Then the LORD said to Moses,
Leviticus 25:9; Luke 4:16) with the silver trumpet. Although bearing the same name in the English Bible, these are quite different instruments, and are called by different Hebrew names. The former is the shophar or cornet, which, as its name implies, was of horn, or at least horn-shaped; whereas the latter, the chatsotser, was a long' straight tube of silver with a bell-shaped mouth. The true intention of the silver trumpets is distinctly enough indicated in the law before us. They were to be to the children of Israel for a memorial before their God (verse 10); the promise was that when the trumpets were blown, the people should be remembered before the Lord their God, and he would save them from their enemies (verse 9). In other words, the blowing of the silver trumpets was a figure of PRAYER (cf. Acts 10:4). An exceedingly striking and suggestive figure it is.
I. IT PRESENTS CERTAIN ASPECTS OF PRAYER WHICH CAN HARDLY BE TOO MUCH REMEMBERED. For one thing, it admonishes us that prayer ought to be an effectual fervent exercise (James 5:16). A trumpet-tone is the opposite of a timid whisper. There is a clear determinate ring in the call of a silver trumpet. This is not meant to suggest that there ought to be loud and vehement speaking in prayer. But it does mean that we are to throw heart into our prayers and put forth our strength. The spirit of adoption cries, Abba Father (see 2 Chronicles 13:14). When we call on God we ought to stir ourselves up to take hold of him (Isaiah 64:7.) Moreover, the silver trumpet emits a ringing, joyous sound. In almost every instance in which the blowing of these trumpets is mentioned in Scripture, it is suggestive of gladness, hope, exultation. And ought not a note of gladness, hope, exultation to pervade our prayers? When we pray we are to use a certain holy boldness; we are to draw near; we are to speak in full assurance of faith. This, I confess, may be pressed too far. There was nothing of the trumpet-tone in the publican's prayer. There may be acceptable prayer in a sigh, in a cry of anguish, in the groaning of a prisoner. But it is not the will of God that his children's ordinary intercourse with him should be of that sort. They are to call on him with a gladsome confidence that he is able and ready to help them. And many of them do this. There are Christian people whose prayers are always rising into the ringing' tones of the silver trumpet. I have spoken first of the general design or spiritual intention of this ordinance of the silver trumpets. Let us now note THE PARTICULARS: -
1. It belonged to the priest's office (verse 8). It is not to be confounded with the Levitical service of song, instituted long after by David.
2. It served a variety of secular uses. Public assemblies were convened by the sounding of the trumpets, as they are convened among us by the ringing of bells (verses 2, 3, 7). And they were the bugles by which military signals were given (verses 4-6). That it was the priests who blew the trumpets on all such occasions reminds us that Israel was, in a special sense, "an holy nation;" and may also carry forward our minds to the time when "holiness to the Lord" will be written on the life of all Christian nations in all their relations.
3. The blowing of the silver trumpets found place chiefly in the service of the sanctuary. The particulars are noted in verse 10, and are of uncommon interest for the Christian reader.
(1) The trumpets were to be blown over the sacrifices. How this was done appears from the example related in 2 Chronicles 29:26-28. The intention was as much as to say, "O thou that dwellest in the heavens, give ear to us when we cry; remember all our offerings and accept our burnt sacrifice. Grant us the wish of our heart, and fulfill all our counsel."
(2) The sacrifices particularly named as to be thus signalized are the burnt offering and the peace offering. Not the sin offering. The omission can hardly have been accidental. When I have fallen into some notable sin, I am to humble myself before God with shame. The cry of the publican is what befits me, rather than trumpet-toned exultation. The sin offering is most acceptably presented without blowing of trumpets. As for the burnt offering, which denotes dedication; and the peace offering, which speaks of communion with God and of our communion with each other in the Lord; these are most acceptable when they are attended with gladness and thankful exultation in God.
(3) The blowing of the silver trumpets was especially to abound at the great solemnities. That is to say, at the new moons, at the three great festivals, the "solemn days" of the Jewish year, and on all days of special gladness (cf. 2 Chronicles 5:12; 2 Chronicles 7:6; Ezra 3:10; Nehemiah 12:35).
