Most of Christianity believes that God’s Holy Days, including the Feast of Trumpets, were “done away with” – that they have no relevance today. But nothing could be further from the truth!
You may have heard the term “planned obsolescence.” People often use this term to describe products that, seemingly by design, outlive their usefulness within a given period of time.
We’ve all had experiences with manufactured goods, such as automobiles or appliances that function for only a short time and then cease to work. Consider, for instance, the car that breaks down even before it is completely paid for. It’s as if the manufacturer wants you to be forced to buy another!
It’s unfortunate, but some who consider themselves Christians are under the impression that God uses “planned obsolescence” when it comes to His law and His plan for mankind! Millions believe that Christ’s death “did away with” the need to keep God’s commandments, including God’s Holy Days, which outline His plan.
It’s true that God no longer requires certain acts of His people. For example, Christ’s sacrifice eliminated the need for God’s people to perform animal sacrifices (Heb. 10:1-6).
But man has taken it upon himself to declare obsolete other areas of God’s instructions that God definitely has not (Mark 7:6-9). Christ Himself said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matt. 5:17-18).
God’s law, including those instructions that concern God’s Holy Days, is in force today. One of the festivals God commands us to keep is the Feast of Trumpets, which this year (2009) falls on Sept. 19. Most professing Christians have not even heard of it. They have been blinded to this important Festival of God, though the Feast of Trumpets is designed to have important meaning for us in the 21st century.
Christ’s death did not at all do away with the need for us to keep the Feast of Trumpets today. This Holy Day of God is relevant now, and very much so.
God first introduced the Feast of Trumpets to ancient Israel after the dramatic exodus from Egypt, commanding them to keep this day as a Sabbath, a holy convocation (Lev. 23:23-25). Notice that the Israelites were to mark this particular day as a memorial of the meaning trumpets had for their nation, both physically and symbolically.
God instructed them to use silver trumpets to gather the tribes for assemblies and to signal when it was time to move during their migration to the Promised Land. The Israelites were to blow the trumpets when they were preparing to attack or to defend against an attack. Moreover, trumpets were blown during God’s festivals and at the beginning of each month. Each use of the trumpets gave added meaning to the festivals as the Israelites understood them (Num. 10:1-10).
Since the Israelites, awestruck and trembling, had already experienced God’s tremendous use of a blaring trumpet when God gave them the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19:19), they were familiar with the use of trumpets in correlation with momentous events in their lives!
God continued to associate trumpet blasts with important events after that era as well, and He does so for us today.
The Bible shows that during Israel’s later history, which was heavily punctuated with conflicts and rebellion, trumpets continued to be used as warning devices, to call to arms or as preludes to important messages, always to mark an event of tremendous import to the whole nation.
God used the prophets, among them Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea and Joel, to warn Israel about punishments He would bring upon them for their constant rebellion against His laws. These prophets were to use their voices like trumpets to blare their warnings to God’s people.
Notice, for example, God’s instruction to Isaiah: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isa. 58:1) See also Hosea 5:8 and Joel 2:1.
Portions of the prophet’s warning were fulfilled in type, by ancient Israel’s captivity. Yet many of these prophecies are dual, having both ancient and modern fulfillments. Such is the case with the message of the prophet Ezekiel.
God set Ezekiel as a watchman to Israel. Ezekiel, through his message, symbolically blew a trumpet of warning to God’s people (Ezk. 33:1-7).
Ezekiel’s warning, however, did not reach the house of Israel, because they had already gone into captivity! Ezekiel’s visions of Israel’s impending destruction were given “in the 5th day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity” (Ezk. 1:2). Jehoiachin went into captivity in 597 B.C., or about 125 years after the removal, to Assyria, of the last of the Northern tribes, which occurred from 721-718 B.C.
If Ezekiel’s message did not reach ancient Israel, for whom was it intended?
God’s warning through Ezekiel was intended for the modern descendants of ancient Israel, the peoples of the United States, Britain and, in general, northwestern Europe today!
Ezekiel’s message is reaching the modern Israelites. God has set a modern-day watchman to thunder to our peoples the impending consequences of their sins. That watchman is Christ’s present-day Church, the Church of God New World Ministries.
The book of Revelation outlines God’s future use of trumpets. This message is for the entire world, and concerns events before and including the return of Jesus Christ, who will soon return to rule this earth with God’s government.
