I always find it interesting to see how people approach holy day studies and messages. There are a couple of ditches that we can fall into when it comes to the holy days.
It’s understandable when something only comes around once a year to want to go over a certain set of scriptures that clearly pertain to that day. Some people give the same message year after year or cycle through a few, sometimes taken almost straight from church literature, often implying that church leadership of a few decades ago figured out all the major things we need to know and that trying to dive deeper or consider something in a different way is simply a liturgical fidget at best and potentially hubris to think you could find something more.
Others try so hard to figure out every single detail, plot out specific timing and order of events, and connect every scripture that could possibly be related. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this at face value, because we’re supposed to be searching the scriptures and God expects us to have studied the events of the end time so we’re prepared for what’s to come. The danger in this approach can be a myopic approach to individual holy days and how they fit together, and being too invested in our own way of looking at it to consider other ideas.
In giving each holy day its moment in the spotlight, we sometimes fail to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, and some of the keys that God has given us to help made sense of His plan. One of those big thematic keys is the idea of harvest seasons.
God’s holy days and the harvest seasons
The bible is chock-full of harvest symbolism, of sowing and reaping, cycles of growing and coming to maturity. It’s no accident that God tied His holy day calendar to the agricultural cycles. Based on what He laid out in His word, I believe that the spring holy days and the fall holy days picture two distinct harvest seasons—each separate and complete. This isn’t earth-shattering or “new truth”, but sometimes the actual implications of the harvest seasons in prophecy get overlooked.
- The spring holy days are a smaller harvest, focused on the journey of God’s spiritual firstfruits from calling, repentance and reconciliation (Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread) to resurrection and acceptance into God’s spiritual family (Pentecost). The spring holy days are focused on a very small, specific group of people, and do not apply to the world at large.
- The fall holy days tell the same story, but for the whole world—and because this physical world is hostile to God, the process of reconciliation requires its complete destruction as a starting point.
- Traditionally, the Jews believe that Adam was created on Trumpets. In this case, then, we have Trumpets picturing the creation of physical man and this physical world, and then finally Jesus reclaiming dominion of the kingdoms of this world from Satan as the earth nears self-annihilation.
- In Atonement we see (again, traditionally) the fall of man with the first sin in the Garden of Eden (requiring the death penalty), and ultimately Jesus’s perfect sacrifice being applied to all mankind to wipe away its sins, which makes reconciliation possible.
- This larger harvest ends with a seven-day journey toward eternal life for those still alive and the establishment of God’s kingdom on this physical earth, followed by the resurrection of all of humanity since the beginning of time.
- The entire plan is capped off with the cessation of the physical and creation of a new heaven and new earth on the eighth day, as all of mankind is brought into God’s family and this physical world ceases to exist.
Yes, that’s a very broad-strokes look at a complex and beautiful plan, but when we look at the holy days this way, it can help provide some perspective and highlight some of those key themes—reconciliation, family, and the elimination of the physical, among others.
It also helps reconcile some of the challenges people have when trying to interpret holy day prophecy and symbolism in a strictly linear and chronological way. Because Pentecost is the end of our story. The fall holy days are about the rest of the world, from creation to the end. It’s a totally new harvest season. Therefore, if we consider ourselves called and chosen in this life and a part of God’s firstfruits, the thing we have to remember about the fall holy days is it’s not about us.
Themes and thoughts of the Day of Trumpets
The themes that stand out to me regarding Trumpets are divine judgment with mercy, the need for—and call to—repentance, and the beginning of the redemption of all mankind.
With that in mind, here are some thoughts on Trumpets as we approach this fall holy day season. Not a coherent story or theme, but rather food for thought.
- Rabbinical tradition states that the (re)creation of the world happened just prior to Trumpets, and that Adam was created on Trumpets. I like this thought—very “full circle” with the creation of the first Adam and dominion of the earth being given to man (which he didn’t manage to hold on to for long), to the ending of man’s (and Satan’s) dominion over the earth at the coming of Christ—the second Adam (I Cor. 15:20-28; Gen. 1:28; Rev. 11:15).
