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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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TRUMPET.—The sole mention of the trumpet in the Gospels occurs in Mt.’s version of the small apocalypse which has been incorporated in the eschatological discourse of Jesus. There (Matthew 24:31) we read that when the Son of Man comes in the clouds for the final judgment, He despatches His angels ‘with a loud trumpet’ to gather His elect from the four corners of the earth. The context, especially in Mt., is a Jewish-Christian application of the older Messianic tradition (cf. e.g. Is 27:13, Zechariah 2:10 [LXX Septuagint ]) which depicted the scattered members of Israel being summoned together by a trumpet-blast at the Messiah’s advent. The figure was natural, for the trumpet-blast denoted the approach of majesty. ‘Power, whether spiritual or physical, is the meaning of the trumpet: and so, well used by Handel in his approaches to the Deity’ (Fitzgerald’s Letters, i. 92). It was a favourite figure of John Knox, too, as Stevenson has noted (in Men and Books). But it is rather as a rallying summons than as a herald of royalty or even an awakener of sleepers, that the trumpet is employed as a pictorial detail in the passage before us. The writer does not develop the sketch. We are not told who blows the trumpet, though possibly the angels were meant. St. Paul seems to reflect, in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, the tradition which connected it with the archangel Michael, but Mt. merely inserts the realistic trait, owing to his characteristic love of Hebrew Messianic prophecy.* [Note: Wellhausen argues that as ‘the trumpet is singular, it cannot be connected with the angels, but must be posited as a separate unit.’ This seems prosaic. ‘Trumpet’ may have been meant to denote ‘trumpet-blast,’ as indeed the gloss φωνῆς suggests. We should rather conjecture that μετὰ σάλτιγγος μεγάλης, preceded by καί, originally stood after δόξης πολλῆς, which would give a better order.]

Literature.—See Huhn’s Messianischen Weissagungen (§ 45). Volz’s Jüdische Eschatologie (1903, § 45b); Bousset’s Antichrist (English translation pp. 247, 248), and the same author’s Die Religion des Judentums (1903, p. 224 f.); also Haupt’s Die eschatolog. Aussagen Jesu (1895, pp. 116 f., 128 f.).

James Moffatt.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Trumpet'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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