Revelation 12:1 - Yom Teruah

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Yom Teruah, The Feast of Trumpets, 5760, falls on Shabbat (Sabbath). This means that if the Temple is standing, or the altar is built, then we will be offering the following korbanot (sacrifices):

The Morning sacrifice.
The Shabbat (Sabbath) sacrifices.
The Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) sacrifices.
The Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) festival sacrifices.
The Evening sacrifice.

On this day, and this day alone is it possible to offer all of these sacrifices!

Yom Teruah is the only festival that no man knows the day or the hour in which it begins. This is due to the fact that it begins on Rosh Chodesh (The New Moon). The new moon was sanctified when two witnesses see the new moon and attest to it before the Beit Din Gadole (Sanhedrin) in the Temple. This sanctification could happen during either of two days, depending on when the witnesses come. Since no one knew when the witnesses would come, no one knew when the Feast of Trumpets would start.

So, what does this sign mean? I think that it is important to note that the emphasis is on the woman, not on the man child. The sign seems to be telling us what the woman is going to do. The obvious question, then, is: Who is the woman?

For at least 2000 years, Jews have been reading special Torah readings with an accompanying reading from the Prophets called the Haftorah. The Torah Reading which is read when Rosh Chodesh (the new moon) falls on Shabbat (Sabbath) is Bamidbar (Bamidbar (Numbers)) 28:9-15. The Haftorah is:

Yeshayah (Isaiah) 66:1-24 This is what Ha-Shem says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares Ha-Shem. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word. But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb, like one who breaks a dog's neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig's blood, and whoever burns memorial incense, like one who worships an idol. They have chosen their own ways, and their souls delight in their abominations; So I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring upon them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me." Hear the word of Ha-Shem, you who tremble at his word: "Your brothers who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, 'Let Ha-Shem be glorified, that we may see your joy!' Yet they will be put to shame. Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of Ha-Shem repaying his enemies all they deserve. "Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says Ha-Shem. "Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?" says your God. "Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her. For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance." For this is what Ha-Shem says: "I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem." When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of Ha-Shem will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes. See, Ha-Shem is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire and with his sword Ha-Shem will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by Ha-Shem. "Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the midst of those who eat the flesh of pigs and rats and other abominable things--they will meet their end together," declares Ha-Shem. "And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory. "I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations--to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. And they will bring all your brothers, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to Ha-Shem--on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels," says Ha-Shem. "They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of Ha-Shem in ceremonially clean vessels. And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites," says Ha-Shem. "As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me," declares Ha-Shem, "so will your name and descendants endure. From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me," says Ha-Shem. "And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind."

From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me," says Ha-Shem.[3]

This passage from Yeshayah (Isaiah) 66, seems to be the closest match, in all of the Scriptures, to our passage in Revelation 12. I think that it is more than a coincidence that Ha-Shem (Ha-Shem is a Hebrew word meaning "The Name", it is how pious Jews refer to the yod-hay-vav-hay, the tetragrammaton, Name of God) chose this reading from the Prophets to be read specifically when Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbat; as it will on Yom Teruah 5760 (September 12, 1999). Ha-Shem, obviously, chose the readings so that His people would be informed before He takes any action. For those who are doing the right things, at the right time, and in the right way, this event will be no surprise. As the people finish reading the Torah portion, the Haftorah portion, and the readings from the Tehillim (Psalms), they will all be standing outside, looking at the moon as they recite the following blessing:

Kiddush Levanah (The Blessing Over the New Moon):

Blessed are You, HaShem our God, King of the universe whose word created the heavens, whose breath created all that they contain. Statutes and seasons He set for them, that they should not deviate from their assigned task. Happily, gladly they do the will of their Creator, whose work is dependable. To the moon He spoke: renew yourself, crown of glory for those who were borne in the womb, who also are destined to be renewed and to extol their Creator for His glorious sovereignty. Blessed are You, Lord who renews the months.

David, King of Israel, lives and endures.

The worshippers will then exchange these greetings:

Shalom Alechem (peace be with you!)
Alekhem shalom (peace be unto you!)