The festivals God commanded in the Bible and his Sabbaths have prophetic implications which form an outline of God’s plan for mankind, as we’ve discussed in previous articles.
“Then do not let anyone judge you in eating, or in drinking, or in respect of a feast, or the new moon, or of sabbaths, which are a shadow of coming things, but the body is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17, Green’s Literal Translation).
The word “is” is in italics, because the Greek has no word for “is” in verse 17. It should read, “which are a shadow of coming things [or things to come – KJV], but the body of Christ” (his Church, of which he is the head; Colossians 1:18, 24).
“Shadow,” is translated from the Greek, skia, shadow, sketch, outline. Notice the Sabbaths “Are,” [not were], estin, present indicative. This implies continuing action. The Sabbaths, and the feasts of God, are now and continue to be a shadow of things to come. In other words, they have prophetic significance.
In previous articles we discussed the weekly Sabbath along with the festivals which occur in the early part of the year, namely the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Pentecost.
Now we will proceed to the fall festival season, beginning with the Feast of Trumpets.
The new moon of the seventh month, is also a festival and a Sabbath, called the Feast of Trumpets. This feast has particular prophetic significance associated with the blowing of trumpets.
In Numbers 10 God gave instructions to Moses concerning silver trumpets that he was to make. Also were given instructions on how they were to be used and for what purposes.
There are seven specific purposes listed for the blowing of the silver trumpets: They are (1) Calling an assembly; (2) signaling and directing a journey; (3) signaling war; (4) rejoicing; (5) marking holy days; (6) marking new moons; (7) at the giving of sacrifices. All have literal, symbolic, and prophetic application and significance. And all of them relate to the spiritual and prophetic significance of the Feast of Trumpets. In this article let’s explore the prophetic significance of three of the occasions for blowing the trumpets.
(1) Calling of Assembly.
The calling to assembly was typified by Solomon when he dedicated the Temple. Solomon’s reign was in many ways typical of the Millennium, when Jesus Christ himself will rule over all nations. Solomon refers to himself as “Preacher” in Ecclesiastes 1:1, etc. From Hebrew koheleth (from kahal = to call), assembler, hence preacher.
After Solomon had finished the work of building the temple: “Now Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel, in Jerusalem, that they might bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord up from the City of David, which is Zion. Therefore all the men of Israel assembled with the king at the feast, which was in the seventh month. So all the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark. Then they brought up the ark, the tabernacle of meeting, and all the holy furnishings that were in the tabernacle. The priests and the Levites brought them up” (2 Chronicles 5:2-5).
On that occasion,“the glory of the Lord filled the house of God” (2 Chronicles 5:14).
It’s prophesied that God also in a future time shall come to his temple: “’Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,’ Says the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 3:1).
This was fulfilled in part when Jesus Christ came to the temple in Jerusalem during his earthly ministry. But the Bible tells us that the Church is the spiritual temple of God. “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).
In the book of Revelation we read beginning in chapter five of seven “seals.” These seals symbolize events leading up to the end of the age. While there may be a dual significance to the first five of the seven seals, as with many prophecies in the Bible, the primary fulfillment is at the end of this age.
“Seven trumpets” constitute the seventh seal. All of these “trumpet” prophecies relate to the Feast of Trumpets, but especially the seventh and final trumpet, which signifies the return of Jesus Christ, the pouring out of the seven last plagues in judgment on God’s enemies, the resurrection of the just, and the commencement of Christ’s reign on the earth. “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud 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!’” (Revelation 11:15).
It is at the time of this seventh trumpet that Jesus Christ returns to the earth to establish his rule over it. In conjunction with that will be the first resurrection, when those who have been and remained faithful in times previous to his second coming will be resurrected from the dead. And those faithful at that time will be changed into the likeness of Christ.
Christ is at that time coming to his temple, the Church of God. “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).
“Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
Those resurrected or changed at that time will be assembled, so to speak, as they meet Christ in the air, and will proceed with him to Jerusalem, from whence he will begin his reign on the earth. ”And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives…” (Zechariah 14:4).
“Thus the Lord my God will come, And all the saints with You [or “with him,” as some Hebrew manuscripts and Bible translations read]” (Zechariah 14:5).
The coming of Christ will set the stage for the whole earth to be filled with God’s glory! “And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory” (Psalm 72:19, a prophecy of the Messiah’s reign).
The nations of the earth will be called to assemble as well. “… It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory” (Isaiah 66:18).
The nations will have been assembled in armies to fight Jesus Christ at the time of his coming. The final battle will occur in the environs of Jerusalem, and the enemy armies fighting Christ will be defeated.
Then we read: “’… those among them who escape I will send to the nations… who have not heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. Then they shall bring all your brethren [Israelites who had been in captivity] for an offering to the Lord out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,’ says the Lord, ‘as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord’” (Isaiah 66:19-20).
All flesh will learn to worship before God each Sabbath (Isaiah 66:23).
Note that Malachi 3:1 says a messenger [or messengers] precedes the coming of God to prepare the way. Preaching the gospel is the initial step in assembling Israel and the nations before God.
Like Isaiah, the servants God sends are to lift up their voices like a trumpet. “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1).
God is now calling many through the preaching of the gospel to the millennial assembly, but Israel, and the world, is rejecting his call, for the most part.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”‘ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city” (Matthew 22:2-7).
The final verse we read describes the pouring out of God’s wrath that will accompany the return of Jesus Christ, of which we will speak more later.
As Jesus said in verse 2, the wedding feast referred to in this parable is a metaphor of the Kingdom of Heaven, and especially applies to the thousand year period that will begin with the second coming of Jesus Christ.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6).
(2) The Trumpets were blown to signal and direct the journeying of Israel.
