And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Make two silver trumpets for yourself; you shall make them of hammered work; you shall use them for calling the congregation and for directing the movement of the camps. When they blow both of them, all the congregation shall gather before you at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. But if they blow only one, then the leaders, the heads of the divisions of Israel, shall gather to you. When you sound the advance, the camps that lie on the east side shall then begin their journey. When you sound the advance the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall begin their journey; they shall sound the call for them to begin their journeys. And when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but not sound the advance. The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets; and these shall be to you as an ordinance forever throughout your generations. When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be a memorial for you before your God: I am the Lord your God.” (Numbers 10:1-10)
When The Trumpets Blow
The Hebrews that came out of Egypt numbered 603,550 men from twenty years old and above who were able to go to war in Israel. Adding the women, children, and other adults, the Israelites numbered more than a million souls. As they moved from place to place, they separated into twelve tribes, each in order positioned in specific areas around the tabernacle. It would be a daunting task to move a few million people in an orderly fashion from place to place. On the day the tabernacle was raised up, a cloud covered the tabernacle during the day and as a cloud of fire at night. The movement of the people was determined by whether the cloud remained above the tabernacle. At the command of the Lord, they remained encamped, and at the command of the Lord, they journeyed. Everywhere the Hebrews traveled, they did so by the will of the Lord.
When it came time to move the people, God instructed Moses to make two silver trumpets of hammered work. These trumpets would be used for calling the congregation and directing the camps’ movement. When both trumpets were blown, the congregation of Israel gathered at the tabernacle entrance. If one trumpet is used, only the leaders or heads of the tribes will meet with Moses at the tabernacle. There would be a sound that told the congregation to move, and the tribes on the east side of the tabernacle (Judah, Issachar, Zebulun) would move first. At the second signal, the tribes camped in the south (Rueben, Simeon, Gad) would break camp and move. The tribes on the west side of the tabernacle (Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin) would follow, and bringing up the rear would be the tribes on the northern side of the tabernacle (Dan, Asher, Naphtali). The key to all of this movement was the blowing of the trumpets.
There was a distinction made when blowing the trumpets to gather the people and the advancement. Only the sons of Aaron, the priests, were allowed to blow trumpets. When the people went to war, an alarm would be sounded. During the day of the appointed feasts and at the beginning of months, the trumpets were to be used over the burnt offerings and the peace offerings. The two trumpets were used to move the people, call the nation to war, and to show honor to the Lord over the sacrifices. Moses forged the two silver trumpets with hammers according to the word of the Lord and would be used during the forty years of wandering to direct the movements of the whole nation of Israel.
The word of the Lord guided the Hebrews from Egypt to Canaan, and using two silver trumpets, the people rose up or remained in place. Different sounds meant different things, and there was an order to how the people moved from place to place. God understood the challenge of moving the nation as a people walking through the land would take direction and obedience on their part. When it came time to leave Sinai, the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle of the Testimony. The two silver trumpets were blown to sound the advance, and the tribe of Judah led the people out from the Wilderness of Sinai. The other ten tribes followed in accordance with the sound of the trumpets. For the next forty years, whenever the people heard the trumpet, they obeyed.
When it came time to move, the people obeyed the trumpets. It may have been inconvenient and untimely for them, but when the trumpets were blown, they packed their possessions and prepared to move in the orderly fashion required by the word of the Lord. The tribe of Naphtali was always last, and the tribe of Judah was always first. The word of the Lord declared when the nation would move and how they would move. Any deviation from the commands of God was met with a penalty. When the trumpets blew, it was time to act because the trumpets were the sound of the word of God.
There are no silver trumpets today, but the principle remains the same. Jesus came and established His church and ordained spiritual silver trumpets that are in place for a purpose and design. The silver trumpet of baptism is the only way sins are washed away. There are many examples of God’s pattern of the New Testament church like the silver trumpets: assembly of the saints on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Supper, prayer, meditation on the word of God, thanksgiving, benevolence, church discipline, the role of women, elderships, teaching the lost, and a host of sounds that call the people of God to obey the word of the Lord. If a man is not listening to the trumpet of the Lord, he will miss the blessings given by God. Listening to the trumpets demands immediate attention and obedience. When the word of the Lord sounds, the answer is, “Here am I, Lord. What do you desire?” Listen for the trumpets of God. Respond. Obey. One day another trumpet will sound, but then it will be too late. Live each day following the sounds of the trumpet of the Lord so that when He returns and blows the trumpet of God, salvation is given.