Let Us Keep the Feasts
God's Day of Reckoning
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Let Us Keep the Feasts: God's Day of Reckoning
This is part 9 in the Beyond Today Bible study series: Let Us Keep the Feasts. God certainly love everyone, but there is coming a time of terrible tribulation. Can that paradox be reconciled? The love of God and the wrath of God are both aspects of His nature revealed in the Feast of Trumpets.
[Steve Myers] Before we begin, let's bow our heads and ask God's blessing on our Bible study. Great loving Heavenly Father, God Almighty. Thank You so much for Your wonderful ways. We are so thankful for Your truth and Your love and Your mercy. Thanks for working with us and opening our minds to Your truth. We certainly pray, God, that You inspire everything that we hear about today through Your Word, and that You help us to understand more deeply Your plan and Your purpose for each of us individually and for mankind as well. So we thank You for this study, the opportunity to discover more about You and Your Word. And we just want to put it all into Your hands. And so we do that, thanking You and praising You all by the authority and in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Alright, we will be continuing our study tonight on the Festivals. There is a little bit of a paradox, in this next festival that we're to be discussing. I've titled the Bible study "God's Day of Reckoning" because it involves those things that oftentimes people associate with doom and gloom. I think most people that are familiar with the Bible at any level at times tend to think of the time of the end as the time of horrible doom and problems and difficulties.
Now, the paradox then is, how do you justify a God who says He is love with the fact that there is going to come a day of reckoning? How do you justify mercy and grace with terror and destruction? How do those two things fit together? Can a God be a God of love and a God of reckoning? Can a God be a God of wrath and yet a God of justice and mercy? Well, there is a Feast day that shows this very thing. And it uses this kind of paradox, I think, to make an important point.
And so tonight we're going to explore that and look in detail at the Feast of Trumpets. The Feast of Trumpets is what will be looking at. And as we begin that, you might wonder, “Well, what does trumpets have to do with anything?” So as we consider God's reckoning, let's think about why trumpets? What does trumpets have to do with anything? What has God have to do with the Feast of Trumpets, and why does He use this to get across His message?
Let's notice, beginning in Leviticus chapter 23, verse 23. The Feast of Trumpets is an easy one to remember in that way. Leviticus 23:23 begins to speak about this Feast day. So let's notice a couple of things about it, as we begin this evening. It says, "Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, ‘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 trumpets, a holy convocation.”’" And so He begins by pointing out a couple of things that I think are critical. It's a Sabbath, so it's a day of rest. It's a day of worship as well. It's a memorial.
And He says specifically that it's remembering, or memorializing, trumpets. And so why trumpets? What does trumpets have to do with anything? Is it just kind of a cool name—the Feast of Trumpets—or was there more to it than just that? Well, we won't take a lot of time to go through it, but if we were to go over to Numbers chapter 10 and read through a number of the things that are significant about trumpets, trumpets themselves as they are used in the Bible, we'll see a couple of things.
Beginning, you'd see that it's about gathering. When trumpets are blown, people would gather. First, they gather at the Temple, or the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle of Meeting, to meet God, to honor and worship God. They would gather together at the Tabernacle. There would also be a gathering at times, when trumpets were blown at different times, when the leadership would come together. The leadership of Israel would come together at the blowing of the trumpets. And the people would come to their leaders, at that time, leaders of the different tribes and clans. The Bible talks about that in many places.
Another aspect of the trumpet blowing, and I think that one that's critical for our discussion tonight, was that there was a gathering when the trumpet was sounded as an alarm. And that brought the people together for war. So the trumpets were blown so people would gather for war. An alarm was sounded, so that the people came together. And of course, as we just read here in Leviticus 23, the trumpets were also sounded at the appointed Feasts.
So special occasions were when the trumpets would be blown as well. And in fact as you read through the Scripture, it also tells God's people to sound a trumpet in the preaching of the Word of God. The preaching of the Word of God should be like the sound of a warning trumpet to this world, so that they know that something significant is about to happen. And so, you can spend a lot of time just studying what trumpets were used for in the Bible and what those sounds signified.
