognizes the first day of the seventh month (called Yom Teruah in the Bible or Rosh Hashana in modern Jewish tradition) as the beginning of the civil and religious year (Exploring Jewish Tradition, by Rabbi Abraham Witty, p. 120; The Jewish Book of Why, by Alfred Kolatch, pp. 222–223). In fact, the rabbinic Jews maintain the tradition that there are four new years (Kolatch, p. 223; Talmud Rosh Hashana 1:1):
- The first of Nisan/Abib for royalty (dating of royal events).
- The first of Tishiri for agriculture (the beginning of the harvest season) and traditionally commemorating the creation.
- The first of Elul for tithing cattle.
- The first of Shevat as the new year for trees.
Additionally, one Jewish scholar believes that the rabbinic tradition that Rosh Hashana is the beginning of the new year actually derives from pagan customs absorbed by the Jewish people while living in Babylon. These ancient pagans had a new year’s festival called Akitu, that happened to fall on the same day as Yom Teurah. Gradually, the Jews assimilated Yom Teruah with Akitu with the result being Rosh Hashana. (For more information on this, go to http://www.karaite-korner.org/yom_teruah.shtml#sdfootnote1sym.)
With all due respect to our Jewish brothers, we choose to follow a more literal and strict biblical determination for when the new year is to start and what the name of the festival of the first day of the seventh month is to be. Furthermore, we choose not to follow traditions that are mixed with or derived from pagan practices. Therefore, we neither recognize Rosh Hashana as the true biblical name for this festival, nor as the beginning of the biblical new year.
Overview of the Biblical Feasts
Before continuing our study on Yom Teruah, the fourth of the seven of YHVH’s annual set-apart festivals when he meets with his people, let us quickly review the other six divine appointments. Without understanding Yom Teruah’s synchronization as it relates to the other feasts and YHVH’s overall plan of redemption as revealed in the seven annual feasts, one cannot fully appreciate this fourth festival.
If you had to sum up the entire message of the Bible in one word what would it be? Probably words such as love, hope, salvation, eternal life or heaven are coming to your mind. But I challenge you to find a better word than the following: r-e-c-o-n-c-i-l-i-a-t-i-o-n. The dictionary defines reconciliation as “to restore to friendship or harmony, to settle or resolve a quarrel, to make consistent or congruous.” When man chose to rebel against YHVH and to give in to sin at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil at the very beginning he chose the path of separation from his Heavenly Father. Sin causes man to be separated from a totally holy, righteous and sinless Creator. Since that time YHVH has been endeavoring to reconcile man to himself. He has laid out criteria for man to follow for this to occur—for man to once again have a friendly, loving and intimate relationship with his Heavenly Father as did Adam before he sinned.
The set-apart appointed times (moedim) or divine rehearsals/gatherings (miqra kodesh) of YHVH are prophetic shadow-pictures or symbols of the steps man must take to be reconciled to his Heavenly Father. They are the complete plan of salvation or redemption rolled up into seven easy-to-understand steps. Though a child can understand these steps, the truths contained therein can at the same time be expanded and unfolded until one literally has rolled out before oneself the entire message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation—a message that to the human comprehension is staggering, deep and rich beyond understanding. These feast days are literally the skeletal structure upon which the truths of the entire Bible hang. The message of redemption, sanctification, salvation, the atonement, glorification, eschatology, the history of Israel, the entire Gospel message, the covenants, the marriage of the Lamb, the bride of Messiah and Yeshua the Messiah are all prefigured within the glorious spiritual container of YHVH’s set apart feasts contained in seven steps—seven being the biblical number of divine perfection and completion.
Quite assuredly, without a deep, walking-it-out comprehension of the feast days of YHVH, no matter how learned one is in biblical understanding, or how academically astute and mentally acute in biblical erudition one may be, one will not have a deep understanding of those scriptural subjects listed above. How can one understand end-time events such as the second coming, the great tribulation and the rapture unless one understands the feast days from a deep Hebraic perspective? One simply cannot have just a knowledge of Greek, the Gospels, the Apostolic Scriptures along with a surface understanding (i.e., traditional Christian perspective) of the prophecies of the “Old Testament” and expect to understand eschatology (the study of end-time events) unless one immerses themselves in understanding and keeping the feast days of YHVH. One cannot throw out the foundation or the skeletal structure and expect to have a body of understanding that amounts to anything at all. Simple logic and common sense and the very truth and character of YHVH Elohim demands and dictates this so.
At Mount Sinai, YHVH gave to his people Israel what is commonly called the “Ten Commandments.” These words from the mouth of YHVH himself were and are literally the foundation and cornerstone to the rest of the 613 commandments from YHVH given to man through Moses contained in the Torah or Pentateuch. The Jewish rabbis have understood this for thousands of years. For example, the prohibition against adultery includes not only marital infidelity, but all manner of sexual sin, for the cornerstone of sexual holiness is a righteous and undefiled marital union. The same can be said of all the other commands. From these ten statements or foundational principles are prefigured and spring forth all 613. Similarly, within the confines of the fourth commandment, the seventh-day Sabbath, are contained all the high Sabbath set-apart feasts of YHVH as well as the land Sabbaths, sabbatical and jubilee years. This is Hebraic thought. The point is, the feast days are embodied in the very “Ten Commandments” themselves. These Sabbaths were so vital in YHVH’s eyes and so fundamental to his relationship with his people that he said that they would be, in essence, the wedding ring that he and Israel would wear around their respective fingers symbolic of their covenantal (marital) agreement, for we read the following in Exodus 31:13,
Speak you also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am YHVH that does sanctify you.
Please note that the word Sabbaths is in the plural. It refers not only to the weekly, seventh-day Sabbath, but to all the Sabbaths of YHVH, including his set-apart feasts. These days are so important that they would actually form the basis for his reconciliatory relationship with his people throughout their generations, which means forever!
Now with these preliminary statements made we encourage you to read on to further explore the rich truths of these days. You will be blessed. The words and truths of YHVH Elohim, your Creator and Heavenly Father in whose image you were created and who loves you beyond your wildest comprehension—his words are words of life and truth.
Why Study and Celebrate the Feasts of YHVH?
- The Feasts are a prophetic shadow-picture of things to come (Col 2:16–17; Heb 10:1). When they were given to ancient Israel they pointed forward to future events that would occur to the nation of Israel. The spring feast days, for example, pointed to Messiah’s first coming while the fall feast days point to his second coming leading into the Messianic Age (Millennium) and into eternity beyond.
- All the feast days point to Yeshua. The name Yeshua means salvation and these days all point to the various steps of the path of salvation that believers find themselves on.
- Many of the feast days point back to historical events that occurred in Israel’s history from which we can learn lessons and which are representative of our own spiritual journey (1 Cor 10:1–6, 11).
- The people of YHVH are commanded to keep what Scriptures calls the appointed times. They are times when he makes an appointment that he will meet with his people (Lev 23:1–2, 4). It is at these festivals or commanded assemblies that YHVH teaches his people about his wonderful plan of salvation or redemption of the world through Yeshua the Messiah.
- The Feasts are in the Bible and the whole Bible is the inspired word of Elohim (2 Tim. 3:16). Yeshua commands us to live by every word that comes out of the mouth of Elohim (Matt 4:4).
- The feast days set forth the pattern of heavenly things on earth (Heb 8:1–2, 5; 9:8–9, 23; Exod 25:8–9, 40; 26:30; Num 8:4; Ezek 43:1–6, 10–12).
- We as physical beings need physical means and methods to help us understand spiritual mysteries. YHVH gives us the natural to help us to understand the supernatural (spiritual) (1 Cor. 2:9–13).
The Seven Biblical Feasts Represent the Seven Steps of YHVH’s Plan of
Redemption or Salvation For Mankind—A Quick Overview
The first annual festival in YHVH’s glorious lineup in the steps of redemption is Pesach, which occurs in the early spring of the year at the time of the rebirth of the creation after a long and dead winter season. Likewise, it was the time of the birth of the nation of Israel. The Children of Israel had been enslaved in Egypt for many years, but they could not extricate themselves from the death grip of Pharaoh, a picture of Satan, without some help from above. YHVH heard their cries of anguish, told them to sacrifice a lamb and smear the blood on the doors of their homes. This they did by faith and YHVH extended his grace and mercy upon them when he caused the death angel to spare them when he passed over their homes. Though sinful and worthy of death, YHVH delivered the Israelites from the wages of their sins, which is death, and at the same time the Egyptians, who were also sinners, received judgment unto death because they were not under the blood of the lamb. The blood of the lamb made it possible for Israel to leave Egypt freely.
