YHWH (God) said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites: 'On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the YHWH (God) by fire.' "
Yom in Hebrew = Day and Teruah in Hebrew = blowing.
So Yom Teruah is a 'day of blowing' hence why it is also called 'Feast of Trumpets'!
We like to pick one 'theme' for each feast to focus on since there is so much you could celebrate and look at in each feast. This year our theme was 'Repent, Return and Sing for Joy!'
So far, Yom Teruah to us has been a call to repentance. It is the first feast in the 'Autumn feasts' (spring for us in the southern hemisphere) and we feel like it helps us make way for the next two feasts which are Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles.
To us the trumpet call is also a reminder (dress rehearsal) of the trumpet call that will sound upon Jesus' second coming - His triumphant return to earth..
Yeshua (Jesus) Himself mentions this. You can find it in Matthew 24:30-31...
"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."
We looked aat Isaiah 44:22-23 as the theme verse which says,
"I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me, for I have redeemed you
Sing for joy, O heavens, for Yahweh has done this!"
This echoed the theme of repent, return and sing for joy.
Before everyone arrived, the kiddos had a chance to blow the shofar (ram's horn).
We bought ours from HERE.
Brett cooked an excellent feast! And others brought things to contribute too which was lovely :)
Here's everyone gathered around the table: we had us, Heiko + Lori, Ben + Jas and this year we had the lovely Donna + Keiran + their family join us. It was a great time. Reflective, worshipful + joyous. During dinner, some of us took turns at reading passages aloud. One that really struck me more than ever this year was Nehemiah 8. The book of the law was found and read aloud to all the people. They hadn't heard the Torah before and were cut to the core- so much so that they were weeping. Here is an excerpt from Nehemiah 8:
"Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
The Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve."
Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them."
To me, this is an incredible passage. As the Torah was read, the people had conviction that they had not been walking in a way that pleased God. That is the Torah's job - it is our schoolmaster (Galatians 3:24) to bring us to an awareness of our need for Him! They were so overwhelmed by their sin that they worshipped and bowed down before Him and were grieving. But in His infinite grace and mercy, God told the people (through Ezra and Nehemiah) to go and be filled with joy because they finally understood. We made a special 'safe' sweet punch to remind us of the 'sweet drinks' they may have had.
In my life, when there has been an awareness of my own sin, man I am often feeling so sick or sad. And often God has shown this same mercy to me - as I return to Him, acknowledging my sin and my need for His forgiveness, as I have repented, He has forgiven me + restored me with joy. He is so incredible + beautiful!
The other passages we read aloud over dinner this year were about repentance too:
of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea."
Since we had been focussing on how great it is that God forgives us when we repent and return to Him and how He remembers our sins no more, I thought it would be a good idea to go down to our local lake and chuck some rocks into it symbolically representing how God hurls our sins into the depths of the sea. I didn't know that this is a Jewish custom but apparently it is! There you go!
So off we all went to the lake and I read aloud that verse by the water (although by this time all I was thinking of was one of the kids ending up in the freezing cold water in the dark!) Um, i think you can tell that by the look on my face in this shot! lol! They were so excited to be down by the water - i think it'll be a great memory for them actually...