We want to give you a quick review from yesterday’s broadcast. The shofar is an ancient wind instrument made from the horn of a clean animal – originally made from the horn of a Ram. Today, many of the shofars are being made from other ‘clean’ animals. The most familiar one is from the antelope family, it’s the African Kudu.
The bible’s first mention of the word shofar is in Exodus 19:16 at the encounter between Yahweh and the Children of Yisrael.
There are over a hundred scripture references to shofar in the bible. There are even more scriptures that relate to shofars using words such as blowing, shouting, voice.
The sounding of the shofar is so important to YHWH that He dedicated one of His special appointed times exclusively to it – Yom Teruah, A Day of Blowing (Lev. 23: 24 and Num. 29:1) but why?
The shofar is the voice of Elohim the Almighty One. Hearing the sound of the shofar is having an encounter with the Lord Himself. Yahweh is speaking to us and instructing us or urging us to come or return to Him. It is the sound of urgency!
In scripture the shofar is not sounded idly. It always has a purpose and attitude and always precedes, accompanies or announces and important event that Yahweh is involved with either directly or indirectly.
Biblical Shofar Calls
The varying of the tones that can be made on a shofar, whether long or short and the sequence of them is in musical terminology a “call.” Throughout scripture we find several words that relate to specific calls that are made on a shofar.
Tekiah – a blast
The first biblical call and the easiest to make is the Tekiah, which, is a single tone blast usually of a short duration. It is typically blown as a bass note, and is a pure unbroken sound that should last for 3 to 5 seconds. Traditional Judaism teaches this call as a clear blast with a medium length in duration. Sounded for various purposes (New Moon Observance, Feast Days, Call to Assemble etc.)
The tekiah may additionally end with a short higher burst above the primary tone. Care must be taken when doing this so that it is not misinterpreted as another call.
Shevarim – Sound of Repentance
The second of the traditional shofar calls is the shevarim (meaning broken). The shevarim consists of six low-to-high blasts sounded as triplets (three primary notes). Three blasts each low-to-high pitch sounded like triplets, think of Shevarim as being three short Tekiahs without the short burst on the ends.
Teruah – Sound of Alarm
This call consists of rapid staccato (short) blasts of the primary tone. The Hebrew word, teruah, infers the mimicking of the verbal shout of war. (Leviticus25:9) Is typically played as a treble note and is a trill between two tekiah notes and consists of a series of eight or more rapid and short blasts, ending with an accented final tone – making a total of 9 notes.2
Tekiah Gedolah – Great Blast
The tekiah gedolah which means Great Blast is a single tone but is held for a long time. Often it is held for as long as the shofar player can hold it with one breath. This call is referred to as a long, sustained blast on the shofar. This was the call that signaled to Moses and the people of Israel to come to the base of Mt. Sinai to meet with Yahweh on the very first Shavuot (Exodus 19:13.) It was also the call sounded by the priests at the battle of Yericho (Joshua 6:5).
Yobel – Sounded on Yom Kipporim and to Announce the Beginning of the Year of Jubilee. This is the final shofar call and is the one used to announce the beginning of the Year of Yovel or Year of Jubilee. This call is not clearly defined and unfortunately Jewish historians do not agree on its sound.
Spiritual Warfare and the Blowing of the Shofar
One of the primary uses of the shofar is for warfare. It was used to signal the assembly of the troops, to warn of impending battle by the enemy, to signal the commencement of a battle and much more. The shofar is a weapon of war. Joshua used it under the direction of Yahweh to take down the city of Jericho. That was a physical battle but was accomplished using spiritual principles. Gideon’s battle was another example of the shofar being used in a spiritual way to defeat the enemy.
The shofar is an actual horn from a male animal. These horns are the natural weapon of the animal and they are attached to the front part of the animals head (the part near the brain – think of our mind as being the battleground of the enemy.) The horn represents the power of the animal – its physical strength. When male rams fight to be the dominant male of the herd, they fight with their horns which can weigh as much as forty pounds. The horn is used to do damage to the enemy. Sometimes the damage is to the enemy’s horn and other times the dominant male will gore its opponent or tear its flesh. The horns that are used to make shofars are a weapon of war and they still are.
