Feast of The Blowing of Trumpets

by Joseph H Hunting

At sundown on September 8th throughout the world a blast on the shofar, or ram’s horn, will usher in the Jewish New Year. And through THE VINEYARD friends of Israel wish their Jewish friends Happy New Year.

On the 1st Tishri (actually the seventh month in the Jewish calendar) the blast of the shofar has echoed down the centuries from the uttermost parts of the earth to herald the Jewish New Year.


Origins in Scripture are both important and significant. The first recorded blast of the shofar is no exception. It was on the occasion of the Lord’s giving to Moses the Ten Commandments for His people Israel. “Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.

“Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. Then the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up” (Exodus 19:16-20).

It is admitted that in religious observances there are often time-honoured traditions which are blindly followed without question. One does not have to look far in the various Christian observances to realize how much tradition has become accepted instead of the Word of God. Therefore it may not come as any surprise to discover that 1st Tishri is not the Scriptural New Year after all!

According to Divine instruction 1st Tishri (the seventh month) commemorates the festival of the Blowing of Trumpets, the fifth of the seven festivals as set forth in Leviticus 23. According to rabbinic tradition the Jewish calendar commenced at Creation on the 1st Tishri , thus substituting the Divinely-ordained first month for the seventh.


According to the Scriptures the New Year was celebrated approximately 1400 years B.C.E. during the month Abib (later called Nisan ) when the Israelites were about to be delivered from bondage in Egypt. Indeed, the New Year is inseparably linked with Israel’s redemption, when the Lord declared: “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus 12:2).

Not only had the nation been slaves but they had been set impossible quotas by the Egyptian task-masters; they had been humiliated; they had been lashed; life itself had become unbearable. Then when all hope seemed lost God set a date for their deliverance.

Lest the importance of this fact be overlooked, we must remember that there was no ‘underground’, no National Liberation Front, no Freedom Fighters, or any similar revolutionary movement plotting for the overthrow of their oppressors. It was God who set the date for their deliverance, and HE commanded Israel to commemorate the event for ever, and to commence with a new calendar. “This month shall be your beginning; it shall be the first month of the year to you.”


From time immemorial people delivered from bondage or political yokes have set a day of rejoicing to mark the anniversary of their liberation, and not the least among them the newly emerged State of Israel with its Independence Day. Indeed, Israel has the distinction of being the only nation whom God has liberated and at the same time commanded a new calendar as a memorial to mark the occasion.

Their national calendar which commenced with their redemption was to have no record of their degradation, slavery and humiliation in Egypt, for this was the nation of whom God had said: “You only have I known of all the families of the earth ...” (Amos 3:2).

So when Israel’s sages of a bygone age substituted the commandment of God for the traditions of men by altering the first month to the seventh in which to celebrate the New Year, it would appear that something infinitely more precious and meaningful was replaced by a mere speculative date for Creation. This “something infinitely precious and meaningful” relates the miracle of Israel’s redemption from Egypt to the nation’s New Year — for redemption is inseparably linked with a new beginning.

Countless millions have learned this truth expressed by one who claimed to be a Hebrew of the Hebrews, even Paul of Tarsus: “If any man be in the Messiah, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (II Corinthians 5:17).