Each of God’s seven annual Holy Days points to a critical event in His Master Plan. Thus far, we have covered the Passover (pointing to the sacrifice of Christ), the Days of Unleavened Bread (picturing our coming out of sin) and Pentecost (symbolizing being empowered by God’s Holy Spirit). Although these three feasts were represented by events in the past, the underlying meanings of these spring Holy Days are timeless.
The Feast of Trumpets ushers in the fall Holy Days, which all represent specific events that are yet to occur. This Feast occupies the central or pivotal position of all the Holy Days, with three preceding it and three following it. The pivotal event of all human history to which the Feast of Trumpets points is the Return of Christ.
Christ’s intervention will rescue this dying world from self-destruction. This lesson will summarize what is now looming just ahead in these perilous times.
Comment: In the previous century, there were two major world wars followed by hundreds of lesser wars. Peace and safety have become more elusive, with a number of rogue nations and international terrorists coming into possession of weapons of mass destruction.
(2) What would happen to all of civilization if Christ did not intervene to cut time short? Matthew 24:22.
Comment: Christ holds back inevitable cosmocide for the sake of His elect, those who are now qualifying to rule in the kingdom of God.
(3) Does God warn the world of such catastrophic events before they come to pass? Amos 3:7.
Comment: Christ prophesied of this time of flight and protection for His Church just before the beginning of the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21). For more information on this subject, read our booklet Promised Protection – Secret Rapture or Place of Safety?
Comment: This time of trouble for modern Israel has no parallel in history. In Daniel 12:1, this same event is mentioned as being without precedent. Jeremiah 30:7 speaks of this time as “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” The tribulation fulfills the fifth seal of Revelation 6:9.
Revelation 12:17 shows that the Great Tribulation is clearly Satan’s wrath upon the final era of the Church of God, after he is unable to get to the faithful Philadelphian remnant. Satan’s wrath will also be directed against the nations of modern Israel. Scriptures show that only ten percent of the population of these nations will survive this most terrible of times. (See Isaiah 6:12-13; Amos 5:1-4; Ezekiel 5:12, 6:8.)
This time will continue for 2½ years (Hosea 6:1-2). The Day of the Lord, which follows, will last for one year. Thus, the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord together last 3½ years (Rev. 12:14; 11:2; 13:5).
Comment: This commanded feast was called “a memorial of blowing of trumpets.” This was a celebration of triumph, just as will be the future event that it pictures—the Return of Christ.
This feast occurred on the first day of the seventh month, which was also the beginning of the civil year, upon which the sacred calendar was based. Just as with all other annual Holy Days, a convocation and an offering were commanded at this time.
(2) Do we find other accounts of this feast mentioned in Scripture? Psalm 81:1-4.
Comment: This occasion was associated with singing aloud and making a joyful noise in music, and was marked by the blowing of trumpets. Silver trumpets were sounded in order to call an assembly in Israel, as well as to announce the feast days (Num. 10:2, 10).
We also find in the Jewish Talmud, under the article “Rosh Hashanah” (as this day is called by Jews), that a ram’s horn or shofar was sounded on this occasion (Mishnah 26b). In contrast with the musical sound of the silver trumpets, the shofar gave a piercing loud blast.
(1) Did God command for trumpets to sound an alarm when going into battle? Numbers 10:9.
Comment: As Israel approached battle, the silver trumpets gave a particular series of notes that were clearly identifiable. God promised to hear this call and come to their defense. Yet, upon coming under sudden attack, the ram’s horn was used to provide another type of alarm. Although classified as a type of trumpet, it produced a piercing noise for an alarm of impending warfare.
(2) Where do we find accounts of alarms of war sounded in ancient Israel? Jeremiah 4:19-21.
Comment: Jeremiah lived through a number of invasions by the Babylonians. Such alarms of war capture the spirit and meaning of the Feast of Trumpets.
(3) Were the watchmen commissioned to sound an alarm in the face of an impending attack? Ezekiel 3:17-19.
Comment: This warning is prophetic and applies to the nations of modern Israel at the end of this age. The warnings in Ezekiel 3:17-19 and 33:2-6 apply to the grave responsibility that God gives the watchmen. The true Church of God recognizes the seriousness of carrying out this warning. The gospel is being published among all nations (Mark 13:10) on the world’s largest biblically based website. God’s Church is obeying the command to “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet” (Isa. 58:1)!
After the 2½ years of the Great Tribulation, the time of Satan’s wrath upon physical and spiritual Israel will have been fulfilled. God will have carried out His promise not to leave Israel altogether unpunished (Jer. 30:11, 46:28). After this time, God speaks comfortably to Jerusalem—to physical Israel—that her warfare is accomplished and her iniquity is now pardoned (Isa. 40:1-2). By this time, the final era of God’s Church will have been faced with the decision to follow His counsel to “buy…gold tried in the fire” (Rev. 3:18).
Then will come the full fury of God’s wrath upon a world that has rebelled against its Creator.
(1) As God moves to intervene against this rebellious world, what does He do first? Revelation 6:12-13.
Comment: Signs in the heavens are accompanied by a great earthquake, which moves every mountain and island out of its place. Volcanoes fill the sky with ash, diminishing sunlight and causing the moon to appear red. Then, vast numbers of asteroids strike the earth’s atmosphere as flaming meteorites.
(2) How will world leaders react to these signs in the heavens? Revelation 6:15-17.
Comment: For an overview of the Day of the Lord, review Lesson 7 of this course.
(4) What happened when the first angel sounded the trumpet? Revelation 8:7.
