And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have an holy convocation; you shall do no servile work…
Some of the Rabbins fantastically suppose that it was instituted in remembrance of the offering up of Isaac, or of deliverance from being offered, which conceit is idle and nothing at all to the purpose. Others imagine that it was appointed upon occasion of the wars that the Israelites had with the Amalekites and other nations under the conduct of God, to put them in remembrance that the whole life of man is nothing else but a continual warfare (Job 7:1; 2 Timothy 2:1). Of this feast we read (Leviticus 23:24). This was accounted as a Sabbath, an holy convocation, wherein they must do no servile work. Therein the trumpets sounded aloud, and the sound thereof was heard far and near.
1. Let us come to the uses hereof in regard of ourselves, which served of purpose to stir up the people to return unto God praise and thanksgiving with joyfulness of heart for all His benefits, according to that in the Psalms (Psalm 81:1, 2, 3). So David, having experience of God's good hand toward him in many preservations, composed Psalm 18, as a testimony of his thankfulness "for his deliverance from the hands of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul." So I should think that the cause of this feast was to be a feast of remembrance for His manifold mercies received in the wilderness, that thereby they might stir up themselves to be united in God. And the cause of the institution of this feast seemeth to be contrary to that which followeth, which is the feast of fasting. For as the Jews had a day to humble themselves by fasting, so they were also to have a day of rejoicing when they heard of those trumpets. And albeit we neither hear nor have these trumpets sounded in our ears to call us to the temple and place of His worship, yet ought we to praise His name cheerfully and readily with spiritual joy and gladness continually (Isaiah 35:2, 3, 10), with singing and thanksgiving (Isaiah 49:20, 21); for it is certain the faithful only have true cause to rejoice (Psalm 32:11; Psalm 33:1); the ungodly have no cause at all (Isaiah 48:20-22); but rather to weep and lament (Luke 6:25).
2. This warneth us of the preaching of the gospel concerning Christ the Saviour of the world, the Conqueror of all our enemies and of them that hate us (Isaiah 57:1; Zechariah 9:1.). For this was a warlike instrument (Numbers 6:31; Joshua 6.). God hath caused the doctrine of salvation to be sounded out into the world so that all have heard the sound of it (Psalm 19:4; Romans 10:18). Such a trumpet was John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, who was sent "to prepare the way of the Lord" (Mark 1:1, 2), and to call upon them to repent because the kingdom of God was at hand. And this commendeth to the ministers in the execution of their office, diligence, carefulness, continuance, cheerfulness, and zeal (1 Corinthians 9:17; 1 Peter 5:2).
3. As the ministers must be the Lord's trumpets, so indeed ought every faithful soul to be a trumpet. For when this feast was yearly observed, such as heard the trumpets were warned by it all the year after to stir up and awaken themselves, remembering that God doth call them as with a loud voice daily, that they should yield up themselves souls and bodies unto Him to worship and serve Him as He requireth. When this feast was celebrated, all the males were not commanded to repair to Jerusalem, as they were at the three more solemn feasts (Exodus 23:17), to wit, if they were free men and in health, able to go to the place of His worship (Deuteronomy 12:6; Deuteronomy 16:2). And hence it is that the Jewish doctors, out of that law of all males appearing before the Lord three times in the year, do exempt eleven sorts; and therefore they say that women and servants are not bound, but all men are bound, except the deaf and the dumb, and the fool, and the little child, and the blind, and the lame, and the uncircumcised, and the old man, and the sick, and the tender or weak which are not able to go and travel upon their feet; nevertheless, though the people were far from Jerusalem when this feast was holden, and that they could not resort thither daily to do sacrifice in the temple, yet they were to consider in their absence that sacrifices were offered there even in their behalf, and God was worshipped there in the behalf and name of all the tribes. True it is this figure is utterly abolished by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, howbeit this remaineth that we ourselves should serve for trumpets. For as the temple being destroyed we must be spiritual temples unto God; so the trumpets being taken away, every one of us must be spiritual trumpets, that is, we should rouse up ourselves, because we are naturally so wedded to the world and unto the vanities here below that it seldom cometh into our minds to think of God, of the gospel, of the kingdom of heaven. Our ears are so possessed with the sound of earthly things, and our eyes so dazzled with the pleasures of the flesh, that we are as deaf and blind men, that can neither hear nor see what God saith unto us. He calleth unto us daily, and maketh the gospel sound aloud in the midst of us that we might have the inward remorse of a good conscience, to repent us of all our evil ways, yet we, notwithstanding this summoning of us, do remain dull and deaf, and dumb and blind. Wherefore we must not look till there be a solemn holy day to call us unto the Church, there to keep a feast of trumpets, but it must serve us all the days of our life as a spur to cause us to return to God.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.