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Let us make ourselves familiar with the Feast of Trumpets: (By the way, Dr. Jones gives permission for anyone to quote freely from his works for non-commercial purposes.)
After Israel’s pentecostal experience at Mount Sinai, God gave Moses instructions to build the tabernacle and its various articles of furniture. They erected the tabernacle on the first day of the first month just one year after leaving Egypt (Exodus 40:17). A month later, the pillar of cloud over the tabernacle lifted and began to move toward the land of Canaan (Num. 10:11). The people followed.
Now God told Moses to build two trumpets of silver. Apparently, up to this time no one had ever thought to build a trumpet out of silver. The first-century Jewish historian, Josephus, tells us in Antiquities, III, XII, 6, “Moses was the inventor of the form of their trumpet, which was made of silver. . . It was composed of a narrow tube, somewhat thicker than a flute . . . it ended in the form of a bell.“
Of course, the Bible tells us that God inspired Moses to make these trumpets. This is recorded in Numbers 10:1-10,
1 The LORD spoke further to Moses, saying, 2“Make yourself two trumpets of silver, of hammered work you shall make them; and you shall use them for summoning the congregation and for having the camps set out. 3And when both are blown, all the congregation shall gather themselves to you at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 4Yet if only one is blown, then the leaders, the heads of the divisions of Israel, shall assemble before you. . . .
8 “The priestly sons of Aaron, moreover, shall blow the trumpets; and this shall be for you a perpetual statute throughout your generations. . . .
9 “And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who attacks you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the LORD your God, and be saved from your enemies.
10 “Also in the day of your gladness and in your appointed feasts, and on the first days of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be as a reminder of you before your God. I am the LORD your God.”
The Feast of Trumpets prophesies of the resurrection of the dead. It has been called in Jewish circles, “the Day of the Awakening Blast.” Because this festival fell on the first day of the seventh month, it fell on a new moon–that is, when the first sliver of the new moon appeared in the evening sky at the beginning of each lunar month. There was always some uncertainty as to when the new moon would appear or could be seen (if cloudy). For this reason, Jesus spoke of His coming in Matthew 25:13, saying, “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.” This phrase about not knowing the day nor the hour is a peculiar Hebrew saying, which they specifically applied to the Feast of Trumpets, whose beginning was unknown until the new moon was sighted.
The Feast of Trumpets is the first of the autumn feast days, which prophesy of the second coming of Christ. The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:16,
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise FIRST.
The first event on the prophetic calendar relating to the second coming of Christ is the resurrection of the dead. We believe that the appointed time for this event is on the Feast of Trumpets of some year. We have already seen that Jesus could not be crucified on any day other than on Passover, and that He died at the moment the people began to slay their lambs. We have also shown that Jesus had to await the third hour of the day on the day of the wave-sheaf offering before He could ascend to the Father and present Himself as alive in the heavenly court. We also saw that the Holy Spirit could not be sent until the third hour of the day on the Feast of Pentecost.
These were all appointed times, prophesied in the law. By observing how God treats these appointed times, we can begin to understand the significance of the autumn feast days and how they likewise set the timing for prophetic events. These past patterns strongly suggest that the archangel will blow the trumpet signaling the resurrection of the dead on the Feast of Trumpets of some year.
The Two Resurrections
The law suggests that there will be more than one resurrection. For this reason, God told Moses to make TWO trumpets of silver. When the priest blew with just one trumpet, only the leaders, the heads of the people, were to gather before God. When the priest blew BOTH trumpets, the entire congregation was to gather before God.
John tells us in Revelation 20 that there will be two resurrections, not just one. The first resurrection, John says, will include only believers. Revelation 20:4-6 speaks of this first resurrection,
4And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
This is obviously a partial resurrection, because not all men are raised to life at this time. Only those who are called to “reign with Christ for a thousand years” are raised in the first resurrection. “The rest of the dead” are NOT raised until the second resurrection at the end of the thousand years. The first resurrection, therefore, includes only the heads of the people–that is, those who are called to rule in the Kingdom during the Age of Tabernacles. This is why Paul speaks of the “trumpet” (singular) which the angel will blow, calling them forth from the graves. It fulfills Moses’ prophecy of the single trumpet that was to summon only the rulers of the people.
When the apostle Paul speaks of the resurrection of the dead, he usually speaks of the first resurrection, rather than the second. Consequently, in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, quoted earlier, the dead are raised “at the last trumpet” (singular). Paul identifies those raised as “the dead in Christ,” NOT ALL the dead, small and great. In other words, the first resurrection is a limited resurrection; the second is general that includes the rest of the dead.