Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Observance of the Feast of Trumpets is commanded by God and kept by members of the Church of God today. It is commanded in the Old Testament (Leviticus 23:23-25), but much of its meaning is explained in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 15:51-56, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Revelation 8:1-6, Revelation 11:15-19).

We know that it represents the return of Jesus Christ to rule the earth (Revelation 11:15-19). It also represents the first resurrection, the resurrection of the saints to become full sons of God, which happens at the same time as the return of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:51-56, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Matthew 24:29-31).

It also represents the entire Day of the Lord, which starts with the first of seven trumpets, the seventh signaling the return of Christ (Revelation 6:12, 8:1-6, Joel 2:1, 31, Zephaniah 1:14-16).

The sound of a trumpet, or the sound of a shout, can in general represent a signal of a major event or series of events (Exodus 20:1-18, Leviticus 25:8-9, 2 Samuel 6:15, Isaiah 27:13). A trumpet can signal war (Joshua 6:1-5, Judges 6:33-34, 2 Chronicles 13:12, Nehemiah 4:15-20, Jeremiah 4:19, Ezekiel 33:1-6, 1 Corinthians 14:8).

Why We Understand the Meaning of the Holy Days

We understand the meaning of the Feast of Trumpets and all of God's annual holy days and festivals because we obey God's command to keep them. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments" (Psalm 111:10). Some in the churches of this world recognize that the holy days represent things, and they think they can study the holy days in the Bible and understand their meaning, but without actually observing them. They are wrong. They may understand some of the meaning (generally, traditional churches understand that Passover represents the sacrifice of Christ, for example), but they seldom if ever understand fully. God intended the holy days to be observed as a teaching tool, to help us understand and to keep us in remembrance of His truth. He never intended that people who refuse to obey Him can learn the meaning of the holy days and God's plan by studying these days in the Bible, but not keeping them.

When we keep the Day of Trumpets in obedience to God's word, the Bible, we are expressing faith and trust in God, and God in turn opens our minds to understand His truth and the meaning of the Day of Trumpets.

This understanding does not come all at once.

Mr. Armstrong, when he was new in the Church of God, learned from the Bible (not from man) that we should keep the holy days today. He obeyed God and observed Trumpets and the other festivals, with his family alone, because the Church of God Seventh Day that he attended did not keep them. He kept them for several years without understanding their meaning or why God wants us to keep them, setting an example and showing God that he was willing to do what God says even when he does not understand the reason. God then opened his mind to understand from the Bible what these days represent, and in so doing revealed His plan for man's salvation to Mr. Armstrong. Mr. Armstrong then taught these things to the Church of God, proving them from the Bible, and members were able to see for themselves where and how the Bible explains these truths.

That is why we observe the Day of Trumpets today.

In a general sense, the Day of Trumpets reminds us of end time events leading to the close of this age and the beginning of the millennium.

End Time Events Are Being Prepared

The stage is being set in the world for the fulfillment of prophecies concerning the period just before the return of Christ. We can see the moral decline of the world and especially the United States and other western nations (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13, Matthew 24:12-13). We can see how Israelite nations such as the United States are being weakened by excessive debt. We can see Europe coming together, sometimes two steps forward and one step back, but moving towards unity nevertheless. Germany is prospering and increasing in political power.

Vladimir Putin seems to be trying to "take back" the Ukraine, which was formerly part of the Soviet Union led by Russia, but has become independent of Russia when the Soviet Union ended. He is taking advantage of the weakness of will of the United States and other western nations. This is a very significant event. As the breakup of the Soviet Union and the collapse of communism enabled a number of eastern European nations to break free of Russia's rule and communism (Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, etc.), as well as allow east and west Germany to reunite, so the aggressiveness of Russia now can serve as a prod to motivate Europe to build their military and to further unite.

Putin's strategy reminds many of Hitler's strategy. When Hitler began to take over small states, he used as the excuse that he was only trying to reunite the German people, since there were German communities in those states. He did this with Czechoslovakia and he did that with Poland. Likewise, Putin has taken over Crimea, part of the Ukraine, on the pretext that it should belong to Russia because of Russian people living in the Crimea, and he is supporting Russian separatists living in the rest of the Ukraine who want to be part of Russia.