But it is interesting how it all ties together when it comes to the Feast of Trumpets. Because at this particular Feast, it's significant because it points to a time of reckoning. It points to a time when people would be gathered for judgment. And of course, the alarm of war also fits in with the Feast of Trumpets because it points to a time when God's wrath is going to be poured out on this world, when it will be a time of difficulty. It will be a time of war. It will be a time when terrible difficulties will be occurring.
In fact, the Feast of Trumpets also points to that gathering time, you might say, at the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is also pictured in the Feast of Trumpets. That kind of reminds us of that section of Revelation that talks about the trumpets that are blown one after another, after another, so that seven trumpets are blown. And so, all of those things tie into the concept of why trumpets?
And of course here, God's telling us that it's also connected with honoring and worshiping Him. Recognizing that He is sovereign over this world. And that He ultimately has the world in His control, in His command. And so we come together on this Feast day, in fact we're reminded, it's not a feast of the Jews, it's not a feast of just the Israelites. But if you look back at verse 2 of chapter 23, it says, "These are the feasts of the Lord." They're God's Feasts.
And so we worship on this Feast of Trumpets. We honor God, and we come together as we gather, to recognize the significance of this day. And it's not just an Old Testament thing, is not an Old Covenant thing. We can go back to Exodus chapter 12. And we could see that these days were instituted long before the Old Covenant, long before the agreement that God made with Israel and the Jews.
In fact, we can recognize some of the significance in one of the Psalms. I think that begins to make this fairly clear. If you'll join me over in Psalm 47. Psalm 47 is a section of Scripture that deals with some of the significance of this Feast of Trumpets. So let's read it, and notice the significance that's tied in with, "why trumpets?" Why trumpets is significant in this concept of what God is doing in His plan and His purpose for mankind. The beginning of Psalm 47 says, "Oh clap your hands, all you peoples. Shout to God with the voice of triumph. For the Lord most high is awesome. He is a great King over all the earth." So we can recognize God will triumph over evil. He will triumph over the nations, the nations, let's notice that.
Verse 3, "He will subdue the people, peoples under us." Righteousness will succeed in other words, "and the nations under our feet. He will choose our inheritance for us, the excellence of Jacob whom He loves." And so we recognize, ultimately, the battle belongs to God. The battle belongs to God. This is not a battle between good and evil, this is not a battle between Satan and God. God is sovereign, God is supreme. The nations will be ruled by God; the result is not in doubt. So Psalm 47 makes that clear. In fact, verse 5 says, "God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet."
He goes on, "Sing praises to God, sing praises, sing praises to our King, sing praises, for God is the King of all the earth. Sing praises with understanding." Verse 8, "God reigns over the nations. God sits on His holy throne. The princes of the people have gathered together, the people of the God of Abraham." And then he concludes, "For the shields of the earth belong to God. He is greatly exalted." So we can begin to see in Psalm 47, God is heralded by the trumpets. In this sense, trumpets are recognizing the fact that Christ is going to return, God is supreme over all mankind.
And so it points to this tremendous symbolism. It points to the fact that it pictures the Lord, who will return to reign and rule over all the nations. It points to the second coming of Jesus Christ. It also points to those events that lead up to the second coming of Christ. So not just the second coming itself, but trumpets and the Feast of Trumpets also point to the events that are leading up to Jesus' kingship over all the earth. In fact, it points to that end time in this age in this world's history, mankind's history. And it is also reminder that it's continuing. Trumpets are recognizing God's continuing sovereignty.
And so He was sovereign when they kept the Feast of Tabernacles, and excuse me, the Feast of Trumpets, at Sinai, when He gave that law at Sinai. It recognizes the fact He was sovereign. In the New Testament Church, when they continued to keep that festival. Even though it's not mentioned by name in the New Testament, the theme of the blowing of trumpets, the theme of the sounding of trumpets to announce the return of Christ is throughout the New Testament.
And so these days, these festival days, and specifically the Feast of Trumpets, continues to be observed today with this symbolism in mind. In fact, if we look to the New Testament for just a moment, let's notice as we begin tonight some of the connections to this Feast of Trumpets in the New Testament. We can notice this beginning in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, verse 16. 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and verse 16 points out this connection between the Feast of Trumpets and the New Testament teaching on that feast and the connected theme, or the connected symbolism that we find in this feast.
