In Numbers chapter 10, Moses receives instructions to manufacture two pure silver trumpets for general use of calling an assembly and for the movements of the camp. These two trumpets are for the exclusive use of the sons of Aaron, and are distinctive from the more familiar ram’s horn.
The calling of the assembly mentioned in verse two and discussed in verses three and four warrant a closer look. The calling of assemblies at the tent of meeting were appointments with the Lord for chosen men and the nature of that calling is prophetic to the church. Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, and the law and the prophets foreshadow God’s plan for the body of Christ. The original intention for the people of Israel is presented by God in Exodus.
You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Exodus 19:4-6.
This covenant plan is transferred to the body of Christ:
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:9.
In fact, the Lord modified his intentions on occasion during the wilderness trek in response to the obedience of some and the disobedience of others. A kingdom of priests became a tribe of priests under Aaron and his direct line, and his tribe Levi.
We see this again in Numbers 11:16&17, when the Lord establishes a special class of men by removing a portion of the anointing on Moses and placing this upon seventy chosen men.
Beginning in Genesis 32, after Jacob wrestles all night with an angel of God, he is given the name Israel. In verse 32, his descendants are first referred to as the children of Israel.
Then in Exodus 12:3, a new term is introduced: the congregation of Israel. The Hebrew word is edah and is derived from the word ad which means witness and is itself derived from ud, meaning to testify. Thus congregation in this sense is better understood as witnesses.
Keep in mind that at the time this reference is introduced, the children of Israel have just witnessed God’s judgments upon Egypt and the Lord is implementing the first Passover in preparation for the exodus.
We also find in Exodus the common expression tabernacle of the congregation. However, a different word is employed here, yet it also is translated congregation in the King James. The Hebrew mo-ad means an appointed or set time, thus the better translation is tent of meeting used in most other translations.
Thus, the trumpets are used at appointed times that they may be established as a memorial; and a remembrance in time of war.
And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. Numbers 10:9.
Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God. Numbers 10:10.
In Numbers 10:2 the trumpets are said to be used for the calling of the edah, or witnesses. Keep in mind that this originally referred to all of the people, even as the priesthood. However the people proved themselves to be unmanageable.
In Numbers 11, Moses brings his complaint before God and expresses his preference to by killed rather than continue with a burden that is too heavy for him. (Numbers 11: 11-15).
In verse 16, the Lord instructs Moses to gather unto Him seventy men at the tent of meeting, to have a portion of the spirit on Moses placed on them to bear the burden for the people.
The calling of the edah is not every one of the children of Israel, but those who were chosen from among the called, for many are called but few are chosen.
Therefore brethren be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things, you will never fall. 2 Peter 1:10.
When they shall blow with them all the witnesses shall assemble themselves to you at the entrance of the tent of meeting. Numbers 10:3.
When Moses speaks to the Lord concerning the people complaining about their diet, the Lord says He will provide flesh for them for a whole month until it comes out of their nostrils and it becomes loathsome unto you. Moses responds: “the people are 600,000 soldiers (plus women, children and the elders) and what can be gathered to suffice them?” Numbers 11:18-23.
By this estimation, over two million people would have to gather at the entrance to the tabernacle upon hearing trumpets.
Then in verse 4 the captains (nasee) of thousands are called upon the signal of one trumpet blown. The Hebrew word nasee is also translated prince, ruler and chief. It means one who has been elevated or promoted, but also to bear up, such as a burden.
In the kingdom of God, rulers are raised up to bear responsibility. When princes in Israel and Judah became like pagans and lived a life of privilege, the nation was undermined. Jesus spoke in regard to John the Baptist: “men in soft apparel dwell in king’s palaces.”
The two trumpet signal calling the witnesses would be in regard to matters of the Law, for they received the anointing to function as judges. The second assembly would pertain to administrative and military affairs and would require the captains of thousands to be in attendance. These are the calling of the assemblies for which the trumpets were to be used. The second function is for the journeying of the camps.
In Numbers 9:17-23 is a description of how the entire camp began and ended every leg of their journey. The movement of the camp was always at the command of the Lord as expressed by the cloud upon the tent of meeting. They kept the charge of the Lord at the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses. The hand of Moses is established by trumpet signals described in chapter 10:5&6.
Within these instructions is found another important word for study. The word is translated alarm, blast, and signal, and is blown to initiate the movements of the camp.
The Hebrew teruwah is the great shout that brought down the walls of Jericho, that caused the earth to ring when the ark of the testimony was brought out in battle, and when David and his house brought forth the ark into the city of David, which is Mount Zion. Even more important than to shout is what is shouted, for a people to shout out in harmony is to magnify the Lord. This cannot be attained if everyone shouts out whatever seems right in his own mind.
Blessed are the people who know the teruwah (joyful sound)! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. Psalm 89:15.
Numbers 23:21 proclaims over the Lord’s people “the shout of the King is among them!” The Lord has given us a name to call upon Him as a remembrance for all generations (See The Name of Remembrance).
Blessed are the people who know the name of remembrance to shout with the sound (voice) of the trumpet (shofar).
When the jubilee trumpet sounds the voice of shofar, shout a great teruwah, and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend. Joshua 6:5.
The voice of shofar is first introduced in Exodus 19:16, and describes the herald of the Lord’s presence on Mount Sinai. This blast of sound is said to draw near the ones whose heart seeks the Lord. Most of the people withdrew at the presence of the Lord, but the opposite is what was expected. Moses was instructed to set boundaries around the mount, for whosoever touched the border of the mount must be put to death.
Now the just shall live by faith, but if any draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Hebrews 10:38 & 39.
For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. For they could not endure what was commanded “and if a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” And so terrifying was the sight Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of justified men made perfect. Hebrews 12:18-23.
The voice of shofar is not restricted to being produced by a trumpet or ram’s horn. In Isaiah 58:1 the Lord declares: Cry aloud, spare not, and lift up your voice like a trumpet (lift up the voice of shofar), and show my people their transgression and the house of Jacob their sins. They claim to delight in “drawing near” to God by fasting and afflicting their souls.
The voice of shofar is the Spirit of the Messiah or Christ. Jesus said:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour shall come, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. John 5:25.
Marvel not at this, for an hour shall come when all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and those that have done good shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but those that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment. John 5:27 & 28.
Psalm 47 says God ascends upon the teruwah and the voice of shofar. Shout unto God with the voice of triumph! The voice of triumph is the shout of the King. The jubilee of reconciliation and drawing near to God, the proclamation of liberty!