Cross and Crown Lutheran Church
The Feast of Trumpets
Pastor: On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred
assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Leviticus 23:24
March was the first month of the Jewish year. March corresponds with the month Nisan.
We hear about this month: “This month is to be for you the first month, the first
month of your year.” Exodus 12:2 Tishri, corresponding with our month September,
is the seventh month. This is the month that began with the Feast of Trumpets (Yom
Teruah). September (Tishri) was the month that God commanded his people to go to
Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. This was the week-long celebration when
God’s people lived in tents and shelters and remembered their years in the wilderness.
It is in this same month of September (Tishri) that Rosh Hashana (The Head of the
Year) is celebrated, followed by Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement). On the ten days
between these two celebrated days, the Jews prepared themselves by self-examination
in what they called “The Days of Awe.” The great day of Atonement was coming. God
was going to cover their sins.
Our service today is set in the Jewish commemoration of the month of September (Tishri).
The trumpet today reminds us that God is talking. Traditionally the trumpet was
blown 100 times in the service called Yom Teruah (Rosh Hashana today). Today we
are going to hear trumpet blasts too. These trumpet sounds will remind us of important
things. God is talking. We want to come into his presence and know the word that
says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
The trumpet of the Old Testament was no doubt the shophar. It was the ram’s horn.
It made an eerie and somber note. Gideon and his men signaled with it. Joshua
carried it and ordered the seven priests with the ark to blow it at the fall of the
walls of Jericho. Moses heard its solitary and sad note echoing down the slopes
of Mount Sinai.
THE FIRST TRUMPET…THE TRUMPET SIGNALLING GOD’S WORD:
On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud
over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled.
Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the
foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended
on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole
mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder.
Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.” Exodus 19:16-19)
If we were to ask what Herb Alpert, Wynton Marsalis, Louis Armstrong and Doc Severensen
have in common, you would know: the trumpet! They all played the trumpet and they
played it well.
It is a real thing, a trumpet is. It makes a real sound. It makes a real loud sound!
Armies use the trumpet to wake up sleeping soldiers. The sound of reveille is known
to all. And who cannot think of how the sound of the taps played at a military funeral
sound? That’s the trumpet’s contribution to our world. As real as the trumpet sound
in our church today, so real is God. So real is his power and strength and presence.
So real is God’s voice too. Moses spoke and God answered him. God still speaks
today. Loudly! Clearly! Forcefully! We might wish we could have been there to
hear God say, “This is my Son whom I love…listen to him!” But we can! The fanfare
still goes on. We don’t often have trumpets sound in our church when God’s Word
is read and preached, but we could. If you listen, perhaps you can always hear it.
Think how real the God is who speaks. Think how forceful and identifiably he speaks.
(You can tell the sound of a trumpet.)
There is much extraneous noise that is going on around you in the world. The trumpet
call today cuts through it all. God’s Word is still the important thing. It is
still the only thing that matters. God’s Commandments. They are still carved in
stone! They haven’t changed one letter since they were first given. They come from
the God who hasn’t changed one bit since that day some 3500 years ago. He hasn’t
changed in his righteousness and in his demands. He also hasn’t changed in his love
for us all.
The trumpet of his Word is still blowing today. Listen for it. Listen to it.
THE SECOND TRUMPET, THE TRUMPET SIGNALING REPENTANCE: “When I bring the sword against
a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman,
and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people,
then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and
takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the
trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken
warning, he would have saved himself. But if the watchman sees the sword coming
and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the
life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold
the watchman accountable for his blood.” (Ezekiel 33:1-6)
Armies use trumpet sounds to move their troops. At least they did when troops were
moved and controlled by the sound of a trumpet. God uses this picture to describe
what happens and what he wants to happen with the trumpet in our lives too. He wants
us to use the trumpet to sound a warning. The enemy is approaching. Materialism.
Love of pleasure. Laziness. Busy-ness. Worry. Despair. Despondency. Closing
in on God’s people. The enemy is among us. The spirit of the age is prowling among
our tents, getting into our homes with things that shouldn’t be there and our children
shouldn’t see and hear. Who will make a clear and loud noise of warning?
In this regard none of us can say, “But I don’t know how to play the trumpet.” Blowing
the trumpet here is making a clear sound to someone you know who is not doing what
is right. The fact is that God has made you your brother’s keeper. Cain got this
wrong. You are your brother’s keeper. Ezekiel above made it clear.
But why wouldn’t you want to do it? Jesus can save this brother or sister of yours
just like he saved you. Jesus can protect and defend you. He wants to. Run to
him. Point to him. Call on him. Blow the trumpet. Encourage one another. Our
God is the One who neither slumbers nor sleeps. Our Jesus is the one we pray to,
“If I should die before I wake, I pray you Lord my soul to take.” Jesus is the one
who holds our lives in his hands. Jesus is the only Savior for people like us with
enemies encircling and camping around.
THE THIRD TRUMPET…THE TRUMPET OF RESURRECTION DAY:
“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed---in
a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound,
the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable
must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When
the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality,
then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death
is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the
victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:51-57)
The trumpet is God’s instrument of choice. This Sunday tells you that. The Old
Testament tells you that. Even the book of Revelation tells you that. Chapter 8
tells us that there was silence in heaven for half an hour. There in that timeless
and eternal place the clock still ticked out the half hour. And on the backdrop
of this silence in heaven, the angel steps up and blows his trumpet. There were
seven angels there. All had trumpets. A trumpet ensemble! And the purpose of the
seven angels was to proclaim the terrible comings for those who refused to repent.
But at the end, even with all the trumpets, we read, “The rest of mankind that were
not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands.” Ezekiel
told us that there will be some who hear the trumpet who still don’t change. We
can’t help that. We can blow the trumpet though. In fact, we must blow the trumpet.
And then there is the final trumpet of God. We will all hear that trumpet. One
day. The question: will it be joyful or fearful? It will be one or the other. Not
both. Is the final buzzer of the hard fought game fearful to the winner? No! It
is welcomed. The great shout goes up at that point. It’s Gideon’s shout. It is
the trumpet of victory. It is played once and then never again.
You can’t hear these words about the last trumpet call of God and not think about
Easter. There was that one clarion call from the tomb of Jesus on Easter morning.
The sound split the air…and still does. Jesus has beaten death. Jesus has won
over our enemies. Christ is arisen! The victory is won!
WITH THE TRUMPETS’ SOUND IN OUR EARS…
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves
fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not
in vain.” I Corinthians 15:58)
The sound is in your ears. This is the reverberation factor of God. His Word and
the trumpet have sounded. The sound goes on. We still hear it. We will hear it
for the rest of our lives before that final blast of God’s trumpet ends everything…and
begins everything. It is very possible that no other WELS believers have ever attended
a service just like this one. We have been thinking about the trumpet blowing today.
God’s Word has gone out. This is the “Head of the Year.” We have heard of God’s
forgiveness. We have received that forgiveness in the Lord’s Supper. We are waiting
for the final trumpet to sound.
But in the meantime, we are working and we will work and blow the trumpet because
the night is coming when no one can work…and no one will be able to further blow
God speed the sound! Amen.