The Great Shofar and Rosh HaShanah

What happens when the shofar of Messiah sounds? At Rosh Hashanah, we rehearse for the future.

The Jewish cemetary on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. What happens when the shofar of Messiah sounds? At Rosh Hashanah, we rehearse for the future. The great shofar of Messiah will awaken the righteous dead. (Image © Bigstock)

Every year at Rosh Hashanah, disciples of Yeshua hear the shofar in anticipation of the future trumpet of Messiah. Yeshua predicted that God will “send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” (Matthew 24:31). He will gather, “His chosen ones” and bring them back to their land.

The daily prayers of the synagogue entreat God three times a day for the great blast of Messiah’s shofar and the ingathering of all Israel:

Blast the Great Shofar for our freedom. Lift a banner to gather our exiles, and quickly gather us together from the four corners of the earth to our land. Blessed are You, O LORD, who gathers the outcasts of His people Israel. (Amidah 10)

The “great shofar” of Messiah alludes to a prophecy in Isaiah:

It will come about also in that day that a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were perishing in the land of Assyria and who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come and worship the LORD in the holy mountain at Jerusalem. (Isaiah 27:13)

The prophet Zechariah says that, although the LORD “dispersed Israel as the four winds of the heavens” (2:6), He will signal the exiles by “whistling” for them (Zechariah 10:8). When the trumpet sounds, “They will come trembling like birds from Egypt and like doves from the land of Assyria; and the LORD will settle them in their houses” (Hosea 11:11). The LORD says, “Though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell” (Nehemiah 1:9). Moses promised, “He will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back” (Deuteronomy 30:3-4). Yeshua says His angels will gather His elect from “the four winds,” i.e., from the four points of the compass:

Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, “Give them up!” And to the south, “Do not hold them back.” Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 43:5-6)

The righteous dead will also hear the sounding of the shofar. Isaiah says, “All you inhabitants of the world and dwellers on earth, as soon as a standard is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and as soon as the trumpet is blown, you will hear it” (Isaiah 18:3).

The shofar of Messiah will awaken the righteous dead. They will rise and meet the Messiah in the air. Then God will quicken the bodies of those believers who are alive at the time of his coming. He will transform their bodies from the mortal state to the immortal state, and they will ascend, following the resurrected, to meet the Messiah:

We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

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