“In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:52
“According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4: 15-17.
Many Christians are familiar with the verses above, which describe an amazing future event known as “The Rapture.” There is talk of this event among believers, but most people do not understand the deeper meaning behind these verses, and what they symbolize for the Bride of Christ (those who have received Jesus as their personal Savior).
A key piece of information is found in both of these compelling verses. By understanding this one amazing piece, a believer’s eyes are opened to great revelation that will help he/she truly understand what it means that “Christ will return at the sound of the last trump.” That key piece is THE TRUMPET. In Hebrew, it is referred to as the Shofar.
In order to understand the trumpet and why it is used in the rapture, we must understand how, when, and where it is used in the word of God. The trumpet (shofar) is more than a musical instrument. It is the supernatural call of God.
When you think of a trumpet you probably picture the shiny brass colored instrument you see in a marching band. It has several valves and a bell shaped end where a variety of lively, penetrating tones can be heard. Well, that is our modern version of a trumpet. The biblical trumpet (shofar) is much different.
The biblical trumpet was made of a ram’s horn. If you look at the picture of the ram, you will see the horn is curved. When the horn is removed there would be a hole at each end. For a person to sound the trumpet (shofar) they would have to purse their lips and blow on the smaller end of the horn. It is actually not as easy as it sounds. I have a shofar and I have tried to play it. You have to blow into the shofar with just the right amount of force and pressure to get a sound to come out. My son is much better at it than I am. The shofar (trumpet) has no valves so you have to control the sound by your lips, pressure and force in the right amounts.
Why did God choose a ram’s horn to be used in the first place? This goes back to the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22.
God told Abraham to take his son Isaac and sacrifice him at Mount Moriah. This was an extremely difficult thing to do because God was asking Abraham to kill his beloved son as an offering. Nonetheless, Abraham obeyed. He brought Isaac to the place God designated and prepared to kill his son on the altar. Just before Abraham took the knife to his son, the angel of the Lord called out and told him to stop. The angel said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” At that moment Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. Abraham went over and took the ram and sacrificed it instead. Because Abraham was faithful, God promised to bless him and all his descendants forever.
The trumpet in this story is a reminder of God’s mercy. The ram was provided in Isaac’s place. God had mercy on Abraham because he obeyed. So now we have the first reason the trumpet is sounded: IT IS A REMINDER OF GOD’S MERCY.
What is interesting about the story of Abraham and Isaac is that it is a foreshadowing of the great mercy God would have on all of mankind. He would later send his son, Jesus, to become the sacrifice for our sins on the cross. Just as God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, God would send his son Jesus to be sacrificed. Even the spot where the sacrifice would take place is prophetic. Mount Moriah is the site of the Temple Mount. It is the site of God’s Holy Temple. When Jesus came to earth, he became the living Temple and was bound to the cross like a ram/sheep being bound to the altar. This sacrifice is the ultimate gift of mercy on mankind because it would save them from eternal death and condemnation. So again, it is evident the shofar/trumpet points to MERCY.
Now, let’s look at the other uses of the trumpet/shofar in the Bible.
IT IS USED TO CALL AN ASSEMBLY TOGETHER
IT IS USED TO SOUND AN ALARM, especially during wartime AND IS CONSIDERED A “WAKE UP” CALL
IT IS USED TO CARRY MESSAGES, such as reminding us to REPENT
IT IS USED FOR WORSHIP in the Tabernacle and the Temple
IT IS USED TO MARK THE BEGINNING AND ENDING OF THE LORD’S HOLY FEASTS (which include The Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement Feast of Tabernacles, Passover, Pentecost, etc)
IT IS USED TO ANNOUNCE THE ARRIVAL OF THE NEW MOON (beginning of the month) AND THE JUBILEE YEAR (which occurs every 50th year)
IT IS USED FOR THE CORONATION OF KINGS, OR TO CROWN KINGS
IT IS A SYMBOL OF GOD’S POWER AND GLORY
IT IS THE VOICE OF GOD/JESUS
IT IS USED AS A SIGN OF VICTORY
How do I know all those reasons above? There are examples throughout scripture!
“Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him.” Judges 6:34
“Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!” Nehemiah 4:20
The Lord said to Moses: “Make two trumpets of hammered silver, and use them for calling the community together and for having the camps set out. 3 When both are sounded, the whole community is to assemble before you at the entrance to the tent of meeting.” Numbers 10:10
The above verses show the trumpet as a way to assemble, or gather people together.
