Trumpets are often mentioned in the Bible: Trumpets of War, Trumpets of Assembly, and the Last Trump. Do any relate to this Holy Day?
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Daily Radio Program
by Ronald L. Dart
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Ronald L. Dart: The Feast of Trumpets is an anomaly among the holy days. When it was instituted, it had no obvious meaning.
The Passover is a holy day firmly rooted in history. There is a historical event about which the Passover is formed. Actually two historical events for Christians. First was the death of the firstborn and the exodus out of Egypt, and the other of course was the last supper, when Jesus spent the time with the disciples and it of course commemorates the death of our savior till he comes.
The Days of Unleavened Bread also firmly rooted in history. They had to do with the Exodus and the fact that they had to take the unleavened dough, they didn't have time to wait for it. And during that period of time they ate unleavened bread and so Israel was to eat unleavened bread throughout all their generations and all their habitations for seven days in memorial of that. And as Christians we have come to understand that there is a deeper significance even for us in that.
Pentecost is a harvest festival and it comes at the end of seven weeks of harvest when you have worked six days and rested the seventh, worked six days and rested the seventh, and then finally you come to the fiftieth day which is Pentecost and it was a special day which again was a harvest festival.
The Day of Atonement once again is a service with great significance and very much rooted in salvation history as the people were to fast during that day. You know all these holy days have something that you have to do in connection with them. And the people fasted on that day and the high priest made offerings and atonements for the people.
Then of course the Feast of Tabernacles everyone was to make the pilgrimage and they camped out and, lived in booths for seven days and they were present at the place where God had placed his name. It commemorated also the exodus and the fact that Israel lived in booths for 40 years on their way from Egypt to the promised land.
The Feast of Trumpets is different. Turn to Lev. 23:23, "The Lord spoke to Moses saying, speak to the children of Israel saying, in the in the seventh month, in the first day of the month shall you have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets and a holy convocation. You shall do no servile work therein, but you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. And the Lord spoke to Moses saying on the tenth day of the seventh month." Whoops! We're out of Trumpets. Notice there is nothing for you to do other than simply to have a Sabbath on that day, you abstain from work. There is no fasting - there is no traveling - there is an assembly - there are offerings, but there are offerings on all of the holy days. In other words you do the same thing on this holy day as on most of them.
The only thing that is different is the blowing of trumpets, and even the blowing of trumpets was limited to a few people. The only people that could do it were the sons of Aaron in the ceremonial sense of this holy day. But it has no particular meaning attached to it, there is nothing specified. It doesn't say "You're going to have a memorial of blowing trumpets because we blew trumpets at such and such a time or in such and such a situation" or "all you people are to blow trumpets or all of you people are to do this." There is nothing, it's just a Sabbath, it's a holy day, it's commanded, it's a memorial.
A memorial? Of what? Memorials are when we commemorate something, it's when there is an event, a place in history upon which this thing is focused. And yet you will study through the Old Testament and you will find I think four places where the feast, this first day of the seventh month is mentioned. And that's all. It does not seem to be a significant point in history. We have this occasion here in Lev. 23:23.
In Num. 29:1 it is in the middle of a discussion, it goes all the way through two chapters of what the offerings are to be made on each of the holy days. You offer so many lambs and so many rams and all the sin offerings and burnt offerings, and they are specified. All it says in Num. 29:1 is that on the first day of the seventh month you are to offer a particular set of offerings which is just like you offer on nearly every other holy day throughout the year.
The next place is Ezra 3:6. It mentions the first day of the seventh month, but all it tells you of is that this is the date when they began to make offerings again in Jerusalem at the temple after a long hiatus, there is no particular historical connection to it, and this is very late in their history. And it's just a date, and something happened on that date and they began.
The fourth case is Neh. 8:2. What they did on that day. It was a day of new beginnings - all it tells you is that they all gathered together and they stood up and they read out of the law and they commemorated it as a holy day and moved quickly into the observance of a great Feast of Tabernacles, and that is that. It is a memorial of blowing of trumpets, but a memorial of what?
