Jewish vs. CCOG views on Feast of Trumpets/Rosh Hoshanah

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 on September 29th and runs through sunset on September 30th in 2019. The modern Jews keep a version of it which they call Rosh Hashanah.

But they have some differences from the Continuing Church of God.

Let’s look at seven points from an article titled The Rosh Hashanah Guide for the Perplexed, 2014 ( which is intended to give an explanation to Jews about the current Jewish meaning of the day. I will also provide some CCOG (Continuing Church of God) comments on each of the points.

Here is Jewish point one:

1. Rosh Hashanah is a universal, stock-taking, renewal, and hopeful holiday, celebrated on the 6th‎ day of The Creation, which produced the first human being, Adam.

The Bible states that on the first day of the seventh month on the biblical calendar, there will be “a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:23-24). The idea that this coincides with the sixth day of creation is a view put forth by certain rabbis in the Talmud. The Talmud is basically a book of traditions written between 70 – 500 A.D.

Certain 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.

The creation probably was in the Fall. Yet Genesis 1:3-4 more likely was the first day of the seventh month as it is called the first day, rather than the sixth day when humans were created (Genesis 1:24-31). However, that seventh month designation for the creation is not absolutely certain from the Bible.

Here is Jewish point two:

2. Rosh means, in Hebrew, ”beginning,” “first,” “head,” “chief.” The Hebrew spelling of Rosh (ראש) is the root of the Hebrew word for Genesis (בראשית), which is the first word in the Bible.

While that is interesting, it should be understood that the day was not called Rosh Hashanah by the Jews until Talmudic times (Kramer, Amy J. Rosh Hashana Origins. Copyright © 1998-1999 Everything Jewish, Inc. 9/16/04).

The term ‘Rosh’ is not used in the scriptures that specifically mention the festival on the first day of the seventh month, and the term is an interpretation of Jewish tradition, not a strictly biblical one.

Notice a few scriptures:

2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. …

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. (Leviticus 23:12, 23-24)

Since Leviticus 23:2 states it lists God’s feasts, and the one that begins on the first day of the seventh month is a feast for the memorial of blowing trumpets, we in the Continuing Church of God believe that the name Feast of Trumpets conveys the name better than the later adopted Jewish term Rosh Hashanah.

Here is Jewish point three:

3. Rosh Hashanah is celebrated at the beginning of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which means beginning/Genesis in ancient Akkadian.The Hebrew spelling of Tishrei (תשרי) is included in the spelling of Genesis (בראשית).

It is correct that the Feast of Trumpets is to be observed starting at the beginning of the seventh month of the biblical calendar that the Jews now call Tishri/Tishrei. In the Bible the month has a different name, Ethanim:

2 Therefore all the men of Israel assembled with King Solomon at the feast in the month of Ethanim, which is the seventh month. (1 Kings 8:2)

It should be noted that the months in the Bible can have different names. The first month is called Abib (cf. Exodus 12:2; 13:4) and Nisan (Esther 3:7) in the Hebrew scriptures. Renaming the seventh month probably came from a Talmudic tradition.

Here is Jewish point four:

4. Rosh Hashanah is also referred to as “Ha’rat Olam” (the pregnancy of the world), and its prayers highlight motherhood, optimism, and the pregnancies of Sarah and Rachel, the Matriarchs, and Hannah, who gave birth to Isaac, Joseph and Benjamin, and the Prophet Samuel respectively.

While it may be likely that the world was created in the seventh month, calling the day the “pregnancy of the world” is a Jewish tradition. The Bible does not refer to it as a time of motherhood. Because of the visit from the angels in Genesis 19 along with the mention of unleavened bread in verse 3 and that juxtaposition to the promise to Sarah in Genesis 18, her pregnancy could seem to perhaps more logically have been in the Spring or Summer.

Here is Jewish point five:

5. Rosh Hashanah underlines human fallibility, humility, soul-searching, responsibility (as a precondition to the realization of opportunity), renewal/rebirth, memory (lessons of history), and the need for systematic education.

Humans are fallible and in need of humility, repentance (Acts 2:38; 17:30), and learning the truth (cf. John 8:31-32; 2 Peter 3:18). Nearly all times of holy convocations are times to reflect on that.

