Feast of Trumpets & the New Moon
What’s the only feast that falls on a new moon? Feast of Trumpets! The Feast of Trumpets always begins on Tishrei 1, the beginning of the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar. It’s always marked by a new moon.
Genesis 1:14 tells us:
“Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;”
The moon is one of the lights that marks the seasons. On the Hebrew calendar, a new month always begins on the evening that a sliver of the new moon appears. That’s how a new month is determined – by the moon.
Now let’s look at Leviticus 23:24-25:
24 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘In the seventh month, the first of the month is to be for you a day of complete rest for remembering, a holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar.25 Do not do any kind of ordinary work, and bring an offering made by fire to Adonai.’”
Here we see that Yehovah has made sure that we always celebrate the Feast of Trumpets on the first of Tishrei, which is a new moon and a new month. I wondered, why. Why would Yehovah put one of his holy days right on the day of a new moon, on the first of the month? What does the Feast of Trumpets have to do with the beginning of a month?
Here’s the easy answer: A new month alerts us to a new season, the Feast of Trumpets is meant to awaken us to a new season in a big way.
In this article, we’ll examine the thematic connections between the Feast of Trumpets and Rosh-Hodesh (the first of the month). We’ll look specifically at the trumpet blasts, and what the seventh month is all about, and all of that will reveal the answer to this question as to why they’re on the same day. We’ll see deeper into Yehovah’s heart as we explore this topic.
The Feast of Trumpets
The Jewish sages have labeled Tishrei as the season of atonement, because it includes the Day of Atonement. But, as Messianic believers, we see more than that. We understand that it kicks off the events of the second coming of Yeshua. How gracious is Yehovah? He doesn’t just surprise us like a “thief in the night,” coming when we don’t expect it. No, he’s only a “thief in the night” (as referenced in Matthew 24 and 1 Thess. 5) for those who don’t know he’s coming, for those who aren’t watching the signs and the seasons, and for those who aren’t on his calendar
The Feast of Trumpets is our call to be alert for his coming. This is that season. It’s been on Yehovah’s calendar since the beginning of time, and now it’s on our calendar.
Four Thematic Connections
I want to look further into this connection between the New Moon and the Feast of Trumpets. First of all, in order to get our terms straight, I will refer to the first day of the month by its Hebrew name – “Rosh-Hodesh.” Translated, that means the head of the month. It falls on a new moon, so it’s often called a new moon, but we’re not celebrating the new moon. We’re actually celebrating the beginning of a new month – the head of the month. So I’ll refer to it as Rosh-Hodesh.
As we just read in Leviticus 23:24-25:
24 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘In the seventh month, the first of the month is to be for you a day of complete rest for remembering, a holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar. 25 Do not do any kind of ordinary work, and bring an offering made by fire to Adonai.’”
Now read the instructions for Rosh-Hodesh in Numbers 10:10, which is the first place we see the commandment to observe Rosh-Hodesh:
“Also on your days of rejoicing, at your designated times and on Rosh-Hodesh, you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; these will be your reminder before your God. I am Adonai your God.”
(Different translations refer to Rosh-Hodesh different ways. I’m quoting from the Complete Jewish Bible, so it keeps the Hebrew term of Rosh-Hodesh. But other translations say: first of the month, beginning of the month, or New Moon Feast.)
Comparing these instructions for the Feast of Trumpets and the instructions for Rosh-Hodesh, we see four things they have in common:
- Both fall on the first of the month.
- Both refer to an offering.
- Both refer to a remembrance. For the Feast of Trumpets says it’s “a day of complete rest for remembering.” For Rosh-Hodesh our offerings are “a reminder before Yehovah.”
- Both refer to blowing a trumpet or shofar.
So we can see these are obviously closely related to each other. I want to look at each of these similarities in more detail.
We already discussed how both fall on the first of the month. We’ll come back to that. Let’s look next at the offerings.
Look at Numbers 29:1, which describes the offering for the Feast of Trumpets:
“‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you are to have a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work; it is a day of blowing the shofar for you. 2 Prepare a burnt offering to make a fragrant aroma for Adonai — one young bull, one ram and seven male lambs in their first year and without defect — 3 with their grain offering, consisting of fine flour mixed with olive oil — six quarts for the bull, four quarts for the ram, 4 and two quarts for each of the seven lambs — 5 also one male goat as a sin offering to make atonement for you. 6 This is to be in addition to the burnt offering for Rosh-Hodesh with its grain offering, the regular burnt offering (that was twice per day) with its grain offering, and their drink offerings, according to the rule for them; this will be a fragrant aroma, an offering made by fire to Adonai.
