sermon: Lift Up Your Voice Like a Trumpet
Reasons for the Blowing of Trumpets
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 30-Sep-08; Sermon #903A; 82 minutes
Nothing is more dramatic than the blast of a trumpet. Israel, spread out over a huge area, used a complex system of trumpet blasts to convey lifesaving information. Silver trumpets were used to call assembly, to direct movement, to call to war, to signal days of gladness, Holy days, new moons, sacrifices and offerings, announcing Jubilee, worship, and the coronation of a king. One of the reasons for the blowing of trumpets is a memorial of a past significant event, Yom Teruah, depicting the covenant relationship with God, a time to glorify and praise God. The second reason was to give direction, to advance into battle, or to take refuge. The third reason to blow the trumpet was to make an announcement, announcing a significant event like the Jubilee or the first and second coming of Israel's king and Messiah. A fourth use of the trumpet blast is to provide warning, motivating us to repent and to protect us from cataclysmic upheaval and the dreadful Day of the Lord and God's wrath, a time no one can endure without God's supernatural protection.
Few things are more attention grabbing than the blast of a trumpet. It used to be that trumpets or bugles were used on battlefields to announce advances, retreats, and various other maneuvers. We might see in some old war movie with a bugler sounding away, telling the rest of the cavalry what to do. A soldier's life, in such a situation, could very well depend on whether he heard the correct sounding from that bugler.
Maybe, you are from the coastal area, and you remember hearing a deep throated foghorn on a foggy night. Or maybe, you live in the central part of the United States—Tornado Alley—and you have heard the wail of the civil defense weather sirens going off during a tornado warning. These two give warning over a wide area so that danger and loss of life might be avoided.
Or maybe, we are driving home, we are occasionally startled by the sound of a car horn right next to us. Maybe they are not honking at us, but rather some other fool on the road. However, they are honking to get someone's attention, because there is a dangerous situation, and we need to be alert.
Driver's education courses usually teach that the car horn should only be used in such situations, and not to honk at your friends, or pretty girls as you drive by them on the road, because your horn is your danger alert system. We do not want to alarm someone needlessly when we are just flirting with people walking on the street.
Now, I know one thing that always got my attention (when I was young, and fit) was the sounding of the electronic horn or buzzer at the end of a basketball game. Hockey has taken this use of the horn big time lately. They do the horn thing times ten right at the end. It is longer, and louder if the home team wins. I suppose the fans enjoy that.
In Numbers 10 Israel used a fairly elaborate system to inform the people of various activities that they had to do. They were a widely encamped people, but they were also mobile.
Now, if we try to fit 2 to 2.5 million people on a plain, they will naturally spread out over the whole face of it. We can assume that they covered very many square miles in their tents. Of course, people in tents are much closer than if they are in houses. Even so, they would have been spread out over a large area. And so, the trumpets were necessary to let the people know what they were doing. The trumpet blasts most likely began at the Tabernacle area. And I am sure, because of how far away they were, there were probably other trumpeters in the midst of the camps in their arrangement who heard it and copied it to pass it along to the outskirts of the camp of Israel.
They had a fairly complex system of trumpet sounds, and depending on the call sound the people would know what they were to do. There would not need to be runners to see to each family tent to communicate the information.
Numbers 10:1-6 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: "Make two silver trumpets for yourself; you shall make them of hammered work; you shall use them for calling the congregation and for directing the movement of the camps. When they blow both of them, all the congregation shall gather before you at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. But if they blow only one, then only the leaders, the heads of the divisions of Israel, shall gather to you. When you sound the advance, the camps that lie on the east side shall then begin their journey. When you sound the advance the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall begin their journey; they shall sound the call for them to begin their journeys.
It sounds like, here, they leave the remainder of the camps where they are, but what they are saying is that they go clockwise around the camp for going out, and coming in to their expected places.
Numbers 10:7-9 And when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but not sound the advance. [Different sounds for different functions.] The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets; and these shall be to you as an ordinance forever throughout your generations.
When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the LORD your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.
That is interesting that they blow the sound to go to war, but who hears? It is God who hears that one too, and they are saved from their enemies.
