Feast of Trumpets begins after Sunset tonight: A year of release.

A shofar made from the horn of a Greater kudu

An animal horn trumpet.


The Feast of Trumpets begins after the setting of the sun of September 4th, 2013 and ends sunset September 5th. Notice what the Old Testament said would happen with this first day of the seventh month (often called Tishri):

23 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. 25 You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.'” (Leviticus 23:23-25)

It has been reported that the place where the trumpeting used to happen in Jerusalem is somewhat marked:

Whenever I visit the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, I always walk to the southwest corner of the Temple Mount…Beneath the ground of the Kotel, Jerusalem’s Central Valley has been filled in with the rubble of the Second Temple’s destruction in A.D. 70. As a result, the beautiful modern plaza stands about nine meters above the first-century street uncovered at the southwestern corner.

The excavations near the corner came about through the generosity of a distinguished member of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit…One of the main reasons I continually return to this corner of the Temple Mount is because of one particular stone that lies on the street far below where it originally stood. Shaped as a corner, the stone bears the Hebrew inscription: “To the place of trumpeting.”

This stone represented the pinnacle of the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount, the place where priests would stand and overlook Jerusalem as they blew trumpets to announce the Sabbath and the start of festival days. The Feast of Trumpets especially relates to this act http://www.jpost.com/Travel/AroundIsrael/Article.aspx?id=239595

In our family, we normally have our youngest child blow on some type of trumpet to mark the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets, as well as to blow the trumpet off and on throughout the Holy Day. And although the Bible does not specify where the trumpet blowing should take place (hence I believe it should happen throughout the lands where the faithful live), I did find it interesting to learn that there was a specific place in Jerusalem that trumpeting was designated.

Christian Sabbath-keepers, by the way, kept the Feast of Trumpets throughout history. Notice for example, that the Sabbath-keepers in Transylvania in the 1500s (and probably later) kept the Fall Holy Days such as the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Trumpets (called Day of Remembrance below):

The Sabbatarians viewed themselves as converted Gentiles..They held to the biblical holidays…The Day of Atonement was a day of fasting, although they emphasized that pentinence is more easily achieved by a peaceful and quiet meditation on the law and one’s life than by fasting. The Day of Remembrance (New Year, which they celebrated in the Fall of the year) was the day on which they thanked God especially for the creation of the universe. (Liechty D. Sabbatarianism in the Sixteenth Century. Andrews University Press, Berrien Springs (MI), 1993, pp. 61-62).

Some of the Jewish teachers taught that the creation was most likely in the Fall, rather than in the Spring because in Genesis 1:11 when God states, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit”, this would be the Fall, for that is when there is both grass and fruit on trees), that the Feast of Trumpets symbolized the beginning of creation, and hence by, inference, life. The creation was likely in the Fall and various scriptures imply it (though this is not specified verbatim in scripture).

And, of course, if those in Transylvania blew trumpets (and I would think one or more of them did) that was in a location other than Jerusalem.

People attempting to be faithful to the Bible have observed the Feast of Trumpets throughout history and the faithful in the Continuing Church of God continue to do so in the 21st century.

In 2013, this festival signals a year of release for the Continuing Church of God, which also intends to fulfill Deuteronomy 30:10-13 by  the reading the law during the Feast of Tabernacles this year as this is something that needs to be restored (see also The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law).

At the end of every seven years, the Bible teaches that there was a period of land rest and debt release that begin with the Feast of Trumpets.

The first day of the seventh month (Tishri) was considered the beginning of the civil year, similar to how the first month (Nisan) was considered to be the beginning of God’s sacred year (cf. Exodus 12:2). The beginning of each month for ancient Israel was to be marked with the blowing of trumpets per Numbers 10:10.

Every seven years there was a rest for the land–starting with the first year they came in the land (2013 is the ‘first year’ for the Continuing Church of God to hold its own Feast of Trumpets)–and every seven years thereafter:

1 And the Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to the Lord. 3 Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. 5 What grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not reap, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine, for it is a year of rest for the land. 6 And the sabbath produce of the land shall be food for you: for you, your male and female servants, your hired man, and the stranger who dwells with you, 7 for your livestock and the beasts that are in your land — all its produce shall be for food. (Leviticus 25:1-7)

10 “Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, 11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove. (Exodus 23:10-11)

This was also the time of release of debts and was sometimes called the year of release:

1 “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. 2 And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the Lord’s release. 3 Of a foreigner you may require it; but you shall give up your claim to what is owed by your brother, 4 except when there may be no poor among you; for the Lord will greatly bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance — 5 only if you carefully obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe with care all these commandments which I command you today. 6 For the Lord your God will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you. (Deuteronomy 15:1-6)

There were also other admonitions to not be stingy about lending to your brethren prior to the year of release:

7 “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs. 9 Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,’ and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the Lord against you, and it become sin among you. 10 You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand. 11 For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’ (Deuteronomy 15:7-11)

So, the Feast of Trumpets was showing that debt would be forgiven. Christians are to forgive debts as they want theirs forgiven per Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:12 (Young’s Literal Translation). And the law was to be read at the Feast of Tabernacles that year:

10 And Moses commanded them, saying: “At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, 13 and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess.” (Deuteronomy 31:10-13)

Also, slaves/bondservants that were brethren were to be granted their freedom that year of release if they wanted it (Deuteronomy 15:12-18).

