Coastal residents in Oregon understand tsunami warning-sirens. They have to—a tidal wave triggered by an earthquake on the main offshore fault would crash into the shore in about twenty minutes. City officials run regular tests of the system and post clear instructions about the sirens in public places. Whatever a person is doing, they’re always ready to drop everything and run. People know the fastest way to higher ground.
In the Old Testament, silver trumpets (khatsotsrah) were used as a signaling system. They announced meetings and indicated when the camps were to set out (Num. 10:1-8). Six hundred thousand men had to be organized! Their families needed to be ready—with so many tents and animals to move, laggards would cause serious traffic problems.
God has posted notice of a final trumpet call. His angels will use a trumpet to gather His elect from around the world (Matt. 24:31). Those who have died will be raised to life and all His people will be instantly transformed:
Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Cor. 15:51-52)
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (1 Thess. 4:16)
Paul spoke of the last trumpet as he explained the mystery of resurrection and instructed Christians to remain steadfast in faith and hope, and in godly work (1 Cor. 15:1, 58; 1 Thess. 4:13, 18). Those three are the inseparable components of the Christian life: we place our faith in Jesus’ work on the cross and enter into a life full of hope. While we wait for Jesus’ return, our faith finds expression in activities that bring glory to Him.
The last trumpet requires us to be prepared.