Location: New England, United States

Monday, May 23, 2005

Blowing the Shofar

Many years ago, I read an interesting book on the relationship between Jewish holidays and Christian events. Unfortunately, the name of the book and the author have been lost to me - so please excuse me for not giving the proper credit here.

At sundown June 12th, the Jewish holiday of Shavout will begin. This holiday is also called The Feast of the First Fruits, and although this celebration has less significance than some of the other holidays in current Jewish doctrine, I believe this day has great significance for Christians.

The origins of this Feast started in ancient tradition, and was a time of thanksgiving for God's generous provision. The Hebrews would decorate their houses with flowers and greenery, and harvest the first fruits of their fields including barley, spring wheat, vegetables, olive oil and honey. When the Shofar was blown at sundown, they would bring their first fruits into the temple as an offering to God. This was a time of thankfulness and great celebration. The festival would last for seven days

The Shofar, which you can hear by clicking on this link:, would be blown to call the people to the Temple of God. The traditional Shofar was a musical instrument constructed from a rams horn or ibex horn and blown at times of feast, fasting or battle. Hebrew tradition states that at the end of times, the Shofar will be blown at the final return of the Messiah alerting Satan that his time of judgment has come. It is said that Satan flees each time the Shofar is sounded believing that his demise is imminent, therefore, the Hebrew people would blow the Shofar when they wanted to execute their feasts, fasting or battles without the presence of Satan.

It was on Shavout that Moses received the Laws of God at Mount Sinai. The Shofar was blown before the Law was given to Moses. Satan heard the Shofar, and believing his time of judgement had come, he fled, allowing Moses to accept the Law without his evil influence. This started a new economy for God's people - the Economy of the Law.

As Christians, we share in the next economy - the Economy of Grace. This economy also started on the Hebrew holiday of Shavout. We call this day Pentecost as stated in Acts 2:

"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound (the Shofar) came from heaven like a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them." RSV

These disciples were the "first fruits" of the new Economy of Grace, and just like the issuance of the Law, the Shofar was sounded so that the Holy Spirit could be dispensed in secret from Satan.

I believe the next economy will also be dispensed on Shavout. With a shout, (the Shofar) the Lord will call up the First Fruits of the harvest before the end of ages.


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