Until now, the pieces of God’s plan we’ve been looking at have had a largely personal focus: What can you do about sin? How should you be living your life? How can you overcome?
The next piece of the plan, as pictured by the Feast of Trumpets, is a perspective change. Suddenly, the lens of God’s Word zooms out, and we discover that we’re not on center stage anymore. This isn’t just a story about our sins and our redemption—this is the story of the entire world. It’s the story of thousands who have accepted God’s calling and are seeking to change their lives, and it’s the story of untold billions who have never truly understood God and His Word.
Trumpets represents the day the world changes forever.
The Feast of Trumpets pictures a dark time. The world will be at its absolute lowest. The human race will be experiencing “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). There will be “wars and rumors of wars. … And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” (verses 6-7).
People will be “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:2-5).
The world we’re seeing in these prophecies is a world drenched in sin and self-indulgence, a world coming apart at the seams while its inhabitants celebrate themselves—a world, one might argue, not too far removed from the one we live in today.
But the focus of the Feast of Trumpets isn’t the future state of the world—that’s only the backdrop. The focus of the Feast of Trumpets is on what happens next.
A key fixture of this end-time world will be a powerful leader who seizes control over “every tribe, tongue, and nation” in the world (Revelation 13:7). He will have “opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven” (verse 6), establishing himself as a god to be worshipped and obeyed. And for a while, it will work: “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (verse 8).
Then God steps in.
The prophetic book of Revelation talks about “seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets” (Revelation 8:2). At God’s signal, the seven angels will sound the seven trumpets one by one, with each successive blast raining down judgment from God on a rebellious and sinful world.
The earth will shake. Trees will burn. Ecosystems will collapse. Rivers will be poisoned. Stars will be darkened. Humanity will be nearly decimated—and after six devastating trumpets, nothing will change. “But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21).
That’s how bad things will be. In spite of divine intervention, the human heart will set itself against the very hand of God. Even with the world falling to pieces around them, mankind will continue to do what mankind wants to do.
That is, until the seventh trumpet.
When the seventh angel sounds, voices from heaven will proclaim, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15). At that announcement, Christ will “descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16), and the world will be changed forever.
For thousands of years, humanity has debated the existence of God—and nestled within that discussion is another debate over which religion’s version of God is the right version. Trumpets pictures the day when those debates will come to an end. The heavens will open, “and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire. … He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God” (Revelation 19:11-13).
Jesus Christ will reveal Himself to the human race—and in response, the human race will attempt to attack Him.
Not bow down. Not repent. The world will be so twisted and corrupted by sin that many will attempt to stand and fight the Lord of all creation. They’ll gather together “to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army” (verse 19).
It won’t work, of course. Christ and His heavenly army will make short work of the would-be rebellion, and the Creator of the universe will assume control of a very broken, very misdirected world—a world that insisted on doing things its own way and reaped the consequences.
Christ won’t be alone, though. When the seventh trumpet sounds, another facet of God’s plan will come to fruition:
“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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).
In the very first Journey, we discovered that God is a family, and that we were created with the potential to join that family. In the second Journey, we learned that sin bars us from God’s family—and in this Journey, we’ve seen how Jesus Christ paid the penalty for that sin and how God the Father is now working with a small group of firstfruits who will ultimately become His children.
Christ’s return is the day that happens.
John wrote to the Church, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
When the heavens open and the glorified Christ rides out on a white horse, all of God’s people throughout the ages will become like God—full members of the God family, spiritual beings who know the mind of God and share His power. Those of God’s servants who died in the faith will be restored to life and transformed alongside the living. In a single moment, the family of God will have grown considerably—but not completely.
Even after reaching such a tremendous milestone, the plan of God will be far from complete. The earth will still be in ruins. Billions and billions will have died without knowing God, without having repented and without understanding their potential to join His family. The survivors of the events pictured by the Feast of Trumpets will be completely bewildered and in desperate need of guidance. Worst of all, Satan the devil, the deceiver of the world, will still be on the loose, actively looking for ways to derail God’s plan.
The next step of God’s plan, depicted by the Day of Atonement, shows us how God intends to overcome those hurdles—and He’ll start by dealing with Satan.