THE SOUND OF THE TRUMPET
"for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed"
I Cor. 15:52
In the sacred Scriptures, instrumental and vocal music exercise an important influence in the work and worship of God's people, Exodus 15, Matt. 26:39, Col. 3:16-17. Of all the instrumental music instruments delineated, the trumpet occupies the most significant role.
One of the most intriguing Bible studies in the O.T. concerns the use of the trumpet, with numerous references to its utilization. A summary of these uses indicates that In the O. T., the trumpet was utilized for two major purposes: (a) as a summons to WORSHIP—Numbers chapter 10 and Leviticus chapter 23—and as a summons to WAR, Judges 7 and Ezekiel 33.
Now the next predicted event on God's prophetic time clock is the Rapture of the saints. In the N. T. the apostle Paul uses the trumpet to symbolize the Rapture—Christ's return for the living Church Age (dispensation) believers—I Cor. 15:51-58, I Thess. 4:13-18, an event that also includes the resurrection of the bodies of saints in this age who have already died.
THE SOUND OF THE TRUMPET REPRESENTS A TESTIMONY
(The testimony of fulfilled prophecy)
"I will come again"
A. The predictions concerning Christ’s First Advent are a testimonial to fulfilled prophecy: There are dozens of these predictions scattered throughout the O. T such as Gen. 3:15, Gen. 12:1-3, Gen. 49:10, II Sam. 7:11-12, Ps. 40:3, Is. 40:3, Micah 5:2, Zech. 14:9 and Mal. 3:1-2. Each prophecy was specifically fulfilled just as the prophets foretold-a divine testimonial to prophetic truth!
B. The predictions concerning His Second Coming are many in the N. T. and they will also be fulfilled and will soon become a testimonial to fulfilled prophecy: John 14:1-3, Heb. 9:28, Heb. 10:37, I John 3:2-3, Rev. 19:10. God has fulfilled his predictions in the past and He will fulfill His prophetic Word in the future!
THE SOUND OF THE TRUMPET REPRESENTS A TRANSLATION
"By faith, Enoch was translated that he should not see death"
The words for translate refer to CHANGE: (a) change by removing ["methisthemi"], (b) to change into another form ["metamorpho, metamorphe, metamorphases"] which equals a drastic change, and (c) ["alasso"] to make other than it presently is.
The drastic change at the Rapture for believers involves both a locational change and an incorruptible body. In Heb. 11:5, the O. T. saint Enoch is depicted as a prototype of that group of living believers who are translated at the Rapture: "By faith, Enoch was translated that he should not see death, and was not found, for before his translation, he had this testimony that he pleased God."
THE SOUND OF THE TRUMPET REPRESENTS A TERMINATION
"to take out of them a people for his name"
For nearly 2,000 years genuine saints have been living in the "Church Age" dispensation, the sixth of seven Biblically predicted dispensations or historical periods of time. Acts 15:14 describes this time period when God visits the Gentiles (non-Jews) to "take out [call out] of them a people for his name." When the Holy Spirit reels in the last repentant sinner in this gospel hardened world via burdened saints and the incorruptible seed of God's Word, this "calling out" of God's family in this dispensation will have been completed and the present Church Age will be terminated.
This writer believes we are now living near the terminus of this age and that it will not be long until The Trumpet sounds!
THE SOUND OF THE TRUMPET REPRESENTS A TESTING
"for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ"
II Cor. 5;10
When the Trumpet sounds and the saints are raptured, the first activity that will take place in the heavenlies will be the judgment seat of Christ where every believer who lived in this 6th dispensation will give an account of his service as a saint. Rom. 14:12 describes that event when it states that "everyone of us shall give account of himself to God."