Spiritually one must leave the world (spiritual Egypt), a place of spiritual oppression and slavery, darkness and false religion. It is the realm or kingdom of Satan, the prince of death. One cannot leave the kingdom of darkness on one’s own strength. One cannot free oneself from slavery to the strong tyrants and masters of this world, the flesh or the devil. A greater power than these must deliver us from these slave masters who maintain humans in their death grip. Only by the blood of the Lamb of YHVH smeared on the door posts and lintels (our actions and thoughts) of our houses (our lives) will the death angel pass over us, for Yeshua the Lamb of YHVH defeated the enemy at the cross and defeated the death sentence or death grip of sin by resurrecting from the grave on the third day after his death (Col 2:12–15). The Israelites, by faith, trusted in the blood of the Lamb and by YHVH’s grace their sins were not credited to their account, but were forgiven causing the death angel to pass over. At that time they physically began to leave Egypt.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag haMatzot)
The Israelites left Egypt on the first day of this seven-day long festival. Leaving Egypt was a relatively simple process, but now began the process of “getting Egypt out of them.” Dying to self and overcoming all the sinful habits in our lives is a process. We cannot do this of our own efforts but need the redeeming work of Messiah. This is illustrated during this feast by YHVH’s command to remove all the physical leavening from our homes. Leavening is a type of sin and pride since yeast causes bread to rise and puff up. The sin of pride and hypocrisy leads one to believe that one is in a better spiritual state than one actually is. This is the state of spiritual delusion in which humans naturally find themselves. YHVH has given men six days (6000 years) to come to realize this. The seventh day of this week-long festival is a high Sabbath day that pictures YHVH’s Messianic Age (Millennium) when humans will be living in harmony with YHVH and resting in the saving work of the blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It represents victory over sin (leavening). Israel celebrated the Passover in the Promised Land then marched around Jericho for six days. On the seventh day, the walls of Jericho came down!
The Feast of Weeks, Feast of First Fruits or Pentecost (Shavuot)
This is the third of the seven festivals of YHVH and occurs in the late spring of the year. Humans are not able to remove sin from their own lives by their own efforts anymore than one can pull oneself up by one’s own bootstraps. Sin is too much a part of our mind, will and emotions. We need the working and enabling power of the Set-apart Spirit (Ruach haKodesh) in our lives to bring sin to light and to help us to overcome it. This happens as we begin to feed upon the Word of YHVH-Yeshua the Messiah and little-by-little our lives come into conformity with that Word or with the life of Yeshua. He is the Word of YHVH made flesh (John 1:14; Rom 8:29). This is pictured by the Children of Israel receiving the words and instructions on how to live a set-apart and sanctified life (contained in the Torah-law) of YHVH Elohim at Mount Sinai during the Feast of Weeks. This was repeated during the Apostolic Era on the Day of Pentecost as Yeshua promised to send the Comforter to live inside of believers aiding them at arriving at the truth of YHVH (John 14:16). This promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
The Day of Trumpets or (literally) the Day of the Awakening Blast
(Yom Teruah or commonly called Rosh Hoshana)
This is the fourth festival of YHVH Elohim and hence the fourth step in his plan of salvation. Yom Teruah occurs in the late summer or early fall season of the year. The spring feast days all relate to the work Yeshua accomplished on the earth at his first coming while the fall feast days (of which Yom Teruah is the first) picture the work he will do on earth prior to and after his second coming. This day pictures the beginning of the great tribulation period just prior to the return of Yeshua the Messiah. This festival also pictures the time when Messiah is calling his bride, born-again believers, to ready themselves spiritually for the return of Yeshua, the Bridegroom. The call will go out for her to come out of the world, to fill her lamp with the oil of the Ruach haKodesh and to put on robes of righteousness in preparation for the marriage supper of the Lamb. During the ten-day period between this appointed time and the next appointed time (Yom Kippur) is when the great tribulation occurs and when many will be saved out of this tribulation (the great and innumerable multitude, Rev. 7:9). After the tribulation period, which terminates with the blowing of the seventh trumpet (in Hebraic thought called the last trumpet), the resurrection of the righteous dead and the catching away of the righteous living occurs (Rev 11:14–18 and 12:10 with Matt. 24:29-31). This occurs before the wrath of Elohim (the bowl judgments of Rev 15–16).
The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
The fifth of the seven festivals of YHVH occurs ten days after the Day of Trumpets. This day pictures when the end of the age (man’s 6000 years) will come to a completion. This period of grace will terminate. All who are saved will have been saved and removed from this earth as YHVH pours out his final judgment (called the wrath of Elohim and which is different than the great tribulation that occurred just prior to this) upon the wicked and godless rebels left upon the earth. This period will culminate with the battle of Armageddon at which time Yeshua the Messiah will return to earth as the Conquering King to defeat his enemies, marry his bride—the righteous saints—and rule the earth with a rod of Iron for 1000 years. At this time Satan will be bound and cast into the bottomless pit.
The Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Sukkot or Succoth)
This festival represents the time period when the harvest of souls is completed (therefore, it is a harvest festival occurring at the beginning of the fall season when the agricultural harvest of the fruit of the earth is completed, as well) and a great feast occurs called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. King Yeshua will have put down all of his enemies (the Beast, the False Prophet, the Antichrist, Satan and all else who opposed YHVH Elohim). This festival is a time of great rejoicing and merriment and is often referred to simply as “the feast.” YHVH commanded his people to celebrate it for seven days. It is a picture of the 1000-year reign of King Yeshua on earth (called the Messianic Age or Millennium) from his headquarters in Jerusalem. This will be literally a time of paradise on earth.
The Eighth Day (Shemini Atzeret)
This is the seventh and final feast of YHVH and occurs the very next day after the last day of Sukkot. Eight is the biblical number of new beginnings and this day pictures what occurs after the Messianic Age and after man’s 7000 years on this earth. It is at this time that eternity in YHVH’s kingdom occurs. This is the time of the New Heaven and the New Earth; the time when New Jerusalem comes down from heaven. We find this time period described in Revelation 21 and 22. Scripture does not give many details about eternity, but just enough to whet our appetites and inspire our hopes to press onward to be overcomers with Yeshua so that we will be participants in his glorious and everlasting kingdom.
YHVH’s Feasts Were Ordained At Creation
And Elohim said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. (Gen. 1:14)
Here we see the linking of the astrobodies with the sacred seasons and feast days of YHVH Elohim. The word signs (Heb. owth) means “a distinguishing mark, banner, a remembrance, a proof, an omen, a warning, a token, an ensign, a miracle.” The heavenly bodies were created as signs or signals of something. The word seasons (Heb. moed) means “a congregation, feast, season, appointed time, assembly.” What is being taught here is that the sun, moon and stars are signals which set the appointed times, sacred assemblies or feast days of YHVH for his people. In Leviticus 23:4, we see further proof of this point: “These are the feasts of YHVH, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons” (emphasis added).Please note the possessive pronoun their indicating that the feast days “own” or “possess” the seasons and thus predate the seasons which are determined by the astral bodies. In other words, YHVH created the heavenly bodies and seasons for the feast days which are a shadow-picture of his plan of salvation or redemption for the world. It could be said that the entire physical creation was made in order to have a place where in to implement and showcase YHVH’s glorious plan of salvation.
YHVH’s Feasts Are Forever
And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to YHVH throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever (Exod 12:14).
[I]t shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings (see also verses 21 and 31; Lev 23:14).
Forever (Heb. olam ) means “everlasting, perpetual, evermore, always, continuous, unending future, for eternity.”Is it possible that Yeshua had the created purpose of the heavenly bodies as well as this earth in mind as well as the eternal nature of the Feast Days contained in the Torah-law of YHVH when he addressed the permanent and inviolate nature of YHVH’s Torah-law, of which the feasts are a part, in Matthew 5:17–19,
Think not that I am come to destroy the Torah, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
YHVH’s Feasts Were Observed In the Apostolic Period
- Acts 18:21, “But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that comes in Jerusalem …” (one of the Pilgrimage Festivals; namely Passover/Days of Unleavened Bread or Pentecost or Feast of Tabernacles)
- Acts 20:6, Unleavened Bread
- Acts 20:16, Pentecost
- 1 Corinthians 5:7–8, “Therefore let us keep [or celebrate] the feast [referring to Pesach and Hag Ha Matzot], not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
- Acts. 27:9, the Day of Atonement
- Acts 21:24, “… you yourself also walk orderly, and keeps the Torah” (which includes observance of YHVH’s annual festivals).
YHVH’s Feasts to Be Observed In the Messianic Age (Millennium)
- Zechariah 14:16,18,19, The Feast of Tabernacles
- Ezekiel 45:17, The Sabbaths (plural, includes the weekly and annual Sabbaths or festivals) and solemnities (moedim) or appointed times (see also verse 9).
- Ezekiel 45:21, Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread
- Ezekiel 45:25, The Feast of Tabernacles
- Ezekiel 46:1, The weekly Sabbath
- Ezekiel 45:17 and 21, solemn or appointed times (moedim) and feasts (Hev. chag meaning “pilgrimage feast, festival, celebration, holy day, time of dancing, cyclical/yearly seasonal event; i.e., the feast days).”
