Rosh HaShanah–a Joyful, Jewish New Year!

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“Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.

For it is a statute for Israel, An ordinance of the God of Jacob.” Psalm 81:3-4

Rosh HaShanah (the Feast of Trumpets or Yom Teruah) is the first of the Jewish fall festivals. The Hebrew phrase “Rosh HaShanah” literally means “the head of the year” and is known as the Jewish New Year.

Rosh HaShanah is described in Leviticus 23:23-25 where it tells the Israelites to rest and blow the trumpet or shofar (ram’s horn). Teruah is the Hebrew word for the blowing of the shofar (Numbers 29:1). This feast falls on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar.

Rosh HaShanah holds future significance as a day of judgment since it is connected to the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the new season (Exodus 34:22). The days following Rosh HaShanah are intense days of repentance and forgiveness leading up to Yom Kippur.

Blowing the shofar has significance in Scripture. The Israelites sounded shofars as a call to assembly, a command to move out, a call to war, in preparation for an announcement, a warning of judgment to come, a call to celebration and worship, or for the coronation of a new king, as well as new moons and feast times (Numbers 10:1-10).

Varying sounds meant different things, and when blown correctly, the shofar could be heard at great distances. Blowing shofars was a reminder of God’s presence both during war and days of joy and also indicates judgment and the coming of the LORD (Joel 2:1).

This feast does not merely point to the past, but also to the future. Isaiah foretells a time when Israel will be gathered back to their land at the sound of a “great trumpet” (Isaiah 27:13).

The New Covenant prophecies Yeshua (Jesus) coming from heaven with the sound of the shofar at the rapture of His saints (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52). The angels will also sound the shofar at His second coming (Matthew 24:31). Just like a new year marks new beginnings, this last trumpet will mark the beginning of the reign of Messiah (Revelation 11:15).

Psalm 47:5 says that “God has ascended with a shout, the LORD, with the sound of a trumpet (shofar).” Yeshua was crucified for the atonement of sins on the very day of Passover; we eagerly await His imminent return which will be announced with the sound of a shofar.

“Blessed are the people who know the trumpet sound (teruah) of the LORD,

they will walk in the light of Your face.” Psalm 89:15

Like traditional New Year’s celebrations, Jewish people celebrate and commit for a better year, and one tradition is eating apples dipped in honey for the sweet New Year. 

Shannah Tova Umetuka! – Have a good and sweet year!

Too Busy For Christmas

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The innkeeper was too busy
to welcome the newborn king.
His family missed the first Christmas
wrapped up in other things.

King Herod missed the first Christmas
He feared the little child.
And sought to kill the Son of God,
the baby meek and mild.

The chief priests and scribes missed His birth,
although they knew He’d come
Their religion was a stumbling block;
they missed the Holy One.

Too many missed the first Christmas—
the birthday of God’s Son.
Too busy with so many things,
they knew not of that One.

Too busy for the greatest gift?
Oh, may it never be!
Will you miss the joy of Christmas?
Open your heart to see.

Don’t miss this blessed Christmas day
wrapped up in petty things.
Remember the reason He came
And make Him Lord and King.

I wrote this poem December 10, 2000 after hearing a sermon about how others were too busy for Christmas. Only the angels and a few shepherds welcomed the Messiah. I pray that none of us become too busy or wrapped up in the busyness of the season that we forget the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Jesus (Yeshua) is the true reason for the season.