On the different kinds of prophetic trumpets which are mentioned in the Bible – trumps of God, and those of the seven angels

Also: What did the apostle Paul refer to when he wrote about a ‘last’ trump or blast?

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The Scriptures mention several prophetic trumpets. There are the trumpets of the seven angels of the book of Revelation, but there are also trumps of God. And, there is even the “last” trump or blast which the apostle Paul wrote about, in his letter to the saints in Corinth.

The trumpet of Matthew 24:31, 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

Many people have been caused to think that the trumpet mentioned in Matthew 24:31, 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is the same as the one which Revelation 11:15 refers to. But, a closer study shows that it is not so.

First, let us take a closer look at those three passages which mention a trumpet that was to be sounded when the saints [a] were gathered together and taken up to Jesus. After this, we can consider what the apostle Paul meant and referred to when he wrote about a “last” trump or blast.

a In this article, the word “saints” refers to those who received the Holy Spirit in the first century.

Matthew 24 records how Jesus gave instructions to his disciples, regarding what they were to do, if they were in Judea when certain things began to happen. Verse 31 mentions a trump which was to be sounded when Jesus sent his angels to gather up his own people. Verse 34 shows when those things were to take place: Jesus said, “this generation shall not pass away, until all these things be fulfilled”. He referred to the generation of those who were listening, as he spoke. Even the context makes this clear. We read:

Matthew 24:3 And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, [b] when will these things be? And what is the sign of thy coming, and of the termination of the age? […] 15 When therefore ye [b] see the abomination of desolation that was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let him who reads understand), 16 then let those in Judea flee to the mountains. […] 30 And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in the sky. And then all the tribes of the earth will beat the breast, and they will see the Son of man coming in the clouds of the sky with power and much glory. 31 And he will send forth his agents with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather together his chosen from the four winds, from the boundaries of the heavens—as far as their boundaries. 32 Now learn a parable from the fig tree. When its branch now becomes tender, and sprouts leaves, ye know that the summer is near. 33 So ye also, when ye [b] see all these things, know that it is near, at the doors. 34 Truly I say to you, [b] this generation will, no, not pass away, until all these things happen. 35 The sky and the earth will pass away, but my words may, no, not pass away. (ACV, note sign added)

b Please note that the words “us”, “ye” and “you” in verses 3, 15, 33 and 34 refer to those who were listening as Jesus spoke, in the first century.

In short: Jesus told those disciples that he would relatively soon come for them. He made the timing clear: “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away, until all these things happen”. – For various reasons, many churches and writers have caused people to believe that Jesus did not mean what he in clear words said. But, he was not lying to those people, nor was he mistaken or in error. Likewise, the apostles John, Paul and Peter knew what they were talking about, and meant what they said, when they wrote to certain saints about things that were to happen during their lifetime.

In his letters to the saints in Corinth and Thessalonica, the apostle Paul wrote about a trumpet that was to be sounded. Here is one of the relevant passages:

1 Corinthians 15:49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven. 50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. [c] For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (NRSV, note sign added)

c What the apostle Paul meant when he wrote about a “last” trump or blast, will be discussed under the next heading.

In the above-quoted passage, the words “we” and “brothers and sisters” refer to the saints in Corinth, and the saints in general. [d] That passage is about things that were soon to take place, in their day and age, in the first century. And no, Paul was not “wrong in his timings”, nor were Jesus, John or Peter. Those things did then happen, back in those days. – That secular history, as we know it today, does not mention those events, has its reasons. The article ega048.htm has more on this.

d Again: In this article, the word “saints” refers to those who received the Holy Spirit in the first century.

More, regarding that same trumpet:

1 Thessalonians 4:15 For this we declare to you [e] by the word of the Lord, that we [e] who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call [f] and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (NRSV, note signs added)

e “You”, “we” and so on – that letter was written to and regarding the saints, those who received the Holy Spirit in the first century.

f Verse 16, “archangel” – the Greek text has archangelοs. That word simply meant “chief messenger”. And, who is God’s chief messenger? Jesus, of course. (No, Jesus the Son of God is not an “angel”, but he certainly is a messenger sent by God.) – Please note that that passage does not mention an angel’s trumpet. The wording in verse 16 is “God’s trumpet”, Greek salpingi Theou.

In short: The sounding of the trumpet of Matthew 24:31, 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 was connected to those people’s fate, and their day and age. The article ega048.htm has more on what happened to the saints, in the first century.

(A note: The above-quoted 1 Thessalonians 4:16 contains the words “the dead in Christ will rise first”. The matter of the different resurrections is discussed in the article eba088.htm.)

So, one prophetic trumpet has already been sounded and is a thing of the past. But, several trumps still remain to be sounded. In what we today view as “end time”, there will be the trumpets of the seven angels, and at least one trumpet of God.

