|Lesson 28 - Feast Of Trumpets - Why World Won't End in Cosmocide
The Feast of Trumpets pictures the singularly most important event in world history—the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!
WHY are the churches of this world confused over the most important knowledge available to this generation?
Your Bible reveals in graphic detail the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in supreme power to set up the Kingdom of God on earth. Yet the world seems to understand almost nothing about this prophetic event and the annual festival that pictures it!
Think of it! God, in a very few years, will send the living Jesus Christ again—this time to save mankind from nuclear mass destruction, to end human misery and suffering, and to usher in peace, happiness and joy for all mankind. He will come to rule over and judge all nations and usher in the happy, peaceful world tomorrow.
What a far cry this is from the doctrine that "heaven is the reward of the saved."
Christ to Establish a New Civilization For nearly 6,000 years, ever since the sin of Adam, God has allowed us humans to reap the consequences of going our own ways. Man now stands poised to destroy all life on this planet. And unless Jesus Christ returns to earth to restore the government of God and put an end to warfare, not a single human being would be left alive!
In God's 7,000-year Master Plan of salvation, the first 6,000 years have been allotted to man to do as he wills. During these 6,000 years, civilizations have developed based on the way of Satan, who sits on the throne of the earth.
Christ, at His return, will end Satan's rule, and begin 1,000 years of God's rule, the rule of the Kingdom of God on earth. A new civilization based on God's law will grip the earth. Peace, happiness and prosperity will soon be everywhere!
Firstfruits Harvested at Christ's Return God uses the spring and autumn agricultural harvests of Palestine as symbolic types of His spiritual harvests of humankind.
The spring festivals picture those God has been calling to become His Spirit-begotten children as the "firstfruits" (Jas. 1:18), the relatively small beginning of His spiritual harvest of all humankind into His divine Family.
Then in the early autumn, the festivals of the later harvest season picture God calling the rest of humanity to salvation after Christ's return.
God begins His annual festivals with the Passover, which reminds us that the Messiah's—Christ's—sacrifice (I Cor. 5:7) makes it possible for the firstfruits to be forgiven their sins.
Next comes the Feast of Unleavened Bread, picturing the continual need for God's people—the firstfruits—to put out the "leaven" of sin (I Cor. 5:8) from their lives and to obey God.
Then the day of Pentecost, the final spring festival, is observed as a memorial of God's sending forth, first, His law at Sinai and, later, His Holy Spirit at Jerusalem (Acts 2) to spiritually beget and to strengthen the firstfruits of His salvation.
But the firstfruits will not be reaped into God's Family until they are "born again" (John 3:3-8)—resurrected and changed into spirit. That will not occur until Christ comes again—and that brings us to the next festival, the Feast of Trumpets!
The Feast of Trumpets is, in a sense, the focal point, the central, pivotal Holy Day in God's plan. It not only pictures the terrible time of misery and war to befall this generation, but also the intervention of Christ to save the living from annihilation and to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. It also pictures the coming of Christ to resurrect the firstfruits from the dead.
Beginning of Great Fall Harvest Christ's return, announced by the last trumpet, will usher in the Millennium—the 1,000-year period when He and the resurrected saints—the firstfruits—will rule on earth. Then will begin the great spiritual harvest into God's Family.
During the Millennium all mankind will learn God's truth, and be offered, freely, salvation and sonship in God's Family. Most will choose to obey God and will be born into the Family of God.
And we, the firstfruits, reaped into God's Family at Christ's return, will assist Christ in reaping that great spiritual harvest of human beings into the divine Family of God.
Now let's begin our study on the Feast of Trumpets. Understand exactly how this festival fits into God's great Master Plan.
Christ to Intervene in World Affairs As the disciples saw Christ ascend to heaven in A.D. 31, two angels told them that He would come again (Acts 1:11). "I will come again," Jesus had told His disciples earlier (John 14:3).
Christ came more than 1,950 years ago as a humble messenger to announce the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. But this time, when He returns, He will come in all the power and supernatural glory of God's Kingdom!
Instead of submitting to death as the sacrificial Lamb of God for our sins, Jesus Christ will return to earth to put an end to sin, forcibly!
1. Will Christ return to earth for the purpose of setting up the Kingdom of God and judging the nations? Rev. 11:15-18. Will He come meekly, or with God's wrath against a rebellious mankind? Verse 18. Will the nations of this world surrender peacefully to the government of God? Same verse.