This message about God’s end time use of trumpets begins with the opening, in heaven, of Revelation’s 7th seal (Rev. 8:1-2). Seven angels are given seven trumpets to blow. The blowing of these trumpets represents God’s intervention in world affairs just after the world has endured Satan’s wrath (the Great Tribulation) and the heavenly signs (Rev. 6:9-14).
Notice what happens when the first four trumpets are blown: At the sound of the first trumpet supernatural fire will burn the grass and one third of the earth’s trees. At the sound of the second trumpet God will kill a third of all sea life. People will no longer freely sail the oceans. Dead, bloated, stinking carcasses of sea creatures will abound.
After this, a third trumpet is blown and a third of the earth’s freshwater will turn bitter. The results? The death of many humans. Finally a fourth trumpet is blown, and one third of the light from the sun, moon and stars will be eliminated (vs. 7-12).
These terrible plagues are released on the earth by an angry righteous God, who will be forced to shake carnal, rebellious humanity to its senses!
We come now to the final three trumpet plagues or “woes” (Rev. 8:13). When the 5th trumpet is blown, the bottomless pit is opened (Rev. 9:1-11). What emerges is the beast power described in Revelation 17:8-14, the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. This beast will have ensnared the world in its satanically inspired, Babylonish religious and political system.
Horrible weapons, symbolized by locusts, are unleashed. They have the power to torment men for five months, perhaps through the use of chemical, biological or radiological weaponry. The beast power will use these weapons on the nations to the northeast of Palestine (Dan. 11:44). This attack will result in a counterattack. The 6th angel sounds and an army from east of the Euphrates River, an army of 200 million men! – emerges, wielding more frightening weapon. This conflict will destroy one third of mankind (Rev. 9:13-19, Isa 13:4-10).
And yet, as unbelievable as it may seem, mankind still will not repent (Rev. 9:20-21). The third “woe” – God’s final trumpet plague is yet to occur.
“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). Jesus Christ will return in power and resplendent glory to seize control of this world (Rev. 19:11-21). The saints will be resurrected to eternal life to rule with Christ (I Corth. 15:51-52; Rev. 5:10).
But it will take the seven last plagues, which compose the seventh trumpet, to complete the job of bringing mankind under the control of God.
These final plagues are described in Revelation 16. First, painful sores will appear on those still subservient to the beast (v. 2). The second and third plagues turn the seas, rivers and springs of water into blood (vs. 3-7).
The fourth plague turns the normally life-giving sun into a life-destroying power as the sun heats the earth to incredible temperatures. This fourth plague will still not bring mankind to repentance (vs. 8-9). The fifth plague plunges the beast’s realm into darkness (vs. 10-11).
With these nightmarish plagues completed, mankind will be united to fight Christ at His return. Satan the devil, working through the beast (the end-time military leader) will gather the “kings of the east” to join the armies that remain from the devastated beast power. The gathering location will be Armageddon (vs. 12-16), the site of ancient Megiddo in the valley of Jezreel about 20 miles south of the modern port of Haifa. Many wars have been fought at this site.
But the combined efforts of these Satan-inspired powers will be to no avail. The 7th and last plague will seal their fate. The mightiest earthquake in history will occur. Dormant volcanoes will erupt. Hailstones weighting 100 pounds (the modern equivalent of a talent) will fall from the skies (vs. 17-21).
Christ’s climatic battle with these armies will occur at Jerusalem: “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
“Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountains shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south” (Zech. 14:1-4).
God’s government will be established. Those of us who qualify to be born into the Family of God will start the process of reconstructing the world the right way, this time through the remaining human beings.
A trumpet will be blown to gather Israel from the places in which they have been captive. The Israelites will be brought to the land of Israel to live and worship God (Isa. 27:12-13). A new age will dawn upon mankind, an age filled with happiness, abundance and true peace, which the world has not known since creation.
The meaning, then, of the Feast of Trumpets, which pictures Christ’s return to establish God’s Kingdom on earth, is revealed by the various uses of trumpets throughout the Bible.
Old Testament Israel had a limited physical understanding of the Feast of Trumpets. But God’s Church understands, through God’s Word, and with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, its commission to offer this dying world this tremendous news about the future. We are to provide the trumpet blast that gives the Gospel of Jesus Christ to this world.
The Feast of Trumpets is not obsolete at all. God has placed great meaning in it. We need to rehearse that meaning each year by keeping this Festival. By doing so, we show our obedience to God’s Word. We proclaim our belief in God’s warning messages, the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the saints. In addition, we prepare ourselves for the Family of God. Truly, God has been gracious to give us this Festival!