I find this fascinating because we know the RAPTURE will be a gathering, or assembly of God’ people- the Bride of Christ. When it says Jesus returns at the sound of the trumpet, we know he is ASSEMBLING AND GATHERING HIS FOLLOWERS.
What is even more interesting is that all the exiles of Israel shall be gathered with the sound of the trumpet as seen in this verse: “And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.” Isaiah 27:13
The trumpet is also seen as a WARNING, a WAKE UP CALL.
“Blow the trumpet in Zion ; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand. A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.” Joel 2, 1-2.
“And he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.” Ezekiel 33.
“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.” Numbers 10:9
Here we can clearly see the trumpet is blown to warn people of danger- even the Day of the Lord. It even says the Lord will remember you and you will be saved from your enemies.
When the Rapture occurs, it is seen as the Lord sparing his children. The Rapture will likely occur before the Tribulation and this would mean that the Bride of Christ is saved from the horrible events of that time. The sounding of the trumpet at Christ’s return will be a call of remembrance for the Bride of Christ as God remembers and spares her. But, for the rest of the earth the trumpet will usher in a time of Tribulation and warfare. The Day of the Lord will be a reality that is grim and dark. The warning call of the trumpet will bring forth the darkest time on earth for those who do not know Christ.
Another reason the trumpet, or shofar, is blown is to remind us to repent. This goes back to the Feast of Trumpets. This feast is listed in Leviticus 23, and it was one of the seven holy feasts the Israelites were called to observe. The Feast of Trumpets occurs every year on the 1st of Tishrei on the Hebrew biblical calendar. On our regular Gregorian calendars, this usually occurs in September or October each year. On this feast it is customary to blow the trumpet one hundred times. The 100th trump is called the LAST TRUMP. Does that sound familiar? (“in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:52)
For one month prior to the Feast of Trumpets, it is a time of repentance. The month of repentance is known as Elul, and it is the 6th month on the Hebrew calendar. As soon as Elul is over, the next month is Tishrei, with the first of Tishrei being the Feast of Trumpets. During the entire month of Elul (preceding the Feast of Trumpets), the trumpet is blown every day. This is meant to be a “wake up” call, or a reminder to repent. Each day the believer is called to search themselves for sin and repent, allowing God to heal their hearts. By the time Elul is over, the believer should be ready for the big day- the Feast of Trumpets. It is on this day that the Book of Life is opened and if the believer has repented, their name will be written in the Book of Life. This is according to biblical Jewish tradition and is still practiced today.
As believers in Christ, we are called to repentance EVERY DAY. The great thing is that our names were written in the Book of Life once we received Christ. We should hear the trumpet’s call every day via the Holy Spirit. But, one day, a trumpet will sound that ushers us to heaven. The trumpet will gather us together to Christ- the ultimate act of mercy.
Most Christians do not celebrate the Feast of Trumpets because they see it as a Jewish feast. But, it is not specified as a Jewish Feast in the Bible. It is designated as the Lord’s Feast. It is called the Lord’s Feast of Trumpets. Though we do not know the day or the hour Christ will return, we know he has already fulfilled several Feasts of the Lord (mentioned in Leviticus 23 and in the book of Numbers). He was crucified on Passover- he was laying in the tomb during Unleavened Bread, and he was resurrected on First Fruits. The Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost (known as the Feast of Weeks in the Bible). These are all Feasts of the Lord that were fulfilled by Christ! There are only three left to fulfill and the Feast of Trumpets is one of those!
It is interesting to me that on the Feast of Trumpets (also known as Rosh Hashanah) the trumpet is blown 100 times! Did you know that Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born? (Genesis 21:5) Remember the story of Abraham, Isaac and the RAM- THE TRUMPET? Also, remember that story pointed to God’ ultimate mercy. He spared Isaac by providing the ram (the trumpet/shofar is made from the ram’s horn). At the Rapture, the Bride will be spared death as well. God’s mercy will save the Bride from the Day of the Lord, or the events of the Tribulation. The 100th trump is known as the LAST TRUMP on the Feast of Trumpets.
