Human beings are naturally programmed to look toward the source of a loud sound to assess where it came from and what it was made by. The sudden presence of noise puts us on alert, and our bodies prepare for danger as we investigate the cause. This is a matter of survival, and sometimes immediate action is needed!
The Hebrew name of the festival we call “Feast of Trumpets” is yom teruah , which literally means “day of great noise.” In its usage throughout the Old Testament, the word teruah can refer to trumpet blasts (Numbers 10:2-5 Numbers 10:2-5 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.
American King James Version×), the vocal battle cries of an army (Joshua 6:5 Joshua 6:5And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
American King James Version×), or the sound of a great number of people (1 Samuel 4:5 1 Samuel 4:5And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again.
American King James Version×). Trumpet blasts in particular served various purposes—to assemble people together (Numbers 10:2-4 Numbers 10:2-4 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.
American King James Version×), to announce the arrival of an army for war (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×), or to glorify God with music (1 Chronicles 13:8 1 Chronicles 13:8And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with tambourines, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.
American King James Version×).
The Feast of Trumpets has great prophetic significance in God’s plan, and the intent of this “great noise” becomes clear no matter which angle we observe from: God is going to get the world’s attention with these incredible sounds! But the question we in the Church must ask ourselves at this time of year is whether or not God has our attention—has the trumpet sounded in our hearts?
The Battle Cry
Revelation 8-9 pictures a time when six great trumpet blasts will resound through the earth, each accompanied by terrible plagues. In Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And 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.
American King James Version×, a seventh blast declares that “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
Even after the awful plagues of the first six trumpets, 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×reveals that the people who remain alive will not repent of their evil deeds. Even after so much suffering, famine and bloodshed, some will stubbornly refuse to accept the message that they must turn from their sins. And so comes the final wake-up call to mankind when Jesus descends 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×). This astonishing sound becomes a battle cry as the army of God lays waste to the armies of the world gathered against Jerusalem (Revelation 19:11-21 Revelation 19:11-21 11 And 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. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a clothing dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the middle of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God; 18 That you may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that worked miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat on the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
American King James Version×).
Afterwards, when Jesus and the resurrected saints begin to reign, all of mankind will have heard the sound and be on alert, ready to finally investigate the source of such great calamity! They will come to realize that this worldwide disaster and unimaginable suffering was the result of sin, and they will learn God’s holy way of life as they repent.
God has called us in the Church to repentance today , before the world has heard the battle cry. Have we heard God’s battle cry, and are we taking action? If so, God has given us the amazing opportunity to actually join the battle cry of Jesus Christ at His return in order to lead the entire world to repentance and eternal life!
The Call to Worship
One of the primary purposes of a trumpet blast in ancient Israel was the gathering of God’s people together, either to hear an urgent message or to worship God. A long trumpet blast accompanied God’s presence when He appeared to Israel to give the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19:13 Exodus 19:13There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet sounds long, they shall come up to the mount.
American King James Version×,16,19). This terrifying noise drew the Israelites’ attention to God and caused them to tremble and worship before His awesomeness as they heard His words.
In the prophetic fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets, all people will hear the trumpet blast and will eventually be humbled to worship before God’s power. In those days, “from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me, declares the Lord” (Isaiah 66:23 Isaiah 66:23And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, said the LORD.
American King James Version×), and “every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God” (Isaiah 45:23 Isaiah 45:23I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
American King James Version×, Romans 14:11 Romans 14:11For it is written, As I live, said the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
American King James Version×). The central purpose of the Feast of Trumpets is reconciling humanity to God and bringing them into worship of Him.
If we have already heard the call to worship God, then it is important that we gather together every Sabbath and every Holy Day if we are able to do so. God’s Sabbath and holy days are “appointed times” when God commands us to have “holy convocations” with each other before Him (Leviticus 23:2 Leviticus 23:2Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
American King James Version×). In order to be sure that we are properly responding to God’s trumpet call in our hearts, it is paramount that we “not [forsake] the assembling of ourselves together . . . but [exhort] one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25 Hebrews 10:25Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
American King James Version×).
Shouts of Joy
At Jesus’ return, God’s resurrected saints will also make a resounding joyful noise along with the angels, and a sound “like mighty peals of thunder” (Revelation 19:6-8 Revelation 19:6-8 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunder, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns.
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.
American King James Version×) will be heard in praise of God! The entire creation will rejoice as it is freed from bondage and turned over to “the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21 Romans 8:21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
American King James Version×)—the trees will clap their hands, and the mountains will break forth in song (Isaiah 55:12 Isaiah 55:12For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
American King James Version×).
During the 1,000 years, the world will look to the cause of these great shouts of joy: the fulfillment of God’s promises to the firstfruits of His harvest, of which they are the next phase. They will see clearly that this great sound of praise that is raised at Jesus’ coming is the result of God’s faithfulness and worthiness, and that they too should rejoice in the greatness of God.
If we have been called into covenant with God, then there should be a loud, joyful noise growing in our hearts today ! We are called to rejoice in the hope of God’s promises through faith, and our rejoicing will reach a glorious crescendo at the return of Jesus Christ that will shake the entire earth!
Does God Have Our Attention?
This Feast of Trumpets, let’s consider the teruah , the “great noise,” that will come upon the entire world. What is its purpose, and what does it mean for those of us today who already hear it coming? It is a warning to be spiritually alert, to repent from our sins and to join the army of God. As He leads us out of captivity from sin, we must also joyfully praise God for His awesome deeds by which He has delivered us through Jesus Christ! And we must continue to gather with one another week by week, year by year, edifying each other and growing together in faith and love as we answer the worship call that the entire world will soon hear.
If we have become slack in our calling, let’s take this Feast of Trumpets as an opportunity to make ourselves alert! Let’s consider whether the trumpet is sounding loudly in our hearts and how we can work together to magnify that sound to the world through our lives.