The Feast of Trumpets
By Randy Nettles
In giving the laws for His people, God set several appointed “Feasts of the Lord” for Israel to observe at specific times during the Year (Leviticus 23). These feasts were holy convocations or assembly meetings for the Hebrew people. They were to be celebrated from that time in the wilderness when God first gave the Law and would carry on into the future to commemorate what God did for them when He delivered them from centuries of slavery in Egypt. They were first observed when Joshua and the Israelites entered the Promised Land in 1406 B.C. (Joshua 5:10-12).
The 7 seasonal Feasts of the Lord are: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. The weekly Sabbath is also considered a Feast of the Lord, but it is not seasonal, rather it is to be observed weekly. The reason God wanted Moses and the children of Israel to observe the mostly lunar calendar was for these seasonal feast days. The New Year starts with the first new moon of spring (when barley is mostly ripe). Passover is always to occur on the first full moon of spring. The Feast of Trumpets is observed during the new moon of autumn.
For each of the 7 Feasts of the Lord, there are two fulfillments: the first one is but a shadow of things to come and is fulfilled by the children of Israel; the second fulfillment is by the Lord Jesus himself. His is the ultimate fulfillment. This is why they call them “Feasts of the Lord” and not Feasts of Israel. Let’s briefly examine the first occurrences of the 7 Feasts of the Lord.
Passover –The original Passover occurred when God sent Moses to Pharaoh in Egypt to convince him to let his people go (from slavery). This occurred in 1446 BC. Pharaoh would not listen to Moses, so God sent plagues upon the Egyptians. Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not relent until the 10th and final plague occurred. The firstborn of all the Egyptians and their cattle were killed by an angel of death, but the Hebrew firstborn was spared. Passover is discussed in Exodus 13:1-5, Exodus 23:4-5, and Deuteronomy 16:1-4.
On the first Passover for Moses and the children of Israel, the blood of the sacrificed lamb that was smeared on the doorposts of the homes of the Hebrews foreshadowed the blood of Christ (the Lamb of God) when he was killed on the cross. When we accept His sacrifice, we are no longer judged and sentenced to eternal death because of our sins. Passover, or Pesach to the Jews, is always observed on Nisan 14 of the Jewish calendar but can occur on different days of the week. It commemorates Gods’ deliverance of the Jewish people from a life of slavery and oppression.
Unleavened Bread –. During the night of the original Passover, the Jews prepared to leave Egypt in great haste. The food they carried with them was unleavened bread – matzo since they didn’t have time for leavened bread to rise. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is the 2nd Feast of the Lord and lasts for seven days, from Nisan 15 to 22, whereas no bread is to be eaten with leaven. Leven or yeast represents sin in the Bible. This Feast of the Lord is mentioned in Exodus 34:18, Leviticus 23:6-8, and Deuteronomy 16:5-8.
When Jesus died on the cross, he took away all of our sins and canceled the Law’s indictments against us. Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, was buried in a tomb on the day of his crucifixion and was in the earth for 3 days and 3 nights. He purged out our sins and ultimately fulfilled the 2nd feast known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Firstfruits – The 3rd Feast of the Lord is celebrated on the 1sst day after the Sabbath (Saturday) that follows Passover, and is known as the Feast of Firstfruits. Firstfruits was the time for the harvesting of the early crops (mostly barley) of spring. Concerning this feast, the Lord told Moses, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When you come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it” (Leviticus 23:9-11).
The Bible records that after 40 years in the wilderness, Joshua and the Hebrew people crossed over the Jordan River and ate the Passover Supper on the 14th of Nisan in the year 1406 BC. The next day, on the 15th of Nisan, the Jews ate of the old corn of the land. The next day, the 16th day of Nisan, was the last day in which God provided the supernatural manna as food. The day following was the 17th day of Nisan, the Feast of Firstfruits, and with no more manna available, the people began to eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year…the firstfruits of the Promised Land. The feast celebrated Israel ’s acknowledgment that not only the firstfruits were owed to God, but that all they had was from God, a daily gift from His gracious hand. Moses wrote: “The first of the firstfruits of thy land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God” (Exodus 23:19).
Jesus was resurrected on a Feast of Firstfruits day. This miraculous event occurred on the third day after Passover (on a Sunday), which was the 17th day of Nisan, in the year A.D. 33. Christians now refer to this day as Resurrection Sunday. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1Corinthians 15:20). Jesus also resurrected others from death during this time. “The graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many” (Matthew 27: 52-53). Jesus’ resurrection is the ultimate fulfillment of the Feast of Firstfruits.
Pentecost – The 4th Feast of the Lord is celebrated 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits in early summer. Pentecost (Feast of Weeks), or Shavuot to the Jews, celebrated the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest. The name Pentecost comes from the word “penta” meaning 50. “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete. Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord” (Leviticus 23:15-16). Pentecost is mentioned in Leviticus 23:15-22 and Deuteronomy 16:9-12.