Numbers 10:10 Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be a memorial for you before your God: I am the LORD your God.
So, here we have a portion of the system of trumpet blasts they used, and it was to be not just used in the wilderness, but also later throughout their generations in their habitations.
So, from this passage, and a few others, we know that Israel used trumpet blasts in at least ten different ways. I will list them quickly.
- For the calling of assemblies. (verse 2)
- For the directing the movement of the camp of Israel. (verse 2)
- For the call to war. (verse 9)
- In their days of gladness, rejoicing when something good happens. (verse 10)
- On their appointed feast days. (verse 10)
- On their new moons; announcing the beginning of the month. (verse 10)
- Over sacrifices, and offerings. (verse 10)
- The announcement of the Jubilee Year. (Leviticus 25:9)
- In general worship. (II Chronicles 5:12, among others)
- In the King's Coronation. (I Kings 1:34)
Now, it is easy for us to see the necessity of such a system, at a time when there were no mass communications as we have today. They used trumpets.
Perhaps there were more uses I may have missed, but whichever the case, the sound of a trumpet was a significant element of Israelite life. They had their ears trained to listen for the sound of a trumpet. And one of God's holy days, the Feast of Trumpets, at the least acknowledges this very fact. The ears of an Israelite were ready to hear the sound of a trumpet. They were always keyed into it.
So, today, even though I mentioned ten uses for the trumpet, I have come up with four underlying reasons for the blasting, or the "shouting," of a trumpet as found in scripture.
And perhaps by going over these four underlying reasons it will help us to expand our understanding of this particular Holy Day, and maybe even help us to get an understanding of this particular Day of Trumpets, right now.
It is always good to touch base here in the Festivals of God chapter so that we can understand the basics of each Holy Day, because this is where our understanding of these divinely appointed times begins, in most cases.
Here, God is speaking to Moses, and giving him each of the feasts.
Leviticus 23:24-25 Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'In the seventh month, on the first day of the month [which is today], you shall have a sabbath rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.'
This is one of the shortest passages of the commands to keep any of the festivals.
We have gone over this phrase, "a memorial of blowing of trumpets" many times, and as you probably know, it literally means, "a remembrance of shouting," or it could be "the remembrance of the shout."
It is thought, by most, that it refers to the shout of the shofar, or the ram's horn as it is blown. We English speakers would not use the word "shout" like the Hebrew speakers did. It was quite the picturesque language the Hebrews have. And so, they used the word "shout," where we would use the word "blast," or "blow."
So, with this understanding, we can think that it means literal shouting, because it does not really say ram's horn, it just says, "the remembrance of shouting," so that we could think that it could mean people shouting. Or, we can think that it is the shout of a trumpet or a horn.
Now, in the Hebrew, this feast we call the Day of Trumpets, is Yom Teruah, which means, "Day (Yom) of Shouting (Teruah)." Now the Jews openly admit in their writings that they do not know what this day means. And the reason is because in Leviticus 23:24-25 it does not say. All it does say is that it is a memorial of shouting; a remembrance of shouting. And so, they have tried to come up with what this might mean, and they see various things, but at the end of the day they still say that they do not know. They have not been inspired to know, and so they have not figured out what all the holy days together mean. So they are kind of out there flailing about trying to find a meaning.
Now, over the centuries this day has taken on the name Rosh Hashanah. This means "the head of the year," or the New Year. However, if we were to go into the Bible, we would find out that the beginning of the year is in Exodus 12, thirteen days before Passover. God said specifically that this month of Abib is the beginning of months for you. So God said that the head of the year is actually Abib 1, or Nisan 1, and not Tishri 1. Yet, because of the influence of other nations, and because in their various oppressions by various nations, they adopted Tishri 1 as a new year. In fact, the Babylonians had two new years, one at the beginning of spring, and another at the beginning of autumn.
But God said there should be one at the beginning of springtime. But the other nations either used the beginning of autumn, or some other time. And since the Jews have been linked with Babylon since the sixth century BC, they adopted many of their practices.
