Throughout the Bible, there are numerous instances where God calls His people to “sound the alarm.” This alarm is a call to action, a call to repentance, and a call to warn others of coming judgment or danger. As Christians today, it is critical that we understand the meaning behind these alarms in Scripture and how they apply to our lives. In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore the major examples of “sounding the alarm” in the Bible and derive key takeaways for application.
The phrase “sound the alarm” occurs several times throughout the Bible, primarily in the Old Testament prophetic books (Isaiah 58:1, Jeremiah 4:5, Hosea 5:8, Joel 2:1). God would often instruct His prophets to sound the alarm and warn the people of Israel and Judah to turn from their sin and return to following the Lord. This alarm was necessary because the people had turned away from God and were facing impending judgment if they did not repent.
As we explore these Biblical alarms, we must ask ourselves: What alarms need to be sounded today for the Church and the world? In what areas have we drifted from God’s truth and righteousness? What warnings does God want His people to hear and heed in this hour? The alarms sounded by the prophets of old can provide insight for us as Christians living in these last days.
- Throughout the Bible, God instructs His prophets and watchmen to “sound the alarm” and warn God’s people to repent and return to Him
- The alarms are intended to wake up those who are spiritually asleep and call them to action
- The alarms function as warnings of coming judgment and danger if people do not repent
- God is still sounding alarms today and we must be attentive to His warnings and calls to repentance
- The Biblical alarms have significance for the Church today as we drift into sin and apathy
Old Testament Examples of “Sound the Alarm”
The concept of sounding the alarm originates in the Old Testament prophetic books. The prophets often functioned as watchmen who would watch for danger and sound the alarm to warn the people. Let’s explore some major examples:
“Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1 NKJV)
In this passage, God instructs Isaiah to shout loudly and sound the alarm to warn the people of Judah of their sin. This indicates that the people were unaware or in denial about the extent of their sin. God commissions Isaiah to make sure the alarm penetrates their complacency.
This has relevance for believers today. We must not shy away from sounding the alarm about unrighteousness and calling people to repentance, even if it means confronting uncomfortable truths.
Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say:
“Blow the trumpet in the land;
Cry, ‘Gather together,’
And say, ‘Assemble yourselves,
And let us go into the fortified cities.’
Set up the standard toward Zion.
Take refuge! Do not delay!
For I will bring disaster from the north,
And great destruction.” (Jeremiah 4:5-6 NKJV)
Jeremiah warns the people of coming disaster from the north, likely from the Babylonians. He calls them to gather together and take refuge in order to be safe from the coming destruction. The alarm here functions as a warning of imminent danger that requires an urgent response.
In the same way, we must heed God’s warnings in our day and urgently respond by turning to Him and seeking refuge in Him. Time is short and danger is coming upon the world. Our response must be decisive and immediate.
“Blow the ram’s horn in Gibeah,
The trumpet in Ramah!
Cry aloud at Beth Aven,
‘Look behind you, O Benjamin!’” (Hosea 5:8 NKJV)
Through the prophet Hosea, God warns the tribes of Israel of coming judgment using alarm imagery. The tribes had turned to idolatry and sin, provoking God’s wrath. By calling them to look behind them, Hosea implies that the judgment is imminent and rapidly approaching.
This demonstrates that sounding the alarm includes helping people understand the urgency of their situation. We must warn believers today not to be complacent but to actively watch for Christ’s return which could happen at any moment.
Blow the trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
For the day of the LORD is coming,
For it is at hand: (Joel 2:1 NKJV)
Joel calls for the trumpet to be blown in Zion as an alarm warning of the coming “day of the LORD.” This is a term used throughout Scripture to refer to times when God actively intervenes in judgment. For Joel, it was a coming locust plague, but it also has eschatological significance for the end times.
The lesson for us is that we must sound the alarm that Christ is returning soon to judge the world. We cannot remain silent or complacent about the nearness of His coming.
Characteristics of the Prophetic Alarms
As we survey these Old Testament examples, we can observe some common characteristics:
- Loud and Unavoidable: The alarms were meant to be loud and jolting to provoke a response. The watchmen could not be silent or soft-spoken.
- Warning of Coming Judgment: The alarms functioned to warn of impending consequences if the people did not repent. Judgment was imminent if they did not respond.
- Call to Repentance: The intention behind the alarms was to spur the people to repent and return to God. Sounding the alarm was meant to wake them up spiritually.
- Reproof of Sin: The alarms confronted people with the reality of their sin. The watchmen did not hold back in exposing sin.
- Summons to Action: Hearing the alarm was meant to provoke an decisive, urgent response. The alarms summoned people to take refuge and assemble together.
These characteristics provide guidance for how we should “sound the alarm” today. We need to be loud and clear, warning of Christ’s soon return, calling for repentance and spiritual awakening. Time is short and there is no room for a muted, vague alarm.
- The prophetic alarms were loud, clear, urgent, and confrontational
- They warned of coming judgment if there was no repentance
- The purpose was to provoke repentance and a return to God
- The alarms demanded action and an urgent response
- We must apply these same principles in sounding the alarm today
New Testament Exhortation to “Watch”
While the Old Testament emphasized “sounding the alarm,” the New Testament also speaks frequently about the need to “watch.” Jesus and the apostles exhorted believers to stay alert and watchful, looking for Christ’s return. Here are a few examples:
“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” (Matthew 24:42 NKJV)
Jesus commanded His followers to actively watch for His return following His teaching on end times signs. No one knows the day or hour, so believers must stay vigilant and ready at all times. The implication is that His coming will be sudden and unexpected.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-6
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 NKJV)
Paul reminds the Thessalonian church that believers are “sons of light” who should be watchful and sober. As those who belong to the day, we should not be sleeping spiritually but vigilant in watching for the return of Christ.