Now to the Jews it is a day of Great celebration because for them it is the Rosh Hashana, and the word Rosh Hashana just simply means "Head of the Year", New Year. It is the Jewish new year,. observed all over. The commentaries will tell you that this is some how connected to the old civil year, and they speculate that this had its origins in Babylon, although I think other scholars will say "no, it had its origins much earlier than that, and it was an ancient civil year, and that it's a vestigial thing of back when." The only thing wrong with that is, that in the set of instructions that tell us about this holy day, it tells us that it is the first day of the seventh month. Not the first day of the first month, the first day of the seventh month. And the same set of instructions tell us that Nisan is the beginning of months, that the first day of the first month is seven months earlier. It tells us very clearly that the fourteenth day of the first month is the Lords Passover, this is the beginning of the year. There is of course no observation at all on the first day of the first month, but that's when the new year should be.
Well there is a discussion. You have the civil calendar and the sacred calendar. You have the secular and the religious. This is not at all uncommon. These things do exist: you have a fiscal year as opposed to the calendar year even now today. Even the Mayan religion, if my memory serves, has a civil year and a sacred year, and those things match up every fifty two years or something like that, so that finally those calendars come together. So the idea is not uncommon.
The problem is there is not one word anywhere in scripture that identifies the Feast of Trumpets as the beginning of a year. In the future, there is indication that it is the beginning of a new age. You do have the idea of the release of captives, the idea of land returning to its owners. But even that is not on this day. All of that having to do with the jubilee and returning the land to its owner and the release of slaves is connected to the Day of Atonement, which is ten days later.
This day is a memorial, but a memorial of what? What is important about the Holy Days are their associations. We use the words "topology" or "symbolism". What does this symbolize? "Unleavened bread" symbolizes .... . We associate the Passover with the "exodus out of Egypt." We associate the days of unleavened bread with the idea of sin and of leavening. We associate the feast of tabernacles with the exodus and the entering in of the promised land at a later time. We have associations connected with all of these.
If you had been a Hebrew - if you had been among those people who came out of Egypt -if you were among those in the wilderness wandering - or perhaps let's go later in time, and let's say we lived in the time of David... What sort of associations would we have when someone spoke of a Feast of Trumpets? What would we think of? What would come to mind? Well we'd have no where to go except for the Scriptures, so let's try a few. Turn to Exod. 19, and lets see what associations might be presented to us. In Ex. 19, we're told "in the third month when the children of Israel had gone forth out of the land of Egypt. The same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai, for they were departed from Rephidim and came to the desert of Sinai and they had pitched in the wilderness and there Israel camped before the mourn." And the words are really ominous when you consider that this is Mt. Sinai, that this is the place where God would present himself to them. In verse ten "the Lord said to Moses, go to the people sanctify them today and tomorrow and let them wash their clothes and be ready against the third day. For the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mt. Sinai, you're to set bounds unto the people round about saying, take heed that you not go up to the mount don't touch the border of it. For who ever touches the mount shall surely be put to death." So Moses went down and told the people this.
Finally we come to Exod. 19:16. "It came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud upon the mount and a voice of a trumpet, exceeding loud, so that all the people that were in the camp trembled." Now the sight of this cloud descending upon the mountain and lightnings rippling back and forth through it and peals of thunder and great cracks of sound coming out of it, and then a blast. (The word is shofar which is basically the idea of a rams horn. Although I wouldn't put too much emphasis on that words, because are extended, to where shofar could actually be applied to the silver trumpets that would be made at a later time.) But what they heard was probably very much like the blast of a rams horn - a great noise I could never even begin to make. You've probably heard the sound that they make with the conch shells out in Hawaii in some of the movies. It sounds similar to that of the big curved horn, and a big loud blast is emitted from it. Now this is something though, as they heard it, that exceeded by far anything that they could ever have heard themselves from a man standing on a hill top blowing a horn, and trying to give a message to the people who were listening. So consequently, the first encounter that these people had with Almighty God is announced by the sound of a horn or of a trumpet. So one would think Feast of Trumpets - appearance of God - presence of God - God coming down onto the mountain - God making himself known to us. So the earliest associations would have had to do with God's presence, God's revelation, God coming down upon the earth, that part is fairly easy to see.
Although they seem to have made no special connection with it in the Bible, at these early times. In verse 20 it tells us "the Lord came down upon Mt. Sinai, on the top of the mount, and the Lord called Moses up into the mount and Moses went up." So here are the first instance of it. Now if you'll turn to Num. 10, we can find some more in the way of the associations, because trumpets did play a role in the lives of these people.
