“All you inhabitants of the world, you who dwell on the earth, when a signal is raised on the mountains – look! When a trumpet is blown – hear!” Isaiah 18:3.
Right throughout the Bible trumpets are instruments which are frequently mentioned. Obviously trumpets cannot make any sound without the Breath blowing through them and the Greek word translated as both Spirit and wind in the Bible is “Pneuma”: a movement of air (a gentle blast) of the wind, hence the wind itself, or breath of nostrils or mouth. Similarly, the Hebrew word for Spirit is Ruwach and is defined as wind, breath, mind, spirit and this word is again used interchangeably for breath, wind and spirit.
The definition of the Spirit of God as Breath is full of meaning not only when thinking of the Breath/Spirit blowing through us as His trumpets/instruments but also because Breath indicates Life. In New Zealand the Maori (the indigenous people of the country) greet each other with what is called a hongi: two people press noses together and the hongi is usually longer with someone you know well. This greeting is a symbol of trust and unity in acknowledging that we all are from the one breath of life – it is a sharing of breath and life. The Breath of God is what brings Life, from beginning to end! Breathing is a silent, largely unseen process which is absolutely essential to Life and is necessary to all instruments of God. We must first inhale before we can exhale – we must be breathing the Breath of God as our Life before we can be an instrument which He can blow through.
There are two different types of trumpets mentioned in the Old Testament, predominantly the shofar (a ram’s horn) and less frequently, the silver trumpets. God instructed Moses to have two silver trumpets made as part of His instructions regarding the tabernacle (Numbers 10:1-10). The priests, who were the sons of Aaron (whose name means “Light Bringer”), were to use the silver trumpets for calling people together and for alerting them when it was time to break up camp and move on. The trumpets were also to be blown as an alarm of danger and when going to war, and were used in praise and as part of the feasts and ceremonies of the temple.
The shofar was a common every day instrument and was used not only by the priests, but by any man, from shepherds through to watchmen. The shofar was made from a ram’s horn – a beast of the earth. The silver trumpets, on the other hand, had to be specially made according to the specific design and instructions from God – from one piece of beaten, hammered silver. They were to be used only on specific occasions and only by the priests, under the control and instruction of the Breath. There were two of them made from the same material, indicating their corporate unity, harmony and koinonia (joint participation and partnership). The two silver trumpets are always translated as plural right through the Old Testament with the exception of only one verse, Hosea 5:8. They were made to work together and sound the same.
Made of Pure Silver
Silver, gold and precious jewels are often used in the Bible to symbolize aspects of God and His nature in His people – so what are the properties of silver? It is light sensitive which is why it is used in photography, and it is the best reflector known to man which is why it is used in mirrors. Pure silver is malleable and ductile and is the best conductor of heat and electricity out of all other metals and it does not corrode. Like gold, it is rare (only five parts in a million) and expensive and must be refined and purified by fire in order to get rid of all impurities before it can be used and formed into an instrument. Silver can endure extreme temperature ranges. Silver ore is first crushed and ground then goes through processes of having water, lime and acid added before getting to the refining fire. In the case of the silver trumpets, they were made from one piece of silver, so they had gone through this difficult process of refining and formation together.
Silver must be kept clean and polished so as not to get tarnished. We can get tarnished, like silver, by the pollution of this world’s atmosphere around us – tarnishing is a fact of living in this world. Like trumpets, we also must be kept free of blockages, which may be things about ourselves which hinder or stop God’s Spirit in and through us. As we yield to the work of the Spirit of God in our lives, He clears, cleanses and polishes us; restoring and keeping us in optimal condition ready for Him to blow through. The trumpets were merely a means or an instrument for conveying the sound caused by the Breath. The instruments, while necessary, are NOTHING without the Trumpeter! Without the Breath/Spirit, trumpets are silent and can make no noise…
These silver trumpets were not used all that often. To many that might appear to be a waste to have such expensive instruments and yet use them only occasionally. But God is more interested in quality than quantity and in what we are made of (our character) than what we do.
