The True Shophar

 

There are no words to describe the overwhelming need for the sound of the shophar in this hour. Heaven must hear it. The earth must hear it. Must hear the voice of the true shophar of God.

What do we mean by the true shophar? Let’s start with some background. The apostle Paul called Israel under the law (the Sinai covenant) children. “Even so we when we were children…” (Gal. 4:3). It may well be said, then, that the old covenant was a picture book for children. Do we grasp this? The old covenant is filled with pictures—types and shadows, representations of reality. God gave these to His children anticipating the day when He would reveal to them the reality that inspired the pictures. This is one of the themes of the new covenant book of Hebrews.

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (Heb. 10:1)

The law, then, contained shadows of good things to come, and not the very image of those things. In The True Worshippers I enlarged on this, showing that the Scriptures speak of these shadows as “figures of the true” (Heb. 9:24). That is, figures of the reality that cast the shadows. It is vitally important to understand this usage of the word true in Scripture; it is contrasted not only with false but also with type and shadow. We read that Christ the new covenant high priest is a “minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man” (Heb. 8:2). In other words the tabernacle of Moses, central to the worship of the old covenant people of God, was not the true tabernacle; it was but a figure of the true. This is not saying that it was false; God Himself had ordained it, but He ordained it only as a type, a shadow—and only for a time—till in His appointed time the True Tabernacle should come on the scene.

We also read of the true bread and the true vine. These also have their corresponding contrast not only with that which is false, but also with that which is type and shadow. Christ Himself is the image, the body, that cast those shadows (Col. 2:16,17).

It’s in this sense that we must understand the significance of the old covenant shophar. That instrument was but a shadow of a spiritual reality.

Let’s see first what the Picture Book has to show us about shophars.

The Old Testament Hebrew has two words translated trumpet in the King James Version. The first is chatsotserah, which appears 29 times. Here is its first instance:

Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. (Num. 10:2)

If the priests blew with but one trumpet the leaders were to gather to the tent of meeting; if with two, all the camp was to gather (Num. 10:3,4). And when the cloud over the camp lifted and moved on, the trumpets signaled the order in which the tribes encamped around the tabernacle were to follow (Num. 10:5,6).

The silver trumpets were also used to alert the Lord of His people’s need for His help against their enemies.

And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. (Num. 10:9)

That’s interesting, isn’t it. The trumpets were also for God to hear.

They were also sounded, once again for God’s ears, “in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye 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” (Num.10:10). Let us take special note of this. The trumpets in the mouths of the anointed priests were to provide as it were a consciousness of God, an awareness of His remembering that His people were offering these offerings before Him, that is, in His presence, before His face.

The other Hebrew word for trumpet is shophar, which appears 72 times, the first of which is at Sinai when along with thunders and lightnings the “voice of the trumpet [shophar] sounded “exceeding loud, so that all the people that was in the camp trembled” (Ex. 19:16).

No doubt it was an angel who sounded the shophar that caused the people to tremble; we read later that it was blown by the priests at Jericho, where it brought the walls down around their trembling enemies:

And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets [shophars] of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. (Josh. 6:4)

It’s here we discover the shophar was made of a ram’s horn.

The shophar was vital to victory. It was shophars that Gideon’s three hundred were armed with (Jud. 7:16). And Nehemiah had by his side one who was ready to “sound the trumpet [shophar]” if they were suddenly attacked when the wall was being rebuilt (Neh. 4:18).

The shophar had other uses as well. It was sounded on the day of atonement to proclaim the Jubilee (Ex. 25:9). It was blown when Solomon was anointed king (1 Ki. 1:39). It was blown in God’s appointed times—the new moon or solemn feast days (Ps. 81:3). It was used along with the silver trumpets, as when David and all Israel brought back the ark:

Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet [shophar], and with trumpets [chatsotserah], and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps. (1 Chr. 15:28)

All these instances were types, shadows, that were prophetic of a spiritual reality to come.

Moving from type to true

I say prophetic of a spiritual reality yet to come, and it’s Christ and the new covenant I have in mind, but even in the Old Testament of our Bible we discover that the transition to that reality had begun to take place. It was the voices of the prophets that became the shophars of God.

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet [shophar], and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. (Isa. 58:1)

What then is a real shophar, a true shophar? “Lift up thy voice like a shophar…”

And this from Jeremiah:

Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet [shophar]. But they said, We will not hearken. (Jer. 6:17)

God is saying that the voice of the watchmen He set over His people was “the sound of the shophar.”

God had also made Ezekiel a watchman with the voice of a shophar. God told him he was to “blow the shophar” to warn the people when because of their iniquities He was sending the sword of their enemies against them. The one who hearkened would “deliver his soul,” the one who did not, the sword would “take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.” Furthermore, if the watchman did not blow the shophar of warning, the blood of those who were slain, said God, “will I require at the watchman’s hand.” (See Ezekiel 33:1-7.)