It may be that Putin has a timetable and wants to use force and intimidation to unite with Russia or bring under the direct control of Russia most or all of the states within the former Soviet Union. The Ukraine may be only the beginning. He may desire to accomplish this in the last two years of President Obama's term of office if he thinks Obama is too weak willed to try to stop him.

Europe has a problem in that they are dependent on Russia for their natural gas to heat their homes, offices, and factories in the winter.

But Putin's actions are helping to prepare for the fulfillment of prophecy. For what he is doing, both by showing aggressiveness and by demonstrating America's weakness, is scaring Europe, and Europe is likely to react by increasing its military and its pace of unification.

Not only Europe, but some Asian countries are looking to increase their military in the face of possible aggressiveness of Russia or of Russia's ally, China (and North Korea). Japan has recently indicated they plan to build up their military more than before.

I would not be surprised if some or all of these nations develop nuclear weapons at some point: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Germany.

Russia and China have an alliance, and that alliance is likely to become stronger, especially as Europe becomes stronger. Bible prophecy speaks of an army of 200 million men (Revelation 9:13-16). That is a huge number, but if you combine the populations, industrial might, economies, and military power of Russia, China, India, and Japan, as well as other Asian nations, it becomes apparent how such a huge army is possible.

God can use this power to punish the nations of Europe as He will first use Europe to punish the nations of Israel. The Asian superpower that Putin is helping to build may, in a sense, "avenge" the Church and Israel against the beast power.

Hitler came into power in Germany partly because of the crisis of the worldwide depression of 1929 and the early 1930s. It make take a crisis or combination of crises to finally provoke Europe into completely uniting under the leadership of a strongman. People tend to look to strong leaders, even radical leaders, when they are afraid and in trouble.

Perhaps it will take a combination of a conquering and threatening Russia with a worldwide economic collapse triggered by the American debt crisis to cause Europe to really unite and make the sacrifices necessary to build a strong military. This would prepare them for war against the nations of Israel.

How Not to Be Deceived

In speaking about end-time events, Christ warned His followers about future deception (Matthew 24:4). There are many Bible indications that there will be a great religious deception at the end of this age.

How can we make sure we are not deceived?

I would suggest four things we can do that can help protect us from deception.

The first thing is to read or study the Bible and believe God. Not everything God says in the Bible is something we would believe if just some man said it. We all have our opinions. If we read the whole Bible, we are bound to find things in God's word we would not necessarily agree with if just a man said it. But the Bible is God speaking. When we find something God says that we did not believe before, we should believe God. We should trust that He knows more than we do and He will not lie to us. We should let the Bible correct us in our beliefs, and we should learn to agree with God. We should make up our minds to believe God more than our own opinions, more than the ministry and the leadership in the Churches of God, more than anyone's traditions.

And we should study the whole Bible to live by every word of God.

Second, we must make sure that we do not lie to other people and try to deceive them, about anything. Why is that important to not being deceived ourselves? Satan deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9). It is only by God's supernatural intervention in our minds by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can escape or be protected from Satan's deceptions. Knowledge of the truth is a gift from God.

However, God has put a law in motion, what we sow, that we reap. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7). God is a God of mercy, but also a God of justice. And He teaches us lessons, sometimes in a painful way. If we sow deception (by lying to parents, spouses, children, co-workers, neighbors, etc., about anything, not just religion), God may bring on us the fruits of our ways, to teach us the consequences of lying. God may do that by allowing other people to deceive us, and God may cause us to reap painful consequences of that deception. God in effect can say to us, "You think it is ok to lie and deceive others? Ok, I will let them lie to you and deceive you. See how you like being lied to, when you suffer because of the lies you have believed." God can allow us to be deceived by false prophets, then let us wake up when it is too late to escape certain painful consequences, when some damage has been done.

Study the life of Jacob. He lied to his father, and God later allowed him to be deceived, and he suffered because of it. Jacob must have learned a painful lesson about lying. He was lied to about his promised wife, being given Leah instead of Rachel, and he was lied to by his sons about Joseph, causing Jacob years of unnecessary mourning over Joseph, thinking Joseph was dead when he was really alive.

