By way of introduction, there are seven annual holy festivals listed in Leviticus 23. They are given just as much weight as the weekly Sabbath. They’re all in the same chapter in Leviticus. The first one is the Passover, originally linked to freeing Israel from Egypt, but Jesus observed that day with His disciples the night before He died. And He said it was linked to His death. It was now a picture of His death. In fact, it always has been, really. That’s why John, when he saw Him coming, said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” He was the sacrifice.
The second one is Unleavened Bread. Jesus talked about leaven as a symbol for sin and, in 1 Corinthians, Paul told the entire church to observe the Days of Unleavened Bread with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. That festival is now linked to our new life in Jesus Christ – set free – freedom, not from Egypt, but from sin. You see the connection there.
The third one that we’ve already talked about is Pentecost. That was originally linked to the giving of the law and the spring harvest in Israel. Now it’s linked to the founding of the New Testament church, when God’s real harvest started to get planted and to the giving of the Holy Spirit. How do we know that? Well, because these two things both happened on Pentecost. That’s absolutely beyond totally irrefutable. That day is connected to those two New Testament meanings.
So now we come to the next festival and that’s today – the fourth one – the Feast of Trumpets. Let’s look at some scriptures in the Old Testament. Let’s go to Leviticus 23, where all the holy days and the Sabbath are mentioned in one chapter. In [Leviticus] 23:23, it says:
Leviticus 23:23 – The LORD spoke to Moses saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest.’” Now, don’t let that seventh month and first day of the seventh month get by, because that’s important. It really isn’t important when Saint Patrick’s Day falls, or Halloween, or any of that stuff, but all of God’s days are placed on His calendar in a specific place for a specific reason. And that teaches us something. So, first day, seventh month “‘you shall observe a day of solemn rest’” – so it was a Sabbath – a rest day – “‘a memorial proclaimed with blasting of trumpets – a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work and you shall present a food offering to the LORD.’” Did you catch anywhere in there where it told what it was for? It says that it’s a memorial, but it doesn’t say what it’s a memorial of, right?
Let’s try in Numbers 29. Maybe that will help us.
Numbers 29:1 – On the first day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do ordinary work. It is a day for you to blow trumpets. Same thing.
So it doesn’t say what the celebration is. So what can we make of that? It’s kind of a day of mystery, in a way, isn’t it? We can read that it’s the first day of the sacred year. Tishri was the first month of the sacred calendar – started in the fall. So their religious year started on the first day of seventh. So that was probably a good reason to celebrate, though it doesn’t specifically say that is what it is for. It was also – since all the months started on a new moon – it was the celebration of the beginning of the month, which they marked by blowing trumpets – every month. I believe they blew the silver trumpets that were for kingly events. But it was to mark the beginning of time – or to keep time. And all their months started with the new moon. It was a lunar calendar.
I want to take a look, for a minute, at the word trumpet. There were two kinds of trumpets. One was, as I mentioned, a kingly silver trumpet for special events, especially those related to royalty. And the second one was called a shofar. That was a ram’s horn that was used as an alarm for some kind of trouble – impending war, probably calling people together because of a catastrophe – those kinds of things. They were both blown on this day. And it says to blow the trumpet. The word there – I have a hard time pronouncing this, because the emphasis is on the last syllable and we don’t usually emphasize too many words that way – but it’s teruah. How did Leroy say that? He had it down. But that means a shout or blast of war, an alarm – or it could be of joy. In the Bible it’s translated shout eleven times, shouting eight times, alarm six times, sound three times, blowing twice and joy twice. So it had a somewhat indistinct meaning – or diffuse meaning. It was an alarm, a signal, a sound of tempest, a shout or blast of war, or alarm or shout for joy. So they define that – Strong’s does – with four definitions: alarm of war – war cry battle; the second one is blast – like for a march, where you blast on the trumpet; then the third one was a shout for joy with a religious impulse; and one is just a shout for joy in general, because a person is happy. So that was a part of the blowing of trumpets. It wasn’t just a trumpet blast. There was this Hebrew term associated with it that we don’t really have a word for in English.
Let’s go to Joshua 6, and verse 2, and notice something.
Joshua 6:2 – The LORD said to Joshua – in chapter 6, verse 2 – “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city – all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day, you shall march around the city seven times – not just once – seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn – the word is shofar – and you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout and the wall of the city will fall down flat. The people shall go up every one straight before him. Can you imagine what that shout sounded like when they blew those trumpets and they gave a great shout and the walls fell down? Or maybe it would have been even a bigger shout if the walls fell down and then they shouted. But it was probably quite an event.
I read somewhere that they have found the site and the walls had all fallen down outward. I read that in some article, but I don’t remember where that was.
Let’s go to Jewish writings and see if we can learn any more. What they say is what we’ve already said, really. It’s the beginning of the month, so that was always celebrated. It’s also the beginning of a new religious year. And it’s also getting ready for the Feast of Tabernacles. You know this is the first fall holy day. And so we’re all primed up and we’ve got ten days until the Feast of Tabernacles, right? Ten days till Atonement. It’s not Sabbath, is it? So, they kind of say, “Well, all of us, who’ve been keeping this day for a long time, know that that’s what happens.” You get revved up for the holy days when you come to your first Trumpets service on the first fall holy day.
