The Feasts of Jehovah: The Feast of Trumpets


This Feast of Trumpets is the first of those feasts which will have a fulfillment in the future; a long indefinite period came between Pentecost and Trumpets. The gathering in of the harvest within that gap pictures this present Gospel Age (Lev 23:22). The final three feasts were clustered together in the seventh month, and they foreshadow the regathering of Israel, her national repentance and the subsequent millennial kingdom.

Silver Trumpets

Israel was familiar with the use of trumpets both in the wilderness and in the land (Num 10). Chapters 9 and 10 of Numbers focus on guidance for the people. Primarily it was by the pillar of cloud, but two silver trumpets marshaled the tribes for the next stage of the trek. Strangely, Moses was keen to employ human aid to facilitate their progress, and God took the unusual step of sending the ark out in front to find a resting place for them (Num 10:29-36). When God is in control, there really is no need for human ingenuity! The Spirit of God depicted in the cloud, the Word of God depicted in the trumpets, and the Christ of God depicted in the ark are all available to us as we navigate life’s wilderness.

There were two trumpets (Num 10:2), for they were employed in communication, and Scripture requires verification at the mouth of two or three witnesses (Deu 19:15). They were silver, the metal connected with redemption. The atonement money was a half-shekel, given as a ransom for the soul (Exo 30:11-16). God communicates with redeemed people; only the sheep for whom the Shepherd has given His life hear His voice and follow Him (Joh 10:11,27).

These trumpets were produced from “a whole piece” (Num 10:2),[1] “beaten work” (RV). Every hammer-blow was calculated to create something that would sound the right note, for the trumpet must not give “an uncertain sound” (1Co 14:8). Similarly, all the blows on a talent of gold produced an exquisite lampstand (Exo 25:31-40). Sometimes God applies the blows to ensure that the right note emanates from our lives, or to fashion us into attractive light bearers in a dark world.

These trumpets transmitted different messages; sometimes they summoned the people to hear from the Lord (Num 10:3). On occasions, the use of just one trumpet indicated that only the princes should respond (v4). In New Testament times, normally “the whole church” gathered to hear the Word (1Co 14:23). On occasions, only the elders were present (Act 15:6; 20:17), as there was business relevant to them.

What was described as “an alarm” signaled the moment for an orderly departure, and, significantly, the priests blew the trumpets. These men, closest to the Tabernacle, would be first to detect the moving of the cloud and could alert the whole encampment that it was time to exit the camp. Today, priestly men who are in touch with God can bring appropriate teaching and exhortation for the guidance of the saints.

In the land, the trumpets still featured, whether in days of warfare or worship (Num 10:9-10). The proper use of these instruments brought Israel in remembrance before the Lord, whether in the danger of warfare or the delight of worship, a reminder to us that in the shifting circumstances of life we can constantly say, “The Lord thinketh upon me” (Psa 40:17). Generally, then, Israel was accustomed to the use of the trumpets, but the memorial of the blowing of trumpets on the first day of the seventh month would be in addition to these regular activities; this was special, an integral part of Israel’s religious year.


The following is an application of the truth connected with Trumpets rather than the interpretation. A trumpet blast is linked with the Rapture of the Church, for the Lord’s descent from heaven will be accompanied by “the trump of God” (1Th 4:16). It is described as “the last trump” (1Co 15:52), and that loud note will trigger the resurrection of sleeping saints and the transformation of living saints, all to be raptured to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. Just as the silver trumpets assembled ancient Israel, so the last trump will marshal the Church. J.N. Darby was reluctant to interpret Scripture with help from a non-biblical source, but he does suggest that just as the last trump in the Roman camp signaled the command to march out, so “the last trump” will direct the Church to evacuate planet earth. Clearly, “the last trump” cannot be connected with the final trumpet judgment of Revelation 11:15; the contexts are hugely diverse. What we await is the voice “as it were of a trumpet,” saying to us all, “Come up hither” (Rev 4:1). That, as I said, is an application of Feast of Trumpets truth.


As to interpretation, within the framework of the seven feasts, Trumpets relates to the regathering of Israel. The Lord’s own words are relevant: “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” (Mat 24:31). That process will be immediately after His appearing “with power and great glory” (v30). Scripture says of that national gathering, “The great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come” (Isa 27:13).

After being taken away by the Assyrians, the ten tribes never returned to the land. Judah did return after the Babylonian captivity, but then was scattered in AD 70, finding sanctuary in many countries of the world. Amazingly, the centuries have not destroyed their ethnic identity, for they have never been absorbed into their host nations; they are still a distinct race. A blend of circumstances saw the State of Israel established in 1948, a momentous event but hardly the fulfillment of prophecies of her regathering. A temple will yet be built, as required by various Bible predictions.

Isaiah 11:11-16 speaks of the regathering; verse 12 says that God will “assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” The verse anticipates a reunited nation, again predicted in Ezekiel 37:15-28, and illustrated in the two sticks of Judah and Joseph being brought together, with the unambiguous statement, “I will make them one nation in the land” (v22). The “dry bones” in the valley will have become “an exceeding great army” (v10), “the whole house of Israel” (v11).

When Numbers 29:1-6 reviews the Feast of Trumpets, it majors on the offerings connected with it, for Israel’s future blessing is based on the cross-work of her rejected Messiah, as we shall note when we consider the Day of Atonement.

[1] Bible quotations in this article are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.