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. (Revelation 3:2-3 NKJV)
Jesus rebukes the church at Sardis for spiritual complacency and calls them to wake up and “watch.” He warns that if they do not watch He will come upon them suddenly as a thief in the night. Every church must heed this warning and watch expectantly for Christ’s return.
- Jesus and the apostles emphasized the urgency of “watching” for Christ’s return
- No one knows the day or hour, so constant vigilance and sobriety is required
- Spiritual sleepiness and complacency are dangerous
- Watching means living in readiness and expectation of His coming
Why Sound the Alarm Today?
Given the Biblical exhortations to “sound the alarm” and “watch,” it begs the question: Why is it so critical to sound the alarm in the Church today? Here are a few key reasons:
1. Many are Asleep, Complacent, or Distracted
Much of the Church in the West today is characterized by spiritual sleepiness, complacency, and distraction. Comfort, entertainment, affluence, and the general busyness of life lulls many believers into a comatose state. We’ve lost our sense of urgency and expectancy of Christ’s imminent return. An alarm must be sounded to wake up those who are asleep.
2. Rampant Sin and Compromise in the Church
In addition to spiritual apathy, the modern Church is plagued by carnality, greed, immorality, and doctrinal compromise. As in ancient Israel, we’ve accommodated ourselves to the sinful cultures around us instead of staying set apart. The alarm must call us to repent and align ourselves fully with God’s Word again.
3. Darkness is Increasing in the World
Today we are witnessing unprecedented upheaval, wickedness, and deception sweeping across the globe. Darkness is increasing as Satan works feverishly in these last days. Now more than ever, the Church must sound the alarm about these end times and call people to turn to Christ.
4. Many are Unprepared for Christ’s Return
Considering the asleep, compromised state of much of the Church, the reality is that a vast number of professing Christians are unprepared for Christ’s return. Even many true believers are living with divided priorities and unchecked sin in their lives. The alarm must provoke us to walk in holiness and get our own houses in order.
5. The Day of the Lord is Approaching
All the signs indicate we are living in the end of the end times. The stage is being set for the coming one world government, economy, and religion of the Antichrist. The prophetic clock is winding down and the Day of the Lord is soon approaching. We urgently need to sound the alarm!
- Spiritual apathy, complacency, and compromise have infected much of the Church
- Darkness is increasing rapidly in these last days
- Many professing Christians are unprepared for Christ’s return
- The signs indicate the Day of the Lord is drawing near
- An urgent, clarion alarm must be sounded in the Church!
How Should We Sound the Alarm?
If it is so vital for the Church to sound the alarm today, how should we go about doing it? Here are some key suggestions:
Stay Close to God’s Word
The only alarm with spiritual authority is one that accurately conveys the truths of Scripture. We must test everything by the Word and ensure the alarm aligns with God’s revelation.
Like the Old Testament watchmen, we must not shy away from confronting sin and calling people to repentance. The coming of the Lord necessitates holiness.
Warn of Coming Judgment
A key aspect of the Biblical alarms was warning of coming consequences if there was no repentance. We must warn that Christ is returning soon to judge the world.
Focus on the Return of Christ
Our alarms today should continually point people to the imminent return of Christ. We must rid ourselves of any date-setting but live in constant readiness.
Intercede in Prayer
The sounding of any faithful alarm must be bathed in intercessory prayer. We need the Spirit’s guidance, wisdom, and empowerment.
Depend on the Spirit’s Power
It is easy to sound an alarm in the flesh that is nothing more than obnoxious noise. We must rely fully on the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.
Remain Sensitive to God’s Leading
We cannot aggressively force alarms on people when and where we want. We must be sensitive to discern the Holy Spirit’s timing and direction.
- Sounding the alarm must be grounded in Scripture and the Spirit’s leading
- We must warn of coming judgment and call people to repentance
- Christ’s return must be central to the alarm
- Prayer and the Spirit’s power are essential
- We must sound the alarm only as the Lord leads
In these last days, God is clearly calling His Bride to rise up and sound the alarm! As we have seen, this is firmly grounded in the consistent pattern of Scripture from the Old Testament prophets to the New Testament writers. The alarms are intended to provoke the Church to wake up spiritually, turn from sin, and return to a life of holiness and urgent expectancy of Christ’s return.
It is time for the Church to heed God’s warning cry! The Day of Lord is fast approaching. Now is not the time for business as usual, but for crying out, warning, watching, and making urgent preparation.
While no one knows the day or hour of Christ’s return, the signs indicate it is near. We must make absolutely sure we are ready to meet our Bridegroom. We must free ourselves from every encumbrance and repent of every known sin in our lives. Our lamps must be burning brightly, filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit.
Let us join together in sounding the alarm that Christ is coming very soon! May this alarm penetrate every corner of the sleeping, distracted Church. May every believer across the earth be awakened to righteousness and preparation.
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus! The Spirit and the Bride say come! Even so, come Lord Jesus!