Let’s take a look in the New Testament now. Well, let me summarize first. What we learned out of the Old Testament was: they would shout or blast a ram’s horn as an alarm for war, or joy, or victory, or whatever; it was a new religious year; a new moon – the first of the month; it was the first day of the seventh month; it was preparation for the fall harvest festival; and it was a day of mystery, because God kind of left it to them to fill in the blanks on that one.
So, thinking about those things, let’s look in 1 Thessalonians 4:13. It’s interesting. He said:
1 Thessalonians 4:13 – But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers. Oh, so this is some information for us. We’re going to be informed. I do not want you to be uninformed, that you may not grieve as others, who have no hope.
I had a young mother in my office last week. I think she’s in her late twenties. She has a seventeen-month-old. She has a lot of anxiety. One of the things she has anxiety about is death. She said, “The thought of dying and not being with my baby is just almost more than I can bear.” She wants to study the Bible and religion, but she’s intimidated by the size of the book. She doesn’t have any church to go to where she can get information. She just feels kind of alone and adrift. And I thought of this scripture when I thought of her.
V-13 – I don’t want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others, who have no hope – who don’t know the plan.
Now, that word sleep is interesting, isn’t it? For explaining this to people who are not familiar with the Bible, they don’t think about death as a sleep at all. They think about it as an instant of unconsciousness and then being wafted off to some place. I just watched the movie, The Hereafter, the other day, where it’s about all these – well, two people – that had near-death experiences. It was kind of a fun movie to watch, but totally fictional – totally fictional. He says in verse 14:
V-14 – For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. So he uses the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ to explain to us what is going to happen. Do we understand that? It’s pretty interesting, isn’t it? Did Jesus go to heaven after He died? He did not. He stayed in the grave for three days and three nights and then He was resurrected. And that’s the model.
V-15 – For we declare to you, by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive – who are left until the coming of the Lord – will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command – do you think that could be a shout? – with the voice of an archangel and with sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. So there’s two things in that verse: The Lord Himself will descend from heaven – and that’s the return of Jesus Christ to this earth – and the dead in Christ will rise first – when they hear the sound of the trumpet, they will come up out of the graves.
V-17 – Then we, who are alive – who are left – those of us who haven’t died yet, but are living when that event occurs – will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. And where will He be? Here, right? Therefore, encourage one another with these words.
The Lord Himself is going to descend from heaven with a shout – a cry of command – and with a trumpet sound. And there will be a resurrection of the saints – the Bible calls them the people who have the Holy Spirit and who have surrendered themselves to Jesus Christ and become His bondslaves. They will be given eternal life in the Kingdom of God. And they’ll always be with God. It’s a new beginning for them. Interesting, isn’t it? It’s a time when all God’s work begins to reap huge benefits. It was just entering the harvest season, right? And coming to the time when we picture the great fall harvest in ancient Israel. This is a time, in the future, when all God’s work is going to begin to reap huge numbers of people into His family. From the time that trumpet sounds until the new heaven and the new earth, a thousand years later, billions of people are going to be granted eternal life in the Kingdom of God – whereas, from the time of Adam, until He returns, not very many – not anybody, actually, except Him. So God is a God – what do you call it when you delay satisfaction? There are some people that have to have satisfaction immediately or they’re not going to work – like little kids. But God is willing to put off reward in order to get a greater reward later. And He’s been working, working, working, working. And when Christ returns, things are really going to start to yield huge benefits for His plan.
At Trumpets we look forward to the fall festivals. And they picture God’s harvest – just like in ancient Israel, they pictured the harvest of grain and fruit. But we’re still looking at the linkages between the New Testament and the Old. Okay? And I want you to turn with me to Revelation 10:5.
Revelation 10:5 – And the angel, whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land, raised his right hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created the heaven and what is in it – who would that be? Well, that would be Jesus Christ, wouldn’t it? – and the earth, and what’s it in, and the sea, and what’s in it, that there would be no more delay. That delay has been ongoing for quite some time. Paul thought that he was going to be alive when Christ came back. In 1975, so did I. I’m not so sure now. But there is going to come a time when an angel is going to say, “Okay, the waiting is over! It’s time now!” And we know that nobody knows that time. So that’s another mysterious thing about this day, right? Jesus said that not even the angels in heaven, nor He, knows the hour or the day, but God the Father only. So no more delay. But in the days of the trumpet call, to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as He announced it to His servants, the prophets. How interesting that God made a mysterious day to represent this time in the Old Testament – the day shrouded in mystery – the day that pictures the time that nobody knows but God the Father. It’s interesting, isn’t it?
Let’s look in Revelation 11, and verse 15.
