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The Exciting Feast of Trumpets

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Bugle calls have appealed to me since watching a lot of cowboy movies as a kid. The plots were often similar: Everyone on a wagon train was about to be slaughtered by Indians. The tension was terrible. Then, at last, the exciting climax of the movie—the rising sound of the bugle call signaling “Charge”! The U.S. Cavalry came galloping over the ridge just in time to save the wagon train!

The use of trumpets and bugles to send signals has a long history. In Old Testament times, it's fascinating to see how ancient Israel used trumpet calls for numerous orders and announcements.

Few people realize that one of the seven annual festivals commanded by God is called the Feast of Trumpets . But why? Notice God's command:

“And in the seventh month [corresponding to our September/October], on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation [a commanded worship assembly]. You shall do no customary work. For you it is a day of blowing the trumpets ” (Numbers 29:1 Numbers 29:1And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have an holy convocation; you shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets to you.
American King James Version×
; see also Leviticus 23:24 Leviticus 23:24Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
American King James Version×
; emphasis added throughout).

In the original Hebrew here, no trumpets are actually mentioned. Rather, the phrase “blowing of trumpets” has been translated from the single word teruah , which signifies the making of a loud noise or clamor. It is sometimes translated “shout,” as made by human voices (e.g., Joshua 6:10 Joshua 6:10And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, You shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall you shout.
American King James Version×
). It's also rendered “alarm” in association with the sound of the shofar or ram's horn (Jeremiah 4:19 Jeremiah 4:19My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart 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.
American King James Version×
).

A form of the word also refers to sounding an alarm with metal trumpets or hatsotserot (Numbers 10:9 Numbers 10:9And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then 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.
American King James Version×
;silver trumpets in this case). In Psalm 98, the word is rendered “shout joyfully,” and applies to loud singing as well as blowing metal trumpets and the ram's horn in celebration (Psalms 98:4-6 Psalms 98:4-6 4 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. 5 Sing to the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. 6 With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.
American King James Version×
).

Numbers 10:1-10 Numbers 10:1-10 1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 Make you two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shall you make them: that you may use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. 3 And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to you at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 4 And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves to you. 5 When you blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. 6 When you blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys. 7 But when the congregation is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but you shall not sound an alarm. 8 And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations. 9 And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then 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. 10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
American King James Version×
relates the uses of the two silver trumpets of the tabernacle, including calls to assemblies, announcing special occasions and events such as holy days and sacrifices, and for alarms of war, as mentioned. Interestingly, the shofar was used for some of the same purposes. One distinction, however, was that only the priests were authorized to blow the silver trumpets.

Thus, making a loud noise, particularly through the ram's horn and other trumpets, can be celebratory as well as a dire warning—like a tornado siren. Both aspects are part of the important meaning of this Holy Day.

A mighty trumpet announces the second coming of Christ

The Feast of Trumpets holds special excitement because it initiates the autumn festival season of four festivals. As with all the annual feasts, we need the New Testament to fully understand the meaning and symbolism.

Most interesting is what the Bible reveals about trumpet calls in connection with future prophesied events —events pointed to by the Feast of Trumpets!

Scripture tells us that an earth-shaking trumpet call will announce the most important and exciting event that will ever happen to humanity— the second coming of Jesus Christ ! This will be the great climax and turning point of all history!

Note how Jesus described His future return: “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 24:30-31 Matthew 24:30-31 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
American King James Version×
).

Another great event: the resurrection of the saints

Another major event that happens at Christ's return is the resurrection of God's faithful servants, the saints.

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament frequently use the word “saints” to refer to the faithful followers of God. In the New Testament, they are also called the “elect,” those selected or chosen (as in Matthew 24:31 Matthew 24:31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
American King James Version×
).

The apostle Paul wrote: “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 [the saints who have died] will rise first. Then we [saints] 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 4:16-17 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
American King James Version×
).

