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Do You Hear the Sound of the Shofar? (part 1)

Post Title: A Call to Life


God hallowed time. The seventh day, the Sabbath, is the first thing in the Bible called holy or sanctified. The God of the Bible is the Creator of heaven and earth. He reveals Himself to Moses as the source of all creation. I AM WHO I AM (Exo 3:14). Two Hebrew words, one repeated twice, Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh—I was what I was, I am what I am, I shall be what I shall be. He is the self-existent one who creates all that exists, yet He is beyond time.

All of those concepts are linked together in the sacred name YaHWeH—the God who is beyond time, who creates time, and yet enters into time to redeem, save, restore, and, yes, also to judge His creation. Say this to the people of Israel: The LORD [YaHWeH], the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.


In John's Gospel, he tells us that God did this act of creation through the agency, if you will, of the Word. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made (Jn 1:3). Through Him, the Word—whom John identifies as Jesus, the Messiah—through Him, all things were made. In other words, nothing that exists exists apart from the agency of God's creative Word, Jesus. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


The apostle Paul, in a very similar mindset, writes to the Corinthians that for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist (1 Cor. 8:6). First, there is no God but one, he says at the end of verse four. Then in verse six, there is but one God, the Father. Notice carefully the prepositions used here. The one God, the Father, from whom and for whom. Next, he writes and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. What did we just read in John? Through whom all things that exist came to be.

The Word came to bring life! In the same letter, Paul references the creation of adam, of humankind, drawing upon Genesis. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22). In Adam, in the natural man, we die as human beings because of the consequences of sin and the separation from the source of life. But in Messiah, we come alive.

We are made to live!


The shofar sounds at this time of year in the biblical calendar, beginning with the Feast of Blowing (Trumpets), to remind us that we need to redeem the time. Why? Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:15-16). Because time is in the enslavement of evil. We live in a wicked, degenerate, dark time.

John says the light entered into creation but the darkness would not receive, could not comprehend, did not understand it.


Paul exhorts those of us who are in Messiah Jesus to redeem the time. What does redeeming mean? To buy back; to purchase it. In other words, time is enslaved. The universe is decaying; entropy is the scientific word. Paul exhorts that, in Messiah, even though our outward form is decaying, inwardly, we are being renewed. We are being brought into life.


We must now redeem the time because God created it and meant it for good. He meant for time to be hallowed, to be sanctified. He gave us rhythms and cycles and signs to remind us of the preciousness of time, His creation, and His redemptive purposes.

The Spring festivals relate to Passover and Pentecost, some seventh Sabbaths later. In the Autumn, a series of festivals occur all in one month, Tishrei in Hebrew. The Fall Feast cycle includes the Feast of Trumpets on the first day, the Day of Atonement on the tenth, and the Feast of Tabernacles on days fifteen through twenty-two.

My subject is this season and these festivals. Specifically, I want to focus on Yom T'ruah, the day or feast of blowing, of sounding the shofar, now known as Rosh Hashanah. Again, all of these Fall festivals occur in the span of one month, which is unprecedented in the biblical calendar. Therefore Tishrei, the seventh month, is considered the most sacred month of the entire biblical calendar.


It is spiritually quite significant that this festival occurs in the seventh month because the number seven in the Hebrew worldview is the number of perfection, more specifically of completion or filling-full. Think for a moment of all the sevens that you find in Scripture. For example, the Sabbath is on the seventh day, and the sabbatical year is the seventh year. Pentecost is seven weeks after Passover. Tabernacles is a festival that lasts for seven days and again, it all begins with sounding the shofar on the first day of the seventh month. Tishrei is the holiest of all months because it alone contains more holy days than any other month.


This seventh month heralds a spiritual new year. It is identified by three distinctive themes that run throughout the cycle.

  • The Feast of Trumpets relates to repentance

  • The somber Day of Atonement relates to redemption

  • The Feast of Tabernacles relates to rejoicing

This is the movement of this sacred symphony: repentance, redemption, and rejoicing. The question we are seeking to answer in this study is when we hear the shofar sounding, what is it signaling to us who are in Messiah Jesus?


 

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This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.


Dwight A. Pryor (1945-2011) was a gifted Bible teacher of exceptional clarity and depth who earned the friendship and admiration of both Christian and Jewish scholars—in the United States and Israel—as well as the respect and appreciation of followers of Jesus around the world. His expertise in the language, literature, and culture of Israel during the life and time of Jesus and the early church yield insights that nourish every area of faith and practice.


Dwight founded JC Studies in 1984 to edify the people of God. Click here to explore over fifty of his audio and video seminars.

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