Third, avoid Satan's false prophets, as God commands (Deuteronomy 18:10-14). Avoid the occult. Pay no attention to and do not read the prophecies of false religion. Study the Bible for prophecy, and study history and current events to know what is happening, but do not study or expose yourself to astrology, soothsaying, divination, and the teaching and statements of prophets who are members of churches we know are false, except to the degree you may have to refute them when explaining some point of God's truth to someone else. But don't look to these prophets, thinking they may know some details of future events (because they are inspired by Satan and his demons), to learn more about future events than God tells us in the Bible.

A false prophet, inspired by Satan, may indeed know some points of truth about the future, revealed from the spirit world. But Satan and the demons he leads are enemies of mankind and of the Church. They are not going to help us by revealing truth. They can feed those who listen to them a diet of truth and error, well mixed to attain credibility. They are dangerous, and any man or woman who thinks he or she can learn more about the future by listening to spirit sources, not of God, is playing with fire. God's word is not to be mocked. He gives strict warnings not to listen to the spirit world, except to listen to God.

As with lying, God's law that we reap what we so is in force and applies. God allows the world to be deceived by Satan, but He does not want His people in the Church of God to be deceived by Satan. If we ignore God's warnings, He may not protect our minds from being deceived. God doesn't warn in vain. His warnings count.

Fourth, God did not give us the truth so we can use it only for ourselves. Others have sacrificed to bring us the truth, and we need to sacrifice to bring it to others. God gave us the truth, opened our minds and freed us from Satan's deceptions, not only so we can live by the truth ourselves, but so that we can preach the truth to others as those before us have preached it to us. God gives us gifts so we can also give to others.

Here again, what we sow we shall reap. If we are selfish, if we do little to get the gospel and the warning message out to others, we are practicing a way of life that is inwardly focused. If we sow that way of life, what will we reap? To know the answer to that, we should ask ourselves, what would have happened to us if those before us were likewise inwardly focused, not willing to sacrifice financially and otherwise to preach the gospel to us?

If others had not sacrificed to preach the gospel and the Ezekiel warning to the public, we would not know the truth. That is the fruit of an inwardly focused way of life. We would be as deceived as the rest of the world.

So if we become inwardly focused, not willing to sacrifice to preach the gospel and warning to others, letting them remain in a deceived state and captives of Satan - if God wants us to reap what we sow, might He take the truth away from us? Might He let us be deceived by Satan again, perhaps not completely but in part, enough to reap the painful consequences of deception to teach us a lesson?

If the events in Worldwide and in other Churches of God teach us anything, they should teach us that there is nothing permanent about God's truth in our minds as long as we are in the flesh. We can lose the truth if we do not value it, and if we do not value the way of life that brought that truth to us, the way of outgoing concern, enough concern to get the message of truth out to a world that needs it, we can lose the truth. If we aren't willing to share it as others before us have shared it with us, we do not deserve it.

If we do not preach the gospel, God can let us go back into a deceived state as we would be in if others had not preached the gospel to us.

Trials to Come and God's Wrath Against Sin

God punishes sin. Though God is love, He shows righteous wrath against sin and those who persist in their sins. The whole world is about to suffer God's wrath in the suffering to come.

Even we in the Church are corrected with trials for our sins. But this is for our good, so that we repent and God can do us good in the end (Hebrews 12:3-11).

Wrath and anger are not always wrong. In the account of Job, God was wrathful against Job's three friends because they did not say what was right, as Job did (Job 42:7). Yet a fourth man, Elihu, was also wrathful against Job and Job's three friends, and God did not rebuke him for his wrath, and of the four men who were with Job and participated in their conversation, this man, who was wrathful, was the only one God did not rebuke (Job 32:1-3). Rather it appears God used him and may have inspired him to help rebuke Job, for Job's good.

Criticism and rebuke are not necessarily wrong. It depends on the motives and if what is said is the truth. If a person is critical, but is motivated by a desire to help, and if what he says is true and needful, it is not necessarily wrong. In fact, it can be an expression of love. But wisdom is needed to know how to rebuke and when to rebuke (and when not to).