In AD 135, after the final defeat of the Jewish nation by Roman legions, the Sanhedrin changed the focus of Shavuot from the summer harvest to the giving of the 10 Commandments and the Law of Moses. They did this because Shavuot was one of the three feasts in which all male Jews were required to observe and gather together, and the defeated and dispersed nation of Israel would no longer have any national harvests to celebrate. From that time on, the Jewish leaders decided that Pentecost would occur 50 days after the Feast of Unleavened Bread (instead of the feast of Firstfruits). So now, in their eyes, Shavuot can come any day of the week and always takes place on the 6th day of the 3rd Hebrew month of Sivan. This dating method for Pentecost is not biblically correct.
Pentecost should always fall on Sunday and can come on different dates other than Sivan 6. Pentecost should always come 50 days after the feast of Firstfruits and not the feast of Unleavened Bread. 7 is God’s special number, it is in focus as 7 Sabbaths must transpire between these two feasts of the Lord. The starting point is the 1st Sabbath (Saturday) after Passover. The next day, Sunday is the 1st day. The 7th Saturday is the 49th day. The next day, Sunday is the 50th day…from Sunday to Sunday.
The Feast of Pentecost is very significant to Christians as well as to Jews. For Christians, it is remembered for the giving of the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ disciples. Precisely 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits, the day the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead, 120 of His disciples gathered together in one place to await the promise of Christ. He prophesied that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. “But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
On the 7th day of Sivan on the Hebrew calendar, in A.D.33, the Holy Spirit manifested Himself and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. “Within a few days, over three thousand Jews became believers. Reliable reports suggest that despite horrible persecutions, tortures, and massive executions, within 70 years over 10 million believers had joined the underground Christian Church throughout the Roman Empire. Jesus’ prophecy to his disciples was fulfilled, and God baptized them with his Holy Spirit. The feast of Pentecost began the Dispensation of Grace, and the Church was born. It consisted of Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus as the Son of God and the savior of mankind.”
Trumpets – The Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah, is the 5th feast of the Lord. It occurs on the 1st day of the 7th month of Tishri on the Jewish ecclesiastical calendar when the new moon of autumn first becomes visible (crescent moon). This year the Feast of Trumpets is on September 29, 2019. Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year”. Tishri 1 is the start of the civil New Year, and the date on which the year number advances. This year, A.D. 2019, on Tishri 1 (September 29), the year will advance from 5779 to 5780 on the Jewish calendar. Nisan 1 is the date from which months and festivals (and days) are counted, while Tishri 1 is the date from which years are counted.
As soon as the crescent moon of Tishri arrived and was observed by two or more witnesses, the watchers would trumpet the signal from hill to hill. Not much is known about this feast other than the fact that it was the start of a new year. The Bible first mentions it in Leviticus 23:23, “In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.”
Most ancient nations, including Israel, began their calendar year in the fall (September-October). However, during the Exodus times (1446 B.C.), God instructed Moses to change the timing of the yearly calendar from Tishri 1 to Nisan 1, so the calendar year would start in the spring and not the fall. This was done in order to commemorate Israel ’s miraculous deliverance by God from the bondage of Egypt in the month of Abib (later named Nisan). Therefore, the pre-Exodus first month would now become the post-Exodus seventh month and vice-versa.
Atonement – Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the 6th Feast of the Lord and is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar when all Israel mourns for their sins. On the 10th day of the 7th month of Tishri, in the wilderness, the high priest Aaron sacrificed for the sins of his people. This was the first time God commanded the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. Here is how it is described in Leviticus 23:27-32: “Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be a holy convocation unto you; and you shall afflict your souls. And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whatsoever soul it is that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a Sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls.”
The Day of Atonement was to be observed every year on the 10th day of Tishri. Every 7th year on the Day of Atonement, Israel was to allow a Sabbath of rest for the land, whereas there was to be no planting of crops. This was so the land could be rejuvenated and yield greater crops. It was also to be a year of rest for the people and work animals.
Every fiftieth year, a jubilee was to be proclaimed on the Day of Atonement. Here is how it is described in Leviticus 25:8-12: “And you shall number 7 Sabbaths of years unto you, 7 times seven 7 years: and the space of the 7 Sabbaths of years shall be unto you 49 years. Then shall you cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the 10th day of the 7th month, in the day of atonement shall you make the trumpet sound throughout all you land. And you shall hallow the 50th year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and you shall return every man unto his possession, and you shall return every man unto his family. A jubilee shall that 50th year be unto you; you shall not sow, neither reap that which growth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: you shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.”
