Feast of Trumpets
The First Trumpet Blast
by W. L. Schneider
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ (1Cor15:57).
Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Fatherís good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32).
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 shall 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words (1Thes 4:16-18).
...I am God and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning... (Isa 46:9-10).
How caring is our God who shows us the triumphant outcome of his plan long before it comes to pass. Victory is assured! We see the end from the beginning. How thankful we are that God shares with us the vision of the future He has planned for us! Our hopes are buoyed beyond expressing. We are confident we will receive eternal life through His Son Jesus who has said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6) And again, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." (John 11:25-26) and "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)
Yes, we are able to comfort each other with these words...
we go to sleep.
God knows our frame. He knows we may drift off if he doesnít keep waking us up at regular intervals.
Nobody likes to hear the alarm go off in the morning, unless by chance we have such a great job that we can hardly wait to get there. But we have to be awakened! Something has to jar us to our senses that the day is about to dawn and we have to get moving.
There is a tendency to tap the snooze alarm and get more zzzzís, but there is a great danger in doing so. We may be late and miss out altogether on an important meeting.
So it is with God. What is the first Biblical record of trumpets being blown? It is recorded about an important meeting, the very first meeting of the new nation of Israel with God, who had just delivered them from slavery and led them through the Red Sea to Mt. Sinai.
Beginning in Exodus 19:10-11:
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people."
Note that the people had to make themselves ready to be presentable to God.
...When the trumpet sounds long they shall come near the mountain. So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. And he said be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives (Ex 19:13-15).
Verses 5 through 8 showed that the people understood that God was about to make a covenant with them, but they were totally unprepared for the fireworks and clamorous sounds that were about to break forth when they came near the presence of the mighty Creator, God.
Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.
And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain (Ex 19:16-17).
Now, not only were the people trembling, but the ground under them was about to shake.
Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly (Ex 19:18).
And now, to announce that God himself was about to speak, a mighty trumpet blast pierced through all the thunderings and God, no doubt, had their undivided attention. The trumpet of God was sounding.
And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice (Ex 19:18).
The mighty voice of God began to enumerate the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments (Ex. 34:28). After the tenth commandment was given,
Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off (Ex. 20:18).
The whole scene had made quite an impression! The people would not soon forget the sound of the trumpet. And God wanted them to remember it.
Speak to the children of Israel, saying: "In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation" (Lev. 23:24).
This was to be a memorial, an earth-shaking event they would have remembered and called back to mind each year. Ear-splitting trumpet blasts that got their attention. A meeting with God himself, a holy convocation.
Why? Because God is so kind! He knows the flesh is weak. He knows people forget. He would remind them every year by a special day of trumpet blowing to refresh memories of the covenant, to awaken them to what is important, to sound an alarmólest they forget what was agreed upon at that first momentous meeting.
And God wants us to know His plan, and be able to annually rehearse what will happen in the future, when a trumpet blast will again announce the presence of God. So a day of blowing was included as one of the seven annual festivals.
We love these festivals, these rehearsals that help us catch the vision. We are to rejoice in these festivals, celebrate them! Indeed they are enjoyable rehearsals! Singers who have sung in festival choirs for many years learn that the rehearsals are almost as much fun as the actual performances. The thrill of learning a musical part so well that it can be memorizedóso that one can concentrate only on following the director and blending in harmony with the voices of the people standing next to youóis nearly indescribable! We truly hate for the rehearsals to end. So it is with the annual festivals. And although we may sing the same song again next year, we find that with another director, it can be sung in a new and even better way. Yes, there is great beauty and exhilaration in keeping the feasts.
Nevertheless, the Day of Trumpets, among other things, should be a reminder and a warning to stay awake! And we must remember that the plan of God isnít just for our salvation, but that God wants to save the whole world. Thatís part of the agreement we made. We are to love God and neighbor. We arenít just to rehearse, we are to share the joy. We are to live the way that attracts others to Godís way. We are to be prepared to help others understand the way to salvation as God gives us opportunity.
The world at large is almost totally distracted from paying attention to God. We, too, are easily distracted. We become jaded and lazy, letís just face it. But God is kind, he sets the alarm, he blows the trumpet, he wakes us up and we must repent, repent, repent! We jerk awake and turn to Him and turn to the task. But donít we rather suspect that God would like us to set our own alarm clock and stay zealous for His work? We should constantly fan the embers and add another log to the fire. Then our warmth will radiate out and others will come to be comforted.
It is very sobering to think that our occasional slumbering might cause a few to miss the boat for the first resurrection, that a few we could have influenced to walk the walk, wonít repent when the last trumpet sounds and Christ returns. The harvest is white now! We must go into the fields and join in the harvest. We canít just rehearse at the festivals. We canít waste time congratulating ourselves, in that we think we know something about Godís plan of salvation. Instead, letís rouse ourselves into action daily, and pray that God will show us the opportunities for doing His work, for helping bring in His harvest.
As the love of many waxes cold, we should be careful that we donít consider lukewarm as better than cold. Our love of neighbor today must heat up hotter than it was yesterday, regardless of what the trend is in the general populace. When we help a neighbor, whether he be friend or stranger, we are helping Christ (Mat. 25:40).
We have the best vocation in history, the best employer, 100% job security, the best product, the best opportunity to be profitable, the best of all rewards! Itís incredible that we could doze off on such a job. And God wonít let us drift off if we will heed His trumpet call. We should not wait to get to work! Letís respond to "reveille" at the Feast of Trumpets, and daily as well, and give thanks to God who gives us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Suggested additional reading:
Article: "Repentance, Judgment, Awe, & Reconciliation" by Dean E. Wheelock, July/August, 1996 issue of Hebrew Roots, P.O. Box 98, Lakewood, WI 54138.
Article: "The Feast of Loudness" by Norman S. Edwards and Pam Dewey, August 1997 issue of Servantsí News, P.O. Box 220, Charlotte, Michigan 48813-0220.
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