(The trumpets of the seven angels are discussed later in this article.)

On what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote about a ‘last’ trump or blast.

It appears that the word “last” in 1 Corinthians 15:52 has caused many people to think that the apostle Paul was talking about something that was the last event of all, in a prophetic sequence of events. But, let us face it: Paul was talking about what was to happen to the saints, who were a “first-fruits harvest” for God.

In the Greek text of 1 Corinthians 15:52, the wording is tê eschatê salpingi which means “the last trump” or “the last blast”. Really what did Paul mean and refer to? Well, it may be that he meant that on the day when the saints were taken up to Jesus, there were to be several trumpet blasts, and that the last blast (perhaps the longest one) marked the time when the angels came for them. – Let us consider other occasions when the last blast for the day signified something.

An example of trumpet-sounding where the last blast on a certain day was the most significant one, is found in the event when the Israelites entered the Promised Land and conquered the stronghold Jericho. They marched around Jericho on seven days. On the seventh day, they marched around it seven times, the priests sounding their trumpets. At the end of the seventh round, apparently at what was the last blast (a long one, see Joshua 6:5), the walls of Jericho fell down, see Joshua 6:20.

Also: At least on one of the Old Covenant’s high days, horns (trumpets) were sounded throughout the day. Jewish writings say that at the end of the day there was a “last” blast. Probably, it was longer than the others.

So, perhaps it was similar for the saints, so that on the day when Jesus came for them, they heard how the trump of God began to be sounded, and that when the last blast came, perhaps a longer one, they knew that the time had come.

Let us now read Paul’s words regarding that last blast.

1 Corinthians 15:51 Listen, I will tell you God’s hidden purpose! We shall not all have passed to our rest, but we shall all be transformed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, 52 At the last trumpet-call; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise immortal, and we, also, shall be transformed. (20CNT)

Keep in mind that in that passage, the word “we” refers to the saints, people who lived here on Earth in the first century.

In what we today view as ‘end time’, there will be more than seven trumpet blasts.

This passage is a part of a vision the apostle John saw, among other things regarding a future time when seven angels will be given trumpets:

Revelation 8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. (AKJV)

The wider context shows that the trumps which those seven angels will be given and then sound, belong to a still future time. But, they are not the only trumpets in what we today view as “end time”. Even a trump of God will be sounded. Those events and trumps must not be confused with each other.

The great multitude, the two witnesses, the great tribulation, and the seven angels.

The great, innumerable multitude is mentioned in Revelation 7:9. There, they are shown as standing by the throne of God, in Heaven. That is one of the events that beong to the sixth “scroll-seal”.

The giving of the trumpets to the seven angels is mentioned in Revelation 8:2; that belongs to the events of the seventh “scroll-seal”.

So, it appears that the great multitude will not in any way be touched with the earthly events which will be connected to the seven angels’ trumpets. That is: When the seven angels are given their trumpets, that multitude is already in Heaven.

The article eta037.htm has some notes on the great multitude, and the 144000. (The 144000 who are mentioned in Revelation 7 and also in chapter 14, are a “first-fruits” group. The great multitude has not been formed yet, but it will be a “larger harvest” for God.)

Revelation 7 and 8 are obviously in “chronological order”. The former belongs to the sixth “scroll-seal”, the latter to the seventh one. This means that the great multitude is already in Heaven, when trumpets are given to the seven angels. What might confuse some people in this context, is the matter of the two witnesses. In the book of Revelation, they are mentioned in chapter 11. A casual bible-reader might think that those witnesses’ work will take place after the seventh angel has sounded his trump (Revelation 10:7), but of course, that is not so. Chapter 11 is an “insert”. The article eta017.htm has more on this, but right here, in short: It appears that those witnesses will in some way be connected to the forming of the innumerable multitude of people who turn to God in those future days.

So, when the seven angels are given their trumpets, people have already been warned, and those who took the warning, are where Revelation 7:9 shows them to be at that time – by God’s throne, in Heaven.

A note: Before that, the great multitude will be subjected to the tribulation (persecution) which is mentioned in Revelation 7:14. At that time, the world will persecute those who turn to God.

Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and behold a great multitude, whom no man could number, out of every nation and tribe and people and tongue, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands; 10 and they cried with a loud voice, saying “Salvation to our God, who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb!” […] 14 […] “These are those who have come out of the great persecution, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (CT)

Clarification: The tribulation or persecution of Matthew 24:21 took place in the first century. The persecution of Revelation 7:14 has not taken place yet (apparently, it will happen when the two witnesses do their work). The articles eta046.htm respectively eta017.htm have more on those things.

