Many years ago (2011, to be precise), I shared that I was waiting to hear the sound of a trumpet. I am still waiting, and wondering, will this year be the one? What am I talking about? The Biblical Feast of Trumpets, referred to in modern Judaism as Rosh Hashanna – Jewish New Year.
The Feast of Trumpets is the ONLY one in scripture that is not accompanied by an explanation. We are told to celebrate, but we are not told why.
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the LORD.Leviticus 23:23-25
In Numbers 29:1-6 more information is given, but only about the sacrifices required. The end of verse 1 reads, “…It is a day for you to blow the trumpets…”
A day to blow the trumpets. And then there is the blast of the last trumpet. I suppose I could share a lot about this day, but I’d like to let a few other verses speak for themselves.
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.1 Corinthians 15:50-52 ESV
And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.Matthew 24:31 ESV
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV
Many years ago, Professor Louis Goldberg helped me to better understand the holidays and their fulfillment in our wonderful Savior, Jesus. Surely the Feast of Trumpets, looks forward to the mystery Paul explains in First Corinthians, the taking up of the church to our Lord at the sound of the last trump.
Tomorrow, I am leaving for a three day holiday with my congregation here in Israel. There will be more than 100 of us gathered together for the festive “New Year” meal, and for the past few years, one of the young men in our congregation has sounded the ram’s horn. We listen eagerly to the sound of the trumpet, and look with longing upward, toward the coming of our wonderful savior and redeemer. Will He come now, this Feast day? Will He come later in the year? Sometimes we sigh to each other, why is it taking so long?
And then I’m reminded of what Peter tells us:
First of all, understand that in the last days, scoffers will come scoffing …and saying, “Where is this promise of His coming? Ever since the fathers died, everything goes on just as it has from the beginning of creation.”2 Peter 3:3-4 (TLV)
It seems like there will always be those who think we are not being realistic to look for and hope for the return of our Lord and Savior. It could be any moment. Yet, barely 30-40 years after the time of Jesus, the new believers were asking, when? why Lord, is it taking you so long to return?
But Peter had received insight from the Lord that he, and we, are in this, called to follow our Lord for the long haul.
But don’t forget this one thing, loved ones, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some consider slowness. Rather, He is being patient toward you—not wanting anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance.2 Peter 3:8-9 (TLV)
The Lord is patient. Every day that Jesus does not return is another day of grace and mercy for someone else to be saved. And don’t we all have loved ones who have not yet accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord? Don’t we all have friends who still walk without hope for forgiveness or eternal life?
This morning, I was struck again by the horrors of this world. I read a news article about what is happening in North Korea. Just thinking about it makes me feel ill, so I won’t repeat the details that I read here. It is enough to know that this entire nation is in darkness. Not only are Christians suffering terribly (but at least they have hope in God and have a home with Him when their suffering is over), but there are so many people who have never even had a chance to hear the hope of the gospel — including their persecutors.
This morning these verses from Matthew hit me anew:
Then He [Jesus] said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest that He may send out workers into His harvest field.”Matthew 9:37-38 (TLV)
As I consider how much I long for Jesus to come back, to establish His kingdom of righteousness, for sin to be done with, for the New Heavens and the New Earth, another part of me whispers, Please Lord, tarry, don’t come quite yet… send workers to the field… send people to North Korea. I can’t go, but you know who can. Reach them…
As I enter into this year’s celebration of the Feast of Trumpets, it is with longing and hope. Hope that the Lord will return at the perfect time, just as He came 2,000 years ago at the right time. Hope that in the meanwhile, He is moving throughout the world and in His people, drawing others to Himself. And longing, because, I really do long to hear that last trumpet call…
Maranatha! Even so, come Lord Jesus.
P.S. I will share about my time in the USA in another post… for now, suffice to say, it was wonderful.