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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shofar: Heavenly Voice?

Shofar: Heavenly Voice?

                                                                 Arthur L. Finkle




Many Jewish scholars have written about the shofar, its uses, its significance, its vestigial survival  of the Holy Temple sacrifices at the Jewish New Year,  and have pondered the numerous Jewish Laws surrounding the shofar. See Tractate Rosh Hashshanah.

Christian writers have discussed  the phenomenon of the thunder, lightning and sound arising from the Mt. Sinai during a special moment in humankind’s history. They attribute heavenly qualities to this mystical sound.

the Lord Makes the sound

Some say that the horn was sounded by the Lord.

Then the Lord will be seen over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightning. The Lord God will blow the trumpet, and go with whirlwinds from the south” 
Zechariah 9:14
Blown to release angels
Others indicate that the sound releases angels to perform  miracles.

“And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:31
sounded by the angels

Still others indicate that the Angels will sound the shofar at the end of time. Indeed, seven angels will herald the Messiah by performing some of the rites of the Holy Temple,, including sounding the horn.

Revelation 8:2, 3 - “And I saw the seven angels who stand before God and to them were given seven trumpets. 3) Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

9:1, 13-14 - Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit.13) Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14) saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”

10:7 - But in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets. 

11:15 - Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

Sounded By God

Some theologians claim that THE RUMBLINGS OF THE MOUNTAINT IN PREPRATION FOR Moses’ ascent of Mt. Sinai was in fact the saound (voice) oif God.

the sound of the shofar, and the mountain smoking; and
when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar
off (Exod 19:16,19; 20:18; d. Heb 12:19).

The shofar signals a theophany: God appears in His glory and majesty! While Exodus 19 and 20 do not make clear which heavenly being was blowing' the shofar on Sinai, the one other theophanic passage in the Old Testament referring to the shofar, explicidy states that God Himself is the shofar blower!( Zechariah 9:14)

Indeed, the shofar  sounds serves as a cosmic reminder  of the theophany at Sinai, the importance of the Law for God's people, and points us forward to the final theophany at the end of time.
Richard M. Davidson, "Blow The Ram's Horn In Zion!" Toward A Biblical Theology Of The Shofar Blow_the_Rams_Horn.pdf

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