Consider the business world. Do businesses that are competitive try to correct each other to help each other improve? Suppose the president of General Motors sees a mistake that Ford motor company is making in its advertising. Does he call up the president of Ford and say, "I notice your are making a strategic mistake in your advertising. Here is how you should correct that mistake to make your advertising more effective."? No, rather, he keeps silent with Ford and hopes that Ford keeps making the same mistake, because the less effective Ford advertising is, the more likely a car buyer will buy some other make of car, such as General Motors, rather than Ford.

Trumpets represents a time when God will give strong rebuke to the world. And to a degree, we in the Church will suffer as well. We will suffer persecution, some more and some less, and we may suffer God's punishment if He has to correct us for our sins. Knowing the truth will not protect us. We have to live it also. If we sin like the world, we will suffer like the world.

Mankind as a whole has been suffering trials as the result of sin for about 6,000 years. That is part of the lesson God wants mankind to learn. Mankind is not learning that lesson now, but is experiencing the lesson and will understand it later. That is part of the plan of God for the salvation of mankind that the holy days teach us.

We in the Church of God suffer trials, not only because of our own sins, but because of the sins of the world. But we have an advantage. We in the Church of God have a concept that the people of the world do not have, and that concept has the power to help us through our trials and help us see the purpose in them, at least in a general sense, even when we do not know the reason for a particular trial.

That concept is character building. God is building character in us.

That one idea, that one point of knowledge, is something few in the world have, even among religious people. It is something we have that helps us make sense of the world and the suffering we go through. God gives us His Spirit and His truth and then allows us to suffer to teach us lessons and build His holy, righteous character in us. Suffering is part of a process. It has a purpose. Most religious people in the world do not fully understand that, and non-religious people certainly do not know this. But we know it.

Character building is a join venture or partnership between us and God. God's part is to teach us, reveal His truth to us, help us to understand the truth and empower us by His Holy Spirit to overcome our sins, and help us and guide us through the circumstances of this life to test us and teach us and give us the opportunities to practice His way of life and choose to believe Him and obey His law, even when it is hard. Our part is to believe, trust, and obey God, to fight against our sinful nature every day, and to overcome our sins. It is a struggle, but God makes it possible for us to win. In a sense, character building is God's job and our job. God builds character in us and we build God's character in ourselves by resisting temptation to sin and by obeying Him.

The end result is that the character that is built in us will prepare us for an eternity of happiness in God's kingdom. We must have that character to be in the Kingdom of God, for without God's holy, righteous character, the Kingdom of God would not be in the happy condition it is destined to be. Happiness in God's kingdom will come from obedience to God's law, and that obedience will come as a result of godly character in all of His children, character we are building in this life now.

That helps give meaning to our lives no matter what our circumstances.

Every day as we get up in the morning, we can know we have a job to do for that day: develop God's character by making right choices until right choices become our habit and way of life.

If we do that every day, we can look forward to the return of Christ pictured by Trumpets, having confidence and not fear.

That is something the world does not have.

God gives us the gift of salvation. But we still have to fight our human nature in order to fully receive that salvation. That is not a contradiction.

God's gift makes salvation possible. The sacrifice of Christ makes possible the forgiveness of our sins, and that makes it possible for us to have a direct relationship with the Father. God also gives us the gifts required for salvation: His truth, His Holy Spirit, and continuous help in this life. But we still have to fight.

An analogy is Israel coming into the promised land. God gave them the promised land. But they still had to fight for it. They had to wage war against the Canaanites. Does that mean that God did not give them the land, that they obtained it by their own power and authority? No. God gave them the gift, but what He gave them was the opportunity. He set them free from Egyptian bondage. He sustained them in the wilderness with water and manna. He gave them permission and authority to go into the promised land and settle it. And He gave them power to win the battles. To show that they could not take the land without God's help, there were a couple of occasions when they fought without God's help, and they failed. On those occasions they were defeated by their enemies. That would have been the story in all their battles if God had hot helped them (Numbers 14:39-45, Joshua 7:1-5).

