[this article was contributed by Alex Rover]

“Behold, I tell you a great mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment. In a twinkling of an eye. At the last trumpet.”

These are the opening words of Handel’s Messiah: ‘45 Behold, I tell you a mystery’ & ‘46: The trumpet shall sound’. I highly encourage you to listen to this song before reading this article. If you would envision me writing at my computer with headphones covering my ears, chances are that I will be listening to Handel’s Messiah. Along with my “Word of Promise” dramatic reading of the NKJV, this is my favorite playlist for many years already.
The words, of course, are based on 1 Corinthians 15. I can unequivocally say that this chapter has had a profound impact on me in the past decade, functioning as a ‘skeleton key’ of sorts, steadily opening up more doors of understanding.

“The trumpet shall sound, and the dead be raised incorruptible”.

Imagine one day hearing this trumpet! As Christians, it signals the happiest day of our eternal lives, for it signals that we are about to be joined with our Lord!

Yom Teruah

It is an autumn day on the first day of the Tishrei moon, the seventh month. This day is called Yom Teruah, the first day of a new year. Teruah refers to the shouting of the Israelites which was followed by the fall of the walls of Jericho.

“Have seven priests carry seven rams’ horns [shophar] in front of the ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, while the priests blow the horns [shophar]. When you hear the signal from the ram’s horn [shophar], have the whole army give a loud battle cry. Then the city wall will collapse and the warriors should charge straight ahead.” – Joshua 6:4-5

This day has come to be known as the Feast of Trumpets. The Torah commands Jews to observe this holy day (Lev 23:23-25; Num 29:1-6). It is a seventh day, a day upon which all work is forbidden. Yet unlike the other Torah festivals, there was no clear purpose given for this festival. [1]

“Tell the Israelites, ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you must have a complete rest, a memorial announced by loud horn blasts, a holy assembly.” (Lev 23:24)

Even though the Torah does not explain the express nature of Yom Teruah, it reveals clues about its purpose, foreshadowing God’s great mystery. (Psalm 47:5; 81:2; 100:1)

Shout [Teruah] out praise to God, all the earth! […] Come and witness God’s exploits! His acts on behalf of people are awesome! […] For you, O God, tested us; you purified us like refined silver. You allowed men to ride over our heads; we passed through fire and water, but you brought us out into a wide open place.” (Psalm 66:1;5;7;10-12)

Hence I have come to believe that Yom Teruah was a feast to foreshadow a future time of complete rest for God’s people, a gathering of a holy assembly, related to the “sacred secret” of God’s will, due to occur at the “fullness of the times”. (Eph 1:8-12; 1Cor 2:6-16)
Satan has been great at working to hide this mystery from the people of this world! Just like the Christian influence on American Jews has led to a closer alignment of Hanukah with Christmas, the Babylonian influence on exiled Jews has led to a transformation of the Yom Teruah celebration.
Under Babylonian influence the Day of Shouting has become a New Year’s celebration (Rosh Hashanah). The first stage was the adoption of Babylonian names for the month. [2] The second stage was that the Babylonian New Year called “Akitu” often fell on the same day as Yom Teruah. When the Jews started calling the 7th month by the Babylonian name “Tishrei”, the first day of “Tishrei” became “Rosh Hashanah” or New Years. Babylonians celebrated Akitu twice: once on the 1st of Nissan and once on the 1st of Tishrei.

The Blowing of the Shophar

On the first day of every new moon, the shophar would briefly sound to mark the start of the new month. But on Yom Teruah, the first day of the seventh month, prolonged blasts would sound.
Seven days the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho. The horn blasts marked warnings upon Jericho. On the Seventh day, they blew their horns seven times. The walls came down with a great shout, and Jehovah’s day arrived, when the Jews entered the Promised Land.
In the revelation of Jesus Christ (Rev 1:1), traditionally dated around 96 A.D., it is prophesied that seven angels would blow seven trumpets after the opening of the seventh seal. (Rev 5:1; 11:15) In this article, it is the final of these trumpet sounds that we are particularly interested in.
The seventh trumpet is described as a day of shouting, namely a day of “loud voices” (NET), “great voices” (KJV), “voices and thunders” (Etheridge). What great shouting is heard?

“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.’” (Rev 11:15)

Subsequently the twenty-four elders clarify:

“the time has come for the dead to be judged, and the time has come to give to your servants, the prophets, their reward, as well as to the saints and those who revere your name, both small and great, and the time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:18)

This is the great event that Yom Teruah foreshadowed, it is the ultimate day of shouting. It is the day of God’s finished mystery!

“in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.” (Rev 10:7 NASB)

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.” (1Thess 4:16)

What Happens When the Seventh Trumpet Sounds?

Leviticus 23:24 describes two aspects of Yom Teruah: It is a day of complete rest, and of holy assembly. We will examine both aspects in relation to the seventh trumpet.
When Christians think of a day of rest, we may reflect on Hebrews chapter 4 which deals specifically with this topic. Here Paul establishes a direct link between “the promise of entering his [God’s] rest” (Hebrews 4:1) and the events surrounding Joshua and by extension, the fall of Jericho and the entry into the Promised Land.

“For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken afterward about another day” (Hebrews 4:8)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown comments that those brought into Canaan by Joshua entered only a day of relative rest. That day, God’s people entered the Promised Land. Entering God’s rest is thus related to entering God’s promise. It was also a day of shouting, a day of victory over their enemies and a day of rejoicing. Yet Paul clearly states that this rest was not “it”. There would be “another day”.
The day of rest which we look forward to is the Millennial Reign of Christ found in Revelation 20:1-6. This starts with the sounding of the 7th trumpet. The first proof for this is that, in Revelation 11:15, the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of Christ upon the blowing of this trumpet. The second proof is in the timing of the first resurrection:

“Blessed and holy is the one who takes part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Rev 20:6)

When does this resurrection occur? At the final trumpet! There is clear scriptural evidence that these events are linked:

“They will see the Son of Man arriving on clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Mat 24:29-31)

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”  (1Thess 4:15-17)

“Listen, I will tell you a mystery:  We will not all sleep [in death], but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trumpet. […] Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1Cor 15:51-55)

Thus God’s people will be entering God’s rest. But what of the holy assembly? Well, we just read the scriptures: the elect or holy ones of God will be assembled or gathered on that very day, along with those who are asleep in Christ and who will receive the first resurrection.
As with God’s victory over Jericho, it will be a day of judgment against this world. It will be a day of reckoning for the wicked, but a day of shouting and joy for God’s people. A day of promise and great wonder.

[1] To compare with other festivals which are given clear purpose: Feast of Unleavened bread commemorates the exodus from Egypt, the celebration of the beginning of the barley harvest. (Exod 23: 15; Lev 23:4-14) The feast of Weeks celebrates the wheat harvest. (Exod 34:22) Yom Kippur is a national Day of Atonement (Lev 16), and the Feast of Booths commemorates the wandering of the Israelites in the desert and the ingathering of the harvest. (Exod 23:16)
[2] Jerusalem Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 1:2 56d

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