Here is Jewish point six:

6. The Shofar (ritual horn) is blown on Rosh Hashanah as a wake-up call to mend human behavior. Rosh Hashanah is also called “Yom Te’roo’ah” (the day of blowing the Shofar). Shofar (שופר) is a derivative of the Hebrew word for enhancement/improvement (שפור), which is constantly expected of human beings. It requires humility, symbolized by the Shofar, which is bent and is not supposed to be decorated.

A Shofar is blown on this day. Notice the following:

3 Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon,
At the full moon, on our solemn feast day.
4 For this is a statute for Israel,
A law of the God of Jacob. (Psalms 81:3-4)

The Hebrew word for shofar is the one translated as “trumpet” in Psalm 81:3. The idea that it is a naturally bent horn and that humans need improvement is an interesting one that is consistent with the truth.

Here is Jewish point seven:

7. The pomegranate – one of the seven species blessing the Land of Israel – features during Rosh Hashanah meals and in a key blessing on Rosh Hashanah: “May you be credited with as many rewards as the seeds of the pomegranate.” The pomegranate becomes ripe on time for Rosh Hashanah and contains – genetically – 613 seeds, which is the number of Jewish statutes (of Moses).

There are two different points to make here. The first is about a possible connection between pomegranates and trumpets. Notice the following which mention the pomegranate tree and the blowing of a trumpet:

12 The vine has dried up,
And the fig tree has withered;
The pomegranate tree,
The palm tree also,
And the apple tree —
All the trees of the field are withered;
Surely joy has withered away from the sons of men.

13 Gird yourselves and lament, you priests;
Wail, you who minister before the altar;
Come, lie all night in sackcloth,
You who minister to my God;
For the grain offering and the drink offering
Are withheld from the house of your God.
14 Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;
Gather the elders
And all the inhabitants of the land
Into the house of the Lord your God,
And cry out to the Lord.

15 Alas for the day!
For the day of the Lord is at hand;
It shall come as destruction from the Almighty. (Joel 1:12-15)

1 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
For the day of the Lord is coming,
For it is at hand:
2 A day of darkness and gloominess,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. (Joel 2:1-2)

Notice that the pomegranate tree is referred to in Joel 1:12 in a destructive time, and that the trumpet (from the Hebrew word for Shofar) is telling of the time of the day of the Lord (see also When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? What is the Day of the Lord?). So, it could be said that there seems to be a type of connection.

But what about the 613 seeds of pomegranates?

Notice what one Jewish rabbi wrote:

Misconception: According to rabbinic tradition, a pomegranate (rimon) has 613 seeds.

Fact: The pomegranate is used in rabbinic tradition as an example of a fruit that contains many seeds, but not necessarily 613. …

The misconception about the pomegranate having 613 seeds is widespread, but its source is readily apparent. In a discussion on the meaning of seeing the fruit in a dream, the gemara in Berachot4 explains that “seeing small ones portends business being as fruitful as a pomegranate, while seeing large ones means that business will multiply like pomegranates. If, in the dream, the pomegranates are split open, if the dreamer is a scholar he may hope to learn more Torah … while if he is unlearned, he can hope to perform mitzvot ….” Drawing upon a verse in Shir HaShirim (4:3; 6:7), the gemara concludes by stating that even “the empty ones among the Jews are full of mitzvot like a pomegranate [is full of seeds].”5 Many misread this gemara to mean that there are precisely 613 seeds in a pomegranate, as there are 613 mitzvot. It should be clear, however, that the gemara uses pomegranates to imply an abundance. In fact, the very name “pomegranate” is derived from Latin’s “pomum” (apple) and “granatus” (seeded), alluding to the fruit’s many seeds. (Zivotofsky A. What’s the Truth about … Pomegranate Seeds? Jewish Action, September 20, 2008.

So, there are not normally 613 seeds in a pomegranate.

What about the so-called 613 Jewish statutes of Moses?

As it turns out, many of them are NOT statutes that God inspired Moses to write. Instead, they were developed by a Jewish rabbi and based upon various traditions, many of which were not adopted from the Bible. (See also Which Laws were Superceded? Which Remain? What about the 613 mitzvot? and/or Messianic Judaism Beliefs Differ from the Continuing Church of God.) Moses did NOT write all of the 613 statutes that Jews and certain others believe they need to keep.