Revelation 11:15 – Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet – oh, no more delay…it’s happening now, right? – and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of the world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. And He shall reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshipped God, saying, “We give thanks to You, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for You have taken Your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but Your wrath came, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and rewarding Your servants the prophets and saints, and those who fear Your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth. You know, what goes around comes around.
So there’s this amazing response in heaven to the blast of the seventh trumpet. So the seventh angel sounds the seventh trumpet. And that heralded the return of Christ. Do you recall that the Feast of Trumpets is on the first of the month? And what month was it? And what did they do on the beginning of every month? Blew a trumpet. And so that was the seventh trumpet of the year – on the Feast of Trumpets. How much rocket science do you have to know to understand what the day means? It’s pretty interesting. Each new moon, they blew a trumpet to mark it. So today is the day they would blow the seventh trumpet of the year. When did the walls of Jericho fall flat? After walking around it for seven days and seven trumpets being blasted. And what did God say to Joshua? “See, I have given the city of Jericho into your hand.” And Joshua said, “Huh? Those walls look pretty high to me,” because they hadn’t marched and the trumpet hadn’t sounded yet. But to God’s way of thinking, it was a done deal – even though it hadn’t happened yet. It was as good as done. And that’s exactly what happened when the seventh trumpet was blown. Nothing had happened yet, but it said, “The kingdoms have become the Kingdom of God,” but nothing had happened. In fact, it doesn’t really happen until nine chapters later in the book of Revelation, that Christ fights the battle of Armageddon. We read it today. That reminds me – this is sort of a twisted thing – but it reminds me of a TV show I saw back in the 70s, where a guy was in a grocery store, and there was a guy in front of him in line, who was hassling the cashier about something. He was getting irate. And there was an older fellow, who was a security guard, who obviously was not very well trained and not as alert as he needed to be, and he got frightened and pulled out his revolver, and he shot at the guy and hit the one that was innocent behind him, who was standing watching this whole thing. He fell down and the other guy ran off. The store manager got down beside the man who was wounded, and he said, “Are you all right?” And the guy said, “I’m not sure if I’m going to make it or not, but I do know one thing. I now own this store.” And that kind of conveys the sense of what is meant here, when God says, “See, I have given the city of Jericho into your hand. You don’t have it yet, but don’t worry. It’s coming.”
So there are so many subtle similarities in the story about this day. And then, let’s look in Revelation 19. We could read the whole chapter, but we don’t have time to do that here, so I’m just going to read you the best part.
Revelation 19:11 – Then I saw heaven open – verse 11, Revelation 19 – and behold, a white horse. The One sitting on it is called Faithful and True. In righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems. And He has a name written that no one knows but Himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood. And the name by which He is called is The Word of God. Well, we know whose name that is, right? And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen – white and pure – were following Him on white horses. And from His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. And He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress with the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written – King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
So what immediately happens is a series of horrific events that culminate in this – in the return of Jesus Christ – where He fights a battle against all the nations that are against Him. And He destroys those who would destroy the earth. And when the smoke settles, we see a number of things have occurred. One is that Satan has been restrained. Another is that Jesus Christ has established a literal kingdom here on the earth. And there begins, at that point, a thousand years headed toward peace and prosperity – a thousand years of God’s society – a thousand years where there won’t have to be any evangelism, because everybody will know God, from the least to the greatest. What a fantastic picture that is for us!
Let’s think a little bit more about what that day means for us – maybe a summary. At the end of Revelation, after John saw all these things that God showed him, he prayed that three word prayer. He said, “Come, Lord Jesus!” This is that day. This is that coming. This is the answer to that prayer. It is the pivotal day in the plan of God for us. It’s the Kingdom of God finally being established on earth, where Satan is restrained and people kind of start getting back to the way it was in the Garden, where things are going to be restored. Did you realize that? We started out in paradise and that is gradually going to be restored to the earth again. Maybe not in quite the same way, but that’s coming. And God is going to have a huge harvest of people during that period and at the end of it. And it’s going to be life forever in the family of God for those of us that don’t give up – that hang in there, that continue on.
There are people – I don’t want to be negative, but it’s instructive – who criticize us for believing the Feast of Trumpets has a Christian meaning without a definitive example of Christ or the church keeping the day. I’m not worried about that, because there are definitive examples for all the others. And they still don’t change. But they pick on this day to show that there is a weakness in the scheme. And yet those same people believe that the Kingdom of God, in Revelation, is not really going to happen – that it’s just a metaphor for the church, which is to do God’s work in the world, and save people, and be the Kingdom of God. Christ isn’t really coming back to establish a government. And they tell us that they want biblical evidence for what we believe, but require none for what they believe.
The Bible is not a metaphor, but it’s full of them. It’s full of them. God speaks to us in pictures, in symbols, in metaphors. And this day, from the Old Testament to the New, with its symbol of a seventh trumpet, is a reminder – it’s a metaphor – that points to a reality. And that reality is Jesus Christ coming to this earth. It’s to point to that furious, corrective intervention, where Christ returns to this earth with all His saints, and begins to solve all the problems. This is Christ’s day! And if that hope burns bright in you, then this is your day, too!