In the Bible the trumpet is first mentioned in Exodus 19:13 and 16 where the voice of God speaking from Mt. Sinai is likened to the sound of the trumpet. The Hebrew word for trumpet used here, shophar, refers to the instrument made from a ram's horn. Later Moses was instructed to make trumpets from silver (Numbers 10:1-10) for use in calling the people for sanctuary services and as a means of signaling alarms and instructions. A dramatic example of the impact of signal trumpets is found in the story of Gideon (Judges 6:11-7:25). There the sounding of trumpets by 300 unarmed Israelites put the armies of Midian to flight. One of the sacred festivals of the ceremonial year was named the Feast of the Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24-32) because this festival began with the blowing of trumpets on the first day of the seventh month of the religious year. The trumpets blown at this time called the people to prepare for the Day of Atonement which came ten days later. Perhaps because the Day of Atonement represented God's evaluation or judgment of his people, the trumpet came to represent judgment.
In Ezekiel's time God used a watchman on the wall of a citadel to illustrate the responsibility of God's messengers to speak clearly the warnings which God provides. A faithful watchman who sounds the alarm by blowing the trumpet when an enemy is spotted is commended while the watchman who fails to sound the warning is lost (Ezekiel 33:1-9).
John the Revelator builds on the Old Testament references to the trumpet calls. He describes the issuance of warnings in the pronouncements which accompany the sounding of the seven trumpets (Revelation 8:1-11:19) by seven angel messengers. John also describes the voice of God as being great like a trumpet (1:10, 4:1). Elsewhere he describes the same voice as being like thunder and the sound of many waters. To hear that voice will be awesome indeed!
Paul also compares the voice of Jesus, when he returns a second time, to the sound of a trumpet. In 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 Paul speaks of the risen Christ as being the first fruits of them that sleep in the grave. Because Christ was victorious in His battle with sin and was resurrected from the grave, those who die believing in Christ have assurance of being resurrected at his coming. Paul goes on to describe that glorious scene with the words (1 Corinthians 15:51-53):
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. . . Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
Seventh-day Adventist believe that a person who dies remains in a state of unconscious "sleep" until the resurrection--which only Jesus can effect (I [Jesus] am the resurrection and the life! John 11:25, see also Psalm 146:4, and John 11:11-15). When God's people die they "rest from their labors" (Revelation 4:13) until the resurrection day. The writer of Hebrews clearly states "they, [the Faith Heroes of Hebrews 11], without us, [who remain alive], shall not be made perfect, [receive immortality]" (Hebrews 11:40). Thus at His Second Coming the voice of Christ, like the sound of a trumpet, calls the righteous from their death-sleep to everlasting life.
In naming the rank of solo reed pipes (which are mounted horizontally above the baptistery) the Resurrection Trumpet, we offer a visual and aural reminder of the voice of Christ the Archangel. His voice will speak new life to those who sleep in Jesus.
The exciting warning message of Christ's imminent return in glory is our privilege to proclaim. Our love for Christ leads us to maintain a consistent Christian life and witness in the "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13) of Christ's soon return and the opportunity to see our loved ones and friends again. We are called to give the trumpet a clear and distinct sound (1 Corinthians 14:8) so that those who hear may know, understand, and respond to the Savior's gracious offer of salvation.
"We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great: and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth." Revelation 11:17, 18