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The Feast of Trumpets
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:23-25)
Gospel preachers are trumpeters. The preaching of the gospel is frequently compared to the blowing of a trumpet in the Scriptures. Sometimes it is compared to a trumpet sound making a joyous announcement. And sometimes it is compared to a sound of alarm in preparation for war. — “If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle?” But throughout the Book of God, gospel preaching is compared to the blowing of a trumpet (Psalm 81:1-4; 89:1-18). The first mention of a trumpet is found in connection with the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai, when God called Moses up into the mount (Exodus 19:13, 19; 20:18). But throughout the Old Testament, the Lord God used the blasts of trumpets to summons his people to himself.
All were highly symbolic and typical of things to come in this Gospel Age. One of the annual feasts of worship, one of Israel’s annual holy convocations, was the Feast of Trumpets. It is described here in Leviticus 23:23-25. We are given a little more detail in Numbers 10:1-10 and 29:1-6.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee. When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys. But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm. And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance forever throughout your generations. And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.” (Numbers 10:1-10)
“And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you. And ye shall offer a burnt offering for a sweet savour unto the LORD; one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of the first year without blemish: And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram, and one tenth deal for one lamb, throughout the seven lambs: And one kid of the goats for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you: Beside the burnt offering of the month, and his meat offering, and the daily burnt offering, and his meat offering, and their drink offerings, according unto their manner, for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.” (Numbers 29:1-6)
Without question, the Feast of Trumpets was a representation of that spiritual joy and gladness that belongs to God’s elect, the gladness of redemption and the joy of grace that is found in Christ (Isaiah 35:10) when we are made to know the joyful sound of the gospel (Psalm 89:14-18).
As the trumpet sounded as God’s voice, calling his people to himself, so the preaching of the gospel is God’s voice to his people. — “See that ye refuse not the voice of him that speaketh!” As the trumpet at Sinai represented the voice of the Almighty, when the Apostle John heard the Lord Jesus speaking to him on the Isle of Patmos, his voice was as the voice of a great trumpet (Revelation 1:10). What a gracious God we have! He who spoke in terror at Sinai calls us to everlasting bliss by the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:17 - 6:2; Hebrews 12:25).
God’s voice is the voice of two trumpets (Numbers 10:2): the Old Testament and the New. Yet, these two trumpets are one. They were made of one “whole piece” of silver. — The message of the Old Testament and the message of the New is one message — “Jesus Christ and him crucified!” — The gospel is one message!
These trumpets were typical of the gospel. The blowing of the trumpets symbolized the preaching of the gospel, which is called “the great trumpet” (Isaiah 27:13). Gospel preachers are to lift up their voice like a trumpet, both to sound an alarm to perishing sinners, warning them of wrath to come, and to call them to come to Christ for salvation (Isaiah 58:1).
These trumpets were made of silver. And the gospel of God is comparable to silver, because it is fetched out of the rich mines of the sacred Scriptures, because it is pure and free from the dross of errors and human inventions, because it will bear to be tried by the standard of the Word, and because it is lasting and durable. It is the everlasting gospel. It is compared to silver, because it is of great value and infinitely precious. Here we find the unsearchable riches of Christ and all the treasures of divine truth, called “gold, silver, and precious stones,” by which God builds his church.
These two trumpets, like the preaching of the gospel, were used “for the calling of the assembly,” for the gathering of God’s elect (Romans 10:13-17; 1 Peter 2:23-25). These same trumpets, like the gospel of Christ, were used to inspire and direct the children of Israel in their journey to the land of promise. The two silver trumpets were the weapons of Israel’s warfare along the way, by which they prevailed over their enemies (Numbers 10:9; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). And the trumpets were to be blown only by the sons of Aaron, only by divinely appointed men (Numbers 10:8).
Numbers 10:10 tells us that these silver trumpets of grace were to be blown over the sacrifices, for there is no good news for sinners but by the sacrifice of Christ. The trumpets were blown at the beginning of their months. They were blown as the children of Israel offered God their sacrifices. And they were blown as a memorial before the Lord. They were memorials of faith, joy, and gratitude, remembering the past and in hope of the future.