“In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some unto honour and some unto dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour. 2 Timothy 2:20. What distinguishes between these vessels? We note at once that only their materials are specified, not their function. Clearly, in keeping with the greatness of the house, it is not relative usefulness but quality of materials that counts. Gold and silver vessels are less practically useful than wooden furniture or earthenware pots, but God is not discussing with us what they will be used for; He is judging their value to Himself. In a day of declension God looks beyond mere usefulness to intrinsic worth, and a few ounces of gold may equal in value a whole hall full of wooden benches! In spiritual terms, two different men may utter almost identical words, but the power lies not merely in what they say but in who they are. Balaam and Isaiah both spoke of the Kingdom of Christ…” (from “A Table in the Wilderness” by Watchman Nee).
Silver represents righteous and true words in the Bible: “The tongues of those who are upright and in right standing with God are as choice silver” (Proverbs 10:20a), “A word fitly spoken and in due season is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). The standard currency of the day was shekels of silver which were used for trade. In the same way, words are also traded; they are given and received (often with the expectation of something in return), and some words have more value and worth than others – based upon their weight and clarity. God’s voice is likened to a trumpet in the Bible (Ex. 19:19; Rev. 1:10; 4:1) and the words spoken from God’s mouth are like pure silver: “The words and promises of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times over.” (Psalm 12:6). It seems clear that the silver trumpets are symbolic of God’s Word and Message going forth in clarity and purity.
When playing a trumpet the sound is made through three things: the breath, the tongue and the lips – ALL of which are also necessary for speaking! God is still using silver trumpets today through whom He blows His Breath/Spirit. Yet the sound which comes forth must be distinct and clear – if the trumpets give an indistinct sound, who will prepare themselves? (1 Cor. 14:8). And if someone tries to trumpet forth a message without having been first made into an instrument which has been refined, hammered, prepared and created by God, they will be like wind that just blows away: “the prophets will become wind, and the word is not IN them” (Jer. 5:13). We need to be first formed into His instruments through the refining and purifying of the fire of God (Mal 3:1-3) and this is something which changes our constitution and who we are forever.
The Sound of the Trumpets
Trumpets have a very clear and pure sound which seems somehow to be clearer and louder than any other musical instrument. However, not everybody likes trumpets because they can offend; they are usually quite a loud and even frightening instrument. The silver trumpets were used to alert the people to danger and battles. They were also sounded to let the Israelites know when it was time to journey on and follow the cloud, and sometimes that occurred during the night so they would have been woken up by the sound of the silver trumpets (Num 9:21). But being woken up by trumpets can be a bit of a shock! Yet how necessary it is for us today to hear and know God’s voice as a trumpet blast which wakes us from our spiritual apathy, sleep and even death…
A loud trumpet blast is needed to break through our spiritual death/sleep/lifelessness and raise us to Life in Christ! “Take notice! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable MUST put on the imperishable (Christ) and this mortal MUST put on immortality (Life!)” (1 Cor 15:51-53). Resurrection isn’t just a thing we receive in the future but is a Person we can know now; Jesus said “I AM the Resurrection and the Life; whoever believes and trusts in Me, though he is dead yet shall he live. I came that they may have and enjoy Life and have it in abundance, to the full, till it overflows” (John 11:25; 10:25b). Most of us know that truth and agree in our head that Jesus is Resurrection and Life, but the question is: do I know Him as MY Life? Have I experienced Him as Resurrection? We need to know and see the truth and reality of Christ as Resurrection and Life in our own personal experience. This Resurrection Life is not just something that may take place in the future but is Someone which we need to be seeing and knowing now, “that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed in spirit into His likeness even to His death, in the hope that if possible I may attain to the spiritual and moral resurrection that lifts me out from among the dead even while in the body.” (Phil. 3:10b-11).
One message which God is sounding through His instruments is found in Revelation 4:1,2: “…I looked and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice which I had heard addressing me like a trumpet said, Come up here, and I will show you what must take place in the future” and the result of individuals who truly hear His trumpet call is: “at once I came under the Spirit’s power and BEHOLD, a throne stood in heaven, with One seated on the throne!” – the effect of hearing the Voice of the Breath of God is that people come under the Spirit’s power and have the revelation of seeing the One seated on the throne! “Come up here, and I will show you…” but not everybody wants to be woken up let alone get up and go up…
“Come up here…” but going up can seem like hard work and is impossible if we rely on ourselves and our own strength, abilities, righteousness and life; it can only happen as the Wind blows away what is dead and gives us His new Life, Breath, Strength and Vision: “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, (I STOP!) and watch to see what He will say to me, (I LOOK!) and what I will answer when I am corrected. Then the Lord answered me and said: (I LISTEN!) Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run (get hot!) who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will SPEAK, and it will not lie (or deceive). Though it tarries, wait for it; (stop, look and listen!) because it will surely come, it will not tarry (be delayed or deferred).” (Habakkuk 2:1-3 NKJV). The word ‘SPEAK’ in that verse is the Hebrew word “puwach” which is similar to ruwach and means: to cause to breathe out, blow, puff, exhale, utter.
