TRUMPETS IN THE BIBLE
On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.
Trumpets have a variety of roles in the Bible:
- A trumpet announced the imminent presence of God…
- The trumpet sounded and the people trembled in awe of God
- But Moses spoke to God as a man to a friend
It’s good to show proper respect for God, the consuming fire
- But how much better to call Him, Father!
What impression do we give the world about God?
- A remote figure?
- Someone that turns up from time to time but is usually far away?
Or do we speak of One who promises to be closer than our closest friend?
The trumpet announced a day of rest… as we read in Leviticus 23:23-25:
The LORD said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the LORD by fire.
- God laboured for six days then rested… not because He was tired!
- It was to establish an important principle of ‘coming aside’… beside the still waters
In the OT no work was done on the Sabbath (Saturday)
- But nowhere in the New Testament is Sunday referred to as the Sabbath but rather as “the Lord’s Day”
How do we view Sunday?
- For most Christians it is anything but a day of rest!
- And yet it is!! It’s the ‘Sabbath rest’ that comes from spending quality time dwelling in the presence of the Lord…
A lady I know learned to hate Sundays because she wasn’t even allowed to play with a ball…
- A pastor commented that as a child, he was scolded for plucking a weed from the ground when walking through the park with his parents because it was ‘the Sabbath’!
- And what about the way we dress on Sunday?
- And shopping, buying fuel, calling an ambulance!
Some people argue: “You would dress your best to visit the Queen, so you should dress up to go to church”…
- But we are not ‘visiting God’… He promises to live within our hearts by His Spirit… the church is a meeting place, not a palace!
- When the trumpet sounds and Sunday begins… what factors should influence our decisions about what to do and how to behave?
- Let’s be careful about using the time in a way that honours God and blesses others but free from legalism and fear of ‘breaking the rules’
- Whatever way we choose to spend Sunday, it is the principle of “abiding” in Christ that should underpin our decisions… not a fruitless attempt to ‘import’ Old Testament legalism
- Trumpets were used to assemble the people
The LORD said to Moses: “Make two trumpets of hammered silver, and use them for calling the community together and for having the camps set out. When both are sounded, the whole community is to assemble before you at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. (Numbers 10: 1-3)
In fact, two trumpets are mentioned…
- The call was intended to alert everyone to the imminent move, which was very important for a nomadic people, quite widely dispersed
- So that everyone could get themselves sorted out for another house move!
- Imagine coordinating the movement of ten of thousands of people!
But in the same vein, trumpets would also sound the alarm and warn everyone of imminent danger… so in Jeremiah 4: 5-6 we read:
“Announce in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem and say:
‘Sound the trumpet throughout the land!’ Cry aloud and say: ‘Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities!’ Raise the signal to go to Zion! Flee for safety without delay! For I am bringing disaster from the north, even terrible destruction.”
So the trumpet has a dual purpose here:
- Unify the people of God and prepare them for action
- Teach them about how to be “wise unto salvation”… when to confront the devil so that he flees… and when to run and keep running!
And once the battle begins, the trumpet is used for signalling and communicating… so in Numbers 31:5-6 we read:
So twelve thousand men armed for battle, a thousand from each tribe, were supplied from the clans of Israel. Moses sent them into battle, a thousand from each tribe, along with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, who took with him articles from the sanctuary and the trumpets for signalling.
Good communication is important in spiritual warfare…
- Making sure that everyone knows what is happening
- Being open and honest with one another… strictly no gossip!
- Thinking carefully how our words are being interpreted
The church’s ministry should cover all of these elements…
- Providing solid food to feed our faith
- But also to be sensitive to the spiritual challenges that await us…
- And ensuring that we invest in people as much as systems and organisation
Satan is not interested in ‘closeted Christians’ or spectators… but he will do everything he can to wreck the lives of those who dare to challenge him…
- Putting on the whole armour of God (note… of God) before we enter the battle is, of course, the only way forward if we are to fight and win
- The trumpet is used to announce the coming of the Son of Man … so in Matthew 24: 30-31 we read:
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
And the trumpet speaks of judgement on the wicked… those who have been given opportunity to repent and turn to God but preferred to dismiss His gracious offer…
- So we read in Joshua 6 (Jericho) and Judges 7 (Gideon) that the sound of the trumpet meant that God was about to show that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God
WAITING can be pleasurable or miserable…
- Waiting for a happy event brings excitement, expectation and joy
- Waiting for a sad or painful event brings fear, despair and hopelessness
So which will it be for you and me concerning the coming of Jesus Christ?
- Fear or joy? Excitement or despair? Confidence about the future or hopelessness?
Only those who are pleased at His appearing will be safe … those who pretend to be pleased in the hope of gaining eternal life in heaven will be disappointed, for He will say to them:
“Go away from me. I don’t know you!”
Finally, trumpets sound a note of genuine hope…
- The trumpet will herald eternity… eternal life for those who have placed their trust in God’s Son and the only way of salvation… so in I Corinthians 15:51-53 we read:
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
So we can thank God for the trumpet… IF we are on the Lord’s side… it speaks of eternal life and no condemnation…
- But for those who reject God, it is the blast of eternal separation from Him
The Redeemed can sing, “When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and the roll is called up yonder, by the grace of God, I’ll be there!”