Saturday, April 06, 2013

Sound of the trumpet

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Corinthians 15:42-58

TO CHEW ON: "Behold I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 1 Corinthians 15:51,52

Trumpets played a big role in Hebrew life. They were made or improvised of various materials and served a variety of uses.

One kind of trumpet was what we call a shofar and fashioned out of a ram's horn. Another type was made of beaten silver on God's instruction. Others were improvised from bones, shells or made from other metals: bronze, copper, and gold as well as silver.

These trumpets were not musical instruments in the sense that they couldn't play different pitched notes. But they could play their one note in legato, staccato and trills, and thus convey complicated signals. In this way they were used as communication.

Only Aaron and his Levite descendants were to sound the two silver trumpets God commissioned (Numbers 10:1-10).
  • When both trumpets sounded together all the congregation was to assemble at the tabernacle. If only one trumpet sounded only the leaders and heads of divisions were to meet.
  • Another trumpet sound was that of alarm, as the Israelites went into war: "When you go to war … then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the LORD your God, and you will be saved from your enemies" - Numbers 10:9. What an aural reminder of where their trust and hope for help lay!
  • A more common use of trumpets was to get the people moving during their forty years in the wilderness. For this the trumpet sounded an advance to signal which parts of the camp were to set out on their journey (Numbers 10:5,6).

Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 explains how Jesus' resurrection makes possible our resurrection too. It will be heralded by a trumpet sound. What will that sound be to us?

Will it be the summons to assemble?

Will it be the call to advance to a new body, in a new place?

Or will it be the call of alarm, and judgment (Revelation  8 & 9) as we find ourselves on the wrong side? It doesn't have to be that. It can be the sound or victory if we trust in Jesus: "But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" - 1 Corinthians 15:57.

PRAYER: Dear God, may all of us be ready and anticipating Your victory-over-death trumpet sound! Amen.

MORE: Handel's Messiah Alert

Handel dipped often into 1 Corinthians 15:42-58 when he wrote the Messiah. He put to music:






  • 1 Corinthians 15:54b, also Isaiah 25:8 in "Then shall be brought to pass" and 1 Corinthians 15:55-56, also Hosea 13:14 in "O death, where is thy sting?" (Choruses 49 & 50).

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The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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