Yom Teruah (Day of Blowing Trumpets—Commonly Called Rosh Hashanah)
Very little is said in the Tanakh (Old Testament) about Yom Teruah. In fact, it is mentioned in only two places:
Leviticus 23:24, “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.”
Numbers 29:1, “And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have an holy convocation; you shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you.”
From these scriptures, we see that Yom Teruah is a Sabbath, a time for a holy convocation and a time that memorializes the blowing of shofars. But what are we memorializing? As we proceed in this study, we sill see that the sounding of the shofar figured prominently in the lives of ancient Israelites, and that it has vast prophetic end times implications as well. It is these things that we are memorializing, as we shall see below.
Yom Teruah is observed on the first day of the seventh month at the sighting of the first sliver of the crescent new moon (in Hebrew, called rosh chodesh). It is the first of the four fall festivals and it begins the fall harvest season in the land of Israel. Prophetically the fall set-apart festivals picture the time period leading up to the return of Yeshua, including the tribulation and wrath of Elohim upon the earth, the resurrection of the saints and the establishment of Yeshua’s Millennial kingdom on earth. Specifically, Yom Teruah pictures the beginning of the great tribulation and the beginning of the wrath of Elohim periods along with the resurrection of the righteous saints.
Although Scripture gives us but a paucity of details about this day, we are nonetheless able to extrapolate a great deal of information from elsewhere in Scripture to arrive at the following understandings.
On Yom Teruah, Moses brought down from Mount Sinai the second set of stone tablets containing the Ten Statements (“Commandments”) to replace the ones that had been broken earlier at the golden calf incident. After this, Israel remained faithful to YHVH and never again built and worshipped a golden calf until the time of King Jeroboam hundreds of years later. Similarly, on the day of Pentecost in the first century the Torah of YHVH was written into the hearts of the Messianic believers at that time by the “pen” of the Spirit of YHVH, yet well before the middle of the second century the church had begun to go apostate, had separated from its Hebraic and Torah-obedient roots, and was well on its way to becoming the Catholic Church that we know today with its many non-biblical and pagan-based traditions, many of which the Protestant churches have inherited.
When Yeshua comes for his bride on or near Yom Teruah at the end of the age, he will be ready to marry a bride that is without spot and wrinkle who has come out of the Babylonish religious whore system, which contain both truth and error (Rev 18:4). This bride who will be wearing the robes of righteousness of Torah-obedience (Rev 12:17; 14:12; 19:7–9) will be ready to receive and enter into a covenantal agreement—a wedding contract, which in the Hebrew is called a ketubah—with Yeshua, the Bridegroom—ever to remain faithful to him and never to stray into Baal/golden calf worship again. He will lead his wife, even as he lead in the pillar of fire the younger generation in the wilderness into the Promised Land of the Messianic Age or Millennium. This is the main picture of Yom Teruah.
The Two Silver Trumpets and the Two Houses of Israel
In Numbers chapter ten, YHVH commanded Moses to make two silver trumpets (Heb. chatsotserah) as a sort of a public address system for the children of Israel’s wilderness encampment. While these silver trumpets had a practical functionality, they also have a prophetic significance.
While the Israelites were travelling through the wilderness en route to the Promised Land, various signals were sounded on the two trumpets for calling the congregation and for directing the movement of the camp (Num 10:1–2). When one trumpet was sounded, this was to call the leaders together for a meeting. Two trumpets were sounded, this was to call all of the people to gather. Other blasts of the two trumpets signaled that is was time for the Israelites to move to a new campsite, or to gather to fight an attacking enemy (Num 10:3–9). They were also to be sounded “in the day of your gladness, in the appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months” and when certain sacrificial were made (Num 10:10).
As to the symbolic and prophetic significance of the two silver trumpets, Batya Wootten suggests, in her book, Israel’s Feasts and Their Fullness, that the trumpets spiritually symbolize voices (Rev 1:10; Isa 58:1).
She goes on to note that historically there have been two people groups on earth who have been testifying about the goodness of the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These are the Christians and the Jews—both of whom worship the same Elohim as revealed in the Scriptures. Israel was called to be YHVH’s witnesses on earth (Isa. 43:10). YHVH then divided the twelve tribes of Israel into two nations or houses: the house of Judah and the houseof Ephraim would be later represented by the Jews and the Christians, respectively.
According to Torah, truth must be confirmed in the mouth of two or more witnesses before it can be believed (Num 35:30; Deut 17:6; 19:15; John 8:17; 2 Cor 13:1). Wootten says that these “two witnesses” have not been sounding their voices in unison, but instead have been fighting and denying one another. Yet the Paul the apostle states that there is to be one new man in Messiah Yeshua (Eph 2:15) not two men—a Jewish and a Christian man. These two witnesses have to come together before Yeshua can return to this earth to establish his eternal kingdom here (Acts 1:6–8 cp. Acts 3:21).
The two silver trumpets, Wootten further notes, were hammered out of one piece of silver (Num 10:2). Silver symbolizes refinement and redemption. Hammered trumpets tell of the Father molding us through affliction (Jer 9:7; Dan 11:35; Zec 13:9; Hos 1:10; Mal 3:3; ibid. pp. 219–228). Before the one new man can become the glorious bride of Yeshua, refinement, repentance and reunification must occur. This is happening now with YHVH’s people and will continue to happen until the return of Yeshua.
Another explanation as to the prophetic symbolism relating to the two silver trumpets focuses on who the trumpets were calling to gather together. One blast called for the leaders to gather, while two blasts called for the general assembly to come together. Perhaps this prophetically signifies two groups of people that YHVH into his kingdom. First YHVH is calling the leaders together who will be the bride of Yeshua and will be ruling as kings and priests in his millennial kingdom, and then the general assembly, or everyone else who will be saved. On Yom Teruah (to be discussed in more detail below), when the shofar sounds, the resurrection and glorification of the righteous saints will occur at the sound of the trumpet (1 Thess 4:16–17; 1 Cor 15:51–53). This is first resurrection. A second resurrection occurs later for the rest of the people who will be saved.
The silver trumpets also sounded for war. Similarly, in the Book of Revelation, seven heavenly trumpets sound signaling divine judgment against men (Rev chapters 8–11).
Some Additional Thoughts About Yom Teruah —The Day of the Memorial of the Blowing of Trumpets
The Breath of Life and Yom Teruah
Without the life-giving breath of YHVH we are dead both physically and spiritually. As YHVH breathed the breath of life into Adam who then became a living being (nephesh), so when Yeshua breathed on His disciples (John 20:22) they came alive spiritually. YHVH breathed on the first century redeemed believers through the wind of the Ruach HaKodesh (the Set-apart Spirit) on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:2, and the congregation of renewed covenant believers was birthed. Similarly, on the day of Messiah’s second coming (Yom Teruah), the shofar (called the Last Trumpet in Jewish thought, which comes just prior to the final or great trumpet/shofar hagadol of Yom Kippur) will sound and the dead in Messiah will be resurrected. Again the breath of YHVH will revive the dead, which is similar to the breath of YHVH blowing over the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37.
When YHVH breathes or blows on man, the supernatural pierces the natural dimension and breaks the mundaneness of the natural and supernaturally empowers one to do that which he could not do in his own power naturally.
We need YHVH’s divine breath to blow on us to empower us with his power and his ability to be and act supernatural in a natural world for his glory and the advancement of his kingdom!
When the shofar sounded in ancient Israel, it signaled that heaven and earth were about to meet, that divine power, the supernatural forces of heaven was about to break into the mundane affairs of men. It signaled that great things were about to happen.
Are you ready for this to happen again?
When Was the Shofar Blown in Ancient Israel?
The shofar is an instrument unique to the ancient Hebrews and their descendants. In the Scriptures, we see that the shofar played a highly significant role in Hebraic culture. Below are some examples this instrument’s importance:
- The very first time Scripture records the blowing of the shofar occurring was to herald YHVH’s giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai (Exod 19:16, 19 and 20:18).
- The shofar was blown to usher in Yom Teruah. This was a call to Sabbath rest, a memorial of blowing trumpets, a set-apart convocation and marked the beginning of a ten-day period of self-examination and repentance culminating with the Day of Atonement (Num 29:1).
- The shofar was blown to herald the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) to announce the Year of Jubilee. Every fifty years slaves were freed, debts were forgiven and land returned to the original owner (Lev 25:9-10 [verse 10 says, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants” and is inscribed on the Liberty Bell.”]).
- Shofars were blown continually by seven priests before the Ark of the Covenant, as part of the battle plan to take the city of Jericho as the Israelites were entering the Promised Land (Josh 6:4–20).