By the way the expression in Lev. 23, you shall have a memorial of blowing of trumpets, the word trumpet is not even there. It is a correct translation, it's just an ellipsis, you'll have a memorial of blowing or blasting as it were, with the understood fact that its trumpets. So you can't really make any difference out of the fact that you have one word shofar for trumpet or horn and another word in Num 10., for trumpet, chatsotserah - two different words but no distinction made in the feast of trumpets. It was a day of blowing upon a wind instrument as it were.
In Num. 10 "The Lord spoke to Moses saying, make you two trumpets of silver. Of a whole piece shall you make them, that you shall use them for the calling of the assembly and the journeying of the camps. And when they shall blow with them all the assembly shall assemble themselves for you at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. If they blow one trumpet, the princes who are the heads of the thousands of Israel shall gather themselves. When you blow an alarm then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward, when you blow an alarm the second time the camps that lie on the south side shall go forward." verse 8 "The sons of Aaron, the priests shall blow the trumpet, it shall be to you an ordinance forever throughout your generations. If you go to war in your land against an enemy that oppresses you, you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets, and you shall be remembered before the Lord your God and you shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, in the beginnings of your months." So every new moon there was a blowing of trumpets. "In the beginnings of your months you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings and the sacrifices of your peace offerings that they may be to you for a memorial before the Lord your God."
We are all familiar with the use of a trumpet or a bugle to sound an alarm, or to use it to send messages. I can remember distinctly the time that I was in the Navy, there were different sets of calls. They used not merely the bugle but they used a public address system where they were all recorded. Only for ceremonial occasions did they have a real bugler out there with a real bugle doing it. But there was reveille, everyone knows what reveille sounds like. It's the one that gets you up in the morning. The old song came out: I hate to get up, I hate to get up, I hate to get up in the morning. So we know what reveille sounds like. It has a sound similar to that. There is a call, "chow call", when they blow that trumpet, we all knew that we supposed to get the companies together, march them down to the parade grounds, assemble for chow and they would send us over to the chow hall in our order. So there was that one. There is another one called "to the colors", which is played when the flag is raised, and all of us know to turn and salute the flag, as the flag is going up. There is the call that is played when the flag comes down so we know when that is happening. There is "officers' call", so that all the officers know when that is called they are to assemble. On a ship there is the blood curdling sound of a trumpet called "general quarters", which also has a clanging alarm bell with it. Every sailor knows what general quarters sounds like. It makes the hair stand up - it gets your adrenaline going - it's designed to get you to your station as fast as you can possibly get there. And which of us do not know the beautiful sound of "taps"? That it is what they play night after night. I would go to bed and lie awake sometimes listening to the notes of that incredibly beautiful sound. The sound which we have tended now to equate with funerals in many cases of military personnel, and to this day in certain circumstances can nearly bring tears to my eyes, and can indeed bring tears to my eyes at a real funeral. When I understand the significance for it, and with some of the recollections of some of the people I have known who have been buried under that sound have come back to me. And so it is that these things, these trumpets are used to convey messages to send an alarm.
Israel of old understood the use of the trumpet and had an association with it. Of course there was the fact that all of their ceremonial occasions were announced in this way. The going to war was announced in this way. Which of us have not read the story of when the Israelites came across the Jordan and they came up against the city of Jericho, a fortified city? And their instructions were, you are to get your armies in order and your to line all of your people out and you are to march around the city seven times and you are to have all of the trumpeters out in front of you, and they are to blow on the trumpets as they go. They all had shofars. And so here all the people inside the wall saw this solemn procession, walking around their city. I think it was every day, one time around for six days and the seventh day they went around it seven times. And when they finally blew with the trumpets the walls of Jericho fell down flat and in they went and scoured the city. It's a great story. But once again the trumpet plays a core role, it is that instrument of announcement of warning and so connected with war. One of the prophets in fact says blow the trumpet, an alarm of war. It is inexorably connected in that way with war.
