Forerunner, "Bible Study," June 1996

Normally, church members approach Passover and Unleavened Bread very somberly. The enormity of what our Father and His Son risked for us is sobering, especially as we examine ourselves in comparison to the perfection of Jesus Christ! At Pentecost, the mood lightens as we contemplate the coming of God's Holy Spirit as a comforter and guide during our journey toward the Kingdom of God. It is a thrill to realize that God has chosen us to be part of the first harvest of His creation!

This exuberant mood stays with us as we approach the Feast of Trumpets. We tend to focus on the return of Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords and on our resurrection to glory as this festival depicts. What a joyous day that will be! Though Trumpets does ultimately focus on these events, we should consider other sobering—even terrifying—meanings as we near the Feast of Trumpets, for it also depicts a terrible time of judgment upon the people of this world!

1. Why do we call this holy day "the Feast of Trumpets"? Leviticus 23:23-25.

Comment: God commands us to keep this holy day each year so we will remember something about the "blowing of trumpets."

2. What do trumpets symbolize in Scripture? Isaiah 58:1; Jeremiah 4:5; 6:1; Ezekiel 33:3; Joel 2:1, 15; Amos 3:6.

Comment: Trumpets symbolize a loud, warning cry of impending danger! These verses from the prophets impart a dire warning to those living in the end time: The day of the Lord is at hand, a day of darkness, gloominess and clouds over man's society! The prophets strongly admonish the ministry to raise their voices as trumpets to warn of sudden, terrifying destruction!

3. Are these warnings just for the world, or are they for God's people too? Same verses.

Comment: Though originally intended for Israel, these warnings apply specifically to the called-out children of God since we are the ones living in the end time with the understanding of God's plan! In fact, we have the most to lose by ignoring these stern prophecies of death and destruction. They are admonishments to prepare ourselves SPIRITUALLY for the tumult ahead. Notice that these verses stress repentance, fasting and prayer, and who but God's elect truly understand them?

4. How do these warnings apply to the Feast of Trumpets? Revelation 8-9; 11:15-19.

Comment: The seventh seal, which includes the seven trumpets, announces the Day of the Lord and the return of Jesus Christ! I Corinthians 15:52 says that the resurrection will occur "at the last trumpet," and in I Thessalonians 4:16 Paul writes that Christ "will descend from heaven with a shout, . . . with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first." These proofs lead unmistakably to the conclusion that the Feast of Trumpets represents this step in the plan of God.

5. Why must God pour out His wrath on humanity? I Corinthians 13:9-13.

Comment: We do not know all the reasons why such destruction and death must occur, but we do know that God will do it in love. It may be that He sends these plagues in just retribution for their sin, or He may be saving their character from permanent rebellion against Him. He desires all to repent and attain His Kingdom (II Peter 3:9), so He will do whatever is necessary to bring that to pass!

6. Does God's church have a responsibility in preparing for Christ's return? II Peter 3:10-18; Revelation 19:7-9.

Comment: It is one thing to celebrate a joyous meeting with Christ—it is quite another to ensure that we are a fitting bride for Him! The church must do its part in cooperating with God to prepare us as holy, righteous, godly saints who are worthy to marry His Son.

7. Revelation 10:7 says that when the seventh angel "is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished." What is this mystery? I Corinthians 15:50-58.

Comment: The great mystery is that we can and will become immortal and incorruptible spirit beings at Christ's return! This is the part of the Feast of Trumpets that we rejoice in—for good reason—for vision of what WE WILL BE is a great motivator! I John 3:2 says we will be just like the returning Christ, who is very God, "the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29; see Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:18)!

8. Is God's plan finished when Christ returns? I Corinthians 15:23-28; Revelation 20.

Comment: The resurrection at Christ's second coming is only the beginning of God's reign on the earth! In the proper time and order, all who have lived will be given an opportunity to repent and enter God's glorious Kingdom as sons of God. These events are more fully contemplated in the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day.

9. Will Jesus return on the Feast of Trumpets?

Comment: The church of God has supposed this to be true for many years—and the biblical material seems to support His second coming ON that day some time soon. However, no verse specifically, unequivocally states this. The Feast of Trumpets pictures His return, but we cannot blindly assume that He will in fact come on that day. The odds are no worse than 1 in 365, however!

Because we know that He will return soon, we can be prepared for it! If we learn to love each other fervently—which is the basis of His judgment of us (Matthew 25:31-46)—we will qualify to help perfect others. We will be prepared to help others as they recover from the terrible times of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. We will be trained to teach and guide others as they strive to enter God's Kingdom.

For us, BEING READY is much more important than WHEN Christ returns. As the prophets advised, we need to be busy repenting, overcoming, praying and fasting as Christ's return approaches!