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*** PORTIONS ***

Re: Sound of the Trumpet

"And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Mt24:31)

"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (1Co15:51-52)

"And all the people saw the thunders, the lightning flashes, the sound of the shofar, and the smoking mountain; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance." (Ex20:18)

Recently the Torino winter Olympic games were concluded. This Portion is not about the Olympic games; we've talked about such things during prior Olympics in Atlanta, Nagano, etc.

In this country, just like with the Superbowl, when NBC had the Olympic coverage monopoly, there were also special Olympics-related commercials that replayed a number of times. Sometimes it seems like the commercials make for better TV watching than the actual programming..!!

Being of a musical background, there was one commercial that particularly grabbed my attention, sponsoring the "Chevy Moments". In past years there have been a couple like this one (for you Americans who might have seen them): the one where the fellow is in his fishing boat in dense fog and can't find his way back to shore, so he uses his remote key device to turn on the lights and honk the horn of his vehicle sitting up on the bluff. Or that other one where a Chevy Suburban (or Silverado?) was perched atop a lighthouse, lights turned on piercing through the fog, rotating, and honking periodically (like a fog horn).

This year it was the Chevy Tahoe: perched atop various mountain peaks, bluffs, precipices, etc.; spanning mountains, lakes, deserts and particularly, Alps-looking mountains...gorgeously beautiful scenery... HONKING. One honks over here; another responding over there at a different pitch; and another somewhere else. The sound reverberating through the hills... playing the Olympics opening theme music, that is usually played on trumpets. For the commercial, while some of the 'horns' were probably actual "Chevy" horns, I have been suspecting they also blended in the sounds of special kinds of trumpets... the sounds were so rich with overtones, even of a quality not usually heard from regular concert orchestral trumpets. A quality that can send chills up the spine!

[VW: I would really like to find out 'what' those were :VW]

To those who actually 'listen' to things around them, there are many such sounds. An organist has practically an 'infinite' combination of sounds to elicit from those banks of pipes by manipulating the stops. Synthesizers, while having even more infinitely variable possibilities, the sounds are not natural: but "Switched on Bach", "Tomita" and such things are fun to listen to on a good stereo. The oboe, basoon and bass clarinet have their own unique specialized sounds. An accordion is full of rich (out-of-tune) overtones. And it has been joked that the bagpipes were one of Scotland's most effective 'weapons' in their military arsenal.

But I wonder if there is anything quite like trumpets, in combination with the right set of acoustics, to make the hair stand on the back of one's neck. A few years ago I was given a ticket to the Spokane Symphony, and that night the finale had trumpets (I suspect every good trumpet player in the city, not just the orchestra regulars) lined up around the perimeters of the balcony, playing antiphonally with the orchestra, as they brought the house down and raised the roof. When there is an inauguration or coronation, there is typically a whole row, or more, of fanfare trumpets, blasting out the "glory" of the occasion.

In the O.T. there is a repetition of the expression: "sound of the shofar"... beginning with the occasion when God came down to Sinai to speak with Israel to give the Law. (Ex19:16,19,20:18,etc)

As a musician I find God's choice of words quite fascinating. Not only is a "trumpet" sounded, but it is the (specifically) "sound" of the shofar. (Ram's horn Ex19:13, Josh6:5) Yes, accordions, oboes or French horns may have their own unique (and sometimes 'haunting') sounds; but there is nothing quite like the sound of a shofar. It is not something one writes 'words' to define. But when you've heard one, you never forget it.

It is a sound that instills awe, fear, dread, expectation.

This is how God introduces Himself to Israel from Sinai. And the spectacle was so fearfully awesome that the people trembled and said to Moses: "You speak with us, and we will listen; but let not God speak with us, that we not die." (Ex20:19) And even Moses, who tried to encourage the people, himself was fearful, as the writer of Hebrews gives further insight: "And so formidable was the sight that Moses said, I am in terror and trembling." (Heb12:21)

It is this same God who, when He raises the dead and raptures the Church, it is "with a shouted command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God." (1Th4:16) The "voice...like a trumpet" commanding, "Come up here!" (Rev4:1)

And it is with this same kind of "sound of a trumpet" that God collects Israel back to Himself (Mt24:31) after He has "taken [His] great power and reigned" (Rev11:17)

Man fears the -power- of nuclear weapons. During the cold war it was the assured mutual annihilation capabilities of the US and Soviet Union's nuclear arsenals pointed at each other, enough weapons to totally wipe all living creatures off the earth, that was said to "deter" nuclear war. It was hoped that nobody would be foolish enough to 'dare' to push -the- 'button'. From Zech14 we know nuclear weapons will be used again; by somebody. We also know from Scripture that meteorites and asteroids will bombard the earth, and Hollywood has given us visual ideas of what that might look like with movies like Armageddon, Deep Impact and others: the annihilating devastation; of which we have been given real-life hints with recent tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes.

Those final devastations are announced with the trumpets, and angels proclaiming "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!" (Rev8:13) The -sound- of trumpet "blasts".

So, the thing I have thought about when hearing the Chevy horns reverberating through the "Alps" recently...when those "dead in Christ" are raised from the dead, just think of the -sound- of their "alarm clock"! It's not going to be a 'buzz', music, ring...or even the 'squeal' of a fire/smoke alarm. Imagine the body 'waking up' to the glorious sound of such heavenly trumpets...reverberating through Heaven and earth!

And for those "living and believing into [Christ]" who will "never ever die" (Jn11:26) ... what will that moment be like? In this life we are startled into awareness of things with sirens, honking horns, the 'bang' in the distance before the earthquake hits, the rushing of the wind as a storm front barrels though, or the bark of thunder that lightning has flashed. But I suspect none of these things compare to the sound of that trumpet!

Lately, again, there are fresh proclamations of the charlatans and doubters, saying there is no Scriptural basis for this (allegedly) "recent" notion of a "Rapture". I haven't heard this other lately, but a few years ago the scoffers used to also taunt about the "secret" rapture...that True Believers are too "scared" to stick around for the Judgment, so we are hoping to 'slink' away quietly, when nobody is aware.

But it is going to be with much fanfare: the "sound of the trumpet". I realize my meager words here do not do justice to the concept of this "sound"; I've not heard it; but hearing the "Chevy moments", and multiplying that a hundred-fold, is the 'hint' of my pre-imaginations of it. It is the proclamation of Christ's victory over death and the grave: "Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1Co15:54-57)

Thus, knowing that this soon imminent event is so glorious, do we sit around, lazily basking in the feelings of anticipation? or...

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (vs58)