This judgment is not a judgment concerning salvation, but a judgment concerning service. It will be a time when our works [service] for Christ as believers will be tested by the fires of God's divine standards for Christian service as portrayed in I Cor. 3:12-15. The Apostle John wrote about this event when he said: "And now, little children, abide in him, that when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming." I John. 2:28
As grateful saints, any crowns that we receive, we will quickly and humbly cast at His feet in grateful salutation for His undeserved goodness—Rev. 4:10. However, there will be obvious embarrassment and shame, with tears shed [for the last time] at that judgment, as some saints grieve over the lost opportunities for service they forfeited in this life due to carnality and sin
THE SOUND OF THE TRUMPET REPRESENTS A TRIBULATION
"…come up hither, and I will shew thee things to come"
When the Rapture Trumpet sounds, the unbelieving societal world of humanity will be plunged into a seven year period called the Tribulation. Revelation chapters 6-19 graphically describes the calamnities and catastrophes that will occur both in the ecological, [environmental] and economic realms during that time frame.
For the unbelieving world, the tribulation period is called the "hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world"—Rev. 3:10. It is also termed the "great tribulation" and the "tribulation of those days"—Matt. 24:21, 29. For the Jews, it is depicted as the "time of Jacob's trouble"—Jer. 30:7, when the nation of Israel will undergo unprecedented persecution that will culminate in the devastating carnage of reigning world powers at the Battle of Armageddon, and when the Jewish remnant will repent and acknowledge Christ as its promised Messiah—Zechariah chapters 12-14.
This tribulation period is graphically described in Revelation chapters 6-19. Since the Rapture will have already occurred, the church is never mentioned in those chapters. In considering this awesome time period, discerning dispensational Bible students carefully distinguish between Israel and the Church (I Cor. 10:32), tribulation (John 16:34) and the Tribulation (Matt. 24:29), and the Rapture in the air (I Thess. 4:13-18) and the Revelation of Christ on this earth (Rev. 11:15-19, 19:11-21).
THE SOUND OF THE TRUMPET REPRESENTS A TRIUMPH
"to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord"
I Thess. 4:17
Satan is called the "prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2), but at the Rapture when the Trumpet sounds, his power in the air will be broken with regard to impeding the physical presence of saints. This will be a triumph over sin, satan and the ungodly world that hindered the saints during their earthly pilgrimage.
The ability of satan to tempt believers with worldly allurements, sinful lusts and carnal devices will be forever ended. There will be a complete and total triumph over all satanic and sinful forces that haunted the saints down here. The glories of the New Jerusalem will become the everlasting delight of the church age saints as they occupy those palatial mansions Christ has been preparing—John 14:1-6.
THE SOUND OF THE TRUMPET REPRESENTS A TABERNACLE AND A THRONE
"the tabernacle of God is with men"; "and he that sat upon the throne"
In the O. T., the tabernacle was a temporary dwelling, where God could and did manifest his presence. For N.T. Saints, however, God's throne room, His tabernacle [dwelling place] will be with church age saints in the heavenly city-the New Jerusalem. Speaking of Christ as the "living" Word and His human earthly sojourn on this earth, John 1:14 records that during his 33½ years of his earthly life, "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. The word "dwelt" is the same Greek word that means "'tabernacle[d]' among us." Now, via the Holy Spirit, God abides [dwells] in our bodies (John 14:17), but when the Trumpet sounds Christ will personally make His eternal dwelling place with the saints (John 14:3) in that glorious city described in Revelation chapters 21-22.
From this magnificent throne, Christ will rule and reign, not just for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-6), but throughout the endless ages of eternity when time ceases its existence and is no more (Rev. 10:6). It all begins with the SOUND OF THE TRUMPET! DJ
Ed: Since that Trumpet has not yet sounded but is imminent, possibly at any moment—Titus 2:13), believers should be doubly busy, earnestly seeking to bring unconverted sinners to the Saviour (Acts 5:42), who alone can save eternal souls—Acts 4:12, Romans 1:16.
This editorial is presented in honor of the 75th anniversary of The Sword of the Lord, which has as its theme for its 75th birthday conference in Walkertown, NC, July 27-31, 2009, "Till the Trumpet Sounds."
Also in this issue:
|Editorial – June-July 2009 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.|