COMMENT: The nations' political rulers will be furious when they realize that Christ has come to abolish the governments of this world and to establish the Kingdom of God, which will rule over all the earth from headquarters in Jerusalem.
Note also that all English translations of the first part of verse 18 speak of "the time of the dead, that they should be judged...." This is an error and is disproved by Revelation 20:5, which shows that the time of the dead to be judged is after the 1,000 years are over. The later Greek manuscripts do have the expression "the dead" in Revelation 11:18, but early manuscripts and the official printed Greek text of the Greek Orthodox Church have "the time of the nations that they should be judged...."
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus revealed to His disciples the outline of events that would lead up to His Second Coming. Let's notice what He reveals concerning the Feast of Trumpets and the coming time of world war.
2. What is the sign that will announce the return of Christ—is it the loud sound of a trumpet? Matt. 24:30-31.
COMMENT: If you do not already have a copy of our free booklet titled The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last, be sure to send for it immediately. It describes in detail the time sequence of events from now until the end of man's rule and the return of Jesus Christ.
3. Did Jesus say that the coming Kingdom of God would be established on earth during a time of world war? Matt. 24:3, 6-8, 21. Also see Luke 21:31. Will this time of world war be the time when man finally has the power to wipe out all life from the face of the earth? Matt. 24:21-22.
4. Did Jesus promise to cut short this time of great tribulation for the sake of a small group of people called the "elect"? Verse 22. When will this happen? Verses 33-34.
COMMENT: The world today is an armed camp, bristling with awesome weapons that could extinguish human civilization from the face of this planet! Jesus said of this day, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." We are now living in the very days Jesus Christ spoke about—and unless these days are shortened, no flesh would be saved alive!
It is our generation—the world of today—that will witness the destructiveness of nuclear warfare. But our present generation will also witness the last-minute intervention by Jesus Christ to save humanity from cosmocide. Our generation will witness the return of Jesus Christ in great power and glory to set up the Kingdom of God.
The trumpet of war will sound, and the seventh trumpet, announcing the victory of the King of kings, will be blown before this generation passes away!
The Meaning of Trumpets Turn in your Bible to Leviticus 23, the main chapter that outlines all of God's Holy Days. Let's learn what it and other passages in the Old Testament reveal about the Feast of Trumpets.
1. When is the Feast of Trumpets to be held each year? Lev. 23:23-25.
COMMENT: Seven is God's special number signifying completion and perfection. The seventh month of God's sacred calendar contains the final festivals outlining God's Master Plan of salvation. The first day of the seventh month marks the beginning of the final phases of God's plan.
2. Is the Feast of Trumpets one of God's annual Sabbath days? Verse 24. Are God's people permitted to do their secular work on this annual Sabbath? Verse 25.
3. Are God's people commanded to come together before God in a holy convocation on this Holy Day? Num. 29:1.
4. What unique activity was commanded for this fourth Holy Day? Lev. 23:24. Was this day to be "a memorial of blowing of trumpets"? Same verse.
COMMENT: It is from this ceremony that the Feast of Trumpets gets its name. The Hebrew statement, "a memorial of blowing of trumpets" signifies "a memorial of triumph, or shouting for joy [with trumpets]" (The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, Fleming H. Revell Company, New Jersey; originally published by Bagster and Sons, Ltd., London).
5. Did ancient King David understand that the Feast of Trumpets was to be a day of singing and shouting for joy? Ps. 81:1-4.
6. How were the trumpets to be blown on the Feast of Trumpets? Read and summarize Numbers 10:1-10, especially noting verse 10. Were silver trumpets to be used to announce the feasts and to call God's people to assemble? Verses 2, 10.
COMMENT: In addition to the silver trumpets that were blown on the Feast of Trumpets, something else was blown. Jewish tradition preserves the record that in addition to the silver trumpets (chatsotserah in Hebrew), a ram's horn (shophar in Hebrew) is also blown annually on the first day of the seventh month—the Feast of Trumpets (Talmud, "Rosh Hashana," Mishnah 26b).
The silver trumpets could produce a variety of musical notes, but the ram's horn produced only a piercing blast. This piercing blast is often referred to in the Bible as a shout, or noise—it did not have a musical connotation but signified a warning.
7. Is the tremendous sound of the voice of God compared to the sound of a great trumpet, or the blast of a ram's horn? Ex. 19:16-19; 20:18; Rev. 1:10.