- Shofars were blown by Gideon to rally Israelites soldiers against the Midianites and again by his 300 soldiers in their battle against Midian (Judg 6:34 and 7:8, 16, 20).
- Shofars were blown to welcome the Ark of the Covenant (representing the anointed and glorious presence of YHVH among his people) while David danced with all his might (2 Sam 6:15; I Chron 15:14).
- The shofar was blown when a king was anointed (1 Kgs 1:34, 39, 41; 2 Kgs 9:13).
- The shofar was blown when the Israelites swore an oath of allegiance to YHVH (2 Chron 15:14).
- The shofar was blown to rally the troops (Num 10:9–10; Neh 4:18, 20).
- Israel sounded the shofar in the time of war to be remembered by YHVH, to be saved from its enemies, and rout the enemies of Israel by sending fear into their hearts and confusion into their camps (Num 10:9–10; Judg 7:20–22).
- The shofar was blown to announce YHVH’s presence and to praise and worship Him (Pss 47:5; 98:6; 150:3; Isa 18:3; 27:13; Rev 1:10).
- The shofar was blown to call people to repentance or fasting (Isa 58:1; Hos 8:1; Joel 2:1).
- The shofar was blown to sound the alarm of war (Jer 4:19, 21; 6:1;17; 51:27; Joel 2:1, 15).
- The shofar was blown to sound the warning of danger (Amos 2:2; 3:6; Zeph 1:16; Hos 5:8, 8:1; Ezek 33:2-9; Isa. 58:1). The sound of the shofar is compared to a prophet’s voice.
- The shofar was blown by YHVH (Exod 19:16, 19; Zech 9:14).
- The shofar was blown by the angels (Matt 24:31; Rev 8:2, 3; 9:1,13–14; 10:7; 11:15).
- The shofar was blown to announce the coming of a Jewish bridegroom to fetch his betrothed—a picture of Yeshua returning for his bride, the saints. All the righteous living and the righteous dead will receive glorified, resurrected bodies and will meet him in the air at the sound of the shofar. (Compare Matt 24:31; 25:6; 1 Cor 15:52; 1 Thess 4:16; Rev 11:15–18).
When the righteous hear the sound of the shofar these things should be called to remembrance. The shofar is a powerful reminder of the mighty right arm of YHVH outstretched on behalf of his people. The sound of the shofar sends tremors of fear throughout the camp of the enemies of YHVH and his people and rallies the righteous to take courage and to rise up against evil knowing they will be victorious through faith in YHVH Elohim.
The Sounds of the Shofar and What They Signify
In Jewish thought, there are several sounds the shofar makes that carry deep significance. Some of these understanding are based on direct scriptural references, while others are based on inference and tradition (taken in part from aish.com).
Tekiah (one long, straight blast ––––––––– ): This blast announces the coming of our Elohim who is the King of the universe. The long, straight shofar blast is the sound of King Yeshua’s coronation. On this day, Yeshua the Messiah is crowned as our King. On Yom Teruah, we appreciate who he is as our King — the King of kings. This knowledge is wonderful, yet it won’t benefit us unless we internalize this understanding, so that it becomes a living, practical part of our everyday reality. Yeshua as Elohim is all-powerful. He is also the Creator and the Sustainer. In short, Elohim is King of the Universe. Is Yeshua the Lord and Master of our lives? The pure, long and unbroken sound of the tekiah calls man to search his heart, forsake his wrong ways, and seek the King’s forgiveness through repentance.
Shevarim (a broken, staccato sound _–_–_–_–_ ): The Hebrew word shevar/rca; means “to break (in pieces).” The shevarim shofar call isa broken, staccato, trembling sound. It typifies the sorrow that comes to man when he realizes his misconduct and desires to change his ways. This shofar blast consists of three medium wailing sounds varying from low to a high note not unlike some of our modern sirens. It symbolizes the sobbing cry heart of the broken and penitent person yearning to connect, to grow, to achieve. Every person has the ability to change and be great. This can be accomplished much faster than you ever dreamed of. The key is to pray from the bottom of your heart and ask YHVH for the ability to become great. Don’t let yourself be constrained by the past. You know you have enormous potential. At the moment the shofar is blown, we cry out to YHVH from the depths of our soul. This is the moment—when our souls stand before the Almighty without any barriers—that we can truly let go.
Teruah (nine quick blasts in short succession – – – – – – – – – ): This word is found in Numbers 10:5 and means “alarm, signal, sound of tempest, shout or blast of war, battle cry, and alarm of joy.” This shofar call was used to call Israel to arms against an enemy attacker. In Leviticus 25:9, we see that the shofar would make the teruah sound to signal the arrival of the jubilee year. This signal was not to be used when the congregation was gathered together to worship YHVH (Num. 10:7). This blast of the shofar is our spiritual warning and wake up call. It is time to be hones and objective about our lives, who we are, where we’ve been and to make certain that we’re headed in the right direction. The teruah’s nine quick blasts resemble an alarm clock arousing us from our spiritual slumber. The shofar brings clarity, alertness, and focus. It is time to open our spiritual eyes and to fix what is broken. A wave-like sound of alarm calling upon us to take solid spiritual stand next to the banner of YHVH.
Tekiah Gedolah (also called the Great Tekia; one long tekiah blast –––––––––––––––––): The prolonged, unbroken tekia sound typifying a final appeal to sincere repentance and atonement. This sound is based on Exodus 19:13, “When the shofar sounds long, they shall come near the mountain.” This last shofar blast blown on Yom Teruah is very likely that which Paul refers to as the “last trumpet (shofar)” in 1 Corinthians 15:52 signaling the resurrection of the righteous dead to meet Yeshua in the air at his second coming (see also 1 Thess 4:16). If this understanding is correct, then this same shofar blast would correspond to the “great sound of the shofar” in Matthew 24:31 when Yeshua will send his angels to “gather the elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” This would also correspond to the seventh and final trumpet of the seven trumpets (or shofarot) of Revelation 8–11, the last of which announces the return of Yeshua and the resurrection of the righteous dead to meet Yeshua in the air (Rev 11:15–18).
Yom Teruah and End Time Prophecy
Yom Teruah occurs on the first day of the seventh month which corresponds to the seventh or last trump of 1 Corinthians 15:52 and Revelation 11:15–18 as well as the shofar blast to which Yeshua refers in Matthew 24:31. These three passages speak of the resurrection of the saints and their reunion with Yeshua in the air at his second coming at the end of the great tribulation (Matt 24:21) just prior to the wrath of Elohim period or the seven bowl judgments of Revelation 15 and 16.
Matthew 24 is a blueprint which discusses, in chronological order, the tribulation period, the great tribulation and the resurrection (rapture or catching away) of the saints to meet Yeshua in the air after the great tribulation. The chronology of these events is apparent. Let’s analyze this in some detail.
In Matthew 24:3 the disciples ask Yeshua three questions. He then answers these questions in chronological order. These questions are against the contextual backdrop of verse two where Yeshua is prophesying about the destruction of the temple and its buildings.
The disciples first question: “Tell us when shall these things be?” (that is, the destruction of the temple). Question two: “What shall be the sign of your coming…?” Question three: “…and of the end of the age?”
Yeshua then proceeds to answer these three questions one-by-one.
The first question the disciples ask Yeshua is, “When shall these things be?” From verses 4 through 20 he gives an overview of the last days (plural) starting with the era surrounding the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 until our present era. There are two prophetic days, or 2,000 years between the death of Yeshua the Messiah and his second coming. This tribulation against Christians has been occurring continually for nearly two thousand years! It is estimated that in recent decades nearly 50,000 believers are martyred each year around the world in communist, Moslem, Hindu, totalitarian regimes or in tribal conflicts. Yeshua gives an overall perspective of that 2000 years and what the spiritual condition will be for his people with some general warnings and some prophecies as to what will happen. For example he prophesies that “the gospel will be preached in all the world.” This prophecy has not fully come to pass until the past century with the advent of modern communications. It is doubtful that Yeshua’s prophecy concerning the abomination of desolation being placed in the temple (verse 15) has occurred yet. This will probably occur after the third temple is built in Jerusalem just prior to the beginning of the great tribulation mentioned in verse 21 (also see 2 Thess 2:3 cp. Rev 11:1–3).
The second question the disciples ask Yeshua is, “What shall be the sign of your coming?” Yeshua answers this question from verses 21 through 28. This time period is referred to as the great tribulation (Gr. megathlipsis, verse 21). The saints will also go through this period as is clearly stated in Revelation 2:22 and 7:14.
It is not until “immediately after the tribulation” that Yeshua makes any mention of the saints being “caught away” (or raptured, Matt 24:29 cp. 1 Thess 4:13–17, emphasis added), which is the resurrection of the saints at his second coming. The tribulation and great tribulation periods are now past and the events Yeshua describes next point to Yom Teruah or The Day of the Shouting or Shofar Blowing (or the Day of Trumpets, and often incorrectly referred to as “the Feast of Trumpets”—a technically incorrect term). Alfred Edersheim, the nineteenth century religious Jewish scholar who converted to Christianity and became an ordained minister and educator in England, also connects the Day of Trumpets to the second coming of Yeshua and the resurrection of the righteous saints (The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, pp. 230–231).
