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Trumpets, Trumpets Everywhere

The reverberating echo of a distant trumpet stirs deep emotions and moves us to conviction and action. What does the Bible say about this instrument?

by Randy Stiver

Think of the Star Wars trumpet fanfares composed by John Williams. Listen in your mind to morning reveille's rousing notes or evening taps' plaintive cry drifting down upon your ears.

trumpetGod loves the sound of trumpets too.

Long ago God ordered trumpets blown to coordinate the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Like more modern armies, trumpets directed and motivated the Israelite army in battle. He had His priest sound trumpets to announce religious events and ceremonies around His temple in ancient Israel.

With danger or great events on the line, you've got to have trumpets. Years ago a comedian imagined an army marching to a guitar: " they come on the run. Strummm...hurry up and get your gun. Strummm." Doesn't work, does it?

Horn horns and metal

God likes trumpets, all kinds of trumpets made of metal or even horn. The earliest trumpet of the Bible was made from the horn of a ram or a bull and was called in Hebrew the shofar. As a simple horn, the shofar played no variety of notes, but yielded a rich, haunting resonance or blast that could be heard over great distances. A signal horn to alert the locals in time of war, it was also a trumpet of celebration and praise toward God.

Metal trumpets, not unlike those used to play fanfares for Olympic Games ceremonies, served many purposes (see Numbers 10:1-10). The Bible first talks about a pair of silver trumpets used during the Exodus and later in the Promised Land. Metal trumpets produced a more piercing and musical sound than the shofar.

In the priesthood of ancient Israel the number of trumpets grew to 120, accompanying the great choir and orchestra for religious musical performances at God's temple in Jerusalem (see 2 Chronicles 5:12-14).

A festival made for trumpets

Extra trumpets were sounded longer and louder to herald the seven festivals or Holy Days that God gave His people —and ultimately all people, everywhere—to worship Him. The most trumpet-related of those annual Holy Days comes in the autumn in the northern hemisphere.

This Christian festival is called the Feast of Trumpets and, incidentally, corresponds to the Jewish New Year. God specifically designed it to be "a memorial of blowing of trumpets" (Leviticus 23:24). The Hebrew for "blowing of trumpets" is teruah, which denotes the alarm blast of the shofar.

Each of God's annual festivals illustrates something of His plan for man historically or prophetically. This one heralds the second coming of Jesus Christ. Every year these holy festivals let true believers relive history, past and future.

Truth beats fiction to a pulp

Anticipating the return of Christ and the prophecies preceding it, the Feast of Trumpets features trumpet-blowing angels—seven of them. These angelic trumpets herald one earthshaking event after the other in the countdown to the Kingdom of God on earth.

The trumpet angels are described in Revelation, the last book in the Bible. Revelation reads like a dynamite combination of awe-inspiring but terrifying science fiction and an edge-of-your-seat techno-thriller. Truth beats fiction to a pulp.

Seven angels, seven trumpets

After Jesus speaks, a host angel escorts John through the spiritual-virtual reality of the end of this evil world and the beginning of a new and incredible world tomorrow.

John lived before books had pages. The book of Revelation was a scroll—one long page rolled up and locked in its case, sealed so that only Christ was authorized to open it.

Seven seals sealed the scroll. The first four are also known as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—religious deception, war, famine and pestilence (see Revelation 6). Apocalypse is the Greek word for revelation.

The fifth seal is the Great Tribulation, a short but devastating time of trouble during which humanity will be threatened with extinction and the true followers of Jesus Christ persecuted (Matthew 24:21-24; Revelation 6:9-11). The sixth seal signals the start of the great Day of the Lord, a time of divine intervention and retribution toward those who persecuted God's people. When this seal opens there are terrifying signs in the day and night skies—perhaps meteors and asteroids striking earth. It's scarier than science fiction because it's science fact.

The trumpets are coming! The opening of the seventh seal reveals seven trumpets: "And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets" (Revelation 8:2).

When each phenomenally powerful angelic being sounds his trumpet, cataclysmic environmental and battle devastations rock the planet and whoever is still alive (see Revelation 8 and 9).

The seventh trumpet and hope

Stop and consider. In movies this imagery is all smoke, mirrors and computer-generated graphics—only make believe. Not so in Revelation. This drama is real—to be believed.

Now comes the seventh trumpet of the seventh seal, the greatest trumpet of all the trumpets everywhere (see Revelation 11:15)! When the seventh angel blows his trumpet, the world has hope again. In the trumpet countdown to Christ's return, this is the final horn blown, so it is the "last trumpet" (1 Corinthians 15:52). Here's what happens when the events anticipated by the Feast of Trumpets unfold:

1. Jesus Christ returns to earth.

2.His true believers are resurrected (changed from physical to spiritual).

3.The nations or kingdoms of this world become Christ's kingdoms.

4.With the seventh trumpet's seven final judgments, Christ neutralizes the rebellious armies who resist Him (see Revelation 16).

5.The Kingdom of God on earth begins with divinely installed peace among men.

There are more details found in the prophecies. To learn about them, request or download your free copy of The Book of Revelation Unveiled.

You and God's trumpets

Where do you fit? Did you notice the subtheme of the faithful and true believers? Only the few in this age understand the significance of God's annual Feast of Trumpets. The rest of mankind will understand later.

There will be trumpets, trumpets everywhere, but for those who know God's truth and choose to follow the true Jesus Christ of the Bible, their sound will in the end be very sweet. VT

About the Author
Randy Stiver is the pastor of United Church of God congregations in Columbus and Cambridge, Ohio, and is a regular guest on the Beyond Today television program. Comments or Questions
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