The trumpet had so many different ways that it was used. Apart from war, alarms, marches, calls of people, assemblies, it also had all of its ceremonial uses. There is a Psalm that is always read on the Feast of Trumpets, Ps. 81. Let's go back and read it. Many Jewish synagogues will be reading this 81st Psalm because of its connection with the feast of trumpets and with the meaning of the word trumpet. "Sing aloud unto God our strength, make a joyful noise to the God of Jacob. Take a psalm and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp of the sultry. Blow up the trumpet in the new moon and in the time appointed on our solemn feast day." And the only new moon that is a feast day is this day, today. "For this was a statute for Israel, a law of the God of Jacob, this he ordained in Joseph for a testimony when he went out through the land of Egypt where I heard a language that I understood not. I removed his shoulder from the burden, his hands were delivered from the pots. You called in trouble and I delivered you, I answered you in the secret place of thunder. I proved you at the waters of Meriba, sela. Hear oh my people and I will testify to you oh Israel if you will listen to me. There shall no strange God be in you. Neither shall you worship any strange God, I am the Lord your God which brought you out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide I will fill it. But my people would not listen to my voice Israel would have none of me, so I gave them up to their own hearts lust and they walked in their own councils. Oh that my people had listened to me and that Israel had walked in my ways. I should soon have subdues their enemies and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves to him, but their time should have endured forever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat and of the honey out of the rock, I would have satisfied them." It's a beautiful psalm, has certain very powerful warnings connected with it doesn't it?
Turn to the 29 Psalm, another Psalm that has been read ceremonially in connection with the Feast of Trumpets by Jews down through time. Psalm 29: "Give to the Lord you might ones, Give unto the Lord Glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due to his name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the Lord is over the waters; The God of Glory thunders; The Lord is over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful." And remember originally in this thing at Mt. Sinai a voice of the Lord seems to have been presented as like a trumpet. You heard this incredible voice of a trumpet. The connection of the voice of God, the presence of God, God coming down connected with the Feast of Trumpets is really very old and very deeply rooted, even in Jewish liturgy. "The voice of the Lord is powerful. The voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon." The image comes to mind of a mountainside near Mt. Helena up there whenever it blew its top a few years back. Trees on adjacent mountainsides were just laid flat by the blast that came out of that volcano. And you could imagine God's voice just laying flat the trees. Breaking them off at the level of the ground.
"He makes them to also skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn. You could see a whole country bouncing, skipping. The image is almost like an earthquake. "The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; The Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh. The voice for the lord makes the deer give birth" It causes animals to go on to calf. "And strips the forests bare; and in His temple everyone says, "Glory!" The Lord sits upon the Flood, And the Lord sits as King forever. The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace."
Another one having to do with the ceremonial use of the trumpet is the final Psalm. Psalm 150: "Praise you the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in the firmament of his power! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him upon the high sounding cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise you the Lord!"
Now all these things would have been I think very much in the minds of any Israelite, when someone read Lev.23:24 and said "In the first day of the seventh month you will have a memorial of the blowing of trumpets." And yet all your left with are vague associations.
Most people in this world have vague associations for example connected with Christmas. They know about the birth of the Christ child that they some how think is connected with it. But all of the rest of the associations of Christmas has absolutely nothing to do with it at all. Wreaths on the door, Christmas trees, yule logs, the red and green color combinations. All these things make very strong and powerful associations in the mind of most of us. The smell of a Christmas tree coming into the room can bring absolute wave of nostalgia across to you. These are associations that do this.
Now when you come to the feast of trumpets the associations very much in people minds were of the blast of the shofar, and apparently they blew these things all day long on the feast of trumpets in Jerusalem. You can imagine what that must have been like, you'd almost feel like making your way down to Jericho for the rest of the day after you had gotten through the early ceremony to get away from the noise cause it must have been unbelievable.
But as time went on prophets came on the scene and God began to speak to Israel through men that he sent and these men began to add a new dimension to the understanding of this. I want you to turn back to Isaiah 26:20 "Come my people enter into your chambers and shut your doors about you. Hide yourself, as it were for a little moment until the indignation will be over past. For behold the Lord comes out of his place, to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquities. The earth also shall disclose her blood and shall no more be able to cover her slain."
All of the time of covering up, all the time of hiding out from God. All the time of this world beginning to get by with the things that it has done is over. It says God is coming out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth. Now, you can have a lot of ideas about this but one that you can't get away from is the great day of the Lord, the time of God's coming and remember the initial coming of God to the earth at Mt. Sinai, when he came down to give the law, was with the sound of a trumpet.
