There is an article on the Day of Judgment in the Jewish Encyclopedia and it says, “The Mishnah, Rosh Ha Shanah 1.2, contains the first known reference to the Day of Judgment. It says: ‘Four times in the year the world is judged: on Passover a decree is passed on the produce of the soil; on Pentecost the fruits of the trees; on New Years Day all men pass before him (an expression rendered by the Amoraim ‘like young lambs’) and on the Feast of Tabernacles a decree is passed on the rain of the year.'” It is taught that on New Years Day that a threefold prayer should be recited, and the first one lifts up God as king, called “Malkiot”. There is a second prayer that asks God to remember for the good of man called “Zikronot” and the third prayer refers to the trumpet blasts called “Shofarot.” It is the belief that on New Years Day all men are judged and the decree is sealed on the Day of Atonement.
Now we are going to talk about Yom Ha Din (Day of Judgment) and the resurrection of the righteous. We are going to go into some deep spiritual aspects to this concept and they are not generally taught because people who come out of a church are coming from a Christian background and because Christianity moved away from the Jewish understandings of these things, they were thrown away. So, we are going to see many, many references to the terms used to refer to Yom Teruah (Rosh Ha Shanah). Even “messianic” writers talking about the resurrection will not refer to Jewish sources, even when they were raised in the synagogues or are Jewish themselves. They totally miss everything that was there and all the phrases and terms that are used to describe the resurrection of the righteous.
Now, here is the question. Can we establish that the resurrection of the righteous will occur on a Yom Teruah (Rosh Ha Shanah) and how do we do that? Many believe that the resurrection will occur on a Rosh Ha Shanah and the resurrection is one of the main aspects of Orthodox belief, both ancient and modern. It is one of the points of the Thirteen Articles of Faith by Mosses Maimonides in the twelfth century A.D. You can research those principles for yourself.
It is the custom of many congregations to recite these principles daily after the morning prayers called “Shacharit.” There is another set of daily prayers called the “Shemonah Esrai” or the Eighteen Benedictions. It is also called the “Amidah” or “Standing Prayer.” The second petition speaks about the resurrection. When a person wakes up in the morning, it is customary to recite a prayer called the Modeh Ani and it says, “I thank you, living and enduring king, for you have graciously returned my soul within me. Great is your faithfulness.” Sleep is a rehearsal for death, and waking up is a rehearsal for the resurrection.
The concept of “resurrection” is a central part of Jewish life. Everyday in the Temple they conducted the Tamid (“continual”) Service (Num 28.1-8). This was done two times a day, once in the morning (about 9 a.m.) and once in the afternoon (about 3 p.m.). These two time periods were called the “Hours of Prayer” (Acts 2.15, 3.1, 10.30; Luke 1.10; Dan 6.10, 9.21; 1 Kings 18.29, 36).
In the morning service a lookout was sent to the highest place in the Temple so he could see if the sun had risen and they could see Hebron (Mishnah, Tamid 3.2). If he could see Hebron, a lamb was brought from the Chamber of Lambs, which was in the southwest corner of the Beit Ha Moked. So, why is Hebron so important here? Because this is where the Cave of Machpelah is and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are buried there. In Jewish thought that is where the resurrection will occur first. From there it goes to the Mount of Olives.
In Lev 23.24 and Num 29.1 we learn about Yom Teruah, the day of the trumpet blowing, and the trumpet blowing is associated with Rosh Ha Shanah. Why do we associate the blowing of trumpets (shofar) with the resurrection? Because of 1 Cor 15.51-52 and 1 Thes 4.16. The word “Teruah” means both a “shout” and a “blast of a trumpet” (either a “shofar” or ram’s horn, or a “Chatzrof” which were silver trumpets in Num 10).
In Jewish literature there are three “shofarot” (trumpets) that are named. There is the “First Trumpet, the Last trumpet and the Great Trumpet (Shofar Ha Gadol). So, let’s look at the term “Last Trumpet” (1 Cor 15.52). There is a book called “Tz’enah Ur’enah” by Artscroll Publications. It is a book that is directed towards women and it is very concise. Many commentaries are very detailed and developing out just one concept can take pages. But Tz’enah Ur’enah is very concise and to the point. The reason for this is because this book was designed for women who were not obligated to pray and study like the men in Jewish custom. The women were to maintain an observant household and that is a full time job. Their job was just as important as the men studying. When the two came together it makes for a strong family.
But, a women still wants to study (or she should want to) but can’t dedicate hours a day to it, so Tz’enah’ Ur’enah was written to meet that need. In Vol 1, p. 112, it says, “Abraham’s ram: the shofar for Rosh Ha Shanah. Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns (Gen 22.13). The ram was prepared for this moment during the six days of creation. Chizzkuni writes that because the ram was ensnared in the thicket, Abraham understood that God had sent a sacrifice in place of his son. Had the ram not been tangled there Abraham would have thought that it belonged to someone else, and would not have sacrificed it. R. Bechaye writes that after a year during which God’s people became heavy with sin and became distant from him, they took the horn of a ram on Rosh Ha Shanah, and by virtues of their shofar blast, he forgives them of all their transgressions.”
Now, there are two horns on this ram. We are going to see that one of these horns is going to be called “The Last Trump.” By this we can establish that the “last trump” mentioned by Paul is a shofar that is associated with Rosh Ha Shanah. Commenting on Exo 19, Tz’enah Ur’enah, Vol 2, P. 383 says this, “When the ram’s horn is blown long (19.13). When a long note is blown on the shofar they will be permitted to climb onto the mountain, as that will be their sign that the divine presence has left. The shofar came from the ram which had been sacrificed in place of Isaac. R. Bechaye questions, was that ram not burned, together with its horns horns, skin and flesh? How could this be the source of the shofar that was blown on Mount Sinai? The answer is that God created a new ram out of the ashes. Pirkei De R. Eliezer writes that the ram’s bones were made into the foundation for the altar in Jerusalem, its sinews were used as strings on King David’s harp, and its skin was made into a belt for Elijah. Its left horn was blown as a shofar on Mount Sinai and its right horn will be blown to herald the coming of the Mashiach.” When we put this all together, the left horn is blown at Shavuot and the right horn heralds the coming of the Messiah.
In Jewish thought there are two redemptions. The first one is called the Egyptian (first) Redemption. It is the “lesser” of the two redemptions. The second one is called the Messianic Redemption and seen as the “greater” of the two. Since the left side with most is seen as weaker than the right side, the left horn is for the Egyptian Redemption (first) and the right horn is for the greater Messianic Redemption (second).
Exo 19.18-19 talks about Mount Sinai being completely engulfed in smoke. The smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain shook. When the blast of the trumpet sounded long it became louder and louder (not natural), and Moses spoke and God answered him by voice. This is the first shofar of the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. The “last shofar” or trump is the shofar of the coming of the Messiah. The last shofar is the shofar of the resurrection (1 Cor 15.51-52).
The resurrection in Jewish thought occurs on Yom Ha Din, the Day of Judgment, and Rosh Ha Shanah is a Yom Ha Din. The last trumpet is not the seventh trumpet of the Book of Revelation because this is apocalyptic language (seals, bowls, trumpets). The last trumpet of the Birth-pains is the Shofar Ha Gadol (The Great Trumpet) spoken of in Matt 24.29-31. It will be blown when Yeshua returns to the earth on Yom Kippur. We ill establish that concept later.
In Part 16 we will pick up here.