Let's notice 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Does this sound familiar to some of the things we read in Psalm 47? Let's see what it says here says. "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." Now, when you study through the section, the significance becomes clear. That at the return of Christ, the saints will meet Him in the air and escort Him back to earth, where He will reign and rule over the nations like Psalm 47 talked about.
And it's connected with trumpets, that signifying announcement of His return. In fact, we can follow this theme all the way through to the end of the Book. We can go to the book of Revelation, you look at Revelation chapter 11, verse 15. What happens at the return of Christ? Part of what the Feast of Trumpets signifies? Well, notice Revelation, chapter 11, verse 15. Revelation 11:15 says, "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.'" So Christ will return to this earth, like Psalm 47 said; He will reign and rule over the nations, over all peoples. And the trumpet's significance herald His return. So no wonder God chose trumpets as an important connection in what His plan and His purpose are all about.
Now with the return of Christ, there's going to be difficulties, there's going to be struggles, there's going to be challenges, there's going to be war, as we read about earlier. And so that points to something that's unique about this time. It's going to be a time like no other. This time that the Feast of Trumpets points to is unprecedented in mankind's history. Christ himself spoke of this over in Matthew chapter 24.
If you turn there with me, right at the very beginning of the chapter, Matthew 24, we recognize that this is pointing to a time that's just over the horizon for us. I feel it's not very far away. When we look at world conditions and the things that are happening today all around the world, can we be very far from the time that Jesus Himself was speaking of here Matthew 24? Notice what He says in verse 3. Matthew 24:3, it says, "Now, as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately saying, 'Tell us when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age.'"
So the disciples frame the question, “When will the Feast of Trumpets really come to pass? When will those events that the Feast of Trumpets symbolizes and the Feast of Trumpets picture, when will those events actually occur? When will they take place? What will be the sign of that particular time?” Well, Christ answers, if we skip down to verse 21, notice what He says, "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time and no, nor ever shall be."
In fact He says in verse 22, here's how unique this time period is. He says, "Unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect's sake, those days will be shortened." All mankind would be destroyed by their own forces if God didn't intervene. And so trumpets point to that time when Christ will intervene in mankind's affairs. In fact it will be such a difficult time, there's no time in history like this time that's coming.
And as we look at that, we can see this time coming just before the return of Christ. In fact, it's labelled using these words that are written right here. This time of difficult trials that are ahead have become known as "The Great Tribulation." In fact, the prophet Daniel also talked about these very times as well, in Daniel chapter 12. You can read about that as well. And the connections that Daniel talked about seem to fit perfectly with what Jesus Christ prophesied about as well. Because it will be a time like no other. No one would be saved, no one would be saved alive, without God intervening in mankind's affairs, just wouldn't happen.
And so, the Feast of Trumpets points to that time. As you think about that time, this time before the return of Christ, when this great tribulation begins, it points to a three and half year time span. I don't have the time tonight to go through why and where and all the details of those things. But I will talk about a connection here that's kind of interesting when you look at that three and half year time frame. If you have any questions about it, you can always go to our website. You can type in, "the great tribulation," you'll get all kinds of information on the time period of the Great Tribulation.
If you type in, "time, times, and half a time," you get the whole picture on our website as well. But did you realize that three and half years is in a way subdivided? It's kind of broken up into two parts. The first part, is a time of “Satan's Wrath.” “Satan's Wrath,” and this time period is a time that's going to last two and half years. Two and a half years is the time that Satan is going to bring his wrath upon the earth, upon mankind. In fact, if you're over in the book of Revelation, if you're not there, well, let's turn over there. Revelation chapter 12, verse 7 points to a time as the Great Tribulation is about to begin.
Revelation chapter 12, we'll begin in verse 7. Revelation 12:7. Let's see the significance of this and how Satan's wrath ties into the Great Tribulation. Revelation chapter 12:7. It says, "And war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought with the Dragon. And the Dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer." So Satan tries to overtake God's throne. Part of his mission throughout history seems to be, he's always wanted to be God. Remember the things that he promised Christ. He wanted to be worshiped.
