THE TRUMPET AND THE GIVING OF THE ORACLES OF GOD
And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) (Hebrews 12:19-21)
When Moses having been charged by Jehovah God to come down from the mount to warn and ensure that the children of Israel do not breakthrough the mount to gaze and be consumed by the Lord (Exodus 19:21-25), the Ten Commandments were spoken to them from heaven in Exodus chapter 20. This is the first time in history that God came down from heaven and spoke to fallen men as a nation of people with an audible voice to reveal to them His commandments for them to keep. This is no movie of “Encounter Of The Third Kind” type of meeting where communications between men and aliens are in coded language of sound. Here is the clear and concise communication between God and men clearly understood by the children of Israel. This is the decree of the Law orally given from heaven, which is the first in the history of mankind. This announcement of the Ten Commandments is not spoken with the still small voice Elijah heard when being spoken to on an individual basis though convulsion of nature did take place at the mount at the presence of the Lord. The giving of these commandments to the children of Israel was so terrific and spectacular that the children of Israel could not stand to hear the words of God from heaven and suggested that Moses be their representative to receive the words of God for them instead. Self-preservation is the hallmark of fallen men because they have no eternal life and of course they fear to die!
And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. (Exodus 20:18&19)
Their fear and apprehension are understandable for who can stand before the living God and not be afraid when even nature itself is not exempted from the fear of the Lord: The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled. (Psalm 77:16) As such, could fallen men with feet of clay not be troubled at the presence of the Lord! Who would not fear to die under such tremendous expression of the holiness of God: Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:16) So the thunderings and lightnings resume when God speaks and the noise of the trumpet is heard in connection with the giving of the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel. The previous chapter speaks of the voice of the trumpet where the people heard and understood and here it is mentioned of the noise of the trumpet in the audible announcement of the Ten Commandments. This is indeed an extraordinary way of speaking and this is the first time the commandments are given to the children of Israel though these commandments have not yet been cast in stones. It is interesting to note that the trumpet from heaven is connected with this decree from above that the children of Israel should keep the commandments of Jehovah God. Hence, the trumpets are commonly employed by the nation of Israel in the keeping of the festivities, sounding of alarms, initiating marches and celebrations and so on as well as being used in the worship of Jehovah God.
The trumping of the trumpet this time is not concerning the arrival of Jehovah God nor the call for ascension to the mount for Moses or for the children of Israel to meet Jehovah God for they all have been called to attention by the previous sounding of the trumpet. Moreover, Jehovah God is already present on Mount Sinai engaging the children of Israel in this historical divine meeting between God and men. The trumpet is now employed to make an announcement instead and this is no ordinary announcement but the giving of the commandments from the Most High summarized in ten points. Perhaps, the first trump in this case begins with the decree of the first commandment and the last trump concludes the last of these Ten Commandments. Whenever the trumpet sounds, there will be a first trump and then finally the last trump when the sounding is complete. There will be no misfire of the trumpet when trumpeted from heaven with divine precision. Hence, God speaks to men from heaven and the trumpet here is the means to accompany the words of the Lord issued to the children of Israel. The plea by the children of Israel not to have God personally speaking to them is not without merit. Notwithstanding the fear experienced by the children of Israel during this confrontation with God which is supposed to be an amicable meeting, for why should Almighty God display the fullness of His splendour and majesty each time just to speak to unworthy creatures dead in trespasses and sins! This also points to a very important theological article of faith that a daysman desired by Job (Job 9:33) or a mediator between God and men is required. Since Moses has been close to Jehovah God, it is better for him to speak to God to receive His words and then transmit these words from the mouth of the Lord to them. As such, Moses is the stand between and a prelude pointing to a future mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus: For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Timothy 2:5&6) In this way, the children of Israel no longer have to endure the full power of the words of the living God coming through this trumpet from above which they could not bear to hear in their sinful condition.
And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. (Exodus 20:20&21)
So the words of comfort coming from Moses no doubt offer the children of Israel some consolation and assurance as well as to confirm their acceptance by the God of heaven who chose them to be His people, as a kingdom of priests and an holy nation unto God (Exodus 19:6). Notwithstanding, the awesome manifestation of the power of God in the presence of His people serves to prove them and to cause them to fear this thrice Holy God at one time only known to them by His power wrought through His prophet Moses but now having personally tasted of God’s majestic presence and power, the fear of the Lord should be with them forever. Now Moses draws near to God in the thick darkness whose glory of God the children of Israel could not stand to behold and by now the trumpet sounding has stopped.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. (Exodus 20:22)
This is not a theatre with scripts prewritten to hoodwink the children of Israel to believe in Moses. The entire operation is to demonstrate to the children of Israel that Jehovah God indeed talks to them from heaven and that they must observe the commandments that God has given them. The trumpet here accompanies the decreeing of these Ten Commandments and as such, it serves to announce the decree from heaven whereby fallen men are to be diligent to observe and keep these commandments for their own good! Once again, the author of Hebrews summarized well this entire episode where the children of Israel got to meet Jehovah God having been delivered from Egypt. It is unfortunate that what they had looked forward to was not something they had expected and they could not endure the divine presence of this thrice Holy God and the sound of the trumpet is among the physical manifestations that struck fear in them. Sadly, as we read the Scriptures, we find this fear of the Lord by the children of Israel did not last very long. For the nation of Israel is characterized by rebellion and unbelief of the prophets Jehovah God sent to guide them in the ways of the Lord.
For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) (Hebrews 12:18-21)
So the voice of words concerning the Ten Commandments that they heard accompanied by the sound of the trumpet delivered to them in this incredibly awesome fashion, the children of Israel could not endure to directly receive the words of the living God. A man is needed to approach this Almighty God to receive these words and pass on these words to them whether orally or in written form so that they might be able to endure what God has commanded them. It is so much safer for fallen men to receive the commandments of the Lord cast in stones that are inanimate in nature than to hear the words that proceed from the mouth of the Lord accompany by the trump of the trumpet from heaven. Let not the trumpet from heaven sound for who can indeed not fear and tremble with the royal and majestic arrival of the God of heaven! Such divine visitation proves to be too much for fallen men to bear! For the Scriptures said: God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. (Psalm 47:5) So who would not fear when they hear the sound of a trumpet from heaven? Indeed, who can stand when God shouts? The power of the sound of this trumpet cannot be underestimated! No wonder the psalmist said: If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. (Psalms 130:3&4) But for a child of God having been washed in the blood of the Lamb, there is a sounding of a trumpet in the future that will usher him into the presence of the Lord with eternal bliss. Let us have our ears tuned and look forward to that blessed day of the Lord!
This article is taken from a chapter in the book “When The Trumpet Sounds” which may be downloaded via:
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.