Gentiles Can Learn About The High Holy Days Too!

WindowView received an e-mail from Jerusalem.  The body of the communication included what follows.

First, two points to be considered.  Gentiles who believe in the God of Israel, those who say they are Christians (meaning believers in Messiah), often do not have a clear understanding of the Jewish High Holy Days and ow they relate to being a believer.  Second, apologists for a long time have said there can be no “rapture of believers” because the mention of trumpets in Scripture does not make sense.

How can there be a trumpet blast associated with a rapture event, before the coming of a tribulation period, if the only trumpets mention fall in the tribulation period (as written in the last book of the Bible)?

Frankly, every year the trumpet blast sounds, especially at Rosh Hashanah!  Moreover, there are four blasts and the last blast of the feats is indeed a last blast blown.  To Messianic believers, both Jewish and Gentile, every holy day of the calendar comes with a parallel Messianic fulfillment.  On the yearly cycle, Rosh Hashanah is next to be fulfilled.  And at the sound of a shout and with the blast of a trumpet, Messiah is yet to appear in the clouds.  No mater what your take is on this … understanding Rosh Hashanah is best understood with added information … as is presented in the communication that we relay to you here (quote):

“The celebration of the High Holy Days begins with the Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashannah (Head of the Year) as it is traditionally called by the Jewish people.

On the day of the Feast of Trumpets (except when it coincides with a Sabbath) the blowing of the Shofar (ram’s horn) is the high point of the service. Before the shofar is sounded, the Ba’al Tokea (the shofar blower) prepares himself for his task of blowing the shofar for the congregation and says: “I am prepared to fulfill God’s commandment to blow the shofar, as it is prescribed in the Torah, a day of blowing unto you.”

The sound of the shofar is broken, a series of staccato blasts. The broken sound is said to remind the people that they need to break their evil inclinations. The shape of the shofar is not straight like a trumpet. The end is curved and bent as a reminder to bend in respect to God.

The sound is meant to be a rousing call to repentance on the part of each individual. It is meant to awaken everyone to remember the Creator and forsake evil ways and return to God. The sound is also meant to inspire. It is a reminder that man should strive to break the impulses of his heart which are evil with the sinful cravings of the world.

The sounds have been established in detail by centuries of tradition. There are four different sounds associated with the service. These sounds are explained as follows:

Tekiah – A pure unbroken sound that calls man to search his heart, abandon his evil ways and seek forgiveness through repentance.

Shevarim – A broken, staccato, trembling sound. It typifies the sorrow that comes to a man when he realizes his wrong and desires to change his ways.

Teruah – A wave-like sound of alarm calling upon man to stand by the banner of God.

Tekia Gedolah – The prolonged, unbroken sound typifying a final invitation to sincere repentance and atonement.

TEN REASONS FOR THE RAM’S HORN

Saadiah Gaon, a leading rabbi and scholar of the ninth century says there are ten reasons the Creator, blessed is He, commanded us to blow the ram’s horn on Rosh Hashannah.

1. The first is because Rosh Hashannah marks the beginning of creation, on which the Holy One, blessed is He, created the world and reigned over it. Kings do the same, who have trumpets and horns blown to let it be known and heard everywhere when the anniversary of the beginning of their reigns fall. So we, on Rosh Hashannah, accept the kingship of the Creator, blessed is He, Thus says David: “With trumpets and sound of cornet (shofar) make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King” (Ps. 98:6).

2. The second reason is that, since Rosh Hashannah is the first of the ten days of Teshuvah (repentance), the ram’s horn is blown to announce their beginning, as though to warn: Let all who desire to turn in Teshuvah, turn now; and if you do not, you will have no reason to cry injustice. Kings do the same: first they warn the populace in their decree, and whoever violates the decrees after the warning complains unheeded.

3. The third reason is to remind of of our stand at the foot of Mount Sinai, as it is said: “And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long and waxed louder and louder…” (Ex. 19:19), in order that we may take upon ourselves that which our forefathers took upon themselves when they said, “we will do and be obedient” (Ex. 24:7).

4. The fourth reason is to remind us of the words of the prophets, which were compared to a ram’s horn, as it is said: “Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head…But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul” (Ez. 33:45).