So here once again, he's trying to take God's place so that he could be worshiped. But he didn't prevail. So verse 9 takes place, "The great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. And he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." Now that becomes significant as we enter the tribulation, as we enter what's become known as "Satan's Wrath" and here's why. It says in verse 10, "I heard a loud voice saying in heaven 'Now salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God, the power of His Christ, have come. For the accuser of our brethren, who accused our God day and night, has been cast down.'"
And it says, "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and they didn't love their lives to the death." And so what happens, as Satan is cast down, verse 12, "Therefore rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth." So spirit beings are fine, God's fine, His angels are fine. But “woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea.” Why? "For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time." And so this initial time of the great tribulation is known as what Revelation 12:12 points to, "Satan's Wrath," Satan's Wrath.
The time of the end, the events that the Feast of Trumpets point to the Great Tribulation, begin as Satan is cast down to this earth and begins to stir up his wrath on mankind. And so we see that begin right after this event takes place. Of course, one thing we know, Satan can only do this because God allows him to do this. He has no power of his own, only as God allows him to have. And of course Satan is the great deceiver. And he will use everything and especially pull out every stop at this time as he exerts his power and his mission to thwart mankind.
I mean, his goal is either, if he can't be worshiped, he doesn't want anybody to worship God. He doesn't want anyone to follow God. So he wants to thwart all of mankind in the relationship with God. And so, he's out to do that during this two and half year time of Satan's Wrath at the Great Tribulation. Now of course that's just the beginning, that's just the beginning, because as I mentioned that, that time period of the Great Tribulation could be divided up into two sections.
And the second section that we could divide this overall three and half years of the Great Tribulation, the second part is "God's Wrath." God's Wrath. And that of course is one year in the overall time frame, which the Bible sometimes calls "a day." And you know what day it calls God's Wrath? "The Day of the Lord." The Day of the Lord is also referred to God's Wrath, that last year of the Great Tribulation.
We can read a little bit about it. If you go back to chapter 1, in Revelation, in the book of Revelation, we see the apostle John's vision and the time frame that's involved in this vision, as he has revealed what will happen at the time of the end. And in the verse 10, he tells us, "I was in the spirit on the Lord's Day. And I heard behind me a loud voice," and guess what it sounded like? Sounded like a trumpet, sounded like a trumpet. And so, what time frame is he envisioning? It's the Day of the Lord, the Lord’s Day. The Lord's Day. It's not talking about Sunday as the Day of the Lord. That's not what this is referring to.
It is the Day of the Lord. When you read about the events that John sees, it's nothing to do with the day of the week, like a Sunday. Modern Christianity has kind of warped the perspective on this particular understanding. Sunday is not the Lord's Day. Sunday is not The Lord's Day. If you had to name what day is the Lord's, if you had to pick a day of the week, what day would it be? Well, the only day the Bible talks about being the Day of the Lord is the Sabbath, Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Mark 2:28 says that very thing, right?
"I am Lord of the Sabbath" is what Christ says. So what day is the Lord's Day? Well, if you had to pick a day of the week to worship and honor and praise God, it has to be that day, the Sabbath day. And of course, when we looked at Revelation, it's not talking about the Lord's Day being Sunday, it's talking about the end time. It's talking about the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord, just before and up to the time of the return of Jesus Christ.
So if we fast-forward a couple of pages here to Revelation chapter 6. Revelation chapter 6, we see the events unfold throughout the book of Revelation that point to the time of the return of Christ. And here we are, leading up to that return of Christ. So in chapter 6, let's begin in verse 12. Verse 12. Here's a time just before, as we see it says, "I looked, and when He opened the sixth seal, and behold there was a great earthquake. The sun became black as sackcloth of hair and the moon became like blood. The stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it's shaken by a mighty wind. The sky receded as a scroll, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place." And so we see a description of heavenly signs that are taking place at the sixth seal. And it's a precursor to this day of wrath, God's day of wrath, precursor to the Day of the Lord because it leads right in to the blowing of the seven trumpets. And so, that comes up right after this.
So if we go to chapter 8, notice what it tells us, about this time that follows regarding the Day of the Lord. Revelation chapter 8, right the beginning here, let's notice what it says. It says, "When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about a half an hour" because what's to follow is so significant. He makes us step back and recognize what's going to happen. Verse 2, "I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Another angel having a golden sensor came and stood at the altar; he was given much incense that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And with the smoke of incense, the prayers of the saints, they ascended before God from the angel's hand." Then it goes on, verse 5, "The angel took the sensor, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound."
