It seems that every seven years or so, we go through an involuntary economic reset or recession that dramatically changes the dreams and destinies of many. It may be accompanied by "wars and rumors of wars" or by famines, plagues, earthquakes or eruptions, just as Jesus warned of at the "end of the age" (Matt. 24:3-14).
Many astute observers also see these seven-year cycles beginning and ending on or around the annual, autumn celebration of Rosh Hashanah, in those years. The biblical convocation is a two-day, sabbath observance and is calculated by a lunar calendar and stipulated in Scripture as beginning on the first day, of the seventh Hebrew month known as Tishri. This year (2022) the remembrance will be celebrated from sundown on Sunday, Sept. 25, until sundown on Sept. 27.
The last 20-plus years would indicate to many that this year is again a "Shemitah" or culmination of a seven-year cycle, with the possibility of a "great economic reset" in its wake. Remind yourself of the dramatic events and/or economic crises we all faced after 9/11 and then in the fall, Shemitah seasons of 2008 and 2015.
We all would do well to note the "times and seasons" and have our financial houses and spiritual commitments "in order," as we approach the "appointed times of the Lord" (Lev. 23:1-4; NASB) and this year's "holy convocations" of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which follows.
The Appointed Times of Fall
Of the seven holy convocations or "Appointed Times" God established as special memorials or reminders for His people, three are celebrated in the fall of each year. The first, known as Rosh Hashanah, literally means "Head of the Year" or "New Year." It involves the blowing of trumpets at the "holy convocation" (Lev. 23: 24, 25; and Num. 29:1-6).
"Speak to the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath, a memorial with the blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation" (Lev. 23:24, Modern English Version).
They were to blow musical instruments ("shofars") made from ram's horns, as a reminder of their exodus from Egypt. Specifically, it reminded them (and us), of when God descended on Mt. Sinai, as they watched in holy awe—from a distance.
"Now Mount Sinai was completely covered in smoke because the Lord had descended upon it in fire, and the smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him with a voice" (Ex. 19:18-19, MEV).
Loud Trumpet Blasts in the Future
This sound of loud trumpet blasts in historical scripture is also a reference to the future, glorious reign of the kingdom of God. The heavenly shofar will be heard as our Lord Jesus comes from heaven to receive the yet-living believers and resurrect those who have died "in the Lord" (Rev. 14:13). Our Creator God will be dramatically presented to His creation with a shout, the voice of the archangel, and a heavenly trumpet call.
"...We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first" (1 Thess. 4:15-16 (MEV).
Each Convocation of trumpets is a kind of "dress rehearsal" for that future disclosure and departure, as Christ publicly returns for His own (Matt. 24:29-31) and receives both living and "sleeping" believers. We are later told that even unbelievers will "see Him, even they who pierced Him" (Rev. 1:7).
The Heavenly Shofar
In two of Paul's epistles, he also spoke of this future heavenly shofar. In 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, he called it the "last trumpet" and identified it as sounding just before the dead in Christ are raised with incorruptible bodies, and the living believers are transformed into spiritual bodies suitable for heaven.
As shown above, in 1 Thessalonians 4, immediately after describing the "trumpet of God" (v. 16) Paul declared that the dead and living saints will both be "caught up together...in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air...and we shall be forever with the Lord" (v. 17).
In chapter five, he talks about the ominous "day of the Lord." In this short season of terrible judgment, His righteous wrath will finally be dispensed on the ungodly, who are still living on Earth. He explains that believers are "sons of light and sons of the day" (5:4) and will be delivered from this time of Godly judgment.
"For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we should live together with Him. So comfort yourselves together and edify one another, just as you are doing" (1 Thess. 5:9-11, MEV).
So, we can summarize these passages of Scripture to say that Rosh Hashanah, the first of the three fall convocations, depicts the coming of the Jewish Messiah (and the Gentile's Savior). His angels will "gather together the elect...from one end of the sky to the other" (Matt. 24:31) immediately prior to the outpouring of God's wrath on the rebellious ungodly, during the dreaded season of the Day of the Lord (Rev. 6:15-17).
The key of this study is not date-setting, but the call of Father God for mankind's repentance and the promise of our Lord's soon return! The apostle Peter offers this practical, end-times advice, in the context of these prophetic insights,
"Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these things, be diligent that you may be found by Him in peace, spotless, and blameless" ( 2 Peter 3:14). Amen!
Gary Curtis served in full-time ministry for 50 years, the last 27 years of which he was part of the pastoral staff of The Church on The Way, the Van Nuys, California, Foursquare church. Now retired, Gary continues to write a weekly blog at worshipontheway.wordpress.com and frequent articles for digital and print platforms.
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