(4) Above all other solemn days, the first day of the seventh month was to be thus distinguished. The seventh month was that in which the Feast of Tabernacles happened - at the full moon, in the end of September or beginning of October, after the Lord had crowned the year with his goodness. The new moon of this month was the Feast of the Blowing of Trumpets (cf. Leviticus 23:24); and fitly ushered in the Feast of Ingathering, the most joyous of all the festivals of the year. - B.
1 Corinthians 15:52). The trumpet is not lost, then; it is in heaven, where the Ark of the Testimony is, where the Shekinah is, where the Tabernacle of God is.
Make thee two trumpets of silver.
I. THE LAW OF THE SILVER TRUMPETS is the law of the nature, uses, and objects of Divine revelation, when it is seen and felt as THE UTTERANCE OF DIVINE LOVE, AND THE AUTHORISED GUIDE and director of our journey to heaven.
1. And here we may remark how appropriate silver is as a correspondence to spiritual wisdom. It is white, brilliant, and precious. So is the spiritual meaning of the Word. Oh, may its sweet and silvery lessons be to us as dearest treasure! To teach us, then, that it is the spiritual sense of Divine revelation which is intended to guide us, guard us, and call us to heaven, the trumpets were made of silver.
2. They were two in number, but formed of one piece. The whole spirit of the Word is expressive of love to the Lord, and charity to man (Matthew 22:37-40). To represent this twofold character of the spirit of the Word, then, there were two silver trumpets, not one only. Yet they were both formed out of one piece. For, indeed, the truth that we should love our neighbour comes out from the grander truth, that we should supremely love the Lord. The Apostle John states this very clearly (1 John 4:21; 2 John 1). Another idea is intimated by this command to make them of one piece; that, namely, of the entire harmony of the spiritual sense of the Word with itself. It is bright and coherent everywhere. It is silver, all of one piece.
II. But let us turn now from the composition of the trumpets TO THEIR USE.
1. They were to be used to call the people to the assemblies (ver. 3).
2. They were to excite to, and direct the journey of the people (vers. 5, 6).
3. They were to be sounded when an enemy appeared in their land to oppress them (ver. 9).
4. They were to be blown on the days of rejoicing (ver. 10). The first use of the trumpets, then, was to call the assemblies to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, there to hear the will and decisions of the Most High. In like manner we are called by the silver trumpets of the Word to assemble together in the name and in the presence of that glorified Divine Man who said (John 10:9). The whole spirit of the Word calls us to worship Him, and to learn of Him (Revelation 19:10). When we have been to the Lord Jesus Christ in worship, and to learn His will, we shall find the second use of the silver trumpets will be unfolded to us. We must march on. Regeneration is a journey in which we advance from state to state, as from stage to stage in outward travel. We begin in Egypt, we must reach Canaan. The silvery music will call us forward. The import of its sound is this, Arise, for this is not your rest, for the whole land is polluted (Isaiah 60:1). Arise, child of heaven, from the selfishness and darkness in which thou hast been enshrouded. Arise from the slavery and pollution of sin to the glorious liberty of the children of light. Move on. Next we are carried forward to the contemplation of the third use of the trumpets; to sound an alarm when the enemies within the land seek to oppress. We begin our regeneration by forsaking the grosser sins to which we have been accustomed, and we think we have left all that is offensive in the sight of heaven. We think we are wholly given up to God and goodness, and so we shall continue. Alas! we have in this but little conception of the wonderful nature with which we are endowed, or of the extent of the ramifications of evil. Each mind is a world in ruins. The soul is organised more astonishingly even than the body, and each organ or principle is more or less perverted. Were we left to ourselves, we might well turn back in despair, and die. But happily, what is impossible to man is possible with God. He can give us a new nature: He can give us the victory again and again: He can and will protect us. When, then, our internal enemies, the plagues of our own hearts, appear to us, and dispositions which we supposed were for ever done with are met again and again, let us not quail nor be dispirited. With Divine help we shall overcome them, and triumph until the last enemy is overthrown. But the Lord saves us by His Word. This is the lesson intended by the use of the silver trumpets which we are now considering. When, then, selfishness rises up in your lands to oppress you, go to the Divine Word, and hear its holy sound. Let its voice of love and mercy be heard in your spirit like the silvery tones of heavenly trumpets, and by its truth and power you will be saved. The last use of the trumpets was, that they should be blown on the days of solemn rejoicing. On our days of gladness we should see that all our feelings are such as are under the influence of the Holy Word. Were it not for sin, all our days, like those of heaven, would be days of gladness. The purification of our joys, then, is one of the great works of our