The resurrection of the saints to glorified spirit life to “reign with” Christ is called in Scripture “the first resurrection.” A second resurrection will follow 1,000 years later for “the rest of the dead” (Revelation 20:5-6 Revelation 20:5-6 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on 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.
American King James Version×
).

The 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians is largely about the resurrection of the saints— see particularly 1 Corinthians15:12-13 and 1 Corinthians15:20-23. Paul then goes on to describe this resurrection in 1 Corinthians15:42-44: “So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”

Then Paul states when this resurrection will occur: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep [meaning not all in this resurrection will be dead in the grave when Christ returns], 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 . For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians15:51-53).

Is this a “secret rapture”? Absolutely not. The popular idea of a “rapture” is a little bit of truth mixed with lots of errors. Christ will return “with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16 1 Thessalonians 4:16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
American King James Version×
). It will be anything but secret!

While many of the saints will be protected during the end-time Great Tribulation (see Revelation 12:12-17 Revelation 12:12-17 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
American King James Version×
), this will be on earth , not in heaven. In fact, the reward of the saints is not that of going to heaven at death , as so many think. It will be eternal life in the Kingdom of God, which Christ will establish on the earth when He returns (Matthew 5:5 Matthew 5:5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
American King James Version×
; 6:10; Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
American King James Version×
).

Those who are a part of the first resurrection will rule with Jesus Christ here on earth. Eternal life in the Kingdom of God will then be offered to all those who inhabit the earth. (To learn more, read our free Bible study aids Heaven and Hell: What Does the Bible Really Teach? and You Can Understand Bible Prophecy  .)

A scroll sealed with seven seals

Many people have a very limited perspective of Jesus Christ. They think only of His first coming as the suffering Savior and as the Lamb of God. But He, along with the Father, is a God of justice and judgment as well as a God of mercy and forgiveness. When Jesus comes the second time, it will be as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” to punish those who are in rebellion against God (Revelation 5:5 Revelation 5:5And one of the elders said to me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
American King James Version×
). That will be essential to prepare the way for true peace on earth.

The end-time sequence of events is pictured as Christ unrolling a scroll by breaking open its seven seals one by one (Revelation 5). The sequence of the seals is the same sequence of events Jesus described in His prophecy about His return recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. These are crises that will be growing in frequency and intensity leading up to that time.

The opening of the first four seals unveils what are commonly referred to as the “four horsemen of the Apocalypse ,” representing false religion, war, famine and death by pestilence and various disasters (see Revelation 6:1-8 Revelation 6:1-8 1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given to him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. 3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given to him a great sword. 5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and see a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the middle of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see you hurt not the oil and the wine. 7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
American King James Version×
). The fifth seal represents the persecution of God's people and the Great Tribulation, when God will use gentile nations to punish the nations that are the modern descendants of ancient Israel (Revelation 6:9-11 Revelation 6:9-11 9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said to them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brothers, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 24:21 Matthew 24:21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
American King James Version×
; Jeremiah 30:7 Jeremiah 30:7Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
American King James Version×
).

Then “immediately after the tribulation” will be heavenly signs with the opening of the sixth seal (Matthew 24:29-30 Matthew 24:29-30 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
American King James Version×
; Revelation 6:12-16 Revelation 6:12-16 12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, see, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every slave, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
American King James Version×
).

The seventh seal: the Day of the Lord

The heavenly signs of the sixth seal announce the Day of the Lord, with fearful people crying out: “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:17 Revelation 6:17For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
American King James Version×
). Likewise, the prophet Joel tells us that the heavenly signs will happen just “before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31 Joel 2:31The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.
American King James Version×
). So the period of the seventh seal that follows in Revelation is the Day of the Lord. (Except for a few inset chapters, the book of Revelation is organized quite sequentially.)

The Day of the Lord is the time of God's major intervention on the earth. This age is Satan's “day,” when “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19 1 John 5:19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
American King James Version×
). The Day of the Lord begins when Christ begins to take back control and mete out calamitous judgment on the rebellious nations that defy God.