And so all of this leads up to that time of the sounding of those trumpets. It leads directly to the return of Jesus Christ. It leads directly to the resurrection of the saints. It leads directly to that ultimate battle of the great day of God Almighty. It leads directly to that final battle that is the culmination of the armies of the Beast power with Jesus Christ. And so, in a way you could say that all of this points to the significance of the Feast of Trumpets. That yes, God's Wrath, the Great Tribulation as a whole, the Day of the Lord specifically, that final battle in and around Jerusalem, are all pointing to God's day of reckoning—a day of reckoning, a day of judgment, a time when God will begin to judge this earth.
In fact, we see this day of reckoning play out throughout Scripture, because it is a day of reckoning. What we can begin to notice, when it comes to reckoning, that God is reckoning, at this day, the nations themselves. In fact, we could say that He's reckoning the nations of Israel. So, let's write that one down, "God's reckoning the nations of Israel." So God's reckoning the nations of Israel. We can read this over in the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel certainly contains a number of prophecies for our day. Dual in nature, we can see how they also fit to this very time, to this time of trumpets, to this time that's significant through the Feast of Trumpets. So we look over to Ezekiel chapter 21, verse 24. Ezekiel chapter 21, verse 24. Let's notice something significant about this day of reckoning for the nations of Israel. Now of course the nations of Israel today, the English-speaking peoples around the world: Canada, United States, Britain, Australia, those nations are descendants of Israel. And here Ezekiel speaks to us, about this day of reckoning.
Ezekiel chapter 21, let's notice verse 24. "Therefore thus says the Lord God, because you have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your doings your sins appear. Because you've come to remembrance, you shall be taken in hand." In other words, He's saying "You're so full of sin, you’re not even trying to hide it. You don't even care. You don't even want to make any effort into striving to be obedient to God. All of your actions are associated with sin. They're filled with sin."
If you were to read this in the New Living Translation, that's exactly what it says, and it says, "So now the time of your punishment has come." If you look at verse 25, here is what New Living says, "’Oh, you corrupt and wicked prince of Israel! Your final day of reckoning is here. Take off your jeweled crown,’ says the sovereign Lord. The old order changes. Now the lowly will be exalted, and the mighty are brought low. Destruction, destruction." That's what it points to here: destruction. “Overthrown, overthrown," some translations said. "I will surely destroy the kingdom."
And He's not just talking about ancient Judah, it's not just ancient Israel, He's talking about modern Israel as well. And so He says, end of verse 27, "And it will not be restored until the One appears who has the right to judge it. Then I will hand it over to Him." You see, that sets the time frame. That didn't happen ancient times. When the One who appears who has a right to judge it, until He comes who has that right. Well, that could only be talking about Jesus Christ.
And so it points to the ultimate reckoning of the nations of Israel. In fact, if we just turn a page, over to chapter 22, He rehearses it again for the nations of Israel. Look at verse 13, Ezekiel 22:13. Notice what He says, "Behold, therefore I beat my fists at the dishonest profit which with you have made, that dishonest gain and bloodshed." Right? "The bloodshed which is been in your midst." Verse 14, "Can your heart endure, or can your hands remain strong in the days when I shall deal with you? I the Lord have spoken and will do it."
Once again the New Living says, in verse 14, "How strong and courageous will you be in My day of reckoning?" You see, when Christ returns, who's going to be able to stand before Him? Well, He says, "I'm going to scatter you, and then you will know that I am the Lord." And so God will judge the nations of Israel. So that's part of what this day of reckoning and wrath are all about. Now God's gonna use other nations to do that. He's going to use Syria for that day of reckoning and wrath for modern Israel. He's going to use Babylon as another nation that will also reckon with Israel, with the nations of Israel today.
But that doesn't mean that they get off the hook either. Because this time of reckoning, this time of God's wrath, is not just limited to Israel. It's also the nations of the Gentiles, nations of the Gentiles as well, and in this case there's no doubt that God throughout prophecy says that those non-Israelite nations, those nations that don't have a heritage of Israel, will be used to punish those descended from ancient Israel. And of course that's America today, that's Britain today, that's Canada, that's Australia today. And so, you might think, “Well, are those non-Israelite nations off the hook then, because certainly they're not a God-fearing people?” Well, they're not off the hook.