regeneration. Let us blow with the silver trumpets on our days of gladness, and on our solemn days. There are states, which recur from time to time, of peculiar solemnity, when conscience is more than usually earnest with us: states of self-examination, states of solemn thought, states of recollection of mercies and blessings formerly received, states of self-dedication to high and holy objects; these are our solemn days. The period when we resolved to quit a period of evil, and entered upon our passover, or feast of unleavened bread; when we commenced the reception of the bread of heaven, though as yet to us tasteless, like unleavened bread; then comes the period when faith enables us, under its influence, to bring forth the first-fruits of a harvest of virtues and graces to be repeated for ever; and lastly, the feast of spiritual ingathering comes on, that matured state of the soul when charity rules in the heart, and perfect love casteth out fear. Blow with the silver trumpets over the solemn days. There are minor solemnities connected with the varied events of life which induce in thoughtful minds solemn states: the births, the marriages, and the deaths of those we love, the serious circumstances of our families and our country, all these make solemn days; let the spirit which rules over them be the spirit of love to the Lord, and charity to man. Blow the silver trumpets over the solemn days. There is mention made also of the beginning of the months, and as there is a perfect correspondence between outward nature and man's spiritual and interior existence, there is a correspondence in this respect also. The months are the times which depend upon the moon; and the moon is the symbol of faith in the soul. As faith has its variations in the soul, sometimes being bright and luminous, at others dim and obscure, its changes are represented by those of the moon. The beginning of a month is therefore the commencement of a new state of faith in the soul, when, after being in obscurity, we enter into clear and holy light on things Divine. The tree of life is said to bear twelve manner of fruits — one for every month; implying that in every state of mind, and in every change of circumstances in our Christian life, we may receive from the Lord within the power of bringing forth the appropriate works of piety and justice. At the beginning of our mental changes, in the attainment of new views on subjects of faith, we should observe that they are in harmony with the essential principles of the spirit of the Word, of love to the Lord, and charity to man. Blow the silver trumpets in the beginning of the months. And, lastly, over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. Our offerings at this day are all spiritual. Yet are we as truly called upon to make them as were the Jews. Life consists of fixed duties, and free will efforts. Let both be performed in the spirit of devoted self-dedication, under the Divine spirit of the Holy Word. The silver trumpet must sound over our burnt offerings and our sacrifices of peace offerings, that they may be to us a memorial before the Lord our God. In conclusion, let us be grateful for the provision by our adorable Lord of the interior truths of His Word, the silver trumpets of heaven. Let us seek to find them by reading, by thought and meditation, until we have individually realised the promise of our heavenly Father and Saviour, "For iron I will bring silver." When we have acquired the clear perception that all truth hangs upon the two grand laws of love to God and love to man, then let their silvery voice be heard over all the circumstances of our lives. Let them be heard calling us from Sabbath to Sabbath to the public worship of the Lord Jesus Christ — the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Let them be heard directing our attention to Him in our morning and evening devotions. When we have attained light and strength in prayer, they ever call us to march on to progress. Let us go forward with a glowing, firm, and fervent will, and then strengthen and confirm our progress by the light of a full and active intellect.
(J. Bayley, Ph. D.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
(C. H. Mackintosh.)
1. They call the people to God's sanctuary, it is a gospel ordinance that worshippers should throng the holy courts — that public prayer and praise should reverence the glorious name.
2. They give command to march. The Bible warns that earth is not our rest. We live a stranger-life. We occupy a moving tent. We hold a pilgrim-staff.
3. They sound for war. The life of faith is one incessant fight. Beneath the cross a sword is drawn, of which the scabbard is cast far away. Until the victor's crown is won, unflinching combat must go on.
4. In the grand feasts they cheer the worshippers around the bleeding victims. While the altar streams, and happy crowds look on, the heavens resound with these exulting clangs. The precept is obeyed (Psalm 81:1). Believer, thus, too, the gospel teaches you to joy — to joy with heart abounding with melodious praise, when you in faith contemplate, and in worship plead, the meritorious death of Christ.
(Dean Law.)1. The trumpets and their use were commanded by God. He blesses men, saves men by the use of the means which He has appointed.
2. The trumpets were to be blown by the priests. Every Christian is now a priest, but the ministers of the gospel are especially the heralds of the Divine messages.