Again, just what specifically did God mean by the watchman blowing the shophar?

So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. (Ezek. 33:1-7).

How clear that is. The watchman’s warning—the voice of the shophar—is a word he speaks from the mouth of God Himself, a word that brings nigh the very Presence and consciousness of God Himself. No wonder all the trembling, then, at the voice of the shophar. God is nigh; it’s this that He intends the voice of the shophar to convey.

So I must say something that needs to be said. We can blow the ram’s horn till we’re blue in the face and out of breath. With what result? Being blue of face and out of breath. That’s all. For God does not hear that kind of shophar, nor is He brought nigh in it. I realize that we’re living in a time when it’s very difficult for many to accept this, and some will no doubt be offended by it. That is lamentable.

So now my two-fold plea.

Oh for teachers that will teach God’s people that the new covenant involves us, not in types and shadows, but in a realm of spiritual reality called truth.

And oh, new covenant family of God, whether Jew or Gentile, let us be no longer children. Joel prophesied, “Blow ye the trumpet [shophar] in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand…” If there was ever a shophar blown, it is that—Joel’s prophecy. And Isaiah’s. He cried, “Hear O heavens, and give ear O earth…” That too is the voice of the shophar. The true shophar. The shophar of God. Do we want the heavens to hear our cry in this desperate hour, and the earth around us? Then let us cry to God to make shophars of us, that we may lift up our voice to Him like a shophar—that anointed voice propelled by the Breath of the Spirit of God from deep within, whether in prayer to God or prophecy to men. Be sure that God will hear this kind of shophar. And so will those around us, and tremble at His Presence.

 

18 responses »

  1. My dear brother, what a beautiful and helpful bit of writing. I can say ‘amen’ to every sentence. And so relevant in this day when many Christian folk are more obsessed with ‘shadow’ than ‘full light,’ i.e. Jesus as the light of the world and we in him. Thanks for making the point so clearly and lovingly: true shophars where God has placed us and around the world by whatever means.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Thank you, Erroll, this is an incendiary topic and I sincerely appreciate the encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      • I lost two very close friends due to my convictions on this issue, even when I treaded carefully and shared sensitively. Praying for reconciliation through the Cross alone. Bless you.

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
        • I’m saddened to hear that, Erroll, people have “distanced themselves” from me as well because I hold the same conviction you do, one person going so far as to call me anti-Semite. What a heartbreaking misunderstanding. Oh for light that God’s people might see the basic difference between the Old Covenant and the New.

          Liked by 2 people

          Reply
  2. Allan, I am reminded of the following letter George Fox wrote to Friends in the ministry found in Vol. 2 of his Works, pp. 88-89.
    Sound, sound abroad, you faithful servants of the Lord, witnesses in his name, faithful servants, prophets of the Highest, and angels of the Lord! Sound ye all abroad in the world, to the awakening and raising of the dead, that they may be awakened and raised up out of the grave to hear the voice that is living. For the dead have long heard the dead, and the blind have long wandered among the blind, and the deaf amongst the deaf. Therefore sound, sound, ye servants, prophets, and angels of the Lord, ye trumpets of the Lord, that you may awaken the dead, awaken them that are asleep in their graves of sin, death and hell, sea and earth, and who lie in the tombs. Sound, sound abroad, ye trumpets and raise up the dead, that the dead may hear the voice of the Son of God, the voice of the second Adam that never fell, the voice of the light, the voice of the life, the voice of the power, the voice of the truth, the voice of the righteous, and the voice of the just. Sound, sound the pleasant and melodious sound. Sound, sound ye the trumpets, the melodious sound abroad, that all the deaf ears may be opened to hear the pleasant sound of the trumpet to judgment and life, to condemnation and light. Sound, sound your trumpets all abroad, you angels of the Lord, sons and daughters, prophets of the Highest, that all that are dead and asleep in the graves, who have been long dreaming and slumbering, may be awakened and hear the voice of the Lamb, who have long heard the voice of the beast, that now they may hear the voice of the bridegroom, the voice of the bride, the voice of the great prophet, the voice of the great king, the voice of the great shepherd and bishop of their souls. Sound, sound it all abroad, ye trumpets, among the dead in Adam; for Christ is come, the second Adam, that they might have life, yea have it abundantly. Awaken the dead, awaken the slumberers, awaken the dreamers, awaken them that are asleep, awaken them out of their graves, out of their tombs, out of their sepulchres, out of the seas! Sound, sound abroad, ye trumpets! ye trumpets that awaken the dead, that they may all hear the sound of it in the graves, and they that hear may live and come to the life, that is, the Son of God. He is risen from the dead, the grave could not hold nor contain him, neither could all the watchers of the earth, with all their guards, keep him therein. Sound, sound, ye trumpets of the Lord, to all the seekers of the living among the dead, that he is risen from the dead; to all the seekers of the living among the dead, and in the graves that the watchers keep; he is not in the grave, he is risen; and there is that under the grave of the watchers of the outward grave, which must be awakened and come to hear his voice, who is risen from the dead, that they might come to live. Therefore sound abroad, you trumpets of the Lord, that the grave might give up her dead, and hell and the sea might give up their dead; and all might come forth to judgment, to the judgment of the Lord before his throne and have their sentence and reward according to their works.
    Away with all the chaff and the husks, and contentions and strife, that the swine feed upon in the mire, and in the fall; and the keepers of them of Adam and Eve’s house in the fall; that lies in the mire, out of light and life. G. F