Yahweh has shown us throughout his Word that He used the shofar to sound as He led the Yisraelites into battle. Many times the sound of the shofar confused and confounded the enemy causing them to run away.
Rabbi Shaul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:3 and 4
“that though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are mighty throughYahweh to the pulling down of strong holds.”
The blast from the shofar is Mighty through Yahweh to the pulling down of strongholds.
He again tells us in Ephesians 6:12:
“that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the wickedness in high places.”
These principalities and powers and rulers of wickedness are in the atmosphere, in high places. Blowing the shofar with intention and purpose in a biblical way will effect a change in the atmosphere. It brings the power of the Most High and His frequency to the scene and that will always bring about His will. The sounding of the shofar can be a powerful weapon of prayer and intercession.
Yahweh has shown throughout scripture that He sounds the shofar when He wars against:
- the inclinations of men
- the traditions of men
- the satanic realm
- the pagan rituals of worship
We can use the shofar when we enter into spiritual warfare. We can sound the shofar when we:
- see the enemy lining up for and attack – Sound the Alarm!
- when the enemy has attacked – Sound the Alarm and Summon the Presence of Yahweh
- to confuse, scatter, and drive away the enemy
- to proclaim Yahweh’s word over a situation
- a call to repentance
1 Cor 15:46
“Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.”
The principal of first in the natural and then the spiritual applies to spiritual warfare also. When we are being obedient to Yahweh and we do things in the natural, like the blowing of the shofar, it will cause things to happen in the spiritual realm. Remember the battles at Jericho and of Gideon in Midyan they blew as Yahweh instructed, Yahweh did His work and caused things to happen in the spiritual realm and on the earth and He brought about the victory. It may seem silly or foolish to blow a shofar when you are praying or intercessing about a situation but Yahweh uses the foolish things to confound the wise. We are certain that Gideon thought that the dog lapping men seemed odd. Or the jugs and shofars were really odd weapons of warfare but Yahweh designed the shofar and its sound and frequencies. We believe that the Creator of the Universe knows better than the rest of us.
Most often it is the men that learn to blow the shofar and the women and moms usually don’t. That is the way it was in our home too but then we realized that sometimes things happen when the men are at work or away. Our son is grown and lives out of state and is not available to blow the shofar if Avi is out of the house. This leaves it up to Posey and she didn’t know how to blow the shofar but is learning now. She is learning because the have been and will be again times when the enemy is moving in to attack and she is home alone – she will now be able to pick up the shofar and sound the alarm and call unto Yahweh for help. We think all women and moms should learn how to blow the shofar too.
The Sound of Repentance
Another weapon of our warfare using the shofar is the call to repentance and then once repentance or teshuvah has taken place to blow a proclamation declaring repentance over the people. This is a sound that seems to wail, full of sorrow or mourning in a calling those who will hear to repentance. It is as if it is the voice of the Almighty is crying out to His people beckoning them to repent and come close to Him.
“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a shofar, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”
What is Teshuvah? It comes from the Hebrew word, shoob (Strongs #H7725, which is a primitive root word meaning: to turn back, restore, repent, return, restore, refresh, etc.) It means so much more than just I am sorry for missing the mark. It is a turning from our own ways and a returning to Yah’s ways.
Joel 2:1 and 12 -13
“Blow the shofar in Tzion and sound an alarm in My holy mountain…Now therefore, says the Lord, Turn to Me (Teshuvah) with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and with mourning…Return to the Lord, your Elohim (Teshuvah)…”
“Come and let us return to the Lord (Teshuvah); For He has torn and He will heal us…”
“Thus says the Lord of Hosts, Return to Me (Teshuvah) and I will return to you…”
The theme of repentance is one that is common to the biblical Feast of Yom Teruah (Day of Blowing.) The Feast Day was declared by Yahweh to take place in the fall and it is the first feast of the fall season. It is a day of blowing the shofar but more importantly it is a day of hearing the shofar. To be obedient to the scriptural instructions for Yom Teruah one needs to blow the shofar – it is a day of blowing. But Jews and Torah believers both understand the principle of Shema.
“Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
The word HEAR is the Hebrew word gmw shema which means hear in the simplest sense. However, this word has a fuller meaning than to just hear it means: to hear with implication of obedience. It means to Hear and Obey – to Listen and Do.