Next we come to Matthew 24:30, where Yeshua talks about the sign of the son of man appearing in the clouds of heaven or the earth’s atmosphere. This is referring to some unique astronomical occurrences including a possible eclipse and a new moon event (Heb. rosh chodesh) which corresponds with Yom Teruah. This is because Yom Teruah is the only biblical holiday day which occurs on the actual day of the new moon’s appearance, which marks the first day of the seventh month of the biblical religious calendar.
Verse 31 goes on to reveal that at the sound of the great trumpet (another reference to Yom Teruah) the angels will gather the elect from the four corners of the world where they have been scattered like lost sheep.
Then in verse 40, we learn are given more details about what will occur on Yom Teruah when Yeshua returns. In ancient Israel, when two witnesses had sighted the new moon (Heb. rosh chodesh) at the beginning of the month and the high priest and the Sanhedrin court in Jerusalem were notified, a signal went out from the temple and across the land that the new moon had been sighted and Yom Teruah had officially begun (The Mishnah, Rosh Hashanah 2:2–8; The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, pp. 156–157 by Alfred Edersheim). Whatever anyone was doing, whether harvesting their wheat (for this was the fall harvest time) or whether they were grinding that wheat at the mill, all dropped what they were doing, ran back to their houses and began to celebrate Yom Teruah. Because no one knew the day or the hour when the new moon would be sighted, they never were quite certain when this day would begin, but they knew the season and the approximate time period when it would happen. As Yeshua said, “No man know the day or hour of my coming” but he didn’t say we wouldn’t know the season. We can know the season, for verses 32-39 indicates that. Paul also says in 1 Thessalonians 5:1–5,
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Master so comes as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
As when the signal went out from the high priest in Jerusalem to the land of Israel signaling the beginning of Yom Teruah (Edersheim, pp. 156–157) likewise when Yom Teruah is actually fulfilled, the heavenly shofar will sound, the righteous dead will raise, and instead of running back to their homes to celebrate Yom Teruah, the saints will be lifted heavenward to meet Yeshua in the air and will subsequently be delivered from the forthcoming wrath of Elohim which is about to be poured out upon this earth.
Now let us consider what is recorded in the prophecies of the Book of Revelation as it relates to Yeshua’s prophecies concerning the tribulation and great tribulation in Matthew 24. The prophecies of Revelation chapters six through eleven, for the most part, go in chronological order and coincides with those of Matthew 24. And why wouldn’t they? Yeshua is both the speaker in Matthew 24 as well the one who revealed the prophecies of Revelation to John (Rev 1:1).
The chronology of Revelation is clear. First the seven seals occur (Rev 6:1–8:5), and then the seven trumpets sound (Rev 8:6–11:19). There is debate whether any of these events have yet occurred. It is my opinion that only the first five seals of Revelation 6:11 have transpired to date. Be that as it may, Yeshua speaks of two parts of the tribulation period: the general tribulation, which, as discussed above, has been occurring since the first century of the common era, and the great tribulation, which is an intensified period of tribulation to befall the earth, and which will occur just prior to Yeshua’s return. We do know the exact timing of the tribulation events, but one thing is certain: the tribulation and great tribulation IS NOT the wrath of Elohim. This occurs afterwards.
What’s more, the Scriptures are clear on an important point. The saints will not experience the wrath of Elohim, which the Bible distinguishes for the tribulation and great tribulation periods, for we read that YHVH will deliver his people from his wrath to come(1 Thess 1:5), that they are not appointed to wrath (1 Thess 1:10; 5:9 cp. Luke 21:36 and Rev 3:10). Furthermore, Yeshua instructed us to pray that we will be worthy to escape Elohim’s wrath judgments (Luke 21:36). The Scriptures indicate that the saints will be supernaturally protected from the wrath of Elohim. This can occur in one of several ways. The Book of Revelation reveals that in the end times, Elohim will place a seal on the foreheads of his saints to protect them from various judgments that will occurring both leading up to his period of wrath and during it (Rev 7:3; 9:4; 14:1). Additionally, during the first half of YHVH’s wrath, he will protect some of his people in the wilderness for three-and-one-half years (Rev 12:14). Finally, he will deliver his people out of this earth entirely (via the catching away of the saints to meet Yeshua in the air at the first resurrection and at the seventh trumpet, 1 Cor 15:51–53; 1 Thess 4:13–18; Rev 11:15–18).
Can we confirm from other scriptures that YHVH will protect his people from his severe judgments? Indeed we can. Yeshua states in Matthew 24:37, “For as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” By studying the events occurring at the time of Noah, we gain some additional clues as to what will happen to the saints during the final days of the end times.
Noah was a preacher of righteousness for 120 years prior to the flood (Gen 6:3). He no doubt endured the mockery and persecution of those who did not believe his message about a coming flood and the need for an ark of safety, when that generation had experienced neither rain nor floods (Heb 11:7; 2 Pet 2:5). In Genesis 7:4, we learn that YHVH allowed Noah to experience seven more days of persecution before the rains of divine judgment come upon the earth. Only after that did YHVH shut Noah up in the ark of safety (Gen 7:16) after which the ark “was lifted above the earth” (Gen 7:17). What can we learn from this flood scenario that will help us to understand the order of end time events as it relates to the saints? Let’s go on.
Yeshua teach that in the end times just prior to his second coming life on earth will be continuing as usual (Matt 24:37–39). He also teach that his saints will go through “tribulation” on this earth (Matt 24:3–28) as well as “great tribulation” (Gr. megathlipsis, verse 21). Only after the great tribulation will they be lifted up above the earth to meet him in the air (Matt 24:29–31). Similarly, Scripture reveals that Noah endured another seven days (or seven years prophetically speaking) of tribulation before the wrath of Elohim was poured out upon the wicked inhabitants of the earth in the form of the great flood. This seems to speak prophetically of a seven-year great tribulation period that the saints will have to go through before the wrath of Elohim is poured out upon this earth (see Rev 11:15–18 [compare with 1 Cor 15:51–53] and chapters 15 and 16 where the seven last plagues or bowl judgments are called “the wrath of Elohim”). On the other hand, again Scripture states that YHVH’s people will not have to endure his wrath (1 Thess 1:10; 5:9), but also teaches that all will go through tribulation (John 16:33; Acts 14:22; Rev 7:14). Scripturally, tribulation and wrath are two different words, concepts and time periods.
In summary, we clearly see that from the life of Noah there are three distinct periods of time that prophetically relate to the end-time tribulation and wrath of Elohim Periods. The first period is the general tribulation period which for Noah lasted 120 years. Next the earth was given another seven days to repent before YHVH’s judgment of wrath was poured out upon the earth. This seems to correspond to the seven years of great tribulation coming upon men after which the saints will be lifted up (or will be caught up into the heavens) above the floods of divine judgment into their heavenly “ark of safety” in the air with Yeshua and above it all. Afterward, the wrath of Elohim occurs as the heavens open up, the bowl judgments are poured out like rain upon the earth against unrepentant humanity. In Noah’s time, it rained for 40 days (a time of judgment) and Noah and his family were “lifted up above the earth” (Gen 7:17). Again, this is the picture of the resurrection of the saints after the great tribulation of seven years, but prior to the wrath of Elohim just as Yeshua foretells in Matthew 24 and John records in the Book of Revelation. The truth of Scripture is always a straight line. Though these events (that is Noah’s flood and the second coming of Yeshua) are separated by thousands of years, their prophetic truths line up perfectly revealing the divine inspiration and perfect syncretism of YHVH’s set-apart Word—the Bible!
The Ten Days of Awe (the Time Between the Day of Blowing Trumpets and Day of Atonement)
According to Jewish tradition (b.Talmud, Rosh Hashana 6b; 16b–17a), Yom Teruah begins the time period of YHVH’s judgment of men. The books will be opened that record men’s deeds, both good and bad. Scripture speaks of several books in which are recorded the deeds of men. One of these is the Book of Life (Phil 4:3; Rev 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12,15; 21:7; 22:19; Ps 69:28; Dan 7:10; 12:1; Exod 32:32; Pss 56:8; 139:16; Mal 3:16; Isa 65:6; Luke 10:20). According to Edersheim, the Jews derive the idea of there being three books from Exodus 32:32 and Psalm 69:28. The latter passage speaks about being “blotted out of the book,” which is taken to be a reference to the Book of the Wicked. The same passage also mentions the Book of the Living, and additionally makes a reference to “not being written with the righteous,” which is taken to mean the Book of the Intermediate—those whose fates are not yet sealed. This is because they are neither evil nor righteous (The Temple: Its Ministry and Service, p 236, by Alfred Edersheim, see footnote; Hendrickson, 1994)).