So, they took Tishri 1 as a new year. And because God's Holy Day, Yom Teruah, occurred on this day, it eventually became Rosh Hashanah, the head of the year.
But not so fast. God never commanded a new year's celebration to be on Yom Teruah. In fact, turn to Exodus 23. This is where the holy days are mentioned in the Old Covenant, we often use these at various times when explaining how God commands us to come before Him.
Exodus 23:16 And the Feast of Harvest [Pentecost], the first fruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering [Feast of Tabernacles] that is at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.
Here, regarding feast seasons to sojourn to Jerusalem, it speaks of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles, which is at the end of the year. Did you catch that? This is literally the going out of the year.
(This is a good one if you have a Jewish friend, he is telling you that Rosh Hashanah is the new year.) Okay, If Rosh Hashanah is the head of the year on Tishri 1, and Tishri 15, the beginning of Feast of Tabernacles, is the going out of the year, what happens with the other 350 days or so? What are they? Nothing? No time? How can you have (putting it into the way that we see things) the equivalent of January 1 as new years day, and January 15 as new years eve again, the end of the year? What happened to the other 11½ months? If we would just listen to what God says, He says in Exodus 12:2, the beginning of months is the month of Abib, and Exodus 23:16, the Feast of Tabernacles is the going out of the year.
It is not necessarily a calendar year, here. God means rather the agriculture seasons.
Anyway, we need to understand the phrase, "the remembrance of shouting." It could have another meaning. In Hebrew, this phrase is zichron teruah, can mean, "a mentioning of shouting." This is probably new to most of you. Because we are English speakers, we would not use the term, "mentioning of shouting," either. But the Hebrews did. They make "mention" of the name of God. When they talked about God, they would use the term zichron. So, when they would mention the name of God, it was a big thing to them. It was a formal thing, in many cases.
So, what it can mean, then, is to proclaim, or to speak, or to shout, the covenant name of God. This is another idea that this feast is a day dedicated to mentioning, praising, and shouting God's name—the Tetragrammaton, or YHWH.
So, some Jews believe that it is a day of shouting or praising God's name. And some have taken it to mean that the whole congregation is to gather for the holy convocation as mentioned in verse 24, and they are to spend time praising and shouting God's name in unison. "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!"
You have probably seen these people in various places in the world. They are in a tight mass. They are just standing there shouting something, or jumping up and down while saying some phrase. You may have seen Arabs doing this as they are marching in the streets, and they are all saying something about Allah.
The Hebrews may have done something similar, where they were all gathered around the tabernacle, or temple, and they began shouting in unison God's name on the Day of Trumpets, the day of shouting. And they praised Him to high heaven, as it were, and they kept this up for a certain period of time.
We can see some evidence of this in the Psalms, and we will skip through some verses where this is hinted at.
Psalm 47:1 Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!
This may be a case, or a Psalm, where they did something along this line, where the people in a large group or gathering, or choir, would do this, clapping their hands and shouting praises to God as part of their worship of God.
I should mention that the word shout in each of these verses we are going to see here is verb form of teruah. I believe it is ruah.
Psalm 66:1 Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
Here it is not just "you people," but it is everyone—the whole world—who should be making this shout of praise unto God.
Psalm 81:1 Sing aloud to God our strength; make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob.
Psalm 81:3 Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon, at the full moon, on our solemn feast day.
These two verses are the best hint we get that they may have done something like this on the Feast of Trumpets. They may have raised a shout as a congregation—"Hallelujah!"
Notice also that in each one of these, it is a joyful shout, or a shout of triumph. It is something to be excited and happy about!
Psalm 100:1 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
The same thing can be said about this verse, here.
Psalm 100:3 Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
So, it strikes home very closely, not just to Israel, but also to the Church of God. Are we not His sheep who know His voice?
So, there are times, especially with the Feast of Trumpets, that we are to lift up our voices in gladness and triumphant praise to God. This is often joyful and triumphant. In fact, this verb, ruah, throughout the Old Testament, is translated as, "make a joyful noise"—you have sung such many times, "...make a joyful noise, bring out the harp and timbrel..." That is found in many of these Psalms. It can also be, "cry out," "cry aloud," "shout for joy," and in other terms done in triumph.
