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The harp has a solemn sound which soothes the restless spirit; the trumpet's call has the unique ability to quicken and excite. Who is not stirred by the trumpets of a military band, or by the trumpet solo that precedes the bass recitative of I Corinthians 15:52 in Handel's Messiah?

The trumpets of early Israel were made of ram's or goat's horns. Moses was instructed by God to make two trumpets of silver (Num. 10:12) to be blown at certain ceremonies. All these instruments (variously translated trumpets, horns, or cornets) were without valves and produced sound of one pitch.

Trumpets were used to herald the year of jubilee, announced the appearance of the new moon and full moon, warned of approaching danger, were blown at the dedication of the temple, coronations of kings, and burnt offerings and peace offerings. But the main purpose of these horns was to give signals in battle. Outstanding examples are found in Exodus 6 (Joshua at Jericho), Judges 6 (Gideon), and II Samuel 2 (Joab). The trumpet's martial sound was used to pass on commands, signal the attack, encourage the soldiers, strike fear in the hearts of the enemy, and signal the end of the battle.

Scripture also uses the trumpet in the figurative sense. The labors of officebearers are compared to the sounding of the trumpet. In Ezekiel 33 the prophet's work is compared to a watchman on the city walls: if the watchman sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet, and the people do not take heed, their blood is on their own head; but if the watchman does not blow the trumpet and the sword comes on some, their blood is required at the watchman's hand. This passage applies to the elders of the church who must sound the alarm against every spiritual danger that threatens the souls of God's people.

Then there is I Corinthians 14:8: "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" Although the context deals with the misuse of speaking in tongues during the worship services, the clear implication is that the preaching of the Word must send forth a certain sound. The preaching must be clear, sharp, distinctive, and unmistakable, so that no one wonders what God is saying. Repentance and faith must be commanded. The antithesis must be emphasized. The way of life must clearly be set forth in distinction from the way of destruction. The doctrines of grace must be sharply defined in distinction from every Arminian tendency. Otherwise, who will prepare himself for the battle, or even know that there is a battle?

There are the seven trumpets of Revelation 8 and 9, which come out of the seventh seal and end with the seven vials. The seven angels with their trumpets announce God's judgment and woe upon the earth and her inhabitants. These woes, seen by John in a vision, are worse than those pictured by the seven seals, and are happening at the present time. The comfort for the church is that these angels stand before, and are given trumpets by, God! All these things are under His sovereign control and work for our good.

Lastly, trumpets have eschatological significance. Matthew 24:32I Thessalonians 4:16, and I Corinthians 15:52 agree that the coming of Christ in His glory will be accompanied with angels and the great sound of a trumpet! Paul tells the Thessalonians that when Christ comes, He does so with the trump of God! Just as God gave the Law to Moses at Sinai by the hands of angels with the voice of the trumpet which sounded long, and waxed louder and louder ( Ex. 19), so at the end of the world God will sound His trumpet. That's His mighty voice! And that clear sound will signal the end of the battle, it will strike fear in the hearts of the enemy, and it will announce perfect victory for all that are in Christ. In response to that glorious sound, we will be raised, changed in a moment, and quickened unto endless praise of God and the Lamb in the church triumphant!

Kuiper, Dale H.

Rev. Dale H. Kuiper (Wife: Velerie)

Ordained: September 1967

Pastorates: Randolph, WI - 1967; Pella, IA - 1970; Home Missionary - 1974; Lynden, WA - 1976; Hope, Isabel, SD - 1985; Immanuel, Lacombe, AB - 1987; Southeast, Grand Rapids, MI - 1992

Emeritus: 2003


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