8. Were trumpets blown specifically on days of gladness, solemn days and at the beginning of months—including the seventh month? Num. 10:10.
COMMENT: The Feast of Trumpets is a day of gladness and great rejoicing, but it also has a contrasting note of solemnity to it. That is because of the earthshaking events that will occur just before Christ's return. It was the blast of the ram's horn that gave great solemnity to the Feast of Trumpets.
Trumpets an Alarm of War Since the use of the shophar or ram's horn on the Feast of Trumpets makes that feast day unique, what did the sound of the ram's horn mean to Old Testament Israel? Let's understand how the ram's horn was used, and what its piercing sound signified to those who heard it.
1. What was Jeremiah's reaction when he heard the sound of the ram's horn? Jer. 4:19-21.
COMMENT: The trumpet, or ram's horn, was used as an alarm of war. Its sound filled those who heard it with fear because they knew it signified that the horror of war was imminent! It is this warning of an imminent crisis that sets apart the Feast of Trumpets from God's other Holy Days. It is this warning of war that gives the joyous Feast of Trumpets its contrasting note of solemnity.
2. Was a ram's horn sounded when an approaching enemy was seen by a watchman of the Israelites? Ezek. 33:2-6.
3. Whom has God set as "watchmen" over His people? Verses 7-9. Are God's faithful servants through all ages responsible for warning the world of impending war? Amos 3:6-7. Also see Isaiah 58:1.
COMMENT: In ancient Israel, trumpets were also blown as a prelude to important messages. The Old Testament prophets, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, symbolically used their voices like trumpets to blare warnings to God's people. And God's servants today are doing the same thing.
4. Has God revealed to His true servants what is going to happen before Christ's return to earth? Read and summarize Matthew 24:1-14. What is the message God's faithful servants are bringing to all nations? Verse 14.
COMMENT: God's true Church in this end-time generation is preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the nations of this world by means of television, radio and the printed page. People in all walks of life are being warned that before the restoration of God's government to this earth, there will come, first, great errors in religious teaching, then wars and rumors of wars, then religious persecution, ending in the most terrifying world war this world has ever experienced!
We are—at this time—in the recess between rounds two and three of these world wars. World War III is coming, and only those who are accounted worthy in God's Church will fly into a wilderness where God will protect them.
5. For what reason does God bring war on a nation? Compare Isaiah 58:1 with Jeremiah 4:22 and Hosea 4:6; 8:1-4.
Christ Pleads With the Nations Now turn to the book of Revelation, in which is found the prophecy of the seven trumpets, symbolic of the terrifying, cataclysmic world events to occur just before Christ's return.
1. What is the time-setting of the seven trumpets—is it a time of God's wrath against rebellious mankind? Rev. 6:16-17.
COMMENT: The symbolic trumpets portray the day of the Lord—the day of God's wrath, the time when God intervenes in world affairs to punish the world for its evil! It is the time God pleads with all flesh in the physical language humans will understand!
2. Is the time of Christ's supernatural intervention in world affairs announced by awesome supernatural signs in the heavens? Verses 12-16. Will men who have been leading lives of sin be terrified with fear and want to hide from God when they realize He is supernaturally intervening in world affairs? Verses 15-16.
3. What is the very next thing to happen after the signs of Christ's coming appear? Rev. 7:1.
COMMENT: These four winds are the winds that blow the first four of the seven trumpets. The trumpets announce God's direct intervention in world affairs to spare mankind from the destruction of all flesh—human and animal life.
4. Will God protect His faithful servants—including those who turn to Him during this, yet future, time of world turmoil? Rev. 7:2-3. Where did these servants of God come from? Read and summarize Verses 4-14, especially noting verse 14.
5. Did these people repent of their sins sometime during or at the end of the Great Tribulation? Verse 14.
COMMENT: The 144,000, as well as the great innumerable multitude from all nations referred to in verse 9, repent of their old sinful ways and turn to Almighty God in personal surrender. God then put their sins under the blood of Jesus Christ—the Passover Lamb (verse 14). "These are they," states one of the elders at God's throne, "which came out of great tribulation." These multitudes will receive eternal life, and serve God day and night in His Temple (verse 15).
6. What will happen after God's faithful servants are sealed by His Spirit, which gives them protection from the plagues announced by the trumpets that will sound during the day of the Lord? Rev. 8:1-6.