Joel says, “The day of the Lord is great and very terrible; who can endure it?” (Joel 2:11 Joel 2:11And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executes his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
American King James Version×
; see also Joel 1:15 Joel 1:15Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
American King James Version×
; Joel 2:1 Joel 2:1Blow you 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 comes, for it is near at hand;
American King James Version×
; Joel 3:14 Joel 3:14Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
American King James Version×
). The Day of the Lord is also called, as we saw in Revelation 6:17 Revelation 6:17For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
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, “the great day of His wrath.” Numerous other prophecies describe the fierce wrath of God against the forces of evil during the Day of the Lord.

The opening of the “seventh seal,” which is the Day of the Lord, reveals “seven angels” with “seven trumpets” (Revelation 8:1-2 Revelation 8:1-2 1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
American King James Version×
). Each trumpet blast announces terrifying calamities that will afflict rebellious mankind. The blowing of these trumpets apparently takes place over the course of a year , since Isaiah 34:8 Isaiah 34:8For it is the day of the LORD’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.
American King James Version×
refers to this time as “the Day of the Lord's vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion.” And one trumpet plague takes five months, as we'll see in a moment.

This year comes at the end of the time of terrible tribulation and concludes with the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection. Given the seven warning trumpets over this period, it would seem that the Feast of Trumpets pictures all of it, not just Christ's return and the resurrection at the end— though these events at the end following the final trumpet are certainly the high point.

Be assured that while Jesus Christ is sending plagues and other punishments on the earth, He will be protecting His faithful followers (although He will allow some to be martyred). To them He promises, “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10 Revelation 3:10Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come on all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth.
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; see also Revelation 7:3 Revelation 7:3Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
American King James Version×
).

The blowing of the seven trumpets

After each of the first three trumpets, devastating destruction befalls the earth (Revelation 8:1-11 Revelation 8:1-11 1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. 5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunder, and lightning, and an earthquake. 6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. 8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. 10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell on the third part of the rivers, and on the fountains of waters; 11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
American King James Version×
). The fourth trumpet announces a time of great darkness (Revelation 8:12 Revelation 8:12And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
American King James Version×
).

When the fifth angel sounds, a mighty army suddenly comes on the scene with great power, including power that will be used against its enemies “to torment them for five months” (Revelation 9:1-12 Revelation 9:1-12 1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven to the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3 And there came out of the smoke locusts on the earth: and to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. 5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he strikes a man. 6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. 7 And the shapes of the locusts were like to horses prepared to battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. 8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. 10 And they had tails like to scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. 11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue has his name Apollyon. 12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
American King James Version×
).

When the sixth angel sounds, a giant army of 200 million comes from the east, resulting in the deaths of a third of mankind (Revelation 9:13-21 Revelation 9:13-21 13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. 16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. 17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. 19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like to serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. 20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
American King James Version×
). One would think that all the survivors would then have enough sense and fear of God to repent of their sins, but not so—“they did not repent” (Revelation 9:20-21 Revelation 9:20-21 20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
American King James Version×
).

When the seventh angel sounds, he is announcing events both wonderful and terrifying. The wonderful events are the coronation of Jesus Christ as King of Kings, His return to rule all nations and the resurrection of the saints—“at the last trumpet” (1 Corinthians 15:52 1 Corinthians 15:52In 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.
American King James Version×
). And the terrifying events are a series of seven last plagues, as we'll see.

Revelation 11:15-18 Revelation 11:15-18 15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. 16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell on their faces, and worshipped God, 17 Saying, We give you thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which are, and were, and are to come; because you have taken to you your great power, and have reigned. 18 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, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.
American King James Version×
proclaims: “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah [or Christ], and he will reign for ever and ever.'

“And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.

“‘The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both small and great—and for destroying those who destroy the earth” (NIV).

