The Feast of Trumpets has very little directly written about it in Scripture. Here are the basic facts about this pivotal and holy day.
The Feast of Trumpets sounds a dire warning of war on the one hand and triumph for God and His saints on the other. Our goal is to be prepared for Christ's return.
Hardly anything is more dramatic than the blast of a trumpet. Alarm or warning is a primary function, and its other uses likewise culminate in the Feast of Trumpets.
The Feast of Trumpets is a memorial of blowing of trumpets, symbolizing the Day of the Lord, the real war to end all wars, when Christ will subdue the earth.
Our hope is founded on Jesus rising from the dead. If there is no resurrection, our faith is worthless; if Christ did not rise, we are still under condemnation.
The Feast of Trumpets is a day to remember that God is King. But God's holy days are also forward-looking or anticipatory, and the Day of Trumpets is no exception.
When Jesus Christ returns, He will marshal an army of resurrected saints who will wage a just war against the Satan-inspired end-time rebellion.
One major incident involving the blowing of trumpets occurred at the outset of Israel's incursion into Canaan, when God brought down the walls of Jericho.
The world will learn that God judges—that He has the ultimate decision over everything. After Satan is bound, God will bring about seven reconcilements.
God spoke audibly to Moses and the people, intentionally testing their faithfulness, to instill the fear of the Lord in them, and to keep them from sin.
In this Feast of Trumpets message, John Reid, reflecting on the occasions we hear a trumpet sounded, such as a horse race, a cavalry charge, taps, or reveille, affirms that for God's called out ones the trumpet blast, heralding Christ's return will be the most significant, an event signaling the end of Satan's rule. Throughout Israel's physical history, the trumpet blast has always meant the onset of war, death, and destruction, ushering in harsh correction for physical Israel. We, in the Israel of God, have been given some insight as to when this final trumpet will sound. As we wait for the return of Christ, we cannot be caught up in the cares of this world, incrementally boiling to death as the frog who can't detect subtle changes of temperature. Unfortunately, living in the Laodicean era will make us less responsive to subtle changes of temperature, causing us to compromise, yielding to lawlessness, only to ultimately lose our lives in the process. We are called by God to overcome our carnal nature, continually building character, continually examining ourselves, emulating the wise virgins by attaining a supply of oil (God's Holy Spirit), studying God's Word, fasting, and assiduously protecting ourselves from destructive, corrosive heresies, putting on the entire armor of God preparing for the mighty battle ahead.
Richard Ritenbaugh asserts that the fulfillment of the Day of Trumpets has the biggest immediate impact on us of all the Holy Days. This day depicts the time immediately before and after Christ's return, a time that if God would not intervene, no flesh would survive (Matthew 24:22). The Baby Boomers enabled us to annihilate life in many different ways many time over. The characteristics of their offspring - the Thirteenth Generation (or Generation X) provide a perfect match to the characteristics of II Timothy 3:1-3. These attitudes provide positive substantiation that we are living in the last days. Realizing these signposts should give us the urgent incentive to repent and overcome, preparing for the time fulfilled in the Day of Trumpets- the Day of the Lord.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the parable of the faithful and wise servant and the evil servant as well as the wise and foolish virgins, suggests that the Day of Trumpets emphasizes the state of caution and faithfulness required at the turbulent end times. The parables focus upon the relationship which we must have toward our fellow workers, warning us not to fall into a state of spiritual malaise in the midst of increasing stress. As a metaphor, sleep often has negative connotations of insensitivity, lack of alertness or awareness. Because the exact time of Christ's return is not known, we must be continually motivated as though His return were imminent. Those not prepared for the Day of the Lord will be blindsided by its unexpectedness. Christ and Paul realized that God only knows the time of Christ's return and have subsequently warned that we cannot rest on our laurels or fall asleep as in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. We must be making our preparations individually, not cuing in on our brethren, our family, or the world around us. As children of light we must conduct ourselves soberly, making positive use of our time, not allowing it to drift away. Being spiritually asleep or drunk will lead to poverty. We must wake up spiritually, taking off our carnal pajamas (the old carnal man) and clothing ourselves with the armor of God (Christ), redeeming the time and urgently pressing toward sanctification, holiness, and the Kingdom of God. The apostle Paul, afflicted with multiple health problems and considering his past life as worthless refuse, nevertheless, with sterling self-discipline, single-mindedly pressed on toward his spiritual goal, providing us an example for conduct under affliction and pressure. If we follow Paul's advice, we will not be emulating the wicked servant or the foolish virgins; we will be prepared.
