Leviticus 23:24-25 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. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord.

Numbers 29:1 And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you.

The rest of what we’ve learned to do is basically tradition and some of it has no rhyme or reason regarding Judaism as was practiced in the time of Moses. Much of the traditions we see today come out of rabbinical Judaism that was deeply influenced by Babylonian Talmud.

So, we know it was a day to blow the shofar and a Shabbat and of that we can be sure, but are there any other accounts in the Bible for us to be guided by? Yes, there is! It so happens that the people in this very account were unfamiliar with how to celebrate it as well:

KJV Nehemiah 8:1-3,5-13,17 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.

And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground … and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.

And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law ...for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.

So from this account, we learn that it is a day of joy in reading Torah and: “eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” It is an all day long party, for we know someday it will be the coronation day of the KING of kings and the LORD of lords.

We’ve had the entire month of Elul (Ay-lool) to reflect and ponder our deeds of the last year. The ancient pathway set for us gave us 30 days to proclaim the king’s presence and power, to remember that we will stand before him, to bend our knee in adoration and to repent and sincerely look at the changes we will ask the Holy Spirit to make in us.

Yom Teruah is also the beginning of the Days of Awe, so what does that mean? He gives us more time to prepare our hearts and minds for our face to face meeting--our annual review on the Day of Atonement. He gives us an additional 10 days to examine the extent of our captivity to sin. The hope and freedom God wants for us is truly awe inspiring. It is one more way He shows us His love and grace. Awesome!

The rabbis stressed that this forty-day period from the first day of Elul, through the tenth day of Tishri (Yom Kippur), was to be a time of special spiritual preparation. This was based on the belief that it was on the first of Elul where Moses ascended Mount Sinai in order to receive the second set of Tablets of the Law, and that he descended on Yom Kippur.

In synagogues, the shofar sounds the “blasts of Trumpets” daily (except on Eve Rosh Hashanah) to alert the faithful that the time of repentance, the observance of the holiday takes on a somber character, yet always with a hint of hope, because of God’s forgiveness. The liturgy, music and prayers emphasize the recurring theme of repentance and returning to God.

Torah readings for Yom Teruah feature the birth, and the binding of Isaac (the Akedah). Also included are the birth of Samuel and a vision of the deliverance of Israel.

The story of the binding of Isaac, has great significance for Messianic believers. In it we find the child of promise being offered up to God out of love. We see the guarantee of the resurrection as we see the substitute provided by God so that there needs to be no death. We look forward to the time when the trumpet of God will sound to call his people home. Knowing that God has provided his son to die on our behalf assures us that our sins are covered and that we have our place in the Book of Life.

The days of awe (ten days of Yom Teruah to Yom Kippur) reminds us that we need to be continually searching ourselves and allowing God to purify our heart through his holy spirit.