The sons of the Light Bringer today are being used to trumpet: “AWAKE, O sleeper and arise from the dead and Christ shall shine and make day dawn upon you and give you light.” (Eph 5:14). To those who are of this world, physical bodily resurrection is a really big thing; we think it is a great sign and wonder if someone comes back to life! But how much more of a miracle is spiritual resurrection from spiritual death! Those who are born from above are desiring, praying and looking for the UNSEEN and eternal coming to Life – looking for the unseen resurrection of Christ’s Life in people who were dead even while they lived… This miracle of His Resurrection Life in us is truly a great sign and a wonder but one which may be unseen and unrecognised and unheralded by most people. May He give us eyes to truly see the reality of His Life and to see and know Him as Victory and Resurrection in our own experience: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? But THANKS be to God Who gives us the Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Since we consider and look NOT to the things that are seen but to the things that are UNseen; for the things that are visible are temporal, brief and fleeting, but the things that are invisible are DEATHLESS and everlasting”! (1 Cor 15:55,57; 2 Cor 4:18).
Resurrection Life is the ultimate in freedom! Death is the greatest enemy to life so to be freed from death and instead to know and experience Life and be raised with Christ to be seated with Him in the heavenlies is Life and Triumph and Victory indeed! Nothing can get in the way of Resurrection Life; Christ has done it all and IS All. Ezekiel was told to prophesy to the valley of dry bones: “…Behold I will cause breath and spirit to enter you, and you shall live… and I will put breath and spirit in you, and you shall live; and you shall know, understand and realize that I Am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:5,6). How we need this resurrection Life every day! We may look alive and yet still not have the Breath or Spirit of God as our Life – we may still be dry bones.
Being brought from a state of death to Life is something which only Christ and the power of His Life can do; death is final and means there is no hope naturally. I used to think I was an alive Christian and full of the Spirit of God and I did all the things that “good Christians” are supposed to do, but it wasn’t until the Holy Spirit blew upon me and raised me to Life in Him that I came to really know through experience what real Life is and there is no comparison between religion and Life; they are as different as night and day! I used to appreciate and read the Bible, but compared to Christ the Living Word reading it with me and being in me, my previous reading of it was dead. I realized I had been like the bodies Ezekiel saw; looking like I was alive, but desperately needing the Breath of God to breathe on me (Ezek. 37:8-10).
When you are asleep or dead, you do not know your need! You have no idea that you are essentially blind, deaf and dumb. It is only when you are awake and alive that you can at last really see, hear, feel, touch and speak because you have Life.
What is vital and eternal is the unseen spiritual life rather than anything visible and external. “Woe to him who says to the wooden image, Awake! and to the dumb stone, Arise, teach! Yet it cannot for behold, it is laid over with gold and silver and there is no breath at all inside it!” (Hab. 2:19). We are simply dumb stones and dry bones until and unless the Breath of God blows and awakens us, breathing His Life into us and transforming us into His living stones. What we may appear to be on the outside is unimportant and can be deceptive; we may look as though we are covered in the gold and silver of God’s nature and words, but what matters is the internal, unseen heart of who we truly are before God – are we simply gold and silver plated or are we genuine, true and solid to the core? Our Father is looking for only one thing: His Son and His Truth – His Life in us and through us.
May we be those who know Christ as our Life and allow Him to refine, purify, and form us into silver trumpets which reflect His glory and Light and through whom He can blow and sound His message of Life with clarity and purity, waking many and raising them from death to abundant Life in Him!
“The Spirit and the Bride (the Breath and the Trumpets) say, COME! And let him who is listening say, COME! And let everyone who is thirsty, (who is painfully conscious of his need of being refreshed, supported and strengthened); and whoever desires to do it, let him COME, take, appropriate and drink the Water of LIFE without cost!” Revelation 22:17