So on this day, Feast of Trumpets, we are to be celebrating both – The Feast of Trumpets and Rosh-Hodesh. We see here that we’re to bring both offerings, plus the daily burnt offering in the morning and evening.
When you look at the offering for Rosh-Hodesh in Numbers 28:11-15, the only difference between the offering for Feast of Trumpets and Rosh-Hodesh is that Rosh-Hodesh requires an additional bull and additional goat.
Some of the other Feasts offer similar offerings, but here we see that Rosh-Hodesh is most closely aligned with the Feasts than it is with a weekly Sabbath or a minor holiday. It’s really a monthly Feast. We’ll come back to that.
2. A Memorial
Here’s the second similarity. Look again closely at Lev. 23:24-25 and Num. 10:10. Both reference a remembrance. Leviticus 23 tells us this is “a day of complete rest for remembering.” Num. 10 tells us our offerings are “a reminder before Yehovah.”
In this post I discuss what we are remembering on the Feast of Trumpets. What I found is that it points to the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. This commandment in Leviticus to observe this day comes just one year after the people heard Yehovah blow the shofar on Mt. Sinai. They heard Yehovah’s voice and the thunder and lightning and were so frightened, they told Moses they didn’t want to listen anymore for fear they might die. They told him to go do the listening and come back and tell them what Yehovah said.
This is what those original Israelites were remembering when they heard shofar blasts each year at this time, the time when Yehovah blew the shofar on the mountain.
And what about the reminder that’s referenced on Rosh-Hodesh?
Both of these words – the word “remembering” in Lev. 23, and the word “reminder” in Num. 10 are the same word in the Hebrew – Zikkaron (#2146). It means a memorial or remembrance – usually a day (like a memorial day) or an object (such as in the Shema in Numbers 6 when we say “tie them on your hand for a sign.” This word sign is zikkaron.) It can also mean something written down to be remembered. An example is in Exodus 17:14 when Yehovah told Moses to “Write this in a book to be remembered, and tell it to Y’hoshua that I will completely blot out any memory of ‘Amalek from under heaven.” That word “remembered” is this word “zikkaron.” Moses is to make a written memorial.
So in both of these Feasts we see a memorial – one remembering the shofar Yehovah sounded on Mt. Sinai, and one we blow reminding Yehovah of us on Rosh-Hodesh. On the Feast of Trumpets, both are blown and both are remembered – we remember Yehovah and he remembers us.
Which brings us to the trumpets that are mentioned in both of these feasts.
The Trumpets of the Feast of Trumpets
Did you know that what we call the Feast of Trumpets and what our Bibles translate as “blasts on the shofar” or “blowing trumpets” is not actually in the original text?
In Leviticus 23 the literal Hebrew is “a memorial of blasts.” Most Bibles insert the words “on the trumpet” or “trumpet blasts.” What else could it mean? Well, in Hebrew this Feast is called “Yom Teruah.” Yom means day, but Teruah doesn’t mean trumpets. It means a shout or blast of war, alarm or joy. So literally translated this is a “Day of Blasting or Shouting.”
When you look for the word Teruah in the Hebrew Bible, it’s found 36 times. Sometimes it means specifically blasts on the shofar or trumpets. Other times there are no trumpets involved – it’s just loud shouting or praising. Here are some familiar examples of teruah without trumpets:
- Remember at Jericho, the priests blew the shofars and shouted? (Josh. 6:20)
“So the people shouted (teruah), and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout (teruah) and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city,”
- When the Israelites brought the Ark out into the camp to defeat the Philistines (1 Sam. 4:5)
“As the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout (teruah), so that the earth resounded.”
- When the builders of Ezra’s time laid the foundation of the temple (Ezra 3:11-13)
“And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid… the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away.”
So Teruah and Yom Teruah, what we call the Feast of Trumpets, is actually a feast of shouting or blasting a trumpet, a shofar, praising, shouting – generally making a loud noise. The sages and Bible translators have inserted the shofar as the instrument of blasting on this day. Well, that’s great, because as we red – this is a day of remembrance and one of the things we’re remembering is how Yehovah blew the shofar on Mt. Sinai when he gave us the Torah.
The Trumpets of Rosh-Hodesh
Now let’s look at the trumpet in the Rosh-Hodesh celebration. Is that a shofar?
