In scripture, there are prophetic descriptions that evoke images of terrible destruction. Zechariah 14 describes the inevitable end of what we term as the “trumpet plagues”. There are, of course, other passages in the Old and New Testaments that describe the destruction associated with the last seven trumpets. It is not my goal in this study to describe the trumpet plagues, which can easily be found in the book of Revelation. My goal is to shed light on the actual holy day of Trumpets—what it does and does not symbolize.
There are historical events in the bible that, I believe, paint a picture of just what the Feast of Trumpets foreshadows. I will attempt to clarify the symbolism of the Feast of Trumpets.
The Feast of Trumpets in the Bible
I am of the viewpoint that the holy days give us important milestones in God’s plan, so let’s start here.
“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” (Lev. 23:24)
The first thing mentioned is the day. It’s easy to jump right over this after noting it on your calendar and letting your boss know. The fact is, the Feast of Trumpets is the only holy day that is kept on the new moon. This particular new moon was the beginning of the civil year, and that in itself may have significance. But more important is the new moon itself, or more correctly, the phase of the new moon; does this have significance in determining what the Feast of Trumpets is all about?
The New Moon Holy Day
There has been controversy for centuries over the new moon, mostly the question of what constitutes the new moon (to simplify, you would have the ‘dark of the moon’ and the ‘first crescent’ crowds). This issue has attained a higher profile in the past several years as it relates to the topic of the calendar/holy days. The calendar debate is beyond the scope of this article, but the actual symbolism of the new moon is very important when discussing the meaning of the Feast of Trumpets in the bible.
There are scenarios in scripture that paint a picture of what the new moon symbolizes. These stories all have to do with something being ended—done away with—so something new can begin. The “dark” of the moon—the period of time between the disappearing crescent and the first crescent—is right at three days. I don’t think that this is random. Our Savior was dead for that same period of time. During that time, the spiritual world was dark. It wasn’t until He rose from the dead and ascended to be accepted that the light started to shine again. The new covenant (bringing light) could not come without the death and burial of the Messiah (which caused darkness).
The seven trumpet plagues (depicted in Revelation 8 and 9, and continued in chapters 11 through 15) mark the ending of a society that mankind has built. It will have no redeeming qualities that should be saved. The politics, governance, values, use of technology, business practices, etc., will all have to be swept away to make way for something that is 100% new. Two examples from the Old Testament that encapsulate the trumpet plagues (which is what the Feast of Trumpets foreshadows) are the fall of Jericho (Joshua 6), and the image dreamt of by King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2).
The Trumpets of Jericho
Israel, through Joshua, was given instruction pertaining to the overthrow of Jericho. The crux of those instructions was a final warning of seven trumpet blasts. Interestingly, the background as to why this had to happen is explained at the beginning of Joshua 6. The city (this whole system built by man with the values mentioned above) did not want any part of what God had to offer. They had walls to keep out anything that didn’t already fit their worldview. The Israelites, as God’s chosen nation, were to warn, witness and help bring about the end of that civilization. They gave six days of warning with a trumpet blast, and then on the seventh day there were seven trumpets and then God’s hand toppled the wall of separation that the society had constructed against God.
Before the walls fell, Israel was instructed not to be tempted to salvage anything from that world, but to totally destroy everything. The only exceptions were the harlot Rahab and some precious metals that were consecrated—and God Himself had to okay those. Israel ended up being cursed because one man lusted after one tiny part of that society, and we too, as spiritual Israel, need to be careful not to lust after aspects of this current world system (I John 2:15-17). If we easily find our way in and out of the “walls” of this society, this indicates something is wrong with our approach. God is clear that this present world will be utterly destroyed, and nothing carried over into the kingdom of God.
In Daniel 2, the king had a dream, and Daniel was able to relay to the king both the dream and its meaning. The whole statue—head through feet—is a summation of the different types of governments and societies that mankind has devised. Verses 34 and 35 foreshadow the effects of the seven trumpet plagues outlined in Revelation and symbolized by the Feast of Trumpets. A stone cut out without hands toppled the image in totality. I believe this story is very illustrative of what the Feast of Trumpets foreshadows, in that it shows a world (the statue) that is designed by people who have no interest in what God has to offer. That world goes on for a good period of time. And again, we see divine intervention in putting an end to this system, as the stone (God’s miraculous hand in events) dealt decisively. The whole statue (vs. 35) was destroyed and even the tiniest pieces and dust left over were blown away by the wind. Nothing was left, nothing of the system was salvageable, nothing of the system was redeemed. Man’s system had to be totally and utterly destroyed—the dark symbolized by the Feast of Trumpets—before the stone cut without hands can grow into a mountain—the light of God’s kingdom being established over all the earth.
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The Time of Darkness Comes to an End
The Feast of Trumpets in the bible has significant meaning in the completion of God’s plan for mankind. For the world that man has devised without regard to God or His values, it will be a dark time (think: new moon). Jesus Christ had to die—a dark time (think: new moon)—so that we could be redeemed and so that we could enter into a covenant relation with Him and His Father. But the light comes after the dark. God’s creation (yes, and nature itself) is clear about the order of events.
Zechariah 14: 1-2 points toward a time symbolized by the Feast of Trumpets. It is a dark time for the inhabitants of the earth. Verses 3-5 also depict a destructive, dark time for the system devised by man, and is still a part of the trumpet plagues. This must happen in order for the light to appear, described in verse 6 and beyond. This necessary process is captured in Revelation, encapsulated in a single exciting verse:
“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and HE shall reign forever and ever!’” (Rev. 11:15)