During this time period, the righteous are sealed and are granted eternal life in the world to come (Heb. olam haba) while the fate of the wicked is sealed—eternal death (in the lake of fire)—in the world to come. The intermediates will have until the end of the wrath of Elohim period to choose either the path of righteousness leading to eternal life or wickedness leading to eternal death. Peter also speaks of three categories of people: the righteous, the ungodly and sinners (1 Pet 4:18), which seems to fit the three classes of humans delineated in Jewish tradition.
What happens to the people in each of these three categories during the tribulation period? We may not have all the answers to this question, but we will share what we understand to this point. Yeshua says in Matthew 24:29–31 that the resurrection of the righteous (or rapture) occurs after the tribulation at the sound of the shofar blast, which is the last trumpet (shofar) blast of 1 Corinthians 15:51–53. Furthermore, we believe that this last shofar blast corresponds to the shofar blast that announces the arrival of the seventh month of the biblical calendar, which always begins with a new moon (Rosh Chodesh). This first day of the seventh month is Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets or more literally, the Day of Shofar Blowing). This last trumpet in Jewish thought is to be distinguished from three other trumpet or shofar blasts, each of which occurs on various biblical feasts throughout the year: the first shofar blast occurs on Pentecost (the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot), the last shofar occurs on Yom Teruah, while the final or great shofar blast occurs on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) announcing the Jubilee Year.
We then see that the resurrection of the righteous occurs at the time of the last trumpet (shofar). This scenario fits perfectly with the chronology of the Book of Revelation where the events surrounding the tribulation period (the seven seals and seven trumpets [Rev 5–11]) are recorded. At the end of the seven trumpets or tribulation period at the sounding of the “last trumpet” occurs the “rapture” or the resurrection of the righteous. This is the event where the righteous dead along with the righteous living are caught up to meet Yeshua in the air (Rev 11:14–18). While the angel sounding the seventh trumpet (or shofar) is announcing the return of Yeshua and the rewards of the righteous, he is simultaneously announcing the coming of the wrath of Elohim period (verse 18)—a term which no heavenly messenger has yet applied to any of the events on earth to this point (this statement is made with Rev 6:16 in view). Hereafter the seven bowl judgments (or seven last plagues) are poured out upon the earth (Rev 15–16) and are referred to in several places as the wrath of Elohim (Rev 11:18; 14:8, 19; 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19).
Again, it is important to note that Scripture linguistically delineates between the words tribulation (which is the Greek word thlipsis) and wrath (Gr. orgey and thumos). The Greek words thlipsis versus orgey and thumos have very different meanings and applications. The wrath of Elohim is not called the tribulation and vice versa. The righteous are not appointed to wrath (1 Thess 1:10; 5:9) and therefore will not go through the wrath of Elohim period. There is no indication from Scripture that they will be raptured before the end of the tribulation period. In fact, as noted earlier, Yeshua specifically states so in Matthew 24.
We mentioned above that according to Jewish tradition there are three categories of people and three books opened pertaining to these people: The Book of Life for the righteous, the Book of the Dead for the wicked and an the intermediate book called the Book of the Undecided for those who are neither wholly wicked nor righteous. Do we see any indications of these three groups in Revelation during the tribulation and wrath periods? The answer is yes.
The righteous (saints) are mentioned several times during the tribulation period (the seven seals and seven trumpets, Rev 6:11; 7:3; 9:14; 9:4; 11:13; 12:17; 13:7; 14:12) and of course, as noted above, the same saints are raptured (or “harvested”) at the sound of the last shofar blast at the seventh trumpet (Rev 11:15–18; 14:4–5; Matt 24:31,39–40).
The wicked are mentioned in numerous places in the Book of Revelation during the tribulation and wrath periods, but we will specifically note the judgment poured out against them in Revelation 14:14–20, which is the wrath of Elohim period.
What about the undecided—the intermediate people, who are those who are neither wholly wicked nor wholly righteous? Are they mentioned as being on earth during the wrath of Elohim period when the seven last plagues or bowl judgments are poured out? Yes. In Revelation 16:2 grievous sores are poured out upon those who have taken the mark of the beast and who worship his image. By implication there appears to be a group of people alive on earth who have not taken the mark nor worship the image of the beast. These people will not be afflicted with grievous sores. This may be reading between the lines, but logically, if all those alive on the earth were wholly wicked then what need would Scripture have of stating that the sores fell on those who had the mark and worshiped the image? Moreover, the Book of Revelation is clear: there is no salvation for those who take the mark of the beast, for they will be cast into the lake of fire at the final judgment seat of Yeshua (Rev 14:9–11), but there will be those who do not take the mark but who are also not part of the first resurrection (Rev 20:4). These will be the physical humans who survived this end times holocaust and will be the human inhabitants on earth during Yeshua’s subsequent hhousand year millennial reign.
Additionally, Revelation 14:4 calls those who will be caught away or harvested (to meet Yeshua in the air) on Yom Teruah first fruits among those redeemed (or saved) among men. Clearly, this statement makes no sense if there are not more to be redeemed (saved) at a later time, for if there are first fruits, then there must be more fruit to follow. This could refer to those who will have an opportunity to be redeemed or saved during the wrath of Elohim period and afterwards during the Millennium , as well as those Jews that, at the coming of Yeshua, will “look upon [Yeshua] whom they have pierced and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for his only son…” (Zech 12:10).
The Historic and Prophetic Implications of the Jewish Wedding
as Pertaining to Yom Teruah
There are nine main steps in the biblical Jewish wedding if one includes the young couple falling in love with each other. If one omits the self-evident step of mutual attraction, that leaves us with eight significant aspects of the Hebrew wedding, which, for the sake of this study, we will focus on.
Now when we study YHVH’s annual holidays or appointed times (often referred to as “feasts”), we see an interplay between the numbers seven and eight. In biblical numerology, the number seven signifies perfection or completion, while eight symbolizes new beginnings or eternity. For example, in the seven biblical holidays there are seven annual high Sabbaths (i.e., first and last days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, the first day of Tabernacles, and the Eighth Day). At the same time, there are seven annual appointed times, which are the same as the above list, except we add Passover (which is not a Sabbath) and view Unleavened Bread as a single feast (or appointed time) although it technically contains two high day Sabbaths. The reason we make these distinctions between sabbaths and holidays (to be explained below) is that in studying the Jewish wedding it is important to add Passover as a step in the wedding, as well as the first and last Sabbaths of Unleavened Bread. In doing so, we technically have eight steps, although there are really only seven annual appointed times with Passover being the first one and Unleavened Bread being the second one and so on. This numbering system fits well within the biblical numbering system of seven representing completion or perfection as pertaining to the steps of redemption or salvation each person must take from initial redemption to ultimate glorification. But eight also works as a significant number since the last of the seven festivals of YHVH is the Eighth Day, which, as we shall see later, represents the bride and groom living happily forever in a state of wedded bliss. This last holiday represents YHVH-Yeshua living with his glorified saints in the New Jerusalem. This can be represented by the number eight since in consideration of the new heaven and new earth along with the New Jerusalem, and the saints possessing glorified bodies for this spiritual existence called eternity, it truly is a new beginning. So in a sense, perfection and completion (represented by the number seven) give way to new spiritual beginning and eternity (represented by the number eight). As we shall see below, this spiritual picture is wonderfully represented in both the Hebrew wedding and in the annual appointed times or “feasts” of YHVH.
There are seven (or eight) stages of the Jewish or biblical wedding, which correspond with the seven feasts or appointed times of YHVH Elohim as listed in Leviticus 23. These seven stages, which also correspond with the stages in the Tabernacle (Mishkan) of Moses are:
0 Intent: The groom and bride see each other for the first time; interest is sparked.They begin to “fall” in love. YHVH fell in love with Israel choosing her to be the nation through which he would offer redemption to the world (Ezek 16:4–14). Symbolically this occurs outside the linen walls of the tabernacle (a metaphorical picture of spiritual salvation, redemption and conversion). The believer, while still lost in their spiritual wilderness, prior to their conversion, hears the gospel message being preached (Rom 10:14–18), is drawn to Yeshua the Savior and Redeemer, when they hears the gospel or good news of redemption and salvation (Isa 52:7; Rom 10:15–17). This is represented by the beautiful four-colored door of the Tabernacle or Mishkan (symbolically picturing the four Gospels), which reveal the work, word and Person of Yeshua the Messiah, who is the door to everlasting life and the saint’s eventual heavenly Bridegroom.
