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What the Bible says about Trumpets, Feast of
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Simply stated, the Feast of Trumpets is one of God's feast days. It is the fourth of the seven annual holy days, and it is the first of the fall holy days.

A glance at most calendars will show that it is, in fact, a day that is still observed by the Jews. They call it Rosh Hashanah which means "Head of the Year" or "First of the Year." This is because it falls on the first day of the seventh month of God's sacred calendar.

But the Feast of Trumpets is a very special feast day. In many ways, it is a pivotal day.

In our hymnal's version of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," we sing, "In the beauty of the autumn Christ was born across the sea." This is because there is some evidence that the human Jesus may have been born on or very near the Feast of Trumpets. Also, Bible symbolism and prophecy indicate that He may well return to this earth on the Feast of Trumpets in some future year.

This feast symbolizes a vast turning point in world history. It pictures the pivotal changeover between the age of man, of darkness, and of Satan to the age of God, the World Tomorrow, the Millennium, and the Kingdom of God.

But what do trumpets have to do with all this? What is their significance?

The answer to this question is that many scriptures tell us that trumpet blasts will accompany the major, tumultuous events of the end times, the return of Jesus Christ, and the resurrection of the dead. Here are just a few of those scriptures:

» And He shall 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)

» . . . 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. (I Corinthians 15:52; see I Thessalonians 4:16)

» So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. The first angel sounded. . . . Then the second angel sounded. . . . Then the third angel sounded. . . . Then the fourth angel sounded. . . . Then the fifth angel sounded. . . . Then the sixth angel sounded. . . . 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!" (Revelation 8:6-8, 10, 12; 9:1, 13; 11:15)

What Is the Feast of Trumpets, Anyway?

Is not God's command to keep the Feast of Trumpets just an Old Testament command? Was it not just commanded for the children of Israel? Is it not just a Jewish feast day—or at best an Israelite feast day?

No! First, we must remember that we in the United States, Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth, and Western Europe are the children of Israel! We are the modern descendants of the children of Israel that we read about in the Bible.

More importantly, we are the New Testament "Israel of God" (Galatians 6:16). The physical Israelites were God's Old Testament "church." Conversely, today's church of God is the New Testament congregation of Israel. As Paul writes, "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29; see Romans 9:6-8).

In addition, God made His Sabbaths and holy days for all mankind, not just for the Israelites. These are the Feasts of God, not the Feasts of the Jews or the Israelites! In Old Testament times, God chose the Israelites to be the examples of how to fulfill His way of life to the rest of mankind (Deuteronomy 4:5-8), even though, for the most part, they did not do a great job of it. In the New Testament era, the church of God is responsible to be the example to the world of how to keep God's way of life (Matthew 5:14-16; Philippians 2:14-15).

What Is the Feast of Trumpets, Anyway?

Related Topics: Feast of Trumpets | Trumpets, Feast of


Genesis 8:13

About six months after the ark landed (Genesis 8:4), Noah opened the covering of the ark and found the earth to be dry. This verse says it was the first day of the first month. By the civil calendar that brings us to Tishri 1, the Feast of Trumpets! On that day the inhabitants of the ark were freed from its confinement to start a new life. That, magnified countless times, will occur to the sons of God when we are freed from the confinement of our physical bodies and changed into spirit in the twinkling of an eye!

John W. Ritenbaugh
God's Promises Are Sure!

Leviticus 23:24-25

God does not command us to do things just to show off His power. His commands are always filled with true logic and common sense; when He commands us to do something, it is always for a very good reason. He tells us to keep His Feast of Trumpets because He wants us to take a break from the mundane tasks of our daily lives. Like God's other holy days, the Feast of Trumpets is like a 24-hour stop sign. God wants us to stop!

On the Feast of Trumpets, God wants us to stop, to put aside our relatively unimportant daily affairs, and to concentrate for a mere 24 hours on what is really important, not on the physical things that are not lasting or eternal (II Corinthians 4:18). Even the rocks and mountains of this earth eventually will wear away to sand and dust (Psalm 102:25-27; see Hebrews 1:10-12). On this feast, God wants us to stop in order to concentrate on the truly eternal things: the return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the end of the age of man, and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. That is why we keep the Feast of Trumpets!

There are a few specific instructions here on how God wants us to observe His Feast of Trumpets:

1. It should be kept as a day of rest, similar to a weekly Sabbath.

2. It is a memorial of blowing of trumpets. Most church of God congregations do not own trumpets or rams' horn shofars, or have accomplished trumpeters. However, we often play some appropriate, recorded trumpet music as the holy day offering is being taken up. Such music gives us a good, aural reminder of the unique significance of this day.

