Speak to the children of Israel, saying: “In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.” (Leviticus 23:24)
As we discussed in the previous devotion, on the first day of the seventh month, the shofar was sounded in acknowledgment of Yom Teruah or the Feast of Trumpets. The sound of the shofar was and still is an ominous sound that can be the source of both jubilation and alarm. Previously, we had emphasized the alarm aspect of things in that it is to awaken us from our spiritual slumber, to call us to repentance and provoke us to draw closer to the Father. That is why the sound of the shofar is understood to be emblematic of God’s voice calling to His people.
There are many traditions connected to the shofar but the most prominent one is based on what is known in Judaism at the Akedah or the “binding” of Isaac. Having been told to offer his beloved son, Isaac, upon the altar, Abraham fully intended to comply with the command. However, before this act could be carried out, the voice of God called out to him and directed his attention to a ram that was caught in the thicket by its horns. This ram was offered on the altar in Isaac’s stead and its horns reserved for posterity. That is why, according to tradition, the story of the Akedah is read on Yom Teruah, and consequently, why the day is associated with the notion of the redemption that comes as a result of repentance.
As followers of Messiah it should be evident how the story of Isaac and the ram caught in the thicket points us to His sacrifice in our stead. Furthermore, given its connection to this story, the sounding of the shofar should also point us to Him — to His death, burial and resurrection. Therefore, the voice of the shofar — the voice of innocent blood — calls unto us to respond to His voice in humility and repentance. Simultaneously, the voice of the shofar reminds us that, in Messiah, there is the promise of redemption. That is why, at His return on the Day of Redemption, the Trump (shofar) of God will sound and all that are His will be gathered unto Him forevermore. And so it is written, “Then the Lord will be seen over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightning. The Lord God will blow the trumpet” (Zechariah 9:14).
Blessings and Shalom,