If we go to the Feast with the goal of physically enjoying, we may lose out on both the spiritual and physical benefits. 'Going through the motions' defiles it.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the writings of Malachi Martin, suggests that as the Catholic College of Cardinals have a large number of prudent agnostics within their ranks, we also have a great many fence sitters within the church of God, demonstrating an alarming deficit of faith. In times of intense stress and uncertainty, many become extremely apathetic, unwilling to persevere, unwilling to work at overcoming. We are on the threshold of the greatest period of testing ever to come upon mankind. We need to be developing a sense of internal hope and faith through the motivating power of God's Holy Spirit, striving to keep our focus on our calling (God sought us out purposefully), passionately striving for goodness. The apostle Peter wrote an entire epistle (I Peter) on the subject of hope—stressing that what we really need, God will not hold back—including shaping trials. Thankfully, we are not left without resources.
Just because we keep God's feasts does not necessarily mean we are in sync with God's Law or intent. The Israelites kept the feasts in a carnal manner.
Peter's first sermon took place on the Day of Pentecost, yet his subject seems to 'fit' the Day of Trumpets. Charles Whitaker explains that the fulfillment of Pentecost begins what will be completed in the fulfillment of Trumpets.
The Seventh Trumpet is a call to assemble, a call to battle, and announces the arrival of a new ruler, Jesus Christ, separating the wheat from the tares.
John Reid, recounting the massive cost in blood and carnage from the time of Cain and Abel to the present, affirms that the Day of Trumpets pictures God's corrective actions that God Almighty will take because of His people's and the world's disobedience. History has demonstrated recurring disturbing Zeitgeists (spirit of the times) in which armed conflict has inspired hideous abominable viciousness in mankind that can't even be imagined. War has proven to be the ultimate distraction to growing into the image of God, catastrophically debilitating to every area of life, breaking a nation economically, warping its people psychologically, and destroying the social structure, infrastructure and the core spirit of the people. Because God absolutely hates war and what it has done to His people, He will correctively give them war fraught with more horror than anyone could imagine- a war the inhabitants of the earth will never forget- a war that will truly end all wars. The carnage at the Battle of Armageddon will be immense, with a lake extending 150 miles long consisting of three billion gallons of blood. In retrospect, this final conflict will cause mankind to remember what their desire to disobey God, and what their obsession go to to war has cost them. To those of us commemorating the Feast of Trumpets, it should sober us to the warning correctional side of this day and of the disciplinary side of God's Nature
In this sermon, John Ritenbaugh points out that the symbolism of the numerous (112) biblical references for trumpets suggests (1) an announcement of a specific event and (2) an alarm of what is to follow. In most cases the devastating horrendous events themselves are the figurative trumpet blasts, calling people to repent (Revelation 8:7-11:15, Amos 4:10-13, Isaiah 63:4, Matthew 24:29-31) God in His mercy has not revealed the specific times these horrendous events are to occur (Deuteronomy 29:29), but has revealed what is necessary for us to know. Our preparation for His Kingdom is best served by our not knowing specifically, spurring us on to greater activity in doing God's work. Preparation and constant vigilance should never stop (I Thessalonians 5:6-10, II Peter 3:14-18).
After reconciliation, there can finally be a meeting of minds as we are fashioned into a new creation, invited to sit in heavenly places, created for good works.
The timing of the regathering of Israel is uncertain, but here are the Scriptural markers that narrow the time frame to a significant prophetic event.
Love motivates the two intrinsic parts of God's holy character—goodness and severity, as He seeks to rescue humanity from the consequences of sin.
Richard Ritenbaugh, focusing upon Book IV of the Psalms, corresponding with the fall festivals, singles out the Feast of Trumpets for its themes and imagery, as well as the Summary Psalm 149. Trumpets could be considered the opening salvo of the fall feasts, beginning with a blast of the trumpet or shofar, reminiscent of the event on Mount Sinai in which God visited His people, brought the Law, and brought righteous judgment—an event which depicts another judgment coming upon the earth following the Seventh Trumpet and the seven trumpet plagues or bowls of judgment in which God will shake the earth and destroy those whose goal has been to destroy the earth, and a time when Christ will claim His Bride and the Marriage of the Lamb will commence. Psalm 91 anticipates the Day of the Lord, the return of Christ coming for judgment, and destruction, but also putting a protective hedge around His people. Psalm 90, written by Moses, wistfully asks how long it will be before this condition of temporariness can be turned to eternal life. Psalm 91, perhaps also written by Moses, discusses a kind of place of refuge in which the protected saints can view the destruction of Satan's evil system. Psalm 94 seems to reflect the point of view of saints not in a place of safety, anxiously waiting for the end of times of tribulation. The key to weathering these fearful times is drawing close to God with a view of emulating His life and getting to know Him, preparing for rulership in His Kingdom.
