And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…
The ordinance of the trumpets occupied a conspicuous part in the Jewish ceremonial; and when we consider the various particulars which were prescribed regarding them, and the purposes to which they were applied, we cannot but feel that they were intended to convey some instructive lesson. We have an account of their first appointment in the tenth chapter of the Book of Numbers, vers. 1-10. Here the following particulars deserve to be noted:
1. That these trumpets were made at the express command of God, who also enjoined —
2. The manner in which they were to be formed — "of one piece"; and
3. The purposes to which they were to be applied, viz. —
(1) For the calling of assemblies.
(2) The journeys of the camp.
(3) To sound an alarm in the time of danger.
(4) On new moons and festal occasions, when they were to be blown over the sacrifices.In addition to the occasions here enumerated, there was also to be celebrated an anniversary of the blowing of trumpets, on the first day of the seventh month, which on this account was called the Feast of Trumpets — the third of these solemn annual festivals, which we are endeavouring to illustrate. In considering, then, this ordinance, we shall divide our observations into three heads; under the first, we shall examine its commemorative bearing; under the second, its application to the present dispensation; and under the third, its prospective or prophetic reference to things which are to come.
I. FOR ITS COMMEMORATIVE BEARING, I would refer to the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Exodus, where we have an account of the manner in which the Lord summoned the children of Israel to meet Him on Mount Sinai. Here we find the first mention of the trumpet; when God Himself appoints it as a sign by which the people should know when to approach the mount. "When the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount" (Exodus 19:13). And so we read (Exodus 19:16). And again (Exodus 19:19). This may be regarded as the source from whence the ordinance of trumpets originated. This was the voice of God calling them into covenant with Himself. Thus, then, whenever the people heard the sacred trumpets, they recognised, as it were, the voice of God. At His voice they marched or halted; at His voice they mustered to oppose their enemies; at His voice they assembled on their festal days. And we have here, doubtless, the commemorative or retrospective bearing of the feast before us. The time when it was celebrated, the new moon symbolising the commencement of the Jewish Church in the wilderness; the trumpet summoning them to "an holy convocation," recalling the assemblage gathered around Mount Sinai; the command, "Thou shalt do no servile work therein," commemorating their deliverance from Egyptian bondage; and finally, the injunction, "Ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord," reminding them that the purpose for which God had made them His people, was in order that (what in Egypt they were not allowed to do) they might sacrifice unto the Lord their God. Such, I venture to suggest, is the retrospective import of this feast — such was its national application; and I am confirmed in the impression by the reference made to it in the eighty-first Psalm, where we find it mentioned in connection with the deliverance from the land of Egypt — "Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast-day" (Psalm 81:3-10).
II. WE PROCEED, THEN, TO EXAMINE ITS APPLICATION TO THE PRESENT DISPENSATION, WHICH CAN BE TRACED IN SEVERAL PARTICULARS.
1. The trumpet was, as we have seen, the voice of a covenant God, calling His people to assemble round the sacrifices; a lively emblem is this of the gospel of Jesus — the voice of "Him that speaks from heaven" (Hebrews 12:18-24). Jesus has ascended up on high, and sits upon the mount of God; and thence by the gospel-trump He sends forth His invitation, the call of His grace, to bring His people nigh. It is His voice, His call, summoning us into covenant with God. This dispensation is emphatically "the day of the blowing of trumpets — the day of holy convocation." This is the mystery of the silver trumpets, they represent the gospel of Jesus. The command to make them, the manner in which they were to be made, and the material of which they were to be constructed, were all of God, all ordained by Him. And so with the gospel; it is all of God from beginning to end. His love suggested, and His wisdom has contrived it; and woe be to him that dares to add to, or to take from it. We must take it as He has given it; if we presume to alter, we mar and spoil it. God alone is competent to know what note will strike with effect upon the sinner's ear, and vibrate upon the sinner's soul. He has constructed the trumpet so as to give that sound which the heart of man requires; and that sound is grace — "the gospel of the grace of God." But there are several other circumstances connected with this ordinance which have much significance in their application. Thus we remember —
2. That the trumpets were ordered to be sounded over the sacrifices: the victims were first slain, and then the trumpets sounded over them. And thus with the gospel trumpet; it proclaims a finished work. It re-echoes the dying cry of the Redeemer, announcing that the work is done, the price is paid, the ransom is accepted. It Aids not the sinner attempt some great thing for himself.
3. On the Feast of Trumpets no servile work was to be done, but they were to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord (ver. 25). This reminded the children of Israel of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and separation unto the service of the Lord. Does not the gospel deliver us from servile work, and consecrate us to the service of the Lord? From captivity the gospel has delivered us, for it has come with power to our hearts. But while the children of Israel were on this day to do no servile work, they were not to be without employment — they were "to offer a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord." And thus the same gospel which makes us "free from sin," makes us also "servants of God"; we have no more to say with servile work, we are consecrated henceforth a "royal priesthood," to offer sacrifices unto the Lord our God.
III. BUT THIS FESTIVAL ALSO LOOKS FORWARD TO THINGS THAT ARE YET TO COME. The trumpets were to be blown on the first day of every month, and this was the seventh month, the seventh time of the sounding of the trumpets on which the feast was to be celebrated. The number seven, as we know, implying the consummation, brings us on unto "the dispensation of the fulness of times" — "the times of the restitution of all things, spoken of by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." And accordingly, perhaps in reference to this very ordinance, we find in the Book of Revelation, that the destinies of the age are comprised in a book sealed with seven seals, and the events of this seventh seal are ushered in, successively, by the sound of seven trumpets (Revelation 10:1-7; Revelation 11:15-20). Such are the events which take place at the blowing of the seventh trumpet. The whole may be confined under three heads: The restoration of Israel — The destruction of the apostate nations, and — The glorification of His people. Then, to
(J. B. Lowe, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,