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The Sabbath Trumpet

June 14th, 2013 by Oleg Kostyuk

“Sabbath is a sanctuary in time,” wrote Abraham Joshua Heschel in his The Sabbath. “The seventh day is like a palace in time with a kingdom for all.” But, what is the meaning of the Sabbath today? Is it just another day? Or is it a day off from work when some can enjoy fellowship with family and close friends? The purpose of the Sabbath is so much more. The Sabbath reminds us whom to praise. It is the time when we can leave all our distractions aside and enjoy union with God.

Every week in Jerusalem the Sabbath is welcomed by the sounding of the siren. Shops close, public transportation stops and by 3:00 PM on Friday the Jewish quarter is seemingly falling asleep. Only the Western Wall plaza, or the Wailing Wall, like a magnet draws religious and non-religious people to it. It is believed that this is the closest you can get to the place where God used to dwell. And this is the perfect place to meet with God when you receive the Sabbath…

Not very many things have changed in 2000 years. Archaeologists found a stone that was thrown down from the Temple Mount, perhaps in 70 AD, when Romans destroyed the Temple. A fascinating inscription was discovered on the stone, it says, “to the place of trumpeting to”. 

The Place of the Trumpeter

The Place of the Trumpeter

In the first century, this stone probably marked the place at the top of the southwest corner of the Temple Mount – where the trumpeter announced the inauguration and the close of the Sabbath. According to Jewish tradition there were two blows of the trumpeter, the first blow was for the field workers and the second one was for the shop keepers. Thence, the description on the stone may mean that this is the very place where the trumpeter would blow the trumpet and all Jerusalemites would welcome the Sabbath.

The Trumpeter

The Trumpeter

It was also the highest point of the Temple Mount. Well, does this ring a bell? After Jesus was baptized, he was led in the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Jesus’ second temptation took place in the Temple. “The devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: “He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”(Matthew 4:5-6) It is very probable that Jesus was set by the devil at this very point, and it was overlooking the most populated part of the city.

Jerusalem in the First Century

Jerusalem in the First Century

Jesus’ response was pretty straightforward, he said, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.” (Matthew 4:7) The Scripture was the sword against the attacks of the adversary.

Today, your beliefs that the seventh day, Saturday, is the Holy Day may be questioned. But, let your answer be also grounded in the Scripture, for it is written: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:8–11)

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