Studies in Revelation
Part 6 - The Voice of a Trumpet
In Part One of this series, we considered Matthew 1:17, and the three sets of 14 generations, which when added together totals 42, the number of months indicated by Revelation 11:2 and 13:5. The spiritual meaning of 14 is “deliverance” or “release,” while three of them represents “a complete witness” of this very thing. We discovered that this signifies the “generation of Jesus Christ,” suggesting a spiritual generation if you will, consisting of the called, chosen, and faithful who make up the body of Christ; past, present, and future.
In Part Two of this series, we considered the spiritual meaning of the number seven, due to the fact that it is quite prominent throughout the entire Bible, especially in Revelation. We discovered that the spiritual meaning of seven is “spiritual completion,” indicating the FULLNESS of that to which it is attached. When you are filling a glass with water, it’s being FULFILLED, but once you reach the top, it has been FULFILLED or FILLED TO THE FULL.
SEVEN is used 88 times in the King James New Testament, 55 of those in the book of the Revelation. Five is the number of “sin” and “grace,” which reflects our “works” or “deeds” since we have five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot. We “work” with our hands and “move forward” with our feet, typifying the “deeds” which proceed from our “walk” or conduct in life. It seems that God has even fashioned our human body to reflect His divine principles in this world of form. See John 8:12, 11:9 and 10, and John 12:35.
In Part Three of our series, we considered the spiritual meaning of three which denotes “a complete witness” and “resurrection,” the core principle of the gospel of Christ. This number is also prominent in Revelation.
Finally, in Part Four and Five of this series, we considered the “seven Spirits of God” of Revelation 1:4, described by Isaiah, Chapter 11, as the sevenfold Spirit of the Lord which embodies His wisdom, understanding, counsel, and might, out of which flows His knowledge, fear, and righteous judgment. These seven Spirits define the “invisible attributes” of God’s “eternal power and divine nature” as stipulated by Romans 1:20.
I believe one of the most important set of passages we could consider in light of the book of the Revelation is found in Matthew 5:17 and 18. Here’s the New American Standard rendering.
Matthew 5:17-18 (NASB95)
17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
If we think carefully about what Jesus said, I believe we discover the central theme of Revelation and all of its visions, which is a disclosure or unfolding of the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets by Jesus Christ as it pertains to His people. We find confirmation in John 4:34 where Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to FINISH,” or fulfill, “His work” (NKJV). Our word “finish” aligns with all of the “sevens” found in Revelation.
What Jesus accomplished almost two thousand years ago in the flesh has been ongoing since that time, for scripture reveals that He became a “life-giving Spirit” and has been seated at the “right hand” of the throne of our Father since His baptism by John the Baptist; see 1st Corinthians 15:45 and Revelation 3:21. So it is that when we arrive at Revelation 1:10, we read the following:
Revelation 1:10-11 (ESV)
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, "Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea."
Here we find that John was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” and heard behind him “a loud voice like a trumpet.” The transliteration of our word “trumpet” is salpinx, which the Strong’s Concordance defines as, “Through the idea of quavering or reverberation; a trumpet.” What’s interesting about this word is that it is only found 11 times in the King James New Testament, six of these in Revelation. It’s translated as “trumpet,” “trump,” and “trumpets” in the King James. Now, let’s go to Revelation, Chapter 4.
Revelation 4:1-2 (ESV)
1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.
Following the prophecies to the seven churches, we arrive at our passages from Revelation Four, where John states, “And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’” Clearly, this refers to Revelation 1:10, where John first heard a “loud voice like a trumpet,” so in Revelation 4, John recognizes this “first voice” which he had heard; same voice, same “trumpet.” Whose voice is it? Undoubtedly, it is the voice of Jesus Christ, the son of God. This being true, we should immediately recognize that the 11 references to the trumpets in the King James New Testament are not literal. Instead, they represent the words of Christ to the church which must be heard “in the Spirit.” For this reason, Jesus ended every prophecy to the seven churches with, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says (trumpet) to the churches.”
So let me emphasize this very important point—the trumpets of the New Testament are “what the Spirit says to the churches.” They are not literal, nor do they “sound” in literal fashion. Rather, the sounding of the trumpets represent the words of Christ unfolding as the Lord has spoken them. As they unfold, it brings the Father’s will to pass until all is accomplished or fulfilled.
I must also mention that though there are seven churches, there is but ONE church as far as the Lord is concerned, made up of the called, chosen, and faithful throughout the world. The same is true of the seven Spirits of God which are summed up as the ONE “Spirit of the Lord” in Isaiah 11:2. This being the case, the seven trumpets could also be seen as but ONE trumpet since all of them proceed from the ONE voice of the Lord. To confirm this perspective, I encourage you to see Exodus, Chapter 19, verses 16 through 20.
