Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Jeremiah's trumpets

I've been spending some time in Jeremiah 1-6 today. And there are lots of times when I've thought 'I've heard something like that before recently' and it turns out it's something from the book of Revelation.

For example, every now and then in his prophesying against Judah (Jerusalem in particular) in her whoredom, Jeremiah mentions war-heralding trumpets a lot. Mmm, I thought, I wonder how many times trumpets are mentioned in Jeremiah (hint, not six, not eight, but somewhere in between). The verses are listed below, and I’ve also highlighted in bold various other similarities with the Revelation chs 8-9, & 11 trumpets.

Jer 4:5 Declare in Judah, and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say, "Blow the trumpet through the land; cry aloud and say, 'Assemble, and let us go into the fortified cities!'

Jer 4:19 My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent, for I hear the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.

Jer 4:21 How long must I see the standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?

Jer 6:1 Flee for safety, O people of Benjamin, from the midst of Jerusalem! Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and raise a signal on Beth-haccherem, for disaster looms out of the north, and great destruction.

Jer 6:17 I set watchmen over you, saying, 'Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!' But they said, 'We will not pay attention.'

Jer 42:14 and saying, 'No, we will go to the land of Egypt, where we shall not see war or hear the sound of the trumpet or be hungry for bread, and we will dwell there,'

Jer 51:27 "Set up a standard on the earth; blow the trumpet among the nations; prepare the nations for war against her; summon against her the kingdoms, Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz; appoint a marshal against her; bring up horses like bristling locusts.

Joshua 6 is another place where we get seven trumpets. There they sounded for the fall of the pagan city Jericho as the LORD led Israel in a landmark victory in the war to claim the land. So, could the terrifying irony in Jeremiah be that now the sevenfold trumpets are brought to bear on Jerusalem, sounding a warning and a promise of her fall at the hands of the nations and Judah’s exile from the land?

If so, what does this mean when we come to Revelation 8 and 9? Are we supposed to link to Jeremiah or to Joshua 6 primarily? Or both? Is it about general end-times judgment? Is it about AD70 judgment on Jerusalem? Is it about neither? Is it about both at the same time? In Revelation it seems on the surface at least like the trumpets have more cosmic (stars fall from the sky, fish in the sea die) and global (in 11: 18 the seventh trumpets sounds for God’s victory over the nations) consequences than the Jeremiah ones which are to do with Judah/Jerusalem. But then again this is obviously affected by whether or not ‘earth’ in ch 9 should in fact be read as 'land'. Similarly, it can’t be any accident that in between the sixth and seventh trumpets we get a Jerusalem-as-Sodom based narrative about the two witnesses in Rev 11. Thoughts anyone?

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