Likewise, God gives us power and authority to overcome our sins and develop His character, but we have to fight to do it. In effect, God gives us the power to win the fight. That is His gift to us. Without that gift, we could not do it. Even with God's gift, it can seem hard. But it is possible. We can do it. It is not God's will that any one of us be lost (2 Peter 3:9-10). God is able to give us the help we need to succeed (Romans 14:4). He will not try us beyond what we can handle with His help (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).

Then, if we learn what God teaches us through trials, if we overcome, we will be changed at the seventh trumpet when Christ returns, or if dead we will be resurrected. We will then be immortal, full sons of God. Our character will be permanent and we will finally be freed from the struggle against our carnal, fleshly nature. We will be like Christ.

Preaching the Gospel and the Ezekiel Warning to the World

God has given us the job of overcoming our sins and developing the character that will prepare us for eternity in His kingdom. But we also have a job of preaching the gospel to the world, and that complements and reinforces our character development. It is partly through preaching the gospel and the Ezekiel warning that we develop the character God wants us to have.

The outstanding attribute of God's character is love. To develop God's character, we have to learn to love God with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves, and we have to put that love into action and make it such a habit that it becomes our way of life.

We love God by believing and obeying Him, and that obedience includes obeying His commands to preach the gospel and the Ezekiel warning. By preaching the gospel and the warning, we glorify God, for we demonstrate God's fairness and love to warn the world while there is time for the people to repent. God is glorified because it is God who commands and empowers us to preach the truth to the public.

We love our neighbor by giving him the warning he needs before it is too late, just as we would want him to warn us before it was too late if we were headed for trouble and didn't know it.

The Feast of Trumpets reminds teaches us and reminds us of end-time events that will shake this world. Millions will suffer and die in the great tribulation and the Day of the Lord. God has given us this knowledge through the sacrifices of Mr. Armstrong and others who worked to make it possible for us to learn these things. God has also given us prophecies through the sacrifices and sometimes martyrdom of the prophets who penned the prophecies that God inspired them to write in the Bible.

Human beings have suffered and sacrificed so we can know the truth about Trumpets. God never intended that we receive this truth for our own self-interest only. We are to share what we have been given as others have shared this truth with us. We are to sacrifice to bring the gospel and the warning to the world as others have sacrificed to bring it to us.

God commands us to lift up our voice like a trumpet and tell the people their sins (Isaiah 58:1).

The Feast of Trumpets should remind us that this world, including our neighbors, is on the fast path to disaster. If we are developing God's character, we will show love to our neighbors by helping every way we can to get the warning message out.

Zeal for preaching the gospel can help motivate us to overcome our sins. We overcome our sins not just for our own benefit, but so that God will hear our prayers for the preaching of the gospel and will bless our efforts. Part of the reason Christ sanctified Himself by obeying God and resisting every temptation was for the sake of His disciples. "As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth" (John 17:18-19).

In Revelation, those who overcame did so by the blood of Christ and by the word of their testimony. "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death" (Revelation 12:11).

We have a unique opportunity and responsibility that has not existed in the Church in past generations. Today when we preach the gospel and the Ezekiel warning to the world, we are preaching to many who will live through the tribulation and Day of the Lord into the millennium. Our work can help start them in a right and teachable attitude because they will remember that God was loving and just because He sent us to preach the gospel to them so they would have a chance to repent. Israel is to be the model nation to set an example for other nations in the millennium, and they need to trust God and know that God is fair. Preaching the gospel and the warning to them now will help accomplish that. They will know God did not let them go into punishment without warning them first.

This particularly applies to those in the world who are religious, such as members of mainstream, traditional churches. They do not know the things they are doing that are wrong. The think they are serving God and pleasing Him by observing Sunday, Christmas, and Easter, by using images in worship, and such things. They need to be warned so they cannot later say, "I didn't know because no one told me or warned me, so I never had a chance."

If we love our neighbors, we will go all out to warn them. We will also make maximum effort to overcome our sins so that God will answer our prayers for the gospel and will bless and empower our efforts. This is an excellent motivation for overcoming, because it is based on outgoing concern for others and not just for our own salvation.