Job 38:4 "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding."
Job 38:7 "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"
So the angels give us an example from way back at the creation of the universe, when they saw God hang this orb in space, and they gave a great shout of joy and triumph, that God had made this place, their home, this earth.
Psalm 95:1-2 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
You have probably heard ministers in the past say that when we sing our hymns at the beginning of our services, we should at least make a joyful noise; that we should sing loud, be happy and joyful, because we are coming before God, and we can praise His name.
Psalm 98:4-6 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises. Sing to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of a psalm, with trumpets and the sound of a horn; shout joyfully before the LORD, the King.
Four reasons for the sounding of the trumpet:
- To make a great shout of praise to God
Now this brings us to our first reason to use the trumpet to make a great shout and noise, and that is to praise God. Blowing the trumpet was done on feast days, like today, and it was done in worship. Trumpets were not only used to announce the Holy Day, to let them know that it was an appointed time, but special trumpet sounds were used to glorify and praise God. And this was done not only on special holy days, but in regular worship throughout the year.
This next passage was at the time of the Dedication of the Temple in Solomon's time, and they are bringing the ark of the covenant up to the temple to inaugurate the use of the temple.
II Chronicles 5:2 Now Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel, in Jerusalem, that they might bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD up from the City of David, which is Zion.
Now, if you know anything about how the city of Jerusalem is laid out, the city of David is on a hill spur that runs out to the southeast of the old city of Jerusalem. Solomon had put the temple up on Mount Moriah, which is just to the north of that area. So, the Ark of the Covenant had to go slightly uphill from the city of David, up to Mount Moriah. It was not a very long walk that these priests had to take to bring the ark from the city of David up to the temple on Mount Moriah. And they decided to have a procession and parade to make a great deal of it going along the route.
II Chronicles 5:3 Therefore all the men of Israel assembled with the king at the feast, which was in the seventh month.
Most commentators believe that this was Feast of Tabernacles, not necessarily the Feast of Trumpets. Usually the "feast of the seventh month" is the Feast of Tabernacles.
II Chronicles 5:4 So all the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark.
II Chronicles 5:7 Then the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the temple, to the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim.
II Chronicles 5:11-14 And it came to pass when the priests came out of the Most Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without keeping to their divisions), and the Levites who were the singers, all those of Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, stood at the east end of the altar, clothed in white linen, having cymbals, stringed instruments and harps, and with them one hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets—indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying: "For He is good, for His mercy endures forever," that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.
It must have been quite a sight! Quite a sound too, to hear all these voices, and all these instruments sounding together, making melody as it says, making this huge din to go up to God. He responded by filling the temple with a cloud, so much so that they could not perform their duties.
Here we have all these trumpets, and all the other instruments of music, along with singing being used in the praise of God. This particular occasion was unique in that it only happened once. Maybe it happened later, but perhaps not. I do not believe that the ark was ever put back into the temple, but I am not sure.
It is clear that music was a regular fixture of the temple worship service. In the next passage we will see that David organized the worship service and the music that was to go along with it.
I Chronicles 16:37-42 So he [David] left Asaph and his brothers there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD to minister before the ark regularly, as every day's work required; and Obed-Edom with his sixty-eight brethren, including Obed-Edom the son of Jeduthun, and Hosah, to be gatekeepers; and Zadok the priest and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the LORD at the high place that was at Gibeon, to offer burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar of burnt offering regularly morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the Law of the LORD which He commanded Israel; and with them Heman and Jeduthun and the rest who were chosen, who were designated by name, to give thanks to the LORD, because His mercy endures forever; and with them Heman and Jeduthun, to sound aloud with trumpets and cymbals and the musical instruments of God. Now the sons of Jeduthun were gatekeepers.
David organized these people to be there at the tabernacle, and to make music there regularly as the daily worship required. These were, as mentioned in I Chronicles 25, put into even greater order a bit later, and several families were separated out. They were to produce music and singing for the temple in perpetuity. They were on a regular rotation. So they would serve so many weeks in a year, and of course, gather for the various festivals and holy days throughout the year, just like the priests that would come to offer the sacrifices and offerings, who came into the Jerusalem just to do the music.
