“The Lord himself, in a shout, in the voice of a chief-messenger, and in the trump of God, shall come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thes. 4:16).
By the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul pronounces the manifold comings of the Lord as occurring in a shout, in a voice and in the trumpet of God. The generally understanding of this section of scripture assumes these to be natural or physical events where an audible sound of a trumpet will one day be sounded by an angle to broadcast the coming of the Lord. But such superficial and theatrical events are inconsequential to the kingdom of God being established on earth. If we would turn our gaze from imminent events to the Lord who is in our midst, there is a deeper meaning to this seemingly simple verse that has implications to every saint’s current spiritual progression in Christ.
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that this sound is a spiritual sound. It can only be heard by a people whose ears and hearts have been circumcised. Natural men, believer and non-believer alike, who remain unenlightened by the Spirit of God can neither hear this sound nor experience the progressive coming of the Lord.
Notice that it is THE LORD HIMSELF who is in the shout, in the voice and in the trumpet. There is no distinction made between Him and the sound. The manifestation of the sound is the manifestation of the Lord Himself. This is a supernatural sound not a mere reverberation of sound waves. As we read in the opening verse, the sound causes the resurrection of those who are dead in Christ. There is resurrection life and power within the sound. But, it’s not the mere sounding of trumpets which transforms mortality into immortality and corruption into incorruption. Resurrection can only be apprehended through Christ Jesus, for He is the resurrection and the life (Joh. 11:25). He is the One who quickens our mortal bodies through the Spirt of God who dwells in us (Rom. 8:11). It is His coming in resurrection power within every saint which is the precursor to the resurrection from among the dead, not the blast of a literal trumpet.
The sounding of trumpets is also relayed by John in the book of Revelation. John saw in the spirit a great scene where seven angels were given seven trumpets to be sounded. “And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets… So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound” (Rev. 8:2, 6). The seven trumpets are what usher the progressive dominion of the kingdom of God. It is the King Himself who is in the trumpet sound, descending from heaven to establish His dominion over all things. Each sounding marshals a different dimension of Christ unto His perfect and complete dominion. Accordingly, as the seventh angel sounds the last trumpet, it is declared: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 10:15).
The sounding of the trumpets signifies the voice of revelation that originates from the Spirit of God and which is released to expose and transform every condition of man. Paul associates this sounding to words and the preaching of the gospel. He declares: “Have they not heard? Yes verily, THEIR SOUND went into all the earth, and THEIR WORDS unto the ends of the world” (Rom. 10:18). And again he states: “For from you THE WORD of the Lord has SOUNDED forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place” (1 Thes. 1:8). During the time of the apostles, the message of the gospel was being sounded as of a trumpet to every corner of the world to draw multitude into God’s kingdom. This was a sound that “went into all the earth”. It transcended the constraints of time and space for it was a sound uttered in the Spirit and carried by the Spirt to every corner. This declaration of the word of God is the very sound which the trumpets release.
Perhaps you are familiar with the commonly used expression; “blowing your own horn”. It is used to describe a person who boasts or brags about themselves. Jesus also used this expression to describe the Pharisees saying: “when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men”(Mat. 6:2). It should go without saying that blowing one’s own horn or trumpet signifies the utterance of words and not a literal horn/trumpet. The Pharisees didn’t blow a physical trumpet, on the contrary, they spoke about themselves favorably, boasting about their good deeds. Similarly, the seven trumpets signify the utterance of words. But, these are not mere words as one “blowing his own horn” – it is the effectual word of God which is accompanied by the Spirit and which does not return to Him void.
The seven angels are now sounding forth a word. They are declaring a seven-fold message – the full gospel of the kingdom. The Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the seven-fold trumpet, the Logos of God, the Living Word, the message and the revelation who is descending from the heaven of our spirit into our soul and body to inaugurate His regenerating work. Every believer who has a relationship with the Lord has already heard different aspects of the seven trumpets. Some have heard His voice as He revealed Himself as Savior. The Lord Himself declares: “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). Surely none can believe unless they hear His voice (Rom. 10:14).
In your experience too, was it not the preaching of the gospel of salvation that awakened your inner man to encounter Jesus Christ as your Savior? Did you also not encounter Him in the power of the Spirit as you received the revelation of the baptism in the Spirit? And in your walk with Him over the years, did not the words you heard mixed with faith cause you to experience Christ in all the attributes of His comfort, joy, peace, righteousness, and love? All these were but the soundings of the various trumpets. But the culmination of this process is now drawing nigh in the sounding of the last trumpet. This is the full gospel message of the kingdom that establishes His absolute Lordship and our perfection in Him – spirit, soul and body. But, this is a sound that only a few have heard. To the multitudes, this is an unfamiliar sound and those who have been exposed to it have shut their ears refusing to move on from their in-part knowledge.
In the accounts of the of the Children of Israel, God instructed Moses to have the sons of Aaron blow the trumpets for a call to war, to commission, to congregate, to move forward, and to the feasts (see Numbers 10). Each blowing of the trumpet was a distinct sound. Therefore, it was necessary for Israel not only to hear with audible ears but they had to discern the sound of the trumpets in order to act accordingly. Paul attests: “for if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?” (1 Cor. 14:8). How we need to hear with discerning ears the message that God is declaring in this hour.
John the revelator not only heard the trumpet sound but he saw, in other words, he understood and discerned the sound. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a LOUD VOICE, AS OF A TRUMPET, saying, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,’… then I TURNED to see the voice that spoke with me. And HAVING TURNED I saw” (Rev. 1:10, 12). That sound struck a cord in the deep recesses of John’s spirit, for the day of the Lord had come in his experience. The trumpet sound caused a movement – it prompted a turning in order to see Christ who was in the voice. Notice that John turned to see the voice.
The voice which was as of a trumpet was the voice of words which declared: “I am the Alpha and the Omega”. In that voice came to John the manifestation of the Lord Himself who is the word of God. The turning which John experienced is significant, for it is mentioned twice in Rev. 1:12. He “turned to see” and “being turned” he saw. Only in that state of “being turned” could John see and partake of Christ Himself. This turning was a state of repentance that came about by the hearing of the voice. Having turned, a change of mind was taking place in John, he was putting on a new mind – the very mind of Christ.
Father is now drawing His apprehended sons in every corner of the world to such a change. Many have heard the distinct sound of the seven-fold trumpet within and it is causing a turning from the carnal mindsets, the man-made doctrines of the church system, and the in-part realm of Pentecost in order to see in the spirit the voice that speaks WITH us (not to us but with us, indicating a joining). Dear reader of these lines, if you, like John, have heard this sound and it has caused a turning in you, rejoice for the things of which I now speak are experiences that are taking effect in your spiritual journey and they will guide you into His fullness.
For the children of Israel, the trumpet call to journey was a call to take apart the tents they had dwelled and communed under and to move to the next destination with God. They could not settle, no matter how suitable or comfortable the land was. John heard that trumpet sound to move onward and to come up higher to a greater spiritual dimension and reality in God (Rev. 4:1). Surely, for us too, there is a next destination, a higher realm, a deeper experience in God. The question is; are you willing to leave behind your former experiences of Pentecost? Are the ears of your spirit open to hear the sounding of the seven-fold trumpet?
Dear precious saint, let us not settle in Goshen or Sinai but let us press on into the Promised Land of our inheritance. This is our lot as the Spirit causes us to continually turn and turn by the sounding of the trumpet until we partake of His fullness.