Now we're coming to another prophet at another time talking about a future sound of a trumpet, it's going to come to us in a moment. But at this point he's talking about the Lord coming, and he's coming this time with blood in his eye. Isa. 27:1, "In that day the Lord", ... vs.7 "Hath he smitten Israel, as he smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him... By this therefore will the iniquity of Jacob be purged. And this is all the fruit to take away his sin. When he makes all the stones of the altar like chalk stones, that can be beaten asunder, the groves and the images will not stand up." Groves and images by the way were the places where idols were set up.
"Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, left like a wilderness. There shall the calf feed. There shall he lie down and consume the branches thereof. When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off. The women come and set them on fire. For it is a people of no understanding, therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them. He that formed them will show them no favor."
Where are we in the scheme of things? Listen, Isa. 27:12. "It shall come to pass. in that day, that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river to the stream of Egypt." Now I want you to understand that expression, what is meant by beating off in this sense is the heads of grain. You have long stalks with grain heads at the top of them and the custom was to put them down and to beat off the grain from the stalk. It is a threshing process.
He says I am going to thresh from the channel of the river to the stream of Egypt, if you can visualize, again remembering that poetry is for imagery, it is for conjuring up images and it is like God taking a great stick in his hand and here is all this wheat laid out here and he begins to beat on it. And just thrash and to break and to break loose the wheat from the chaff, he is going to thrash it "from the river to the stream of Egypt and you'll be gathered one by one oh children of Israel." They are going to be broken loose and picked up almost like on piece of grain after another to be returned.
"It shall come to pass in that day that the great trumpet shall be blown." The great trumpet, not just any trumpet, not just one of the great trumpets, but "the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come who are ready to perish in the land of Assyria and the outcasts of the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem."
Now when I think about this I cast my mind back to Israel of old who, the people who are reading this and hearing this from the prophet have long since come out of Egypt, they never were in Egypt in fact, their forefathers were but this is all a part of their history. They've heard it around camp fires they've sung songs about it, they've kept holy days that commemorated it. And they know all about this. Now comes a prophet and you would need to read Isaiah all the way up to this point to really grasp all together what he is saying. Now comes a prophet who says, your whole nation is sick. From the top of your head to the sole of your foot there is nothing but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores. The sins of your people, the rotten corruption of your government, your religion is so corrupt it is pitiful. And he comes through all the discussions about punishments that are going to come upon them and finally upon their captivity and they are told that they will go back into Egypt again.
Then comes this prophecy that says, I am going to come through here and I am going to thrash all the people who hold you captive and I am going to take you back one grain of wheat at a time I am going to rescue you. Mind you we're not talking about bringing it back by the truck loads. We're talking about saving these people one person at a time. Then he says " I am going to blow the great trumpet." And it is a time then that a people who had once before been rescued out of Egypt realize that somehow, and they would have to make the association with this day when they heard what the prophet had to say.
Somehow there is a connection between this great trumpet and a future Exodus of which the first Exodus was only a type. And in fact another prophet will come along later and tell them there is going to be an Exodus in the future. That is so great the former Exodus out of Egypt the one that everyone talks about. The one the movie the Ten Commandments is all about. He said there is going to come a time of an Exodus that will be so great that the former Exodus will not even come to mind. We are not there yet. The Jews aren't there yet. The Earth is not there yet. Whatever that prophet is talking about is still out ahead of us. Still out there. Not only is that Exodus is still out there, the captivity is still out there from which that Exodus takes place. So now the prophets as I have said begin to introduce somewhat of a new element.
I want you to turn to Jer.4:19 "My bowels, My bowels! I am pained at my very Heart!" Basically what he is meaning is I am doubled over in pain. Clutching at pain in my stomach, my bowels. "My hear makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, Because you have heard, O my soul, The sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war." What he is saying is: I have known that this is coming. I have had the warning and now I have heard the trumpet and it has pierced me like pain. Fear can be so great that it could be like a pain in the gut and that is exactly what he is describing. He realizes what now is coming. "Destruction upon destruction is cried, For the whole land is spoiled, Suddenly my tents are spoiled, and my curtains in a moment. How long will I see the standard, And hear the sound of the trumpet? My people are foolish, They have not known Me. They are silly children, And they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil"
Certainly they are clever. They know all the ins and outs. They know all the ways of intimidation. They know all the ways of avoiding law enforcement. They know all the ways. "They are wise to do evil, But to do good they don't even know how to start. I beheld the earth, and low it was without form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, And all the hills moved lightly. I beheld and there was no man, All the birds of the heavens had fled." I mean there was no life to be seen. "I beheld, and low the fruitful place was a wilderness, And all the cities thereof was broken down At the presence of the Lord, and by His fierce anger. For thus says the Lord said: The whole land shall be desolate; Yet I will not make a full end. For this shall the earth mourn, And the heavens above shall be black, Because I have spoken it. I have purposed and will not repent, Nether will I turn back from it." says God. This is ushered in with a blast of a trumpet.