Now, note that in Revelation 1:10, John said, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet.” As we see, the voice which John heard was “behind” him. Is this significant? I believe it is. Let’s begin with Acts 2 for understanding.
Acts 2:14-21 (ESV)
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 17 " 'And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'
These passages follow the outpouring of God’s Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Following this, those who were a part of this spiritual phenomenon were heard speaking in various languages “the mighty works of God.” Some mocked these men and accused them of being “filled with new wine.” It is then that Peter stands up with the other apostles and addresses the crowd, quoting from the book of Joel.
Note Peter’s reference in verse 17 to the “last days,” plural. This suggests more than one, does it not? Also note Peter’s reference to “the day of the Lord,” that “great and magnificent day” in verse 20. Would this be one of the “last days” which Peter referred to in verse 17? I believe it would. In fact, I am inclined to believe that, prophetically speaking, there are three “last days” based on the following from the Lord Himself.
Matthew 12:39-40 (NKJV)
39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
No doubt these passages refer to the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection, however, I believe there is more to the “three days and three nights” recorded here. If we think in prophetic terms, the “three days and three nights” not only refer to His death, burial, and resurrection, but also to the “last days” of which Peter spoke. We find validation in the phrase “last day,” singular, in John, Chapter 6, verses 39, 40, 44, and 54.
If I am correct about the last days, then the third and final “day” or “last day” if you will, is what Peter clarified as that “great and magnificent day.” In a sense, each of these three “days” are uniquely a “day of the Lord,” however, the third and final day holds much more import than the first two, due to the fact that it symbolizes the end of the age and the resurrection from the dead. There is another record in the New Testament which aligns with this perspective in John, Chapter Two.
John 2:18-21 (NKJV)
18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?" 19 Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 20 Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
Here we find mention of “three days” and despite the confusion of the Jews, John records that the Lord was “speaking of the temple of His body.” That this again refers to His resurrection is evident, but like our “three days and three nights” in Matthew 12, I believe a spiritual fulfillment through His people is also implied by the Lord’s words and the following from 1st Corinthians 3:16 and 17.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NKJV)
16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
If we back up to verses 10 through 15 in this same chapter, we will find that the “temple” of the “body” of Christ are those who build on the foundation of Jesus Christ which the apostle Paul helped establish in his day almost two thousand years ago. In other words, just as the literal “temple of God” was contained within the Tabernacle of Moses yet stood separate from it, so too the spiritual “temple of God” today are those who minister the Word of God to His “body,” the church. Though all Israel was allowed into the outer court of the Tabernacle, only the “priests” or ministers of God were allowed in the “temple.”
Our word “temple” is used 45 times in the King James which is not without significance. In his book, Biblical Mathematics, Ed Vallowe states that this is the number of “preservation.” See Genesis 18:28 and Joshua 14:10.
Now, earlier, I referred to John 6. Let’s look at a couple of these verses with our idea of “preservation” in mind.
John 6:39-40 (NKJV)
39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
Look closely at what the Lord said. “This is the will of the Father who sent Me.” What is His will? “That of all He has given Me I should lose nothing (which suggests preservation), but should raise it up at the last day.” Who is this “all”? It is “everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him.” Here’s John 6:44.
John 6:44 (NKJV)
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
What did Jesus mean by, “I will raise him up at the last day”? If we stay in keeping with our passages from Acts Two and the prophecy of Joel, it refers to the end of the age, what Peter declared as that “great and magnificent day.” Now, with all of this in mind, let me share an illustration with you.
Like our illustration from previous studies, I’m using the golden lampstand, however, this reflects our three great Feasts of Israel; Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles and shows how they relate to our “last days.” Notice at the bottom where I have marked the central branch of the lampstand as the Day of Pentecost and the last three branches with the three segments of the Feast of Tabernacles, which are the Day of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Day or Feast of Tabernacles proper; see Exodus 23:14 through 17 for clarification.
The flame or “light” on each of the branches typify a “day” of the Lord, confirmed by the fact that God called the light “day” in Genesis 1:5 and Jesus said in John 11:9, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world” (NKJV). The spaces between each branch typify the “night” which follows each day. How many branches? Seven, so how many “days”? Seven, just as in our creation story in Genesis, Chapter 1.
If we start with Pentecost, we have “three days and three nights,” represented by the fourth, fifth, and sixth branches and the spaces which follow. These are followed by the last branch or final segment of Tabernacles, which is the seventh branch and shows that all is fulfilled. Since there is no space after this branch, this defines just half of a twenty-four hour day, so I’ve labeled it “half a time,” and at the top, “three and a half days.” Our reference to “time,” “times,” and “half a time” is taken from Daniel 12:7 and Revelation 12:14.
