Two of them refer to the two types of trumpets used in Israel.
SHOFAR (shophar, sopar) is the most common word for trumpet. (It is translated “trumpet” 68 times and “cornet” in 1 Ch. 15:28; 2 Ch. 15:14; Ps. 98:6; Hos. 5:8). The shofar was a curved instrument made of rams’ horns and perhaps of the horns of other animals. It was used on joyful occasions, for calling assemblies, and for making war (Ex. 19:16; Le. 25:9; Nu. 10:4; Jos. 6:5; Ju. 3:27; 6:34; 7:16; 1 Sa. 13:3; 2 Sa. 2:28; 6:15; 15:10; 18:16; 20:1). The Hebrew word for “horn” is qeren or keren in Hebrew (Ge. 27:13; Jos. 6:5; 1 Sa. 16:13).
The CHATSOTSERAH is the straight silver trumpet of Numbers 10:1-10. It is also used in Nu. 29:1; 31:6; 2 Ki. 11:14; 12:13; 1 Ch. 13:8; 15:24; 2 Ch. 5:13; Ezr. 3:10; Ne. 12:35; Ps. 98:6; Ho. 5:8. Beginning in the days of David, there were many more trumpets (1 Ch. 15:24; 16:6). At the dedication of the first temple, there were 120 chatsotserah (2 Ch. 5:12).
Two other words translated “trumpet” describe the sound of the shofar or chatsotserah rather than another type of instrument. Yobel, translated “trumpet” only in Ex. 19:13, is derived from “the blast of a horn (from its continuous sound).” Teruah (terooaw), translated “blowing of trumpets” in Le. 23:24, describes the trumpet’s attention-grabbing, quavering sound.
The Use of Trumpets in the Bible
(1) Israel was guided by silver trumpets (chatsotserah) (Nu. 10:1-10). The priests used these trumpets to call the assembly and to sound the alarm for war. The silver trumpets symbolize the guidance of God in the churches. The two trumpets depict the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, which always agree in one. The fact that the trumpets were silver reminds us that God’s guidance is predicated upon His redemption. He guides us because He has redeemed us. Silver spoke of the price of redemption (Ex. 30:11-16). As the priests determined God’s mind and communicated it to the camp, the churches are guided by God-called pastors who sound out the mind of God to the assembly (2 Ti. 4:2). The church, in turn, is to respond immediately.
(2) Trumpets (shofar) were sounded at the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19:16, 19; 20:18; He. 12:19).
(3) The trumpet (shofar) sounded throughout the land on the Day of Atonement (Le. 25:9). This points to Christ’s great atoning sacrifice on Calvary.
(4) Trumpets (shofar) were sounded at the feast of trumpets (chatsotserah in Nu. 10:10 and shofar in Ps. 47:5). This points to the coming of Christ to redeem Israel (“God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet,” Ps. 47:5; "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet,” Mt. 24:31).
(5) The trumpet (shofar) was sounded at the beginning of Jubilee (Le. 25:9; chatsotserah in Nu. 10:10).
(6) The trumpet was sounded for war (shofar at Jericho - Jos. 6:4-20; Gideon - 7:16-18, 20; Saul - 1 Sa. 13:3; chatsotserah in Nu. 10:9).
(7) The trumpet (shofar) was sounded when the king was coronated (1 Ki. 1:39, 41; 2 Ki. 11:14).
(8) The trumpet (shofar) was sounded when David brought the ark to Jerusalem (2 Sa. 6:15; 1 Ch. 15:28).
(9) Trumpets (chatsotserah) were sounded at the dedication of the first temple (“a hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets,” 2 Ch. 5:12) and the second temple (Ezr. 3:10).
(10) The trumpet (shofar) was used by Israel in praise of God (2 Ki. 11:14; 1 Ch. 13:8; 15:24, 28; 16:6, 42; Ezr. 3:10; Ne. 12:35, 41; Ps. 98:6; 150:8).
(11) Trumpets (chatsotserah) were sounded at the bringing of the ark to Jerusalem (1 Ch. 15:24).
(12) Trumpets (chatsotserah) were sounded at revivals during the reigns of Asa (2 Ch. 15:14), Jehoshaphat (2 Ch. 20:28), and Hezekiah (2 Ch. 29:27-28).
(13) Trumpets (chatsotserah) were sounded at the dedication of the rebuilt walls of Jerusalem (Ne. 12:35, 41).
(14) The trumpet will sound at Christ’s coming for the Church at the Rapture (1 Co. 15:52; 1 Th. 4:16).
(15) Trumpets will announce the day of the Lord and the last judgments on the world (Re. 8:2 - 9:14). This is shofar in Joel 2:2
- “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is night at hand.”
(16) The trumpet (shofar) will announce the repentance and conversion and deliverance of Israel (Joe. 2:15-21).
The silver trumpets symbolize the operation of God in the churches.
- The trumpets signify redemption. The fact that the trumpets were silver reminds us that God’s guidance is predicated upon His redemption. He guides us because He has redeemed us. Silver spoke of the price of redemption (Ex. 30:11-16).
- The trumpets signify the call of God. Only the priests were to blow the trumpets (Nu. 10:8), signifying the necessity of the call and gifting of God. Compare Ac. 20:28; Ro. 12:6-8; 1 Th. 5:12-13; Heb. 13:7, 17.
- The trumpets signify God’s guidance. As the priests determined God’s mind and communicated it to the camp, the churches are guided by God-called pastors and teachers who sound out the mind of God to the assembly (2 Ti. 4:2; 1 Pe. 4:11). The church, in turn, is to respond with alacrity.
- The trumpets signify God’s call to assembly (Heb. 10:25) for worship, education, training, discipline, and service. Everything was done in good order (Nu. 10:5-6). Compare 1 Co. 11:2; 14:33, 40.
- The trumpets signify God’s call to warfare and the engagement of God’s people in warfare. Compare 2 Co. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:10-19; 1 Ti. 6:12; 2 Ti. 2:3-4; 4:7; 1 Pe. 5:8.
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