When one understands that the seven angels’ trumpets have nothing to do with the saints (the 144000) and not with the great multitude either, then perhaps one will have slightly less interest in those angels’ trumpets and what they lead to. Those things will affect only those who do not heed the warning which will be given.

The seven angels’ trumpets.

The apostle John wrote about a vision where he saw an event when trumpets are given to seven angels.

Revelation 8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. (AKJV)

Please note that that was a vision, regarding things which have not taken place yet.

As was noted above, it appears that at the future time which Revelation 8:1–2 refers to, the great multitude is already in Heaven, see Revelation 7:9–17. So, the things connected to those seven trumpets, will not touch the great multitude but only those who have not taken heed of the warning which will have been published by that time.

You can read the details in your own bible. The trumpet of the first angel is mentioned in Revelation 8:7, the second angel’s trump in verses 8–9, the third one’s in verses 10–11, that of the fourth in verse 12. Verse 13 contains the words “woe”, “woe”, “woe”, referring to the trumpets of the fifth, sixth and seventh angels. Revelation 9:1–12 describes things connected to the fifth angel’s trump (the first “woe”), verses 13–19 that of the sixth angel (the second “woe”), and verses 15–19 that of the seventh angel (the third “woe”). There will also come seven “bowls of wrath”. It appears that they follow after the seventh angel’s trump, or are connected to it. Those bowls, what they lead to, are described in Revelation 16:1–21.

The Old Covenant had several high days when horns were sounded.

Literally, many of the Old Covenant’s high days and other rituals pointed to certain things and events which the ancient Israelites went through, from the time of their liberation from slavery in Egypt to their entry into the Promised Land. At the same time, it is clear that those high days and the rituals connected to them also symbolised things of the future. As the apostle Paul noted, those things were “a shadow of things to come”, Colossians 2:17.

But, one must not rush to make hasty conclusions in regard to what the symbolism may have been, in the case of each of those high-days and their trumps. In the Old Covenant’s ritual, horns were sounded on many occasions, throughout the year.

Leviticus 25:9 mentions a very special day of sounding of horns – the Day of Atonement. Several things indicate that that day must have symbolised the future time when Jesus returns and captures Satan. Also: It was on the Day of Atonement, that the year of Jubilee was proclaimed, by special sounding of horns. (The English word “jubilee” comes from the old Hebrew noun yobel which referred to a ram’s horn. The Hebrew text of Leviticus 25:9–10 which is about the Day of Atonement, contains the words yobel, shofar and teruah, all related to horns or trumpets.)

It is obvious that certain rituals (including trumpets) that were connected to the Day of Atonement, symbolised things and events of the future. It appears that they pointed to the time when Jesus returns and frees mankind from the hands of the wicked powers who today lead them astray. The article exa048.htm has some notes on this.

There was also the Day of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24). It could be that it pointed to the coming time of God’s wrath, including the seven trumpets and the seven bowls.

Even Pentecost was a “trumpet day”, in more than one way. The making of the Old Covenant took place around the day which later in the Greek language came to be called tên hêmeran tês pentêkostês, “the fiftieth day” (referring to the 50th day after the Israelites’ departure from Rameses in Egypt). On that day, by Mount Sinai, a very loud trumpet was heard, and its last, long blast had a special message. And then, Acts 2:2 shows that in a similar way, there was a loud sound heard also on the Pentecost day when the New Covenant was launched:

Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was now accomplishing, they were all together in one place. 2 And there came suddenly a sound out of heaven as of a violent impetuous blowing, and filled all the house where they were sitting. (DBY, highlighting added)

Please note that it was not a “wind” that filled that house but a loud sound from the skies. In the Greek text of verse 2, the relevant words are êchos and pnoê. The noun êchos simply meant “a sound”. The noun pnoê (“blowing”, “blast”) was related to the verb pneô, “to blow”. For instance a trumpet blast is produced by blowing.

Please send or mention the address to this site to others. You can also link to these pages. The address to the table of contents page is biblepages.net/articles.htm

Recommended reading here at the Bible Pages, on related as well as other matters

An explanation of the short names for the bible-translations that are quoted or mentioned at this site. → esa095.htm

What happened to the saints? Why is there no record of their doings, after the middle of the first century? → ega048.htm

What does the Bible say about the matter of resurrection? → eba088.htm

Who are the 144000 and the great multitude of Revelation 7? And, who are the first-fruits or virgins of Revelation 14:1–4? → eta037.htm

What does the Bible say about the “great tribulation”? On Matthew 24:21 and Revelation 7:14. → eta046.htm

On the Day of Atonement and its symbolism. → exa048.htm

The two witnesses of the book of Revelation. Also: Similarities between their work and that of Moses, Elijah and John the Baptist. → eta017.htm

What does the Bible say about Heaven? Were the saints to go there? What about others? What does it look like, in Heaven? → eba049.htm


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