3. A "holy convocation" should be held. A convocation is an assembly of people, and a holy convocation is a sacred assembly of people or a church service. Although many of God's scattered people find it necessary to keep the Sabbath alone or in tiny groups, it is good and worthwhile, if at all possible, to make the extra effort to keep the holy days with a larger group.

4. No "customary work" should be done. Customary work (or "servile work" as phrased in the King James Version) is work that we would normally do on a regular day, usually for pay. To the delight of our young people, this is properly extended to prohibit household chores, school work, and school homework. God does, however, allow a small amount of work to be done for the final preparation of food for the Feast, although as much of this labor as possible should be done on the previous day, termed in the Bible "the day of preparation" (see Exodus 12:16; 16:23; Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:14, 42).

5. Christians are not required to sacrifice animals by fire for their holy day offerings. Rather, they are to give monetary offerings—over and above their regular tithes—that may be used for the needs of the church and for the ongoing work of preaching God's Word.

What Is the Feast of Trumpets, Anyway?

Psalm 81:1-6

The commentaries are about equally divided as to which festival or festivals are intended here. Is it speaking of the spring or the fall feasts? Passover and Tabernacles both fall on a full moon, and obviously, both are preceded on the first day of the month by a new moon. However, two things tend to throw the weight toward the fall festivals.

First, the superscription of the psalm is gittith. Gittith, though it is the term for a musical instrument, literally means "winepress." It is associated with the fall harvest of grapes because of its customary use by the vintners then.

Second, and more authoritative, is the word "trumpet." All the commentators duly report that this refers to the ram's horn. Instructions for the use of trumpets are given in Numbers 10, but it makes no distinction as to which trumpet (ram's horn or silver) should sound at the beginning of each month. However, Jewish tradition emphasizes that the silver horns were blown at the beginning of each month except Tishri 1, the Feast of Trumpets. The weight of evidence at this point inclines toward the feasts of Trumpets and Tabernacles.

Verse 4 explains that God established a law in Joseph as a testimony witnessing to a historical fact: his release from prison and elevation to prime minister. Thus, this psalm gives us the time setting for Joseph's experiences in Genesis 41: Tishri 1, which became the Feast of Trumpets! On this feast day, Joseph was removed from his hard labor, as Psalm 81:6 relates. The psalmist shows an encouraging parallel between God and Joseph. Both are saviors, and we can take encouragement from what happened to Joseph. God did not forget him!

John W. Ritenbaugh
God's Promises Are Sure!

Isaiah 58:13-14

It is likely that the Sabbath here is either the Feast of Trumpets or the Day of Atonement. The chapter opens up with "Lift up your voice like a trumpet," but then the bulk of the chapter has to do with fasting. The Sabbath arises in verse 13, which indicates that, when Isaiah wrote this, God had a particular Sabbath in mind.

There are only two Sabbaths in which God says, "No work shall be done." The one is the Day of Atonement, and the other is the weekly Sabbath (which occurs fifty-two times a year). In that regard, the weekly Sabbath is more stringent than are the holy days. When holy days and weekly Sabbaths coincide, the holy day takes precedence as being a Sabbath of the first rank. But yet, in regard to the weekly Sabbath, God says, "No work shall be done."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part 4)

Joel 2:12-17

God uses graphic language here. What is coming should not be anticipated lightly. It will be painful like no time in history has ever been painful. There will be so much fear and anxiety that it is beyond our comprehension to understand— especially when we think of this in light of the peoples of the United States, Canada, Australia, and South Africa, countries whose entire populations have never really had to face the horrors of war. Some of our men have been involved in war, but we have never had our own shores touched by a war anything like this. It will pale the Civil War and the World Wars into insignificance when it finally occurs.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Don't Be a Prudent Agnostic

2 Timothy 2:15-18

Today, people are saying, not that the resurrection has occurred, but that Christ is not going to come soon, indeed not for a few hundred years. How bad will this world be in a few hundred years? Can humanity possibly survive that long at the rate things are going? Can the world survive, considering how angry the nations are and how competitive they are with one another?

Can things possibly go on for that long, when the nations have weapons that can wipe mankind out completely? Man's history proves that, eventually, every weapon is used! When some madman sees particular advantage to himself or his country, he will use those weapons. Men will take those chances because human nature gambles, and the human nature in some people gambles recklessly with other people's lives.

It is irresponsible to be telling church members we will have to wait a few hundred years for the return of Christ, but that idea is out there, floating among the churches.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Trumpets Is a Day of Hope


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