And so, we know that when they came back from Babylon, these same families picked up where they left off in serving at the temple. We can see that at the passage describing the laying of the foundation for the new temple in the book of Ezra.
Ezra 3:8-13 Now in the second month of the second year of their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the rest of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all those who had come out of the captivity to Jerusalem, began work and appointed the Levites from twenty years old and above to oversee the work of the house of the LORD. Then Jeshua with his sons and brothers, Kadmiel with his sons, and the sons of Judah, arose as one to oversee those working on the house of God: the sons of Henadad with their sons and their brethren the Levites. When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel. And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD: "For He is good, for His mercy endures forever toward Israel." Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.
So, that must have been something to see—half the congregation wailing and weeping, while the other half was shouting for joy. And if you were any distance away, you could not tell the difference.
But, they made a huge din. It did not matter whether they were crying, or shouting for joy, they were not timid about it—they did not hold back—they let it "all hang out."
2. To give direction
We saw this in the list in Numbers 10, calling the assembly, either the whole assembly with two trumpets, or just the leaders with one trumpet. And then of course, the call to advance, sounding once for each portion of the camp—those on the east advanced first, and so on. So, we see how it worked in the wilderness.
This continued on throughout Israel's history. In Judges 7 the big battle is about to take place, and Gideon is giving instructions.
Judges 7:16-18 Then he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet into every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and torches inside the pitchers. And he said to them, "Look at me and do likewise; watch, and when I come to the edge of the camp you shall do as I do: When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, 'The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!'"
And so, we have here, that Gideon's trumpet gave direction to the rest of the army. When he blew, they blew. And all their enemies sat up in the dark, and in their confusion in the night, they began to slay one another.
So here, God employed trumpets in order to give them great victory. Part of it was psychological warfare by blowing the trumpets, causing fear in the Midianites, and in the confusion they began to fight one another.
Please go to Jeremiah 4, at the other end of the history of Judah. He lived during the time just before, and during the Babylonian invasion, as well as afterward. But, Jeremiah, being a prophet of God, knew what was coming (what God had told him), and was telling Judah to get on Babylon's good side. But, there were times that God told Jeremiah various things about what the people should do. And being a faithful prophet of God, he recorded these things for them.
Jeremiah 4:5-6 Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say: "Blow the trumpet in the land; cry, 'Gather together,' and say, 'Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the fortified cities.' Set up the standard toward Zion. Take refuge! Do not delay! For I will bring disaster from the north, and great destruction."
So Jeremiah was told to go out and proclaim that the trumpet needs to be blown. As we saw in Numbers 10, when a time of war is coming, you are to blow the trumpet, and God will hear and God will save the people. So he is saying, "Blow the trumpet in the land; gather the people into the fortified cities. And, let God work."
Now, this one is different because instead of God hearing and saving, He is the one sending the invading army. But, He tells them to get into the fortified cities where they will be safer, and have a place of refuge.
That is kind of different from the way it was in Numbers 10 in that He said He would save them. However, if the people would have listened to Him all the years leading up to this, then things might have gone differently. But they did not.
Jeremiah 6:1 "O you children of Benjamin [Jerusalem is technically in the territory of Benjamin], gather yourselves to flee from the midst of Jerusalem! Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a signal-fire in Beth Haccerem; for disaster appears out of the north, and great destruction.
Jeremiah 6:4-6 [the voice of the enemy] "Prepare war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe to us, for the day goes away, for the shadows of the evening are lengthening. Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces." For thus has the LORD of hosts said: "Cut down trees, and build a mound against Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished. She is full of oppression in her midst." [God's decision to do so—even the fortified cities now].
Jeremiah 6:9 Thus says the LORD of hosts: "They shall thoroughly glean as a vine the remnant of Israel; as a grape-gatherer, put your hand back into the branches."