Am I saying Christ will return someday on the Feast of Trumpets? It is certainly possible, but only God knows. However, the feasts are meant to be dress rehearsals for the real thing so why not be familiar and even celebrate the feast? In fact, look at this verse from Leviticus 23, explaining the feasts. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.'” Do you know what the word convocations implies in Hebrew? It implies a dress rehearsal! Not only that, the Hebrew implication of proclaim means to shout, to scream, to invite, and to make famous! Hello!!! Are you getting this? The Lord is saying in these verses that his feasts are to be famous and are like rehearsing for a play! They are meant to be WELL KNOWN and PRACTICED! And guess what? You are invited!!!! This Feast occurs every year so even if Christ returns on the Feast of Trumpets we wouldn’t know which year, or even the day. The Feast of Trumpets is actually celebrated for two days at the appointed time each year on Tishrei 1 and 2.
Why? As I told you before, Jesus fulfilled all the spring feasts already. The Israelites were essentially practicing the feasts for over 1500 years and then Jesus became everything they were practicing down to the very day and hour of the feast!!!! Many Christians know that when Jesus came to Earth he fulfilled every aspect of the Law. He also fulfilled every aspect of the feasts- but there are still three left for him to fulfill (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles/Feast of Booths). As Christians we cannot forget that Jesus is Jewish- he never stopped being Jewish. The first disciples and members of the church were Jewish. As Gentiles we are grafted in with the Jewish people. We aren’t told to forget them and everything considered “Jewish”. If we forget everything Jewish, we are forgetting Jesus because he is Jewish. There are hidden treasures within the Jewish foundations, which are foundations to Christianity. That’s why Paul told the church in Romans 11 that we are on the same branch of the olive tree with the Jewish people. It is through them that we received the Law/word of God through the Patriarchs. God has also made a covenant with them. Though many Jewish people have rejected Jesus, the Bible makes it clear that a redemption is coming. Jesus came to save all people. When he returns at the rapture he is coming to save all believers in Christ- his Bride. At the Second Coming, he will redeem the Jewish people (who had not received him before the Rapture). He will also redeem those Gentiles and Jews who receive him during the Tribulation.
The Feast of Trumpets occurs every year on Tishrei 1 and lasts through Tishrei 2. This year that falls on September 10 (technically it starts at sundown on September 9 because the feast always begins at sundown of the day before). It would end on the evening of September 11. How do you celebrate? You can simply repent and pray during the month of Elul, which will begin on August 12 and last through September 9. Remember, the goal is to search yourself for sin via the Holy Spirit and pray about this. It’s a time of looking at the past year and determining what things you and the Lord need to work on together. So each day of Elul, you can designate a block of time to speak and pray to Jesus. Some people even choose to fast if they wish. Then, on the Feast of Trumpets you can simply worship the Lord. You can also go to a Messianic synagogue ( this is a church with Jewish/Gentile believers who know Christ as Messiah) and celebrate with them. If you go there you will get to hear the trumpet blast 100 times! It is an awesome experience! If you do not want to do that you can simply observe the feast with God! Let God know you remember his feast and thank him for remembering you!
The trumpet, as you can see, is a reminder of many wonderful promises the Lord has for us. One of my favorites is that the trumpet is used for the coronation of Kings. It is also used as a sign of victory.
” Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” 1Kings 1:39 – coronation of a King
“When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.” Joshua 6:20
Jesus will be crowned King when he returns to Earth at the sound of the trumpet! Just like in Jericho, when the walls fell down, Jesus will tear down every high thing that has set itself up against God! Those walls will come a tumblin down!
The advent of Jesus, the Messiah, will be announced with the trumpet:
“Then the LORD will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south…The Lord their God will save his people on that day, as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.” Zechariah 9:14 and 16
The trumpet has so many uses in the Bible, but the one that really amazes me is this:
“When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder.” Exodus 19:19
“All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance.” Exodus 20:18.
The verses above are from Mt. Sinai, when God revealed himself. The Law (The Torah) was given to the people at Mt. Sinai. Notice how the presence of God is accompanied by the trumpet! There is also thunder and lightning! How’s that for making an entrance!
Now look at these verses:
“On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet.” Revelation 1:10
Whose voice is it? It’s the voice of Jesus. In this part of Revelation John is having a vision of Christ. After this, the details of the last days on Earth are revealed to him.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” Revelation 4:1
More details are being revealed to John as he is shown what must take place at the end of days.