This year of release was apparently recorded as being observed in the Book of Nehemiah:

1 Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. 3 Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. (Nehemiah 8:1-3)

28 Now the rest of the people — the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Nethinim, and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, everyone who had knowledge and understanding — 29 these joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes: 30 We would not give our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons; 31 if the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and we would forego the seventh year’s produce and the exacting of every debt. (Nehemiah 10:28-31)

Ezra and Nehemiah restored some of what the children of Israel lost; we in the Continuing Church of God are restoring much of what the COG has lost.

Here is what one Protestant commentary mentions about the seventh year of release, followed by comments in the Jewish Encyclopedia:

The law of Moses laid a great deal of stress upon the sabbath, the sanctification of which was the earliest and most ancient of all divine institutions, designed for the keeping up of the knowledge and worship of the Creator among men; that law not only revived the observance of the weekly sabbath, but, for the further advancement of the honour of them, added the institution of a sabbatical year: In the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, v. 4. And hence the Jews collect that vulgar tradition that after the world has stood six thousand years (a thousand years being to God as one day) it shall cease, and the eternal sabbath shall succeed—a weak foundation on which to build the fixing of that day and hour which it is God’s prerogative to know. This sabbatical year began in September, at the end of harvest, the seventh month of their ecclesiastical year: (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Leviticus 25:1-7. PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)

The duration of the shemiṭṭah year was from autumn to autumn, beginning with New-Year’s Day; but as a precaution against any infringement of the Law, the Rabbis extended the time and prohibited sowing and planting thirty days before Rosh ha-Shanah. (SABBATICAL YEAR AND JUBILEE. Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12967-sabbatical-year-and-jubilee viewed 08/07/13):

In modern times, Jews consider that Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the civil year, and thus that would be consistent with the seven year land rest beginning on the first day of the month of Tishri, the day Christians of the Church of God tend to call the Feast of Trumpets. 2013 may or may not be such a year (see also The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law). The following suggests that it may have been as Josiah’s reign was believed to have began in 641 BC (641-18= 623 BC; which could make the next Jubilee year 2028, which is theoretically possible; to see a non-COG source also points to 2028 for the Jubilee go to The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance):

The First and the Second Temple, the Talmud says, were destroyed “on the closing of the Sabbatical year” (“Moẓa’e Shebi’it”). The sixteenth jubilee occurred in the eighteenth year of Josiah, who reigned thirty-one years; the remaining thirteen years of his reign, together with the eleven years of those of Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin and the eleven years of that of Zedekiah (II Kings xxv.), fix the first exilic year as the thirty-sixth year of the jubilee cycle, or the twenty-fifth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin, or fourteen years from the destruction of the Holy City (‘Ar. and ‘Ab. Zarah l.c.; see Rashi ad loc.). (SABBATICAL YEAR AND JUBILEE. Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12967-sabbatical-year-and-jubilee viewed 08/10/13)

The eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign is mentioned in 2 Kings 22 & 23, and though it discusses keeping the law it does not specifically record that a Jubilee was kept.

While one or more Jewish calculations seems to possibly support 2013 as the official year of release for all, there are many other calculations that differ, so this is not completely certain. Since the Jews have certain errors in the calculation of years (Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?), and many other sources come up with differing dates, this cannot currently accepted with certainty. What is certain is that God says that the law should be read every seven years at the Feast of Tabernacles and this is what is expected to happen at Continuing Church of God Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites in 2013. Am I completely certain 2013 must be the year? Well, I am certain that not proclaiming the year of release and reading the law every seven years is wrong, 2013 seems consistent with God’s timing, and it very well may be.

Irrespective of which calendar year is the seventh year, Christians who observe the year of release do not plant gardens during that year (since there is debate on which year is the correct one, many base this period upon their baptism year) and forgive other Christians of financial and other debts, if any. Some add other practices.

It may be of interest to note that although many of those in the Church of God base third tithe year calculations on this seven year cycle, and farmers have been encouraged to keep the land sabbath every seven years, the idea to teach the law every seven years as the Bible teaches to do at the Feast of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 31:10-13) or proclaim the year of release (Deuteronomy 31:10) has been overlooked and is something that almost none do. Although some accept that non-biblical tradition, we in the Continuing Church of God do not. We are striving to fulfill what the Bible teaches and proclaim it.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should you keep the Fall Holy Days?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not?
Offertory: Blow the Trumpet  This is an offertory video for the Holy Days, and specifically was made for the Feast of Trumpets. It goes through various scriptures in Jeremiah Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, and Isaiah related to blowing trumpets. It also contains an audio clip of the blowing of a shofar. It discusses who is blowing the trumpet now. And provides statistics to back up that conclusion.
The Trumpet Release This is a sermon focused on the Feast of Trumpets for 2013.  What is the Feast of Trumpets?  How can this be part of God’s plan of salvation?  Why do the Jews refer to it as Rosh Hashanah?  What is the seventh year of release?  Should it be restored and proclaimed?  Did early Christians keep the Feast of Trumpets?  Why should any one keep it now?  What will happen with the seven trumpets of Revelation?  Why do many not understand aspects of it?
The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians call it “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law The Bible teaches that every seven years that the law should be read at the Feast of Tabernacles. This is what I did at the first Feast site were I gave an actual sermon (as opposed to a sermonette) in 2006.
Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2013 This is information on the expected Feast of Tabernacles’ sites for the Continuing Church of God for 2013. The Feast in 2013 begins the evening of September 18.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos.
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?

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