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    • Thank you for this, Ellis! A powerful word by dear George Fox! He was indeed a true shophar.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    • Good job Ellis! Between Allan and you and George Fox a near perfect understanding has been opened regarding the True Shophar. I don’t think there has been since the early Quakers a visitation of God as deep and truly spiritual as the Quaker visitation. It was more than a revival, it was truly an awakening. I have often wished I had been with them in their day, but I find hope and a living expectation knowing that God has kept His best wine and His best Shophar for the last days. Our present day!!
      God Bless

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      • Amen, Terry, and thank you. Hopefully Ellis will check back and see your comment.

        Like

        Reply
      • Terry, Allan has corrected me on my citation, which I hope he will be editing my comment. It should be pages 88-89. Regarding your statements about the early Friends, I have pleaded with God regarding these worthies of long ago, “Can’t these old bones live?” And instead of being told to prophesy over the bones bidding bone to join to bone, flesh and skin covering them, and at last breath to fill them; God has told me “not their bones but yours must live today.” How can that be? One phrase from Fox’s epistle 24 comes to mind, “…having suffered the loss of all that appeared beautiful upon the sand, we declare against that sandy foundation…” and it goes on from there which I can’t quote. The life that can make today’s bones live will not come to the sandy foundation or anything built upon the sand. Having suffered the loss, having died to all that appeared beautiful on the sand, having proven the sand to be utterly useless, we have nothing but to wait upon the Lord knowing that unless he appear among us we have no hope. This, then, is a fit vessel for life.

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
  3. There never has been or ever shall be a movement of God in the earth that is not pre-ceeded by or accompanied with the clear sound of the ram’s horn, the shophar. It is the “Living Word” going forth from the heart of God by the Spirit of truth that prepares the heart and creates the faith in the hearts of God’s people to move forward according to God’s direction and appropriate that measure of the Inheritance that God himself is pleased to lead his people into. When the trumpet sounded, it was sobering and came with a clarion call to the ears of the people. Everybody stopped what they were doing. They knew that the presence of God was in the camp, that God himself was on the scene to make his will known. Nothing was done indiscriminately or without explicit direction. There were no second causes! The well being, safety and progress of God’s people, was the Issue here! And so much more for the days we are now living in. Be Faithfull. Blow clearly!!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • Robert, that is the convicting thing about the Shophar. The True Shophar sounds forth, and the Presence of the Lord is in it.

      Like

      Reply
  4. Those of us who are watchmen on the wall have reason to feel discouraged these days. But it remains an honor to blow the shophar.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • I think you are in Jeremiah, Anna. “Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken” (Jer. 6:17). Several watchmen to whom this honour has been given come to mind. And it is indeed discouraging when the shophar continues to be ignored by so many. But the watchman must be faithful to continue sounding the warning, “whether they will hear or whether they will forebear,” as God commanded Ezekiel, also a watchman.  

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  5. That is a tremendous compliment, Allan. I certainly understand why Jeremiah wept.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  6. We are called to be watchmen in these last days. All in our own field of lentils. 2 Sam 23:11-12

    Like

    Reply
    • Hi Martin, that has been a special passage of Scripture for me as well, and I’m encouraged you’ve reminded me of it today. He who is meek and lowly of heart has a heart for the lowly whose “bean patch” may not be considered of much worth in the eyes of men. But to Him it is of great, great worth, as it is to you and me. Let us then continue to sound the true Shophar in His ears, trusting that He hears our cry, and knowing our need, will come to our aid, enabling us to stand our ground unto complete victory.

      Like

      Reply
  7. Forgot to mention. I know a true and funny shophar story. After a Jewish friend’s little girl was taught about the shophar, she was taken to visit the zoo. There she saw a ram for the first time. “Look, Daddy, he has a shophar,” she said. “Can he blow it?” the little girl asked. “No, honey. We don’t blow our own horn,” her father replied. I think God must have smiled.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: