Randall E. Ricker
Welcome to the Feast of Trumpets with theGreat LakesChurchof God. Some who claim to believe in Christ say that God has a plan, but most do not seem to know what that plan is. The plan being worked out here below is for humans, made of the dust of the earth, to become part of God’s family! God’s festivals show us the major events in this plan.
Leviticus 23:23-25 describes the Feast of Trumpets, which we are observing today. It occurs in the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, the sacred calendar that God gave the Israelites, and in the calendar we use today in our world, the Feast of Trumpets occurs in September.
TRUMPETS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
These verses mention a memorial of the blowing of the trumpets, another translation for which is shouting for joy with trumpets. It is a joyful day, especially when we learn all about it. We are not to do any of our customary work on this day, and in Numbers 29:1 we read that we are to have a holy convocation, a Church service like we are having today.
The Feast of Trumpets pictures the return of Jesus Christ and the first resurrection.
While we are in the Book of Numbers, go back to Numbers 10:1-10. This describes the use of trumpets in the Old Testament. There is a Jewish tradition that on the Feast of Trumpets instead of the silver trumpets, the priest would blow what is called a shofar. A shofar is a trumpet that is made of the horn of a ram (a male sheep), and it makes a different sound from the silver trumpets that the priest blew in Numbers chapter 10.
The people heard a shofar when they were gathered at Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:16-19. The voice of God was like a trumpet, like the shofar. This occurred when Israel was making their covenant with God. Verses 5-8 talk about a covenant (an agreement) between God and the people. God would make them a special nation, a holy nation; in other places He promised He would prosper them and protect them. The people agreed to keep the Ten Commandments: “All that the Lord has spoken, we will do.” This agreement is like the covenant that we make at baptism. Our sins are washed away by the blood of Christ, and we say yes, we will obey God’s law. In turn we will receive a wonderful reward.
After the Ten Commandments were given in Exodus 20, verse 18 says: “Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off.” They heard the sound of a trumpet on that day.
TRUMPETS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
The New Testament also discusses trumpets. Read Matthew chapter 24:30-31. At Christ’s return, on that seventh trumpet, the elect (those chosen by God and begotten, the firstfruits) will be gathered together from one end of heaven to the other. We know that “heaven” here refers to the sky and not God’s throne because the verse mentions the four winds. Remember, the people will have been taken up into the air at that last trumpet, as we will read later; at that wonderful time, God will gather them together.
Revelation 11:15 again talks about that last trumpet. At that seventh trumpet Christ will take over the kingdoms of the world forever.
Revelation 11, verse 16: “And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead [or as other translations say, the time of the nations], that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth.’” At this seventh trumpet Christ will take the kingdoms of the world and will become King of kings, and His servants will be rewarded.
THE FIRST RESURRECTION
As we talk about Christ taking the kingdom and rewarding His firstfruits, there are a number of scriptures we can read on this subject. We already read Matthew 24 where He said He would gather the elect. But I Corinthians 15, often called the Resurrection Chapter, provides a more comprehensive view.
Read I Corinthians 15:12, 22-23. The resurrection of the dead is the context as the verse describes an order to the resurrections; it will not happen all at once. Of course, Christ was the first one; after that, those who are Christ’s are resurrected. Who are Christ’s? The people who have God’s Holy Spirit are. Remember, Romans says that if you do not have the Holy Spirit, you are none of His; you are not Christ’s. So those who have Christ’s Holy Spirit are Christ’s. They belong to Him, and those are the ones who will be raised or made alive at Christ’s return.
Someone once asked me, if a person’s body was destroyed in some way after he died, what body would he have at the resurrection? The answer is right here. Read I Corinthians 15:35-44. We will be given spirit bodies. It does not matter what happened to our body after we died. God will give us a new body made of spirit. The body will never die, never be sick, and never be tired!
Read I Corinthians 15:50-54. Those who say they are already in the kingdom cannot be right, if they are made of flesh. They could not have inherited the kingdom yet. We will be changed and receive our rewards at that last trumpet. Death will be conquered at the last trumpet.
Turn to I Thessalonians chapter 4:13 for another scripture we like to read on the Feast of Trumpets. Those who have “fallen asleep” refer to those who have died. Continue reading verses 14-17. We will rise at that last trumpet when Christ returns and will be with Christ forever. These verses tell us that Christ will descend to this earth to rule here for a thousand years; we are going to start out on the earth, not in heaven as many believe.
Revelation 20:4 talks about people being beheaded for their witness to Jesus, people who gave their lives over the centuries. But it also includes all of us who have given up our lives to Christ. After all, when we were baptized, we agreed that Christ could have our life. We gave our lives so that God could with them as He pleased. And it says, “And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
Read Revelation 20:5, which discusses a first resurrection; if there is a first, there must be more than one. Those who are raised when Christ returns at that last trumpet will be in the first resurrection.
Continue reading in Revelation 20:6. Those in the first resurrection will reign during that one-thousand-year Millennium. Elsewhere this is called a better resurrection because those given this reward will rule as kings and priests during the Millennium. We will be able to help others achieve the potential that we had to become part of God’s family.
While we are in Revelation, let’s turn back to Revelation chapter 3:20-21, the message for the Laodicean Church. This is Christ speaking to us in the time that we are in right now. Jesus Christ is at the door of the Church, the spiritual temple, asking us to take the spiritual food that He has for us. When we take the spiritual food that He has, we grow and overcome, which is a prerequisite for being able to sit with Him on His throne.
Isaiah chapter 40:10 talks about the reward for all of us who have grown and overcome and who have become His firstfruits. Isaiah chapter 62:11 says it again: Christ will come with His reward for His saints, according to our works.
The apostle Paul wrote II Tim 4:6-8 shortly before he died. Paul knew he was going to die. He knew he would be martyred soon, and he wrote a letter to Timothy, the young evangelist. At the end of Paul’s life he knew that he had overcome. He knew he had made it to the end, and that there was a crown waiting for him. After all, we are to be kings and priests, ruling in the Millennium, and he knew he would have a crown at that point.
In I Peter 5:4, the apostle Peter writes about this as well. He mentions the Chief Shepherd, who of course is Jesus Christ–elsewhere He calls Himself the Good Shepherd. When Christ appears, we will receive that crown of glory, a permanent crown that will never fade away.
Philippians 3:20-21 talks more about our reward and the wonderful potential that we have to be a part of God’s family. Our bodies are lowly, they are physical, and they are weak. We know that when we fast. Yet, we will be changed into a glorious body like Jesus Christ’s. Remember, His face glows like the sun right now, as we have read that in other places; that is the kind of body we are going to have.
Read I John 3:2. When Christ appears, we will be like Him, with powerful and beautiful spirit bodies. At that point we will receive our reward and will reign on the earth for a thousand years. Hebrews 2:5, however, tells us there is even more to come. We are in Satan’s evil world right now, but the world where Christ will be ruling is coming soon.
Read Hebrews 2:6-8. Up to this point, the apostle Paul in Hebrews was quoting from Psalm chapter 8. When David wrote the Book of Psalms, he showed that God put in subjection to man the earth and everything that is in it. When Paul was quoting this in the second half of verse 8, he left off quoting the Psalms and he changed the subject: “For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.”
All things are under subjection. He means the universe! All that will be under Christ and under man in the world to come. Continue reading verses 9-11. “Brethren” means brothers. A brother is the same type of thing as another brother; we are brothers of Christ, so we are like Christ. Christ is a member of the God family. Therefore, if we are Christ’s brothers, we will be members of the God family as well; we simply haven’t been changed yet.
Turn to Ephesians chapter 3:14-15. God is a family. Some in heaven (the Father and Jesus Christ) have that name, and some on earth. Christ’s brothers (we) will have that name as well.
Read Ephesians 3:19. If we are filled with all the fullness of God, then we are God part of God’s family: now we are called sons and heirs.
God talks about our future at the end of the Bible in Revelation 21:7. If we overcome, we inherit all things. That includes the universe! That is what our potential, to be sons of God and inherit all things.
We have a great future. We are growing, we are overcoming, and we are trying to be ready for that day when the Feast of Trumpets becomes a reality. Christ will return at that last trumpet, and He will change the firstfruits. We look forward to that day and work hard to get there. Today on the Feast of Trumpets, we look forward to that, and we rejoice!