7. What will occur on earth when the first angel blows his trumpet? Verse 7.
COMMENT: A gigantic firestorm will burn all green grass and one third of the trees. Burned vegetation will be the first punishment for continued refusal to submit to the government of God and refusing to obey His commandments.
8. What does the blast of the second angel's trumpet announce? Verses 8-9.
COMMENT: The seas will be gravely affected by this plague. One third of the seas will turn to blood, one third of life in the seas will be destroyed, and one third of the ships, mainly used for trade and warfare, will be destroyed!
As each plague from God falls on the wicked and disobedient, those who surrender to God, who begin to obey Him and forsake the ways of this evil society, will be protected from the horrible punishments yet to come.
9. Next, what happens to part of the earth's supplies of drinking water when the trumpet of the third angel is sounded? Verses 10-11. Will many die from drinking this poisoned water? Verse 11.
COMMENT: God will next punish unrepentant sinners by making one third of the waters of the earth unfit for human consumption. The waters will become bitter, causing many to die.
10. What terrifying plague is announced by the fourth trumpet? Verse 12.
COMMENT: Irregularities in the sun and moon brought men in ancient times to the realization that God Almighty was intervening in human affairs! Although terrified because of the heavenly signs, most people will still continue in sin, despite God's repeated warnings to repent!
Catastrophic World War 1. Will there be further cataclysmic events that will jolt humanity? Rev. 8:13. Are these three woes the same as the final three trumpets? Same verse.
COMMENT: Three is God's special number signifying finality. These three woes involve three final major battles, each so horrifying that it is called a "woe" by Almighty God. Each battle is so destructive that only God will be able to repair the damage man's armies will do to the surface of the earth.
At the third battle—the third woe and last trumpet—all mankind will be saved from extinction only by a miracle from God. If God did not personally intervene in this climactic war, men would destroy the last vestige of human life from the face of the earth!
These terrifying events make the Feast of Trumpets a solemn day. But to those who have begun to obey the government of God now, it is a time of rejoicing. Today's lawless societies will be abolished, and the Kingdom of God will be established on earth by Jesus Christ!
2. What is revealed about the first woe? Read and summarize Revelation 9:1-12. Is the first woe the same as the fifth trumpet? Verses 1, 12.
3. Does the Apostle John describe terrifying "locusts"—grasshoppers— that will be used to inflict pain on men? Verses 3-10.
COMMENT: John used the symbolic term locusts to describe the terrifying war machines that would be invented by scientists and used by the military in this final world conflict! Notice that these symbolic locusts or grasshoppers are driven by men and are able to fly (verses 7, 9). They will make a tremendous noise and are protected by armor plating.
These superweapons of destruction and world conquest were completely unfamiliar to the Apostle John. He could only describe them in the language of his day. These terrifying weapons of war probably now exist in simple design in our modern military arsenals. At the time of the fifth trumpet and the first woe, it will be plainly evident just what these weapons are and how they will be used.
4. Who is the real leader of this army that is equipped with these awesome weapons of mass destruction? Verse 11.
COMMENT: The Hebrew word abaddon, and the Greek word apollyon both mean "destroyer"! The sinister power that will guide this army is Satan the devil!
5. Where does this army, with its diabolical leadership, come from? Verses 2-3. Is this symbolic "bottomless pit" referred to elsewhere so we can identify the army that proceeds from it? Rev. 17:8. Is this superarmy of the beast power—that is, the final restoration of the Roman Empire in Europe—backed by a great false religion? Verses 7-13.
COMMENT: For a detailed explanation of the beast power and the false religion that will dominate it, request our free booklet Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?
6. Who will be spared from the attack of the beast power? Rev. 9:4.
COMMENT: When the whirlwind attack of the armies of the beast thunders against their enemies to the east, those who have the seal of God in their foreheads will be protected!
But millions of modern-day descendants of the ancient 10 tribes of the House of Israel—including the United States, Great Britain and other nations in northwestern Europe—will have been conquered by a surprise attack only a very few years before, and will be in physical and spiritual slavery! These people, who are now being warned by God's servants of the coming captivity, will be unprotected from the rampant violence of the final world war—unless they repent of their sins and receive the seal of God's Holy Spirit.
Meanwhile, hordes from the east will be preparing to attack the beast power. But rather than let them obtain the advantage by striking the first blow, the beast will have turned to attack them in the full fury of his military might!
This attack—using an the terrifying destructive power the beast can devise—will be the first woe. It will be the beginning of the all-out struggle for complete world domination between two Eurasian rivals for world rule.