3. The trumpets were to be blown in accordance with clear and well-understood instructions. When they were to blow one trumpet only, and when they were to blow both; when the short, sharp, broken notes, and when the long and continuous peal — these things were clearly explained and enjoined. There was to be no uncertainty as to the meaning of the signals. The meaning of the sounds of the gospel trumpet should be equally and unmistakably clear (1 Corinthians 14:7, 8.)
4. The trumpets were to be blown at different seasons and for different purposes — for conventions, for journeyings, for battles, for festivals, &c. In this we have an illustration of the relation of the gospel ministry to the seasons and services of the Christian life.We proceed to offer some hints on the analogy. The silver trumpets were used
I. FOR THE CALLING OF ASSEMBLIES. The ministry of the gospel should draw men together, even as the silver trumpets convened the assemblies of Israel.
II. FOR SUMMONING THE PEOPLE TO ADVANCE. The Christian minister is required to summon the people to arise and "go forward" in their upward pilgrimage. He summons them to advance —
1. In personal holiness. He exhorts them to "follow on to know the Lord," to "grow in grace," to "forget those things which are behind," &c. (Philippians 3:13, 14).
2. In personal and collective usefulness. He should incite both individuals and Churches to more diligent and devoted services in the cause of Christ.
III. FOR ENCOURAGING THE PEOPLE IN BATTLE. Like the priests with the silver trumpets the minister of the gospel should —
1. Encourage Christians to battle against evil.
2. By inciting them to trust in God. He gives the victory.
IV. FOR SUITABLY OBSERVING SEASONS OF SPECIAL INTEREST.
1. Seasons of joy. "In the days of your gladness ye shall blow with the trumpets," &c. The gospel aims at the consecration and promotion of human gladness. "That My joy might remain in you, and your joy might be full." "Rejoice in the Lord alway" "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." "Believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." The gospel forbids no pure delight, but hallows and increases it.
2. Seasons of solemnity. "In your solemn days ye shall blow with the trumpets," &c. There are many solemn days in life — days of mental conflict, of spiritual darkness, of social bereavement, &c. In such days the hopeful and helpful sounds of the gospel trumpet are peculiarly precious.
3. Closing and commencing seasons. "And in the beginnings of your months ye shall blow," &c.
I. About THE MAKING OF THEM They must be made of silver; not cast, but of beaten work (as some read it); the matter and shape no doubt very fit for the purpose. He was now ordered to make but two, because there were but two priests to use them; but in Solomon's time we read of an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets (2 Chronicles 5:12). The form of these trumpets is supposed to be much like ours of this day.
II. WHO WERE TO MAKE USE OF THEM. Not any inferior person; but the priests themselves, the sons of Aaron (ver. 8). As great as they were, they must not think it a disparagement to them to be trumpeters in the house of God; the meanest office there was honour. able. This signified that the Lord's ministers should lift up their voice like a trumpet, to show people their sins (Isaiah 58:1), and to call them to Christ (Isaiah 27:13).
III. Upon WHAT OCCASIONS THE TRUMPETS WERE TO BE SOUNDED.
1. For the calling of assemblies (ver. 2). Thus they are bid to blow the trumpet in Zion, for the calling of a solemn assembly together, to sanctify a fast (Joel 2:13). Public notice ought to be given of the time and place of religious assemblies, for the invitation to the benefit of ordinances in general. "Whoever will, let him come." Wisdom cries in the chief places of concourse. But that the trumpet might not; give an uncertain sound, they are directed, if only the princes and elders were to meet, to blow only one of the trumpets; less should serve to call them together who ought to be examples of forwardness in anything that is good. But if the body of the people were to be called together, both the trumpets must be sounded, that they might be the farther heard. In allusion to this, they are said to be blessed that hear the joyful sound (Psalm 89:15), i.e., that are invited and called upon to wait upon God in public ordinances (Psalm 122:1). And the general assembly at the great day will be summoned by the sound of the archangel's trumpet (Matthew 24:34).
