Torah: Leviticus 21:1-24:23
Haftarah: Ezekiel 44:15-31
Gospel: Matthew 26:59-66
Rosh HaShanah occurs on the biblical calendar as the next appointed time after the festival of Shavu’ot. Ever since the bestowing of the Spirit at Pentecost we have been awaiting His return. The years have passed and turned into centuries. His disciples still wait for the sound of His trumpet that will herald His return. The annual blast of the shofar foreshadows that day when the heavens will be rent by the sound of Messiah’s trumpet.
Jewish eschatology teaches that the fall festivals allude to the time to come. First comes the judgment on Rosh HaShanah when the court is convened, then the confessions of iniquity on Yom Kippur when the court issues its verdict, and after that, the rejoicing of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret.
Likewise, the time to come commences with a great day of judgment, corresponding to Rosh HaShanah. After that, it is written, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness” (Ezekiel 36:25). And the LORD says, “I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant” (Jeremiah 50:20). These passages correspond to Yom Kippur.
After that comes Sukkot when we dwell in booths for seven days. In this regard, the prophet Isaiah says, “There will be a sukkah to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain” (Isaiah 4:6). This is why it is called the season of rejoicing.
Finally, Shemini Atzeret concludes the festivals, corresponding to that day when the time of the nations will be finished and Israel will rejoice.
The sound of Messiah’s shofar will announce His arrival, the inauguration of His kingdom, and His coronation. The world will repent and renounce its wickedness. He will bring a fresh revelation of God to the world, transcending the revelation at Sinai, and the Torah will go forth from Zion as it once did from Sinai.
The trumpet blast that heralds His arrival will be a warning to the wicked. He will rebuild the holy Temple in Jerusalem. He is the son who was bound like Isaac, and in his merit God will forgive Israel their sins. He will fill the world with the fear of the LORD, and all nations will stand in judgment before Him. He will gather the exiles of Israel, for He “will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” (Matthew 24:31). Then “the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:52).
According to the Talmud, the blowing of the shofar on Rosh HaShanah confuses Satan. The sound of the shofar on Rosh HaShanah frightens him because it reminds him that his time is short. He dreads the shofar blast of the Messiah that will signal the final redemption.
When Satan hears the shofar of Rosh HaShanah, he exclaims in terror, “It is the shofar of the day of judgment! The time is short when I will be swallowed up, as it says, ‘He will swallow up death for all time’” (Tosafot).