Today is Rosh Hashanah (“the Feast of Trumpets”), the first day of the new year, 5775 in the Jewish calender. I am attending Judaism’s two high holiday services here in North Jersey (Rosh Hashanah today and Yom Kippur 10 days later).
I have been studying different aspects of these Jewish holidays and discovered an interesting possible connection between a tradition tied to Rosh Hashanah and the seventh trumpet as understood in prewrath eschatology.
We all know the shofar is the central element of the Rosh Hashanah liturgy. In addition, it’s principle functions in the Old Testament was to summon an assembly before the Lord (e.g. Num. 10:2–4), sound for a battle (e.g. Num. 10:9), and announce coronation on a new king (2 Kings 11:12–14).
When Christ returns in the clouds all three of these purposes will function in similar fashion as it did in the Old Testament: gathering of God’s people via rapture, sounding the day of battle cry of the day of the Lord’s wrath, and Christ’s returning as the King of the world.
These functions and eschatological pointers of the blowing of the trumpet (shofar) with Rosh Hashanah has been well known and written about.
There is, however, another aspect of the Rosh Hashanah shofar that is not as well known, but agrees with prewrath eschatology.
There is a rabbinic tradition that says the purpose of the blowing of the shofar on Rosh Hahanah is to confuse Satan, and blowing multiple times would make him think that the Messiah had come putting an end to his authority (Rosh Hashanah 16).
I find this interesting because this corresponds with what Scripture teaches and how prewrath eschatology views it:
1. There are multiple trumpet blasts that begin to blow after Christ arrives in the sky, seven trumpet blasts total (the beginning of the day of the Lord’s wrath, with the bowl judgments completing the wrath).
2. The seven trumpets that are blown function to announce specific judgments against Satan’s kingdom.
3. The seventh trumpet announces the end of Satan’s authority: “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever'” (Rev 11:15). Prewrath teaches that Satan/Antichrist’s authority is terminated at the end of the seven-year period (second 3 1/2 year period). A few days immediately after the seven-year period is complete the seventh trumpet is blown announcing the result of the trumpet judgments and the end Satan’s authority.
4. The rabbinic tradition teaches that the shofar blowing is in conjunction with the Messiah’s arrival to put an end to Satan’s authority. The blowing of the last and seventh trumpet is precisely when the prewrath places the arrival of the Messiah on the earth to rule as king: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.…for you have taken your great power and begun to reign” (Rev 11:15, 17).
Alan E. Kurschner