The Resurrection at the Sound of the Trumpet of God #1
“When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more…” goes the old hymn. It is a classic song conjuring up images, reinforced by eloquent preachers, of physical graves opening as the great trumpet of God awakens the dead. Unfortunately, the song does not accurately depict the scriptural truth of the resurrection.
This article seeks to examine the doctrine of the resurrection by means of a study of the Great Trumpet of God. It is a fact the resurrection of the dead is inextricably related to the sounding of the trumpet of God; and as we shall see, the Bible is emphatic in placing the sounding of the trumpet in a definite chronological time-frame.
The Old Covenant Prediction of the Resurrection at the Sound of the Trumpet
It seems to have escaped the notice of many Bible students that the Old Covenant contains the background prophecy of the sounding of the trumpet of God. In Isaiah 27:12-13 Jehovah promised: “And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will thresh, from the channel of the River to the Brook of Egypt; and you will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel. So it shall be in that day that the great trumpet will be blown. They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, and they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount of Jerusalem.”
Please note, Isaiah says the trumpet of God would sound and the outcasts of Israel would be gathered. There are some very important facts to be noted here.
First, Isaiah is simply reiterating his earlier promise of the re-gathering of the scattered people of God, i.e., the remnant. This is a very prominent concept of the Messianic predictions.
In Isaiah 11 the priestly prophet spoke of the day when the ensign would be raised, Gentiles would be saved, and “It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people who are left from Assyria, and Egypt, from Pathros…He will set up a banner for the nations and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (v.12). The dispersed would come for “There will be a highway for the remnant of his people who will be left from Assyria, As it was for Israel in the day that he came up from the land of Egypt” (v.16).
Second, it is vital to understand that in the imagery of the prophets, those who were scattered abroad were DEAD; not physically to be sure, but dead because of separation from God’s presence in the Holy Land! Israel’s sin had SEPARATED between her and God (Isaiah 59:1-2). When he drove them into the foreign countries they were dead because “life” for Israel existed only in fellowship with God in their land, city, and temple. DEATH IS SEPARATION!
This is found in a brief study of the wider context of Isaiah 27. In chapter 24 God views creation as destroyed because Israel had “transgressed the laws…, broken the everlasting covenant” (v.8). In spite of the punishment, there is promise of deliverance. A great banquet will be prepared for the faithful and he will destroy the veil of destruction; “he will swallow up death forever, And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people he will take away from all the earth” (25:6-8).
Chapter 26 offered peace to the repentant. It is said His enemies are dead and will not arise, yet of God’s “dead” it is said, “Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust…” (v.19). These “dead” are those taken into captivity by the invaders. This is confirmed in chapter 27:7 when he asks, “Has he struck Israel as he struck those who struck him? Or has he (Israel, DKP) been slain according to the slaughter of those who were slain by him?” Israel, carried into captivity, was seen as dead.
This same motif is depicted in Ezekiel’s famous vision of the valley of dry bones in chapter 37. The vision is set in the context of Israel’s Babylonian captivity. God interprets the vision: “these bones are the whole house of Israel…They indeed say, `Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off.'” But God promised, “Behold, O my people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you to the land of Israel.” Once again Israel’s return from captivity is depicted as the resurrection from the dead because they are being returned to God’s fellowship in His land.
This then is the concept of Isaiah 27:13 – the Great Trumpet of God was to sound and gather God’s elect, in the “grave” of captivity because of the sin of the nation, back to life and fellowship with Jehovah. In the New Testament the sounding of the trumpet of God is also for the raising of the dead from captivity to be gathered to life with God.
When one follows the NT development of the Sounding of the Trumpet, it soon becomes apparent that neither the Trumpet, nor the Resurrection that it would herald, are references to literal, physical realities. Stay tuned as we demonstrate this.
In the meantime, be sure to get a copy of my book, The Resurrection of Daniel 12:2: Fulfilled or Future? This is an incredible and persuasive examination of the doctrine of the resurrection.