God is saying that not only are they going to make siege against Jerusalem, and the other fortified cities, the enemy is going to tackle the job like a grape gatherer who both picks and goes back and gleans the grapes. This will be a thorough destruction, because of the wickedness of the people of Judah at this time in their history.
So, the fortified cities are not going to be the safe places of refuge. They will have to be destroyed too, along with all the rest of Judah. They will have to be thoroughly gleaned.
And that is what happened. Nebuchadnezzar's army just came in and killed, and threw down, and what was left went back to Babylon as slaves.
Another occasion is found in the book of Joel. Now, this is probably what should have been done at that time in Jeremiah above.
Joel 2:12-17 "Now, therefore," says the LORD, "turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him—a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, "Spare Your people, O LORD, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'"
So, this was the proper reaction. This was another direction given by a trumpet: Gather the people; call the assembly; get them all together—men, women, and children—everybody. Get them all together weeping, and fasting before God, beseeching His mercy, and His grace.
But they did not do that, and Judah fell. Obviously, there was not the leadership among the priesthood, or the political class. The only ones were the prophets, who were put into prison, and persecuted.
3. To make an announcement
The sound of a trumpet will cause people to pop their heads up, and their attention is drawn away from themselves to what is about to happen. It causes people to be quiet and listen. The idea is like a herald being sent out with a trumpeter, and then the herald would read the king's announcement to the people in a loud voice.
Leviticus 25 is the chapter on the Year of Jubilee.
Leviticus 25:8-10 And you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.
The trumpet was sounded throughout all the land to announce the coming of the Year of Jubilee. Now, I phrased that the way that I did for a reason. We have often said that Year of Jubilee started on the Day of Atonement. But, that is not was the scripture says.
All that the scripture says is that on the Day of Atonement, a trumpet was blown to announce the Year of Jubilee, and to proclaim liberty at that time. The Year of Jubilee likely started at Nisan 1, and ended just before the next Nisan 1. But it was announced several months in advance on the Day of Atonement. And then, this announcement was carried throughout the whole land.
That is not written in stone, however if you look at what the scripture actually says, all it says is it was proclaimed at that time. That is all. This made the Day of Atonement especially meaningful in that year because liberty was coming in the next year. It just worked out better if they used a calendar year, rather than from Day of Atonement, to Day of Atonement. They could have done that I suppose, however the literal meaning is only that it was announced at that time.
So, the blast of the trumpet announced the coming of the Year of Jubilee. It was an announcement that was made. "The Jubilee is going to begin next spring! Everybody get ready. It is time of Jubilee."
This next passage is also an announcement, but it is in prophetic terms.
Malachi 3:1 "Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming," says the LORD of hosts.
Here is another announcement in a similar way of something to come. It is something that is about to happen. It is announced beforehand. So, in this case, the messenger that he is prophesying to come is the one we see in the first chapters of the New Testament. That messenger came, and his name was John the Baptist. He did not use a trumpet, as far as we know. There is no mention of John the Baptist and a trumpet, or ram's horn, or any other such thing. But, he made very good use of his voice, and the words that God put into his mind to say to the people. And he used his voice in the manner of Isaiah 58.
Isaiah 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
That is exactly what John the Baptist did. The story or scenario that most people remember about John the Baptist is that he got his head cut off for using his voice like a trumpet in showing the people, even King Herod Antipas his sins.
He said, "King Herod! You and Herodius should not be married! She is your brother's wife! That is against the law!" He was not afraid of saying it.
Here is another example of John the Baptist,
Luke 3:7-9 Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."
And I am sure that there were some Pharisees, and Sadducees, and some others standing around, and he did not care who heard him. "You folks are full of sin! And, I can name them for you! You had better start thinking very seriously that God will just leave you behind. He will raise up stones for Himself, because you do not fit the criteria."
And he also said, "The judgment is right there! The ax is already laid to the trunk of the tree! And they will be cut down soon!" John the Baptist had another thing to say. He is not only showing them their sins, but he also announced the coming of the Messiah.
Luke 3:16-17 John answered, saying to all, "I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire."
