Note: If you click on the graphics, they’ll open big enough to read.
If you’ve been following my Revelation blogs right along, you’ll know that I believe that the Seven Letters and the Seven Seals are parallel descriptions of the Ages of the Christian Church and that the Seven Trumpets and the Seven Bowls provide parallel descriptions of seven (not fourteen) key End of Time events.
For a long time, I only visualized the Seven Seals like this:
Then, just recently, I was typing “Letters-Seals” and I realized … DUH … seals can also go on letters. Like the scroll seals, they must be broken before anyone can read the contents. ::headsmack::
This got me wondering if there might not be a similar correlation between Trumpets and Bowls. In my research about Jewish Holidays, I had learned that Rosh Hashanah is also known as the Feast of Trumpets.
The LORD said to Moses: Tell the Israelites: On the first day of the seventh month, you will have a sabbath rest, with trumpet blasts as a reminder, a declared holy day. ILeviticus 23:23-24)
Note: In Judaism, the first day of the seventh month of Tishri (Rosh Hashana) is the new year for the purpose of counting the years, while the first day of the first month of Nissan is the new year for the purpose of counting the months.
Rosh Hashanah is a Sabbath-level Holy Day for Jews. No work may be done and much of the day is spent in synagogue, where the shofar (horn, trumpet) is sounded and the special services for the holiday focus on God’s sovereignty. The video below tells you all kinds of fascinating facts about shofars, how they’re made and what they sound like. It is a wonderful spiritual meditation!
Shofar Factory (How A Shofar Is Made) [3:36
“Bubbe” [1:17 in video] is Yiddish for Grandparent. Shofars are only made from kosher animal horns from which the inner cartilage can be easily removed. But the shofar maker has to smack the horn to get the cartilage out. Then he softens the horn over a flame so he can shape it to his liking, after which he hardens it in cold, running water. Then comes the belt sander, then the drilling, then more sanding and polishing … oh my goodness, but isn’t this all exactly how God works with us?!
On Rosh Hashanah, the faithful are encouraged to look back at the mistakes of the past year and plan what changes to make in the new year. One popular custom is to to symbolically cast off ones sins by throwing small pieces of bread into a river or stream. The common greeting for Rosh Hashanah is a wish that one may be “inscribed and sealed for a good year.” Inscribed and SEALed? How cool is that! Remember the victor rewards from the Revelation LETTERS?
To the victor I shall give some of the hidden manna; I shall also give a white amulet upon which is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who receives it. (Rev 2:17)
The victor I will make into a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never leave it again. On him I will inscribe the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, as well as my new name. (Rev 3:12)
So, there you go. TRUMPETS with a bonus linking of Letters and Seals. And guess what? …. I found BOWLS (and more trumpets) in another Tishri holiday, the Festival of Booths (aka, Tabernacles, Sukkot, In-gathering), which is a seven-day festival that lasts eight days, as per God’s command:
“The fifteenth day of this seventh month is the LORD’s feast of Booths, which shall continue for seven days. On the first day, a declared holy day, you shall do no heavy work. For seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD, and on the eighth day you will have a declared holy day. You shall offer an oblation to the LORD. It is the festival closing. You shall do no heavy work. … For a week, you shall make merry before the LORD, your God.” (Leviticus 23:33-36,40)
Back during Jesus’ time, when the Jews still had their great Temple, the second through seventh days of Sukkot were marked by the High Priest going down to the Pool of Siloam to fill a golden pitcher with “living water.” “Living” means “moving”, as in a stream or river where the water is continually freshened and aerated. (The Pool of Siloam was fed by a spring.)
The High Priest and his assistant (with a pitcher of wine) would then pour out their libations on to the altar. From the illustration, it seems the pitcher was poured into a special BOWL that had a spout on the bottom, so the liquid would run out in a tidy stream down the side of the altar. (I can’t help thinking of Jesus on the cross, when he was pierced and blood and water came out.)
These six days were the only time all year when water was poured out on the altar. On the seventh day, this ceremony was seven times longer and involved lots of singing and TRUMPETS.
The other notable event during the Festival of Booths was the Illumination of the Temple, which involved the ritual lighting of four 75-foot tall golden lamps in the Court of Women.
These enormous flames burned all night reminding the people of the pillar of fire that had guided Israel in their wilderness journey. The flames were fed by huge BOWLS of oil.
The lamps were said to be so bright that they lit up the entire city. Can you imagine such a thing in a culture that had nothing but candles and oil lamps to light the dark?! All the men would dance and sing; the rejoicing would last late into the night.
Jesus Himself referred to both of the BOWL customs — the water libation and the lighting of the huge lamps — relating the living water and the brilliant illumination to Himself.
On the seventh day of the Festival of Booths, Jesus exclaimed, “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says: ‘Rivers of living water will flow from within him.'” (John 7:37)
Then on the eight day, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
The eighth day is commonly thought of as part of Sukkot, but technically it is a holiday in its own right called Shemini Atzeret (literally, “the assembly of the eighth”). It seems to be a somewhat abbreviated day with similar, but fewer and shorter observances.
Rabbinic literature explains the eighth day this way: “Our Creator is like a host, who invites us as visitors for a limited time, but when the time comes for us to leave, He has enjoyed himself so much that He asks us to stay another day.”
This reminds me of my Italian in-laws who can never quite let us out the door when the holidays are over. Once the car is packed and all the kisses and hugs are done, Grandma will always insist we have a “quick bite” before getting on the road. 🙂