The Feast of Trumpets was symbolical of God’s mercy, love, and grace proclaimed in the gospel. The blowing of the trumpets portrayed the preaching of the gospel, the proclamation of good news, the good news of a finished redemption, redemption finished, and salvation obtained by the sacrifice of Christ.
There is no good news in the gospel of the will-worship works-monger. Good news is the declaration that justice is satisfied, sin has been put away, righteousness has been brought in, and eternal redemption has been obtained by the doing and dying of the Son of God!
It was in realization of that which was signified by the blowing of these trumpets that David wrote Psalm 89.
“Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted. For the LORD is our defense; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.” (Psalm 89:14-18)
In this Psalm David sets before us, in the most powerfully plain terms imaginable, those gracious, covenant promises made with the Lord Jesus Christ, eternal promises and certain promises (Psalm 89:3, 28, 34, 37). Many commentators have called this Psalm, “The Glorious Covenant Psalm;” and truly it is that. We read here about covenant mercies and the covenant faithfulness of Christ our Surety. This 89th Psalm is about the covenant God who rules over all and his promised grace to the covenant seed being established forever in Christ Jesus (Psalm 89:4, 29, 36). He is a covenant God; therefore his covenant people must be blessed (Ephesians 1:3-6). God gives us a clear description of his people in verses 15,16, and 17 of this Psalm.
They know the joyful sound of the gospel. The sheep of Christ know the effectual voice of the Good Shepherd and they delight to follow him (John 10:27-30). It is the sound of victory over sin through his blood. It is the sound of mercy, grace, love, peace, and pardon in and through Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3-14).
They shall walk in the light of his countenance. Our darkened hearts have been illuminated through the preaching of the gospel and the quickening of God the Holy Ghost to see the beauty, glory, and necessity of our great Redeemer and King (2 Corinthians 4:6). Christ is our Light (John 9:5).
God’s saints shall rejoice in his name all the day. Believers have every reason to rejoice in Christ alone and have no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3). — We have been redeemed, justified, and sanctified in him.
They shall be exalted in his righteousness. The perfect righteousness that Jesus Christ worked out for his elect has been freely, eternally, and fully imputed to them that believe, because we have been made the righteousness of God in him (Romans 4:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ Jesus is the Lord our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5; 33:16; Philippians 3:7-9).
The Lord Jesus Christ is our glory and strength. Without him we are nothing, we can do nothing, and we know nothing (John 15:5). Any spiritual strength or spiritual knowledge that we enjoy, and experience is and must be because of his grace worked within us (Philippians 1:6; 4:13).
The Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, our Covenant Surety, our God, is our defense. We are unable to defend ourselves against our spiritual enemies. There are too many of them and they are too powerful for us even to begin to fight. However, our Lord Christ, our Man of War, stood face to face and toe to toe with all our enemies and won the glorious victory for us (Psalm 98:1). He defeated sin by making atonement for it (Hebrews 9:26). He magnified and honored the law for us (Galatians 3:13). He defeated Satan by crushing his dominion and power (Hebrews 2:14). He defeated death by rising from the dead (Revelation 1:18).
Call to Rest
Like the blowing of these silver trumpets, the preaching of the gospel is a call to rest.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.” (Leviticus 29:23-25)
What gracious, sweet words those are which fall from the lips of him who is the gospel, from the lips of him who is our blessed Sabbath Rest!
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
The trumpet sound was like the word “behold” so commonly used in the New Testament, that word by which we are called to Christ. May God the Holy Spirit, whose word we have before us, graciously call both writer and reader by his almighty, omnipotent grace and irresistible mercy to Christ and give us rest in him.
 Charles Simeon observed that “The Jews had two calendars and observed two new years each year. When the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, he proclaimed that their new year (Exodus 12:2). That was the day of spiritual beginnings. But their civil, legal, political new year was the first day of the seventh month. “This day then was the first day in the new year; and the feast of trumpets was to them ‘a memorial;’ a memorial of mercies received, and of mercies promised.”