Now the stage is set for the second all-out battle for human domination of the world. The second woe is ready to begin—the sixth trumpet is ready to sound!
The Second Woe 1. Are the sixth angel's trumpet plague and the second woe clearly the same? Rev. 9:12-13. What will happen when the sixth trumpet is blown—who will even dare to threaten and make war on the beast power? Verses 14-16. And how are their weapons described? Verses 17-19.
2. How many people will suffer the torment, torture and death inflicted by the armies of the east as they counterattack against the armies and cities of the beast power? Verses 15, 18.
COMMENT: It is this mass destruction of human life that Jesus Christ's personal intervention will halt! If such battles were permitted to continue, all human life would be destroyed (Matt. 24:22).
3. How are the armed forces of the east described? Rev. 9:16-19.
COMMENT: Again, the Apostle John could describe these end-time, terrifying weapons only by comparing them with things familiar to him! As man's technical knowledge mushrooms, man will use the weapons described here.
4. What else can we know about the superarmy as it attacks the armies of the beast power? With millions being slain by nuclear war, how will a man's life be valued? Isa. 13:12-16. Will this destruction be wrought by the descendants of the Medes and their allies, who are living to the northeast and east of modern Babylon? Verses 17-18.
COMMENT: The Medes and Persians under King Cyrus captured Babylon in 539 B.C. The descendants of the Persians are in Iran and the Medes in the Ukraine today.
5. Is Babylon (God's name for the political and religious system that has sprung from the ancient city of Babylon and has been perpetuated by Satan in the Roman Empire and its restorations) prophesied to fall a second time? Rev. 18:2; Isa. 21:9.
COMMENT: The counterattack by the modern-day Soviet-led descendants of the Medes and their allies will contribute in a major way to the fall of the beast, spoken of here as "Babylon."
For a better understanding of the calamities that will befall the last revival of the Roman Empire, read Jeremiah 50:9-16, 40-42 and 51:7-11.
The fall of ancient Babylon was only the smaller historic fulfillment of the much greater future end-time destruction that will befall the modern "daughter" of that ancient city.
6. After the devastating counterattack on modern Babylon by the armies of the east, will men yield to God's government? Rev. 9:20-21.
7. Will God continue to send His faithful messengers throughout this period to plead with mankind to repent? Rev. 11:3-6. But will men turn to God after hearing these two witnesses? Or, in a fit of frenzy and rage, will the beast cause them to be put to death? Verse 7. Where will these two witnesses be killed? Verse 8.
COMMENT: Christ was crucified in Jerusalem, which had become as evil as Sodom and Gomorrah, as sinful as Egypt, in God's sight (Jer. 23:14). The two witnesses will lie dead in the streets of Jerusalem for everyone to see.
8. When the beast has murdered God's two witnesses, what will his subjects do? Rev. 11:9-10. Will God, who has the power of life and death, resurrect His two witnesses in the sight of their murderers, further proving that He had sent them to prophesy? Verses 11-12.
9. Will a great earthquake then destroy a 10th part of the city? Verse 13. Will these events occur during the second woe, the sixth trumpet? Verse 14.
Seventh Trumpet Announces Christ's Return 1. What will happen when the seventh trumpet sounds and the third woe begins? Rev. 11:14-15. Who will then be given the kingdoms or governments of this world? Verse 15. Will this be a time of real rejoicing for the servants of God, including the angels in heaven? Verses 16-17.
2. But what will be the reaction of the nations of this world? Verse 18.
COMMENT: Jesus Christ, the new world Ruler, will not be automatically accepted by the warring nations as the King of the earth. The world organized in the United Nations—the "all nations" of Bible prophecies— will, in joint effort with the beast and the Soviet East, gather their armies in the Holy Land to challenge Christ. They will consider Him to be their common enemy, and will be angry at Him for coming to take control of all earthly governments. They know that with Jesus Christ ruling the earth, their human schemes can never be completed.
It is this climactic battle—the Battle of the Great Day of God Almighty—that will determine the outcome of World War III, and who will rule the earth!
3. Is this time of God's intervention the time of His righteous wrath on rebellious mankind? Rev. 11:18. What more is revealed about this time of God's wrath? Rev. 15:1.
COMMENT: Just as the seventh seal is divided into the seven last trumpets, so the seventh trumpet is divided into the seven last plagues. These plagues will finally crush all rebellion and bring mankind to its knees in a repentant attitude.