If we turn to the book of Jeremiah, go over to Jeremiah and we'll begin to see something that's significant when it comes to the Gentile nations as well. Jeremiah 50, and we'll begin in verse 31. Jeremiah 50, verse 31. And like Ezekiel's prophecies, Jeremiah's prophecies many times are dual as well. They applied to ancient Judah or Israel, and they also apply to us today. Let's notice that connection and the connection to the Feast of Trumpets as well, here in this day of reckoning for the Gentile nations as well.
Jeremiah chapter 50:31, it says, "’Behold, I am against you, oh most haughty one,’ says the Lord God of hosts." Okay, who was He talking about here? Well, if we go all the way back to the beginning of the chapter, we can see who He's talking to. "The word that the Lord spoke against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans." So this word that we're reading about in verse 31 is regarding Babylon. Babylon, modern Babylon for events that's going to happen just down the line. So He says, "I am against you, for your day has come, the time that I will punish you. The most proud shall stumble and fall and no one will raise him up. I'll kindle a fire in his cities and it will devour all around him."
And so here God expresses the fact once again, if you read this in the New English Translation, He tells Babylon, "Your day of reckoning has come." And so, God's wrath will be poured out and He will punish the Gentile nations as well. And not just Babylon. If we go over to the book of Isaiah, He talks about Assyria. So let's notice what He says about Assyria, in chapter 10, verse 5 of Isaiah. Isaiah chapter 10, verse 5. Let's notice how God also will reckon with Assyria, modern Assyria.
And if you want to know a little bit more about the identity of these modern nations, modern nations of Babylon and Israel, I certainly encourage you to go to our website and search those terms, and you'll be able to find a lot of information about the modern-day identity of these nations. Wish I had more time tonight to be able to get into that, but we just don't. So here in Isaiah chapter 10, verse five, notice what it says, Isaiah 10:5. It says, "Woe Assyria, the rod of my anger and the staff in whose hand is my indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation; and against the people of my wrath, I will give him charge to seize the spoil, to take the prey, to tread them down like the mire, like mire in the streets." So God is going to use Assyria as He pours out His wrath on the nations of Israel. But, doesn't end there, it doesn't end there. If we skip down to verse 12, it says, "Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, that He will say, ‘I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.’"
And so, because of their arrogance, because of their ungodliness, Assyria will also experience the wrath of God. God will pour out His wrath upon the nations—nations of Israel and the Gentile nations as well. But it also ties in with judgment in this wrath that's poured out, judging the disobedient nations of Israel, judging that haughty, arrogant heart of the Gentile nations who oppose God.
It's also a time of judgment and reckoning for God's people. It's a time of reckoning, a time of judgment for God's people as well. And the Feast of Trumpets recognizes that symbolism as well. Just one passage, to bring this point home, is found over in 1 Corinthians chapter 3, verse 13. 1 Corinthians chapter 3, verse 13 points to this time of reckoning for God's people. 1 Corinthians chapter 3, and we'll pick it up in verse 13. First Corinthians 3:13, he tells us that, "Each one's work will become clear. for the day will declare it."
Well, what day are we talking about? Well, it seems to be a reference to the Day of the Lord, to the coming of Jesus Christ. And so he says, "The day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on endures, he will receive a reward." And he says, "If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."
And so he points to this time, and oftentimes throughout the New Testament, the apostle Paul refers to this time of judgment. He says that all of us will stand before that reckoning seat, that judgment seat of Christ. And so the Feast of Trumpets points to that time of reckoning as well. Now, as we consider all of these things, God's reckoning, His wrath, the doom and the gloom that so much seems to point to throughout this end time great tribulation, we can often begin to wonder where does, where does the love of God fit in with this? Where's the mercy of God fit in?
Does the Feast of Trumpets only point to this time of difficulty in the return of Christ as He battles the nations and as the nations feel the wrath of God as those trumpet plagues are poured out? Well, let's think about that for a moment. Because I think there is something significant that we could tend to overlook if we're not careful when it comes to the reckoning wrath of God. How do we justify wrath verses love? How do we rationalize God is love with this time of tribulation?