Remember that Psalm that talked about the voice of the Lord. You realize that the time is coming when God Almighty, when Jesus Christ who is God, will come back to this earth and his feet will stand upon the Mt. of Olives and the voice of the Lord will break the cedars of Lebanon. Those who saw and were near by at the destruction of Mr. Helena saw nothing. It was as nothing. For the voice of the Lord, for the blast of the Lord's voice will come again to this earth. And when it comes the heavens will be black, cities will be thrown down at his presence and all this is ushered in with a voice of a trumpet. Now another prophet put in his little bit.
Joel, we sing that in the hymn: "Blow the horn let Zion hear for God's day is now at hand." In Joel the 2nd chapter it says "Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound an alarm in my holy mountain. Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble for the day of the Lord comes." It is near at hand.
Now for those of you who study the Bible, remember the instances of the "Day of the Lord". Generally, it is a day like which there has never been one before it. It is a day that there has never will be such a day after it. Now, that being that if there has never been a day like it before, and there will never be a day like it again that approaches it after it. What are we dealing with? We are dealing with one day, unique, in all history. Not several occasions, not something that happened in Old Testament times and is going to happen again in the end of the world. We're talking about one time, one day, never a day like it before, never will be a day like it again. It is called "The Day of the Lord". And it is ushered in by these words. "Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound and alarm in my holy mountain, let all the inhabitants of the land tremble. For the day of the Lord comes, it is nigh at hand. A day of darkness, gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, the morning spread upon the mountains. A great people and a strong. There has never been the like. There will never be anything like it again, to the years of many generations. A fire devours before them, behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them and behind them a desolate wilderness. And nothing shall escape."
Frightening isn't it? The images that this draws up. Nostradamus was a greenhorn when it came down to describing nasty things, that are going to happen to man. These prophets did this a long long time ago. The Day of the Lord, a trumpet, an alarm of war. I wonder when you think back to these times, how many people understood? How many people grasped? How many had thoroughly locked into this day with its associations with trumpets. And then here comes the prophets, with these warnings once again: The day of the Lord, the presence of God, the coming of God, God's intervention in the affairs of man. All this is as plain as it can be in the Old Testament.
Then comes Jesus, then comes the establishment of what we have come to call the New Testament church. Then we have a church in Jerusalem after Christ's ascension, who, for some little time, without any dispute really, kept right on keeping the holy days. When they came to the feast of trumpets, what did they think? For you see by this time they had the Olivet Prophecy. When Jesus' disciples came to him and said: "Lord, what's going to be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" And Jesus went on at great length that it was not for them to know those things, that they were to get on with the work. They had many of Jesus' words. They also had prophets in the church who were telling them certain things, and they of course they had the Old Testament scriptures. And some little different idea now of what was going to happen in the very end time.
Well some other things began to develop, I want you to turn back now to the 15th chapter of First Corinthians. I want to just introduce you to this, so that you have the realization that here is this holy day about which almost nothing is said, and yet over time there are associations. There are connections, inescapable connections with what is going to be done in connection with this day. Remember, it is a memorial, a memorial actually commemorates something that took place at a point in time in history. What is this day a memorial of? 1 Cor. 15:12 "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection, then is Christ not raised?" He continues down along through here with his argument about the resurrection. What it was going to be like, how all these things would take place.
Later on in verse 35 he decides to begin answering some more of the arguments that people persist in advancing. "But some man will say, how are the dead raised up? With what body do they come? You fool. That which you sow is not quickened unless it die. That which you sow, you sow not that body that shall be but bear grain, it may be wheat." He then continues to describe different ways in which we might understand the resurrection of the dead.
