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14
The Cry of the Shofar - Marcello Araujo
September 14, 2018

By Marcello Araujo, Chosen People Ministries' Hamilton Outreach and Messianic Rabbi of Kehila Kumi Ori / Arise & Shine Congregation

Most of my acquaintances complain about life’s inexorable cycle, doing the rounds year in and year out. They sound like the preacher who declared: “The thing that was, it is the same one that will be, and the thing we did, is the same one we will do, and there’s nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9; my own translation).

And so, a new a new year arrives, the great shofar (trumpet) cries out announcing the day of judgement. God’s indulgent voice thunders, heaven itself trembles, the pillars of the earth quiver.  Yom Teruah, the Day of Trumpets which lead to the Day of Judgement, is here!  At the sound of the great shofar, the shofar gadol, the angels tremble with holy fear, cry out and open the books!

In reality, the Yom Teruah itself points to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  This is the portentous and most dreadful day of the year during which, seeking forgiveness from the Almighty, we will pray, we will fast, and we will try to make amends with those whom we have hurt. 

Yes, we try, but it is never enough because we cannot do it on our own.  Alone we have no assurance of sins forgiven – hope, but no assurance.  The main problem the Jewish people face is that we do not have a temple in which to offer a bull and a goat, as well as a second goat to take away our sin to the wilderness. Wretched without a way to receive forgiveness, we still hope for and expect God’s mercy.  Deep in the Jewish heart there is hope.  Even though there is no assurance, we still hope for forgiveness.

However, as believers in Yeshua (Jesus) we have the certainty that our sins have been atoned for and our future has been secured by His death and resurrection.

By accepting His death and resurrection as the harbinger of our salvation, we are accepting Yeshua’s kingship, because:

“No other human who ever lived on this planet has impacted the world as Jesus did. From that short moment of His ministry and its apparent failure flowed a powerful victory, over the powers of darkness, and the schemes of man.  Millions have been raised from illiteracy and ignorance to intellectual freedom and progress.  No other human being has done more to relieve the physical troubles of disease and famine than any other man.  Jesus and his message has been the catalyst that liberated millions from slavery and millions of others from addictions” (Kenneth Latourette).

Latourette is right.  Jesus changed the world, and it is this same Jesus who declared, “You are the melach haaretz (salt of the earth), but if the salt becomes tasteless, in what way will it become salty again? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled by men. You are the ohr ha’olam (the light of the world). A city lying on a mountaintop cannot be hidden. No one, after lighting a menorah, places it under a measuring basket, but on the table, and it gives light to kol anshei habait (to all in the house)” (Matthew 5:13-15).

Interestingly, in this passage Jesus references Numbers 18:19 when God said the holy contributions made by the people of Israel belong to Aaron and his descendants forever, as a “covenant of salt.”  Also, in Leviticus 2:13, Moses writes: “Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.”

Yeshua declares that all believers – His disciples – are the salt of the sacrifice. If He is the sacrifice, we are the salt. As the salt, we are to bring the salt of the sacrifice and Messiah to the House of Israel first, then to the world (Isaiah 8:14-16, 20).  If the salt loses its new-given identity as the sons and daughters of salt/kingdom, we will lose our focus and direction along with the true message of the kingdom.

As long as His salt remains in us and we spread His light, Yeshua will continue to protect tens of millions from exploitation by others. His movement will continue to produce fruit, and   lessen the horrors of war.  He will establish the relations of men and nations on the basis of justice and of peace. Messiah and His congregation will continue to have an enormous influence over history.

However, a great section of the Body is losing its saltiness.  The light is fading.  Only if our commitment to Jesus continues in the fullness of our strength, then will our influence be greater and more powerful.  If our voices could rise as the cry of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, the dead would listen and the wicked would still have hope of redemption.

Yeshua’s metaphor does not end with salt, it goes further to tell His disciples (you and me), “You are the light of the world.”  Jesus never said, “You are the Facebook of the world, he who reads your posts on your walls will not walk in darkness.”  Jesus never stated, “You are the Wi-Fi of the world, the Wi-Fi should be on top of the roof of your house so the every one may have a good signal.” A Wi-Fi under the table is not good.  As digitally connected as you may be with the world, and if Jesus’ light doesn’t shine brightly, then your light is in the shadow and it is not good.

Does your Facebook wall reflect the light that emanates from you?  Do your non-believing friends realize how messed up and how hurting our world is? We don’t need to look far to see the catastrophic effects of disease, natural disasters, ostentatious arrogance, racial injustice, smug judgment and a shattered world in need of repair.

The world needs believers who mirror the true Kingdom with a true King. The world needs believers who will do remarkable things in law and in medicine, create amazing music, excel in ecological science, behave impeccably in business, shine in education, in technology, at home and in the community – in every possible area.  Parents should always encourage their children to pursue professions that impact society for the better.  And, because we have hope in our children, today we build amazing congregations, schools, universities and ways to nurture them as they grow to serve in God’s Kingdom.

“In wisdom, walk toward the ones outside, redeeming the time. Let your word be always in grace, having been seasoned with salt, to know how it is necessary for each one of you to answer” (Colossians 4:5-6).

That’s the powerful call of the shofar for us.  As the shofar blasts, let us remember that we must act as salt and reflect Jesus’ light in this cold, dark world. Yeshua is our blessed hope.

Filed under: Jewish Festivals, Special Days, Devotional Study

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