On the first day of the seventh month, the Israelites were to “have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts” (Lev. 23:24). The purpose of this commemoration isn’t entirely clear. Unlike the preceding feasts, Trumpets isn’t associated with the history of the exodus or with Israel’s agricultural seasons. Other than instructions about offerings to be made that day, there is little else written about Trumpets in the Old Testament.
“Long Live the King!”
The New Testament says even less about Trumpets than the Old. While other feasts are discussed directly, the New Testament offers no commentary about Trumpets. This means discovering the fulfillment of Trumpets isn’t a straightforward task. Many connect Trumpets with the rapture based on 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 17:“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will becaught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”
While this verse does mention a trumpet, there are difficulties with this interpretation. Connecting Trumpets with the rapture makes its fulfillment in the future. Consequently, the remaining feasts—The Day of Atonement and Tabernacles—must also have future fulfillments. For the Day of Atonement in particular, a future fulfillment of any kind is problematic. Hebrews 9 shows that Christ fulfilled this feast through His ministry as High Priest (to be considered more thoroughly in future posts). If the Day of Atonement has already been fulfilled it would seem out of sequence to say we are still waiting for the fulfillment of Trumpets. So far, we have seen that the meaning of the feasts and the order in which they occur is tied to the Person and work of Christ. Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits show Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. What aspect of Christ’s ministry fits with Trumpets, which occurs after Pentecost (Christ’s anointing) but before the Day of Atonement (Christ’s High Priestly work)? First Kings 1:34 and 39 illustrate one possibility:“There have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, “Long live King Solomon!” […] Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, ‘Long live King Solomon!'”
Here we have a pattern: The new king is anointed, then announced with trumpets. The coronations of Jehu and Joash follow this pattern as well, suggesting this was something of a tradition in Israel (2 Kings 9:12-13; 11:12-14). Trumpets were also blown when Absalom tried to usurp David’s rule but since God had not chosen him there was no anointing.
The Old Testament sequence of installing a king suggests that Christ’s anointing (Pentecost) was followed by His coronation as King of kings (Trumpets). When we discuss the Day of Atonement we will see how this feast also fits with the logic of this pattern.
“God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne” (Psalm 47:6-8).
—Excerpted from my booklet, “Christ in the Feasts”
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