4. Are God's angels who will pour out the seven last plagues on the earth clothed in white linen, a symbol of righteous judgment? Verse 6.
COMMENT: God, who is very merciful, will not wait any longer for men to repent of their evil deeds. Power-mad politicians at the helm of human governments will have already destroyed much of the earth, and unless God intervenes with force to stop warfare, no human would be left alive!
5. How are the seven last plagues described? Read and summarize Revelation 16:1-4, 8-21. Because men refuse to repent, will God continue to send each plague in sequence? Verses 9, 11.
6. Will God prepare the way for the kings of the east and their armies to cross the Euphrates into the Holy Land? Verse 12. Is this part of God's plan to gather the armies of all nations that remain rebellious to His government into one place for the final battle of World War III? Verses 13-14. See also Zephaniah 3:8 and Joel 3:9-14.
7. Where will God battle with the wicked forces of man's government? Joel 3:12, 16. Will this last battle for earthly control be in the valley of decision? Verse 14. Is it also called the Valley of Jehoshaphat? Verses 2, 12.
COMMENT: Armageddon is the English word for the Greek name for the Mount of Megiddo. Megiddo is a small town about 55 miles north of Jerusalem, situated in the large bowl-shaped Valley of Jezreel, also called the Plain of Esdraelon. It is here that the armies of rebellious mankind will gather to challenge Jesus Christ in battle near Jerusalem to determine who will rule the earth.
8. Will Christ make war in righteousness against those nations that fight Him and His armies? Rev. 19:11; Isa. 11:4-5. Is Christ going to smite the nations with His sharp sword, symbolic of His divine power, and rule them with a rod of iron? Rev. 19:15.
9. Will Christ tread the "winepress" of God's wrath at this time? Verse 15. Is the winepress of God's wrath symbolic of the great battle Christ will fight against unrepentant, disobedient and rebellious mankind in order to save humanity from extinction? Rev. 14:19-20; 19:17-21; Isa. 63:1-6.
10. Even though Christ will destroy the armies at His coming, will He still have to plead with men to repent of their wicked ways? Jer. 25:30-33, especially verse 31.
11. Who will be defeated in this climactic battle of World War III? Rev. 19:18-20.
12. After all organized military resistance to the Kingdom of God has been crushed, will Christ then punish the leaders of this world's political and religious system that fought Him? Verse 20.
COMMENT: God's Feast of Trumpets pictures this time of climactic world war and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. When God intervenes, and He will in this generation, His faithful servants will rejoice at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. They will understand what is happening in world affairs because they have been keeping the Feast of Trumpets—the Holy Day in God's Master Plan of salvation that pictures the return of Jesus Christ to earth to rule all nations from Jerusalem.
Firstfruits Harvested at Last Trumpet 1. Why will God's elect rejoice at the sound of the final trumpet, when all nations on earth will be mourning? Matt. 24:30-31.
COMMENT: In the final battle of World War III—at the seventh trumpet and third woe—Almighty God will supernaturally intervene to spare the human race from total destruction—for the sake of His elect (verse 22).
2. When Christ returns to earth with the shout of an archangel and the trumpet of God, what will happen to those who have faithfully obeyed God's government? I Cor. 15:52; I Thess. 4:16-17. When will this change to immortality occur—will it be at the sound of the last trumpet? I Cor. 15:52.
3. What is this change that will take place? Verses 53-54. Who will experience this change from physical human flesh to immortal spirit life? Verse 52.
COMMENT: When the Apostle Paul uses the term "we," he is speaking of true Christians who have yielded their lives to God in obedience to His law and who have receded His Holy Spirit. These are the "elect" who will be raised from the dead to be given immortal life in the first resurrection, as well as those "elect" who are still alive at Christ's Second Coming.
It is this small group of saints who will be the "firstfruits" harvest of God's Master Plan of salvation. It is they who will "marry" Christ, as discussed in detail in Lesson 17.
4. What is said of those who will be in the first resurrection? Rev. 20:6. See also Revelation 3:21.
COMMENT: The resurrection of the elect will occur at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, when He returns to rule over all nations as the King of kings and Lord of lords. Then those who have received God's Holy Spirit during their mortal lifetime, will be resurrected to immortality and will inherit Christ's world-ruling Kingdom.