2. For the journeying of the camps; to give notice when each squadron must move, for no man's voice could reach to give the word of command. Soldiers with us, that are well disciplined, may be exercised by beat of drum. When the trumpets were blown for this purpose they must sound an alarm (ver. 5), a broken, quavering, interrupted sound, which was proper to excite and encourage the minds of people in the marches against their enemies; whereas a continued equal sound was more proper for the calling of the assembly together (ver. 7). Yet when the people were called together to deprecate God's judgments we find an alarm sounded (Joel 2:3). At the first sounding, Judah's squadron marched; at the second, Reuben's; at the third, Ephraim's; at the fourth, Dan's (vers. 5, 6). And some think this was intended to sanctify their marches; for this was proclaimed by the priests, who were God's mouth to the people, not only the Divine orders given them to move, but the Divine blessing upon them in all their motions. He that hath ears let him hear that God is with them of a truth.
3. For the animating and encouraging of their armies when they went out to battle (ver. 9). "If ye go to war blow with the trumpets"; signifying thereby your appeal to Heaven, for the decision of the controversy, and your prayer to God to give you victory; and God will own this His own institution, and you shall be remembered before the Lord your God. God will take notice of this sound of the trumpet, and be engaged to fight their battles; and let all the people take notice of it, and be encouraged to fight His; as David, when he heard a sound of a going upon the tops of the mulberry-trees. Not that God needed to be awaked by sound of trumpet, no more than Christ needed to be awaked by His disciples in the storm (Matthew 8:25), but where He intends mercy it is His will that we should solicit for it. Ministers must stir up the good soldiers of Jesus Christ to fight manfully against sin, the world, and the devil, by assuring them that Christ is the Captain of their salvation, and will tread Satan under their feet.
4. For the solemnising of their sacred feasts (ver. 10). One of their feasts was called the feast of trumpets (Leviticus 23:23, 24). And it should seem they were thus to grace the solemnity of all their feasts (Psalm 81:3), and their sacrifices (2 Chronicles 29:27), to intimate with what joy and delight they performed their duty to God, and to raise the minds of those that attend the services to a holy triumph in the God they worshipped. And then their performances were for a memorial before God; for then He takes pleasure in our religious exercises when we take pleasure in them. Holy work should be done with holy joy.
( Matthew Henry, D. D..)Isaiah 52:7). For just as the two silver trumpets entered into every part of Israel's life, and their varied notes were always adapted to Israel's wants and position, so it is with the gospel. Its awakening power, its soothing promises, its sanctifying influence, is meant to consecrate every act of our lives, and move every thought of our hearts. Did the sound of the silver trumpets call the slothful or backsliding Israel to the tabernacle of the congregation, either to hear the will of God announced by Moses, or to worship? So does the voice of Jesus in the gospel invite us into the presence of God. It says to the slumbering heart, "Awake, thou that sleepest," &c. It says to the fearful and desponding, "Come boldly unto the throne of grace," &c. It says to the backsliding and to the guilty conscience, "Return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thy iniquity." It says, again, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock," &c. Did the sound of the silver trumpets bid Israel arise and follow the pillar of fire and cloud which went before them? So does the voice of Jesus bid us arise and journey onward. When our hearts are entangled by the secret influences of the world — when we begin to take up our rest in the love of the creature — then there is a still small voice full of warning, "Arise ye, and depart, for this is not your rest; it is polluted." Whensoever we rest contented with low attainments, losing sight of Him to whose image we ought to be conformed, the silver trumpets sound, bidding us press toward the mark for the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus. As, too, Israel of old was called to engage in warfare with their enemies and God's, and one use of the silver trumpets was to summon them to preparation and to the field of battle, so has the Israel of God now a great conflict to engage in — a conflict with enemies seen and unseen, and the unseen more powerful than the seen. Yet, how seldom do we realise as we ought the greatness of the conflict, and the power of our spiritual enemies! and, consequently, we are too often off our guard. Hence it is that the silver trumpets are needed to summon us to the conflict. We require to be summoned to "endure hardness," as good soldiers of Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:3), that we may not, like Israel of old, turn back in the day of battle, but may feel and exclaim with David (Psalm 18:32, 34, 35). And, once more, were the silver trumpets needed to consecrate all Israel's offerings, that they might be a memorial before the Lord? Oh, still more is it the gospel of Christ that does and can consecrate all acts of life and of worship! It is the word, too, of the gospel which explains to us the means of approach to God, and, still more, prepares our hearts for that communion. We should listen to the sound or the silver trumpet in every act of life, in every prayer, and over every offering. With this everything will become a memorial before the Lord.
(Buffalo Christian Advertiser.)
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