I think there's an interesting way that we can look at it. Is this a fair statement? "There can be no love without wrath." There can be no love, no true love of God without wrath. Because why is He wrathful? Why is He angry with the nations? Well, He's angry about sin. He's angry about disobedience. He's angry about injustice. He's angry about blasphemy. And so is it possible that there cannot be true love without wrath? Let's think about that for just a moment, as we turn over to Romans chapter 12, verse 9. Romans chapter 12 verse 9, as we consider this concept of wrath must be there as evidence of God's true love.
Romans 12:9. Here God commands us something that I think is an interesting concept but also bears out this very point, in Romans chapter 12, look at verse 9. Here's what I think we could say is a command for us. Could we say this is a command? He says, "Let love be without hypocrisy." How can love be without hypocrisy? He says, well, here's one way. "Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good." Abhor evil. Now that's an interesting word "abhor." In fact, this is the only time that word is used in the entire New Testament. Only time it's used, one time. And it really means, it's to have a horror, so we abhor, we have a horror of evil. Or we detest evil. We hate evil. We have the greatest aversion to what is wrong and what is... We loathe evil. And so, the apostle Paul was inspired to tell us we must abhor everything that's contrary to the very nature of God. We must detest anything that goes against the very being of our perfect God. We must loathe anything that is a transgression of His holy righteous perfect law.
So in contrast we could say, failure to abhor evil, if we don't abhor evil, doesn't that point to a deficiency in love? If we don't hate what is bad, somehow love can fall a little short. A lack of wrath and indignation, a lack of reckoning and wrath could point to a lack of caring. Which points to a lack of love, doesn't it? And so God's wrath really points to God's love. Can there be real true love without wrath? Because absolute love, implies absolute purity and absolute holiness. Isn't that true? Absolute love implies absolute purity, which points to absolute holiness. Anything less isn't a perfect holiness.
And so I think it's important to understand that God's anger isn't based in selfishness or selfish motives. It points to the fact that it's a response to evil. It's God's response to evil and the sin that goes against the character of God that people do. And so good and evil are absolute terms and absolute values with our great God. There is no grey area since His character is perfect, His character is good, He consistently does what is right and what is good.
That way we never have to worry about God suddenly turning evil or suddenly doing something bad or somehow going back on His promises. It points to the fact that God's wrath and His reckoning really do point to an expression of his goodness. And it points to the fact that God is a just God. It points to the fact that, that evil cannot last for eternity in the presence of the love of God. God couldn't allow it, and it's not just because evil offends Him, but it's more because of what it does. The way that evil and sin distorts us. It distorts our thinking, it distorts our actions, it distorts our perceptions and it separates us from God Himself.
So no wonder God is wrathful against sin. Because it really becomes an expression of His great love. It's an expression of His great mercy and justice. In fact, Psalm chapter 7 points to this fact, if you'd like to turn there with me. Psalm chapter 7 verse 8. You will see the connection here between God's love and the expression of that love against sin. Psalm chapter 7, we'll begin in verse 8. Psalm 7:8. It says, "The Lord shall judge the peoples. Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity within me."
In a way that's a plea for mercy, not saying, "Look how great I am, God, look how much integrity I have, look how much righteousness we have." We know we don't have much, right? In fact, like filthy rags is what the Bible says. So we want God to be merciful on us. God will judge His peoples. But what does He say about those who don't care about God, who don't even strive to do God's will, who don't strive to follow after His ways, who are not of a repentant heart?
Well, verse 9 says, "O let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just, for the righteous God tests the hearts and minds. My defense is of God, who saves the upright in heart. God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. God hates the wicked for what they do.” Verse 12 he says, "If he does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword, He bends his bow, and makes it ready. He also prepares for Himself instruments of death, He makes his arrows into fiery shafts." Yeah, that's talking about this wrath of God that will be poured out on the sinful, wicked nations of this world.
He says, "Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity. Yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood." How does God feel against sin? How does God feel towards lies and falsehoods? Well, because God is love, He has to stand against it. He has to express His love as He stands against sin and wickedness. Verse 15, "He's made a pit and dug it out and has fallen in the ditch which he made." These are these evil people. "His trouble shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealings shall come down on his own crown. I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness and sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High."