Richard Ritenbaugh, focusing upon the Feast of Trumpets as the "keystone" holy day, suggests that it memorializes God's deliverance of Israel beginning with Joseph and ending with Moses, and looks forward to Christ's return when God will fully deliver His people. Besides the trumpet's use in sounding an alarm, trumpets are used for calling an assembly, marshalling troops, or solemnizing a coronation, all fulfilled with the return of Christ as an avenging ruler with His avenging army subduing all presumptuous and boastful enemies. The saints then will be given dominion over the earth and ultimately over the universe.
David Grabbe warns us that the Day of the Lord will be a fearful time of judgement, darkness, and horror. The Scriptures provide no grounds for anyone to assume that God is on his side during this time; misguided self-assurance is the sole basis for the presumption that God will provide His people protection from every evil of this period. The ancient Israelites, as described by Amos, smugly believed that God was on their side because He was, in their minds, their birthright. They were blind to the fact that they practiced vast social and religious sins. Like the mainstream Protestants, they inculcated the doctrine of Eternal Security based on a fallacious belief in an unlimited credit line of grace. Many assume they have incurred God's favor because they have prospered, not realizing that God often blesses both the good and evil. Others think they have God's favor only because God has not yet punished them for their sins. Every passing day, these peoples' false sense of security and self-satisfaction grows. But God will not favor those who defile His covenant. The lack of immediate punishment springs from God's longsuffering and from His desire that we repent. Paul warns all of us not to assume that we stand, lest we fall. For that reason, God's called-out ones should not look eagerly for the Day of the Lord, but should instead humbly cultivate humility, perseverance, having poverty of spirit, beseeching God to protect us from the hour of trial.
Only the Father knows the precise time of Christ's return, but the message to all Christians is to be vigilant and busy overcoming that we may see Him in glory.
Jesus Himself instructs us to live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4), advice that is also useful when we study the Bible. Most of the passages that describe Christ's return to earth in power and glory at the end of the age contain the same detail: that He will come in, on, or with clouds. David Grabbe provides biblical background to help us understand why this detail is significant.
If we would keep God's Feasts properly, we would be in sync with God's noble purpose for us, defending us from falling into apostasy and idolatry.
Richard Ritenbaugh asserts that change is in itself neutral, having the propensity for either good or bad. Change is nearly always cyclical, reflecting both growth and decay. We all grow old, hopefully having attained wisdom. We have to learn to utilize positive change. Repentance and conversion leading to the times of refreshing and transforming to Christ's image depend on change. Christianity is a force for personal change, and ultimately for universal change. This feast day, a memorial of shouting and blowing trumpets, reminds us that we have been called for a lifetime of change. The Feast of Trumpets is a keystone holy day. Unless Trumpets is fulfilled by the return of Christ, none of the events depicted in the rest of the holy days could ever occur, namely the establishment of God's Kingdom under the rulership of Jesus Christ, accompanied by the resurrected glorified saints, children of Almighty God. At that time, in our transformed and glorious state, we will receive total satisfaction and joy, having the capacity to travel effortlessly (even through matter), to enjoy food as we did as human beings, and to inherit all things. This transformation has already begun to take place within our minds-a wonderful change that we can believe in.
John Ritenbaugh notes that labor-saving technology seems to have had the effect of separating us from each other and making us indifferent to things that should be important to us, such as family intimacy and preparing for God's Kingdom. Trumpets, a pivotal holy day and an event that looks backwards and forwards, is a holy convocation and an axle in which the whole plan of God turns. The sixth century axial period (BCE) saw the destruction of major empires, and the establishment of new empires. When these empires run their course, the government of God will put an end to all worldly empires. We currently live in the axial period between the demise of the corrupt human governments and the establishment of God's government. The Day of the Lord is prophesied to be a time of gloom and darkness, but much of modern Israel will not adhere to God's warning. The devastation currently suffered by Gentile nations will crescendo until it is Israel's turn to face the consequences of its sins. Israel's indifference to God's warning will net them an extremely startling, unpleasant shock to the nervous system. We are admonished to be alert as a sentry both to things going on around us and in our own lives, making a correct judgment about the proper decisions for our lives. We cannot become distracted, but must love Christ's appearing. Our circumspect and alert attitude toward His appearing will influence our wise and watchful conduct.
