The Feast of Trumpets a Memorial and Day of Remembrance

The Feast of Trumpets a Memorial and Day of Remembrance


Calvin Lashway

September 2011


We find the instructions for Israel's observance of the Feast of Trumpets in Leviticus 23: "And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the LORD'" (Leviticus 23:23-25 All scriptures quoted are from the English Standard Version). The Feast of Trumpets is a memorial day. With the blowing of trumpets meant to help Israel remember, but Leviticus twenty-three doesn’t tell us what they were to remember. One possibility is the feast was a memorial to the years Israel spent wandering in the wilderness once freed from Egyptian slavery.


The other biblical festivals also help Israel remember their deliverance from slavery, the exodus and the forty years of wandering in the wilderness of Sinai. When reading the instructions to observe the other biblical festivals, we find God wanted Israel to remember this exodus experience. The yearly Passover reminded Israel that God "passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses'" (Exodus 12:25-27). The eating of unleavened bread during the week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread helped Israel remember that "with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt" (Exodus 13:3-10). In keeping the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, God wanted Israel to "remember that you were a slave in Egypt" (Deuteronomy 16:10, 12). The Day of Atonement and its associated Jubilee year, reminded Israel, "I [the LORD] brought [Israel] out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God" (Leviticus 25:8-10, 55). Finally, living in temporary dwellings (tabernacles or booths) for one week during the Feast of Tabernacles, reminded Israel that God "made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt" (Leviticus 23:42-43). In Numbers chapter ten, we find instructions given to Israel on the use of trumpets to communicate messages to the camp during their wilderness journey (verses 1-8). A day of trumpet blowing on the first day of the seventh month may have been another way to help Israel remember their time of wandering in the wilderness.


In addition chapter ten shows how the blowing of trumpets was a memorial or reminder for God. God tells Israel during a time of war when they "sound an alarm with the trumpets," He would remember and save them "from your enemies" (verse 9). In addition God tells Israel on their days of gladness and "appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months [The Feast of Trumpets is an appointed feast as well as the beginning day of a new month], you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am the LORD your God" (verse 10). Once more the blowing of trumpets brings Israel to God's remembrance. The sounding of trumpets during times of danger and worship, such as the Feast of Trumpets, looks like a type of prayer calling on God to remember Israel.1


We have looked at some of the possible historic events old covenant Israel was to remember from their observance of the Feast of Trumpets. Now let's look at some prophetic events that God wants Christians to remember. By examining the use of trumpets in the Bible through the lens of the new covenant, we gain a better understand of the meaning of the Feast of Trumpets. As well as and what God may want us to remember each year during this festival.2  We will now look at three uses of trumpets in connection to Jesus' second coming.


A reminder that Jesus will return - A trumpet announces Jesus' second coming: "Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (Matthew 24:30-31). "For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first" (1 Thessalonians 4:15-16). Jesus return is an important theme of the Feast of Trumpets.


A reminder of the future establishment of the Kingdom of God - A trumpet blast accompanies the proclamation of the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth: "Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever'" (Revelation 11:15-18). This is another theme of this festival.


A reminder of the future resurrection of the dead in Christ - As Jesus' descends "from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. . . the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. . ." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). This trumpet is the “last trumpet”: “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). This “last trumpet” is referring to the last of the seven trumpets of Revelation (Revelation 8:1-9:21, 11:15-18). According to Matthew, as Jesus comes with the “clouds of heaven. . . . he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30-31). The resurrection of the dead in Christ is also a Feast of Trumpets theme.


The Feast of Trumpets was a memorial day in which old covenant Israel was to remember something, but Leviticus twenty-three isn't specific on what they were to remember. With each of the other biblical festivals, God wanted Israel to remember their exodus-wilderness years. A day of trumpet blowing may have been another way for Israel to remember their sojourning in the wilderness, when trumpets were used for communication. As Christians we observe the Feast of Trumpets in the light of the new covenant. This festival helps us to remember each year that with the sound of a trumpet - Jesus will return, the kingdom of God will be established and the dead will be raised.



Notes

1. Lane T. Dennis and Wayne Grudem, eds. The ESV Study Bible. Accordance electronic ed. Wheaton: Crossway Bibles, 2008.


2. This article presumes the Christian observance of the festivals of Leviticus 23. It’s beyond the scope of this work to prove that Christians should keep these festivals. For information on this, and the meaning of the festivals, see the following literature: God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise for All Mankind http://www.ucg.org/booklets/HD/; Ronald L. Dart's book The Thread: God’s Appointments With History, Appendix 2 "In Defense of the Holydays.” A PDF version of the book is available at http://servantofmessiah.org/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2013/11/The-Thread-Gods-Holy-Days-Ron-Dart.pdf.


© Calvin Lashway 2017  -  Contact: cinfowritings@gmail.com