The warning in the seventh trumpet

Note what follows in Revelation 15:1 Revelation 15:1And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
American King James Version×
: “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 16 goes on to describe the seven last plagues. The first is a terrible affliction on people, the second is on the sea and its creatures, and the third is on all the rivers and springs of water. The fourth plague is on the sun, which creates scorching heat. The fifth plague is darkness and extremely painful sores.

Again, in spite of the terrible pain and suffering, the prophecy recounts in advance that these people “did not repent of their deeds” (Revelation 16:9-11 Revelation 16:9-11 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which has power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. 10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial on the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, 11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
American King James Version×
). Yet even these stubborn people will have an opportunity for salvation. After dying and being resurrected a thousand years later, they will at last be receptive to Christ's teachings.

The sixth angel announces a vast army coming from the east led by Satan and his demons. They “go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:12-14 Revelation 16:12-14 12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
American King James Version×
).

“And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16 Revelation 16:16And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
American King James Version×
). Armageddon means Mount or Hill of Megiddo. This place northwest of Jerusalem has been a gathering place for armies numerous times in the past. Other scriptures show that the actual “battle of that great day of God Almighty” will be in and around Jerusalem.

The seventh angel announces incredible cataclysms! “And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth … And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great” (Revelation 16:18-21 Revelation 16:18-21 18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightning; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were on the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. 19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And there fell on men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
American King James Version×
).

Then comes the Commander and His heavenly cavalry for the final battle!

The triumphant return of Jesus Christ

Revelation 17 describes a powerful and evil worldwide system called “Babylon the great.” Its armies and the armies of its enemies are about to fight each other when they instead turn to fight against the returning Jesus Christ. Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
American King James Version×
says, “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 18 goes on to describe the fall of this system called Babylon.

Revelation 19 begins with scenes in heaven. Then Revelation 19:7-9 Revelation 19:7-9 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he said to me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God.
American King James Version×
refer to “the marriage of the Lamb” to “His wife,” the Church, and “the marriage supper.”

Then we read of the awesome arrival and conquest by Jesus Christ and His armies! “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war” (Revelation 19:11 Revelation 19:11And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war.
American King James Version×
).

“And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses” (Revelation 19:14 Revelation 19:14And the armies which were in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
American King James Version×
).

“And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORDS OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16 Revelation 19:16And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
American King James Version×
).

The remainder of the chapter tells how all who will have tried to make war against Him will be killed.

God reveals more about the great final battle in Zechariah 14. Here are portions of that chapter: “Behold, the day of the Lord is coming” (Zechariah 14:1 Zechariah 14:1Behold, the day of the LORD comes, and your spoil shall be divided in the middle of you.
American King James Version×
). “For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2 Zechariah 14:2For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
American King James Version×
). “Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations” (Zechariah 14:3 Zechariah 14:3Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
American King James Version×
). “And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east” (Zechariah 14:4 Zechariah 14:4And his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in the middle thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
American King James Version×
). “Thus the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with You [some translations say “Him”]” (Zechariah 14:5 Zechariah 14:5And you shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal: yes, you shall flee, like as you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with you.
American King James Version×
).

The symbolism of the Feast of Trumpets

So what does the Feast of Trumpets picture? It portrays everything that happens from the angel blowing the first trumpet to Christ conquering His enemies at the time of His return. It warns of global catastrophes and war and yet, at the same time, celebrates the coming of Jesus Christ as King and the raising to life of His followers. This paves the way for peace on earth at last as Jesus sets up His Kingdom and begins to rule the world! The next three annual Feasts explain the rest of the story.

The Feast of Trumpets is a Holy Day on which members of the United Church of God , publisher of The Good News , will have church services in many locations around the world . This festival is a time of rejoicing before God, as it depicts a time when our Creator will dramatically intervene in world affairs for the good of mankind. It will be a time of joyful worship as we review what this day pictures in the plan of God.

This Holy Day stirs excited anticipation for the time when, as Zechariah 14:9 Zechariah 14:9And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
American King James Version×
puts it, “the Lord shall be King over all the earth”!

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