And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the Lord.” Leviticus 23:23-25 ESV
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. I Thessalonians 4:16-17 ESV
When midnight strikes on December 31 and the New Year has come, people call out, “Happy New Year!” They might set off fireworks or blow noisemakers. Sometimes people kiss each other and sing. It’s a time to celebrate and look forward and hope for happy times ahead, while remembering the good things that happened in the past year and also leaving sad and troubling times behind.
The people of Israel observed something like a new year in the fall in a festival called the Feast of Trumpets. In Hebrew it’s called Rosh Hashanah, which means “head of the year.” The Israelites didn’t have fireworks, but they did have trumpets, which were made out of ram’s horns. A ram’s horn trumpet is called a shofar. When the people heard the trumpet sound, they knew that it was time to look back at the ways God had been with them in the past year and to look ahead in hope to his promises for the future. Jewish people today still celebrate Rosh Hashanah.
When Jesus comes back again and brings us life in the new heaven and new earth, we will also hear a trumpet sound. For people who know and love Jesus, this will be a time of excitement and celebration. Jesus will bring with him people who have died and gone to be with him in heaven. People who are still alive and believe in him will be caught up to meet him. Everything will be new. Everything sad in the past will be forgotten, and all the sins we’ve done against God will stay in the past, forgiven because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. We will look ahead to a glorious future with Jesus in his kingdom forever!
Dear Jesus, thank you for forgiving our sins and giving us new life in your kingdom. We look forward to the day you come back again! Amen.
Born, David J. Bible Studies on the Feasts of Israel St. Louis: LCMS World Mission, and Orlando: Lutherans in Jewish Evangelism, 1994, pp. 36-44.