Does the Old Testament show the Messiah being heralded by a trumpet blast?


Yes, definitely. The Feast of Trumpets (yom teruah) is a foreshadow of
the coming again of Jesus. For 3500 years the Jews have been blowing
trumpets at this festival, not knowing that all along they have been
heralding the coming again of Jesus. I discuss this in my book “From
Shadow to Reality” (available at I
will cut and past the little section in this book so you can get the idea
of what I am talking about. In order the get the big picture, which is
that all the Jewish festivals were about Jesus, you may need to get my

When Jesus said in Matthew 24:31, “And he will send his angels with a loud
trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one
end of the heavens to another.” you can assume that his Jewish hearers saw
immediately the reference to the Feast of Trumpets. By the way, last
Thursday was the Feast of Trumpets.

John Oakes, PhD


In modern Jewish culture, Rosh Hashannah, the feast of trumpets has become
the third most significant religious holiday after Yom Kippurand the
Passover. It is celebrated as the Jewish New Year. In fact, the Hebrew
words Rosh Hashannah translate as head of the year. One should bear in
mind that for the Jews there are two major New Years every calendar year.
The religious New Year falls on the Passover, which is the fourteenth of
Nisan in March or April. The civil New Year comes almost six months
later, on the first of Tishri, the date of Rosh Hashannah. For the Jews,
the change of year number occurs on the Feast of Trumpets. For example,
September 27, 2003is the beginning of the year 5764 in the Jewish
calendar. On the other hand, when the Jews in the kingdom period kept
track of how many years their kings had ruled, they counted their reignal
year from the fourteenth of Nisan, not the first of Tishri. Making
matters even harder to keep track of for non-Jews is the fact that both
New Year celebrations move around on the modern Gregorian calendar. This
is true because the Jews use a lunar calendar. Their months begin with a
new moon. Depending on where the new moon falls, the Feast of Trumpets
can be anywhere from early September to early October.

At first, it may seem strange to non-Jews to have two New Years, but if
one thinks about it, it really is not so different. Many of us trace our
year from the beginning of the school year in September. For myself as a
college professor, when people ask me how my year is going, I usually
think back to the previous September, not to the previous January 1st to
answer the question.

The Feast of Trumpets has not always been called Rosh Hashannahby the
Jews. When the holiday was originally instituted, as described in
Leviticus 23:24,25, it was called Yom Teruah, which translates as the day
of sounding the shofar. The shofar was a trumpet made from a ram?s horn
(see picture below). This explains the name “the Feast of Trumpets.”

A Shofar

The original Feast of Trumpets was not necessarily created as a New Year
celebration. One can read in Leviticus 23:24,25;

The first day of the seventh month will be a day of rest for you, a sacred
assembly proclaimed with a trumpet call. You must not do any work and you
must offer a burnt offering to the LORD.

There is little said here which could serve as a clue to the purpose of
the Feast of Trumpets. The passage in Numbers 29:1-6 does not add a lot
to this description. It has already been mentioned that in ancient Israel
, the timing of the New Moon was based on actual visual sighting of the
slight crescent of a new moon. Out of concern that they might miss the
correct day of the New Moon on which Rosh Hashannah falls, Jewish teachers
actually added a second day to the Feast of Trumpets just in case the
crescent moon could not be seen due to clouds in the night sky. The feast
took on an aspect of being on guard or being alert?waiting for God?s
timing. Many rabbis actually suggested that the Jews not sleep at all on
the night of Rosh Hashannah. The Feast of Trumpets became symbolic of a
Day of Judgement for the Jews. Jewish teachers called the Feast of
Trumpets to be a day of self-reflection and repentance for Israelin order
to be prepared for God?s judgement.

There was good reason for the Jews to associate the blowing of the
trumpets on Yom Teruah with judgement. When they heard the trumpet blast
at Sinai,

?they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses,
“Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us
or we will die.”

Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so
that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning. (Exodus

This incident when Israelheard the trumpet blast at Sinai caused them to
associate judgement and repentance with the Feast of Trumpets. As an
additional example, when the Israelite armies surrounded Jericho, it was
shofars which were blown, bringing down the walls of the city. All this
will help us to understand what God intended the Feast of Trumpets to

The point has already been made that the single-day feasts are all types
of a specific event of relevance for the believer in Jesus Christ. The
Feast of Trumpets is no exception to this rule. Although the feast has
significance to the Jews as well, God intended all along for the Jewish
Feast of Trumpets to be a type of the day Jesus will return to the earth
to bring an end to this present world and to usher in the final Day of

When Jesus described his own return at the end of days, he used very
familiar imagery (familiar to the Jews, that is) from the Feast of

“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all
the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming
on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send
his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from
the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Matthew

Immediately after making this statement, Jesus launched into a lengthy
discourse on being watchful and ready for the day of his coming (“No one
knows the hour?” (v. 36), “Therefore keep watch?” (v. 42), “So you also
must be ready?” (v. 44), “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know
the day or the hour.” (25:13)). This sermon would have fit perfectly
with the theme of every Feast of Trumpets celebration for the prior
fourteen centuries.

The antitype to the Feast of Trumpets is mentioned in other passages in
the New Testament as well. The return of Christ and the resurrection of
all humanity at the end of this present age are also described in 1
Corinthians 15:51-53;

?we will all be changed?in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the
last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised
imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe
itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

This final trumpet blast will be the realization of all those annual
shofar blasts in Israel. Repentance and watchfulness will bear fruit in
eternal life.

Paul returns one more time to this theme in 1 Thessalonians 4:15,16;

According to the Lord?s own word, we tell you that we who are still a
who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those
who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven,
with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet
call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

After this awe-inspiring description of the return of Christ, Paul
continues with a call to continual repentance and readiness which may very
well have reflected some of the lessons he heard on the Feast of Trumpets
as a young Pharisee-in-training.

If one assumes that God designed the entire Old Testament as prophetic
preparation for the coming of Jesus and his ministry to the world, then it
becomes only reasonable to imagine the festivals he gave to the Jews to be
foreshadows of the great moments in the new dispensation brought in by
Christ. When one reads the New Testament, it is very clear that the day
Jesus comes again, with a loud command, the voice of the archangel and
with the trumpet call of God, that will be a very great day indeed. It
should not surprise us at all that God provided a foreshadow of this great
day in the festivals celebrated by the Jews. The Feast of Trumpets is the
Old Testament type of the return of Jesus and the Day of Judgement of all
humanity. As the Jewish leaders taught, and as Jesus and Paul preached,
we would do well to stay watchful and ready for that day. Let us not be
like the foolish virgins in Matthew chapter twenty-five who let their
lamps go out. Let us live a life of daily repentance and devotion,
because as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow, some day that final
trumpet blast will sound. Will you be ready?

[1] Also, see Isaiah 27:12,13 and Zechariah 9:13-15.

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