You can see that the trumpet is very much tied to God and his sovereignty. Keep in mind the trumpets were blown when the ark of the covenant was being carried before the Israelites. It signaled the presence of God. When Christ returns, his presence will be signaled by the trumpet as well.
In the ancient Jewish wedding, a trumpet was used to summon the Bride. Back in biblical days the Groom made a contract with the father of the Bride. The Groom had to give the Bride’s father something of value in exchange for his daughter. Once this was done, the Ketubah (contract) was signed and the Bride was technically married to the Groom. But, the wedding did not take place until later. First, the Groom had to go to his Father’s property to prepare a place for his Bride. The Groom would leave the Bride for up to a year so he could go to his Father’s property to help get the Bridal chamber/living quarters ready. During the time the Groom was gone, the Bride had to wear a veil so everyone knew she was “married.” She did not know when the Groom would return to get her. It could be anytime! She had to be ready and waiting. Only the Groom’s father could decide when it was time to get the Bride. Once the property was ready, he would tell his son it was time to get her.
It was not unusual for a Bride to go to sleep in her wedding attire, or sleep with it close by. After all, it was well known that many Grooms could come in the middle of the night to fetch their Bride. Midnight was a popular time to arrive! The Bride usually kept an oil lamp nearby, ready and filled with olive oil. This way, if the Groom arrived at night, she would have something to light her way.
The Groom had a special way of signaling his Bride he was on his way to get her. Can you guess what it is????? It was the sound of a trumpet! The Groom would make his way to the Bride’s house to “steal” his Bride. His wedding party would be with him. When they got close to the Bride’s house, a loud shout would be given and then the trumpet blast. The Bride would hear this and she knew it was time. She would grab her oil lamp and go out to meet her Groom. Remember the story of the 10 Virgins at Midnight? Only the virgins with their oil lamps full were ready to meet the Groom! Interestingly enough, at the end of the 10 Virgins story it says to “keep watch because you do not know the hour.” This was true of a Jewish wedding. You didn’t know exactly when the Groom would come. What’s interesting about The Feast of Trumpets is that it is also called “The Feast of which you didn’t know the day or hour.” Why? Because it occurred on a new moon and the moon was barely visible. The feast could not officially start until the new moon was sighted. If there were clouds in the sky it would be even harder to spot. This is why the feast is celebrated for two days. No one knew when it would be seen.
Now don’t you think that’s amazing? A trumpet is used to signal the Bride in the ancient Jewish wedding!
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:2
These verses describe our place in heaven. Notice it says, MY FATHER’S HOUSE. It also says “I GO THERE TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU.” Jesus is going to the Father’s house (heaven) to prepare a place for us. At the trumpet call, he will return for us (The Bride) and take us to the Father’s property in heaven- the rapture! Who gives him the signal? The Father- God! Just like in the ancient Jewish wedding. The Groom’s father told his son when the property was officially ready and he could go get his Bride. In Matthew 24:36 Jesus even says, “About that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, BUT ONLY THE FATHER.”
Jesus often spoke in remez when he is quoted in the New Testament. This means he would often speak about things that the Jewish audience of that time would understand, based on biblical teachings and the religious culture of those days. When he was saying the words of John 14:2, he was speaking about the Jewish wedding. He also spoke about coming like a thief in the night. This is also speaking in remez because Jewish grooms came at unexpected times. They came to steal away their Brides- often in the middle of the night! Jesus knew his audience would be familiar with these concepts so he used these things to further illustrate the point he was trying to make. Also, keep in mind that our Savior is Jewish!!!
Jesus returning at the last trump is like remez because the audience of that day would understand the purposes of trumpets (shofars). We too, should understand the purpose of the trumpet.
I have only scratched the surface when it comes to sharing all the awesome details that go along with understanding the Lord’s Feasts and the trumpet. I am shocked that I never knew some of these things before I started studying the Hebraic roots. All those years I was missing a very important part of the puzzle- THE JEWISH PEOPLE. If we want to understand our Savior, we have to understand his ancient covenant people. In fact, the more we see Jesus in their traditions, the more we can share the gospel with them. Whether they receive it or not is not up to us. But remember that we carry the trumpet around inside of us every day. The Holy Spirit is our daily wake up call- the voice of God within us. We should be ready to proclaim and BLAST the good news. He has come already and he’s coming again. Get that oil lamp ready!!!! Maranatha!