Beckett: Pastoral Thoughts – The Sound of Trumpets Means God’s Salvation (Numbers 10:9)

God says to Moses, “And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the LORD your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies” (Numbers 10:9).

When announcing or inaugurating His salvation, God often uses trumpets to blast this triumph for the comfort of His people and the doom of their enemies (see also 2 Chronicles 13:12, 14). The people of Israel were also to blow trumpets on their appointed feast days and the beginnings of their months, as well as over the sacrifices of their burnt offerings and peace offerings, for through these means God’s salvation comes to them in the forgiveness of sins (v. 10). They also played trumpets during their forms of worship (1 Chronicles 13:8; 15:24, 28; 16:6, 42; 2 Chronicles 5:13; Nehemiah 12:35, 41; etc.).

This is why in much of Christian classical music, such as Handel’s Hallelujah chorus from Messiah, the trumpets often play loudly at salvation parts. Perhaps, then, we should have small chamber orchestras play more in our services to evoke this salvific promise of God with the sound of trumpets accompanied by the soothing support of strings and woodwinds. My congregation is currently funding a position for a kantor, and this is one of the possibilities we foresee happening with such a skilled professional. Such an enhancement of worship experience brings more glory to God.

As Christians, we, too, shall hear trumpets blasting the announcement of our salvation and the inauguration of God’s kingdom (Revelation 8:6-9:21; 11:15-19). The sound will be for the comfort of God’s people and the doom of our enemies, for they announce the destruction of the unbelievers and the salvation of God’s people. The Book of Revelation terrifies many people, even Christians. But the Revelation of Jesus Christ is only a terror to the enemies of His people, not to His people for whom He is coming. Revelation is a book of Good News for you and me. Though it certainly has terrifying imagery (which is the point of the Greek apocalyptic genre), the wrath of God it depicts will not fall on you but on our enemies: sin, death, and the devil; for because you believe in Christ Jesus, the judgement you deserve has already fallen on Him on the cross. Why do you think Revelation is filled with God’s saints and angels praising and worshiping Him with trumpet sound? Because His salvation will have come for you and me.

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