So let me take a moment to touch on the “time,” “times,” and “half a time.” In Acts 1:7, the Lord told His disciples, “It is not for you to know TIMES or SEASONS which the Father has put in His own authority.” Paul echoes these words in 1st Thessalonians 5:1, stating, “But concerning the TIMES and the SEASONS, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you” (NKJV).
“Time” is comprised of “day” and “night” and their corresponding “hours,” while “seasons” consist of “months” and “years.” However, time is necessary in order to have “seasons,” hence the reason that the Lord and Paul brought them together. That being said, I am reminded of the following passages from Revelation 9.
Revelation 9:13-15 (KJV)
13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
See our phrase “an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year”? We could render it like this.
… an hour, and a day (TIME), and a month, and a year (SEASON)…
Given the fact that “time” is typified by “day” and “night,” then it would be appropriate to say that “time, times, and half a time” refers to a certain number of “days” and “nights,” that is, more than one. This being the case, “time” could be seen as “day” and “night” while “times” as two “days” and “nights” for a total of three “days” and “nights” as typified by our illustration. Finally, we have our “half a time” or “day” only, represented by the seventh and final branch of the lampstand. When viewed this way, and with the idea of our three great feasts in mind, within our “time,” “times,” and “half a time” we have our three “seasons” or “months” which align with our three Feasts of Israel, which are the first, third, and seventh months.
So again, as our illustration shows, the “last days” began with Pentecost, confirmed by what Peter said in Acts 2:17, so when Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” He was speaking of the spiritual fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles. For this reason, our “three days” symbolize the three segments of this particular feast.
As for the destruction of the “temple” in John 2:19? I believe this correlates with the “night” of Pentecost as indicated by the space which follows the branch; see John 9:4. I remind you that when I say “day” and “night,” I am again speaking figuratively and prophetically. With this in mind, consider the following from 1st John, Chapter 2.
1 John 2:18 (ESV)
18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
If we take this passage at face value, it is quite confusing. What did John mean when he said in his day, “It is the last hour” and “therefore we know that it is the last hour”? Let’s bring this to the following illustration for understanding.
Here we see that the “last hour” refers to the final hour of the “day” of Pentecost which leads into the “night” of the same. As shown, the “night” of Pentecost illustrates the destruction of the living temple of God which is explained by 1st Corinthians 3, verses 10 through 23. Again, see John 11:9 in regard to the hours of the day.
So what marked the “last hour” of the “Day” of Pentecost? The entrance of “antichrist,” not an individual, since John said “many,” but rather, the rise of a “spirit of error” among God’s people that began to lead many astray; see 1st John 4:6.
Now, to emphasize our understanding of “day” and “night,” let me share the following from the book of Genesis.
Genesis 1:1-5 (NKJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
On the very first day of creation, God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light,” and, “God called the light day, and the darkness He called night.” Beloved, these are not natural days or nights, for it wasn’t until the fourth day of creation that God created the sun, moon, and stars in order to “divide the day from the night”; see Genesis 1:14. That being said, “day” and “night” typify the manifestation of God’s Word and Wisdom in the earth, that is, the unfolding of God’s purpose by means of His divine and prophetic Word. Psalms 139:12 tells us, “Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to you.” For this reason, the destruction of the “temple” which Jesus spoke of is illustrated by the “night” of Pentecost, representing the resistance of those who persecuted both Jesus and the apostles and the gradual decline of the glory of the New Testament Church following this glorious “day of the Lord.” Even a cursory glance through the New Testament shows that from the very beginning of the New Testament Church, deception began to enter into the body of Christ in the form of false apostles and false Christs as Jesus declared in Matthew 24. I believe this launched the prophetic “falling away” which Paul speaks of in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3. Now, let’s return to Revelation 1:10, for one final point.
Revelation 1:10 (ESV)
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet…
Beloved, why was the “loud voice” behind John? Perhaps the following from Isaiah tells us.
Isaiah 46:9-10 (KJV)
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure…
Folks, when John beheld the Christ in verses 11 through 20, he was seeing Him “on the Lord’s day,” that third and final day illustrated by the Feast of Tabernacles proper. In other words, he was seeing the “end” of the matter first. So it was that John had to turn “to see the voice that spoke” with him, showing that the Lord declared to John “the end from the beginning.” Once John turned “in Spirit,” he received in visions all that led up to this third and final and “great and magnificent day” of the Lord which Peter spoke of in Acts 2:20.