You have probably heard the word Shofar, and most Christians could correctly identify it as the trumpet made from the horn of a ram. Would it surprise you to know it is much more than that? Would you like to join me as we investigate the Ancient Prophetic text known as the Torah in order to discover the mystery that God wants to reveal to us that is found in the word Shofar?
Can you guess where the four letter word Shofar first appears in this Ancient Prophetic text?
If you guessed the book of Exodus you would be right. There we find God descending onto Mount Sinai and meeting with Moses who is the leader of the nation of Israel. Moses himself writes of this encounter in Exodus chapter 19:16:
And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet (the shofar) exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
Here the “voice of the trumpet,” the shofar, is literally the voice of God announcing His presence. The writer of the book of Hebrews describes to us the reaction of Moses in chapter 12 verse 21:
And so terrible was the sight, Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake.
The four letters in the Hebrew word shofar are Sheen ~ Vav ~ Pey ~ Reysh. Let’s discover the hidden meaning in these letters that lies just beneath the surface.
This is the one letter that can stand for God Almighty and is the one letter He can use to identify Himself; it is God's signature and also means sharp, or
to consume, or to destroy, or teeth.
This is the letter that means to join together or to secure two things separated from one another, a wooden peg, or an iron nail.
This means to speak or to open, or mouth
This is a person, the head, leader, the master or the prince.
So the first mystery we discover in the letters Sheen ~ Vav ~ Pey ~ Reysh is that Almighty God is identifying Himself and was connecting Himself to Moses so that He could speak with him. God’s holy presence announced by the voice of the Shofar was so terrible Moses was filled with fear. But can you guess there is something else in these letters that tells us Moses never had anything to dread?
The Vav connects what is on the right to what is on the left of it in the word Shofar. We have already seen that the letter Sheen tells us God Almighty has identified Himself on one side, but what is on the other? The letters Pey Reysh make a word originally found in the first book of the Torah in Genesis 12:16 and is translated “ox.” In Judges 6:26 it is the word used for the “bullock” Gideon offers on the altar to God as a sacrifice for sin.
This is the amazing mystery. The very God whose presence fills us with terror because of the vast divide between His holiness and our sinfulness is the same God who connects to us and provides the sacrifice that atones for that sinfulness.
The writer of Hebrews, who may have been Rabbi Paul, adds even more understanding in Chapter 9 verses 13 and 14 where he shows us this points to the ultimate sacrifice:
For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctified to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
This passage reminds us that the bullock God provided was only a type of the ultimate and perfect sacrifice He would bring us in the death of Yeshua Ha-Mashiach.
The Torah in Genesis 22:8 provides another example of God’s goodness to us. As Abraham and his son Isaac ascend Mount Moriah to make a sacrifice to God we read:
And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
This same chapter in God’s Ancient Prophetic scriptures shows us something truly amazing in verse 13 and 14:
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked,, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that pace Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.
What enabled them to sacrifice a ram instead of Isaac in this test of Abraham’s faith in God? The ram God provided was caught by its horn: the very thing used to make the Shofar which announces the presence of God when it is sounded, and in which the letters tell us God Almighty is connected to that sacrifice given for our benefit.
The numbers that each of the four letters represents complete the mystery for us. The letter Sheen, the number 300, signifies the final blood sacrifice made by the perfect Lamb of God. Vav, the number 6 signifies the weakness of man and our enmity with God. Pey, the number 80 (10×8) stands for a new beginning or a new birth that has been ordained in heaven. Reysh, the number 200 reminds us of the insufficiency of man compared to the sufficiency of God.
So when we put this mystery of the shofar all together we learn this: God Almighty wants to meet and talk with you! To enable this He not only provided a sacrifice for you but He provided the perfect Lamb of God, Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, which was always necessary because of your enmity with Him, and by this sacrifice He gave you the new birth ordained in heaven, something you were unable and insufficient to do for yourself, but which He was more than able and willing to do. When you next hear the sound of the Shofar remember it brings us truly good news.
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