The Feast of Trumpets
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What distinguishes God's fourth festival, the Feast of Trumpets?
"Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation" (Leviticus 23:24).
The Feast of Trumpets is observed on the first day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar—falling in the autumn in the northern hemisphere, in September or October. This festival, today known as Rosh Hashanah by Jews, also begins the Jewish civil year. In ancient times Israel celebrated it with an emphasis on the blowing of trumpets, the primary method of announcing a gathering of the people or warning them of impending danger or war.
Significantly, the bulk of the prophecies of the book of Revelation are represented by the blowing of seven trumpets that symbolize the main progression of events in the catastrophic time known as the Day of the Lord in many prophecies relating to the last days. The sounding of trumpets in Revelation warns of impending disasters just as did the blowing of trumpets in ancient Israel.
Which events in God's plan are directly connected to the sounding of a trumpet?
"Then the seventh angel sounded [the last prophetic trumpet]: 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!'" (Revelation 11:15).
"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 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" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
"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 24:31).
"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, 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. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory'" (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).
This pivotal event in prophecy, the triumphant return of Jesus Christ to rule the earth with the help of His resurrected saints, is specifically associated with the blowing of trumpets. The thunderous blast of the last trumpet will announce His second coming to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
The return of Christ is the next aspect of God's plan prophesied in the Scriptures. It is the fourth step—the midway event—in God's seven-step master plan of salvation. (For a more thorough explanation of the prophetic events represented by the seven trumpets in Revelation, be sure to request your free copy of The Book of Revelation Unveiled.)
What must happen before these end-time events begin?
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14).
Christ promised to return when the true gospel of the coming Kingdom had been preached to the whole world. We are in that prophesied time when the Church continues its commission of proclaiming the gospel and making and teaching disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), as pictured by the Feast of Pentecost.
The Feast of Trumpets points us to the Day of the Lord, to the terrifying events that will occur just before and at the return of Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:11-16). But it also points us to the joyous time when Christians, living or dead, will receive God's gift of eternal life in the first resurrection. The Feast of Trumpets represents that pivotal time in God's plan when He will bring this present evil age to an end and establish His rule and government over humanity.