Wednesday, September 19, 2007


This past Sunday morning our pastor delivered a sermon about the "Feast of Trumpets" or Rosh Hashanah, which took place on September 13th. A couple verses in particular caught my eye.

Leviticus 23:24 "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."

Note in particular that this was to be a memorial of blowing of trumpets. While this passage does not tell exactly what was to be memorialized, the trumpets do give us a clue. One of the first places in the bible that we see trumpets is in Exodus 19:16-19 below:

"And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice."

Of course, you know what closely follows in Exodus chapter 20. The giving of the law. The ten commandments. Now in our simple reading over of these bible verses it is pretty easy to miss what a fearful event this must have been. Thunder! Lightening! Smoke! And most of all the exceeding loud sound of the trumpet. Loud to the point that everyone was literally shaking from fear. And shaking in fear was the correct response! The people were about to have the law given to them. God's standard of holiness! If any of the people were not quaking in fear before they received the law, then they certainly should have been once they did.

I have to think that this event is what the memorial of the Feast 0f Trumpets is all about.

Human nature being what it is, most of the world has never trembled before the living God. They have no fear of him despite the way he manifests himself to them, whether it be through creation, nature, their own conscience (Romans 1), or as we see here, through the revealing of his holiness (and our lack of holiness)

Of course when most of us think of trumpets in the context of the bible, we think of "the last trump" of 1 Corinthians 15:52. This Feast of Trumpets is also a foreshadowing of that event, I think. Matthew 24:30-31 says: "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

Both the memorial and the foreshadowing then have to do with judgement. For it is the law that condemns us, and it is with the return of Christ that eternal judgement will be delivered. But it is also about mercy, for it was an act of mercy for God to give the law that we might realize our sinfulness. And it is only by the mercy of God, through Christ's payment for our sins on the cross, that any of us are saved from the judgement to come!

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