After Christ returns at the blowing of the trumpet of God, Israel will begin a journey out of captivity and to the vicinity of Jerusalem.
In Luke 14 is another parable similar to the wedding supper parable. When those invited refuse to come at the urging of the host’s servant: “So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, `Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:21-23).
Note that the lame, blind, etc. are compelled to come to the supper. The supper, like the Feast of Tabernacles, is a metaphor for God’s Kingdom, especially the millennial rule of Jesus Christ. The remnant of Israel, lame, blind, near death’s door due to the cruel treatment they will have been subjected to, will be gathered out of captivity and led to the land of their inheritance.
“Behold, at that time I will deal with all who afflict you; I will save the lame, And gather those who were driven out; I will appoint them for praise and fame In every land where they were put to shame. At that time I will bring you back, Even at the time I gather you…” (Zephaniah 3:19-20).
“’In that day,’ says the Lord, ‘I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast And those whom I have afflicted; I will make the lame a remnant, And the outcast a strong nation; So the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion From now on, even forever’” (Micah 4:6-7).
“So it shall be in that day: The great trumpet will be blown; They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, And shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem” (Isaiah 27:13).
“Are You not the One who dried up the sea, The waters of the great deep; That made the depths of the sea a road For the redeemed to cross over? So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; Sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:10-11).
“’As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,’ says the Lord God. ‘I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment’” (Ezekiel 34:12-16).
“Behold, I will bring them from the north country, And gather them from the ends of the earth, Among them the blind and the lame, The woman with child And the one who labors with child, together; A great throng shall return there. They shall come with weeping, And with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, In a straight way in which they shall not stumble; For I am a Father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn. Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, And declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’ For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, And ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, Streaming to the goodness of the Lord — For wheat and new wine and oil, For the young of the flock and the herd; Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden, And they shall sorrow no more at all” (Jeremiah 31:8-12).
(3) The trumpets were blown to signal war.
The gospel is an invitation, as we discussed earlier, but it’s also a command. “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).
The day of judgment spoken of is pictured by the feast of Trumpets.
Besides being an invitation and a command, the preaching of the gospel is also a warning “Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me” (Ezekiel 33:1-7).
People can now hear or refuse to hear the message, but the day is coming when Christ will recompense his enemies, and he will be heard. “He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, Fury to His adversaries, Recompense to His enemies; The coastlands He will fully repay. So shall they fear The name of the Lord from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. ‘The Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob’ Says the Lord” (Isaiah 59:16-20).
Christ will put down his enemies so that his rule of righteousness and peace can be established.
The fifth seal mentioned in the Book of Revelation chapter six pictures the great tribulation, which in its final fulfillment will last a total of three and a half years, if you include in the calculation the final year, which technically, is the “day of the Lord.” However it’s calculated, the peoples of Israel and the Church of God will endure persecution and tribulation for three and a half years.
A prophecy God gave to Daniel tells of the the leader of the “beast” power at the time of the end. “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time” (Daniel 7:25).
A time, times and half a time is a period of three and a half years.
“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed” (Revelation 6:9-11).
“’Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place’ ( whoever reads, let him understand ), ‘then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened’” (Matthew 24:15-22).
This time is referred to as “Jacob’s trouble,” because the greatest tribulation of that period will be upon Israel, and the Church of God. “Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7).
The sixth seal consists of the heavenly signs which introduce the “day of the Lord.”
“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” (Revelation 6:12-17).
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31). The darkening of the sun and moon will not be due to ordinary solar or lunar eclipses, as some imagine, but portend events far more catastrophic than any ordinary eclipse.
The seventh seal is the day of God’s wrath. “Seven trumpets” constitute the seventh seal, which, as you can read in chapters 8 and 9 represent catastrophic events on the earth as God pours out judgment on mankind. The seventh trumpet signifies the return of Jesus Christ, the pouring out of the seven last plagues, in judgment on God’s enemies, the resurrection of the just, and the commencement of Christ’s reign on the earth.
Christ will execute judgment on those who destroy the earth. “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud 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 twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth’” (Revelation 11:15-18).
“Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete” (Revelation 15:1).
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the Lord is coming, For it is at hand: A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, The like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any such after them, Even for many successive generations” (Joel 2:1-2).
“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the Lord has said, Among the remnant whom the Lord calls” (Joel 2:30-32).
“For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land. They have cast lots for My people, Have given a boy as payment for a harlot, And sold a girl for wine, that they may drink. Indeed, what have you to do with Me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the coasts of Philistia? Will you retaliate against Me? But if you retaliate against Me, Swiftly and speedily I will return your retaliation upon your own head; Because you have taken My silver and My gold, And have carried into your temples My prized possessions. Also the people of Judah and the people of Jerusalem You have sold to the Greeks, That you may remove them far from their borders” (Joel 3:1-6).
“Proclaim this among the nations: ‘Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, “I am strong.”’ Assemble and come, all you nations, And gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O Lord. Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; For the winepress is full, The vats overflow– For their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, And the stars will diminish their brightness. The Lord also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the Lord will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel. So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, Dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, And no aliens shall ever pass through her again” (Joel 3:9-17).
The feast of trumpets has deep meaning — reflected in part by the prophetic significance of the trumpets blown in ancient Israel under the Levitical priesthood. The trumpet blast that marks the return of Jesus Christ marks a turning point in history when God finally takes full control and begins to rule the nations of the earth. It signals an ushering in of a time when war is brought to an end, peace breaks out, healing begins, the nations will be unified and bound together in peace under Jesus Christ. It’s this theme, these events prophesied beforehand that we need to meditate on, and come to clearly and deeply understand.
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Copyright © 2020 by Rod Reynolds
Unless otherwise noted Scripture taken from the New King James VersionTM
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.
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