Comment: This first trumpet plague was directed at destroying part of man’s support system—plant life. Note that only a third of the trees were burned up. This indicated that the full measure of God’s wrath was held back, in order to allow people time to repent and submit to Him.
(5) How did the next three trumpet plagues affect the earth? Revelation 8:8-12.
Comment: As the second angel sounded the trumpet, a huge object or asteroid fell into the sea, turning one-third of it into blood, killing one-third of sea life and destroying one-third of ships. Likewise, as the third angel sounded, a great “star” or possibly an asteroid (named Wormwood) fell upon the rivers of the earth, resulting in one-third of the fresh waters becoming poisoned, killing many. As the fourth angel sounded, the sun became darkened by one-third. God continued to allow time for repentance.
(6) How were the three remaining trumpet plagues described? Revelation 8:13.
Comment: So devastating were these three remaining plagues that each was referred to as a “Woe”—collectively called the “Three Woes.”
(1) How is this fifth trumpet plague (first woe) more lethal than the first four? Revelation 9:1-3.
Comment: These three woes comprise the last three of the seven plagues. The number three signifies finality, while the number seven signifies completion. The first two woes describe how God allows man to bring down his own civilization. Were it not for God’s intervention, man would bring an end to life on earth.
In vision, the apostle John had seen some of the vehicles and aircraft used in modern warfare, with rockets, missiles and other firepower. He used terms such as “locusts” and “scorpions” to describe these strange-looking forms of weaponry.
The military campaign called the first woe describes the beast power, which will arise in Europe, attacking Russia and its Communist allies. At the time of this major conflict, the English-speaking nations and most other nations of modern Israel will have already been taken into captivity.
(2) As this military campaign pushes east into the former Communist bloc in Asia, what type of weapons are used? Revelation 9:4-6.
Comment: This weaponry causes a form of paralysis accompanied with pain that lasts for five months (vs. 5). This could be a form of chemical warfare. Read verses 7 to 10, which continue to describe the weaponry in terms of first-century language.
(3) How can we identify this invading force as being the beast power? Revelation 9:11.
Comment: Both terms used here, “Abaddon in the Hebrew” and “Apollyon in the Greek,” mean “Destroyer” or “Satan.” Read Revelation 13:5-14 to better understand how Satan inspires the Beast and False Prophet.
(4) After Europe’s initial attack against its enemies in the East, do these nations strike back? Revelation 9:12-16.
Comment: The impending counterattack will constitute the sixth trumpet plague (the second woe)—far more devastating than the first woe. The number of the armies of the eastern hordes amount to 200 million troops. The Russians, Chinese and their allies are given power to kill one-third of all mankind—approximately two billion people! Read verses 17-19 for more descriptions of the weaponry used.
(For more information on some of the modern weaponry possibly available to both sides of this titanic battle, read our brochure The Red Horse – “You Shall Hear of Wars…”.)
Comment: Only by nuclear warfare could such devastation be accomplished in such a short period of time.
(7) Does this counterattack that kills one-third of mankind complete the second woe? Revelation 11:14.
Comment: For a much more detailed study of these events, read our booklet Revelation Explained at Last!
(8) Do the survivors of this awful war finally repent of their iniquity before God? Revelation 9:20-21.
(1) What was announced as the seventh trumpet sounded? Revelation 11:15.
(3) What series of events comprised the seventh trumpet, known as the third woe? Revelation 16:1.
Comment: This final trumpet plague consisted of the seven last plagues (or seven vials of wrath).
(4) What was the first of the seven last plagues? Revelation 16:2.
Comment: These painful sores fell upon those who yielded to and cooperated with the Satanic religious system that dominated the Beast power.
(5) What were the next plagues to follow? Revelation 16:3-4.
Comment: The second and third of these last plagues were related to the trumpet plagues, which took place earlier. Each of these respective plagues dealt first with the seas and then with the fresh water streams and lakes. The former plagues affected only one-third of each. During these last plagues, all the sea becomes blood, all sea life dies, and all fresh water becomes blood as God pours out the full measure of His wrath.
(6) Why is this act of changing the seas and fresh water to blood appropriate punishment for those unrepentant, rebellious people? Revelation 16:5-7.
(7) What were the fourth and fifth plagues upon unrepentant humanity? Revelation 16:8-11.
Comment: The fourth plague involved scorching heat from the sun, while the fifth plague involved a period of total darkness primarily in the territory of the Beast power—much like the plague of darkness upon ancient Egypt. In both the fourth and fifth plagues, unrepentant people continued to curse God.
Comment: The drying of the Euphrates River to allow passage of the kings of the east was part of God’s plan to allow Satan (along with the beast and the false prophet) to beckon all the armies of opposing sides in this war. They unite as Satan inspires them to gather together at Armageddon to resist the Return of Christ.
(9) What is the outcome of this battle? Revelation 19:17-21.
Comment: After the great voice from heaven announced, “It is done,” the most powerful earthquake in history struck, resulting in “every island [fleeing] away and the mountains not [being] found.” Then large hailstones about the weight of a talent (100 to 130 lbs.) destroyed many unrepentant survivors.
Thus, the fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets occurs after Christ returns to this earth as the conquering King, rightfully claiming what is His.
Most of the ten percent of humanity that survives the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord will be wide-eyed, humble and open to God’s instruction.
But before this can happen, Christ has one more important job to perform. Satan and his demons have to be put away from this earth and from influencing humanity—pictured by the Day of Atonement. This will be discussed in the next lesson.