The first commandment to blow the trumpet on Rosh-Hodesh comes in Numbers 10:8-10. But Numbers 10 is about creating two trumpets from hammered silver. And it tells us what those trumpets are to be used for. It says:
“Make two trumpets; make them of hammered silver. Use them for summoning the community and for sounding the call to break camp and move on… 9 When you go to war in your land against an adversary who is oppressing you, you are to sound an alarm with the trumpets; then you will be remembered before Adonai your Yehovah, and you will be saved from your enemies. 10 Also on your days of rejoicing, at your designated times and on Rosh-Hodesh, you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; these will be your reminder before your Yehovah…”
In the Hebrew text trumpets is a different word than shofar. The word in Numbers 10 is “chatsotsrah” Strongs #2689 translated “trumpets.”
So we have two separate types of horns being referenced in these two events. One is made by man from silver – the trumpet (chatsotsrah). The other is made by Yehovah from the horn of an animal – that’s the shofar.
So on the Feast of Trumpets, both the shofar and the silver trumpets are to be blown. So again we see this theme of Yehovah and man joining together, just as we saw with the memorials. Both the man-made trumpets and the God-made shofar come together on this day.
4. First of the Month
In our discovery why the Feast of Trumpets falls on a Rosh-Hodesh, let’s revisit the fact that they both fall on the first day of the month.
In my study of Rosh-Hodesh, I found that often what happens on the first day of a month hints at or sheds light on what the whole month is about. It points to the significance of that month.
For instance, Passover falls in the middle of the Hebrew month of Nisan. Back in Egypt the Israelites put the blood of the lamb on their doorposts and were saved, just as when we take Yeshua, our lamb’s, blood as payment for our sin we are saved.
The following year, Yehovah had Moses consecrate Aaron and his sons for priestly service using the blood of their sacrifice on the first day of Nisan (Ex. 40:1-3). And later in Ezekiel’s vision of the temple, Yehovah instructs him to purify the sanctuary by putting the blood of the sin offering on the doorposts of the temple, again, on the first day of Nisan (Ez. 45:18-19).
The events that happen the first day of a month often point to the theme or season of that month.
Another example is the month of Sivan, the third month. On the first day of Sivan, the Lord told Moses to have the Israelites separate and cleanse themselves in preparation for his presence (Ex. 19). He was going to reveal more of himself to the people. Then later that month we have the giving of the Torah/Shavuot and Pentecost. Yehovah gave the Israelites the Torah from Mt. Sinai, and He gave Yeshua’s disciples the Holy Spirit inside of them, individually.
The third month is considered the month of revelation, when Yehovah reveals more of himself to us. Shavuot and Pentecost always occur in the month of Sivan. Separating and cleansing ourselves for Yehovah allows him to reveal more of himself to us. That’s what the third month is about.
The Hebrew month of Av is a season of judgment and exile. The Bible tells us that Aaron died on the first day of Av (Num. 33:38). Aaron was a representation of the people. He was part of the rebellion of the golden calf, and it was because of rebellion that Aaron’s whole generation died and was exiled from the Promised Land. So Aaron’s death on the first day of Av symbolizes the judgment and exile that Av reminds us of.
This is often the pattern for these various seasons on Yehovah’s calendar. The events that happen the first day often point to the theme or season we’re in.
So looking at what happened on the first day of the month of Tishrei could shed more light on why the Feast of Trumpets falls on Rosh-Hodesh. Here’s what I found…
In total there were 27 references to the seventh month in the Bible – all in the Hebrew scriptures, none in the Brit Hadashah/New Testament. Ten of those (more than one-third) were describing the feasts of the seventh month.
So the first thing we see is that Yehovah is serious about these feasts. In just a word search on the words “seventh month” we see ten references to them. And remember, in the seventh month there are three feasts over 22 days. We have an extra four Sabbaths, four holy convocations and ten offerings, a lulav (a bouquet of branches), a day of “afflicting your soul,” a sukkah and blowing the shofar. And all that is in addition to our normal Sabbaths, offerings, and gatherings, plus our Rosh-Hodesh offerings and observances in the seventh month.
Do you get the idea that Yehovah wants our attention in the seventh month? When you add it all up, it looks conspicuously like he wants us together, resting, giving and celebrating in his presence, focusing on him pretty much the whole month.
Wow – what a God we serve! This is so opposite of the God we sometimes hear about that wants us trying harder, doing more, using every minute for ministry or just generally performing better in every area of our life. But that’s not what Yehovah asks of us this month. He wants our time spent with him and with his body.