1 Redemption: The bride’s price (or dowry) is paid to the maiden’s father. Before the young maiden’s father, the young man commits to lay down his life for his prospective bride. This Yeshua did for his spiritual bride (the saints), when he laid his life down at the cross. The purification ritual involving the death of the red heifer outside of the tabernacle pictures this, and speaks prophetically of Yeshua’s death outside the city of Jerusalem at Golgotha (Heb 13:10–13), which occurred on Passover. Yeshua’s paying the price for our sins was, in a sense, paying the bride’s price to his Father in heaven, since the wages of our sin is death.
2 Acceptance: The young man then presents the maiden with a glass of wine from which he first drinks. If she subsequently drinks from the same cup, she is accepting his proposal of marriage. This is called the cup of acceptance and corresponds to the third cup of the Passover seder (or the communion cup of redemption). After she drinks from the cup, the betrothal is legally established. Believers drink of this cup on the evening portion of Passover (Pesach) on the fifteenth day of the first month, which is on the first high holy day Sabbath and first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The altar of sacrifice inside the tabernacle is a picture of this as is the Christian communion ritual known biblically as the Lord’s supper. At this altar, not only were animal sacrifices made, (symbolizing Yeshua’s redemptive death on the cross) but barbecued meat was eaten along with the unleavened bread that was baked thereon and eaten there. The wine offerings (libations) were also poured out on the altar picturing Yeshua spilling his blood at the altar off the cross. This is also when the children of Israel removed leaven—a biblical symbol of sin—from their homes and only ate unleavened bread for the week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This the new believer does when they repent of their sin, resolves to live a sin-free, Torah-compliant life, and “eat” of the word of Yeshua while staying continually “washed” in the blood of Yeshua. Again, all of this prophetically represented in the Christian communion ritual, which symbolizes the redeemed believer turning their back on the world and surrendering their life at the foot of the cross and totally and unreservedly accepting Yeshua as their Master and Bridegroom continually.
3 Set-Apartness, Separation and Consecration (Holiness):After the young man’s proposal is accepted and the betrothal is established, he returns to his father’s house to build a “mansion” for his betrothed bride. Meanwhile, the bride remains in her father’s home and prepares for her wedding day. She takes a ritual cleansing bath (immersion or mikveh) to signify that she is ritually clean and totally set apart for her groom to the exclusion of all other would be suitors. This corresponds to the cleansing ritual of the priests in the Tabernacle of Moses signifying their being set-apart for service to YHVH. Furthermore, both the bride’s and priests’ immersive cleaning in water was a prophetic picture of the future ritual of the new disciple of Yeshua being baptism for the remission of sins at the beginning of their spiritual walk (Rom 6:3–6). Water is a metaphorical Hebraism for the word of Elohim (Deut 32:2; Eph 5:26) as well as a symbol of the Holy Spirit (John 7:37–39). Not only did the bride’s ritual cleansing prophetically picture baptism for the remission of sins, but also pictured the saints (who are preparing to be the future bride of Yeshua the Messiah) washing themselves in the water of the Word of Elohim (Eph 5:26), which is the believer’s marriage or covenantal agreement (or ketubah) with Yeshua. The last high Sabbath or seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag haMatzot) pictures this, for it was on this very day that Israel was immersed in the Red Sea (1 Cor 10:2)—a prophetic picture of baptism and spiritual cleansing—after having removed leavening (a picture of repentance from sin) from their homes. The baptism of the new saint symbolizes entering into a marriage agreement or ketubah, and the promise to obey YHVH’s Word by his Spirit.
4 Maintaining Purity While Walking in Righteousness: After cleansing herself, the betrothed bride prepares for the return of the groom from his father’s house to meet her at her house. Now that the bride has accepted the groom and the terms of the marriage agreement (or ketubah) and sanctified herself in total commitment to her bridegroom, she must choose to identify with him by conforming her life to the terms of the ketubah. While the groom (a prophetic picture of Yeshua) is away building their marital home, the bride is expected to live a righteous and set-apart life by keeping herself away from any other lovers (no extra-marital affairs). For the children of Israel, the commitment to remain a chaste virgin bride occurred at Mount Sinai when YHVH the Son (or Yeshua in his pre-incarnate state) gave them his Torah-law, which was Israel’s ketubah or the terms of their marriage covenant to their Creator (again, the pre-incarnate Yeshua). There they accepted YHVH’s marital covenant terms by saying “I do” to him three times (Exod 19:8; 24:3, 7). They vowed to be faithful only to YHVH and to reject all idolatrous ways, and to walk in faithful obedience to the light of his Torah-Truth. Similarly Yeshua returned to his Father’s house in heaven after his resurrection to build a “mansion” (the New Jerusalem) for his bride, the church, (John 14:2). While the saints are waiting for Yeshua’s return, like the Hebrew bride, they are to remain pure, chaste and holy as well as totally and exclusively committed in love and devotion to their one and only heavenly Bridegroom. In the tabernacle, the menorah is a symbolic picture of this step, for it represents the spiritual light of YHVH’s Torah-Truth and the Spirit of Elohim, who not only convicts us of sin (or Torahlessnes) but also leads us into all Truth (John 16:8, 12). When a believer has the Torah written on their heart by the Holy Spirit (Jer 31:31, 33) and walks in the light of the YHVH’s Torah-Truth, they will not only love Yeshua by obeying his Torah commandments (John 14:15, 21), but will evidence the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are the outward evidence of a Spirit-led life of loving Elohim and one’s neighbor. The menorah and the light it gives off symbolically relates to the Feast of Weeks (Chag haShavuot) or Pentecost when, in Acts chapter two, the believers in the upper room were filled with the Holy Spirit and had YHVH’s law of love was written on their hearts in fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jer 31:31, 33). The menorah’s light and heat correspond to the fruit and gifts of the Spirit, which act as a spiritual light to the nations, thus attracting the unsaved to the message of the gospel. Others will see the light of the saint’s righteousness along with the resulting love, joy and peace and will drawn to her because of her righteous walk as she acts as salt and light to those around her. This is what the saint will be occupying herself with while awaiting the second coming of Yeshua her Bridegroom. Similarly, Yeshua references his virgin bride in the Parable of the Ten Virgins and how some virgins were ready for his coming and others were not (Matt 25:1–13). Paul also refers to his ministerial role preparing the saints to be the bride of Yeshua (2 Cor 11:2).
5 Preparation, Regathering and Reunion: Now the betrothed bride and groom have been separated for six months to a year, while the latter has been at his father’s house to preparing a “mansion” for his bride. In the mean time, the bride, while staying in her family home, puts on robes of righteousness, makes certain that her lamp is full of oil, stays awake in anticipation through the night (while others sleep) waiting for the return of the groom, for she does not know the day or hour of his return. Spiritually, this is a picture of Yeshua leaving his betrothed bride after his resurrection, and preparing for her a spiritual inheritance. When he returns at the end of the age, he will meet her, and they will finalize their wedding culminating in a great celebration. The Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1–13 is a picture of this where a shout of excitement occurs as the bridegroom returns for his bride. Prior to the Yeshua the Bridegroom’s return the shofar sounds (1 Thess 4:16; 1 Cor 15:51–52; Rev 11:15–18) and a shout is made announcing (Matt 25:6; 1 Thess 4:16) to the bride that the groom is on his way, and for her to be ready for his arrival. Spiritually and in our time, this is the call to Israel (redeemed believers) to awake spiritually, to regather and to prepare to meet the Messiah, her Groom. Even now, a spiritual Elijah and John the Baptist call is going forth to wake up sleeping believers to their Hebraic roots, and to turn their hearts back to the spiritual fathers of their faith as Malachi prophesied would occur just before Messiah’s return (Mal 4:4–6). This momentous event is pictured in the tabernacle by the table of showbread (or literally the table of the presence or face of YHVH) upon which are twelve loaves of unleavened bread picturing the regathering of the twelve tribes of Israel in a sin-free (righteous) state to meet Yeshua. This stage of the Hebrew wedding is pictured by the Day of Trumpets, the Day of Awakening Blast, Day of Shouting (all names for the same event) or Yom Teruah. This is when the first resurrection of the righteous dead or “rapture” occurs when Yeshua’s bride-saints will meet him in the air above the earth and receive their glorified bodies.
6 The Return of the Wedding Party to the Bridegroom’s House: At this time the wedding party makes final preparations to return to the father’s house where the marriage feast will occur and married life together will commence. Similarly, Yeshua and his glorified bride will travel from the earth’s atmosphere to heaven to await the time Yeshua’s returns to Jerusalem from where he will establish his global kingdom. Also at the same time Yeshua, will judge and destroy all counterfeit or would-be persecutors of and contenders for his bride along with all false brides and religious systems that have deceived the whole world. This corresponds with Yeshua’s destruction of the end times Babylon the Great socio-economic-religious regime and its satanic, global antichrist system. To mark this momentous event, the final or great jubilee shofar will sound. The earth and its people will once and for all be free of Satan and his evil minions. The altar of incense and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). This is when Yeshua, the Conquering King will returns to earth from heaven riding his white stallion with his glorified bride accompanying him. The New Jerusalem, the mansion Yeshua has constructed for his bride, will also come down from heaven at this time. It is then that he will set his feet on the Mount of Olives from which he ascended two thousand years ago.
