As I search for a topic for today’s post, I am drawn to an article in the current Ensign about the use of trumpets in ancient Israel. According to this article titled “Hear the Sound of the Trumpet,” we can learn much “about the role of prophets and how we should treat their words” from trumpets.
The most common trumpet used was a shofar that was made from the horn of a ram. Even though it was capable of sounding just a couple of notes, it had an “unusual and easily recognizable” sound. If the horn were heated, it could “be straightened or shaped” in various ways. I suppose that this treatment could individualize and personalize trumpets.
In ancient Israel, the shofar was blown to send an alarm or signal a gathering of the people. This was done in times of war (see Judges 3:27; 6:34; Nehemiah 4:18-20) as well as at times of celebration, such as a feast or the anointing of a king (see Leviticus 25:9; 1 Kings 1:34; 2 Kings 9:13; Psalm 81:3).
In order for the shofar to sound a warning or signal, there must be a watchman of some kind to first see the danger or the need for gathering. The prophet Ezekiel explains that it is the responsibility of the watchman to sound the warning, and it is the responsibility of each individual to hear the warning.
If when [the watchman] seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
…But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul (Ezekiel 33:3-5).
The writer of the article suggests that there are four things that we can learn from a trumpet that compares to listening to and following the prophets.
. [A trumpet] Has a simple, unmistakable sound. Nephi said, “I glory in plainness; I glory in truth” (2 Nephi 33:6). Prophets teach the Lord’s word with clarity. As the Apostle Paul said, “If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8).
. (A trumpet] Calls the Lord’s people to gather. We gather to seek refuge and strength. Our meetinghouses, temples, and homes can be places of gathering to hear God’s word so that we can combat evil and rally around the “ensign on the mountains” (Isaiah 18:3).
. [A trumpet] Warns of coming danger. The watchmen of Israel would raise the alarm by blowing the trumpet. Prophets give us clear warnings of spiritual perils in our time. And we should also remember that “it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:81), “in mildness and in meekness” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:41).
. [A trumpet] Call to remembrance, celebration, and praise. Prophets also invite us to remember the Lord and His goodness. They call upon us to praise and thank Him and to “make a joyful noise” (Psalm 98:6) through our own prayer and testimony.
Prophets are the Lord’s “watchmen on the tower.” They can see things that you and I cannot see clearly. They issue warnings of things that we must do in order to stay safe and to prosper. In recent years they have issued warnings in several different areas. One of the strongest warnings concerned the coming destruction of marriage and the family.
In September 1995 then-President Gordon B. Hinckley of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints read a new document to the sisters of the Church. The document is “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” and it outlines various ways to protect, strengthen, and preserve families.
The first paragraph tells us that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” This is the thesis statement for the document.
The proclamation continues by explaining that we were all – male and female - created in the image of God. We are His children and have the potential to become as He is. It tells us that we were with our Heavenly Father in the premortal world and were taught about His plan of happiness for His children. It continues by explaining the importance of marriage and families and the duties of the various members of the family.
The importance of this proclamation to our discussion today is the fact that the document was presented to the membership of the Church many years before the movement to make same-sex relationships equal to marriage between a man and a woman. The prophets were sounding a warning, but the people did not listen.
The prophets have since sounded warnings about the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy in order to stay unspotted from the world. They teach of the importance of ministering to each other and helping the refugees among us. Now they are telling us of the importance of reaching out in love to those who are considering suicide.
How many of us will hear the trumpet sounds by the prophets of the Lord? How many of us will respond in obedience? How many of us will be saved because of our obedience?