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Notes on Revelation

Rosh HaShanah

"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD." (Lev 23:23-25)

The seventh Hebrew month is called Tishri which corresponds to September/October. Tishri is also the first month on the Jewish civil calendar.

The following are all the different names used to describe the first day of the seventh month in the Jewish calendar:

This feast is celebrated over two days because of the difficulty in olden times of making sure that everyone marked the new moon on the same day. To make sure nobody missed it, two days were appointed.

Tradition states that this is the birth day of Adam (could the second Adam, Jesus, have been born on the same day?).

One of the symbolic references to this day corresponds with the fact that when a King begins to reign he is heralded with trumpets. On this day, trumpets are blown all day long (some commentators say 100 times).

The gates of heaven are supposedly opened on this day.

The resurrection of the dead will take place on Rosh HaShanah according to the Talmud, (Rosh HaShanah 166).

Yom Teruah can be interpreted to mean "The Day of the Awakening Shout."

[For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord int he air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thes 4:15-18)]

There are three trumpets that have a name: the first trump, the last trump and the great trump. Each has a specific day in the year: first trump is associated with Pentecost, last trump is associated with Rosh HaShanah and the great trump is associated with Yom Kippur.

[In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Cor 15:52)]

"When the Shofar is blown on Rosh HaShana, three different types of noises are sounded. The first is a "teki'ah." This sound is one long continuous burst. The second sound is called a "shevarim." It consists of three shorter blasts. The third sound is the "teruah." The teruah is a set of nine short bursts of sound, a staccato blast. The Gemora in Rosh HaShana tells us that these later two sounds are meant to sound like crying: ". . . drawing a long sigh. . . uttering short piercing cries." The Ben Ish Chai writes that these sounds are meant to contrast with the tekiah. The tekiah, he explains, is a sound of triumph and joy, while the shevarim and teruah are sounds of pain and suffering. Because of the opposing feelings they represent, when one blows the shofar, he is not to connect the tekiah with the others, by blowing the sounds with the same breath."

This is the only day in the whole year that was referred to as the hidden day or the day that no man knows.

[But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. (Matt 24:36)]

The trumpet is blown throughout Elul (the month before Rosh HaShanah) except for the last day. The trumpet is silent because much abouth Rosh HaShanah is concealed and shrouded in mystery and Satan is not to be given notice about the arrival of Rosh HaShanah.

One custom for this day is to avoid sleeping, especially during evening and morning hours.

On this day you are to bow, bend the knee and prostrate yourselves in awe and thanksgiving. This is unusual as Jewish custom does not include many instances of kneeling or prostration.

"Three books opened - that of life, for those whose works had been good; another of death, for those who had been thoroughly evil; and a third, imtermediate, for those whose case was to be decided on the Day of Atonement (ten days after Rosh HaShanah on Yom Kippur), the delay being granted for repentance, or otherwise, after which their names would be finally entered, either in the book of life, or in that of death."

[He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Rev 3:5)]

The customary greeting for Rosh HaShanah is--"Shanah tovah tikatevu" ("May you be inscribed [in the book of life] for a good year") and on Yom Kippur--"Chatimah tovah" ("[May you have] a good sealing [of your destiny in the book of life]"). Tradition states that on Rosh HaShanah "God opens the heavenly books and judges the people according to their works, writing in them who will die and what kind of life the living will enjoy during the coming year. The Ten Days of Penitence (Rosh HaShanah through Yom Kippur) are thought of as offering an opportunity for repentance that will influence God to change these fates for the better. But on Yom Kippur these fates are fixed or 'sealed.'"

[And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Rev 20:12)]

The following is one of the prayers in the liturgy on Rosh HaShanah:

"We will celebrate the solemn holiness of this day, how awesome and fearsome it is. On this day your rulership is lifted up, your throne is established in mercy, and you sit upon it in truth. Truly you alone are judge, arbiter, discerner, witness, recorder, sealer, inscriber and reckoner; and you remember all forgotten deeds. You open the book of records and it reads itself, and everyone's signature is there.

"The great shofar is sounded, the still small voice is heard, and the angels tremble with fear as they procalim: 'Behold! The Day of Judgment!' Even the armies of heaven are to be brought to judgment, for in your sight even they are not innocent. You cause all who come into the world to pass before you like a flock of sheep. Like a shepherd seeking out his flock and causing them to pass under his staff, you cause every living soul to pass before you; you count, reckon and review every creature, determining its lifetime and inscribing its destiny.

"On Rosh HaShanah it is inscribed, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed: how many will pass away and how many will be born, who will live and who will die; who will die prematurely and who will live out his days; who will perish by fire and who by water; who by sword and who by wild animals; who by hunger and who by thirst; who by earthquake and who by plague; who by strangling and who by stoning; who will have rest and who will wander about; who will be at peace and who will be tormented; who will be at ease and who will be bothered; who will become poor and who will become rich; who will be brought low and who will be raised up."

Taken from:
Hebraic Heritage Ministries
Greg Killian
The Temple: Its Ministry and Services by Alfred Edersheim
Yom Tov - Project Genesis: Torah on the Information Superhighway
Jewish New Testament Commentary by David Stern

The Four Freedoms

Four historical freedoms are mentioned by Rabbi Eliezer in connection with Rosh Hashana:

1. On Rosh Hashana it was Divinely decreed that the long barren Sarah, Rachel and Chana would bear children.
2. On Rosh Hashana Yosef was released from prison.
3. On Rosh Hashana our ancestors in Egypt were released from their work as slaves.
4. In the month of Rosh Hashana -- Tishrei -- the final redemption of our people will take place.

The source for all these freedoms is the shofar. Just as the sound of the shofar on Yom Kippur of the yovel year signals the freedom of Hebrew slaves, so does the shofar blast on Rosh Hashana every year signal freedom from the evil inclination which causes man to sin.

Freedom from the power of evil is the wellspring for all of the aforementioned four freedoms. Human bondage is not limited to chains. Physical handicaps, political oppression and economic dependence are all forms of bondage. It was only natural then that on Rosh Hashana, the day of freedom from sinful desire, three great women should be released from the physical handicap of childlessness. This pattern is repeated with the release from political oppression, expressed in Yosef's release from prison in which he was so unjustly incarcerated. It reaches national proportions when our ancestors are released on Rosh Hashana from the bonds of economic dependence on their Egyptian slavemasters.

But the ultimate national freedom is yet to come, and it too will be ushered in with the sound of the shofar. "And it shall come to pass on that day the great shofar will be blown" (Yishayahu 27:13). This is the sound of the shofar which will mark both the end of Israel's subjugation to other nations and human subjugation to the temptations of evil.

(Rosh Hashana 11a-b)

See also Trumpet Judgments


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