“Michael, Blow Your Trumpet!!”
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Matt. 24:29 (Holman) Immediately after the tribulation of those days:
the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its
light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the celestial
powers will be shaken.
God has often used sky-signs, astronomical happenings, to indicate His presence. He has used Nature dramatically.
England was spared from the Spanish Armada due to a miraculously timed, terrible storm in the English Channel. A medal commemorating the event had a Latin caption meaning, “Jehovah blew with His wind and they were scattered” (based on Job 4:9).
When Washington was stymied outside Boston, God provided 300 miles of frozen tundra to transport 50 pieces of artillery on sleds to fortify Dorchester Heights. On the journey, Henry Knox kept praying for snow, and it kept falling, finally reaching three feet deep. The cold froze rivers and streams, making them highways rather than barriers. The night the Colonials fortified the hill, a haze and mist drifted over Boston and kept the work from British view. An inward breeze carried the noise of their work away from the British. The sounds of 300 teams of horses and oxen remained amazingly quiet throughout the night. By dawn, the British had in essence lost Boston.
When Washington and his army were trapped at Brooklyn, on Long Island, he decided to use small boats to evacuate his army. This was suicidal because the river there is a mile wide. That night the wind blew out of the northwest, carrying sounds of the evacuating army away from the British army, and keeping the British navy from entering the river. At dawn General Washington knew he needed three more hours. Then it happened. Almost everyone who kept a diary that day mentioned it. A fog came off the river and settled over both camps. Visibility was less than six yards. Most who mentioned the fog credited God for it. Washington boarded the last boat to leave. As his boat crossed the river, the fog began to lift. The British rushed to the water’s edge and began firing, but Washington was just out of range.
Nature is God’s handiwork and servant, available for His use however, whenever, and wherever He wants to use it. He definitely likes to use it to make His presence obviously known.
The examples in our text may have been figurative throughout the centuries, but will possibly be literal when Jesus returns. Through history, Jesus has often been coming and manifesting Himself in Nature. Thus it should be no surprise the whole Universe will be affected by His Second Coming. The cosmos will become topsy-turvy.
Jesus’ return will change everything. Everything in the heavens will run amok. The sun now gives us our days, but will no longer radiate.
The moon gives us our months, but will no longer reflect. Stars direct us at night, but will no longer be consistent guides. “Celestial powers”, maybe referring to planets, will bounce from their orbits as gravity weakens.
As a candle is darkened in the beams of a spotlight, even so the brightness of Christ’s own person at His coming will darken the sun, moon, stars, and planets. Their light will no longer be required.
There will be no need for created lights when the Creator of lights comes (Rev. 21:23; 22:5). The Father of lights (James 1:17) is His own inherent light. All other lights have borrowed their glow from His essence.
The sun rules the day; moon and stars rule the night (Genesis 1:16-18). They will no longer be needed, because the ruling of this world will be delivered up directly to God as its all-in-all King (1 Cor. 15:24,28).
There will be no need for any more of the God-delegated rule and authority. When all created dominion has been put down, we will see who the real Ruler always has been. Actually, we Christ-followers already know who it is. God made the sun stand still for Joshua, made it go backward for Hezekiah, and darkened it for Jesus. All control will fail as Jesus takes over.
In the end we will realize Nature, despite its vast power, is but a stage. It shall be struck, but do not feel bad for Nature. Her greatest moment will happen when she becomes the backdrop for history’s most important event.
Matt. 24:30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and
then all the peoples of the earth will mourn; and they will
see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with
power and great glory.
“The sign of the Son of Man” is probably His “coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Jesus left Earth in a cloud (Acts 1:9), and will return in clouds. Clouds symbolize God’s presence. He rides on a swift cloud (Isaiah 19:1), and makes the clouds His chariots (Psalm 104:3). Jesus will come on the clouds of heaven “with power”, an angel-army will accompany Him, and with “great glory”, a visible display of divine majesty.
In that moment, unbelievers “will mourn”. All sinners at one time or another mourn over their sins. Some do so in this lifetime, in time to repent and be saved. Others wait too long to mourn over their sins, and end up doing so in despair. Mourning over sin here and now, and mourning over sin there and then, are two very different occurences, producing vastly opposite results. Those guilty of the latter will grieve lost opportunities, and mourn because they’ll instantly know they deserve what is about to happen to them.
Matt. 24:31 He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet, and they
will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of
the sky to the other.
Much of our music and folklore presents Gabriel as being the angel who will blow the trumpet. I doubt this. Gabriel is a messenger-angel.
Michael, the warrior-angel, will probably blow the final trumpet. (I will be happy with whoever blows it.) When the trumpet blows, it will be a victory blast, signaling the legitimately reigning King has come, and wants to gather His royal court and loyal subjects (Isaiah 27:13; 1 Thess. 4:16-17).
Trumpets are a wind instrument dating back at least to 1500 BC. They were at first oxen and ram horns, and soon progressed to metal. King Tut’s Tomb contained bronze and silver trumpets; this means they are over 3000 years old. In the ancient world, trumpets were straight, eighteen or so inches long, and had an end shaped like a small bell. They were not as much musical instruments as they were signaling devices, like our bugle.
In our text, Jesus was using imagery the Jews would understand. Trumpets were used to call people together (Leviticus 25:9; Numbers 10:2; Judges 3:27). Assemblies were gathered in this way, much like believers in our country used to gather when they heard church bells.
Michael’s horn will be loud. How loud? Loud enough to wake the dead, rouse a spiritually sleeping world, and gather all believers and unbelievers everywhere. As Jesus’ person will be seen instantaneously all over the earth, even so Michael’s horn will be heard simultaneously in both hemispheres of earth.
Believers will be everywhere on this planet, thereby showing how far the Gospel will have been carried, but none will be missing in the end. They will come “from the four winds”, that is, the four points of the compass, from every place under the heavens, in all nations (John 11:52; Romans 7:9). Distance will not matter. Angels, living people, and dead people will come together for the first time.