7 The Consummation of the Marriage and the Wedding Feast: The young married couple now returns to the father’s house or to the marriage “mansion” the young groom has constructed for his new bride. Yeshua alludes to this in John 14:2 when he declares, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” It is there that the marriage is consummated, the couple begins living together as husband and wife, and the wedding feast occurs. The holy of holies (or kadosh hakadoshim) which contains the ark of the covenant is a prophetic picture of this, and points us to the Feast of Tabernacles (Chag haSukkot), which is a 1000-year long celebration colloquially referred to as the Millennium or Messianic Age. During the Millennium, Yeshua the Bridegroom will rule over this earth as King of kings along with his wife, the glorified bride of Yeshua (see Rev 20:2–7; 1:6; 5:10; 20:6; 17:14; 19:16) from their “mansion” of the New Jerusalem. From there the saints will go forth preaching the gospel to earth’s inhabitants and bring many new people into the kingdom of Elohim. This is the great fall harvest that Sukkot pictures agriculturally.
8 Life Happily Ever After: From this point forward, the young couple lives happily ever after together as husband and wife. Similarly, Yeshua and his bride will live together forever (in Heb. called the Olam Haba) in their new home—the paradise garden city of the New Jerusalem. The Eighth Day (Shemeni Atzeret), which is the seventh of YHVH’s seven annual appointed times (or moedim), prophetically pictures this. The glory cloud (or shekinah) hovering above the ark of the covenant in the tabernacles is a symbolic picture of the glory of the New Jerusalem hovering over the earth during the Millennium and then thereafter being the eternal place of habitation for Yeshua and his saints in new heavens and earth, where YHVH lives with his redeemed and glorified people (or bride) forever. The new heavens and earth come into reality after the white throne judgment of Revelation chapter 20 when everything that is physical (including the wicked) will be burned up in the lake of fire (Rev 20:11–15). After that, only that which is spirit will continue to exist for eternity (Rev 21–22).
As we have seen above, Yom Teruah, though being the fourth festival of YHVH’s seven annual feasts, is in reality the fifth step in the biblical Hebrew wedding because the spring Feast of Unleavened Bread contains two high holy day Sabbaths each which correspond to a step in the Hebrew wedding. In the outline below, we will discuss in more detail this fourth festival or fifth step in the Hebrew wedding and give historical or biblical examples of the prophetic implications thereof regarding eschatology (end time events). All this is a picture of the believer in Yeshua as he strives to become the bride of Yeshua by being in a perpetual state of spiritual readiness for the return of Yeshua, the Bridegroom.
Preparation for (Prior to) Yom Teruah—the Bride Was Consecrated or Set-Apart
Prior to the return of the Jewish bridegroom from his father’s house, the betrothed Israelite maiden kept herself in a continuous state of readiness, for she did not know at what day or hour he would arrive. When in public she wore a veil as a signal to other young men that she was betrothed to someone else and off limits to them. She would spend her time preparing her wedding garments for her upcoming wedding. Again this is a picture of born-again believers coming out of the world and remaining holy (set-apart) awaiting the coming of Yeshua the righteous Bridegroom.
Here are some examples of steps in the traditional Hebraic wedding from the Scriptures along with the spiritual fulfillment of this step:
(a) Rebecca wore a veil (Gen 24:65).
(b) Yeshua is the veil for believers:
Hebrews 10:20, “By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” [i.e., being covered by the blood of Yeshua].
1 John 1:7, The blood of Yeshua Messiah cleanses us from all sin
Revelation 1:5, Yeshua washed us from sins in his own blood
(c) The bride prepares her wedding garments:
Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, the shall become as wool.” By Yeshua’s blood we are made righteous (cleansed from sin) and though our spiritual garments through sin be scarlet, through Yeshua they are made white as wool. Here the blood of Yeshua cleansing us is equated to putting on white robes of righteousness.
Matthew 22:11–13, The proper wedding garments are a prerequisite to being invited to the wedding feast. Many are called, but few are chosen.
Revelation 7:14, “These are they which come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Revelation 19:7, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that we should be arrayed in fine linen, and clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.”
(d) believers are to maintain themselves in a chaste state as spiritually betrothed virgins: They are to be set apart from this world in a state of readiness for their coming Bridegroom, Yeshua.
Revelation 19:7–8, The bride prepares herself: This is a reference to the time period called the 40 Days of Teshuvah, with special emphasis on the 30 days before Yom Teruah, when the bride examines her robes of righteousness for spots and wrinkles. If any are found this is the time for her to repent (teshuvah) and be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. The 12 unleavened loaves of bread on the Table of Showbread, representing the 12 tribes of Israel, pictures the bride of Yeshua in a spiritually de-leavened or sin-free state.
John 17:11,14, They are to be in the world, though not of the world.
Revelation 18:4, She is to come out of the world (Babylon).
2 Corinthians 6:17, She is to come out of the world and be separate and touch not any unclean thing so that Yeshua may receive us [to himself].
1 Corinthians 6:18–20, “We are the temple of the Set-apart Spirit [Ruach HaKodesh] and we are not our own, for we have been bought with a price, therefore flee [physical and spiritual] fornication [i.e., sex before marriage] and sin, and be not joined to a harlot [do not commit spiritual adultery as ancient Israel did].”
Romans 12:1, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice.”
John 15:19, Yeshua has chosen his bride out of this world.
John 17:14, His bride is not of this world.
Matthew 25:1-13, The Parable of the Ten Virgins shows the importance of keeping oneself ready for the coming Bridegroom. There were ten virgins (the ten tribes of Israel), yet only half of them went into the marriage of the Lamb, though all were saved.
Yom Teruah—the Actual Day
On Yom Teruah, the Israelite bridegroom would return from his father’s house to fetch his betrothed bride after having spent six months to a year building her a “mansion”. She had been awaiting her beloved’s return in her father’s house. The bridegroom would come for his bride accompanied by at least two friends, called the two witnesses. Here are some examples of this from the Scriptures along with the spiritual fulfillment of this step:
Moses: He acts as a friend of the bridegroom (Exod 19:17) when he leads Israel the bride out to meet YHVH her Groom.
Paul: He viewed himself as a friend of the Bridegroom (Yeshua) in 2 Corinthians 11:2, “I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Messiah.”
Yeshua: He said he would return for his bride though no man would know the day or hour of his coming (Matt 24:36; 25:13; Luke 12:46).
Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” This phraseology is actually a Hebrew poetic code word reference to the Yom Teruah.
Yeshua the Bridegroom would return with a shout and a sound of the shofar (Matt 25:6; 1 Thess 4:16; Rev 11:15–18 and 12:10; Matt 24:31; 1 Cor 15:52). Again, this occurs at on the Yom Teruah.
The Two Witnesses are mentioned in Revelation 11:1–12 just prior to the sounding of the Seventh Shofar blast (i.e., the last trumpet) in 11:14–17 where the angel announces the coming of the Messiah, the Bridegroom for his saints (verse 18).
The Parable of the Ten Virgins In Matthew 25:1–13 (Please note the bolded portions, since they are of particular prophetic significance.)
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them, But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go you rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man comes.”
John the Baptist: He was a friend of the Bridegroom (John 3:29; See also Matt 9:15). John came in the spirit of Elijah as attesting or witnessing to Messiah Yeshua.
As we have discovered above, prophetically Yom Teruah is a very significant festival that is rich in meaning for believers in Yeshua the Messiah.
Some Christians have been taught that Yeshua came to fulfill or nullify the Torah (or law of YHVH), and that the feasts of YHVH being part of the Torah are no longer relevant, and that they have passed away as mere shadows of things to come. Christian leaders who teach this are twisting the Scriptures to fit a false narrative that is based on ignorance of the facts and a false interpretation the Word of Elohim. Instead, they are proffering an antisemitic theology that has its roots, not in the apostolic era, but in the proto-Roman Catholic Church era beginning in the middle second century of the common era. We, on the other hand, strongly disagree with the viewpoint of Yom Teruah’s irrelevance and abrogation. This biblical holiday prophetically points us to end-time events that are yet to occur. It also speaks of a time when believers in Yeshua must prepare themselves for his return. This day has neither been fulfilled (done away with) nor is irrelevant to the modern believer. Rather it, like all of YHVH’s other biblical holidays, comes around each year to remind us of important aspects of YHVH’s plan of redemption and to be ready when Yeshua our Messiah returns.
We, therefore, encourage you to celebrate this day and take to heart the full ramifications of its spiritual and prophetic implications. If you consider yourself to be the bride of Yeshua, then you will want to let the message of Yom Teruah sink deeply into your heart and adjust your life accordingly.