5. The fifth reason is to remind us of the destruction of the Temple and the battle alarms of the foe, as it is said: “…because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war” (Jer. 4:19). When we hear the sound of the ram’s horn, we beseech God to rebuild the Temple.

6. The sixth reason is to remind us of the binding of Isaac, who offered himself to heaven. So we ought to be ready at all times to offer our lives for the sanctification of His Name. And may our remembrance rise before Him for our benefit.

7. The seventh reason is that when we hear the blowing of the ram’s horn, we fear and tremble and bend our wills to the will of the Creator for such is the effect of the ram’s horn which causes shaking and trembling, as it is written: “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city and the people not be afraid” (Amos 3:6).

8. The eight reason is to remind us of the great Day of Judgment, that we may all fear it, as it is said: “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near and hasteth greatly…a day of the trumpet and alarm…” (Zeph. 1:14-16).

9. The ninth reason is to remind us of the gathering of the dispersed of Israel, that we may passionately long for it, as it is said: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown; and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria” (Isaiah 27:13).

10. The tenth reason is to remind us of the revival of the dead, that we may believe in it, as it is said: “All ye inhabitants of the world, and ye dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye” (Isa. 18:3).

WISHING ONE ANOTHER A HAPPY NEW YEAR

Before leaving the synagogue on the night of Rosh Hashannah, it is customary to bless one another with the benediction, “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.” Then it is customary to go home joyfully and to keep away from all grief and sighing, so as not to give the Accuser an opening, for the Accuser’s only place is where there is grief and sighing. One ought to trust in God, as it is written: “For the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10).

“May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year!”.

“A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays” by Robin Scarleat and Linda Pierce was used for this letter.

The Original Text – Hebrew and Greek

Popular NIV Bible Open for Revisions:

The headline above appeared in the Express [Washington Post] early in September, 2009.  This eye catching feature projects the notion that the text of a translation of the Bible would be open to such shifts as changes in gender.  Is God a He or a She?  That is the first question that comes to mind!

In the next sentence we see “The New International Version, … will be revised to reflect changes in English usage and advances in Biblical scholarship, was announced Tuesday.”  The article goes on to explain that revisions and the intent to modernize the text comes with controversy.

Consider this, the original language of the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, is in Hebrew with a few passages in Aramaic.  The New Testament, also written by Jewish writers, was recorded in Greek.  These two Jewish texts in their original languages have very specific meanings.  Over time various efforts to edit and interpret the original texts have lead to problems for the readers of the resulting translations.

Take for example the efforts of Russell and Rutherford, in the late 1800s, neither of whom were scholars in either of the original biblical languages, who thought to reword sections of what today is known as the World Translation of the Bible.  Persons reading that translation have been guided away from core truth embodied in the original texts.  And in decades to follow, other translations have shifted words and thus shifting meanings.  Is that good?  NOT if the original meaning and information are changed!

So … good intentions to bring more readers to the Bible or to project a certain emphasis in the text can be fraught with serious problems.  Might this also change the original intent and meaning … yes that has happened.

We recommend anyone serious about reading their translation of the Bible to also obtain an interlinear version.  Look at one of these books and you will find the original Hebrew or Greek words with as close to literal translation in English [or other language] as can possibly provided.  Reading the interlinear wording may be a bit choppy at first, but all of a sudden you will also be hit with how word for word the real and original essence of the text comes across.

Jehovah’s Witnesses read the World Translation and have been lead to learn doctrine stemming from the efforts of Russell and Rutherford.  Sincere people have tried to read the Scriptures and learn from them, but by using this example we can draw attention to how one can go astray and the importance of getting the closest meaning from the original words.

Two things in closing.  First, NO OTHER religious writing or even classical book is as well preserved as the entire original biblical text [Hebrew plus Greek texts].  We have numerous copies of each … such that this confers a high degree of confidence that the real and original text can be read today.  Second, by looking at an interlinear you can begin to see how far a translation strays from the original text. It’s an eye opening and alarming exercise when you find details being dropped from the original sense of what you are to be getting from words that God wishes you to read!

Director, WindowView