Anyway, as far as the Feast of Trumpets goes, some of the Jewish points are accurate, some have a scriptural connection, and some others are based more upon tradition than biblical truth.

We in the Continuing Church of God are Christian. And while we believe that the Bible and church history enjoin the observance of the Feast of Trumpets on true believers, we are not Messianic Jews (many of whom claim that they should keep the 613 mitzvot) nor do we fully share the views of the Jews on this Holy Day.

We, unlike the Jews, also accept the New Testament as scripture, which means some of our understanding of this day comes from the New Testament, hence we have a better understanding of this day and how it fits in with God’s plan of salvation.

In the New Testament, the Bible shows that during the time period known as the Day of the Lord there will be seven trumpets blown. And the last one, the seventh one, announces the return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the saints, and meeting Jesus in the air:

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:50-54)

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)

Those are points that the Jewish interpretation of this Holy Day seem to miss. As Christians, we can draw comfort from the words of the New Testament, while we appreciate that there is a tie to the Old Testament.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Feast of Trumpets: Why Should You Keep It? What does the Bible say? What does this festival picture? A related sermon is available: Seven Trumpets: Jesus Returns.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
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 Christians keep the Fall Biblical Holy Days?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not? What does the Feast of Trumpets, which the Jews call Rosh Hashanah, help teach? Related sermon videos include: The Last Trumpet and the Book of Life and The Trumpet Release. The article has links to hear shofar blasts. they related?
Offertory: Blowing the Trumpet
Why should there be an offertory on the Feast of Trumpets. What does the Bible teach? How is the ‘trumpet’ being blown now? How is the Continuing Church of God reaching the world with the gospel of the kingdom? Do those in the Church of God also need to pay attention to the trumpet? Shofar blowing is also heard in this video. Here is a link to the: Donation page of the Continuing Church of God, which includes the ability to use PayPal.
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?
Messianic Judaism Beliefs Differ from the Continuing Church of God Both groups keep the seventh-day Sabbath, but have important differences in doctrines and practices. Here is a link to a related sermon: Messianic Jewish Beliefs.
Which Laws were Superceded? Which Remain? What about the Ten Commandments? What about the 613 regulations (called 613 Mitzvot) in the Old Testament? Which were ‘done away’?
How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Does the Bible allow for the creation of the universe and earth billions of years ago? Why do some believe they are no older than 6,000 years old? What is the gap theory? Where the days of creation in Genesis 1:3 through 2:3 24 hours long?
Questions and Answers from Genesis Many wonder about certain early events that this article discusses.
Proof Jesus is the Messiah This free book has over 200 Hebrew prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. Plus, His arrival was consistent with specific prophecies and even Jewish interpretations of prophecy. Here are links to seven related sermons: Proof Jesus is the Messiah, Prophecies of Jesus’ birth, timing, and death, Jesus’ prophesied divinity, 200+ OT prophecies Jesus filled; Plus prophecies He made, Why Don’t Jews Accept Jesus?, Daniel 9, Jews, and Jesus, and Facts and Atheists’ Delusions About Jesus. Plus the links to two sermonettes: Luke’s census: Any historical evidence? and Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah, but … These videos cover nearly all of the book, plus have some information not in the book.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2019, 2020, or 2021? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2018 o 2019? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter and newer video is: Might the Great Tribulation start in 2019?
The Times of the Gentiles Has there been more than one time of the Gentiles? Are we in it now or in the time of Anglo-America? What will the final time of the Gentiles be like? A related sermon is available and is titled: The Times of the Gentiles.

The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? What is the Jubilee? Is fasting healthy? Here is a link to a sermon: Day of Atonement: How Jesus fulfilled His part for the Atonement. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Expiación –Su significado cristiano.
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? A related sermon video is Feast of Tabernacles from Israel.
Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2019 This is information on the Feast of Tabernacles’ sites for the Continuing Church of God in 2019. Services will begin the evening of October 13th and run through (including the Last Great Day) October 21st in 2019.
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. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
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? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?

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