When he announced the coming of the Messiah, he said, "Look! He is coming as a Judge! And you are going to fall into one of two camps! Either you are going to be like His wheat that He will gather into His barn, or you will be the chaff that is going to be burned until there is nothing left to burn—unquenchable fire." He said, "If you are His people, He will baptize you with His Holy Spirit. But if you are not His, then He will burn you with fire."
That was the spirit of John the Baptist. He was a man who was not afraid to tell people that they spiritually stank. And he said it loudly, for all to hear. "Cry aloud! Spare not! Show My people their transgressions!" And, John the Baptist did that. And he lost his head for it. But, John the Baptist had faith. John the Baptist was a herald, but using his voice, and not the physical trumpet.
There are other announcements of this kind in the Bible, and many of them are very prophetic to us.
Zechariah 9:9-10 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be 'from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.'
The word "shout" in verse 9 is the verb form of teruah. The proclamation is that Israel's King is coming. The King is coming, and He is going to have certain things, and He is going to do certain things.
Now in verse 9, His first coming is announced, and that He is coming as a humble servant, and not as a conquering hero. He came to, as it says here, that He is just, meaning that He is righteous, He came to give an example of His way, and to live sinlessly, and He is coming to bring salvation.
From this verse alone, the Jews should have known that when He came the first time, that is what He would do. He would not come as the Davidic Hero who was going to raise up all the Jews and throw out the dirty Romans. That was not His job at that time.
Now verse 10, which speaks of His second coming, is very ironic in this regard. He is coming as a conquering king, but notice what it says about it here. It says that when He comes the second time, He is going to cut off the chariots from Ephraim, the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow.
What does this mean? What is He saying? He is saying that when He comes the second time, His covenant people—Israel, and Judah—will not have the ability to make war. He has already cut it off. Why would that be? Because of the Great Tribulation. They will not have the ability to fight.
Here, the Jews thought He was going to come and raise them up, and they would be the great fighting force for God. But, this prophecy says that when He comes, they will not have the strength to do these things.
And what does it say? "He shall speak peace to the nations." This is interesting. And then it says that when He speaks peace to them, then His dominion will cover the whole world. I think that is so very ironic.
It is also very ironic that it says He was lowly, just, and bringing salvation. But what did Jesus Himself say in Matthew 10:34? "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword!"
Is that not ironic? Jesus' own testimony is that His first time He did come as a conquering hero! But He did not come with a sword of iron or steel. He came with the Sword of the Spirit—His own word. And that is what divides down to the bones and marrow.
And then, of course, it has the physical thing in separating people away from all the other people. It separated His people from the people of this world. And what great destruction, persecution, and grief that has caused, and mostly to His own people. But He did come with a sword the first time. And He is coming with a sword the second time too, but His intention is to bring peace.
That is an interesting section of verses.
Isaiah 44:21-23 "Remember these, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you. You are My servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me! I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you." Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it! Shout [teruah], you lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel.
Now this has a two-part fulfillment. It began with His first coming, in which He came and redeemed mankind with His own sacrifice. But this will not be completely fulfilled until the Great White Throne Judgment is over when God will have redeemed all Israel (Romans 11:26). All Israel shall be saved. What a great announcement that God has redeemed His people!
Zephaniah 3:14-15 Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout [ruah], O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more.
What a joyous announcement! This is a prophecy of the Millennium when the judgment periods of the Great Tribulation, and the Day of the Lord have ended. And Jesus Christ is on His throne, reigning on the earth. Here this "shout" is both an announcement of great magnitude, and the joyous roar of delight and praise, victory and triumph! Remember? That is one of the meanings of ruah.
This is what we are looking forward to in the Feast of Tabernacles, too, when we celebrate it in a couple of weeks—and the great millennial reign of Jesus Christ begins.
4. To give warning
This is the one that perhaps we are the most familiar with. And it is the one that we should be the most attentive to at this time of the history of the world. God says in Amos,
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
In other words, God gives us fair warning. He gives His people fair warning, either through scripture, or a servant who He has raised up as a watchman, that certain events are about to occur. We may not know the exact timing of things, but we should be able by the warning, by the blast of the trumpet, by the shout of the servant, that things are on their way—things we need to know about in order to avoid them.