We see this symbolism in the trumpets – both his shofar and our trumpets being blown on this day. And in the memorials – we remember him with our offerings, and he remembers us with this day of remembering. He wants us coming together with him. This is his heart this month.
Now here’s the other thing I found: Eight of the references to the seventh month have to do with the process of rebuilding the temple, either Solomon’s temple or the one during Ezra and Nehemiah’s time.
Two of those eight having to do with the temple took place on the first day of Tishrei. It’s like a neon sign of what’s to come. There may be others things that we can calculate happened on the first day, but the Bible specifically mentions Tishrei 1 twice. Both times are in the period of Ezra and Nehemiah.
The book of Ezra is about the return to Jerusalem to help rebuild the temple. Ezra 3:6 tells us,
“From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, but the foundation of the temple had not been laid.”
So they built the altar ahead of time, so they could begin the daily offerings. And they began them on the first day of Tishrei.
Then Nehemiah 8:2 tells us:
“Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month.”
So Ezra read the Torah to the Israelites on the first day of Tishrei.
Putting It All Together
- We have the offerings on the altar and the reading of the Torah both on the first day of this month. Both are associated with the rebuilding of the temple,
- There were six other references to the seventh month specifically about rebuilding the temple in the seventh month.
- That makes eight references to rebuilding the temple, and ten references to celebrating the Feasts – all using this term “the seventh month.”
I found this to be really exciting! Here’s why:
- Tishrei is the month we celebrate The Feast of Trumpets – a time of making noise as a reminder.
- Tishrei is the month we observe The Day of Atonement – which represents the final day when everyone is judged according to the Torah.
- Tishrei is also the month we celebrate The Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot, which is a rehearsal for the period when all those who’ve accepted Yeshua’s blood as their atonement are invited to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
- Then comes the 8th Day of Sukkot, representing our new, eternal life with him.
The events we read about rebuilding the temple in the seventh month revolve around this same theme – both figuratively and literally:
Figuratively, it’s a call to return to Yehovah’s ways, to rebuild our own temple, to put him back on the throne of our lives and offer ourselves as living sacrifices. It’s a call for people to return to the Torah, by which they will be judged if they have not accepted Yeshua’s atoning blood. It’s about rebuilding our lives as a place where Yeshua dwells and walking out our new life with him.
We see this literally as well in prophecy. We see the prophetic parallels of Yeshua returning with the sound of a trumpet judging the nations, rebuilding the temple with the word (the Torah) going out from Zion, He will tabernacle with us in his new kingdom on earth and in the new heaven and earth to come.
What the Bible highlights with regard to the seventh month, and all the Feasts of the seventh month all point to this same prophetic time and our participation in bringing his kingdom, as we return to his ways and prepare ourselves as his temple.
Wow – no wonder he wants our attention this month! The Feast of Trumpets/Yom Teruah is the day we announce this season. The day we remind him of his promises – and he remembers us. It’s the day when our trumpets come together with his shofar to proclaim this season.
The rabbis refer to this season as a season of Atonement, which turns into a season of joy. But I believe it’s a season of returning, rebuilding, renewing, restoring Yehovah’s people back to himself and his ways and restoring his kingdom on earth.
Back to Rosh-Hodesh
In conclusion, let’s consider what that means for our monthly Rosh-Hodesh celebrations.
Rosh-Hodesh with all its similarities to the Feast of Trumpets is like a mini-feast every single month. It’s a reminder, a token, representing the Feast of Trumpets, reminding us that we’re one month closer to this season of the seventh month. The renewing of the moon beginning a new month symbolizes:
- The renewing of life on earth the way it was meant to be.
- The time when we’ll begin again with Yehovah’s living word, the living Torah – Yeshua – ruling on earth and restoring life.
- Returning, rebuilding, renewing, restoring.
This is what we’re remembering and rehearsing and looking forward to on every Rosh-Hodesh. Yehovah wants us starting every month with the end in mind, focused on his promises, his plan of restoration, his coming kingdom and blowing the trumpets to remind us of what’s ahead.
The blessing we say each Rosh-Hodesh is a proclamation of the kingdom we’re looking forward to. It says:
“May you begin for us good and blessing a long life of peace, goodness, blessing, sustenance, physical health, fear of heaven and fear of sin; a life of wealth, honor, a love of Torah and fear of Yehovah; a life with no shame or humiliation, in which the Lord fulfills the requests of our hearts.”
Is this not a description of the millennium? Of Yeshua dwelling with us? Let’s celebrate this Feast of Trumpets and every Rosh-Hodesh, reminding Yehovah of his good promises to come!