After the spring feasts, which, at least in one aspect, have been fulfilled in Christ, there is an interregnum of nearly four months. In Leviticus 23 setting out the sacred calendar of the feasts, a verse is interposed between those dealing with the feast of Tabernacles and the next occasion marked down as a particular sabbatical celebration, as follows;
When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God.'” (Leviticus 23:22). After this, God goes on the talk about the Feast of Trumpets.
This is a pause in the sequence of festal celebrations and it seems significant that the gleanings, as they are called, are to be left to the needy and the alien, or gentiles. Is not this long interval between the gathering of the first fruits of the Jews at Pentecost and the sounding of the Trumpet and the Day of Atonement equivalent to that period in history that is referred to as the time of the gentiles? In this period, by the grace of God, the gleanings left in the field foreshadow the seed of truth left by Israel, the purpose of which was to sow a harvest into the gentile field, a work begun by Paul that has continued for two thousand years.
The Pentecostal harvest was ended and the heart of Israel was hardened (Romans 11:25) in part but under Paul’s ministry fields that ripened for a new harvest to God appeared everywhere amongst the gentile nations where formerly no fruit had been. Today, the westward flow of the gospel from Israel throughout all the nations has been completed and it is time to return to the sacred calendar that God has set down to chart the course of His redemptive work amongst men. The next event in this calendar is the Feast of Trumpets.
“And Jehovah spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, shall be a solemn rest unto you, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no servile work; and you shall offer an offering made by fire unto Jehovah”(Leviticus 23:23-25).
The blowing of trumpets was an important institution in Israel and signified different things; calling together the people; sounding of warning; moving camp; new moons. These occasions for blowing trumpets are set out in Numbers 10:1-10. Their purpose however was not musical but “and they shall be to you for a memorial before your God: I am Jehovah your God” (Numbers 10:10) and it is of special importance to understand that the Feast of Trumpets stands in relation to the solemn events that followed in type, and are to follow in antitype, in the same way as the Passover stands at the head of those events that were the spring feasts.
Now while there was no doubt a certain commemorative and retrospective aspect to all of the events set down in Israel calendar of feasts, the term “memorial”, in as much as it is used by Leviticus, does not anywhere mean the keeping in memory of a past thing. It is instead a ceremonial or tabernacle term signifying something done in order to call attention to something that remains to be done. It is better rendered “reminding” of something present or just at hand, rather than a “memorial” which suggests the past. Looked at in this way, the Feast of Trumpets is seen as an awakening of the people to repentance in prospect of the Day of Atonement for the expiation of their sins which was to follow.
As to its prophetic significance, it is important to bear in mind that this feast was set down for the first day of the seventh month and, since the trumpets were blown ceremonially at every new moon, the first of every month, the trumpet blast that preceded the day of atonement was the seventh trumpet. Viewed prophetically then, the Feast of Trumpets can be regarded as foreshadowing that day when God breaks the long silence of this dispensation and calls attention of Israel, the Church and the world to the last acts which, although characterised by terrible judgements, culminates in the Feast of Tabernacles when God’s harvest can finally be reaped “and Jehovah shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall Jehovah be one, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9).
The essential pre-requisite for the sounding of the trumpet has already occurred; the gathering of Israel back into the land. The trumpet is now blowing to call His people everywhere to repentance.