- Trumpets is the beginning of the civil year—it’s about the world, and pictures the end of this current kosmos (the current arrangement). It’s the time pictured by the statue in Daniel being crushed to dust and the mountain (government) of the Lord being established. When the “stone cut without hands” crushes the statue (this world’s system) to dust, we’re told that “the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found.” Literally nothing will be left, because nothing is redeemable from this world’s governments, systems, or culture (Daniel 2).
- It’s the only holy day that is also on a new moon and begins the seventh month, and that’s not by accident. The Feast of Trumpets comes right after the darkest part of the sixth month (picturing the time of man), and is the first glimmer of light after that total darkness. It’s the beginning of the seventh month (day/thousand years), as God starts to bring an end to the darkness that man has brought upon himself, by replacing it with His Light.
- Trumpets pictures the ultimate final call to repentance (Rev. 14:6-11), which the world will vehemently reject. So then God will prove to mankind that there is absolutely no way they can do it without Him, similar to what we learn through our conversion process. The trumpets, but in particular the seventh trumpet and bowl plagues, are meant to instill the fear (awe, respect) of God into the people of this world so that He can begin to reconcile them to Himself. The world will literally have come to the brink of self-destruction when He steps in, but the first six trumpets could still be explained away by humans who do not believe in or fear God. So starting with the seventh trumpet and the seven final bowl plagues He is very clearly intervening, to prove without a doubt that that their way doesn’t work and He is the one in control. Even then, they will fight Christ when He returns after the marriage supper (Rev. 19:11-21).
- In Leviticus 23 we’re told that it is “a memorial of blowing of trumpets”. I’ve always kind of been confused by that language. One phrasing I heard recently that kind of stuck with me is “a memorial of a triumph (or victory) that is achieved through the blowing of trumpets”. Historically, the fall of Jericho is the best example of this kind of victory, and while it’s typically associated with the Days of Unleavened Bread it also pictures the final seven trumpets and return of Christ. But I also like interpreting this phrase as a memorial of the blowing of the final trumpets, and man’s dominion coming to an end with the establishment of God’s kingdom. How can it be a memorial of something that is in the future? Because the final outcome of those events is so certain that it’s as if it has already happened. That victory is assured, and so we can keep this holy day as a memorial of God’s ultimate victory.
Finally, some thoughts on themes within a few verses about the Day of the Lord that sometimes get read on Trumpets:
- It shouldn’t be lost on us that one of the best-known scriptures about the Day of the Lord highlights both God’s vengeance, and His ultimate merciful and loving endgame.
- “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; he has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God” (Is. 61:1-3; this continues, and is worth reading in this context). Out of all the Messianic scriptures He could have chosen, this was the one Christ used to announce the start of His ministry and identify Himself as the Messiah (Luke 4). Worth thinking on.
- Coming full circle to a world without form and void, in need of re-creation
- “I am pained in my very heart!…Because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Destruction upon destruction is cried, for the whole land is plundered…How long will I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet…I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void…I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all its cities were broken down at the presence of the Lord, by His fierce anger” (Jer. 4:19-26). This is that “day of vengeance of our God” that is proclaimed in the Isaiah passage above. Everything is destroyed at the end as a result of God’s righteous anger, back to the “tohu va bohu” that we started at in Genesis 1:1 and in similar need of re-creation.
- Trumpets pictures the pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God that Paul spoke of in I Corinthians 10 (deeper study on that topic here). Or to put it another way, this day pictures God destroying all manifestations of mankind’s strength and security that he puts his faith in, be they physical (military fortresses) or figurative (systems of government).
- “The great day of the Lord is near…that day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation…a day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high towers” (Zeph. 1:14)
- The harvest imagery in Revelation is of grapes, which would have been part of the fall harvest season (generally July to September-ish)
- “…the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe…gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe’…threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and the blood came out of the winepress” (Rev. 14:14-20). This is not only a picture of destruction, but also potentially a similar symbolic process as grain threshing (something that we see a lot in spring harvest discussions). The process of breaking down and extracting the essence of the fruit, keeping only a certain part. I may be reading too much into that, but it immediately put the threshing process (which is also a fairly violent one) into my mind.
Hoping that some of these thoughts provide interesting and inspiring spiritual food this holy day season!