If we do not warn our neighbors in the world, their blood will be on our heads. But if we go all out to preach the gospel and the warning message, and if we go all out to overcome our sins, we can face end time events and the return of Christ pictured by the Feast of Trumpets with confidence, knowing we have done our part.

Here are links to posts in this blog on related subjects:


"Day of Trumpets", dated September 6, 2010, link:

"The Meaning of the Day of Trumpets", dated September 26, 2011, link:


"Russia's Actions in the Ukraine", dated March 2, 2014, link:


"A Key to Faith", dated December 19, 2011, link:

"Lying to God", dated February 10, 2012, link:

"Was Job Self-Righteous?", dated June 28, 2012, link:

"Faith Is More than Believing God's Promises", dated August 21, 2012, link:

"Renewing an Atmosphere of Faith in the Church of God", dated August 27, 2012, link:

"Do Not Cause Others to Sin", dated April 28, 2013, link:

"How Should We Prepare to Resist Satan's Deceptions?", dated May 5, 2013, link:

"Is It Always Wrong to Use to Pagan Writings in Teaching?", dated February 1, 2014, link:


"Do We Overcome Sin by Our Power or by God's Power?", dated April 20, 2011, link:

"Stay Far from the Edge", dated April 6, 2012, link:

"Repentance", dated April 11, 2012, link:

"We Must Overcome by God's Power AND Our Power", dated March 25, 2013, link:

"Building the Wall", dated March 29, 2013, link:

"Being in the Right Fellowship Won't Save You", dated June 16, 2013, link:

"Overcoming Sin", dated April 17, 2014, link:


"Preaching the Gospel - We Reap what we Sow", dated March 6, 2010, link:

"The Work of the Millennium Has Started!", dated September 20, 2010, link:

"When Might the Great Tribulation Start?", dated July 1, 2012, link:

"Which Americans Will Survive the Tribulation?", dated July 24, 2012, link:

"Does It Matter Which Fellowship We Attend and Support?", dated March 31, 2013, link:

"Should the Church Flee Before It Finishes Delivering the Ezekiel Warning?", dated July 12, 2013, link:

"Does the Church of God Need to Unite to Do a Powerful Work?", dated July 19, 2013, link:

"How Is God Fair to Punish Those Who Are Blinded?", dated August 27, 2013, link:

"To Be Effective in Giving a Warning, We Have to Overcome Even When It Is Hard", dated September 3, 2013, link:

" 'Beam in the Eye', and Preaching the Gospel to the World", dated January 14, 2014, link:

"The Importance of the Identity of Israel Doctrine", dated February 8, 2014, link:

"Has God Made the Church an 'Ezekiel Watchman' for Israel?", dated February 13, 2014, link:

"What Good Does It Do to Preach the Gospel If We Do Not Live It?", dated February 22, 2014, link:

"What Is the Church of God's Greatest Sin?", dated February 27, 2014, link:

"False Repentance Movement in the Church of God", dated March 28, 2014, link:


"Preparing for Trials", dated August 19, 2010, link:

"Don't Let Your Love Grow Cold", dated September 3, 2010, link:

"The Groundwork for the Great Tribulation Is Being Laid", dated December 28, 2012, link:

"Count the Cost", dated March 14, 2013, link:

"Preparing for the Coming Crises", dated June 9, 2013, link:

"Inflation Isn't Here Yet, BUT...", dated October 24, 2013, link:

"Don't Demand Old Covenant Blessings if You Are under the New Covenant", dated December 8, 2013, link:

Here are links to related chapters or sections in Preaching the Gospel:

The Day of Trumpets - the Second Coming of Christ, Chapter 2

The Annual Holy Days and the Plan of God, Chapter 2

Our Attitude and Approach Towards God's Word, Chapter 1

How to Understand the Bible, Chapter 1

Focusing on the Bible, Chapter 5

The Source of Our Beliefs, Chapter 6

Faith, Chapter 6

How Could Trained and Experienced Ministers Be Deceived?, Chapter 5

The Responsibility of a Watchman, Chapter 3

The Ezekiel Warning, Chapter 3


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