Shofars are used in three basic Biblical ways:
- To call people to repentance and to prepare God's people for Spiritual cleansing.
- To confuse the enemy in times of warfare.
- To praise and worship God.
The blowing of the ram's horn is associated with the ushering in of the Biblical festivals of the Lord which Israel celebrated, in particular, those festivals that come during the fall season.
Shofar is the Hebrew word for a ram's horn, and it is connected with God's provision to Abraham of a ram sacrifice, in place of his own son, Isaac. This portion of scripture is read on Rosh HaShanah (literally: the head of the New Year biblically – the Feast of Trumpets).
A steer horn is never used, as that would be reminiscent of the golden
calf made by the children of Israel in the desert.
In the Bible, the blowing of the Shofar was first heard when God called Moses to the summit of Mt. Sinai to receive the tablets of the Law. And, it will be sounded at the end of days to usher the ingathering of the exiles of Israel into their land.
The sounding of the Shofar was blown to make proclamation:
- Symbolizing freedom and liberty
- Of the creation of the world
- As a reminder of the giving of the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai
- As a distinct sound to guarantee the chasing away of Satan and evil forces
In the Bible, the ram's horn was blown:
- At the coronation of a king
- As a call to the battle and war
- To induce fear in the enemy
- As a sound of victory
- For announcing and ushering in the weekly Sabbath and yearly festivals
Remember, the walls of Jericho gave way at the sounding of Shofar! In modern times, the blowing of the Shofar is connected with the Jewish month of Elul, a period of repentance. The ram's horn is sounded to inspire the people to amend their lives. On Rosh HaShanah, it is blown some 100 times, and on Yom Kippur, it is blown only once at the end of the 24-hour fast. In modern Israel, the Shofar is sounded every Friday afternoon as the Sabbath approaches.
Scriptural Significance for the Blowing of the Shofar:
- Catalyst of the fear of the Lord – Ex. 19:16, Ex. 20:18
- God hears & answers prayer – Ex. 19:19
- Reminder of taking rest – Lev. 23:24
- Command to the priests – Num. 10:8
- Essential in going to war – Num. 10:9, Num. 31:6
- Blown in offering sacrifice – Num. 10:10
- To be blown constantly in battle – Josh. 6:8-9
- Precedes the shout – Josh. 6:16; Josh 6:20
- Blown while on a Journey –- Judg. 3:27
- Evidence of the Spirit of the Lord coming upon you – Judg. 6:34
- Corporate blowing is powerful – Judg. 7:8, Judg. 7:20, Judg. 7:22
- Blown by leadership to get the attention of God's people – 1 Sam. 13:3
- To cease from warfare – 2 Sam. 2:28, 2 Sam. 18:16
- Blown during the installation and anointing of leadership – 1 Kings 1:34
- To accompany the dethroning of wicked leaders – 2 Kings 11:14
- Instrument used during great celebration – 1 Chr. 13:8
- God ascends in its blowing – Ps. 47:5
- Priestly Instrument of praise & worship – 2 Chr. 29:26, 2 Chr. 29:28, Ps. 150:3, Ps. 98:6; 2 Sam. 6:15, Is. 27:13
- A powerful catalyst to bring the Glory of God – 2 Chr. 5:13
- To sound when being attacked – 2 Chr. 13:14
- Blown when building – Ezra. 3:10
- The alarm of war – Jer. 4:19
- Rallies the people for battle – Neh. 4:20
- It arouses God for battle – Job. 39:24-25
- Prophetic warning for God's people – Ezek. 33:3-4
- Blown as a standard is being raised – Is. 18:3
- Blown in fleeing for safety – Jer. 6:1
- A sound for the watchman – Jer. 6:17
- The rebellious refuse its warning – Jer. 42:13-14
- Heralds the Day of the Lord – Joel. 2:1
- Consecrating a fast – Joel 2:15
- God Himself blows it! – Zech. 9:14
- Gives commands to angelic hosts – Matt. 24:31
- Blown by angelic hosts – Rev. 8:6
- When blown the dead will be raised – 1 Cor. 15:52
- The Lord descends in its sound – 1 Thes. 4:16
- Sounds like the voice of God – Rev. 1:10; Rev. 4:1