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The Call of the Shofar

The shofars were a very effective communications tool in Israel. Within minutes, from the sound of the first shofar, a network of watchmen set on hills could hear, and sound their shofar off into the next community or mountain. Men would drop their winnowing forks and shepherd’s staffs to pick up their battle gear and gather into the Lord’s army.

What a wonderful picture for us! Would that we, as a community, could be signaled from anyplace in the country to gather together into God’s spiritual army. Would we drop everything to enter into battle against the encroaching enemy of our souls?

The Call to Assemble

Another important attribute of the shofar was to call the people into assembly. When this shofar call went out, it meant that God had something to say to the people. The congregation would gather together into what in Hebrew is called an Adat. The Hebrew word Adat means “assembly or congregation,” but the first two letters in the word, ayin and dalet, form a word meaning “to bear witness.” The congregation not only gathered to hear the Most High’s instructions, but to bear witness of them to others.

“And when the blast of the shofar sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice (Exodus 19:19),” and so was the advent of the 10 Commandments at Mount Sinai.

The other unique principle of this assembly is that they were “one” assembly. The Hebrew used is echad, a composite unity. It is the same “one” applied to man and woman who through marriage come together as one flesh. It is the same “one” used in Deuteronomy 6, that “the Lord our God is One.” If you will, it is a picture of Messiah’s One Body, a singular congregation unified in Him, and as already discussed, bearing witness of His reality.

The Last Trumpet

There are other minor aspects of the shofar we could discuss, but perhaps the one following is of the most significance to the modern-day believer.

Then you shall cause the shofar of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth [day] of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the shofar to sound throughout all your land (Leviticus 25:9).

The Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, generally falls in late September or early October. It is also known by Hebrew tradition as the Awesome Day of the Lord. Certainly, it is the day legally set aside by the Almighty for Atonement under the Temple sacrificial system. However, it is also the day when the King of all the earth sits on His Judgment Seat.

Once every 50 years, at the close of Yom Kippur that is to say, at sun down a shofar is blown to announce the beginning of the Yovel, the Jubilee. This particular shofar blast has the unique distinction of being called the last trumpet.

Does that strike a chord in you? Does that title remind you of the words of Rabbi Paul?

… in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (1 Corinthians 15:52).

What a moment that will be! And everything we have learned here will be true. Those who recognize the greater Akedah (Binding of Isaac) in Christ Jesus those who have repented will hear the shofar’s call. Those who are raised incorruptible or translated from this life into the next will answer the shofar’s call to war to do battle with the enemies of El Shaddai (God Almighty).8 Those who assemble before the King of kings and Lord or lords will be “one” assembly, bearing witness to the world that Jesus Christ is Lord over all the earth. In the twinkling of an eye, we shall hear the last trumpet and be brought into the full revelation of the Jubilee.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to [those who are] bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD9, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified (Isaiah 61:1-3).

At the sound of the shofar, the last trumpet, new trees will be planted, and like the burning bush before Moses, like the Tree of Life in the Temple, they shall burn with the fire of the Almighty, but they shall not be consumed.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Winter 2001

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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