Using primarily the story of Joseph, John Ritenbaugh expounds the lessons we can learn and the encouragement we can glean from God's dealings with men during the time of the Feast of Trumpets.
Martin Collins, referring to the complex prophecies of Daniel 11 and 12, suggests that much of the interpretation of many parts of this prophetic passage, except for the fulfilled prophecy in Daniel 11:2-39, has not emerged clearly, and has been subject to speculative distortion. The exploits of Alexander the Great, his four generals, Antiochus Epiphanes, and Judas Maccabees are recorded in this narrative, providing types for future events. The detailed fulfillment of prophecy indicates that the Bible is God's Book and that He is able to keep His promises in perpetuity. The prophecies yet to be fulfilled do not contain enough geopolitical data to make clear distinctions possible at this time, but the context of the prophesied events provides instructions how the end-time saints should live their lives, in order to make their calling and election sure. God gives the saints wisdom because they fear and keep His commandments. Several types of the abomination of desolation have occurred in history, including the desecration of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes and the Roman legions. The latter fulfillment has not yet occurred, but the responsibility of God's called-out ones is purification in the backdrop of a hopelessly corrupt society, having abundant knowledge but virtually no understanding. Without the knowledge of God, civilization automatically spirals downward, given over to reprobate and debased minds. Thankfully, the over-riding theme of Daniel is the replacement of these debased systems of mankind with God's righteous government. The prophecies of Daniel should motivate God's saints to a life of purification and overcoming, glorifying God in the process, reflecting God as the moon reflects the sun, enabling the world to see a clear reflection of God.
John Ritenbaugh quotes several notable figures who spoke about a New World Order which would be ushered in to allegedly 'stabilize' a defunct order out of control. The New World Order will face oblivion as events of the Feast of Trumpets unfold. The blowing of trumpets symbolizes alarm, the morning and evening prayers of the saints, a memorial of some great event, and the calling of assembly. We are to be warned by the current events as though they were actual trumpet blasts. 6000 years have shown that mankind cannot govern itself. Satan is trying to destroy modern Israel. The greater Church of God (as well with Fundamental churches) is clearly not in sync with the agenda of the New World Order and will be a target of the Beast, standing out like the proverbial sore thumb. We need to have our commitment and conviction anchored in God's law. God has to know whether we will be loyal. The tests we are going through now are working to prepare us for God's kingdom.
The fall holy days picture various judgments by God, bringing about liberty, reconciliation, regathering, and restoration.
In this sobering message, John Ritenbaugh warns us about our attitude or our perception of the greatest axial period (turning point) that will ever take place on this earth. We need to be sober and alert, realizing that we don't have an infinitude of time to prepare for Christ's second coming. We cannot allow ourselves to become surfeited with the world's distractions, being lulled off to sleep as the foolish virgins, wasting our precious time. We need to exercise steadfast faithfulness, exercising vigilance as we approach the Day of the Lord in order that we don't let it take us by surprise. Living righteously on a continuous basis will put us in the right attitude, keeping us prepared for this event, causing us to properly have love for His appearing. Sorrow, fear, anguish, and dread characterize those who are unprepared.
The frightful Trumpet Plagues are coming on the world because of the breaking of covenants on the part of people who should have known better.
God's people do a disservice to the cause of truth when they allow the media-hype to trigger a false hope about Jesus Christ's return being imminent.
Clyde Finklea, reflecting on Alan Jackson's hit song, "Remember When," a nostalgic ballad blissfully focusing back in time on happy life events, recalls his and his wife's calling into the truth. The focus is on the Holy Day of Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) on the first day of the seventh month, a time depicting Christ's return to this earth, bringing all things together and putting Satan away. With a blast of trumpets, God wants us to remember when we were called out of bondage unto virtue, when He gave us the power of His Holy Spirit to do what our ancient forbears could not. Satan has tried to masquerade as the light bringer, but only Jesus Christ is the Light Bringer. Not only are we to remember the Source of light, and the reality of our calling out of this darkened world, but we must diligently resist the pulls of the flesh and the world, teaching these truths to our children.
Some of us, facing the stress of the times, may simply be going through the motions but losing every vestige of faith. We must strengthen our convictions.
