Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
Leviticus 23:24 (KJV)
Memorial – What trumpets (or sounds) was Israel supposed to remember? I know we like to project our own interpretations onto the text, so we might say that the Lord is referring to the last trumpet when Yeshua returns, but none of that was known to the Israelites. So how did they understand this?
This is always the first question we must ask ourselves when reading Scripture. What did the text actually mean to those who it was written to? What did the people of that time understand this to mean? Once we know this, then we can venture out and glean applications to apply to our lives within the context of our own culture and theologies.
So if Israel didn’t have any knowledge of a future trumpet that they were supposed to remember (I know that gets kind of confusing), then what exactly was it that they were supposed to remember? We need to go backwards into the text to understand. The most recent trumpet (and noise) would have been just a few months prior when they were camped at Mt. Sinai. God descended upon Mt. Sinai in a cloud, and there was a voice like a trumpet exceedingly loud.
And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
This must be what YHVH is referring to when he commanded Israel to have a memorial (zikrown) of blowing of trumpets. It was 16-17 weeks earlier that the Mt. Sinai event happened, and in context of the promised land, they would have already gone through harvesting and planting again. It would seem like ages ago when the last Holy Day occurred. So YHVH calls them to remember it… remember the trumpets and what had transgressed at the mountain. YHVH took Israel to be His people, and He became their God in the advent of a contract with specific terms (commandments) to be obeyed. This is what God was calling them to remember – not some future event.
Now from here, we can work the text to fit our eschatological views, but we can never forget what YHVH’s intent was for Israel to remember. And in so doing, we remember it also. We remember the covenant and we remember our obligation to obey God’s commandments.