James the Apostle knew Torah and he spoke Hebrew. He says in James 1:22
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
To listen only, does not fulfill the instruction. When Abba Yahweh gives us an instruction He expects for us to listen to Him and to take action upon what He has said. That is true obedience to hear and obey. It is honoring the Most High and fearing Him.
I am certain that Yahweh has many reasons for us to blow the shofar so many times on Yom Teruah. I believe that one of His reasons is so that we can listen to the sounds of the shofar and be ministered to by the Ruach ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) as He speaks into our lives and urges us to return to our Elohim so that we can be set apart as YHWH is set apart.
Use of a shofar in praise and worship to YHWH
Usher in the ark of the Lord (His Presence) – 2 Sam 6:12-15 & 1 Chron 15:28
Praise and Worship the Lord – Is 27:13, Psalm 47:1 (vs 1)
“O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph”
Shout in Hebrew is (H73210 ruh (roo ah) to split the ears with sound, shout for alarm or joy, to blow an alarm, cry (alarm, aloud, out), destroy, make a joyful noise, smart, shout for joy, sound an alarm, triumph.
Voice in Hebrew is kol same word used in the Garden (Gen ) and at Mt Sinai (Exodus 19: ) to call aloud, a voice or sound, noise, proclaim, proclamation, sing, sound, spark, thunder, thundering, voice, yell.
(vs 5) God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet
Shout in Hebrew is (H8643) Teruah (ter oo aw) meaning to: clamor, acclamation of joy or battle cry, especially clangor of trumpets, as an alarm, blowing of the trumpets, joy, jubilee, loud noise, rejoicing, shouting, high, joyful sound.
Sound in Hebrew is (H6963) kol meaning to: call aloud, a voice or sound, bleating, crackling, cry out fame, lightness, lowing noise, proclaim, proclamation, sing, sound, spark, thundering, voice, yell.
Trumpet in Hebrew is (H7782) shofar meaning in the original sense of incising, a cornet as giving a clear sound, curved horn, cornet, trumpet.
2 Ch 15:14 & 15
And they sware unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets (shofar).
And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about.
And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.
And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout (Teruah gadolah), when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:
So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.
Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing (Teruah).
And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.
Sing unto Him a new song, play skillfully with a loud noise (Teruah).
Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound(Teruah): they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.
With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.
Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding (Teruah): cymbals.
We find within scripture that shofars are symbolic of the Voice of Yahweh
Some of the ways that Shofars are used include:
- Calling the People to Assemble for worship / assembly
- An Instrument of Proclamation
- To Summon the Presence of Yahweh
- Sounding an Alarm
- As a Call to Repentance
- Proclaiming Repentance
- To Confuse, Drive away, Scatter the Enemy
- To Proclaim the Return of Messiah
Blow in Hebrew means to sound an alarm and proclaim a declaration for the supernatural provision and intervention of Yahweh!
Quality Shofars, Shofar Repair, etc:
Steve Berkson, Now Is The Time (shofar sales, repair, teaching, etc.)
Frank Ellis (shofar repair, teaching, etc.)
Phone: 336 – 978-4772
Audio Shofar Soundings:
Opening shofar sounding and the rams horn mournful wail:
Perry Ennis, author of the book, Prepare for the Coming of Messiah http://www.thelauruscompany.com/book/prepare-coming-messiah
Ending shofar sounding with example of Tekiah Gedolah:
Ben Davis of resTorah Ministries (Torah teacher and writer of a Torah commentary, also teaches about Banner & Pageantry, Praise & Worship, and Leadership Training, also provides Conference Direction/Event Planning. Please see website for more detailed information.)
Check out the Torah commentary that Ben is writing – very insightful. http://www.restorah.com/
For information about caring for and cleaning a shofar see the following article:
How to Care for and Clean a Shofar
 Blasts From the Past, Present and Future – Many Horns One Voice, by Rabbi Mark of Beth El Gibor, http://www.bethelgibor.org/RabbiMarkBlastsFromPastRoshHashanah2003.html
 Shofar by Mildred Bean, http://www.battleaxe.org/Shofar.html