John Ritenbaugh examines our society's inability to deal with reality, turning instead to media-concocted distortions. By refusing to believe God's Word, rejecting His doctrine, society does not find God to be real (including many church-going people, who pick and choose their own beliefs apart from Scripture). He cannot be real to people who refuse to adhere to His Word, which is a far more reliable gauge of reality than the most observant eyewitness. If we allow His Word to illuminate our lives, we will make the necessary steps to conform to His will, diligently keeping His commandments. We can account for God's seeming delay in His plan by realizing: 1) His schedule is on His time, not ours; 2) a delay allows more to be called, 3) giving us more time to overcome; and 4) lawlessness has not yet reached its peak. What God puts us through is designed to reveal reality to us. Accepting His doctrine without looking for loopholes will keep us true.
David Grabbe acknowledges that, while many of the predicted events in the Olivet Prophecy (Matthew 24) have occurred for millennia, the intensity of these events will wax more intense. Finally, in the events of the Sixth Seal, which are unlike any before them in history, God will provide mankind with an unmistakable warning of the final Trumpet Plagues, His judgment on sinners. During this terrifying epoch of time, the celestial lights will cease to function (Isaiah 13:13; Revelation 6:12), hardened sinners will beg the mountains to hide them, and God will shake heaven and earth mightily. In each depiction of the heavenly signs in Old Testament prophecies, the context shows God's involvement with physical Israelites, as He warns them, punishes them, and protects a repentant remnant. In Revelation, John's vision of the Sixth Seal is followed by his vision of 144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel (a remnant of 12,000 from each tribe, save Dan) being marked or sealed by an angel to protect them from harm during the day of God's wrath.
Richard Ritenbaugh focuses on the critical need for the Millennium and the means by which God will bring it about. The Millennium will come about because Christ is faithful to rescue mankind from its own stupidity, putting an end to sin and rebellion (Revelation 19:11). This great battle will be the entry into the Millennium, when a remnant of Israel, humbled through the Great Tribulation, will be comforted (Zephaniah 3:11-13) and accept the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31) coached by the firstfruits (Isaiah 30:20). God's way will radiate out from Zion (Micah 4:2) until it covers the whole earth as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14). God's Spirit will be readily available (Joel 2:28). The spirit is the key to the Millennium, enabling people to live the wisdom of God and making the earth arable, bountiful, and safe (Isaiah 35:1-10; Amos 9:13).
John Ritenbaugh, focusing on the Year of Release which falls on the Feast of Trumpets, relates that the Year of Release has ushered in major historical events, such as the September 11th attack and two financial collapses in 2001 and 2008. The Year of Release reminds us that God gives land as a gift to mankind to produce wealth. God is the Owner; we are the tenant as long as we exercise responsibility to dress and keep it. The Year of Release cancels, drops, and remits debts. The land continues to be God's. This year reminds us that God is the Creator, and we must trust God for sustenance every day. Man does not hold land in perpetuity, but only under the Eternal's trust. We own nothing until God entrusts us with His spiritual gifts. The Year of Release is a time lenders should forgive debts, mirroring God's forgiving our sins. The ancient Israelites had a difficult time forgiving debt. When we left spiritual Egypt, we were on death row, but all our sins were forgiven and the penalty dropped. The land Sabbath is a type of the weekly Sabbath wherein the land is given time to regenerate and restore its fertility. There was to be no sowing, no reaping, no pruning, and no storing, but the farmer, the animal, and the poor could glean the produce. The seventh year was also the time to release those who had fallen into servitude for monetary ineptitude.
Our lives revolve around the hope of a resurrection from the dead. Hope, deriving from Christ's resurrection, gives faith and love impetus and energy.
God's sense of justice comes into question in the minds of men when they read of His judgments in the Bible and see His acts in history. His judgments seem unfair because man can never please God on his own since God's standards are higher than he can achieve. Yet He has made it clear that even the smallest infraction of His law merits the death penalty. Everyone is guilty! God, then, is absolutely justified in what He decides regarding the judgment and punishment of us all (conversely, He always rewards righteousness). Moreover, we do not know all the circumstances and reasons for His judgments, so our opinions of God's decisions are at best ill-informed. Of all judges, only God is absolutely fair and incorruptible. And when He shows mercy it manifests His lovingkindness and grace.
If we do not keep God's holy days, we will deprive ourselves of the knowledge of God's purpose. Jesus and the first century church observed and upheld these days.
Here are the foundational principles to keep in mind in observing the Feasts of God throughout the year.
C.S. Lewis once wrote, 'Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.' In light of human nature, this is very true.
We tend to forget how different holy days and their offerings were under the Old Covenant as compared to the New. However, the important part of giving offerings remains the same!