As mentioned before, the number 7 is God’s perfect and complete number. Pentecost cannot come until 7 Sabbaths of days occur. The Jubilee cannot come until 7 Sabbaths of years occur. There is no proof that the Jews ever let the land rest for a year or celebrated a Jubilee. There can be no Jubilee year unless the Day of Atonement is observed every year and the people allow the land to rest every 7 years.
The ultimate fulfillment of Yom Kippur will occur at the Second Coming when the remnant of believers in Israel will mourn for their Messiah, whom they rejected. “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon ” (Zechariah 12:10-11).
Tabernacles – The Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot, is the last of the 7 Feasts of the Lord and the most joyous. It occurs on the 15th day of Tishri and lasts for 7 days. The purpose of this feast is recorded in Leviticus 23, verses 33-34 and verses 42-43: “And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord… You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
During this celebration, the people were to live in booths for 7 days that were made of sticks or branches in remembrance of when their ancestors lived in the wilderness for 40 years. The day after the 7th day (the 8th day) is designated as a “solemn assembly” for the children of Israel. The feast of Tabernacles is one of 3 feasts that all Jewish men were required to attend in Jerusalem every year. The other two are the feast of Unleavened Bread (combined with Passover), and Pentecost.
The Feast of Tabernacles will ultimately be fulfilled by the Lord Jesus when He establishes His millennial kingdom of peace on the earth. “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one… And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles” ( Zechariah 14:9, 16).
For more detailed information regarding the 7 Feasts of the Lord, go to a previous article I wrote entitled Ancient Calendars, Feast Days, & Daniel 12:11.
The Bible’s only description of the 5th Feast of the Lord, known as Trumpets, is the following: “In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:23). The only thing we know about Trumpets is that it is when a new year is numbered. However, there are three spiritually important events that have occurred on this day.
1) The altar in Jerusalem is rebuilt and daily sacrifices begin anew. When King Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylon, he issued a decree around 538 BC which allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple. In 536 BC, under the guidance of their leader Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua (Jeshua), the first thing the people did was to rebuild the altar of God. “From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the Lord, But the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid” (Ezra 3:6).
2) The covenant between the children of Israel and God is renewed. In 444 BC, Nehemiah the Jew (who was King Artaxerxes of Persia ’s cupbearer), was granted permission to rebuild the walls around the city of Jerusalem. The walls were rebuilt in 52 days. After that, Nehemiah registered the people by their genealogy. On the first day of the seventh month (Trumpets), all the people gathered themselves together in Jerusalem and Ezra the priest and others read to them the book of the law of Moses. “And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month” (Nehemiah 8:2). So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be you sorry, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:2,8,10).
3) Genesis 8 describes the great flood of Noah’s day: “And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dried” (Genesis 8:13). As mentioned before, Moses, as decreed by God, changed the starting date of the yearly calendar from the fall to the spring season. The first day of the first month (Antediluvian period) would now be the first day of the seventh month, now known as Tishri 1 (Trumpets) on the Jewish calendar. In those Antediluvian days, the months were not named yet, only numbered. Seeing the surface of the dry ground gave the survivors of the flood hope for a new life on that day which would later become a Feast of the Lord known as Trumpets.
The New Testament (Revelation) only mentions 1260 days (3.5 years or 42 months) for the duration of the “Great Tribulation”. If the end of the Great Tribulation happens during Trumpets on Tishri 1, then the starting date would be around Passover. Actually, if you deduct 1260 days from Tishri 1, it always puts you at Nisan 10 or Nisan 12. Nisan 10 is the date known as “Palm Sunday” when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey as Israel ’s king but was rejected as such. Will the Antichrist emulate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on this day and ride in on a white horse as king of the world?
The starting event for the Great Tribulation of 1260 days is described in the Bible as the Abomination of Desolation (spoken of by the prophet Daniel). This happens in the midst of the 7 Year Tribulation (Jacob’s Trouble/Daniel’s 70th seven). Do you think that the Abomination of Desolation will occur around Passover / Feast of Unleavened Bread when every adult male Jew is required to attend and assemble at the newly built third temple of the Lord in Jerusalem? It seems highly likely, in my opinion. This will be the Antichrist’s big moment to show his true colors (and intentions) and start his evil campaign against God’s chosen people. However, his reign will be short-lived when Jesus returns to the earth and destroys him and his evil followers.
The Feast of Trumpets is all about hope and new beginnings. For this is the day that most Bible scholars believe Jesus Christ will return to the earth (at the Battle of Armageddon), thus fulfilling the 5th Feast of the Lord. For the remnant of believers still alive on the planet, He will come in like the cavalry in the olden days…riding in on a white horse, just in the nick of time; and with the sound of the trumpet blowing. He will rescue His remnant and they will re-populate the planet during Jesus’ 1000 year reign on earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.