In II Chronicles 13 we find a warning that Abijah, king of Judah, gave to the people of Israel, because they were at war with one another. Judah and Israel were fighting. This was less than twenty years after the death of Solomon, and the split between Israel and Judah. Abijah was facing the army of Jeroboam, and he got up on the top of a hill, and said, "Israelites! Do you not know that the Lord God of our fathers is with us? Stand down!" Instead, Jeroboam sent part of his army around behind the forces of Judah and trapped them between two lines.
So what did the men of Judah do here? They followed the instructions in Numbers 10, they blew the trumpet, and God responded, and Judah wiped them out. There were 500,000 Israelite men who died in this one battle.
He gave them warning, and told them. Abijah was the prophet [king] at the time. He said it, they did not hear, God responded.
Hosea 5:3-9 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me; for now, O Ephraim, you commit harlotry; Israel is defiled. They do not direct their deeds toward turning to their God, for the spirit of harlotry is in their midst, and they do not know the LORD. The pride of Israel testifies to his face; therefore Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also stumbles with them. With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the LORD, but they will not find Him; He has withdrawn Himself from them. They have dealt treacherously with the LORD, for they have begotten pagan children. Now a New Moon [one month = quickly] shall devour them and their heritage.
Blow the ram's horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah! Cry aloud at Beth Aven, 'Look behind you, O Benjamin!' Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke; among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure.
So, here God announces with the trumpet blast that Ephraim's and Israel's sins have finally made Him angry. And when God gets angry, He is going to punish. He says that His wrath is going to come upon them, His patience has run out, and they are going to get spanked, and badly. They had gone so far as to raise pagan children. God did not even recognize them as His own.
This next warning has a wider audience.
Isaiah 42:10-13 Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you coastlands and you inhabitants of them! Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela [another name for Petra] sing, let them shout [ruah] from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare His praise in the coastlands. The LORD shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes, shout [ruah] aloud; He shall prevail against His enemies.
So here, it is not just warning Israel that God is about to punish them, this is a warning to the whole world. But, especially to His people—He picked out the inhabitants of Sela—that their time is coming when their enemies are going to be destroyed—their enemies are going to be given their judgment. And what we have here is that a picture of God being roused from sleep. Then He wakes up and lets out a great shout and growl, saying that He is now coming against the people of this earth for their sins.
And the people who are on His side are shouting for joy! "We are going to be saved!"
Now perhaps we can see this announcement, this warning in terms of the trumpet plagues of Revelation chapters 8, and 9. Or perhaps in the proclamation of the three angels in Revelation 14 in which God says, "Put in the scythe. It is time to reap the harvest of the earth. It is time for the blood to rise up to the horse's bridles." And the great blood-letting on this earth will finally happen.
Joel 2:1-2 Blow 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 is coming, for it is at hand: A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations.
The trumpet is blown to announce and warn that, "THE DAY OF THE LORD IS COMING! IT IS AT HAND! IT IS THAT CLOSE! YOU CAN TOUCH IT!" That is what He says! And then,
Joel 2:11 The LORD gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great; for strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it?
That is how bad the bloodletting is, that time of God's wrath upon the earth, for mankind's suppression of His Truth, and their wickedness.
This final question is important: Who can endure it? (The Day of the Lord) The answer appears in the next section, which we read before. Call a fast. Call a sacred assembly. Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord God with all your heart and all your soul. And perhaps, He will show grace and mercy to us, and leave us a blessing, even in this terrible time.
Now we seem to be at the precipice of the time of trouble. We do not know if this is the beginning of Jacob's time of great trouble, or not. It could be. It could start just like this. But we do not know. We cannot see that far ahead.
Whether it is or not, we have to heed this warning, and take this opportunity, right now, to turn to God in humility and sincerity of heart, to seek a right relationship with Him, and draw ever closer to Him as the days get ever closer in everything. And He will be faithful. If we sound the trumpet, He will respond, and save His people.
Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the remnant whom the LORD calls.
Have a wonderful Feast of Trumpets everyone!