He says now in verse 50, "This I say brethren, that flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God." And we can reach around you and touch flesh and blood, you know that that is what you are, and what the person sitting next to you is, we can not as flesh and blood inherit the kingdom of God. "Neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold I show you a mystery, we shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed."
Isn't that interesting? Now the church is coming to see the connection between the resurrection which Jesus had preached and which he had taught. And the trumpet being blown, not just any trumpet but the last trumpet, the great trumpet, as a matter of fact, being blown. We have now seen categorically the connection between the feast of trumpets and the resurrection from the dead. He does not mention the feast of trumpets in this place, because that's not what he's talking about. The scripture is about the resurrection, how could you possibly, if you were keeping the Feast of Trumpets, not make the connection?
But now you see in that he said "the last trumpet", there must be a first trumpet, mustn't there? Because the very existence of the last of something means that there was something before it. In the Book of Revelation there are many references to trumpets. I will not go to any of them except this set of trumpets. In Rev.8:1 "Now when he had opened the seventh seal there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour, and I saw the seven angels that stood before God and to them were given seven trumpets. Another angel came and stood at the altar having a golden censor and there was given to him much incense that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar before the throne. And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints ascended up before God out of the angels hands, and the angel took the censor filled it with fire off the altar and cast it into the earth and there were voices, and thunderings and lightnings and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. And the first angel sounded,"
Now here we are a trumpet blowing. By the way, it is not the feast of "the trumpet", but the feast of "trumpets". And we were talking about an event that is to take place at the last trump. We are told that there is a great trumpet. How could we fail to associate this day with these events. The early church, I can assure you, did.
"The first angel sounded and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood and they were cast upon the earth, and one third part of the trees were burned up and all green grass was burnt up. The second angel sounded and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea, the third part of the sea became blood, the third part of the creatures that were in the sea that had life died. The third part of the ships were destroyed. The third angel sounded and there fell a great star from heaven burning like a lamp and it fell upon the third part of the rivers and the fountains of waters, the name of the star is called wormwood. And the third part of the waters became wormwood. And many died because of the waters because they were made bitter. And the fourth angel sounded and the third part of the sun was smitten and the third part of the moon and a third part of the stars. So that a third part of them was blackened, and the day didn't shine for a third part of it. And the night likewise. And I beheld an angel flying through the midst of the heavens saying woe, woe, woe, three times to the inhabitants of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet or the three angels which are yet to sound."
Do you realize what we are reading here? I mean they have just had mighty catastrophes. The world has come to a stop. And he says there are three more - and I'm telling you woe about these three more. The worst is yet to come. Then follows this incredible description of the fifth and sixth trumpets. But I want you to turn over to Rev. 11:15, because this is the last trumpet, the seventh.
"The seventh angel sounded and there were great voices in heaven saying, the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. And the four and twenty elders which sat before God on their seats fell upon their faces and worshiped God saying we give you thanks oh Lord God almighty which art and wast and art to come because you have taken to you your great power, and have reigned. And the nations were angry and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets and to the saints to them that fear your name small and great, and should destroy them that destroy the earth."
Have we tied the resurrection sufficiently to the seventh trumpet by now? I would certainly think so. 1 Thes. 4 says, the resurrection takes place at a trumpet. 1 Cor. 15 says that it takes place at the last trumpet. The seventh trumpet says that it is time to give reward to the saints.
"And the temple of God was opened in heaven and there was seen in his temple the ark of the testament and their were lightnings and voices and thunderings and an earthquake and great hail." It's a sobering thing to reflect on, you know when you see it.
But this day is a memorial of the blowing of trumpets. A memorial of what? It's a memorial of this day, the time when Jesus Christ comes back to this earth, when the pronouncement is made as of this moment the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. Odd isn't it in a way? That this one holy day seems to have almost no significance in its origins. It was not very meaningful then. It was left to Jesus Christ to give it meaning. It was left to the prophets, who foretold Jesus Christ, to give it meaning. And it was finally left to an angel, to a vision that was given to a man named John to pull it all together and let us know what this day is a memorial of.
Excerpted from the Sermon,
Feast of Trumpets,
preached on 9/30/89 by Ronald L. Dart, provided by Kevin A. McMillen
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