5. Will Christ reward the saints—give them crowns and offices of rulership—at His coming? Rev. 11:18; Isa. 40:10; 62:11; II Tim. 4:8; I Pet. 5:4.
COMMENT: The firstfruits of salvation will have the great honor of being Christ's assistants in the wonderful work of building a new civilization in the world tomorrow. They will rule with Christ, helping to reap the greater spiritual harvest during and after the Millennium.
Last Trumpet Announces Second Exodus 1. As soon as God has harvested the firstfruits of His Master Plan of salvation at the first resurrection, what will He do? Isa. 27:12-13.
2. Will this regathering of the modern-day descendants of the ancient 12 tribes of Israel begin to take place at the last trump? Verse 13. Will these people have been oppressed by the nations into which they were taken captive? Same verse; Isa. 10:20-22.
3. Will God have permitted His people—the descendants of ancient Israel—to be scattered among all nations? Isa. 11:11-12. Will God have to deliver them a second time from slavery in Gentile nations? Verses 11, 16. Will this be similar to the exodus of ancient Israel from Egypt? Verse 16.
COMMENT: Modern-day descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel—including, but not limited to, the United States, the British Commonwealth and the democracies of northwestern Europe—will go into captivity before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. They will be downtrodden, starving, afflicted and hated by all nations. But God will deliver them out of their national captivity.
4. Will this future exodus from around the world be much greater than the exodus from Egypt in the days of Moses? Jer. 16:14-15; 23:3-8.
COMMENT: These people will not be changed to immortality when Christ returns—but, instead, will be taken to the Promised Land as physical human beings. They undoubtedly will have heard the warning message of God's end-time Church proclaiming the terrible war and captivity soon to come upon the earth, but they did not heed (Hos. 5:8-9). Consequently, they went into captivity.
5. Will the descendants of ancient Israel loathe themselves for the evils they committed? Ezek. 20:42-43. Will God give them a repentant attitude for the first time? Same verses.
COMMENT: The vast majority of the modern-day Israelites, who descend from the so-called "Lost Ten Tribes," are not even aware of their identity. Nor do they obey God's commandments. For this reason, they will go into national captivity. But the God of their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will once again deliver them from captivity, and bring them back to the Holy Land.
End-time Warning Almighty God holds His faithful ministers responsible for warning the modern descendants of ancient Israel of His imminent punishment for their grievous sins (Ezek. 33:1-16).
1. What will happen if God's watchmen don't warn of impending national disaster? Ezek. 33:6.
COMMENT: Today, God is warning the end-time generation through His own called and chosen ministers whom He has commissioned to shout the warning— to blow the trumpet of impending world war.
It is the warning of God's watchmen that millions are hearing over the World Tomorrow program. It is the message of God's Master Plan of salvation that millions are reading about in the Plain Truth and Good News magazines, the booklets, and this Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course now in your hands. There is no other organization doing God's work of proclaiming the Gospel to the world in this end time!
The vast majority of those who hear and read God's warning message are not preparing for the time of world turmoil and devastating war that is coming. A few, however, are acting on the knowledge God has revealed through His chosen servants. A few hear and fear to disobey the Word of God. Only these few will be given protection from the terrors to come.
This protection is available to those who are willing to forsake the broad, easy path this evil world is taking toward destruction. Those who are willing to yield themselves to the authority of Jesus Christ, and do what He says—submitting themselves to His divine direction—can participate now in God's plan.
2. In the days of Ezra, did the congregation of Israel—the Old Testament Church—keep the Feast of Trumpets? Neh. 8:1-2. Did Ezra read the law to the people on the Feast of Trumpets? Verses 3-8. Did the ministers of God in the Old Testament read and explain so the people could understand, just as God's ministers do today? Verse 8.
3. What did Nehemiah teach the people concerning the Feast of Trumpets? Verses 9-12. Although the people had been weeping in repentance for not knowing God's law, and for not keeping the Feast of Trumpets, when Nehemiah explained that this day was a day of great rejoicing, what did they do? Verse 12.
COMMENT: Members of God's Church today also rejoice on the Feast of Trumpets because they look forward to the return of Jesus Christ when they will be made immortal, and will rule and reign with Him on the earth. Then, there will come peace, happiness and joy—WORLDWIDE!
But this utopian world tomorrow will not happen immediately. Satan must be put away, restrained from influencing humanity. Only then can the world have peace. This event is pictured by the Day of Atonement. The next lesson tells us all about this festival and what it pictures in God's Master Plan of salvation.