So what we begin to see here in Psalm 7 is God's love doesn't erase the fact that there will be justice. God will have justice. And so the love of God and the wrath of God are not a contradiction. They don't contradict each other; they go together. In fact, the wrath of God is an expression of His deep love. He cares so much for us that He doesn't want the sinful to live in agony forever. He doesn't want that. So His love and His mercy are expressed, especially at this time of trumpets, this time of the end, are expressed in His wrath and in His reckoning.
In fact, there is a wonderful promise that we see, chapter 17 in the book of Acts. Chapter 17, verse 30. Let's notice the connection here in what God inspired for us in Acts chapter 17, verse 30. Acts 17:30. Here's Paul at Athens at the Areopagus and speaks to the people there. He ties in this theme of God's reckoning with the people there as he speaks to them. And in Acts chapter 17, verse 30, he says, "Truly these times of ignorance God overlooked but now commands all men everywhere to repent because He's appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness."
And we could say for tonight's purposes, in love. "He judges the world in righteousness and love, by the man, by Christ, by Jesus whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
So we have that very promise of God that the resurrection of Christ points to the fact that God is love, and that He will express that ultimate love on all mankind as Christ returns, does away with man's wicked system, and establishes the Kingdom of God on earth. And it's a promise. That's a promise. In fact, He includes us in that promise. There's a connection here that's spoken about in Proverbs chapter 23, verse 17. If you notice how this connects with the sounding of the trumpets, the time of the end, and the return of Christ.
Proverbs chapter 23, let's look at verse 17. Proverbs 23:17. Because sometimes in this life it seems like, "Oh, the wicked aren't going to pay. There isn't going to be a day of reckoning. Isn't it ever going to happen? Are they going to get away with all the evil and the sin?" Well, verse 17, Proverbs 23 reminds us, "Don't let your heart envy sinners.” Don't think that this time isn't going to come, because it is. He says, "But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all day. For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off."
So, as we live through this time of Great Tribulation, God reminds us, don't let that weigh down and steal our hope from us. Because God says your hope isn't going to be cut off. In fact, this is just a precursor to the time of the greatest hope, the greatest time when Jesus will return and establish the Kingdom of God. Because, God's ultimate purpose is good. It is good, good for all. And He makes that promise to His people who strive after His way.
In fact, maybe we could notice that promise in Romans chapter 5 verse 9. Romans chapter 5 and verse 9 reiterates this promise that no matter what's going on around us, we don't have to lose hope—no matter what the circumstances, no matter the tribulation, no matter the war, no matter the trials, no matter the difficulties. Whether those are things that are happening in our personal life right now, or the things that God has prophesied will happen. He says we don't have to allow it to derail our faith.
And so, here in Romans, we see very clearly, in verse 9. Romans 5:9, he said, oh, let's start verse 8, "God demonstrates His own love toward us." So God's actions are evidence of His love. "God demonstrates His love toward us that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." And so we can take that as a promise of God. God has promised to save His people through the wrath, through the tribulation, through the time of trials and testing.
And so the Feast of Trumpets is an amazing festival of God, one that points to the day of reckoning, a time of wrath, the Great Tribulation, a gathering for war. But it also points to the return of Christ, and those times and events of the end that ultimately lead to His return. And of course as Christ returns, how would you encapsulate what's going to take place at that time? Well, we know He's going establish God's rule, His government, His way of life on this earth.
Maybe a different way of thinking about it is, the Feast of Trumpets points to this time of the ultimate expression of God's love, when He intervenes in man's affairs and establishes righteousness, establishes mercy, establishes justice, ultimately the time when He establishes love on this earth. We can look to that wonderful time of the Kingdom of God and ultimately God's day of reckoning, through the Feast of Trumpets symbolizes that very time.
I'm glad you were able to join us tonight. That concludes our Bible study. We will have another study, our biweekly studies will continue in two weeks, where we will pick up the next session of "Let Us Keep the Feasts" and it will focus on the Day of Atonement. So join us in two weeks, right here in the room or on the Web, or catch us on the archives for our next edition of our Beyond Today Bible studies. Thanks for being with us tonight.